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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...

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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...
Heavy oil undergoing extraction from tar sands, Alberta. Canada. Photo: Howl Arts Collective via Flickr.

Plan to label tar sands as 'polluting' scrapped by EU

The Ecologist

7th October 2014

The EU is dumping a plan to label fuel made from tar sands as 20% more polluting than oil from conventional sources, making it cheaper for European countries to import. But the concession - intended to smooth the TTIP trade deal - still has to be approved by the European Parliament. more...
Fracking can violate the right to health, even life. Photo from the Reckless Endangerment While Fracking the Eagle Ford: Government fails, public health suffers and industry profits from the shale oil boom. Via Earthworks / Flickr.

Fracking - human rights must not be ignored!

Anna Grear

30th October 2014

Just as the UK Government is stirring up public anger against human rights, writes Anna Grear, its fast-track development of shale gas and oil shows that we need these legal protections more than ever. A new report shows how the 'dash to frack' is endangering our most cherished rights - to health, water, security and life. more...
Greenpeace action at Shell's petrol station in Davos, January 2013. Photo: Greenpeace Switzerland via Flickr.

Arctic madness: oil majors plead for lower safety standards

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

6th October 2014

Oil majors are gearing up to exploit Arctic oil, writes Mike G. But they don't want to carry the costs of all the safety equipment the US Government is demanding to protect the fragile Arctic environment from spills. And they're reluctant to give up the use of toxic chemical dispersants. more...
About half the world's coal is being produced at a loss, as buyers turn away. ALCOA Anglesea coal mine, Australia. Photo: Takver via Flickr.

Tide turning against global coal industry

Chris Rose / DeSmogBlog

2nd October 2014

King Coal's reign is coming to an end, writes Chris Rose, at least as a fuel for generating electricity. Following a price collapse half of all production is being sold at a loss - and major coal users like China are still moving away from the high-carbon fuel. more...
Many investors are already convinced: the Fllod Wall Street demo, 22nd September 2014. Photo: Resa Sunshine via Flickr.

Billionnaires against fossil fuels

Ruth Lumley / Trillion Fund

27th September 2014

The movement to divest from fossil fuels is gaining strength, writes Ruth Lumley, with $50 billion of institutional investment behind it. This week's news that almost $1 billion of Rockefeller money is moving from fossil fuels to clean energy shows that the world is changing faster than most ever imagined. more...
Much of Australia's coal is too high in ash, sulphur, or both, to meet China's new environmental standards. Will it be able to find the new customers it needs? Photo: Stephen Codrington / Wikimedia Commons.

China's war on pollution could leave Australia's dirty coal out in the cold

Shabbir Ahmad

25th September 2014

To tackle its serious air pollution, China is imposing stringent restrictions on dirty coal high in ash or sulphur, writes Shabbir Ahmad. One result: half of Australia's coal exports to China face exclusion, or extra 'washing' costs. But Australia's response is not to raise environmental quality. Instead, it's increasing production. more...
Falling costs make renewables such as solar energy competitive in the US without subsidy. Photo: US Bureau of Land Management via Wikimedia Commons.

Investor heavyweights call for climate action

Kieran Cooke

23rd September 2014

At the UN climate summit in New York today, institutional investors managing $24 trillion of assets are demanding stronger, more ambitious policies on climate change, writes Kieran Cooke. These include an effective carbon price and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. more...
Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, Butler County, PA operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr.

Skin, respiratory symptoms increase near gas wells

The Ecologist

25th September 2014

A health study in Pennsylvania, USA, shows that people living near fracking and other natural gas wells are more likely to suffer from skin conditions and upper respiratory symptoms. It calls for further study of the associations, including the role of specific air and water exposures. more...
Flaring the Bakken shale with cows, North Dakota. Photo: Sarah Christianson / Earthworks via Flickr.

US shale oil drillers flaring and venting billions of dollars in natural gas

Sharon Kelly / DesmogBlog

20th September 2014

Gas flaring of natural at shale oil wells is carried out on such a scale in North Dakota and Texas that 'phantom cities' show up at night in satellite photos, writes Sharon Kelly. Billions of dollars worth of gas are going up in smoke, adding to CO2 emissions - but far worse for the climate is when the gas is 'vented'. Regulators are doing too little, too late. more...
Mighty Thor - arrested by police on the say-so of a British Museum security guard, later released without charge. Photo: BP or not BP?

British Museum - is BP driving your heavy-handed approach?

Danny Chivers

17th September 2014

Amid ongoing creative protests over BP's sponsorship of the British Museum, Danny Chivers wants to know - why the harsh security tactics? Why the searches, exclusions and arrests, all for a paltry 1% or less of the Museum's funding? Is this their policy, or is it BP that's calling the shots? more...
Green MP Caroline Lucas is a lone Parliamentary voice against fracking. But democratic pressure in constituencies could force others to join her camp. Photo: This account has been discontinued via Flickr.

One more heave! Ministers' pre-election fracking drive

Alex Stevenson

9th September 2014

Ministers are determined to get fracking under way in the UK as fast as possible, so it's a 'fait accompli' in time for the election, writes Alex Stevenson. With a firm pro-fracking concensus in Parliament, only one thing can frustrate their plans - strong local campaigns to turn around MPs desperate for re-election in 2015. It even has a name: democracy. more...
The whole region is carved up by canals with well heads like these at the ends. Photo: Paul Goyette via Flickr.

New Orleans: oil & gas evading $50bn coastal restoration obligations

Julie Dermansky

5th September 2014

Thanks to damage to coastal wetlands by the oil & gas industry, Louisiana is losing two acres to the sea an hour, writes Julie Dermansky. The companies are legally obliged to repair their damage - but they haven't and the cost has reached $50 billion. The answer? A Bill backed by the state governor to make them immune from lawsuits. more...

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