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.

Oil, Energy and Airports: Where are the Main Parties Getting Donations From?

Theresa May

From a Middle Eastern oil magnate to Heathrow and Gatwick, the three main parties have seen a mix of donations come in since Brexit last summer.

The Conservative Party has received significantly more money from individuals and companies in the fossil fuel industry compared to the Labour Party and the Lib Dems, according to the latest data on the electoral register analysed by DeSmog UK.

This news comes after the Conservatives’ election manifesto pledges a unique commitment to increase support for the oil and gas industry should they win in June.

UK Among World’s Top Investors in Thermal Coal, New Report Shows

The UK is the largest European investor in thermal coal production and is among the top ten biggest investors globally according to a new report by Influence Map.

As the new report published today shows, UK shareholders own a total 0.9 percent stake in the world’s thermal coal reserves. British Investment bank Elara Capital (the world’s eighth biggest investor in thermal coal) has $15 million worth of assets under management representing 170 million tons of coal reserves.

Influence map analysed the links between coal mines, the companies that operate the mines, and the shareholders (such as pension funds and banks) invested in these companies. There is a total of about $185 billion in shareholder value tied to the 117 listed thermal coal producers and owners.

UK Coal Industry Gets Hundreds of Millions in Subsidies Each Year, Report Finds

Drax coal power

The UK has given an average €434.5 million (£368 million) in subsidies to the coal industry each year between 2005 and 2016 new research by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has found.

The new report published today by ODI shows that European countries are continuing to support coal despite pledges to phase out the polluting fossil fuel by 2020 (or 2025 in the case of the UK and Ireland).

According to the report, Europe’s 10 largest carbon emitters – responsible for 84 percent of the continent’s emissions – have given €6.3 billion (£5.33 billion) in subsidies to coal each year over the past decade.

UK Foreign Office Had Contact with Myron Ebell During Trump's Transition

Myron Ebell

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was in touch with climate science denier Myron Ebell during his time as head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team, DeSmog UK can confirm.

According to a Freedom of Information Request, the FCO corresponded with Ebell in his role under President Trump prior to Ebell's visit to London in January.

However, the content of their discussions remains unknown. The FCO Climate Diplomacy Team refused to release any details after several requests for clarification and further information about their discussions.

Brexit Climate Deniers Launch Coordinated Attack Against Green Regulations Ahead of Election

Windmills and smoke stacks

The Brexit climate science deniers have over the weekend launched a coordinated attempt to persuade the UK to cut green regulations ahead of Theresa May revealing the Conservative Party’s 2017 general election manifesto.

In op-ed columns and letters to the editor in both The Times and The Telegraph members of climate science denying and neoliberal think tanks have criticised the UK Climate Change Act for increasing energy prices and called for looser regulations once we leave the European Union.

Those authoring the columns and heading up the letters belong to a small yet influential group of hardline Euro-climate sceptics as revealed by DeSmog UK last summer.

Lords Raise Concern Over UK’s Ability to Implement and Enforce Environmental Rules Post-Brexit

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.”

MPs Who Complained About BBC's Brexit Coverage Linked to Network of Hardline Euro-Climate Sceptics

BBC London office

Many of the MPs who signed the letter issued this week criticising the BBC’s Brexit coverage as biased to the Remain campaign are part of a small but influential network of hardline Euro-climate sceptics.

An analysis of the 70 signatories of the complaint letter urging the BBC to “accept new facts” on Brexit shows 12 are part of the 55 Tufton Street climate denier network. A further six MPs have consistently voted against climate measures in Parliament.

This includes Conservatives Owen Paterson and Steve Baker along with Labour’s Graham Stringer and UKIP’s Douglas Carswell. These four are linked to the Tufton Street network through either their membership to the Vote Leave campaign or association with Lord Lawson’s climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Of these 18 individuals, 10 were also among 15 MPs that issued the anti-fifth carbon budget letter released last May which argued setting “radical” climate targets wouldn’t reduce Europe’s emissions because others in the EU would just do less.

Have Oil Majors Changed Their Tune on Climate Change?

Oil rig by wind turbines

This is the biggest challenge as we have at the moment as a company,” Ben van Beurden, chief executive of oil giant Shell, said recently. “The fact that societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it is just disappearing.”

Speaking at the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on March 9, van Beurden described the growing tensions between his industry, which has created our fossil fuel dependent energy system, and the public, which is demanding a switch to clean energy: “I do think trust has been eroded to the point where it starts to become a serious issue for our long-term future.”

The world’s largest oil companies are increasingly faced with public pressure to do something about their impact on climate change. And increasingly we’re seeing their chief executives responding. The question is though, how much is for real and what's just greenwash?

Majority of People in Britain Accept Climate Change is ‘Happening Right Now’, Survey Shows

Power station on the coast

People across the UK agree that climate change is an immediate threat already taking place, a new survey by the European Perceptions of Climate Change Project shows.

The report published on 8 March explores the public perception of climate change across France, Germany, Norway, and the UK. It finds that in Britain, 86 percent of people agree climate change is happening and almost half (45 percent) believe it will affect “people like me”.

However, while the majority of respondents across Europe accept that climate impacts are occurring, most feel that other countries will be more affected than their own.

UK Banks Continue to Bankroll Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, as Green Party Calls for 'Immediate' Divestment

Dakota Access Pipeline – Oceti Sakowin

The Green Party has issued a letter to the chief executives of all UK banks currently financing the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline asking them to “immediately suspend all credit lines”.

Despite previous calls for British institutions to divest from the polluting project, financial data reveals Barclays and HSBC continue to bankroll the companies constructing the pipeline.

Signed by party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley and four other party members, the Green Party letter calls on Barclays and HSBC to stop funding the U.S. pipeline project due to its impact on the climate and indigenous communities.

Calling the pipeline a “barrier to climate safety,” they write: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is a major fossil fuel infrastructure project, and thus represents exactly the kind of project that should no longer receive the support of those with a serious commitment to tackling the climate crisis.”

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