Plans to build a huge new UK gas power station are facing a challenge from an environmental law group that argues the project would breach the government’s recommendations on climate change. ClientEarth, which has repeatedly defeated the government in court over its air pollution strategy, has submitted an objection to the planning inspectorate over Drax Group’s proposed 3.6GW plant in North Yorkshire. The intervention is the first by the lawyers against a gas project in the UK. Sam Hunter Jones, a lawyer at the group, said it had acted because the Drax scheme marked a tipping point in the amount of new gas planned by energy firms in the UK. The UK has already given planning approval for 15GW-w orth of large-scale gas plants, including at Eggborough, which is not far from the Drax site. Adding the Drax project would take the total to about 18GW, three times the 6GW of new gas the government estimates the country will need up to 2035. Hunter Jones said: “The UK government claims to be a climate leader, yet if major energy projects such as this from Drax are granted planning consent, the UK will risk carbon lock-in that would seriously undermine its ability to meet its climate change commitments.” The planning inspectorate is expected to make its recommendations to the government next spring, with ministers to decide later in the year.
Guardian 11th Nov 2018 read more »
A senior executive at the fracking company Cuadrilla privately said this summer it did not expect to cause earthquakes that would be serious enough to force it to halt operations. But despite that confidence, the company has triggered 37 minor quakes since it started fracking for gas at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire three weeks ago. Two of those have been powerful enough to exceed a regulatory threshold that requires fracking to stop, and on a third occasion the company voluntarily ceased operations when it neared the limit. Cuadrilla has said such tremors are to be expected from fracking, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals 2km underground at high pressure. Under government regulations, fracking must stop if a 0.5-magnitude earthquake is registered.
Guardian 11th Nov 2018 read more »
Do the UK’s fracking miniquakes matter? There have been 34 tremors in the Blackpool area since Cuadrilla began fracking at nearby Preston New Road three weeks ago, according to data from the British Geological Survey. All of these seismic events have been imperceptible on the surface. This begs the question: do they even matter? From the driller’s perspective, they absolutely do. Any tremor over 0.5ML [local magnitude] on the richter scale requires fracking to stop and testing and monitoring to commence. So far Cuadrilla has been given the so-called ‘red light’ twice, for a 0.8 quake a fortnight ago and a 1.1 seismic event last week. The company’s CEO has since called for the standards to be relaxed, claiming they are ‘strangling’ the industry. For local people, however, the answer is less obvious. If they don’t feel the quake, should they care?
Unearthed 7th Nov 2018 read more »
The world’s biggest energy companies are spending only a fraction of their investment budgets on low-carbon projects, even as the oil and gas industry comes under fire for its contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions. European companies such as Total, Shell, Equinor and Eni are among those spending the most on low-carbon investments, but the industry on aggregate allocated just 1.3 per cent of its total 2018 capital expenditure to these ventures. The figure is in a new report from environmental non-profit and investment research provider CDP, which has ranked 24 companies by their preparedness for a global transition towards cleaner fuels.
FT 11th Nov 2018 read more »
Business Green 12th Nov 2018 read more »
“Climate change has got to be one of the top risks to companies, particularly the majors,” says Adam Matthews of the Church of England. “If they are not engaging with this subject at a strategic level as an existential threat to their operations, then I think they’re failing in their duties.” The softly spoken Matthews, bearded and burly, has become the figurehead of a campaign group representing funds with $10 trillion (£8.2 trillion) under management. The Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), launched in 2017, aims to measure companies on their green credentials and their planning for the future. It is backed by around 30 major funds and bankrolled by the likes of Aberdeen Standard, Legal & General and BNP Paribas. Matthews himself has become a regular fixture at the annual general meetings of FTSE 100 companies, pressing home his concerns about their environmental record. “Ultimately we want companies to be successful and we believe they can be,” Matthews says. “We’ll work with them to achieve that.”
Telegraph 11th Nov 2018 read more »