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Fracking is burning more than just our health. Our money's going up in flames too - and that's putting the whole financial system at risk. Photo: Bill Baker via Flickr.

With sub-$60 oil, fracking and tar sands losses threaten the whole financial system

Paul Mobbs

17th December 2014

A new financial crisis is threatening to dwarf the 'subprime' mortgage debacle, writes Paul Mobbs. Cheap money from central banks has fuelled some $1.3 trillion of risky investments in high-cost 'unconventional' oil and gas. Now, with oil sinking below $60, all that paper is turning to junk - and that's putting the entire economic system at risk. more...
If you want one of these, best put a good distance between you and the nearest fracking well. Photo: Adriano Aurelio Araujo via Flickr.

Miscarriage and stillbirth linked to fracking chemical exposure

Tamsin Paternoster

15th December 2014

Fracking for oil and gas uses a wide range of chemicals that disrupt reproductive function in both sexes, writes Tamsin Paternoster. Now an academic study has found a powerful correlation between stillbirth, miscarriage, low sperm count, and exposure to fracking chemicals. more...
BUNDjugend demonstrators take on Shell in Hamburg in early 2014. They may not stop Shell in its tracks - but there's one power that can - international finance. Photo: BUNDjugend via Flickr.

The UN climate talks just failed - now for the real battle

Assaad W. Razzouk

15th December 2014

COP20 has just laid the foundations for a non-agreement in Paris in 2015, writes Assaad Razzouk - thanks to the pernicious influence of fossil fuels, poisoning debate and subverting serious climate action. Now there's only one earthly power big enough to fight back. more...
An artist's impression of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Image: EDF Energy media library.

UK's €46 billion bid for EIB nuclear loan

The Ecologist

11th December 2014

The UK is bidding for a massive €46 billion loan from the European Investment Bank to finance the construction of three new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, Wylfa and Moorside - while Poland is seeking €8bn for huge new coal mines and power plants and €12bn for new nuclear. more...
The August 2013 petcoke storm over the southeast side of Chicago. Photo: Anthony Martinez.

Petcoke: the toxic black dust coming to a community near you

Ben Whitford

9th December 2014

It's the fossil fuel industry's latest stroke of genius - a coal substitute that's cheaper, dirtier and more toxic than coal itself, writes Ben Whitford. The waste product of refining heavy oil from Canada's tar sands, petcoke is stored in open mountains around Chicago's 'Slag Valley', sending plumes of sticky black dust over poor neighborhoods every time the wind blows. more...
Coal trains near North Antelope Rochelle Mine in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming. Photo: Kimon Berlin via Flickr.

BLM sued - no environmental review of coal leasing since 1979

Mike Gaworecki

8th December 2014

Coal leases on public lands operated by the US Bureau of Land Management are responsible for 40% of US coal production and 14% of total US CO2 emissions, writes Mike Gaworecki - yet their environmental impacts have not been reviewed in 35 years. more...
A typical riverside indigenous village in the Peruvian Amazon near Loreto. Photo: Thomas Stromberg via Flickr.

COP20 host Peru claims forest 'leadership' - while attacking forest protectors

AIDESEP / Forest Peoples Programme

8th December 2014

Peru's government is actively undermining indigenous peoples' efforts to protect their forests - by refusing to title 20 million hectares of their lands and turning a blind eye to illegal logging. At the same time it's handing out vast concessions for oil, gas, mining and timber exploitation, expanding palm oil production and planning 50 major forest-flooding dams. more...
A Matsé leader in the Peruvian Amazon pledges to attack oil workers intruding into the tribe's territory with spears, bows and arrows. Photo: David Hill.

'It's war!' Peru-Brazil indigenous people pledge to fight Amazon oil exploration

David Hill

8th December 2014

Peru - host of the COP20 UN climate conference now under way in Lima - is facing rebellion by a 3,500 strong indigenous people deep in the Amazon committed to fighting oil exploration in their forest territory, writes David Hill, following the government's failure to consult Matsés communities or respect their rights. more...
Under the new 'capacity market' regulations, Britain's dirtiest coal-fired plants are set to benefit. Photo: Dom Atreides via Flickr.

