Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 07:36 • Mat Hope

Representatives from thinktanks on both sides of the Atlantic heavily involved in lobbying for Brexit and spreading disinformation on climate change are set to meet to formulate their vision for a UK-US trade deal.

The “shadow trade talks” will be hosted by London’s IFT (formerly the Institute for Free Trade), led by Conservative MEP and hard Brexit advocate Daniel Hannan. The group plans to reveal its version of an “ideal” trade agreement later this year.

According to documents originally uncovered by Greenpeace’s investigative unit, UnEarthed, the coalition will seek to significantly weaken existing regulations. This would allow for controversial changes, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef imports to be sold in the UK for the first time.

Friday, February 9, 2018 - 02:51 • Mat Hope

Almost 70 MPs have been identified as backing a shadowy parliamentary lobby group pushing for a hard Brexit. In keeping with ideological links previously identified by DeSmog UK, it’s perhaps no shock that there are a number of politicians known to spread disinformation on climate change on the list.

Described as “an aggressive, disciplined, and highly organised parliamentary and media operation”, the European Research Group (ERG) is lobbying for a hard Brexit. It hit headlines earlier this week after being accused of misusing public money.

Long operating in the shadows, Buzzfeed has published a long list of MPs it has identified as being members of the group.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 16:01 • Mat Hope

European insurance companies are still investing billions of euros in dirty coal power plants, despite pledges to stop supporting the industry.

Six insurance giants including Axa, Generali, and Allianz have around €1.3 billion invested in Poland’s coal power plants — the dirtiest form of power production — through subsidiary businesses such as pension funds, research by campaign group Unfriend Coal has found.

One of the six companies, Aviva, has over 30 million customers in the UK, and is the second largest investor in Polish coal — with €421 million invested in the industry. A previous DeSmog UK investigation revealed the company also continues to invest in tar sands companies through its subsidiaries.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 06:51 • Guest

By Megan Darby. This article originally appeared on Climate Home News.

The Philippines Human Rights Commission is set to confront carbon majors over their climate change impact with hearings in Manila, New York and London this year.

Responding to a petition that seeks to hold 47 companies accountable for Philippine communities suffering from extreme weather, the commission is taking its inquiries overseas.

It is in talks with climate law researchers at Columbia University’s Sabin Center and London’s Grantham Institute about hosting evidence sessions.

Commissioner Roberto Cadiz urged the targeted companies, which include Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP, to engage.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 06:51 • Chloe Farand

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has booked a prime spot as a “platinum sponsor” of the world’s biggest mining investment conference in South Africa this week — showcasing the UK government’s support for the extractive sector.

The sponsorship enables the DIT to host a UK pavilion at the Investing in African Mining Indaba annual conference in Cape Town, attended by thousands of delegates representing more than 220 mining companies and 350 investors, according to the organisers.

The DIT’s large-scale presence at the conference comes after Prime Minister Theresa May claimed the UK would be a global green leader as she announced the launch of the government’s 25 year environment plan.

While the Prime Minister is keen to bolster her party's green agenda at home, the DIT has encouraged UK companies to ramp up their operations in Africa’s mining sectors where environmental regulations are known to operate on lower standards than in the UK.

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 03:21 • Guest

The oil industry has a history of successfully adapting to significant changes, the nationalisation of oil production in oil rich countries being a prime example. Yet oil majors seem to be willfully blind to the momentous shift afoot.

Following the trend of rising oil prices, oil giant’s investments in new oil projects increased in 2017. This is despite their rhetoric on climate change and — disproportionately small — investments in low-carbon technologies.

But demand for oil will increasingly be under pressure from the emergence of different transportation services and technologies, such as automated, electric and more fuel-efficient vehicles; new government policies to regulate air pollution; pressures on end markets, such as plastics; and slowing energy demand in China.

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 09:00 • Guest

By Jatin Nathwani, University of Waterloo

Millions of people die prematurely of indoor pollution and other consequences of energy poverty. But there is a way to empower the powerless: with renewable energy microgrids and decentralized technologies.

Power to the people,” the activists chanted in the 1960s.

The revolutionaries of yesteryear never dreamed of the scientific and technological innovations that could light up distant shelters and communities in the darkest corners of Earth. We are on the cusp of an energy revolution that has the potential to improve the quality of life for the world’s most disadvantaged and poor.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 08:07 • Chloe Farand

The UK government pledged millions of pounds towards India’s clean energy mix while taxpayers’ money was spent to boost the prospects of the country's biggest oil and gas giant, a DeSmog UK analysis can reveal.

At the same time, London-based oil major BP —  already the largest international oil company operating in India — said it was looking forward to “making big commitments to invest billions of dollars” in the country’s gas sector. 

Department for International Trade minister, Baroness Rona Fairhead, is tipped to visit India this month as part of an ongoing series of meetings to strengthen bilateral trade between the two countries. The visit comes following a string of meetings between UK and Indian ministers over the past year, with a strong focus on India’s energy sector.