The world has to stop using fossil fuels, but investment in the sector continues unabated. Investors of all kinds, including banks, insurance companies and pension funds, are hesitant about making the change to sustainable energy and are not sure where to start. In the autumn of 2019, together with the DivestInvest Network and Sustainable Energy (Denmark), Both ENDS published a report entitled ‘Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses’. The report describes five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively taking steps to wind down their fossil activities. The criteria are helping investors to choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal of restricting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. We spoke to Lars Jensen, Senior Analyst at Sustainable Energy and lead author of the report.
Today, almost 90 organisations and networks from around the world, including Both ENDS, sent a letter to the European Commission to urge the EU to stop including UPOV91 in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The main objective of UPOV91 is to further erode traditional seeds rights and to regulate local seed markets in the interest of internationally operating seed companies.
This matter is urgent because currently, the EU and Indonesia are negotiating an FTA. Including UPOV91 in this FTA means that Indonesia will have to change its policies, which will take away the farmers' rights to:
- breed, save and exchange all seeds and other planting material
- participate in decisions concerning seed improvement/ breeding, selection, quality standards, pricing, production, distribution and diversity
- customary practice especially in regard to indigenous seed
- be protected from being sold fake and inappropriate seed
- have a true choice between the use of certified and seed from fellow farmer managed seed systems.
Last June, President Obama called upon the national and international community to give no more public support to foreign coal. Shortly after this, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank EIB followed the example, setting stricter criteria for loans to energy companies, which will make it nuch more difficult, if not impossible for new coal plants to get financing from these banks.
The Pantanal, the world's largest freshwater wetland, is suffering exceptionally devastating forest fires, mostly caused by human activities. Over the past few months, an area as big as Northern Ireland has burned down. Both ENDS's partner organisations call for attention for this ecological and social disaster.
Ten years after the start of the construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam in Central Laos, it is clear that this mega project has disastrous impacts on people and their environment. The project - originally the flagship of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) - did not achieve its intended development goals. In a press release which was sent out this week, Both ENDS and partner organisations call on these multilateral banks to withdraw from large scale hydro dams such as Nam Theun 2. The dam, which became operational in 2010, has profound negative effects on local communities, while they do not benefit from it.
Almost 40 civil society organisations and networks from around the world, including Both ENDS, today sent a letter to Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and State Secretary for Finance Hans Vijlbrief. They are asking the ministers to ensure that the expansion of export credit insurance as a result of the Corona crisis contributes to a green recovery.
In many places in Latin America, access to clean water is under great pressure from overuse and pollution, often caused by large-scale agriculture or mining. This has significant impact, especially on women. In March, with International Women's Day on March 8 and World Water Day on March 22, they make themselves heard and claim their right to water.
The Netherlands is well on its way with the energy transition at home, but our country continues to encourage Dutch investments in fossil projects elsewhere. This is obviously not in line with the climate goals and, moreover, these kinds of projects cause major problems in the countries where they take place. What can a new cabinet do to reduce the Dutch footprint abroad? Ellen Mangnus discussed this with several experts: today part 2.