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.

Over the Past Year the UK Government Gave Over £1 Billion to Fossil Fuel Projects Overseas

Britain has provided more than a billion pounds in support for fossil fuel projects abroad in the last year via the UK Export Finance (UKEF) government department and credit agency, which operates alongside the Department for International Trade, the latest accounts show.

According to UKEF’s annual report published on 18 July, half of all projects that received export credits during the 2016-17 financial year are related to the fossil fuel industry – from oil and gas exploration, infrastructure, petrochemical complexes, and coal mining.

Over the last year UKEF has provided a total £3 billion in support to UK companies exporting products and services overseas. Of the 16 different projects around the world that received export credits, eight of these are tied to the fossil fuel industry and are worth a total £1.06bn. Others include investments in the aerospace sector and a water treatment plant in Iraq.

Government's Brexit Repeal Bill 'Power Grab' Threatens UK Environment Regulations

Power grab. Backroom Deals. Henry VIII. Reckless. All of these words have been used to describe the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – better known as the Repeal Bill.

The Repeal Bill was officially released on 13 July. This is the plan for how the UK will bring over all the EU laws it is currently operating under. And there’s one big question everyone is asking: how transparent will Brexit be?

From Labour to the SNP, most opposing parties have denounced the bill. And green groups in particular are concerned about the lack of scrutiny and accountability that will take place as the government tries to turn some 1,100 pieces of EU environmental legislation into British law in a very short time span.

What does ‘Clean Coal’ CCS Failure in U.S. Mean for Meeting Our 2°C Climate Goals?

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.

Industry and Fossil Fuels Continue to Have Seat at the Table at Latest Shipping Climate Talks

The shipping industry counts for nearly three percent of the world’s emissions, and it continues to grow, yet there is still no climate target to cut pollution from global shipping.

And with industry sitting inside the negotiating room, progress on setting a climate target continues to stall.

The Paris Agreement – now almost two years old – does not directly include shipping. And after 20 years of negotiations at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) countries only expect to set some sort of climate target in 2020 at the earliest.

Greens Lead Cross-Party Call for Brexit Environment Bill

Caroline Lucas

MPs are calling for a new Environmental Protection Bill to be added to the government’s list of policy priorities for the year ahead as laid out in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

Led by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, the environment amendment has cross-party support from Labour MPs David Lammy and Kerry McCarthy, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, the Scottish National Democrat MP Chris Law, and Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts.

The amendment, which was introduced last week and will likely be voted for on Thursday June 29, states that “in negotiating our future relationship with the EU, the Government should opt for the most environmentally effective way forward.”

Queen’s Speech Reiterates Support for Paris Agreement, But Leaves Most Climate Policy Up-for-Grabs

Queen's speech

My government will continue to support international action against climate change, including the implementation of the Paris agreement.”

So said the Queen during her speech today introducing the start of the parliamentary year and the list of bills the government hopes to pass over the next 12 months.

Along with a brief note on affordable energy and electric cars, this was the only mention of anything related to climate change or the environment in the brief speech.

Despite dangerous air pollution levels across the UK and crucial environmental laws that need to be translated into British legislation as we leave the EU, the environment was notably missing as a policy priority.

Heritage Foundation Registers as EU Lobbyists for Just One Month

EU flags

Washington DC-based think tank the Heritage Foundation briefly registered as lobbyists in Brussels, DeSmog UK has learned.

A little noticed entry to the EU Transparency Register on 18 April 2017 showed the climate science denying neoconservative think tank listed as an official EU registrant. However, one month later they were removed from the registry due to “data inconsistencies”.

According to EU rules, anyone who wishes to have a meeting with members of the EU Parliament or Commission must be listed on the EU Transparency Register including providing details about how much money the group spends on lobbying and number of lobbyists.

May’s Cabinet Reshuffle: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly for Climate Change

Theresa May

After a tumultuous few days cobbling together a government with the DUP, and trying to persuade the country that she can continue to provide the “certainty” it needs going into Brexit negotiations, Theresa May on Sunday shuffled her cabinet.

So far it doesn't seem things are likely to change very much as most of the key players have kept their roles held prior to the election, perhaps showing the limited options available to the UK's severely bruised PM.

There were some significant changes on the environmental front, however.

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.

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