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Economy

Public Demand Transparency On Bank Investments

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piggy bank by 401(K) 2012 via flickr

A new Christian Aid poll has indicated that the public want to know how banks are using their money.

Seventy per cent of British adults want banks to be legally required to reveal where they invest their individual and corporate customers’ money, while only 14 per cent disagree, according to the ComRes poll.

Half of British adults (50%) also say that the type of companies a bank invests in is important to them, when deciding who to bank with.

The results come as Christian Aid launches a new campaign which will see bank account holders asking Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and HSBC, whether they have a climate plan for their customers’ money.

A new report by the charity shows that the big four banks are still much more heavily invested in fossil fuels than in clean energy, and are not moving quickly enough to change this picture.

Report author Ken Boyce, Senior Private Sector Adviser at Christian Aid, said: “These poll results, show that a large majority of British adults want banks to come clean about where they invest billions of pounds of ordinary people’s money that they control. More than ever this shows that private finance is the public’s business.

“Everyone wants to save for a rainy day but what if our money is causing a storm?

“Today we are launching a new campaign for banks to shift their customers’ billions out of dirty and dangerous fossil-fuelled industries and into cleaner ones that will help keep people and our planet safer.

“The banks should urgently formulate clear plans to keep all their lending and investment in line with internationally agreed climate commitments.

“Our future is quite literally in their plans.”

The ComRes poll showed that Women are more likely to say they care about the type of firms in which a bank invests (53 per cent versus 46 per cent of men), according to the new poll. Women are also more likely than men to say that environmental issues are important for them, when choosing where to bank (44 per cent versus 37 per cent of men).

Christian Aid’s report, Our Future In Their Plans, assesses the banks’ policies in relation to climate change and their plans to bring their investments and lending in line with the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2˚C, which was enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The analysis of the big four High Street banks gives them all a disappointing D grade.

Mr Boyce said: “The big four banks have all signed the Paris Pledge for Action in which they affirmed their commitment to act to support the realization of the goals of the Paris Agreement. We tried to assess what concrete actions and commitments they are taking. We awarded them a D grade because they are not living up to that pledge.

“They are still financing the building of coal-fired power stations which will lock countries in to high carbon infrastructure making it harder for them to meet their climate ambitions. They are still financing oil and gas companies far more than they are renewables. And they are reluctant to set measurable targets for scaling up support for renewables and phasing out support for fossil fuels.

“As the grave problems caused by climate change intensify, the financing of new fossil fuel projects such as these will become increasingly financially risky. Banks that fail to take these risks into account are failing to safeguard customers’ money.”

To meet our globally agreed climate commitments, the UK must shift more quickly towards a low carbon economy. Christian Aid believes the finance for this shift is already available – but only if the companies that manage money on our behalf get behind the change.

From today, people can take part in the campaign to email the big four banks by visiting www.christian-aid.org.uk/bigshift.

ComRes interviewed 2,030 British adults aged 18+ online between the 28th and 30th October 2016. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of all British adults aged 18 and over by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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