When the call came in that the University of Glasgow had voted to divest its £128m endowment from fossil fuel companies, I happened to be in a room filled with climate activists in Oxford. They immediately broke into cheers. There were lots of hugs and a few tears. This was big – the first university in Europe to make such a move. The next day there were more celebrations in climate circles: Lego announced it would not be renewing a relationship with Shell Oil, a longtime co-branding deal that saw toddlers filling up their plastic vehicles at toy Shell petrol stations. “Shell is polluting our kids’ imaginations,” a Greenpeace video that went viral declared, attracting more than 6m views. Pressure is building, meanwhile, on the Tate to sever the museum’s longtime relationship with BP. What is happening? Are fossil fuel companies – long toxic to our natural environment – becoming toxic in the public relations environment as well? It … [Read more...] about Climate change: how to make the big polluters really pay
Ideas to stop climate change
General Motors, the world's largest carmaker, has confirmed that it is pulling funding from the Heartland Institute, an ultra-conservative thinktank known for its scepticism about climate change. The decision by the GM Foundation to halt its support for Heartland after 20 years underlines the new image the carmaker is seeking to project as part of its social responsibility programme. In the past GM has itself been associated with efforts to discredit climate change science, but in recent years it has been investing heavily in green technologies and cars including the electric/petrol hybrid, the Chevy Volt. In a statement, GM said that it now runs its business "as if climate change is real and believe we have a role to play in developing new cars, trucks and technologies that can make a difference". The funding cut – just $15,000 a year – is small beer for the institute, which has a multi-million dollar turnover, largely from a single anonymous donor. But it is a blow to the … [Read more...] about General Motors pulls funding from climate sceptic thinktank Heartland
Australia has been accused of using a loophole to back out of a promised emissions cut nearly eight times greater than the combined annual fossil fuel pollution released by the rest of the Pacific. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, arrived in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday, facing calls that he take steps to quickly reverse Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, including moving away from coal. Pacific leaders are also urging Australia to drop its plan to use an accounting loophole to meet the emissions reduction pledge it made at the 2015 Paris climate conference. Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu’s prime minister, told the ABC that Australia’s commitment to spend $500m from the existing aid budget for climate resilience and adaptation in the Pacific was a good gesture, but ultimately immoral if it was meant to stop countries talking about the need to cut emissions. Analysts say so-called “Kyoto credits” that Australia wants to use to help … [Read more...] about Australia’s Kyoto loophole eight times larger than entire Pacific emissions
After a long tumble into disgrace and confusion that dates back well over a year, the story playing out at the top of the Labour party increasingly seems to be so dreadful that it defies belief. Jeremy Corbyn is doing a very good impression of someone who would rather be anywhere else. The party’s supposed leap forward on Brexit policy seems to have resulted in a stance not quite as bamboozling as the one it replaced, but it is still surrounded by unanswered questions; the leadership’s dearth of collective energy as the agenda of a Boris Johnson government takes shape is miserable to behold. Obviously, the people at the top have other things on their minds. Woven into everything is the ever-widening story about antisemitism, which now includes signifiers for almost every aspect of the party’s malaise – from the presence in the party of hateful attitudes towards Jewish people, through allegations of the awful treatment of young party staffers by powerful people … [Read more...] about Labour can effect positive change, but not while its internal politics are so toxic
In his column for the BBC News website, BBC Environment Analyst Roger Harrabin assesses the fall-out from the row over Met Office decadal forecasting. Australia burns; the US rebuilds from Sandy and counts the cost of record heat; and the UK ponders its weirdest year of weather.The UK Chief Scientist tells me weather extremes now worry scientists as much or more than overall global warming. "If this gets worse, how are farmers going to operate?" he asks.Yet at the same time there's a relentless spread of climate confusion in parts of the media. The Met Office, a world-leading purveyor of climate information, recently suffered reputational damage that will increase public confusion over whether climate change is important at all.It happened after bloggers seized on a Met Office paper revising downward its decadal global temperature projection for 2017. Scientists have been puzzling for some time over exactly what combination of factors is preventing the earth getting even warmer - maybe … [Read more...] about Harrabin’s Notes: Isn’t it warm enough?