Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 07:34 • John Gibbons
Dennis Naughten

Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland earlier this week, leaving three people dead, some 170,000 people without electricity, and water supplies for over one third of a million people in jeopardy as a result of loss of power to pumping stations.

But while the satellite imagery of hurricane Ophelia bearing down on the edge of western Europe may have been alarming, it could hardly be described as unexpected.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 12:02 • James Wilt
The Banker Sculpture. Photo: University of Sydney

It’s not often that an article about climate change becomes one of the most hotly debated issues on the internet — especially in the midst of a controversial G20 summit.

But that exact thing happened following the publication of a lengthy essay in New York Magazine titled “The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, Economic Collapse, a Sun that Cooks Us: What Climate Change Could Wreak — Sooner Than You Think.”

In the course of 7,200 words, author David Wallace-Wells chronicled the possible impacts of catastrophic climate change if current emissions trends are maintained, including, but certainly not limited to: mass permafrost melt and methane leaks, mass extinctions, fatal heat waves, drought and food insecurity, diseases and viruses, “rolling death smog,” global conflict and war, economic collapse and ocean acidification.

Slate political writer Jamelle Bouie described the essay on Twitter as “something that will haunt your nightmares.”

It’s a fair assessment. Reading it feels like a series of punches in the gut, triggering emotions like despair, hopelessness and resignation.

But here’s the thing: many climate psychologists and communicators consider those feelings to be the very opposite of what will compel people to action.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 06:11 • Mat Hope

Mat Hope and Laura Creighton report from Lancashire

Three anti-fracking protesters were arrested after they locked their arms inside tubing at Cuadrilla’s anti-fracking site in Lancashire, forcing police to close off a section of Preston New Road from around 8am this morning. Five police vans and more than 30 officers were on the scene.

Though the rainy weather kept most of the protesters from the previous day away, this did not stop the three protesters who had locked on their arms inside heavy tubing from lying out on the road for more than three hours.

Protesters use the tactic to disrupt activity at the site, as police are forced to cut them out of the tubing before they can be moved or arrested.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 05:16 • Mat Hope
UK coastal erosion

Rising temperatures can lead to rising seas, coral bleaching, fish migrations, and more acidic oceans. But public awareness of how climate change impacts oceans is still relatively limited.

A major new poll published today tried to assess how much citizens from 10 European countries including the UK know about climate change’s impact on the marine environment.

Overall, the answer is: not much. But a closer look reveals some interesting differences across people's’ views in each of the countries.

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 08:51 • Guest
fracking protest

By Laura Creighton, reporting from Lancashire

Two lorries attempting to make their way in and out of shale gas company Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site have been stopped in their tracks by protesters.

Two men managed to jump on top of the lorries after several people ran in front of them to slow them down. The first lorry was stopped at around 12.30pm, with the second vehicle mounted a couple of hours later.

Protesters said they expected them to remain on the lorries “for several hours”, disrupting supplies to and from the site.

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 06:19 • Mat Hope
EU flag in front of Big Ben

Whatever deal Brexit secretary David Davis manages to strike with the EU, it could have a negative significant impact on climate policy both on the continent and in the UK, a new report has warned.

Dublin-based think tank the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) looked at four different Brexit scenarios, and found that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would likely harm the region’s overall ambition to climate change.

In one scenario — an ultra-hard Brexit, where the UK uses its withdrawal as an excuse to roll back EU regulations to protect the environment — the country’s climate policy could be “radically altered” with the landmark Paris Agreement “threatened”, the report said.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 08:07 • Kyla Mandel
Kemper coal project

The concept of “clean coal” was dealt a significant blow as Southern Company announced last week that it was suspending its coal gasification project in Mississippi.

The project was meant to be America’s flagship example for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. It was going to be a way to keep burning coal, except without the polluting carbon dioxide emissions.

The failure of this “clean coal” experiment has impacts beyond the US though as the world continues to wait for CCS technology to take off at scale.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 09:02 • Simon Roach
North Sea Oil

A section of offshore oil workers in the North Sea voted for industrial action this week following a protracted dispute over pay and working conditions, but recent union laws may mean the numbers aren’t enough to support a strike.

A large majority of GMB union members voted in favour of the strike motion in response to the last round of negotiations with the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) breaking down in April.

Declining profits in the North Sea have meant the offshore workforce has already suffered a number of redundancies and pay cuts in recent years. As jobs are increasingly threatened, union members working under the OCA have rejected a latest pay offer which would see their wages fall after inflation is accounted for.

The Conservative party has pledged to do all it can to keep the industry going as the oil fields dry up. But unionists and campaigners are concerned not enough is being done to help communities transition to greener jobs as the industry winds down and the UK progresses towards its low carbon goals.

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