Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 00:00 • Mat Hope
A diagram of the Brent oil field infrastructure

The North Sea oil and gas industry is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to emitting dangerous greenhouse gases.

Shell and Exxon are packing up and moving out of the famous Brent oil and gas field in the North Sea. As a final hurrah, almost 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be emitted as four platforms are dismantled and parts are either left to erode in the ocean or moved onshore and recycled.

That’s equal to about five percent of the UK's North Sea industry’s annual emissions — from the start to very end, the Brent oil field continues to contribute to climate change.

But emitting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dangerous greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, nitrous dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere is not the only environmental danger that comes with plugging and abandoning the wells.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 05:19 • Christine Ottery
CETA protest
CETA protest

European lawmakers today voted to approve a controversial Canada-EU trade deal called CETA in a move that could increase tar sands imports into the EU.

The trade deal could also facilitate energy companies suing Member State governments when environmental policies threaten their profits.

The European Parliament vote was passed 408 to 254 following a heated debate in Strasbourg, as protests went on outside.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 00:00 • Guest
Trump and Theresa May at the White House
Trump and Theresa May at the White House

By Stephen Devlin, senior economist at the New Economics Foundation

President Trump’s shocking travel ban may have dominated headlines, but another insidious executive order was slipped out under its covering fire – and one with major implications for the UK economy and climate action.

While many of us were on the streets protesting his offensive ban on refugees, the new president signed an executive order authorising a rule dubbed One In, Two Out.

What sounds like a nursery school game is actually the starting gun to a miserable race to the bottom for the USA and UK. It puts legal protections we all depend on – to be able to eat food safely, or go to work without fear of unfair dismissal – on the line.

Monday, February 13, 2017 - 14:18 • Chloe Farand
Henrique Lage oil refinery owned by Petrobras in Brazil
Henrique Lage oil refinery owned by Petrobras in Brazil

A government agency that recently had its budget doubled by Chancellor Phillip Hammond spent hundreds of millions supporting foreign fossil fuel extraction and petrochemical projects last year. That included large lines of credit to a Brazilian company embroiled in a corruption scandal, and support for a petrochemical run by India's richest man.

The investments were part of £1.8bn worth of loans and export credit guarantees that a small government department and credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), gave to British companies to help them export their goods and services abroad. The oil, gas and petrochemical sector accounted for the UKEF's second largest investment, after the aerospace sector.

Government data shows that, in total, UKEF gave more than £427 million to carbon intensive projects during the 2015-16 financial year. Depsite the UK's claim to be a low carbon leader, only £6m was invested to support equivalent clean energy projects.

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 04:10 • Mat Hope
Windfarm in Texas
Windfarm in Texas

It would be fair to assume a husky-hugging environmentalist from Oxfordshire and a farmer from Wyoming’s agricultural heartland possibly wouldn’t have a lot in common. But new polling suggests they may have one shared trait: they probably both quite like renewable energy.

That’s partly because most people in both the US and UK support renewable energy these days, irrespective of their voting habits.

But the percentage of Trump voters who support renewable energy is still surprisingly close to the number of UK voters that are keen on the technology — almost 75 percent, according to two new polls.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 02:33 • Mat Hope
secret handshake
secret handshake

Three think tanks known for pushing for Brexit and spreading climate science misinformation spent over £3 million of ‘dark money’ influencing British politics last year, according to a new report.

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), Civitas, and the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) all received the lowest score from independent watchdog Transparify in its latest transparency ratings. The three organisations were part of a list of seven ”highly opaque and deceptive think tanks in Britain that take money from hidden hands behind closed doors”, the report said.

All three were criticised as being “highly opaque”, while the International Institute for Strategic Studies was the only think tank Transparify assessed that was given a new 'deceptive' label.

DeSmog UK previously revealed how the CPS, IEA, and Civitas operate as part of a network of organisations based around Westminter's 55 Tufton Street that pushed for the UK to leave the EU while spreading climate science misinformation.

Sunday, February 5, 2017 - 21:56 • Mat Hope
Mail on Sunday headline on climate change
Mail on Sunday headline on climate change

Thank goodness for the Mail on Sunday and journalist David Rose. Without the endeavours of these serial climate science deniers, the world may never have known that the landmark Paris Agreement was informed by robust scientific evidence.

That’s not exactly how they put it, obviously.

Instead, they claimed to have found “astonishing evidence” that a scientific paper based on “flawed” evidence that was never shared was “rushed” in order to influence the landmark Paris climate change negotiations.

That somewhat ignores the fact the data in the paper has been independently verified, the data was immediately archived, and the authors never discussed the Paris meeting.

The Mail on Sunday article was quickly dismissed by climate scientists as “pathetic”, an “hilarious screw up”, and “an alternative reality”.

Friday, February 3, 2017 - 05:42 • Mat Hope
Brext White Paper
Brext White Paper

The UK will continue to pursue its climate goals and retain European environmental regulations in its own laws when it exits the EU, according to a new government strategy document.

The plan goes some way to reassuring voters that Brexit will not be used as an excuse to roll back on the UK’s climate commitments. But the White Paper offers few details about how the government will meet its goals in practice.

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