KLM sued over alleged greenwashing, plus Harvard study on wildfire smoke health impacts of vulnerable populations. Spanish conservative climate change think tank, Oikos, launches
KLM Sued for Greenwashing, Wildfire Smoke Health Impacts Study of Vulnerable Populations, Spanish Conservative Climate Change Think Tank, Oikos, Launches
CHARACTERIZING WILDFIRE SMOKE HEALTH IMPACTS AND IDENTIFYING VULNERABLE POPULATIONS: A 10-YEAR STUDY OF THE WESTERN U.S.
Ten research teams will share $1.3 million in the eighth round of the 8th round of the Climate Change Solutions Fund (CCSF) awards. Aiming for impact at both the local and global level, these projects will seek to reduce the risks of climate change, hasten the transition to renewable energy, diminish the impact of existing fossil fuels on the climate, understand and prepare for the effects of climate change, and propel innovations needed to accelerate progress toward a healthier, more sustainable future.
Rachel Nethery, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health won for her project on “Characterizing Wildfire Smoke Health Impacts And Identifying Vulnerable Populations: A 10-Year Study Of The Western U.S.”
With wildfire severity in the Western U.S. projected to continue increasing over the coming decades, wildfire smoke exposure presents an escalating threat to human health. Implementing resilience building programs in high-risk communities is one of the most effective tactics for minimizing climate change-related health burdens.
The aim of this project is to study past wildfire smoke exposure in order to inform resilience-building efforts. Specifically, the project will examine the impacts of exposure on more than 100 health outcomes over a 10-year period to identify drivers of vulnerability and create county-level wildfire smoke risk profiles.
DEEPER DIVE: CCSF, Harvard
KLM SUED OVER ALLEGED ‘GREENWASHING’
Several environmental groups have launched legal action against Dutch airline KLM over advertisements that promoted flying as a sustainable form of travel.
Netherlands-based campaigners Fossielvrij NL, supported by Reclame Fossielvrij and environmental lawyers from ClientEarth, claim KLM violated European consumer law by misleading customers with ads and a carbon offset program that “give a false impression over the sustainability of its flights and plans to address its climate harm.”
The lawsuit focuses on KLM’s “Fly Responsibly” campaign and its statement that the airline was committed to “the targets defined in the Paris Climate Agreement.”
As part of its campaign, KLM said customers could buy carbon offset coverage to fund reforestation projects and the purchase of biofuels. The environmental groups said the product promoted by the airline to reduce the climate impact of airplanes is illusory.
A spokesperson for ClientEarth said, “The lawsuit will argue that these claims are highly misleading, since KLM’s plan for continual increases in flying is at odds with the rapid and deep emissions reductions across all sectors which a U.N. panel says are needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown.”
Governments agreed in Paris in 2015 to jointly cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. The accords included a preferred target of limiting the worldwide temperature rise to 1.5 C (2.7 F).
Why does this lawsuit against KLM’s greenwashing matter to us? It just may be the first of many challenging alleged “greenwashing” by the airline industry. Stories like this one are great because they display the fight in people.
OIKOS, NEW SPANISH CONSERVATIVE CLIMATE CHANGE THINK TANK LAUNCHES
Speaking of conservative climate change think tanks, let’s speak of Oikos. It’s Spain’s center-right alternative environmentalism: “It is possible to be green and create jobs and wealth.” According to its website, Oikos strives for social and ecological change by contributing to public debate from an ecological perspective.
It focuses on long term challenges that are discussed too little in the social debate, but which are crucial for the future of our society and coming generations. Our starting positions are the environmental limitations of the planet and worldwide solidarity. Oikos follows the example of other European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany.
Toni Timoner co-founded Oikos with Luis Quiroga. Said Timoner, “The center right can win elections and create an ideology that allows voters to feel comfortable being ecologists, but the radical left has tried to monopolize the environment.”
Quiroga said, “We believe that the time has come for Spain to have a strong center-right environmentalism and with all the energy to be proud of. We have the experience of other countries that prove it to us.” Quiroga underlined the economic opportunity that the energy transition represents, something that from his point of view, the British and Germans have understood very well: “We recognize that in Spain there is some skepticism that it is possible to be green and earn money, perhaps it is a hangover from the Zapatero era, but the reality is that today there is better technology, more human capital and much more financing”,
Why does Oikos matter to us? It’s in the name. It’s a nod to Britain’s Sir Roger Scruton, who coined the phrase, oikophilia or instinctive love for our home, an idea that is at the base of environmental protection. Scruton is author of, Green Philosophy, and is considered the bible of right-wing conservationism.