Kyla Mandel

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Kyla Mandel is Editor of DeSmog UK.

Kyla began working with DeSmog UK as deputy editor in November 2014 shortly after the project launched. During this time, she has broken numerous stories on energy policy, including one on the Koch Brothers’ European lobbying efforts. In March 2015 she was appointed DeSmog UK’s Editor.

She has also covered international climate science denial efforts in Rome and Washington D.C., and joined DeSmog’s reporting team in December 2015 at the Paris COP21 climate conference.

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Kyla has been living in London for the past several years working for titles such as Green Futures Magazine, EnergyDesk and most recently The ENDS Report. Her work has also appeared on Forbes Online and The Guardian’s Sustainable Business channel. Kyla is currently researching climate refugees at Columbia University’s graduate journalism school.

Past research has also involved extensive content analysis examining British media coverage on shale gas exploration and investigating events involving police brutality on the McGill University campus in Montreal during the 2012 province-wide student tuition protests.

Kyla moved to the UK to pursue a master’s in journalism at the London College of Communication.  Bilingual in French and English, she has also lived in the US and Germany. Combined with a BA joint-honours degree in history, political science and environmental studies from McGill, she has a strong grasp on the dynamics between environmental issues and international politics.

Emails Reveal How a University and BP Worked Together to Deal with Activists and 'Awkward Questions'

Hull City of Culture

New documents detail how oil major BP worked with staff from the University of Hull and the Hull City of Culture, which coordinates cultural events in Hull, to limit the amount of criticism BP would receive in response to its sponsored lectures at the university.

The oil major has received criticism over the years for its attempts to greenwash its image through sponsoring art exhibits and other cultural events. The emails released under the Freedom of Information Act to campaign group Culture Unstained, and seen by DeSmog UK, now show attempts by BP, the University and the City of Culture to coordinate how they would handle activists or “awkward questions”.

Over the past year, BP has sponsored a “Cultural Visions” lecture series which hosted artists and cultural figures at the University of Hull. This news comes as the final lecture in the series is held on Wednesday December 13 with speaker Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group.

UK Government Won’t Say Why Theresa May’s Special Advisors Met with a Koch-Founded Think Tank

UK government advisors meet with the Cato Institute

Two of Prime Minister Theresa May’s special advisers met with a libertarian US think tank founded by climate science denial funder Charles Koch last winter, but Number 10 Downing Street will not say why.

The failure to disclose the details of the meetings with the Cato Institute raises questions about whether there is a loophole regarding disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.

DeSmog UK can reveal that on February 16 special advisors Chris Brannigan and Jimmy McLoughlin attended a lunch hosted at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. According to the think tank, trade issues were discussed.

Former Environment Secretary Promotes Post-Brexit ‘Special Relationship’ with US Climate Science Deniers

Owen Paterson, Myron Ebell, and Jim Inhofe all meet in D.C.

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson made the rounds with some of the top climate science deniers on a tour of the US this autumn to promote a “special relationship” post-Brexit.

The Shropshire MP travelled to Washington D.C. in October, DeSmog UK can reveal, where he met with infamous climate science deniers Lamar Smith, James Inhofe, and Myron Ebell. He also gave speeches at both the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Heritage Foundation – two libertarian think tanks known for promoting climate science denial and working against environmental regulations.

Paterson’s visits are the latest in a string of meetings between pro-Brexit UK politicians (such as international trade secretary Liam Fox) and US climate science denial groups.

How do you Spot a Climate Science Denial Blog? Check the Polar Bears

Polar bear and climate change

In an era of #fakenews, it can sometimes be tricky to work out what is legitimate scientific reporting, and what is, well, fake. New research suggests there's a handy rule of thumb for spotting the work of climate science deniers, however: look for the polar bears.

One of the most glaring differences between legitimate science-based blogs and those that deny the science on anthropogenic climate change is how they write about polar bears and Arctic sea ice.

UK Council Pensions Investing £16.1 Billion In Fossil Fuels

UK council pensions investing in fossil fuels

There has been no significant reduction in the level of fossil fuel investment by local council pensions since the Paris climate deal was agreed two years ago, according to new data.

The research, compiled by environmental groups 350.org, Platform, Energy Democracy Project and Friends of the Earth, shows that councils currently have £16.1bn of their workers’ pensions invested in oil, gas and coal companies. This represents 5.5 percent of their total investments, worth £287.9bn.

While the value of these investments has increased since 2015 (when the market value represented £14bn), the proportion of the pension funds invested in fossil fuels has stayed about the same.

Renewables Increase Popularity While Fracking Support Falls to Lowest Yet in Britain

Longpark windfarm

As energy companies across England continue to push to develop shale gas resources, support for fracking is at its lowest point yet in the UK according to the government’s latest public attitudes survey.

Coal Mining Jobs in the UK Continue to Fall, Stats Show

UK Coal mining jobs continue to drop

The number of people working in coal mining in Britain continues to drop according to the latest statistics compiled by the Coal Authority.

According to the Coal Authority’s employment numbers for July to September, seen by DeSmog UK, just under 700 people are now working in surface or underground coal mining.

This is down from 732 people who worked in coal mining jobs in June, and down almost 40 percent compared to this time last year when 1,146 people were employed in these jobs.

Shell, BP Climate Disclosures 'Just a Marketing Tool' — Report

Shell, BP shareholder climate resolutions

Two years after BP and Shell shareholders resoundingly passed resolutions requiring the oil majors to factor climate change risks into their corporate strategy and accounting, the two companies are disclosing no more than bare minimum, a new report has found.

The report, published by responsible investment nonprofit ShareAction – which was involved in the push to pass these climate resolutions in 2015 – found that while they have taken the necessary steps to meet their new disclosure commitments, the two oil companies are failing to plan for a more rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.

As ShareAction’s report argues, the companies may be publicly supporting the Paris Agreement, but their actions are not living up to their words.

Irish Government to be Taken to Court over Climate Change

Smokey sky caused by Hurricane Ophelia

A legal challenge against the Irish Government has been launched by a group of environmentalists who argue the government is failing to take necessary action to avoid dangerous climate change.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) announced on 23 October that it had field a lawsuit against the Government of Ireland and Ireland’s Attorney General. FIE claims this is the first such climate lawsuit to ever be filed in Ireland.

FIE’s lawsuit argues that the Irish National Mitigation Plan “does not do enough to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a violation of Ireland’s Climate Act, the Irish Constitution and human rights obligations.”

Announcement: Editorial Staff Changes

We’ve got a few changes coming to DeSmog UK that we want to share with you. I’m very excited to announce that DeSmog UK deputy editor Mat Hope will be taking over as Editor as of today.

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