Blogs

Tory manifesto 2017: a blank cheque for fracking

Update: following clarification from fracking campaigners we understand that the manifesto pledge poses a greater threat than is immediately apparent - this blog post has been updated accordingly. 

Fracking

The doors may have opened a chink for onshore wind in the manifesto (see below), but they are thrown open for fracking. "Non-fracking wells" would become permitted development, so would not need planning permission. The Infrastructure Act redefined the term 'fracking' to reduce the activity in the UK that would be covered by it. All oil drilling in the Weald in the south east and much of the initial testing for shale gas elsewhere will not need planning permission.

Climate change 'now has a human face'

11 March - Climate Refugees training and networking event

This training session is a follow-up from the successful Conference on Climate Refugees on Saturday 11 February 2017 to continue its energy and committment. The session, run by Friends of the Earth, will help participants understand the rights of climate refugees through the UN's Paris Agreement and develop a campaigning strategy for 2017. Find out more and book tickets

‘Climate Refugees’- The Climate Crisis and Population Displacement: Building a Trade Union and Civil Society Response - 11 February

A woman wading through flood waters is replacing the polar bear as the defining image of climate change. Delegates to the UK’s first trade union and Friends of the Earth conference on Climate Refugees (Saturday 11 February) learned that in the past six years over 140 million people have been displaced through climate-related disasters – one person every second.

The risks will redouble in coming decades, reversing years of development activity in the global South. In a keynote speech, Asad Rehman (FoE) said that to achieve our goal of UN action to address the climate migration crisis means creating a new narrative which draws wide support across civil society and is based on the principles of ‘justice, empathy and humanity.’

Briefing delegates on the hard evidence of climate change, Prof Joanna Haigh (Grantham Institute) said that every indicator was flashing: rising sea levels, warming oceans and shrinking Arctic sea ice. ‘Globally warming is not globally uniform,’ with the greatest increases in polar regions and across sub-Saharan Africa. The current growth in carbon emissions would place as much as a quarter of the world’s population exposed to water scarcity, flooding impacts and crop failures.

For Unite the Union, Diana Holland was ‘angry and ashamed’ at the government’s inhumane treatment of child migrants. Trade unions have shown through campaigns such as Chile Solidarity and organising migrant domestic workers what international solidarity can deliver. Where union members are impacted by climate change, our demand must be for a Just Transition, with everyone at the table.

Reinforcing this message, Chidi King (first right, see left) said that the ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) was developing a Just Transition programme to engage trade unions, governments and communities in demands for investments in low carbon technologies, green jobs and new skills. Climate change would drive up global poverty: so zero poverty and zero carbon were two core issues for the ITUC.

Zita Holbourne (second right), PCS Vice-President, argued that it was impossible to separate climate change impacts from other causes of human displacement, including war, fear of persecution, famine and poverty. For many climate refugees, their ordeal is not over when they arrive in the UK, where they are often treated as third class citizens. Unless we are to pass to our children a world worse than ours, we need a new vision for race equality in 2025, based on social justice and equity.

Saturday’s workshops covered the planetary emergency, building trade union solidarity, challenging racism and xenophobia, the Moving Stories of climate migrants, and creating a new narrative around climate refugees. Also, the Environmental Justice Foundation presented its excellent short film, Falling through the Cracks.

Take action... UK media vs climate scientists

It has been harder and harder for certain tabloids and other sections of the UK media to push doubt and disinformation about the existence and seriousness of climate change. With the last three years each consecutively breaking records for the highest ever global temperatures the 'sceptics' are fighting a losing battle, and they know it.

But a journalist like the Daily Mail's David Rose is certainly not going to let Trump go unsupported in his war on climate science and clean energy. In a recent article, described by one expert as “so wrong it’s hard to know where to start” he launches an attack on one study. Rose claims, with breathtaking dishonesty, that this may undermine the entire scientific understanding of global warming, calling this "Climate Gate 2" and asking breathlessly:

"does this mean that truly dangerous global warming is less imminent, and that politicians’ repeated calls for immediate ‘urgent action’ to curb emissions are exaggerated?"

Er, no.

This article is only one example of the deliberate misinformation which has made it much easier for those wishing to cut "the green crap" (attrib. D. Cameron) to delay and divert vital policies to cut UK emissions. The main culprits are Rupert Murdoch's Times and Sun, Richard Desmond's Express, Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail and the Barclay brothers' Telegraph. The editorial policies of just five billionaire newspaper-owners have had a huge impact. In the absence of any serious regulation, the only meaningful leverage is through advertising revenue.

The campaign Advertising Action on Climate Project is calling on those in the business community who already understand the seriousness of the climate threat, and whose massive advertising budgets are the major source of revenue for these climate sceptic media corporations, to use this influence constructively by urgently engaging in dialogue with these media organisations’ editors and owners on the issue. The purpose of such a dialogue would be to seek assurances that, as a beginning, all climate crisis coverage would in future be science-based and that an end would be put to the flood of uncontested comment and editorial articles from non-scientific climate-sceptic lobbyists.

ImageTake action

Write to BT asking them to act (sample letter below)

Write to M&S asking them to act (sample letter below)

Briefing paper on climate misinformation in newspapers

Letter from climate scientists to The Times, April 2016

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