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.

Years After EPA Cited Health Risks From Chemical Plant, Is Enough Being Done to Protect its Louisiana Neighbors?

Read time: 10 mins
Denka Performance Elastomer plant, located in LaPlace, Louisiana.

What should be done about a chemical plant in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish that releases chloroprene — a chemical so toxic that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined nearby residents face the highest risk in the country of developing cancer from air pollution?

Billionaire Mining Magnate Gina Rinehart Revealed As Key Donor to Australian Climate Science Denial Promoter Institute of Public Affairs

Read time: 5 mins
Gina Rinehart

Australia’s richest person, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, has been revealed as a key funder of the right wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) — a major pusher of climate science denial.

Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting Proprietary Ltd (HPPL), donated $2.3 million to the IPA in 2016 and $2.2 million in 2017, according to disclosures made to the New South Wales Supreme Court.

As part of a long-running legal dispute over the use of company funds, Gina Rinehart’s daughter Bianca had served a subpoena to access documents that would have shed light on the two donations from HPPL to the IPA.

The IPA is an influential right wing think tank with close ties to Australia’s governing Liberal Party. IPA fellows regularly appear in the media. The payments suggest that more than a third of the IPA’s income in 2016 and 2017 was from HPPL — majority-owned privately by Gina Rinehart.

When Corporations Take Credit for Green Deeds, Their Lobbying May Tell Another Story

Read time: 6 mins
Scott Pruitt meeting with auto industry leaders

By Tom Lyon, University of Michigan and Magali (Maggie) Delmas, University of California, Los Angeles

Today most large companies like Exxon Mobil, Ford and GM issue slick reports extolling their efforts to conserve resources, use renewable energy or fund clean water supplies in developing countries. This emphasis on efforts to curb environmental harm while benefiting society is called corporate sustainability.

Once uncommon but now mainstream, this show of support for a greener and kinder business model might seem like a clear step forward. But many of these same companies are quietly using their political clout, often through industry trade associations, to block or reverse policies that would make the economy more sustainable. And because public policy raises the bar for entire industries, requiring that all businesses meet minimum standards, lobbying to block sound public policies can outweigh the positive impact from internal company initiatives.

Mexico's New Populist President Considers Foreign Pipeline Plans Despite Indigenous Protests

Read time: 12 mins
Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a rally in Mexico in 2012

By Martha Pskowski and Steve Horn

Andrés Manuel López Obrador looked out at the crowd of reporters at a Mexico City Hilton Hotel the night of July 1. It was a moment that he had waited years for: his victory speech for the Mexican presidency.

To win in his third presidential campaign, López Obrador, a left-wing populist whose roots are in the oil-producing state of Tabasco, had to calm business leaders, who warned that foreign investment would flee the country if he took office. However, the candidate who once said he would overturn Mexico's 2013 reforms privatizing its energy sector — which opened the oil and gas industry to foreign investment and created a subsequent pipeline boom — struck a different tone on election night.

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