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.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 08:22 • Chloe Farand
A gas flare in front of a drilling rig
A gas flare in front of a drilling rig

A UK energy company with ties to chancellor Philip Hammond and the Oxford Philharmonic has just signed an agreement to develop a highly polluting coal bed methane power plant in the east of Botswana.

London-based company Independent Power Corporation (IPC), which develops and operates power plants around the world, has signed an agreement with Australian-firm Tlou Energy to jointly develop a 100 megawatt power plant as part of the Lesedi coal bed methane project.

Coal bed methane (CBM) plants come with significant environmental risks, including contamination of soil and underground water as well as generating significant greenhouse gas emissions through methane leaks.

There are concerns the Botswana government does not have sufficient checks and balances in place to ensure companies such as IPC and Tlou Energy are subject to robust environmental regulations in a country ranked third for its level of inequality, according to the World Bank.

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 02:34 • Mat Hope
Statoil logo and sculpture
Statoil logo and sculpture

Big oil company Statoil yesterday released its ‘climate roadmap’. It said the plan “will further strengthen Statoil’s industry leadership in climate performance”.

A closer look shows that Statoil — a major player in the UK’s North Sea oil and gas industry — doesn’t plan to change much, however. The Norwegian oil company plans to still be a big oil and gas company decades from now, ignoring  warnings that its carbon bubble may burst as the world moves away from fossil fuels to cut emissions and tackle climate change.

In a five minute video accompanying the roadmap’s launch, Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Statoil's senior vice president for sustainability, said “it is very important for energy companies to take a stand and help to contribute to reduce emissions”.

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
Power station on the coast
Power station on the coast

People across the UK agree that climate change is an immediate threat already taking place, a new survey by the European Perceptions of Climate Change Project shows.

The report published on 8 March explores the public perception of climate change across France, Germany, Norway, and the UK. It finds that in Britain, 86 percent of people agree climate change is happening and almost half (45 percent) believe it will affect “people like me”.

However, while the majority of respondents across Europe accept that climate impacts are occurring, most feel that other countries will be more affected than their own.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 04:16 • Mat Hope
Chancellor Philip Hammond
Chancellor Philip Hammond

The government has announced more financial help for the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Chancellor Philip Hammond today announced plans to establish a panel of experts to decide on the best way to squeeze every last drop out of the region’s oil fields in his first and last Spring budget.

The additional measures will go on top of around £2.3 billion the industry received in subsidies from the government over the past three years.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 00:00 • Christine Ottery
An oil worker
An oil worker

Oil giant BP is one of the corporate partners sponsoring this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March under the slogan “Be Bold for Change”.

In a promotional video for the day, BP says that being “bold for change” at its firm means “having the courage to change perceptions and the knowledge and expertise to change ideas. It’s having the shared dream of changing communities” – cue lots of shots of cute children from various ethnic backgrounds.

Just on the face of it this is already problematic. It’s all well and good for BP and a host of other companies to be addressing their gender balance issues – BP says it wants to ensure a quarter of its group leaders are women by 2020.

But BP’s use of the International Women’s day slogan gives it a whole new slant in the context of the impacts of climate change, transport emissions, and BP’s industrial activities around the world.

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.” 

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