UK's 'unlawful' £35 billion support to fossil fuels in ECJ challenge

Oliver Tickell

4th December 2014

The UK Government plans to lock consumers into a 2.5bn a year, 15-year spend to support peak-time fossil power generation - while undermining energy demand savings capable of achieving the same purpose more cleanly and cheaply. But today the 'unlawful' system has been hit by an ECJ lawsuit. more...
In the 1970s, refineries in the Middle East controlled the world’s flow of oil. Not any more. Photo: National Iranian Oil Company / Wikimedia Commons.

Lower oil prices are here to stay. Thank loss-making shale and tar sands - not OPEC

Jemma Green, Mark Andrich & Peter Newman

5th December 2014

Are recent oil prices slumps caused by OPEC ganging up against tar sand and other high-cost producers? Or a sinister conspiracy to destabilise the Russian economy? Far from it, argue Jemma Green, Mark Andrich and Peter Newman - it's the simple result of an excess of supply over demand. And the low prices will be with us for some time to come. more...
One of many anti-fracking protest posters. Nieu Bethesda, Karoo. Photo: Jose Gil Paris, Stichting Schaliegasvrij.

'Fracking frenzy' - how the shale gas industry is threatening the planet

Friends of the Earth Europe

11th December 2014

The world is in the grip of a 'fracking frenzy that threatens us for centuries to come with polluted aquifers, runaway climate change, destruction of biodiversity and worthless 'sub-prime' investments. Just as the world must make the transition to a sustainable future, our 'leaders' are determined to make this last losing throw of the fossil fuel dice. more...
Australia’s official forecasts for expanding fossil fuel exports don’t match up with what’s needed to avoid severe climate change. Photo: Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr, CC BY.

Wake up Australia! Your coal exports are being left stranded

Stephen Bygrave

30th November 2014

Australia is betting the farm on huge increases in coal exports, writes Stephen Bygrave - just as key markets in China, India, Korea and Japan are drying up, with rising tariffs and huge renewable energy and efficiency programs. The policy is totally out of touch with reality - and will lead to revenue shortfalls in the AU$100 billions. more...

Fuel: 1/25 of 307
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The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

Tar sands industry faces 'existential' $246 billion loss

Gregory McGann

27th November 2014

The exploitation of Canada's tar sands is more than just an environmental catastrophe, writes Gregory McGann. It's also an turning into an economic disaster, with massive investments at risk as falling oil prices leave the tar sands stranded. more...
Shell's Oloibiri oil well in Nigeria, the first sunk in West Africa, in 1956. Photo: Rhys Thom via Flickr.

Nigeria: Shell's false oil spill claims exposed in court

Sarah Shoraka

23rd November 2014

A London court has forced Shell to disclose documents about its pipelines and oils spills in Nigeria, writes Sarah Shoraka - and they reveal that the company has lied about the scale of oil spills in previous legal actions, and concealed the terminally poor condition of its pipelines. more...
Never mind the drinking water aquifers and the national park - the South Downs is one of England's most cherished landscapes that could be opened up for fracking. Photo: Jaydee! via Flickr.

Fracking is safe. Radiation is harmless. And pigs have wings

Dr David Lowry

21st November 2014

Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos, Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the Environment Agency and its ex-boss Lord Smith all suffer from a blind spot, writes David Lowry - the dangers of fracking, its radioactive emissions and the toxic chemicals that threaten to pollute our aquifers. As for official advice that 'regulation needs to be strongly and robustly applied' - pass the Tippex! more...
UKIP MEP and energy spokesman Roger Helmer poses with Maritsa Noon, chief executive of the pro-fossil fuel, climate change denying Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, at the 7th Heartland Institute Climate Conference in May 2012. Photo: rogerhelm

UKIP uncut - acoloytes of America's far-right corporate gunslingers

Alex Stevenson & Oliver Tickell

21st November 2014

Would UKIP be riding so high if voters knew of the party's links with powerful right-wing US corporate interests promoting fossil fuels, denying climate change, opposing gun control, and supporting big tobacco, teaching creationism in schools, healthcare privatisation and the lifting of nuclear power regulation? An Ecologist investigation exposes the real UKIP. more...
Stop this and we might just save the world. Photo: EPA, CC BY.

