Chloe Farand

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How Faith Groups in the UK Have Been Calling for Fossil Fuel Divestment

church of England divest protest

Faith communities have lent a moral voice in the global divestment movement, building powerful grassroots campaigns permeating all aspects of society and heightening the case to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Across many religions, there are strong links between the idea of the creation of the world and of men and the catastrophic impact climate change could have on humanity.

Activists within faith groups have been critical in highlighting these links and urging for ambitious action to be taken to keep average global temperature rise below 1.5C as recommended by scientists.

Fresh Revelations of Alleged Shell Corruption to be Heard in Italian Court

Shell

Court proceedings are due to begin in Italy today to determine whether oil giant Shell will face trial on corruption charges over the purchase of one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.

Italian prosecutors claim Shell and Italian oil major Eni concluded a deal for the rights to exploit the Nigerian deepwater oil block OPL 245 with knowledge that the money would fall into the hands of a convicted money-launderer and be turned into political kickbacks.

They are accusing Shell, Eni and several of Eni’s senior executives, including its CEO Claudio Descalzi, of corruption over the purchase of the block in 2011.

French Elections: Alt-Right, Total and Gold Mines, the Story Behind the Candidates’ Environmental Policies

French flag

France, the birthplace of the Paris Agreement, is a week away from the first round of its presidential election on April 23. Throughout the campaign debates on the environment have often been side-lined, with the three leading candidates showing no sign of real climate leadership.

The backdrop to the election campaign has been full of “fake news”, Brexit and Donald Trump. It has also been mired in scandals over corruption claims and growing concerns of Russian interference.

Many in France are still deciding who to vote for in one of the most unpredictable elections yet. If no candidate wins a majority on April 23, a second election round featuring the top two candidates will take place on May 7.

Brexit Could Cost Consumers as Internal Energy Market Deal Currently ‘Not Realistic’ Say Experts

Power cables running through the UK's countryside

Consumers are likely to pay the price for the UK leaving the EU’s internal energy market, experts warned on Wednesday.

Brexit has opened the door to huge uncertainties over the security of the UK’s energy supply, with details of a final deal dependent on political will on both sides of the divide, they said.

Theresa May triggered Article 50 to officially start the UK’s divorce from the EU at the end of last month, yet the future of key policy areas seems as hazy now as it was before the referendum took place.

London Energy Company Tied to UK Chancellor to Build Coal Bed Methane Plant in Botswana

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.

UN Climate Chief Calls for $7 Trillion of Green Finance as World Faces Trump ‘Challenge’

UNFCCC chief Patricia Espinosa addressed the Marrakech COP22 climate conference

The financial sector needs to show leadership by providing trillions of dollars for green growth projects, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), today told a London audience.

Speaking at a public event at the London School of Economics (LSE), Espinosa highlighted “the gap of trillions of dollars that are still needed to truly transform our economic and social reality”.

She warned that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include climate goals, required finance of $5 trillion to $7 trillion a year – a target which is far from being met.

UK Government Last Year Gave £427 Million to Support Fossil Fuel Projects Abroad

Henrique Lage oil refinery owned by Petrobras in Brazil

A government agency that recently had its budget doubled by Chancellor Phillip Hammond spent hundreds of millions supporting foreign fossil fuel extraction and petrochemical projects last year. That included large lines of credit to a Brazilian company embroiled in a corruption scandal, and support for a petrochemical run by India's richest man.

The investments were part of £1.8bn worth of loans and export credit guarantees that a small government department and credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), gave to British companies to help them export their goods and services abroad. The oil, gas and petrochemical sector accounted for the UKEF's second largest investment, after the aerospace sector.

Government data shows that, in total, UKEF gave more than £427 million to carbon intensive projects during the 2015-16 financial year. Depsite the UK's claim to be a low carbon leader, only £6m was invested to support equivalent clean energy projects.

Victory for Oil Giant Shell as High Court Blocks Nigerian Communities' Pollution Case

Ogoni region, Niger Delta

Oil giant Shell has won a major battle in the High Court today, after a judge ruled the company had no legal responsibility for the chronic pollution caused by its Nigerian subsidiary in the Niger Delta.

This comes after DeSmog UK revealed the UK foreign office (FCO) agreed to lobby the Nigerian Government on behalf of Shell to protect its oil interest in the Niger Delta.

Revealed: UK Ministers Lobbied Nigeria’s Government to Protect Oil Giant Shell

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.

UK Youth Delegation Meet Climate Minister Nick Hurd Worried Urgency to Act is Fading

Uk Youth Climate Coalition delegates meet climate minister Nick Hurd at COP22 in Marrakech

In this guest post, UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) delegate and journalist Chloe Farand gives the inside story of the group’s meeting with UK climate change minister, Nick Hurd. This is an edited version of a blog post that appears on the UKYCC's website.

No-one expected miracles from the climate talks in Marrakesh but we were told this year’s COP would be one of action. Instead, it has been one of frustration with little progress being made.

On the same day that the UK became the 111th country to ratify the Paris Agreement, the UK Youth Climate Coalition was lucky to meet with climate change minister Nick Hurd for an informal chat about what matters to young people in the UK.

The talks in Marrakesh kick-started the process of implementing the Paris Agreement, which came into force earlier this year.

Young people from around the world - including the UK - came to Marrakesh to see countries starting to deliver on their promises to make the Paris deal a reality. But the sense of urgency, which gathered momentum in the French capital seems to have faded.

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