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.

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.

Brexit Trade Secretary Liam Fox Met with Climate Denial Think Tanks in Post-Election Trip to U.S.

Liam Fox meets climate denial think tanks in D.C.

Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox met with two neoconservative think tanks during his first trip to the United States after this summer’s general election, DeSmog UK can reveal.

According to documents obtained by DeSmog UK via the Freedom of Information Act, Fox held a breakfast meeting with think tanks and business associations in Washington D.C. during his trip on 19-20 June.

In attendance was the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation – both influential think tanks backed by corporations and conservative foundations. Both are avid opponents of environmental regulations and have repeatedly denied the science on climate change. Heritage was also at the heart of Donald Trump's transition team in the weeks before he became president.

Brexit: Why did the Red Tape Initiative Meet with BEIS?

Oliver Letwin Red Tape Initiative BEIS

The Red Tape Initiative, dubbed the “other Brexit department” by Politico, has so far only met with one government department since it launched in April, DeSmog UK has learnt – the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

According to the Red Tape Initiative’s (RTI) director-general Nick Tyrone, the group met once with BEIS officials “a few months ago”.

Tyrone told DeSmog UK that it was a general meeting to simply “put us on their radar”, adding that “we have only met with BEIS to date in terms of government departments”.  

Environmental ‘Victory’ As Government Rules on Access to Justice Judged Unlawful

UK environmental justice court ruling

The High Court has ruled that the UK government’s rules on access to the court system for people trying to protect the environment are unlawful and must be changed.

The ruling was in response to a case brought by three environmental NGOs after the government introduced new rules In February that exposed people and organisations to potentially unlimited legal costs when pursuing an environmental case against the government.

ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB argued the rule change would have a “chilling effect” on environmental legal cases, and decided to challenge the government in the courts.

A Climate Science Denier Was Just Reappointed to a Parliamentary Science Committee

Graham Stringer GWPF

A trustee of the UK climate science denial think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has just been reappointed to a parliamentary science committee.

Labour MP Graham Stringer was appointed unopposed this week to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The all-male group is tasked with making sure government decisions are based on sound scientific evidence.

Stringer has been on the committee before, between 2015 and May 2017. During this same time he joined the GWPF’s Board of Trustees in July 2015. The GWPF continues to dismiss the overwhelming evidence on climate change as it lobbies against taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Most recently it admitted to using fake data during Lord Lawson’s widely-criticised BBC interview.

Growing Number of Restrictions Placed by Police, Councils on Anti-Fracking Protests

Police and protesters at Preston New Road fracking site

Local councils, police, and companies are increasingly trying to restrict how anti-fracking campaigners can protest shale gas development in Britain.

Over the past two months, there have been three separate instances of new rules being developed to limit protesters’ activities.

Abandoned North Sea Wells May be Emitting ‘Significant’ Amounts of Methane, Study Warns

Abandoned North Sea Wells Leaking Methane

Abandoned offshore oil and gas wells in the North Sea may be a source of significant methane emissions finds a new study, which claims to be the first to measure the amount of methane leaking from offshore wells.

According to the study published recently in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, about one third of the region’s wells could be releasing between 3 and 17 thousand tonnes of methane into the North Sea each year. “This poses a significant contribution to the North Sea methane budget,” it states.

But despite the scale of emissions that may be leaking from abandoned wells, these emissions are not currently being monitored by regulators or operators.

Government Keeps Flawed Environmental Justice Report Quiet

UK environmental justice

A report on access to environmental justice has been quietly published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) during peak holiday season. Published on an obscure website, the report includes inaccurate figures on the cost of pursuing environmental legal cases against the government.

On 15 August DEFRA, now run by “shy green” Michael Gove, opened a consultation on a report about how the UK will implement the Aarhus Convention – which provides the rights to access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice when it comes to environmental issues.

The DEFRA report argues that the UK is in full compliance with all the three pillars of the convention. However, recently the government adopted new rules which expose people and organisations to potentially unlimited legal costs when pursuing an environmental case against the government.  

Fracking Definition Based on “Little Rational or Scientific Basis”, Scientists Warn

UK Fracking defintion

Two British scientists have warned that the UK Government’s definition of fracking could risk environmental harm.

In a letter published in Nature on 23 August Stuart Haszeldine of the University of Edinburgh and geophysics expert David Smythe write that the government’s legal definition of hydraulic fracturing has “little rational or scientific basis”.

As DeSmog UK first revealed in 2015, under the UK Infrastructure Act fracking is defined based on the volume of fluid used during oil and gas extraction: 10,000 cubic metres or more per well. This is much higher than the threshold for “high-volume hydraulic fracturing” in the US (between 2,000 and 2,500 cubic metres per well). The definition originates from a report conducted on behalf of the European Commission.

Climate Science Denial Group GWPF Admits It Used False Temperature Graph

Lord Lawson uses false climate data

The climate science denying group the Global Warming Policy Foundation has admitted that it shared an “erroneous” temperature dataset to support Lord Lawson’s false claims to the BBC last week that global temperatures aren’t rising.

Three days after Lawson’s BBC interview – which was immediately and widely criticised in the media and by scientists – the climate denial group tweeted out Sunday afternoon that it was “happy to correct the record” and has since removed the tweet after a request to do so by climate scientist Ed Hawkins.

According to the tweets, the graph was originally produced by US meteorologist Ryan Maue, an adjunct scholar of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute co-founded by Charles Koch. It was published by weather forecaster and climate science denier Joe Bastardi. Both Bastardi and Maue work for WeatherBELL Analytics, a private weather consulting firm.