Fossil Fuels

The UK and Canada have joined with 25 other nations and regional states to launch a new global alliance aimed at phasing out coal-fired power and weaning the world off the most carbon intensive form of electricity generation. The new group was officially launched on the sidelines of the COP23 Summit in Bonn on Tuesday, confirming that Mexico, France, Finland, New Zealand, Italy, and Denmark have all joined the alliance.

Business Green 16th Nov 2017 read more »

Climate Change Minister Claire Perry launches Powering Past Coal Alliance at COP23.

BEIS 16th Nov 2017 read more »

BBC 16th Nov 2017 read more »

FT 16th Nov 2017 read more »

Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks. Norges Bank manages Norway’s $1 trillion (£758bn) sovereign wealth fund on behalf of the government. It said the step would make the country “less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices”, and its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector’s sustainability. Around 6% of the fund, worth £28bn, is invested in oil and gas stocks.

BBC 16th Nov 2017 read more »

Times 17th Nov 2017 read more »

FT 16th Nov 2017 read more »

Telegraph 16th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

A growing number of insurance companies increasingly affected by the consequences of climate change are selling holdings in coal companies and refusing to underwrite their operations. About £15bn has been divested in the past two years, according to a new report that rates the world’s leading insurers’ efforts to distance themselves from the fossil fuel industry that is most responsible for carbon emissions. Fifteen companies – almost all based in Europe – have fully or partially cut financial ties, says the study by the Unfriend Coal campaign, which represents a coalition of a dozen environmental groups incl uding Greenpeace, 350.org and the Sierra Club. Zurich, the world’s seventh biggest insurer, is the latest to shift away from coal, announcing this week that it is pulling out of coal to contribute to broader efforts to achieve the Paris accord goal of keeping global warming below 2C. Allianz, Aviva and Axa have previously made similar moves. Lloyd’s and Swiss Re are expected to follow in the coming months. The campaign has a long way to go. The early movers represent only 13% of all global insurance assets. None of the major US insurers such as Berkshire Hathaway, AIG and Liberty Mutual have taken action, according to the study. Despite this, the authors say the shift of assets and coverage since 2015 is gaining momentum.

Guardian 15th Nov 2017 read more »

Data released on 9 November shows that the UK’s local authorities invest more than £16bn into companies that extract oil, gas and coal. Collectively, the country’s local government pension funds have nearly £3,000 invested in fossil fuels for every pension fund member. Southwark has decided we will no longer do this. In December 2016, Southwark council pension fund made a landmark commitment. Following more than a year of consultation, deliberation and work with community groups we announced a decision to divest the £1.2bn fund from fossil fuels. This was a decision based not just on our political and ethical concerns, but primarily on our belief that climate change and significant investments in fossil fuels present a long term financial risk to our fund. We are clear that our action to reduce the carbon exposure of our fund is wholly consistent with our fiduciary duties as pension fund trustees.

Guardian 13th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 November 2017

Just Transition

Mary Church FoE Scotland: The transition from fossil fuels to a zero-carbon economy must be achieved without the chaos experienced by the 1980s coal industry, writes Mary Church of Friends of the Earth Scotland. As the world starts to switch from fossil fuels to a zero-carbon economy, key sectors could be pitched into the kind of turmoil experienced by Scotland’s miners in the 1980s with communities ripped apart as people lost their jobs and mass unemployment set in. However, although the issue doesn’t feature on the official agenda, one of the main themes at the 23rd United Nations climate summit underway in Bonn is the idea of how to bring about a “just transition” that would avoid this bleak prospect from becoming a reality. While official negotiations focus on contentious issues of the implementation of the Paris Agreement – in a process in which historic and current global injustices are always strongly present – numerous side events are highlighting the need for action to ensure that workers and communities dependent on high-carbon industries are not left behind in the move to zero-carbon economies. The trade union-crafted concept was cemented in the 2015 Paris Agreement’s preamble, which called for “a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs” in the context of urgently needed emission reductions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. What is particularly exciting and inspiring is the diversity and strength of the movement coming together to call for a just transition.

Scotsman 15th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

Spain’s largest utility Iberdrola has submitted applications to close its two remaining coal-fired plants in Spain, the company said in a statement Friday, culminating a global strategy to close all its remaining coal plants. The two Spanish plants, at Lada (348 MW) and Velilla (also known as Guardo, two groups with a combined 486 MW) are both almost entirely dependent on imported coal.

Platts 13th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

Local communities will be given control of up to £1 billion in tax revenues from fracking and homeowners affected by new developments could be paid cash directly, the government announced yesterday. A new shale wealth fund, paid for by tax receipts from fracking companies, will see communities affected by fracking given up to £10 million each to spend locally. The fund will amount to £1 billion over 25 years and will receive up to 10 per cent of tax revenues from shale exploration. The Treasury has suggested that each community’s £10 million windfall could be invested in new transport infrastructure, libraries and sports facilities. The ultimate decision, however, will be left with local communities, which the government has conceded raises the prospect that homeowners affected by new fracking sites could receive lump sum payments.