US-China climate deal: at last the big players are talking the right language

Mike Berners-Lee

14th November 2014

Efforts to tackle climate change have failed to make the slightest difference to the exponential increase in CO2 emissions, writes Mike Berners-Lee. The US-China deal at last offers hope that things could change - but to make it work other countries must come on board, and promises must transform into binding commitments. more...
Paid for by taxpayers? Oil rigs moored in Cromarty Firth. Invergordon, Scotland, UK. Photo: Berardo62 via Flickr.

Breach of promise: G20 spending $88 bn a year on fossil fuel subsidies

Alex Kirby

13th November 2014

Despite promises to phase out subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries, a new report G20 governments are still providing them with massive financial help, writes Alex Kirby. The UK alone is spending over £1.2 billion per year to support fossil fuel exploration and production at home and abroad. more...
The 'Bridge of the Gods' crossing the Columbia River Gorge. Photo: Mark Stevens via Flickr.

US oil boom threatens pristine North-West with crude transport corridors

Valerie Brown / Climate News Network

11th November 2014

America's expanding oil production threatens the pristine Pacific Northwest region of the country with a rash of new oil terminals along the coast, writes Valerie Brown, and hugely expanded traffic of freight trains loaded with hundreds of cars of crude oil heading for California refineries. more...
We have the technology - but which? IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. Photo: IPCC Photo / David Plas, via Flickr, © Belspo / Nevens.

IPCC: rapid emissions cuts vital to stop worst impacts of climate change

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

3rd November 2014

The IPCC's most important ever assessment of global warming warns that the world must cut its carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon, writes Damian Carrington - and the cost is affordable. But in fact, emissions are rising at record levels, and the IPCC's strong support for unproven-at-scale CCS technology will leave many mystified. more...
Hurricane Sandy brought this blackout to Lower Manhattan in October 2012. Unless Britain's nuclear power stations perform implausibly well this winter, we could well be sharing the experience. Photo: Reeve Jolliffe via Flickr.

UK faces serious winter blackout risk - National Grid's rosy nuclear forecast fails reality test

Chris Goodall

31st October 2014

The National Grid's forecast for UK power supply this winter relies on overstating the availability of increasingly unreliable nuclear power stations, writes Chris Goodall. Realistic estimates of nuclear, gas and coal power station availability shrink the 'safety margin' to zero. more...
Texaco's signature, written in oil, at Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr.

Latin American progressives and environmental duplicity

Daniel Macmillen

26th October 2014

Left wing governments across the Americas are faced with a dilemma, writes Daniel Macmillen - high social spending programs financed by income from destructive mining and hydrocarbon extraction - or a slower but sustainable development path that puts ecology, equity and justice first. Their answer - a constant pushing back of the resource frontier. more...
Are there more nasty surprises in store for fossil fuel investors? The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, 22nd June 2010. Photo: Oscar Garcia / via John Amos on Flickr.

To hit fossil fuel firms where it hurts, support divestment!

Franklin Ginn

20th October 2014

Fossil fuel companies are a risky investment thanks to the 2.8 trillion tonnes of 'unburnable' carbon in their reserves, writes Franklin Ginn. But there's an even stronger reason to support fossil fuel divestment: to erode their political power, which they use to block progress to a sustainable, low carbon future. more...
Flaring the Bakken shale with cows, North Dakota. Photo: Sarah Christianson / Earthworks via Flickr.

NASA confirms US's 2,500-square-mile methane cloud

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

18th October 2014

Floating over the US Southwest is a cloud of methane the size of Delaware, writes Mike G - reflecting the release of almost 600,000 tonnes of the powerful greenhouse gas every year. Its origins? Coalbed gas production, fracking and horizontal drilling. more...
The author at an oil production site in Ecuador. Photo: David Poritz.

Certified-responsible oil and gas - we need it now!

David Poritz

21st October 2014

The oil and gas industry is disrupting communities and damaging ecosystems worldwide, writes David Poritz. Tough, independent social and environmental standards for the industry can bring urgently-needed improvements to company practices - even where government regulation has failed. more...

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