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‘zombie legislation’,” said Baroness Sheehan of the Liberal Democrats, by “either [being] no longer enforced or no longer updated to the latest scientific understanding.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 02:30 • Sophie Yeo
North sea oil rig at night
North sea oil rig at night

The famous Brent oil field is dead, but is it buried? After ten years of study, Shell has found that the once-productive field, sucked dry of its resources, is not all that useful after the oil has run out.

After several decades of oil extraction, Shell now has the challenge of cleaning up its debris. As it prepares to decommission four rigs from its Brent oil field, Shell considered various ways to give its North Sea facilities a second lease of life: clean energy, fake reefs, hotels and carbon capture were all thrown into the ring as possible ways to reincarnate the rigs.

Shell looked at 35 alternative ways to put the tired rigs to use, which it eventually narrowed down to ten more serious considerations. But in the end, Shell decided to remove most of the structure, while leaving other bits to crumble on the seabed over time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 06:09 • Mat Hope
Donald Trump addressing the CPAC conference
Donald Trump addressing the CPAC conference

Two fringe British climate science deniers are heading to Maryland to see Donald Trump and his tea party pals this week, taking their Brexit-inflected anti-science agenda with them.

Trump’s golden elevator buddy and UKIP MEP, Nigel Farage, and far-right Breitbart London commentator, James Delingpole, are both due to appear at the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), starting today.

CPAC claims to be the “birthplace of modern conservatism”, and aims to “break through the resistance of Washington’s powerful elites” via four-days of talks and activist training. In recent years it has been seen as a breeding ground for Tea Party ideas and activism.

The conference will offer Farage and Delingpole an opportunity to network with other members of a US-UK climate science denial network linked to Brexit and Trump, previously mapped by DeSmog UK.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 00:00 • Guest
Work begins on Cuadrilla Lancashire fracking site
Work begins on Cuadrilla Lancashire fracking site

By Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop.

Legal challenges to a ministerial ruling giving the go ahead to Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire will be heard next month (March).

An order issued today by the High Court has listed the case for three days, starting on 15 March 2017. The court had previously agreed to hear the case in Manchester.

The two challenges have been brought against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, by Preston New Road Action Group and Gayzer Frackman.

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 23:01 • Mat Hope
windfarm in scrubland
windfarm in scrubland

The world’s cleanest energy companies took a hit when Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November. But their market value seems to have bounced back within a month of the famously fossil fuel friendly President taking office, new data shows.

The world’s top 200 clean energy companies offered around a one percent better total return on investment compared to a market benchmark between August and November last year, before Trump’s election victory hit the companies’ collective market value, according to data from clean capitalism company Corporate Knights and NGO As You Sow. But their latest report suggests the drop may have just been a blip.

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.