Ben Lucas

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Ben Lucas is currently pursuing an Investigative Journalism Master’s degree at the City University of London. He has a particular interest in UK and international politics, economics and environmental issues.

Caroline Lucas Calls for Fossil Fuel Industry to be 'Kicked Out' of Paris Climate Negotiations

Read time: 3 mins

Fossil fuel companies should be “kicked out” of the climate negotiations in Paris at the end of this month, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has told the House of Commons.

Her comments were made during a questioning session with the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, in parliament on Thursday afternoon.

Lucas said: “For over 20 years governments have met, yet greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased and the climate keeps changing. The forces of inertia and obstruction prevail, the fossil fuel giants and the politicians who do their bidding are responsible. And that’s why I call for the fossil fuel lobby to be kicked out of the UN climate negotiations.”

Government ‘Ramps Up’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies to Nearly £6 billion

Read time: 3 mins

The government has been found to be offering some of the largest subsidies to the fossil fuel industry out of all the G20 nations, according to a new report. 

The study estimated that the UK has provided £5.9bn a year of support during 2013 and 2014 to prop up the fossil fuel industry. The majority of this financial support is provided as tax relief for oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea. 

But the UK also provides support in the form of public finance for fossil fuel production overseas which averaged $4.6 billion per year through assistance from the: 73% government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), UK Export Finance, the Department for International Development, and the CDC Group development finance institution.

It's Not Over Yet. The Fight Against Fracking in Lancashire Continues

Read time: 3 mins

It is now four months since Lancashire County Council announced its shock decision to block two planning applications from Cuadrilla to carry out fracking in Lancashire. But the end is still not in sight. Appeals, judicial reviews and the governments current policy changes mean anti-fracking activists are having to continue their campaigning efforts.

And their latest efforts have just seen them take home a small victory. They have been granted a judicial review of the planning permission that allows Cuadrilla to carry out seismic monitoring at the Roseacre Wood site.

EU Countries Failing to Implement European Commission’s ‘Weak’ Fracking Guidelines, Finds Report

Read time: 5 mins

The European Commission’s (EC) guidelines on fracking are being criticised as weak and vague, and have been found to be widely ignored by EU member states, according to a report published today.

The report, entitled ‘Fracking Business (as usual)’, is written by Friends of the Earth and Food & Water Europe, and states that the “weak wording” of the guidelines document is to blame for its poor implementation so far.

It also shows that there is little evidence that the 28 member states are using the guidelines “as a basis to build more stringent rules for fracking”. Instead, it argues the Commission’s report has had “no positive impact” on the way states regulate the industry and the measures they have taken to protect their citizens or the environment against any potential negative impacts. 

Revealed: Local Council Pension Funds Investing £53m in Fracking Companies

Read time: 3 mins

Local councils across the UK have invested more than £53 million in companies directly involved with the dash for onshore oil and gas through their pension funds, DeSmog UK can reveal.

A total of £53,178,179 of local councils' pension funds is being invested in GDF Suez and INEOS, both of which have been awarded exploratory drilling permits in the latest round of fracking licences handed out in August this year.

The majority of that total is invested in GDF Suez, now known as Engie, which was recently awarded a license block to explore for onshore oil and gas near Skegness.

Renewable Energy Triumphs in Lancashire as Solar Farm is Approved Next to Rejected Fracking Site

Read time: 2 mins

Anti-Fracking campaigners have welcomed a local council’s decision to approve the development of a solar farm just across the road from where Cuadrilla has spent years trying to get permission to carry out hydrolic fracturing.

The solar farm is expected to produce enough electricity to power around 1,300 homes and save approximately 2,310 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of taking 513 large family cars off the road.

Fylde Council unanimously approved the application for the Staining Wood solar farm subject to the completion of a habitat regulation assessment, which it looks likely to pass. The site is expected to be operational by March 2016

Lancashire Anti-Fracking Campaigners Seeking Review of Cuadrilla's Roseacre Wood Planning Permission

Read time: 3 mins

Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners are concerned that fracking could still go ahead in Lancashire because the County Council approved a part of Cuadrilla’s two planning applications.

Cuadrilla was famously denied permission to carry out any fracking in Preston in June this year. They have since announced that they are going to appeal the council’s decision.

However, while activists are working to fight Cuadrilla’s appeal, they have also started their own crowdfunding campaign for a review of the planning permission Cuadrilla was granted at the Roseacre Wood site, for over 90 seismic monitors.

What Do The Labour Leadership Candidates Think About Fracking?

Read time: 3 mins

The Labour Party's stance on fracking has never been black and white, which makes the next party leader's view on the topic fairly important. 

Edelman's Ties to Fracking and Climate Denial Still Cause for Concern, New Petitions Show

Read time: 4 mins

Edelman PR’s credibility continues to wane as two separate petitions highlight the company’s ongoing support for the fossil fuel industry – in particular, its relationship as secretariat to the Task Force on Shale Gas.

Anti-fracking campaign group Talk Fracking have produced a statement and encouraged groups and individuals to pledge their support to stop the government listening to the Task Force, which is funded by Cuadrilla and other big companies in the oil and gas industry.

The open letter was drawn up in reaction to the publication of the Task Force’s second report and its stubborn refusal to answer the organisation’s letter, sent on 17th March, asking questions about the nature of the Task Force’s relationship with PR company Edelman, which used to be the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas.

Fracking Focus Shifts to Yorkshire as Pro- and Anti-Fracking Groups Emerge

Read time: 4 mins

Yorkshire county has become the new focal point of the UK fracking debate after Cuadrilla’s planning applications in Lancashire were defeated over two weeks ago.

Third Energy’s application to hydraulically stimulate the well at the Kirby Misperton site near Pickering, submitted at the end of May, is the latest fracking proposal pending a decision from North Yorkshire County Council.

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