Representatives from thinktanks on both sides of the Atlantic heavily involved in lobbying for Brexit and spreading disinformation on climate change are set to meet to formulate their vision for a UK-US trade deal.
The “shadow trade talks” will be hosted by London’s IFT (formerly the Institute for Free Trade), led by Conservative MEP and hard Brexit advocate Daniel Hannan. The group plans to reveal its version of an “ideal” trade agreement later this year.
According to documents originally uncovered by Greenpeace’s investigative unit, UnEarthed, the coalition will seek to significantly weaken existing regulations. This would allow for controversial changes, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef imports to be sold in the UK for the first time.
New documents detail how oil major BP worked with staff from the University of Hull and the Hull City of Culture, which coordinates cultural events in Hull, to limit the amount of criticism BP would receive in response to its sponsored lectures at the university.
The oil major has received criticism over the years for its attempts to greenwash its image through sponsoring art exhibits and other cultural events. The emails released under the Freedom of Information Act to campaign group Culture Unstained, and seen by DeSmog UK, now show attempts by BP, the University and the City of Culture to coordinate how they would handle activists or “awkward questions”.
Over the past year, BP has sponsored a “Cultural Visions” lecture series which hosted artists and cultural figures at the University of Hull. This news comes as the final lecture in the series is held on Wednesday December 13 with speaker Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group.
Two of Prime Minister Theresa May’s special advisers met with a libertarian US think tank founded by climate science denial funder Charles Koch last winter, but Number 10 Downing Street will not say why.
The failure to disclose the details of the meetings with the Cato Institute raises questions about whether there is a loophole regarding disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.
DeSmog UK can reveal that on February 16 special advisors Chris Brannigan and Jimmy McLoughlin attended a lunch hosted at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. According to the think tank, trade issues were discussed.
A leading lobbyist for a climate science denial campaign group has unfettered access to UK lawmakers by being registered as a “staff” member of an associated Lord, but does not declare his role in the official register of interest.
Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement – making America the only country on earth to opt out of the climate accord. Al Gore is captured in the new film An Inconvenient Sequel looking distressed at the election of Trump in 2016. Here, one of the film's directors tells The Ecologist’s Brendan Montague how Gore made it clear that he fears Trump is a danger to our planet.
Gore features in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – which is released on DVD on 11 December – and follows a decade after his Oscar winning blockbuster An Inconvenient Truth. The film shows Gore’s increasing despondency during 2016 as Trump successfully campaigns for the presidency.
The latest documentary is directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, who spent almost two years filming and speaking with Gore – including behind the scenes during the Conference of the Parties negotiations held in Paris at the end of 2015.
This person has been in the press a lot but says some weird things about climate science – who are they, and what are their credentials?
This group seems very keen on fossil fuels, but their research looks legit – who are they, and who are they connected to?
This ‘global warming policy’ think tank is asking for a meeting, but I’ve never heard of them – who are they, and what is their agenda?
DeSmog UK’s Climate Disinformation Database, launched today, is a quick and easy tool for the public, policymakers, researchers, and journalists to check who they’re dealing with on climate science and policy.
Former environment secretary Owen Paterson made the rounds with some of the top climate science deniers on a tour of the US this autumn to promote a “special relationship” post-Brexit.
The Shropshire MP travelled to Washington D.C. in October, DeSmog UK can reveal, where he met with infamous climate science deniers Lamar Smith, James Inhofe, and Myron Ebell. He also gave speeches at both the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Heritage Foundation – two libertarian think tanks known for promoting climate science denial and working against environmental regulations.
Paterson’s visits are the latest in a string of meetings between pro-Brexit UK politicians (such as international trade secretary Liam Fox) and US climate science denial groups.
Shareholder intervention has helped to produce Shell’s green plan, a way to cut the energy giant’s climate impact. But questions remain, writes Mitchell Beer for The Energy Mix.
A leading producer of fossil fuels, which last month announced its intention to reduce its contribution to the global warming stoked by society’s prodigal consumption of its products, may now be feeling a little crestfallen. Shell’s green plan leaves some critics saying the group’s figures don’t add up very impressively.
Royal Dutch Shell pledged last month to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2035 and 50 percent by 2050, while investing US$1-2 billion per year in renewables, and electric vehicles between 2018 and 2020.
The group said its announcement was a response to shareholder pressure and the targets in the Paris Agreement on cutting emissions.
“Tackling climate change is a cross-generational, global, and multi-faceted effort,” said CEO Ben van Beurden. “This is a challenge for the whole planet, for all of society, for customers, for governments, and indeed for businesses.
“It will mean meeting increasing energy demand with an ever-lower carbon footprint. And it is critical that our ambition covers the full energy life cycle, from production to consumption. We are committed to play our part.’’
The announcement earned measured praise from environmental groups, and van Beurden said the commitment was just a first step.
But the cash infusion to Shell’s new energies division was still well below 10 percent of the company’s total annual investment, and the phrasing of the GHG promise suggested an intensity-based target – which would mean the 20 and 50 percent reductions will be calculated on fossil production levels that Shell will expect to increase year after year.