Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
Theresa May

From a Middle Eastern oil magnate to Heathrow and Gatwick, the three main parties have seen a mix of donations come in since Brexit last summer.

The Conservative Party has received significantly more money from individuals and companies in the fossil fuel industry compared to the Labour Party and the Lib Dems, according to the latest data on the electoral register analysed by DeSmog UK.

This news comes after the Conservatives’ election manifesto pledges a unique commitment to increase support for the oil and gas industry should they win in June.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 00:00 • Mat Hope
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

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

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

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?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 08:22 • Chloe Farand
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

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

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.

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