1 December 2022News in Brief

Despite the severity of the climate crisis, oil and gas companies around the world are still on a massive expansion course.

That’s the conclusion of the latest authoritative GOGEL survey of oil and gas exploration and development, in a report launched on 10 November at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt.

GOGEL (the Global Oil and Gas Exit List) is a public database maintained by 51 respected NGOs including Urgewald of Germany.

GOGEL monitors the activities of 901 companies…

1 February 2022News in Brief

After a year of campaigning by environmentalists, the French government announced at the beginning of December it would not fund a gas megaproject in the Arctic.

It was going to support the French oil company, TotalEnergies, which is involved in ‘Arctic LNG 2’, a massive development in the Russian Arctic due to open in 2023.

It will turn locally-mined gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. The plan is to produce 20 million tonnes of LNG a year.

So, the French…

1 February 2022Review

Verso, 2021; 208pp; £9.99

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last three years, you’ll probably have heard of ‘net zero’. This is the idea that, in order to address the climate crisis, we must rapidly bring about a balance between human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and human-caused removals of the same.

The best versions of net zero could be part of the solution and a instrument for climate justice.

However, as Holly Jean Buck argues in this timely work, the…

1 December 2019News in Brief

At the beginning of November, the Conservative government announced a moratorium on fracking in the UK – ‘until compelling new evidence is provided’ proving that hydraulic fracturing of shale rock for oil and gas could be safe.

Anti-fracking activists, remembering the 2011 moratorium that was lifted in December 2012, said they would continue to campaign for an outright ban.

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said: ‘Our call has always been for an immediate halt to…

1 April 2019News

300+ demand end to oil sponsorship

Photo: Diana More / BP or not BP?

On 16 February, more than 300 activists (using 200 metres of black cloth) took over the British Museum in London in a performance protest against the sponsorship of an exhibition by BP, the oil and gas company. Protestors drew attention to BP’s role in the 2003 Iraq war and its contribution to climate change, holding a banner: ‘The British Museum – proudly sponsored by climate change.’

1 February 2019News

New date for Germany's 'coal exit' good news for ancient forest but still 'disastrous' for climate

Barricade in Hambach Forest 23 September 2018 Photo: Leuni (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia Commons

There is mixed news on one of Europe’s climate front lines, as activists have forced a German government commission to effectively rule out further coal-mining in the ancient Hambach forest near Cologne, while setting an inadequate (‘disastrous’) date for ending the use of coal in Germany.

Coal currently accounts for 40 percent of energy in Germany. In Britain, it’s around 10…

1 October 2018News

New report showcases projects from across the globe

In the largest survey to date of the potential of rising renewable energy supplies, a new report from the Centre for Alternative Technology shows that clean energy can meet our electricity needs all year round at all times of the day.

Launched in the run up to the COP24 climate summit in Poland in December, the report, Raising Ambition: Zero Carbon Scenarios from Across the Globe, maps over 130 scenarios designed to meet the targets of the Paris climate accord at global, regional…

1 August 2018News in Brief

On 12 July, Ireland became the first country to commit itself to completely divesting from fossil fuels. The country’s €8bn sovereign wealth fund will sell €300m of investments in 150 oil, gas and coal companies within the next five years.

Fossil fuel companies are defined as ones that have 20 percent or more of their revenues from exploring for, extracting or refining fossil fuels.

In June, climate group noticed that oil and gas company Shell had recognised ‘…

1 April 2018Feature

A Corbyn premiership could open up exciting possibilities for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy

There can be few more dogged campaigners than David Polden.

When I arrived at the Jobs and Climate conference on 10 March at 10am, the start of the 45-minute registration period, the seasoned 77-year-old peace campaigner was already there, distributing flyers to the general public. Believing that the event would start at 10am, David had been there since 9.15am. Given that no one else had arrived during the intervening period, it was a miracle that he hadn’t given up.

1 August 2017Review

Pluto Press, 2016; 192pp; £18.99

At the heart of this book lies the unresolvable dilemma between economic growth and ecological sustainability. Its key contribution is to combine a global study of the Anthropocene (the ‘proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems’ – Wikipedia) with an anthropological analysis of how it is perceived locally. The result is an informative, multi-scaled account of our fast-paced times.

Over five chapters, Eriksen…

1 October 2016News

Community energy project bringing wind power to Wales

Awel Coop. Photo: Awel

‘We’ve put up with noise and dust from the pits – we’re used to it. We shouldn’t grumble about a few turbines singing in the wind’. These words were spoken in 2000 and, 16 years later, the community wind farm turbines in Mynydd y Gwrhyd, 20 miles north of Swansea, are due to be commissioned by December.

Community benefit society Awel (Welsh for ‘wind’) is funding the scheme through shares (raising £1.27 million to date) and Welsh government loans of £4.…

1 August 2015Feature

Four years of grassroots campaigning defeated Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for shale gas in Lancashire

Petition against fracking handed into Lancashire county council, August 2014. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire.

After Lancashire county council unexpectedly rejected Cuadrilla’s application to frack at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, on 29 June, I wanted to hear a bit more of the story from someone at the frontline of this monumental decision. Bob Dennett is a co-founder of Frack Free Lancashire. On 1 July, he told me a bit about the story that led to Monday’s campaign win, and the…

1 August 2015News

6,000 sign petition against new opencast coal mine

Bargains protest in Aberystwyth. PHOTO: Kelvin Mason

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the Welsh government call in a planning application for a new opencast coal mine, Nant Llesg, in the Rhymney Valley. If the government called in the application they would take over the decision-making power from the local authority, Caerphilly council.

The petition followed an historic vote in the Welsh assembly on 22 April in favour of a moratorium on opencast…

1 June 2015Review

Pluto Press, 2015; 192pp; £12.99

It’s easy to forget, but art galleries are ‘our’ galleries: they are supposed to belong to us. You might even like to think of them as having taken the place of (now defunct) churches. So how did oil money seep through their walls?

Mel Evans begins by charting the journey of arts funding in the UK. The Arts Council of Attlee’s postwar Britain was deliberately at arm’s length from the state. Thatcher and Tebbit increased government involvement, which enabled New Labour to follow…

1 February 2015News

Wales is ready to take on the extreme energy industry, reports Kelvin Mason.

Eviction of Borras and Holt Community Protection Camp. Photo: Dave Ellison

In January 2014, Westminster prime minister David Cameron announced that his government was ‘going all out for fracking’. (Fracking is the high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of shale rock deep underground to extract natural gas or other fossil fuels.) As an inducement to local authorities, councils were allowed to keep 100% of business rates from shale gas sites.

Defying public opinion, the government also…