The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Environment @ WTO Public Forum, Geneva Trade Week and T4SD Forum

Trade is high on the agenda of International Geneva this week, with the WTO Public Forum, taking place from 27 to 30 September, under the theme: “Towards a sustainable and inclusive recovery: ambition to action“, and other parallel events. Various sessions on the agenda will address environmental-related issues, including:

The Geneva Trade Week, organized in the margins of the WTO Public Forum by the Geneva Trade Platform, from 26 to 30 September, provides additional opportunities to engage trade and environment-related issues. The Opening Session will provide and overview on the state of play on environment at the WTO. Join “State of play & next steps on environment at the WTO: Opening Plenary of Geneva Trade Week 2022” on 26 September 2022, from 12:30 – 14:00 CEST

On 30 September, the 2022 edition of the ITC’s Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) Forum will delve into corporate sustainability governance and will take a critical look at how the evolving regulatory landscape will impact small-business owners, especially the upstream players in developing countries. Access full program

Environment @ 51st Session of the Human Rights Council

The 51st session of the Human Rights Council continues this week in Geneva. Environmental-related issues on the agenda include:

Last week, in the margins of HRC51, the Geneva Toxic Free Talks provided an opportunity to celebrate the 25 years of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, looking back on its achievement and forward to the importance for implementing the right to a toxic-free environment. All sessions were recorded and are accessible on our website. → Our update on HRC51 provides the latest news and highlights the environmental-related activities of this session.

Climate Crisis | Latest on Science and Action

Taxing Profits of Fossil Fuel Companies

Last week, at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General urged countries to impose windfall tax fossil fuel industry and to redirect these funds toward countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.

Our world is addicted to fossil fuels. It’s time for an intervention. We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account. That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution. And it includes the massive public relations machine raking in billions to shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny. […] it is high time to put fossil fuel producers, investors and enablers on notice. Polluters must pay. Today, I am calling on all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies
Antonio Guterres, UNSG, 20 September 2022Read full statement

Earlier this month, the EU announced its plan to impose a windfall tax on energy companies’ “abnormally high profits”, a move expected to generate €140bn extra revenue for supporting households and businesses struggling with the increasing energy prices.

Recent analysis further denounced the increasing fossil fuel subsidies. A joint report by OECD and IEA indeed revealed that support for fossil fuels almost doubled in 2021 as energy prices rose. Consumption subsidies are expected to rise even further this year due to higher fuel prices and energy use. Meanwhile, a recent report by RE100 underlined the lack of ambitious renewable energy targets in G20 countries. Most countries’ commitments fall short with regards to the ambition need to achieve the 1.5°C target.

Shades of Green(washing)

Meanwhile, a new Harvard University investigation commissioned by Greenpeace Netherlands and released last week, reveals rampant use of greenwashing and tokenism by the largest car brands, airlines and oil and gas companies in Europe to exploit people’s concerns about the environment and spread disinformation online. The report, Three shades of green(washing), assesses recent greenwashing by fossil fuel interests on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

Policy Actions Needed Now

Bold and sustained action must start now and maximize the use of all low- and zero-carbon technologies if we are to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, warns the Roadmap to carbon neutrality for Europe, North America, and Central Asia released last week by UNECE in the lead up to critical climate talks at COP27. → Read Press Release

Finance for a Net Zero Society

Calls for action to embark on the path of transition to a net zero society have been reached the financial sector. Earlier this month, a coalition of leading international organizations launched a call on central banks and financial supervisors around the world to ensure a transition to a net zero and nature positive economy. The call urges central banks, financial regulators and supervisors to “lead by example and provide necessary clarity and guidance to financial actors by publishing their own detailed transition plans, with clear quantifiable climate and biodiversity goals”. Co-signing organization UNEP FI head Eric Usher further called on governments to align efforts with the private sectors and create stronger frameworks to scrutinize sustainability claims.

A Just Transition | Growth in Renewable Jobs

A new report published last week, by IRENA in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), confirms growth in renewable jobs despite multiple crises and calls for targeted industrial strategies to create stable supply chains and decent jobs. The ninth edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2022 assesses impacts of the ambitious, yet achievable 1.5°C Scenario under which renewable energy jobs would rise from today’s 12.7 million to 38.2 million in 2030. Electric vehicles, and hydrogen could employ another 74.2 million people by then. The report identifies domestic market size as a major factor influencing employment generation in renewables, along with labour and other costs. Solar energy was found to be the fastest-growing sector. In 2021 it provided 4.3 million jobs, more than a third of the current global workforce in renewable energy.

→ Read ILO Press Release and IRENA Article

IPCC | Science Related to Climate Change

The 57th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will convene in Geneva this week. The panel is currently in its Sixth Assessment cycle, and has already produced the Assessment reports of its three Working Groups, and three Special Reports. The Synthesis Report (SYR) will be the last of the Sixth Assessment Report products, due for release in time to inform the 2023 Global Stocktake by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  as mandated by Decision 1/CP.21. 2023 is when countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goals. The SYR approval session for the Synthesis Report (SYR), which will integrate the findings of the Working Groups and Special Reports released in this assessment cycle, will be held in person from 13 to 17 March 2023. Following the Panel’s approval, the report’s public release is scheduled for 20 March 2023.

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