Christmas may be over, but that hasn’t stopped the reindeer talk. In particular, there’s been a lot of chatter about how climate change may affect them. Some people seem to think we don’t need to worry – but what does the science say?
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Kyla Mandel is a former editor of DeSmog UK.
Kyla began working with DeSmog UK as deputy editor in November 2014 shortly after the project launched. During this time, she broke numerous stories on energy policy, including one on the Koch Brothers' European lobbying efforts as well as investigations into the cross-Atlantic climate denial lobbying network. In March 2015 she was appointed DeSmog UK's Editor. Kyla left DeSmog UK in January 2018.
She has also covered international climate science denial efforts in Rome and Washington D.C., and joined DeSmog's reporting team in December 2015 at the Paris COP21 climate conference. Kyla studied at Columbia University's graduate journalism school specialising in science reporting. Her primary research during that time on climate refugees and coastal relocation in the United States was published in Mother Jones.
It’s been a busy year. We’ve published roughly 230 stories, profiled 70 individuals and organisations operating in the climate science denial and lobbying world, and produced a whopping 15 different breakdowns and analyses on the general election.
We’ve written the words “climate change” more times than we can count, “Brexit” more times than we’d anticipated last June, and “science denial” more times than anyone wants.
Our reporting this year has taken us to local communities in the UK — from those facing new coal mines in Northumberland and Wales, to anti-fracking protests along a small stretch of road in Lancashire. It has taken us further afield, too — to Bonn in Germany to cover the international climate negotiations.
We’ve also continued to dig deep into the small but influential network of transatlantic Brexiteer climate science deniers — a network which continues to expand and strengthen through its connections to climate disinformation think tanks and Trump-influencers in the US.
New documents detail how oil major BP worked with staff from the University of Hull and the Hull City of Culture, which coordinates cultural events in Hull, to limit the amount of criticism BP would receive in response to its sponsored lectures at the university.
The oil major has received criticism over the years for its attempts to greenwash its image through sponsoring art exhibits and other cultural events. The emails released under the Freedom of Information Act to campaign group Culture Unstained, and seen by DeSmog UK, now show attempts by BP, the University and the City of Culture to coordinate how they would handle activists or “awkward questions”.
Over the past year, BP has sponsored a “Cultural Visions” lecture series which hosted artists and cultural figures at the University of Hull. This news comes as the final lecture in the series is held on Wednesday December 13 with speaker Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group.
Two of Prime Minister Theresa May’s special advisers met with a libertarian US think tank founded by climate science denial funder Charles Koch last winter, but Number 10 Downing Street will not say why.
The failure to disclose the details of the meetings with the Cato Institute raises questions about whether there is a loophole regarding disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.
DeSmog UK can reveal that on February 16 special advisors Chris Brannigan and Jimmy McLoughlin attended a lunch hosted at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. According to the think tank, trade issues were discussed.
Former environment secretary Owen Paterson made the rounds with some of the top climate science deniers on a tour of the US this autumn to promote a “special relationship” post-Brexit.
The Shropshire MP travelled to Washington D.C. in October, DeSmog UK can reveal, where he met with infamous climate science deniers Lamar Smith, James Inhofe, and Myron Ebell. He also gave speeches at both the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Heritage Foundation – two libertarian think tanks known for promoting climate science denial and working against environmental regulations.
Paterson’s visits are the latest in a string of meetings between pro-Brexit UK politicians (such as international trade secretary Liam Fox) and US climate science denial groups.
In an era of #fakenews, it can sometimes be tricky to work out what is legitimate scientific reporting, and what is, well, fake. New research suggests there's a handy rule of thumb for spotting the work of climate science deniers, however: look for the polar bears.
One of the most glaring differences between legitimate science-based blogs and those that deny the science on anthropogenic climate change is how they write about polar bears and Arctic sea ice.
There has been no significant reduction in the level of fossil fuel investment by local council pensions since the Paris climate deal was agreed two years ago, according to new data.
The research, compiled by environmental groups 350.org, Platform, Energy Democracy Project and Friends of the Earth, shows that councils currently have £16.1bn of their workers’ pensions invested in oil, gas and coal companies. This represents 5.5 percent of their total investments, worth £287.9bn.
While the value of these investments has increased since 2015 (when the market value represented £14bn), the proportion of the pension funds invested in fossil fuels has stayed about the same.
As energy companies across England continue to push to develop shale gas resources, support for fracking is at its lowest point yet in the UK according to the government’s latest public attitudes survey.
The number of people working in coal mining in Britain continues to drop according to the latest statistics compiled by the Coal Authority.
According to the Coal Authority’s employment numbers for July to September, seen by DeSmog UK, just under 700 people are now working in surface or underground coal mining.
This is down from 732 people who worked in coal mining jobs in June, and down almost 40 percent compared to this time last year when 1,146 people were employed in these jobs.
Two years after BP and Shell shareholders resoundingly passed resolutions requiring the oil majors to factor climate change risks into their corporate strategy and accounting, the two companies are disclosing no more than bare minimum, a new report has found.
The report, published by responsible investment nonprofit ShareAction – which was involved in the push to pass these climate resolutions in 2015 – found that while they have taken the necessary steps to meet their new disclosure commitments, the two oil companies are failing to plan for a more rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.
As ShareAction’s report argues, the companies may be publicly supporting the Paris Agreement, but their actions are not living up to their words.