Sophie Yeo

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BP’s Basra Operations Praised by British Ambassador Prior to Fatal Civil Unrest

Read time: 4 mins
Fire at Rumalia oilfield

Shortly before violent protests broke out in the oil-producing city of Basra in Iraq, British government representatives visited an oilfield partially operated by BP, and praised the company’s “impressive” social and environmental performance. Campaigners have criticised the visits for prioritising BP’s interests over those of local Iraqis.

According to documents seen by DeSmog, released in response to a Freedom of Information request from campaign group Culture Unstained, the British ambassador to Iraq, Jon Wilks, met with BP and Iraq’s Department for International Trade on 9 April 2018. The meeting took place at the Rumaila Oilfield, which is being developed by BP.

UK Support For Overseas Fossil Fuels Inconsistent with 1.5C Limit, Academics Tell MPs

Read time: 3 mins

The UK’s use of export finance to fund overseas fossil fuel projects is “flatly inconsistent” with both domestic climate policy and efforts to meet the 1.5C warming limit, according to academics at a hearing in Westminster today.

UK export finance (UKEF) provides guarantees, insurance and reinsurance to shore up British investments overseas. Yet instead of supporting much-needed renewables infrastructure, some 99 percent of all energy-related support went to fossil fuels. Between 2014 and 2016, the UK spent £551 million per year to support fossil fuel production.

In December 2018, the government’s Environmental Audit Committee launched an enquiry into the state of UKEF. The first hearing took place today.

Lancaster is the Latest UK City to Declare a Climate Emergency

Read time: 2 mins

Lancaster City Council has unanimously declared a “climate emergency”, and will work towards reducing carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030, bringing forward its current 2050 goal by 20 years.

The motion, which was proposed by Labour party councillor Kevin Frea, was strongly supported by local youth, who gathered the 1,500 signatures necessary to force a debate in the council in just three days.

Lancaster, which sits about 25 miles north of the Preston New Road fracking site, is the latest in a string of cities to declare a “climate emergency”. Bristol kick-started the trend in the UK with a motion passed in November 2018, and Oxford, Bradford and Scarborough passed similar motions earlier this month.

Rename Coal to Save It, Suggests UN Climate Talks Sponsor

Read time: 3 mins

JSW, the coal company sponsoring the UN climate negotiations in Poland, has a plan to revive the coal industry: rename coal.

Daniel Ozon, CEO of JSW, believes that coking coal has been tainted by association with thermal coal, and that investors are backing away as a result.

But he thinks a “fancy new name” for coking coal could help.

'Green is Great': Coal, Oil, and Greenwash at the UN Climate Talks

Read time: 5 mins
Coal soap at Katowice pavilion at COP24

We were told to meet by the glowing jellyfish. Pascoe Sabido was holding it aloft, its plastic tentacles tangling, as journalists and campaigners closed in around him. A campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory, he had promised us a “Toxic Tour” of COP24, a chance to see the influence of energy companies lurking behind the green veneer of the countries gathered here to tackle climate change.

Except, in some cases, the veneer was wearing thin — or, in Poland’s case — had rubbed off entirely. The tour began next to the logos of the conference’s sponsors projected onto the wall. It’s currently advertising LOTOS Oil, a Polish company that operates mainly in Norway. Other sponsors include JSW, a coal company, and PZU, the largest insurer of the Polish coal industry.

'It's Not Over': Lancashire Protestors Vow to Continue as Cuadrilla Get Fracking Go-Ahead

Read time: 5 mins
Cuadrilla's Lancashire site

The rig standing in a field in Little Plumpton, Lancashire, is about to start drilling. Today, Cuadrilla finally got all the all-clear to start fracking, after the High Court rejected a request for a last-minute injunction.

Activists stationed outside the site have been disrupting Cuadrilla’s plans for over a year. They’ve used lock-ons and legal challenges to obstruct the company’s plans, but it looks as though Cuadrilla has leapt the final hurdle.

None of the protesters are about to go home. They see this as a legal hiccup on a longer road to victory.

'Today is Pivotal': Lancashire Campaigners Made to Wait One More Day for Fracking Fate

Read time: 4 mins
Preston New Road anti-fracking camp

It’s 4.21pm. I’m just saying. I’d like to say it’s all okay, but it’s really not. It sucks.”

It’s difficult to hear Tina Rothery’s gloomy pronouncement, as heavy rain has just started to hammer the canvas of the hoop house where we are sat. She has been stationed here for hours, along with a small group of fellow activists, refreshing her phone, waiting to see whether the High Court has lifted an injunction against Cuadrilla, allowing the company to finally start fracking in a field in Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

Prison, Hotel, Storage Depot? What To Do With an Abandoned North Sea Oilfield

Read time: 9 mins
North sea oil rig at night

The famous Brent oil field is dead, but is it buried? After ten years of study, Shell has found that the once-productive field, sucked dry of its resources, is not all that useful after the oil has run out.

After several decades of oil extraction, Shell now has the challenge of cleaning up its debris. As it prepares to decommission four rigs from its Brent oil field, Shell considered various ways to give its North Sea facilities a second lease of life: clean energy, fake reefs, hotels and carbon capture were all thrown into the ring as possible ways to reincarnate the rigs.

Shell looked at 35 alternative ways to put the tired rigs to use, which it eventually narrowed down to ten more serious considerations. But in the end, Shell decided to remove most of the structure, while leaving other bits to crumble on the seabed over time.