Weekend Climate News: Students and state governments taking action against big oil and more

This weekend we have five exciting pieces of climate news, starting with a new study showing that women in charge lead the way to a greener future.

By Kathleen King

October 21, 2022

Women led banks Bank of England

Banks led by women make more climate-friendly investments

A recent study by the European Central Bank has shown that banks with more women on their boards hold fewer investments in companies that harm the environment.

The study also established that the “greening” impact of gender-diverse boardrooms was greater in countries with more female politicians with proactive approaches to climate change. 

We hope to see this inform future decisions in hiring processes within banks, government agencies, and businesses.

Harvard University - low

Harvard students protest Big Oil’s recruiting efforts

Harvard students protested an ExxonMobil recruiting event. The event aimed to encourage students to participate in their hiring process.

Students arrived at the event with signs criticizing the company and its past of silencing climate science, as well as the university for inviting a company that continues to profit from climate destruction to recruit students. 

Many of the students present at the protest study earth science, engineering, and related fields at Harvard and MIT. They emphasized their knowledge of the climate crisis and their experiences seeing the effects of the climate crisis firsthand in their studies.

New Jersey is now the 21st state to sue the fossil fuel industry

The state of New Jersey filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and API, as well as their trade association, the American Petroleum Institute. New Jersey State Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the suit on Tuesday, asserting that the industry’s irresponsible climate change denial in an effort to protect its profits has misled and endangered residents in New Jersey and beyond. The suit demands that big oil companies stop greenwashing and fines them for the destruction of land, such as the coastal wetlands in New Jersey, due to increasingly common extreme weather events. 

A spokesperson for Exxon Mobil, Casey Norton, responded that the lawsuit would not create meaningful action, and that “ExxonMobil will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy.” 

However, as more states add themselves to the list of those with active complaints, it seems likely that this will in fact compel meaningful change.

Vancouver Washington Columbia River Nature

Vancouver, Washington has banned new fossil fuel projects

The city of Vancouver, Washington has officially banned all new large-scale fossil fuel development and heavily restricted existing fossil fuel projects. A recent press release from the Vancouver City Council announced that the new ordinance will be “...addressing climate change and equity – seek[ing] to protect and enhance public health and safety, environment, and foster a transition to cleaner fuels.” 

Beyond the ban on new facilities, existing fossil fuel facilities can only be upgraded for safety reasons. They limit any expansion to 15 percent and demand that the facility switches to cleaner fuels. 

Other cities that have similarly blocked fossil fuel expansion in a variety of ways include Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Canada, and South Portland, Maine.

Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure provides up to $10 million for urban cycling initiatives

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced that they will be launching the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure (BICI) to fund and support 10 cities in the creation of improved cycling infrastructure. 

The cities will be chosen from all over the world after an application process. This initiative works to fix several issues beyond emissions reduction, including public health, the revival of downtown areas, and accessible transportation. Each city will receive up to $1 million in funding from BICI, followed by technical assistance and program support to ensure that the programs run smoothly.

Urban biking commute climate-friendly city - low

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