Topics to impress this week.
1. BHP Billiton at climate change action coalface
BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner, plans to withdraw from the World Coal Association in support of action against climate change. The move is something of a surprise, considering the firm derived just under 20% of its total revenue in the year to June from coal.
The company says differences over climate and energy policies are behind the withdrawal. It supports tackling climate change by encouraging the use of renewable energy and cleaner technologies. It will also review its membership of the US Chamber of Commerce in light of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
2. Uber hailed a cab?
It’s a million-dollar question that will now be left to the courts to answer: is the world’s most valuable start-up a taxi company? Uber insists that it is a tech platform that connects passengers with drivers, not a transport firm, which means it isn’t subject to the same rules as taxi services. The vexing question will have an answer this week, when the EU’s top court is expected to rule on how the company should be treated by regulators. The ruling may affect Uber operations in the eurozone.
3. Sierra Leone taken to task over Ebola epidemic
Two health workers in Sierra Leone who survived Ebola are suing their government, saying it mismanaged funds during the epidemic. The two — supported by the Freetown-based Centre for Accountability & the Rule of Law — blame a lack of resources provided by the government for their infection and for the deaths of their co-workers. They claim government’s mismanagement of funds violated their right to life and health.
Ebola surfaced in Guinea in 2013 and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. At least 11,300 died of the virus in the region, mostly in these three countries.