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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
BBC London office
BBC London office

Many of the MPs who signed the letter issued this week criticising the BBC’s Brexit coverage as biased to the Remain campaign are part of a small but influential network of hardline Euro-climate sceptics.

An analysis of the 70 signatories of the complaint letter urging the BBC to “accept new facts” on Brexit shows 12 are part of the 55 Tufton Street climate denier network. A further six MPs have consistently voted against climate measures in Parliament.

This includes Conservatives Owen Paterson and Steve Baker along with Labour’s Graham Stringer and UKIP’s Douglas Carswell. These four are linked to the Tufton Street network through either their membership to the Vote Leave campaign or association with Lord Lawson’s climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Of these 18 individuals, 10 were also among 15 MPs that issued the anti-fifth carbon budget letter released last May which argued setting “radical” climate targets wouldn’t reduce Europe’s emissions because others in the EU would just do less.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 09:51 • James Wilt
Oilsands trucks
Oilsands trucks

The last few months have been marked by some massive shifts in the oilsands.

In December, there was the $830 million Statoil sale to Athabasca Oil, followed in January and February by the writing down of billions of barrels of reserves by Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil.

On March 9, Shell sold a majority of its oilsands assets to Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) in a huge $7.25 billion sale, while Marathon Oil split its Canadian subsidiary between Shell and CNRL for a total of $2.5 billion.

The question is: why are all of these companies selling their oilsands assets? While some celebrate the moves as successes for the climate movement, others blame the Alberta NDP for the exodus of internationals.

Tweet: Experts say #oilsands sell-off has more to do w/ a broader shift that’s made oilsands uneconomical http://bit.ly/2nK3zyQ #ableg #cdnpoliBut experts say the reality has more to do with a broader economic shift that’s made oilsands uneconomical — for the time being at least.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 17:41 • David Suzuki

We recently highlighted the faulty logic of a pseudoscientific argument against addressing climate change: the proposition that because CO2 is necessary for plants, increasing emissions is good for the planet and the life it supports. Those who read, write or talk regularly about climate change and ecology are familiar with other anti-environmental arguments not coated with a scientific sheen.

A common one is that if you drive a car, buy any plastic goods or even type on a computer keyboard your observation that we need to reduce fossil fuel use is not valid — no matter how much evidence you present. Like the “CO2 is plant food” claim, it’s a poor argument, but for different reasons. It’s easy to refute the junk science claim with large amounts of available evidence. This one’s simply a logical fallacy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 00:00 • Mat Hope
Mail on Sunday headline and correction
Mail on Sunday headline and correction

It’s not always easy to own up to mistakes. So the Mail on Sunday deserves some credit for correcting an error it made reporting average global surface temperatures.

But it’s still unclear how the error came about.

In an article on February 19, Mail on Sunday journalist David Rose wrote that “the world average temperature in January 2017 was about the same as January 1998”. The article implied this was evidence for a global warming ‘pause’ — an argument of which climate science deniers are fond, no matter how many times scientists point out its failings.

The statement appeared in a follow up article to an ‘investigation’ that was widely criticised for trying to unfairly stir up scientific controversy.

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 06:54 • Guest
Brockham oil well site
Brockham oil well site

By Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop.

Documents released yesterday confirm that council planners told Angus Energy that it did not have permission to drill a new side-track well at its Brockham site in Surrey.

But the company went ahead with the well and told investors the work was covered by existing planning consent.

Surrey County Council has now asked the company to apply for retrospective planning permission and is waiting for a response. It has also said oil production from the side-track would need a new planning application, which would be subject to a public consultation. It may also require an environmental impact assessment.

The side-track has become a source of contention between the council and the company. Last week, the council said in a statement it was “extremely disappointed to find that Angus had acted without planning permission”

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 03:55 • Mat Hope
Peter Lilley MP
Peter Lilley MP

He’s only been in his post for nine months, but you’ve got to wonder if climate minister Nick Hurd is already bored of answering questions from climate science denier MPs.

Yesterday, Hurd had to point MP Peter Lilley to the wide body of evidence showing human-caused climate change is a significant problem for snow and ice.

Lilley was one of only five MPs to vote against the UK’s Climate Change Act in 2008. He sits of the Board of Trustees of the climate science denying Global Warming Policy Foundation, founded by former chancellor Nigel Lawson.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
Oil rig by wind turbines
Oil rig by wind turbines

This is the biggest challenge as we have at the moment as a company,” Ben van Beurden, chief executive of oil giant Shell, said recently. “The fact that societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it is just disappearing.”

Speaking at the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on March 9, van Beurden described the growing tensions between his industry, which has created our fossil fuel dependent energy system, and the public, which is demanding a switch to clean energy: “I do think trust has been eroded to the point where it starts to become a serious issue for our long-term future.”

The world’s largest oil companies are increasingly faced with public pressure to do something about their impact on climate change. And increasingly we’re seeing their chief executives responding. The question is though, how much is for real and what's just greenwash?

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