Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 07:21 • Mat Hope

On an uncharacteristically sunny day in central London, thousands of smiling people in white lab coats holding placards adorned with Einstein’s equations and Neil DeGrasse Tyson quotations marched towards Parliament shouting “science not silence”.

The chant filtered back a half-mile or so down the road, and all of a sudden, thousands of similarly dressed, previously shy people had become vocal. It was a rare moment of activism from a group normally content to go under the radar, bunkering down in labs and libraries across the world.

The chant quickly became the impromptu slogan for London’s March for Science on Saturday.

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 07:42 • Mat Hope
A globe painted with a smiley face at COP22 in Marrakech
A globe painted with a smiley face at COP22 in Marrakech

It’s not just a broken record, it’s a broken record that has been glued back together and put on an increasingly wonky turntable.

DeSmog UK previously revealed how climate science denying Lord Donoughue had been wasting ministers' time and taxpayers’ money by spamming the government with 25 questions over 15 months about obscure climate models.

And he’s at it again.

Over the past five months he has asked Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministers four times why they are confident saying the climate is warming. In each case, he’s been pointed back to the mass of scientific research that shows it is.

Donoughue’s questions are not a surprise. He sits on the board of trustees of former chancellor Nigel Lawson’s climate science denying think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 10:38 • Emma Gilchrist
solar power
solar power

The solar industry was responsible for creating one out of every 50 new jobs in the U.S. last year and the country’s fastest-growing occupation is wind turbine technician — so no matter one’s feelings on climate change, the renewable energy train has left the station, according to a new report. 

Tweet: “It’s at the point of great return. It’s irreversible. There's no stopping this train. Even Trump can’t kill it.” http://bit.ly/2nQcJJ8It’s at the point of great return. It’s irreversible. There is no stopping this train,” said Merran Smith, author of Tracking the Energy Revolution 2017 by Clean Energy Canada. “Even Donald Trump can’t kill it.”

More than 260,000 Americans are now employed in the solar industry, more than double 2010 figures. Meantime, the top five wind-energy producing congressional districts are represented by Republicans.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 06:21 • Mat Hope
A figurine of a journalist
A figurine of a journalist

Efforts by the science editor of the climate denying think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) to promote individuals' freedom to make “factually inaccurate” statements on important scientific issues in the media were ignored by MPs in a new report out today.

The House of Commons' Science and Technology committee today concluded its inquiry into science communication, including reasons for public mistrust in scientific reporting. In written evidence to the inquiry, the GWPF's David Whitehouse said, “Some argue that free speech does not extend to misleading the public by making factually inaccurate statements. But it does”. 

But despite Whitehouse's best attempts — including not declaring his role with the GWPF in his submission — the committee's report takes a strong stance in support of accurate science journalism and recommends that the government ensure “a robust redress mechanism is provided for when science is misreported”.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 02:42 • Guest
Heatwave
Heatwave

Deadly heat stress is projected to affect hundreds of millions more people each year under relatively little additional climate warming. The Paris Agreement commits the international community to limit global warming to no more than 2℃ above pre-industrial (late 19th century) air temperatures, with an aspirational target of 1.5℃. In our latest research, which looked at the impact of global temperature rises on megacities, we found that even if 1.5℃ is achieved, large increases in the frequency of deadly heat are expected. The Conversation

By 2050 about 350 million more people living in megacities could be exposed to deadly heat each year.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 09:24 • Mat Hope
Protest signs on the gate at AGL's fracking site on Fairbairns Lane, Gloucester
Protest signs on the gate at AGL's fracking site on Fairbairns Lane, Gloucester

A secretive fracking conference sponsored by Dow and Halliburton and featuring speakers from a range of publically-funded government agencies is taking place somewhere in Birmingham tomorrow.

The UK Onshore Oil and Gas: Policy, Planning and Future Developments conference aims to encourage delegates to pursue fossil fuel extraction in the UK.

The conference is “designed to give help, guidance and support to the public sector to ensure delegates attending have the right and most accurate information on onshore oil and gas and environmental planning”, according to its website. It will also explore ways “to minimise environmental impacts, such as the treatment of waste water from drilling operations, noise pollution and traffic management, to local communicates [sic]”, the website says.

The organisers, the ironically named Open Forum Events, told DeSmog UK press passes for the event are “limited” with only a few chosen national and trade journalists being allowed into the conference.

Its location is being kept secret due to “the sensitivity of the subject”. This is “company policy”, the organisers told DeSmog UK.

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 05:08 • Mat Hope
Offshore oil rigs in a row
Offshore oil rigs in a row

Oil giants Shell, Statoil and BP have been awarded exploration licenses for new areas of the North Sea, just weeks after declaring their commitment to tackling climate change.

The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) awarded 25 licenses as part of its 29th licensing round. The 29th round was the first to focus on under-explored ‘frontier’ areas around Rockall Basin, the mid-North Sea and around East Shetland. 

Statoil received six licences to explore around East Shetland. Five licences were awarded in partnership with BP, and one in partnership with ExxonMobil.

Shell was also awarded two licences, partnering with BP for one.

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