Energy

1 February 2015Review

PM Press, 2014; 384pp; £17.99

The Alberta tar sands in Canada may be the largest hydrocarbon resource in the world, as well as the largest single potential source of climate-warming carbon dioxide. If the tar sands are completely exploited for fuel, 240 billion tons of carbon will be added to the atmosphere and global temperatures will rise 0.4°C from this source alone. At the same time, mining, pipelines, and ocean shipping threaten devastation in places stretching from one end of North America to the other.

9 June 2014Feature

Peace News brings together environmental activists for a transatlantic round table

‘We have little mini-successes and we celebrate them because we need to; otherwise we’ll go stark raving mad,’ New York activist Maura Stephens said during a Peace News round-table discussion via video chat on 17 April.

During the conversation, two US and two British anti-fracking activists compared how their movements have organised, and brainstormed tactics for fighting ‘hydraulic fracturing’ for oil and gas in the future.

Stephens thinks organisers need to reflect on what is…

9 June 2014News

'Death of the valley'

Nant Llesg opencast coalmine protest.
PHOTO: WALESONLINE

Desperate to stop the plans for the opencast coalmine development at Nant Llesg, campaigners staged a spectacular mock funeral ‘the death of the valley’ at Caerphilly County Borough Council’s headquarters on 22 April. The council decision is still pending.  

9 June 2014News

In this centenary year of World War, everyone seems to be looking for stories from that conflict. One that encompasses the tragedy is the story of the Welsh poet Hedd Wyn.

Ray Davies (centre) and Gerald Williams (right)
at Hedd Wyn’s cottage. PHOTO: WENDY LEWIS

On our way through North Wales, we passed through Trawsfynydd and called on Hedd Wyn’s nephew, Gerald Williams. He led us over the threshold of the poet’s isolated farmhouse amidst the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia. Hedd Wyn’s mother had kept the cottage exactly as it had been – the books with his handwritten notes on the shelves by the fireplace, the photos on the walls, the small parlour…

30 April 2014Feature

A Q&A on fracking with Laura Bannister, Green Party candidate for the European parliament 

‘I think fracking is entirely the wrong direction for UK energy policy, and I feel that if we act now we can prevent the establishment of a fracking industry in this country,’ Laura Bannister said.

 

Bannister is a European election candidate from Manchester and Salford, an area currently being exploratory drilled for natural gas. She has been a member of the…

3 April 2014Feature

Manchesters’ new front line in the struggle against extreme energy

An industrial truck creeps down the road towards the gate, held up by 35 slowly-walking individuals. It could take up to two hours for the driver to arrive with equipment necessary to keep operations moving at IGas Energy’s Barton Moss fracking site just to the west of Manchester.

‘That happens every day. That’s happening right now, as we speak,’ Robbie Gillet of Frack Free Greater Manchester said in an interview, with sounds of a…

19 March 2014Feature

How the UK’s hunger for biomass costs communities and forests around the world

Demand for biomass is sky-rocketing in the UK. Burning wood for large-scale electricity generation is a key element of the UK government’s renewable energy policy and 42 new biomass power stations have already been proposed. Energy companies have announced that they intend to burn 68.9 million tonnes of wood a year in these power stations. This works out to eight times the UK’s total annual…

1 November 2013News in Brief

The peaceful anti-fracking protests at Balcombe in West Sussex this summer helped to reverse steadily-growing public acceptance of shale gas extraction, according to a Nottingham University report published in October:
www.tinyurl.com/peacenews963

1 November 2013News

New open-cast coal mine planned

The consortium Miller Argent have submitted a planning application to Caerphilly council for the Nant Llesg open-cast coal mine. If Miller Argent obtain planning permission, Nant Llesg near Rhymney will mine up to nine million tonnes of coal and be responsible for approximately 20 million tonnes of CO2.

Local opposition the United Valleys Action Group (UVAG) say this will be a disaster in terms of climate change. UVAG also know the impact of the dust and noise from mining on…

1 October 2013News

High Court adjourns case involving anti-fracking campaigners

Balcombe, 22 September. Photo: Gabrielle Lewry

On 16 September, a high court judge adjourned an application by the West Sussex county council to remove anti-fracking protesters from Balcombe after describing it as ‘flawed’.

Justice Beverly Lang said there was a need to consider the protesters’ right to peaceful assembly.

Demonstrators have been camped along London Road…

1 September 2013News in Brief

It’s possible for every person on the planet to have a good quality of life powered entirely by renewable energy, thus avoiding runaway climate change. That’s the message of ‘Two Energy Futures’, a new interactive website launched at the end of July by the UK Tar Sands Network, with evidence drawn from the Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future report from the Centre for Alternative Technology, and the book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air by energy expert Dr David Mackay.

1 December 2012Review

Verso, 2012; 344pp; £16.99

Platform is a unique organisation combining art, activism, research, and education. Based in London, for over a decade it has been exploring the multi-dimensional reach of the oil industry into society, a ‘Carbon Web’ that encompasses governments, giant oil companies, banks, and a myriad other organisations, from law firms to universities, NGOs to cultural institutions. Written by two members of Platform, The Oil Road is an important component of this project, focussing on the story of how…

25 September 2012News in Brief

On 7 September, two Bristol-based anti-fracking protesters were found not guilty of aggravated trespass, but a third was convicted of failing to leave as soon as practicable, at the Cuadrilla Resource’s test drilling rig beside the Ribble estuary in Lancashire. The three had shut down the gas-extraction operation for 13 hours on 1 December 2011.

During the trial it was established that Cuadrilla had been drilling for two months longer than allowed at the time of arrests.

1 April 2012News

The Douglas Valley hosted the Earth First! Winter Moot at the end of February. People from across Scotland and the UK piled into the Glespin community hall to strategise, debate and plan.

Two events highlighted the importance of centring things like Earth First! gatherings in areas of community struggle.

On the Saturday, people from the local community shared their experiences of living next to opencast mines.

The anger and passion was both chilling and…

24 January 2012News

Jill Evans MEP questions the EU's support for nuclear power

Satisfied with the European Commission's response to Fukushima, the European parliament petitions committee closed four petitions which raised concerns about the safety of nuclear power stations. However, Plaid Cymru's group in the parliament (Greens/EFA) has raised serious doubts about the Commission’s “stress tests”. An independent study highlighted their failure to assess the risks of accidents. For example, they do not evaluate the risks of fire, human failure or an aeroplane crash.…