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As Oil and Gas Revenues Drop by 90 Per Cent, Alberta Budget Paves Way For Clean Energy Sector to Emerge

A renewable energy economy may emerge from the heart of Canada’s oil industry thanks to announcements made in Alberta’s provincial budget last week. The budget promises spending $51.5 billion in 2016 despite resource royalties projected to be as low as $1.4 billion, representing a 90 per cent drop.
 
The province pledged $2.2 billion for clean infrastructure, $645 million for energy efficiency and unveiled an expanded carbon levy that the government estimates will generate $3.4 billion for renewable energy development. An additional $195 million has been set aside to help First Nations communities transition off coal and onto cleaner sources of energy.
 
“We’re very proud of our climate leadership plan as a progressive way to bend the curve on carbon,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said in a press conference Thursday.
 
Sara Hastings-Simon, director of the clean economy program at the Pembina Institute, commended the province’s decision to expand the carbon levy to beyond industrial emitters.
 
“We know it is the most efficient way to reduce emissions in the province,” she said.

Nearly $1 Trillion Wasted Globally on Unnecessary New Coal Plants

Nearly $1 trillion (£700bn) is being invested in new coal-fired power plants worldwide despite the fact that the demand for electricity generated from coal has declined for two years in a row, shows a new report released today.

The report, by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, warns that this problem of overbuilding is creating an “increasingly severe capacity bubble”.

Last year the global power sector added at least 84 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power capacity. This is a 25 percent increase from 2014.

Subsidized to the End: Not Even Corporate Welfare Can Save Big Coal

This year, two energy companies that have each received billions of dollars in subsidies and financial support from the federal government are going into bankruptcy. You might think, in this post-Solyndra political environment, that conservative commentators and politicians would be lining up at the Fox News studios to call for some heads to roll.

But, no. Even though these companies have benefited from enough federal subsidies to make the Solyndra loan look like pocket change, there's no outrage. Because they are coal companies (not solar), the story isn’t about how the federal government spent decades propping them up, it’s about how the president’s Clean Power Plan is taking them down.
 
For decades, however, coal companies have taken advantage of vast subsidies for extracting coal from public lands. The deals for mining this taxpayer-owned coal from American public lands were so good that some of the world’s biggest coal companies have relied on the cheap leases to survive as demand plummeted and the industry melted down.

A new report released last week by Greenpeace reveals just how big a part of Big Coal’s business federally subsidized coal has become. 

New Report Identifies The Fossil Fuels We Must Keep In The Ground To Avert Catastrophic Climate Change

As the US Senate haggles over a comprehensive energy bill, climate activist groups have identified the global fossil fuel reserves that must be kept in the ground if we’re to limit global warming to the critical 2-degree-Celsius threshold.

This week saw the Senate debating the hotly contested energy bill, which has been criticized by environmentalists for including a number of fossil fuel industry giveaways, including expedited permitting for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and subsidies for coal technology, among other troublesome provisions.

Democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Ed Markey (MA) and Brian Schatz (HI) responded by introducing an amendment into the energy bill designed to express Congress’s disapproval of the use of industry-funded think tanks and misinformation tactics aimed at sowing doubt about climate change science.

Senate Democrats ultimately stopped the energy bill from moving forward on Thursday over the fact that a $600-million amendment to address the water crisis in Flint, MI was not included.

The US is not the only country that needs to do some soul-searching when it comes to energy policies, however.

Paris Climate Talks to Fossil Fuel Investors: ‘Get Out Now’

The end of the fossil fuel era is being signalled loud and clear here at the Paris climate conference as ministers enter the final hours of negotiations.

It's crunch time and everyone is saying the elements needed for an ambitious deal are still on the table. An essential part of this includes establishing a clear long-term goal to guide investor confidence toward a low-carbon society.

And with a 1.5C degree target option currently alive in the text, along with words such as ‘decarbonisation’ and ‘carbon neutral’, the signal couldn’t be clearer.

Lawson Stands By Academic William Happer Embroiled in Latest Oil Funded Denial Scandal

Lord Lawson has taken the extraordinary decision to stand by a “distinguished” academic advisor to his charity who has become embroiled in a new scandal about climate denier groups being secretly funded by oil companies.

The former chancellor and chairman-for-life of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has dug in his heels after a member of his Academic Advisory Council agreed to secretly channel oil money to another anti-science front group.

Professor William Happer, of Princeton University, was contacted by an undercover Greenpeace UK investigator posing as a representative of a fictional Middle East oil company.

Major Climate Science Denial Groups Offer to Hide Fossil Fuel Funding, Greenpeace Investigation Finds

An undercover investigation by environment group Greenpeace has found some of the world’s most vocal climate science denial groups were willing to accept cash from fossil fuel interests in return for writing articles and reports that reject the impacts of greenhouses gases.

Greenpeace operatives posing as representatives of coal and oil companies were told that while the reports could be produced, there were ways that the sources of funding could be hidden.

Academics affiliated with leading US academic institutions Princeton and Penn State universities are implicated in the Greenpeace research.

Alberta Climate Announcement Puts End to Infinite Growth of Oilsands

Alberta Climate Change Announcment

The days of infinite growth in Alberta’s oilsands are over with the Alberta government’s blockbuster climate change announcement on Sunday, which attracted broad support from industry and civil society.

This is the day that we start to mobilize capital and resources to create green jobs, green energy, green infrastructure and a strong, environmentally responsible, sustainable and visionary Alberta energy industry with a great future,” Premier Rachel Notley said. “This is the day we stop denying there is an issue, and this is the day we do our part.”

Notley and Environment & Parks Minister Shannon Phillips released a 97-page climate change policy plan, which includes five key pillars.

ExxonMobil Gave 15 Top UK Universities More Than £2.36m

ExxonMobil has invested more than £2.36 million in 15 top UK universities over the last five years, figures show.

The University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and Oxford University are the top three recipients of Exxon’s fossil fuel funding. According to data recently released by a Greenpeace investigation, Cambridge received £660,088 from the oil giant, while Imperial got £602,567, and £382,000 was given to Oxford.

This comes as the New York Attorney General announced an official investigation into ExxonMobil to “determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business”.

Climate Denying GWPF Wants ‘Objective Media Reporting’, Rejects UK Journalist From Annual Conference

This is a guest post by freelance journalist Victoria Seabrook, MA City Journalism graduate with work published in the Guardian and Evening Standard.

Climate change deniers assembled at a highly secretive meeting in London on Wednesday October 14 to discuss the celebration of carbon dioxide.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a think tank and charity set up by Lord Lawson, invited Canadian climate denier Dr Patrick Moore to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at Westminster, to deliver this year’s annual GWPF lecture.

Unfortunately I was prevented from reporting what the climate change deniers discussed. Any chancers – including myself – hoping to attend were met with three officious representatives, who would only grant entrance to those already accredited.

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