Mike Small's blog

Comment: A Just Transition in Scotland Doesn’t Mean Riots on the Streets

Read time: 5 mins

The Scottish government established a Just Transition Commission in 2018, recognising the country’s unique need for a participatory plan to rapidly cut its emissions. That commission has just published its interim report. How was it received?

Scottish climate action could cause riots’, screeched The Times.

Welcome to the game, dear commissioners.

Election 2019: Climate Pledges in the Scottish Party Manifestos

Read time: 6 mins
party logos on a map of Scotland

The general election in Scotland is inevitably seen through the bifocal lenses of Brexit and independence, regularly morphed into a single telescope of 'constitutional crisis'. But alongside that ever-present theme is the emergent consciousness of climate breakdown.

With world leaders gathering in Madrid right now for the annual UN climate talks, particular attention is being put on Scotland as the host of next year’s meeting.

While plenty of attention has been lavished on climate-related campaign promises across the UK, less attention has been paid to plans to deal with Scotland’s particular circumstances.

So, what are Scotland’s parties promising regarding transitioning away from North Sea oil, addressing fuel poverty and making a mark ahead of COP26 in Glasgow?

ExxonMobil Accused of Covering Up Two Explosions at Mossmorran Chemicals Plant

Read time: 3 mins

The Mossmorran ethylene plant, operated by Exxon-Mobil and Shell, has been dogged by controversy and safety fears for years. Now an investigation has been launched into two explosions at the plant, further eroding trust between the operating companies and the local community.

The plant has been “temporarily closed” since 12 August 2019 over safety fears. ExxonMobil extended the closure in September, saying it will remain closed until at least November while it implements £140 million of measures to make it more “reliable”.

Comment: Why Aggressive Media Attacks on Extinction Rebellion Should Concern Everyone

Read time: 5 mins
Extinction Rebellion protester and police van

Like in so much of public debate, the Prime Minister sets the tone. As a fortnight of peaceful protest started in London, Boris Johnson called the Extinction Rebellion protestors “importunate nose-ringed crusties in hemp-smelling bivouacs” at an event at Banqueting House for the launch of the third volume of an official biography of Margaret Thatcher.

The Prime Minister's tone was echoed throughout the media as the full force of the state prepared to come down on people peacefully protesting in defence of our future.

Comment: Of Course These Climate Science Deniers Jumped to Bolsonaro's Defence Over Amazon Fires

Read time: 4 mins
Jair Bolsanaro

The burning of the Amazon rainforest has unified the public in shock and fear like no other event in recent times. It has become a symbol of where ecocide meets human suffering.

Dismay at the destruction has come from diverse voices ⁠— from world leaders meeting at the G7 to indigenous people directly affected. But even in this moment, a cabal of commentators tied to networks pushing climate science denial have used their platform to defend the destruction.

Residents Lament 'Profound Social Impacts' of Ongoing Problems at Exxon's Mossmorran Chemicals Plant

Read time: 4 mins
Flares from Mossmorran chemicals plant

The Mossmorran plant in Fife, Scotland has been shut down for a month over safety fears due to unplanned flaring. 

Plant operator ExxonMobil notified the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) of the move on Thursday, apologising for the latest incident. But residents remain unhappy at the company’s lack of engagement with the community, and the Scottish government’s failure to protect them.

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