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, January 24, 2017 - 00:00 • Chloe Farand
Spill Sites in Kegbara-Dere (K-Dere) community in Gokana LGA Rivers State, Niger Delta, Nigeria
Spill Sites in Kegbara-Dere (K-Dere) community in Gokana LGA Rivers State, Niger Delta, Nigeria

Ministers from the UK’s Foreign Office (FCO) agreed to lobby the Nigerian Government to protect Shell’s oil interests in the Niger Delta despite the company’s poor human rights and environmental record in the region, official documents seen by DeSmog UK reveal.

Briefings and minutes from a series of meetings between government ministers and the oil giant between May 2013 and July 2015, attained through a freedom of information request, show a cosy relationship between Shell and the FCO, with ministers pledging the government’s “ongoing support and commitment” to Shell’s controversial activities.

The documents show Shell requested help to attain tougher regulations on oil theft, a weaker taxation regime favourable to its gas and offshore investments, and for the UK government to use its influence to ensure a peaceful transition during Nigeria’s general election.

Monday, January 23, 2017 - 07:37 • Mat Hope
Climate minister Nick Hurd speaking to the BEIS committee in Parliament
Climate minister Nick Hurd speaking to the BEIS committee in Parliament

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) appears to have pushed back the release date for a key document outlining its climate plans. Again.

BEIS initially promised the Emissions Reduction Plan would be delivered by the ‘end of 2016’. The BEIS minister for climate change, Nick Hurd, later revised that to the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
Big Ben
Big Ben

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a new website is being launched in Britain inspired by the rise of far right, climate science denying American sites the Drudge Report and Breitbart.

As the BBC’s new “fake news” watch team reported, the website, Westmonster, is being launched by UKIP’s millionaire backer Arron Banks who funded the Leave.EU campaign for Brexit and Nigel Farage’s former press adviser, the 27-year-old Michael Heaver.

Westmonster describes itself as “Pro-Brexit, pro-Farage, pro-Trump. Anti-establishment, anti-open borders, anti-corporatism.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 00:00 • Mat Hope
Donald Trump. Credit: Jamelle Bouie | Flickr
Donald Trump. Credit: Jamelle Bouie | Flickr

President-elect Trump’s new cabinet is full of people in the pocket of fossil fuel interests, who are set to bring their climate denial agenda to the White House. That was the core message of a Channel 4 documentary last night.

The Dispatches team travelled to the United States to investigate the controversial figures surrounding Trump in the lead up to his inauguration later this week.

And with the entire world watching Washington, these characters and controversies are no longer contained to the United States. Their actions will have international impact, and given Britain’s special relationship with America, it’s time to start taking a closer look at what’s going on Stateside.

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 06:38 • Mat Hope
Alberta tar sands
Alberta tar sands

EU lawmakers today voted for the European Parliament to push ahead with a trade deal that could encourage Canadian tar sand oil imports and make it easier for energy companies to sue governments when environmental policies threaten their profits.

The UK’s international trade minister, Liam Fox, last year circumvented parliament to approve the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. The deal now has to be approved by European policymakers.

MEPs in the committee charged with overseeing environmental regulation today voted 40 to 24 for the European Parliament to back the deal, Reuters reports. A final decision is expected in February.

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.

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