Irish take big step towards divestment
Posted March 21, 2017
Ireland set to ban sovereign wealth fund from investing in fossil fuels
A bill requiring Ireland’s €8 billion sovereign wealth fund to divest itself of all coal, oil and gas holdings moved one step closer to ratification after passing a second stage reading in the Irish lower house of parliament in January.
Irish lawmakers voted 90-53 in favour of moving the legislation forward, with all but the largest party, Fine Gael, supporting the bill. Brought by independent representative Thomas Pringle, the bill would require the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to sell off all investments in fossil fuel industries over the next five years. ISIF’s mandate already includes a strong commitment to sustainability and transitioning to a low-carbon economy, but a 2015 study identified €100 million in legacy fossil fuel assets still held by the fund. The bill will now be reviewed by the financial committee, but is expected to emerge through that process without major changes.Continue Reading...
Under the table
Posted March 20, 2017
Republicans repeal SEC’s payment disclosure rule for extractive industries
In signing his third piece of legislation into law, U.S. President Donald Trump repealed a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure requirement for oil, gas and mining companies meant to tackle corruption.
The legislation, titled House Joint Resolution 41, used a little known law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to strike down the SEC regulations. Added as the Cardin-Lugar Amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform package, it required all extractive industry companies listed on a U.S. stock exchange to publicly disclose all payments made to governments around the world on a project-by-project basis. The argument for the law was that increased transparency over payments would cut down on fraud and embezzlement by unscrupulous foreign leaders.Continue Reading...
Feed the truth
Posted March 13, 2017
CEO pledges $25 million towards tackling food industry influence
The CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks, Daniel Lubetzky, has committed to donating $25 million over the next 10 years to exposing the outsized influence the food industry plays in shaping public health policy in the U.S through a new organization named Feed the Truth. According to Lubetzky, it will operate as an independent organization with no ties to KIND or himself.Continue Reading...
Posted March 9, 2017
Finns launch basic income pilot project
In January, 2,000 Finnish residents began receiving monthly cheques of €560 for a two-year pilot project meant to test the viability of an idea known as a guaranteed minimum income (GMI).
Whereas a true universal GMI would go to all citizens, this program targets randomly chosen Finns between the ages of 25 and 58 who currently receive unemployment insurance benefits. The GMI payment replaces existing social benefits, but is structured to encourage those currently out of work to re-enter the workforce without the prospect of losing government support – escaping what is often called the “welfare trap.” The system is described as particularly onerous for those working in part-time jobs, where recipients need to make their case to the government on a monthly basis to continue receiving benefits.Continue Reading...
Posted March 8, 2017
Kasich vetoes effort to delay Ohio renewable energy mandates
In a break with lawmakers from his own party, Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich recently vetoed legislation that would have extended an existing freeze in renewable energy requirements and energy efficiency standards for another two years.
"Job creators have attributed their reasons for expanding, growing and creating jobs in Ohio to, among other things, our state’s stable fiscal health, jobs-friendly tax climate and sound regulatory policies – as well as our state’s wide range of energy generation options," Kasich said in a statement in December. "[This bill] risks undermining this progress by taking away some of those energy generation options, particularly the very options most prized by the companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio in the coming years, such as high technology firms."Continue Reading...