Mat Hope's blog

UK Climate Diplomacy Staff Cut Again as Post-Brexit Links to Trump and US Deniers Strengthen

Read time: 3 mins

With Donald Trump set to become the President of the United States, the international climate change political scenery has shifted.

The president-elect’s stance on “quitting” the Paris Agreement seems to have softened in recent days. But countries are still going to need strong diplomatic teams to shore-up the global commitment to tackling climate change, reiterated at the Marrakech climate talks last week.

So it’s notable that the UK’s climate diplomacy team appears to weakening.

For the second year in a row, the foreign office reduced the number of people working on climate change and energy, documents released by the government this week under a freedom of information request show.

Attacks on Greta Thunberg Are About More Than Anti-Environmentalism

Read time: 6 mins
Greta Thunberg mural

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

Freak yachting accidents do happen…”

That was how British businessman, Trump ally, and Brexit bankroller Arron Banks responded to the news that Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who inspired the school climate strikes movement, was sailing to America to attend the UN Climate Action Summit. His scorn was not unique. 

Many people have already spilled thousands of words of commentary explaining how personal attacks on Greta — often lobbed by old white men, sometimes mocking her Aspergers — are unacceptable. But understanding where those attackers come from, ideologically and professionally, casts an important light on some of their dark statements.

Database Reveals How Much Pollution Big Oil’s Top Execs Are Responsible for Each Year

Read time: 6 mins
Bob Dudley

Thanks to recent analysis, we now know how much of global greenhouse gas emissions big oil companies like Exxon and Shell are responsible for. But it’s easy to forget that behind these corporate behemoths are powerful individuals, making decisions about where the companies should drill next. 

And thanks to a new database, we can now pinpoint how much of the companies’ pollution each executive is accountable for.

The ‘Historical Jigsaw of Climate Deception’: Private Notes Show How Big Oil Spread Climate Science Denial

Read time: 6 mins
Exxon Knew billboard

We’ve all heard the dodgy arguments: ‘the science is uncertain’, ‘climate change is natural, not down to humans’, ‘science has been hijacked by politics’… Now a new cache of documents sheds light on the origins of the disinformation.  

In another verse of a now familiar refrain, a fossil fuel industry group in the 1990s publicly promoted arguments to undermine confidence in climate science while internally acknowledging their products were driving up temperatures.  

How Big Oil Tried to Capture the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Read time: 10 mins
IPCC synthesis report meeting GCC

A secretive fossil fuel lobby group undertook a decades-long campaign to undermine mainstream climate science while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and influence major scientific reports, a tranche of newly released documents shows.

The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was a fossil-fuel backed lobby group active in the mid-90s and early 2000s. A collection of briefings, meeting minutes, notes, and correspondence from the group, released by the Climate Investigations Centre in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News, show how the GCC tried to manipulate the UN’s official scientific advisory body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Polly Higgins — The Lawyer Taking on Big Oil’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Read time: 7 mins
Polly Higgins

Polly Higgins is a woman on the hunt. And you get the sense that, after decades of working towards holding powerful polluters to account, her prey may finally be in sight.

When you're looking at any crime, you're looking at who are your suspects,” she tells me in a soft Scottish accent that belies the hard truths she regularly delivers. “Within a corporate context, you're looking at CEOs and directors. Within a state context, it is ministers and Heads of State.”

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