Kyla Mandel

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Kyla Mandel is Editor of DeSmog UK.

Kyla began working with DeSmog UK as deputy editor in November 2014 shortly after the project launched. During this time, she has broken numerous stories on energy policy, including one on the Koch Brothers’ European lobbying efforts. In March 2015 she was appointed DeSmog UK’s Editor.

She has also covered international climate science denial efforts in Rome and Washington D.C., and joined DeSmog’s reporting team in December 2015 at the Paris COP21 climate conference.

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Kyla has been living in London for the past several years working for titles such as Green Futures Magazine, EnergyDesk and most recently The ENDS Report. Her work has also appeared on Forbes Online and The Guardian’s Sustainable Business channel.

Past research has also involved extensive content analysis examining British media coverage on shale gas exploration and investigating events involving police brutality on the McGill University campus in Montreal during the 2012 province-wide student tuition protests.

Kyla moved to the UK to pursue a master’s in journalism at the London College of Communication.  Bilingual in French and English, she has also lived in the US and Germany. Combined with a BA joint-honours degree in history, political science and environmental studies from McGill, she has a strong grasp on the dynamics between environmental issues and international politics.

Brexit: Lobbying Expected to Rise, But What About Government Transparency?

Foggy Houses of Parliament

In post-referendum Britain, where Brexit means Brexit, but not much more than that yet, lobbyists at home and abroad are swiftly kicking into gear to take advantage of this fresh opportunity to shape UK policy.

Law firms and the finance industry have already begun setting up unique Brexit units. And among the items at the top of their list is setting the rules for new international trade deals. (But as we have seen so far with TTIP and TISA, for example, these don’t tend to espouse the goals of tackling climate change and protecting environmental standards.)  

As Alexandra Runswick, director of Unlock Democracy, explained: “Brexit is likely to lead to a substantial increase in lobbying.  

The UK Will Ratify Paris Climate Deal This Year, Promises Theresa May

Theresa May

Britain will ratify the Paris Agreement by the end of this year, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged during her first speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Addressing global delegates on 20 September, May said: “We will continue to play our part in the international effort against climate change.

And in a demonstration of our commitment to the agreement reached in Paris, the UK will start its domestic procedures to enable ratification of the Paris agreement, and complete these before the end of the year.”

BP’s Oil Spill Analysis Released, Predicts ‘Devastating’ Impacts in Event of Deepwater Drilling Blowout in Great Australian Bight

Bunda Cliffs Great Australian Bight

Widespread and significant environmental damage along Australia’s coastline is expected in the event of an uncontrolled blowout according to British oil giant BP’s own models of its deepwater drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight.

Revealed: Exxon’s Lobbying Against Electric Vehicles in the UK

ExxonMobil transport presentation slide

Switching transportation from petroleum to renewable or alternative fuels is not the most cost-effective way to reduce GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.”

This is the message that ExxonMobil has delivered to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in three separate presentations since the Paris climate deal was agreed last December, reveal documents obtained by DeSmog UK.

Exxon appears to be the only major fossil fuel company currently heavily lobbying the British government against greener transport policies, according to the DfT’s response to DeSmog UK’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The Global Coal Power Pipeline is Shrinking – Expected Capacity Drops 14 Percent in Six Months

Coal power plant next to houses

The amount of coal power being developed around the world has shrunk dramatically during the first have of this year a new report from CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker reveals.

Between January and July 2016 there has been a 14 percent decline in the amount of coal power capacity in the pipeline, down 158 gigawatts (GW) from 1,090 GW to 932 GW. This is about equal to the European Union’s entire coal-fired generating capacity (162 GW).

The drop in the total amount of planned coal power plants – those in the pre-construction phase – was mainly due to the recent shift in policies in Asia, the report states, with the amount of China’s expected coal capacity dropping by 114 GW and India’s by 40 GW.

Major Insurers to G20 Nations: Stop Wasting Time, Phase-Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies by 2020

Nodding donkey in sunset

Major global insurance companies are urging G20 leaders to commit to a specific timeline for rapidly phasing out fossil fuel subsidies – something they’ve repeatedly failed to do over the years despite numerous promises to end support for the industry.

In a joint statement issued ahead of the G20 conference in China this weekend, insurers with more than USD$1.2 trillion in assets under management warn that support for the production of coal, oil, and gas is at odds with the nations’ commitment to tackle climate change agreed in Paris last December.

The statement, signed by Aviva, Aegon NV, and MS Amlin, calls for governments to set “a clear timeline for the full and equitable phase-out by all G20 members of all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.”

Documents Show Government's ‘Strategic’ Meetings With Oil Giants Shell and BP to Discuss Climate Plans

North Sea oil rigs

Oil giants Shell and BP lobbied government on its climate plans before and after the Paris COP21 conference, new documents seen by DeSmog UK reveal.

Minutes obtained through a Freedom of Information request show both of the fossil fuel companies spoke with former Energy and Climate Secretary Amber Rudd at least twice during her time at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The documents detail that in addition to the Paris climate conference, Rudd and the oil executives discussed gas as a transition fuel and the government’s general climate change plans, including the fifth carbon budget.

Scientists Confirm the Impacts of Climate Change Began Right After We Started Burning Fossil Fuels

London Olympics Industrial Revolution

New research by a team of international scientists reveals that the effects of human induced climate change began much earlier than originally thought.  

The study, conducted by researchers with the 2K Network and PAGES (Past Global Changes) and published today in the scientific journal Nature, finds that warming began in the mid-1800s shortly after the Industrial Revolution kicked off.

This confirms that our impact on the climate began just decades after we started burning fossil fuels – about 180 years earlier than traditional climate change graphs have shown – and that even the smallest amount of carbon dioxide can have an effect on how fast global temperatures increase.

Newly Appointed Government Special Advisers Linked to Brexit Climate Denier Network

Theresa May arrives at Number 10

The names of those who have been appointed as special advisers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s new cabinet have been steadily trickling out these past few weeks.

Among these newly announced special advisors, or SpAds, are Nick Timothy – the man credited with the demise of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – and Rob Oxley of Vote Leave and the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Meanwhile several others have previously worked on campaigns for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s London mayoral candidacy, and many more of them formed part of Vote Leave’s core campaign staff.

Drilling Rig Aground in Scottish Isles Raises Bigger Questions about Safety Procedures

Transocean Winner drilling rig ashore on Isle of Lewis

The Transocean Winner oil rig which ran aground in the Outer Hebrides during severe storms early Monday morning is now being closely monitored by a counter-pollution team.

For the time being it appears as though there has been no substantial environmental damage by the rig, which has 280 tonnes of diesel on board, nobody was on the rig when it grounded, and the risk of pollution is low, say authorities.

So while things could be a lot worse, the situation is far from ideal, and it has led many to ask: why did it happen and how can we prevent a more dangerous situation from occurring in the future?

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