Climate business (1)

14 May 2005
Some events this week show the temperature of the times.

Yesterday General Electric, the world's largest company by market value, it would double its research budget on environmentally friendly technologies to $1.5bn ($800m) in an initiative called "ecomagination". GE is betting that tighter environmental regulations and the rising cost of energy will create a lucrative market. The company says it aims to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions by 1% by 2012 and improve energy efficiency by 30% by 2012.

Today in New York, pension fund leaders, CEOs, Wall Street investment managers meet to discuss climate risks and opportunities at the United Nations (see here).

Tomorrow in Cologne, Germany, Carbon Expo aims to put its participants at the centre of the creation of "market-based mechanisms and a global market in greenhouse gas reductions".

The New York event is evidence that you don't have to be "left wing" or a hippy to be concerned about climate change. Participants include Paul O'Neil, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Alcoa. Members of the Investor Network on Climate Risk say they collectively manage more than $2.7 trillion ($2,700,000,000,000) in assets.

openDemocracy's debate on the politics of climate change plans scrutiny and analysis soon.

Caspar Henderson

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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