Guest's blog

Fake News You Can’t Use, They’ll Abuse, We All Lose. Except Putin. Putin Wins.

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup  

Along with “alt-right” and “post-truth,” “fake news” has become the latest and greatest term to describe the bizarre media landscape we all now inhabit. Sadly, it’s a home we’re comfortable in, as we’ve been exploring it for the last five years. (That said, Politico’s Simon Van Zuylen-Wood does a good job chronicling a two-week fake news diet.)

Since we’ve called out Breitbart’s fake climate news on numerous occasions, we’re encouraged that other outlets are now debunking its propaganda, too. Case in point, both AP and Guardian covered a Breitbart story which falsely claimed that on New Year’s Eve, a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” attacked police and “set fire” to Germany’s oldest church. It was shared nearly 17,000 times on Facebook.

A more realistic version of the story is that a stray firework lit some netting outside a scaffolding around the church on fire, and it was put out in just 12 minutes. And there was no damage to the church, which isn’t actually the oldest in Germany at all.

Four ‘Green Lines’ for Brexit Negotiators Looking to Protect the Environment

Britain coastline

Following yesterday's Environment Audit Committee Report on the future of Britain's environment post-Brexit, Viviane Gravey of Queen's University Belfast sets out four 'green lines' by which to judge the Brexiteers' true colours.

Brexit risks harming the UK’s environment unless the government passes stiff new legislation before it triggers Article 50. That’s the conclusion of a major new report by the Environment Audit Committee, a cross-bench group of 16 MPs.

In the run-up to the referendum, most experts were very worried about the environmental impact of Brexit and, since the vote, some of these concerns have been confirmed – think, for example, of Michael Gove and John Whittingdale inviting companies to draw a wish list for a bonfire of EU social and environmental legislation. On the other hand, some environmental NGOs have launched a campaign to achieve a “Greener UK” after the vote, seizing Brexit as an opportunity to increase, not decrease, environmental ambition.

Yes, the Arctic's Freakishly Warm Winter is Due to Humans' Climate Influence

Iceberg

By Andrew King, University of Melbourne

For the Arctic, like the globe as a whole, 2016 has been exceptionally warm. For much of the year, Arctic temperatures have been much higher than normal, and sea ice concentrations have been at record low levels.

The Arctic’s seasonal cycle means that the lowest sea ice concentrations occur in September each year. But while September 2012 had less ice than September 2016, this year the ice coverage has not increased as expected as we moved into the northern winter. As a result, since late October, Arctic sea ice extent has been at record low levels for the time of year.

Links Made by Police Between Fracking Opposition and Domestic Extremism Challenged

Lancashire Fracking Opposition Sign

Controversial links made by the police between anti-fracking campaigners and domestic extremism are coming under scrutiny and challenge. Ruth Hayhurst of DrillOrDrop investigates.

In the past month, a policing monitoring group, a peer and two opponents of shale gas operations have called for greater care and openness in the use of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent.

Over the past year, evidence has emerged of connections made by police between anti-fracking campaigns and radicalisation. 

High Court Gives UK Government Eight Months to Draw up Fresh Air Quality Plan

Air pollution mask on London statue

The UK Government has been ordered by a High Court judge to draw up an improved plan by July next year which must bring air pollution within legal limits.

Setting out his order in court on 21 November, concluding ClientEarth's case against the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Justice Garnham gave the Government until 24 April 2017 to produce a draft plan and 31 July to deliver a final one.
 
The Judge rejected the Government's suggested timetable which would have allowed it until September of next year to produce a final plan, saying it was “far too leisurely”.

New Government Rules Could Raise Cost of Legal Challenges to Fracking

Anti-fracking protest

As anti-fracking groups prepare to take legal action over recent shale gas decisions, the government has announced changes which could make future challenges more expensive, writes Ruth Hayhurst at Drill or Drop.

Lawyers and campaigners have warned that new rules revealed by the Ministry of Justice on 17 November could deter people who oppose decisions which they believe will have a significant impact on the environment.

case against the approval of fracking by North Yorkshire County Council, which goes to the High Court in London on Tuesday, 22 November, will not be affected. Nor will challenges, announced last week, to decisions made by the Local Government Secretary on fracking in Lancashire.

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