Times 11th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

Local councils across the UK have £16.1bn of their workers’ pensions invested in fossil fuel companies and are failing to take account of climate change risk in their investment policies, divestment campaigners have claimed. Council rankings based on their oil, gas and coal company investments were released yesterday by a coalition of green groups, including 350.org, Platform, Energy Democracy Project, and Friends of the Earth. The data enable residents to see every company or fund their local authority invests in. The value of fossil fuel investments held by councils’ funds actually went up 15 per cent in the two years since the last analysis, although the increase was mainly due to currency fluctuations. As a proportion of total investments, the cash invested in fossil fuels fell from £14bn out of a £230bn pool in 2015 to £16.1bn out of £289.9bn. Manchester, Dumfries and Galloway, Torfaen, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Merseyside councils are among the most exposed to fossil fuel investments, according to the rankings, and the campaigners argue there has been little overall change in council’s investment policies to take account of climate risk over the past two years. Yet the rankings also highlight several example of councils investing in clean energy, such as Strathclyde Pension Fund’s £10m holding in hydro station owner Albion Community Power and Lancashire county council’s £12m investment in Westmill Solar Co-operative.

Business Green 10th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 11 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

The fossil fuel lobby is still at it. The advocates of traditional fuels are determined to push their case at the climate change talks here – even though all the evidence says that the continued use of coal, oil and gas threatens severe climate change and the whole future of the planet. According to a new report those lobbyists are not only endangering future generations – they are also digging a deep financial hole for themselves, virtually throwing away multi-million dollar investments. The report by Carbon Tracker, an independent financial think-tank specialising in the energy sector, looks specifically at the oil-refining sector and has some distinctly uncomfortable news for investors in the industry. It says that by 2035 a growing tide of climate regulations, along with rapid advances in clean technologies, will lead to big cuts in the demand for oil and result in at least a quarter of the world’s more than 500 refineries having to close

Climate News Network 9th Nov 2017 read more »

Michael Bloomberg is taking his campaign to reduce greenhouse gasses and reduce reliance on coal internationally, after a massive campaign in the United States that has seen success. Mr Bloomberg is a United Nations special envoy on climate change and a former mayor of New York City, and has funded a $164 million campaign to reduce greenhouse gasses in America since 2010. During that time, more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants closed down.

Independent 9th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 10 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

The battle to end coal-burning, backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is expanding out of the US and around the world in its bid to reduce the global warming threat posed by the most polluting fossil fuel. Bloomberg, a UN special envoy on climate change and former mayor of New York city, has funded a $164m campaign in the US since 2010, during which time more than half the nation’s coal-fired power plants have been closed. On Thursday, he announced a $50m (£38m) plan to expand the programme into Europe and then the rest of the world. The money will support grassroots campaigns, research on the health impacts of coal and legal action against coal plants that are breaking pollution rules.

Guardian 9th Nov 2017 read more »

A giant black mark on Germany’s environmental record is scarred on the land an hour’s drive from the venue of this year’s UN climate talks in Bonn. Stretching 85 kilometres wide and 400 metres deep, the opencast coalmine near Hambach forest is the biggest hole in Europe and one of the biggest single sources of carbon on the continent. It it also a frontline for a growing band of environmental defenders who – believing it is better to break the law than the climate – are engaged in direct action campaigns against the fossil fuel industry. On Sunday, several thousand people occupied the RWE-run mine and surrounded the 10-storey high excavators before being ejected by police. Dozens of others have built treehouse camps in the neighbouring forest in an effort to prevent the lignite mine expanding any further.

Guardian 8th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 9 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

A quarter of global refining capacity could become unviable and be forced to close by 2035 as a swelling tide of climate regulations and rapid advances in clean technologies cut oil demand, finds a report launched today by Carbon Tracker highlighting sector risks for investors.

Carbon Tracker 6th Nov 2017 read more »

Governments have drastically underestimated methane emissions from natural gas and will miss the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2C unless they urgently scale down its use, a major new study has found. Continuing natural gas emissions at present levels will add 0.6C to global warming and, with other fossil fuel use, exhaust Europe’s carbon budget – the amount it can safely and fairly emit – in less than a decade, says the report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. It concludes that Europe must phase out all fossil fuels including gas by 2035 and decrease emissions by 12% per year – far beyond its current ambitions – to keep to the Paris 2C pledge. EU countries, including the UK, have committed to burn more natural gas as a “bridging fuel”, because it offers a baseline alternative to wind and solar on cloudy and windless days, and because it emits less carbon dioxide than coal. But the report’s authors find that there is “categorically no role” for new gas, oil or coal production, because of their high CO2 and methane emissions.

Guardian 7th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 7 November 2017

Fossil Fuels

In an age of mistrust there’s good reason the voice of the healthcare community continues to carry weight. Recent research published by The Lancet medical academic journal showing the health impacts of climate change deserve attention. We should listen when told that climate change is an issue of public health as much as it’s about the health of our planet. It shows how our continued reliance on coal is costing lives through air pollution while also driving climate change that will prove damaging to public health in so many ways. This is a poor return from a killer investment.

Telegraph 3rd Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 November 2017