Pressure is growing on the UK government to release a report into the impacts of shale gas fracking, which campaigners have accused ministers of suppressing. The Committee on Climate Change, which advises parliament on meeting the UK’s carbon targets, submitted the report in March. It covers the expected impact of exploiting the UK’s onshore oil and gas resources on nationally set greenhouse gas targets. It can only be published when the secretary of state for energy has responded. Green activists suspect that ministers are wary of the potentially explosive impact of the report, which is likely to find that fracking would be an addition to the UK’s carbon dioxide output, if pursued to the extent that ministers support. As well as being a wholly untapped new source of fossil fuel, and thus carbon, fracking has also been found to release more carbon than conventional oil and gas exploration, because of the difficulty of production and the dangers of leakage. “The government is trying to start a whole new fossil fuel industry and is sitting on a report from its official advisers about the impact,” said Tony Bosworth, campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “It must publish as soon as possible, and certainly before any decision about fracking in Lancashire. If it doesn’t, the suspicions that it is trying to keep the report quiet will continue.” If the report suggests that fracking could endanger the UK’s climate targets, it would be a key weapon for anti-fracking campaigners in their fight against the granting of planning permission for shale gas and oil works. A legal challenge being consideredagainst North Yorkshire council’s decision to allow fracking in Ryedale is based on claims that it has not adequately considered the climate impact of the technology.
Guardian 14th June 2016 read more »
David Smythe, an emeritus professor of geophysics and a leading critic of the fracking industry, has had his university email address cancelled, and his access to scientific journals cut off. The action was taken without notice by the university authorities in January a few days after Smythe posted online a discussion paper critical of fracking safety and regulation in the UK. He has since been attempting to persuade the university to reinstate his access, but so far without success. Smythe has submitted a series of objections to fracking plans in England, and appeared as an expert witness for community groups opposing plans to exploit coalbed methane near Falkirk in 2014. He has had a bitter public row with Glasgow University’s energy engineering professor, Paul Younger, who has voiced support for fracking.
Ferret 14th June 2016 read more »
Nearly 400 international scientists called on Barack Obama to rule out further expansion of oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters under US control. The letter, signed by prominent Arctic, marine and climate specialists – including a former member of Obama’s administration, urges the president to rule out any future hunting for oil in the waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The letter follows a series of new heat and melting records in the Arctic, which have stunned scientists. Last week it was warmer in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, than in New York City. The Danish Meteorological Society said the 75F temperature was the second heat record since April, and followed a very early start to the ice melt season. In addition to putting the entire Beaufort and Chukchi seas off-limits for the next oil and gas leasing offer, from 2017 to 2022, the letter urged the administration to consult native Alaskan groups on any further Arctic developments.
Guardian 14th June 2016 read more »
CHEMICALS giant Ineos has hit out at “untrue and disingenuous” arguments against fracking and challenged Scottish Labour MSPs to supply evidence that backs up demands for a ban. The global firm, which holds fracking exploration licences across the central belt but has seen progress halted by an SNP moratorium, entered a fraught political row by disputing Labour’s repeated claims that “the science is clear” against unconventional onshore gas extraction. In a dramatic intervention, it called for a face-to-face meeting with the party to “properly understand” its concerns and to “make the case for a fair hearing for shale gas development in Scotland”. In a letter to Claudia Beamish, the Labour MSP who won the backing of Holyrood in calling for a ban earlier this month after the SNP abstain ed, Ineos states it is “very surprised” at her argument that a ban is justified because “the last thing our planet needs is another fossil fuel”.
Herald 15th June 2016 read more »
Ineos letter to Claudia Beamish.
Scottish Energy News 15th June 2016 read more »
Environmental campaigners have criticised the annual Oil and Gas Conference taking place in Aberdeen for failing to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to put Scotland on a path to a clean energy future. The conference coincides with Scotland meeting its climate targets for the first time. Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon said, “It is ironic that on the day the Scottish Government announced that it has met its climate targets for the first time, oil and gas firms are meeting to discuss how to drill for every last drop in the North Sea. The future of the fossil fuel industry cannot be discussed in a parallel universe where climate change doesn’t matter.
FoE-Scotland 14th June 2016 read more »
The Paris Agreement was signed with a goal of holding climate change below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. While countries make commitments, the financial sector continues to finance risky, environmentally destructive sectors of the fossil fuel industry. In Shorting the Climate, the new report from RAN, BankTrack, Sierra Club and Oil Change International, we’re calling on the global banking sector to end its support for these dangerous sectors: coal mining, coal power, extreme oil (tar sands, Arctic, and ultra-deepwater oil), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export.
Rainforest Action 14th June 2016 read more »