Friday, March 24, 2017 - 07:57 • Kyla Mandel
House of Lords

Questions about how the UK will set new environmental standards and effectively enforce these rules once the country leaves the European Union were raised this week by Lords on all sides of the House.

The House of Lords debated on Thursday 23 March the EU Select Committee report on Brexit and climate change. The Committee found there was little confidence in the UK government’s ability to hold itself to account without an independent domestic enforcement mechanism being set up.

The Committee was told that “there was a risk of legislation becoming ‘zombie legislation’,” said Baroness Sheehan of the Liberal Democrats, by “either [being] no longer enforced or no longer updated to the latest scientific understanding.”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 00:00 • Guest
Manchester civil justice centre
Manchester civil justice centre

By Ruth Hayhurst, at Drill or Drop.

A High Court judge has granted an injunction outlawing public access to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool.

But his honour Philip Raynor QC refused the company’s application to exclude from the injunction a protest area on land about 175m from the site entrance.

He said the area, measuring 25m by 25m, was too small to be reasonable and could be a source of “increased anger” if protest was limited to it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 15:15 • Zach Roberts
James Delingpole, Tony Heller, and Steve Milloy sit on a panel at CPAC 2017
James Delingpole, Tony Heller, and Steve Milloy sit on a panel at CPAC 2017

The 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual rally of conservative officials and political activists, was set to be a big one — the first time a first-year sitting president would have attended since Ronald Reagan. While President Trump canceled late in 2016, enthusiasm for the president still filled its halls, and so did a number of his White House, Cabinet, and transition team members — including at least one previously unannounced member of the EPA transition team. 

Joining the CPAC lineup was the usual cast of climate science deniers who branded climate change as “fake news,” scientists and environmental advocates as “some of the worst people in the world,” and polluted rivers catching fire in the pre-EPA era as “the price of industrialization.” 

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
Dakota Access Pipeline – Oceti Sakowin
Dakota Access Pipeline – Oceti Sakowin

The Green Party has issued a letter to the chief executives of all UK banks currently financing the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline asking them to “immediately suspend all credit lines”.

Despite previous calls for British institutions to divest from the polluting project, financial data reveals Barclays and HSBC continue to bankroll the companies constructing the pipeline.

Signed by party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley and four other party members, the Green Party letter calls on Barclays and HSBC to stop funding the U.S. pipeline project due to its impact on the climate and indigenous communities.

Calling the pipeline a “barrier to climate safety,” they write: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is a major fossil fuel infrastructure project, and thus represents exactly the kind of project that should no longer receive the support of those with a serious commitment to tackling the climate crisis.”

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 04:33 • Guest
Smog over London
Smog over London

The UK government hates to be held accountable in court when it breaks environmental laws like those on air quality. So it has created new rules – coming into force this week – that expose environmental litigants to unlimited financial liabilities, writes Oliver Tickell of The Ecologist. Now three leading NGOs have gone to the High Court to argue that the rules themselves are in breach the UK's international obligations.

New rules coming into force today will make it virtually impossible to bring a public interest case - like ClientEarth's air pollution challenge - to protect the environment.

The new rules weaken financial protection for people or organisations bringing a case against the government, meaning they risk having to pay the government's full, unlimited legal costs in return for going to court to protect the environment.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 00:22 • Mat Hope
A diagram of the North Sea oil network with Big Oil and Big Four companies
A diagram of the North Sea oil network with Big Oil and Big Four companies

Big Oil companies have made billions from exploiting the North Sea’s oil and gas resources. But as it gets harder to squeeze a profit out of the drying fields, they are increasingly asking the taxpayer to fund their polluting activities, all while making billions for their shareholders.

Since 2015, the Treasury has given the industry tax breaks worth £2.3 billion. This is despite BP, Shell and Total making after tax profits of $10 billion in 2016 alone.

Monday, February 27, 2017 - 17:43 • Graham Readfearn
Caricatures of notable climate science deniers
Caricatures of notable climate science deniers

Beware climate science deniers bearing gifts or, in the case before us right now, bearing open letters claiming to have hundreds of signatures from “eminent” scientists.

Last week, long-time climate science contrarian and retired MIT professor Richard Lindzen dusted off his contacts book one more time.

Lindzen, who is with the conservative think tank the Cato Institute, sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to pull the United States entirely from the United Nations international convention on climate change, known as the UNFCCC.

Trump has previously promised to pull the U.S. from the deal signed by almost 200 countries in Paris in late 2015 as part of that convention.

In just a few weeks, more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world have signed the petition below,” wrote Lindzen.

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 09:32 • Chloe Farand
UNFCCC chief Patricia Espinosa addressed the Marrakech COP22 climate conference
UNFCCC chief Patricia Espinosa addressed the Marrakech COP22 climate conference

The financial sector needs to show leadership by providing trillions of dollars for green growth projects, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), today told a London audience.

Speaking at a public event at the London School of Economics (LSE), Espinosa highlighted “the gap of trillions of dollars that are still needed to truly transform our economic and social reality”.

She warned that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include climate goals, required finance of $5 trillion to $7 trillion a year – a target which is far from being met.

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