44. Weekly Newsletter

COP26

The first day of COP26, in Glasgow, started with Sir David Attenborough warning world leaders that “the world is looking to you” in an emotional speech; India also committed to net achieving net zero emissions by 2070 which is the first time that the global power has made such a pledge. However, this extends 20 years beyond the summit’s 2050 deadline and is even 10 years longer than China’s 2060 target. Furthermore, the absence of China (along with Russia) from the summit has courted controversary from world leaders due to the two nations being major carbon emitters.

Tuesday (2nd November) will witness more world leaders’ statements and will feature a discussion on how forests and land use can help achieve the 1.5C goal. The event is also supposed to incorporate businesses for discussions on the innovation and deployment of clean technologies. Wednesday will be focused upon climate finance and will feature the Chancellor, Sunak, discussing reappropriating funds to help developing countries adapt. Thursday will mainly examine energy (especially coal) challenges and Friday is dedicated to youth empowerment. Saturday will conclude the week and shall tackle the issues of deforestation and sustainable agriculture.

The Newspapers & COVID

The UK’s newspapers, over the last week, have covered a wide range of topics with The Times running the headline “PM: It’s last chance on climate” and the Daily Mail, Britain’s largest newspaper, stating “Boris: We can’t let COP26 be a cop-out’ which references the PM’s view that broken promises on climate action has cost the planet time. The Independent and The Daily Express has also highlighted the diplomatic challenges between PM Johnson and President Macron in regards to the French seizing a Scottish fishing trawler. Other front pages from across the last week include: The Mirror highlighting a tax cut on sparkling wine from the Autumn Budget and The Guardian revealing “NHS to prescribe e-cigarettes in radical plan to cut smoking rates”.

Over 9m people in the UK have tested positive for COVID and with almost all restrictions lifted: infections are at record levels but cases may have peaked. A total of 140,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus. Nationally, 49.96m people (over 90% of adults) have received their first vaccine, around 45.70m have received their second, and 7.93m have received their third/booster dose. This brings the total number of inoculations carried out, by the private sector and National Health Service, to over 103m.

JCB back Hydrogen Powertrains

The heavy equipment giant, JCB, which experienced a challenging COVID period is now looking towards a future of hydrogen-fuelled forms of transport. Last year sales fell to £3.1bn (down from £4.2bn in 2019) after £1bn worth of orders “disappeared overnight” due to COVID which also led to the temporary closure of 21 of their manufacturing plants globally for two months. However, the firm has rebounded with an order bank four times higher than pre-pandemic and now, according to their Chairman, are leading “the way in zero emission technology”. The British icon has also now developed the construction equipment industry’s first internal combustion engine powered with hydrogen.

Over the last week it has now been announced that the company has signed a deal to purchase ‘billions of pounds’ of green hydrogen- most of which will come from Australia. This coincides with the recent announcement of the ‘UK hydrogen strategy’ by the Government which aims to achieve a minimum of 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity before 2030. The JCB owning family also head up ‘Wrightbus’, the firm that built the UK’s first hydrogen double decker, and are now investing £100m in “super efficient hydrogen engines” to power their future machinery.

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