Don't bank on it. The majority of the world’s 50 largest banks have yet to make commitments to sustainable finance, research from the World Resources Institute found, although the balance is close to shifting — 23 banks have made commitments, 27 have not. However, many of 23 banks committed to green financing are still investing in fossil fuels more than they are in sustainable projects. Reuters
Building the future. Architecture is stuck in an “outdated paradigm of mitigation” says Michael Pawlyn, who helped design the U.K.’s biodiversity dome, the Eden Project. For Pawlyn, being sustainable isn’t good enough; architects should be targeting net-positive rather than net-zero impacts. Architect Bill McDonough said something similar at Fortune’s recent sustainability forum. For Pawlyn, the solution lies in biomimicry — or designing buildings and systems that imitate structures found in the natural world. Dezeen
Droning on. XAG, a Chinese agritech drone maker, has partnered with pharma giant Bayer to demonstrate a new A.I.-powered unmanned aerial system designed to streamline crop spraying. In ten minutes the drones can cover an area that took farmers three days to dust by hand. Besides the obvious time-saving benefits, drone deployment is also more accurate and helps reduce the volume of excess pesticide used. TechNode
Extinction Rebellion. The environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion has planned a series of disruptive demonstrations worldwide over the next two weeks. In New York yesterday, a group of protesters played dead on Wall Street; in London, 280 protesters were arrested; 100 were arrested in the Netherlands, with other protests occurring in France, Germany, Australia, Austria, Spain and New Zealand. Reuters
In The Loop
Why Citigroup Just Named a Chief Sustainability Officer by Katherine Dunn
Plant-Based Meats Have Huge Potential in China, But Beijing Wants a Homegrown Champion by Eamon Barrett
The World’s Biggest Turbines and No Subsidies: How Offshore Wind Is Entering a New Era by Geoffrey Smith
Fashion’s Next Major Battlefield: Sustainability by Ankiti Bose
Treat Social Risk Like Any Other Risk to Avoid Business Disruptions by Margery Kraus and Barie Carmichael
Allbirds Founders: Why We Need to Eliminate Plastics for Good by Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger
These Shoes Are Shifting the Economics of Deforestation in the Amazon Rain Forest by Clay Dillow
Companies That Mention Hurricanes in Their 10-Ks Lose 5% of Market Value by Erik Sherman
Folks at The Economist fed an essay question on climate change into a natural language processor, which spat out a 1,000-word treatise on what economic and political change is needed for an effective response to climate change. Sadly, for the robot, a panel of human judges thought the essay missed the mark, criticizing the A.I. for failing to offer a practical, novel or definitive solution.
"The essay does not fundamentally answer the question nor present a single novel idea, is not strongly argued and is not particularly well written/structured. In addition, I do not think it shows a strong understanding of existing climate policy nor of the scientific literature coming out of the IPCC," one judge rallied.
It seems, then, that humans remain our own best bet for solving the problem.
5 degrees Celsius
We always knew a nuclear war would be devastating, but it’s interesting to learn how even a relatively small-scale regional nuclear conflict could have severe global ramifications. A team of researchers crunched the numbers on the environmental fallout of a hypothetical nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan and found that such a war could result in a global cool down between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius. The temperature drop would be caused by 36 teragrams (that’s 36 billion kilograms) of carbon fuming up into the atmosphere, blocking up to 35% of the Earth’s sunshine. The climate would take ten years to return to normal, but society would probably take a while longer.
This edition of The Loop was edited by Eamon Barrett. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.