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‘zombie legislation’,” said Baroness Sheehan of the Liberal Democrats, by “either [being] no longer enforced or no longer updated to the latest scientific understanding.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 02:54 • Mat Hope
UK climate minister Nick Hurd speaking to the BEIS select committee
UK climate minister Nick Hurd speaking to the BEIS select committee

The UK’s decision to leave the EU and the spectre of Donald Trump’s presidency will not stop the government delivering its emissions reduction plans, climate minister Nick Hurd today told MPs.

Speaking to the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee, he said the current political climate meant ministers would have to make many difficult policy decisions. But he maintained that the UK’s climate goals, entrenched in the Climate Change Act, remained unchanged.

Brexit is a complication in the sense that we’ve got issues to think through”, he said. These include whether the UK continues to negotiate as part of a European bloc in future negotiations, whether it continues with the EU’s struggling emissions trading scheme, and how the UK participates in a unified European energy market.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 00:00 • Christine Ottery
North sea oil rig
North sea oil rig

The recently culled Department of Energy and Climate Change was actively helping the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to achieve its seismic testing aims to increase oil extraction, according to new documents uncovered by DeSmog UK.

The cache of documents obtained through a freedom of information request reveal DECC – which has now been absorbed into the new Department Of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy – was actively involved in getting permits approved in time for seismic testing for oil and gas off the coast of Scotland and northeast England last autumn.

Seismic testing, which involves shooting air from an array of guns under water, is a way of surveying the geology of land under the sea and a precursor to oil exploration.

Monday, January 9, 2017 - 06:12 • Mat Hope
Petrol pumps
Petrol pumps

The government has pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and make clean transport a pillar of its climate action agenda. But new research shows that the UK has actually increased subsidies for petrol since 2003.

The transport sector is responsible for around 23 percent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Experts from the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change say that In order to meet the UK's 2050 climate change targets, 60 percent of new cars and vans need to be electric by 2030.

To make electric cars a viable proposition, the government needs to find ways to support the technology while cutting any additional help to fossil fuel powered cars, defying lobbying from big oil companies such as ExxonMobil.

Sunday, January 8, 2017 - 23:59 • Graham Readfearn

Fraser Nelson is the editor of the flagship conservative publication, The Spectator, and he’s not all that happy when scientists complain to the UK’s press “regulator” about articles printed in his magazine.

It’s odd that, in a nation which cherishes free speech, so many of those who disagree with articles feel the need to report an author to a regulator rather than write in and argue their own case,” Fraser told The Guardian.

Fraser was responding to scathing criticisms made by several scientists about an article he’d printed in April 2016 that unfairly disparaged the science of ocean acidification.

Friday, January 6, 2017 - 00:01 • Kyla Mandel
Cuadrilla Lancashire
Cuadrilla Lancashire

UK energy company Cuadrilla has begun work on its controversial shale gas site in Lancashire it was announced on 5 January.

The fracking firm started building an entrance and access road at its Preston New Road site near Little Plumpton early Thursday morning following permission to start being given by the local council on Wednesday.

It is expected the construction work, which also includes a well pad, will take about three months to be completed before drilling can start according to Cuadrilla. Should everything move smoothly for the company, the UK will see its first fracking operations since 2011 start in the spring.

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 15:39 • David Suzuki

The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we’ve known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we’re seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 06:46 • Mat Hope
A row of electric vehicles charging
A row of electric vehicles charging

Consumers are increasingly turning away from polluting diesel and petrol cars, favouring potentially greener options, new industry data shows.

While customers seem ready to switch to cleaner cars, the government will need to reverse a recent trend and continue implement low carbon energy policies if the UK is to have a truly green transport system.

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