No more Fossil Fuels
The objective of phasing out fossil fuels any time soon seems a forlorn hope in the light of this article about the Middle East oil states in The Ecologist, which concludes
By appearing to transform themselves into key actors in the fight against a warming climate, the Gulf states obscure their ongoing centrality to a globalised fossil capitalism. This is the real goal behind their leadership in the deliberations at both COP27 and COP28 – it is a means of shaping the world’s response to climate change and of resisting any move away from an oil-centred global order.
. . . .
A perspective on the climate crisis that ignores the Gulf and the politics of the wider region – concentrating its fire solely on Western governments and the Western oil industry – is not only out of step with the realities of world oil, but inadequate to the enormous challenges at hand.
'Insanity' of continued fossil fuel expansion
The Guardian 8 November 2023 Damian Carrington Environment Editor
The world’s fossil fuel producers are planning expansions that would blow the planet’s carbon budget twice over, a UN report has found. Experts called the plans “insanity” which “throw humanity’s future into question”.
The energy plans of the petrostates contradicted their climate policies and pledges, the report said. The plans would lead to 460% more coal production, 83% more gas, and 29% more oil in 2030 than it was possible to burn if global temperature rise was to be kept to the internationally agreed 1.5C. The plans would also produce 69% more fossil fuels than is compatible with the riskier 2C target.
The countries responsible for the largest carbon emissions from planned fossil fuel production are India (coal), Saudi Arabia (oil) and Russia (coal, oil and gas). The US and Canada are also planning to be major oil producers, as is the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is hosting the crucial UN climate summit COP28, which starts on 30 November.
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Full report PDF
UK Government approves Rosebank oilfield
The Uk Government's North Sea Transition Authority last week gave the go-ahead for the development of the Rosebank oilfield 80 miles west of Shetland to Norwegian energy giant Equinor and its UK partner Ithaca.
The decision produced furious responses and threats of legal action from environmental groups and some politicians, claiming that in addition to significantly increasing carbon emissions, the development would benefit the Norwegian company and state and not UK consumers, as oil from the field would be exported on the world market.
Keir Starmer said that Labour would not revoke the approval if the party won the coming general election.
BBC Scotland report 27 September
The Guardian 27 September'UK go-ahead for North Sea oil and gas field angers environmental groups'
The National 27 September'Rosebank oil field faces legal battle after UK Government approval'
Friends of the Earth Scotland 27 September'Rosebank approval shows ‘climate denial’ from UK Government'
Ecuadorian referendum rejects oil drilling in Amazon national park
The Ecologist 1 September 2023 Yasmin Dahnoun
Millions of Ecuadorians took part in a nationwide referendum that will keep oil in the ground at the Yasuní National Park in the Amazon rainforest. This was accompanied by a ban on gold mining in the Chocó Andino de Pichincha, a fragile highland biosphere reserve near Quito, the capital city.
. . . .
The ban on oil development in part of the Yasuní Amazon reserve passed with 59 per cent approval. The ban on mining in the Chocó Andino forest near Quito had 68 per cent support. This should result in the closure of 12 oil platforms and about 230 wells that produce approximately 57,000 barrels of oil per day in Yasuní territory, as well as six gold concessions in Chocó Andino.
. . . .
‘A critical moment’: UN warns world will miss climate targets unless fossil fuels phased out
Governments failing to cut emissions fast enough to meet Paris agreement goals and avoid disaster, major report says
The Guardian 8 September 2023 Fiona Harvey Environment Editor
Governments are failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and to stave off climate disaster, a major report by the UN has found.
Meeting the goals will require “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels”, the report says, in an acknowledgment that some oil-producing countries may find hard to take.
The need to phase out fossil fuels has not been explicitly adopted by the UN before, under successive rounds of climate talks, and language over “phasing out” or “phasing down” fossil fuels has caused controversy at the annual UN climate talks.
G20 poured more than $1tn into fossil fuel subsidies despite Cop26 pledges
Public money still flowing into industry despite agreement to phase out ‘inefficient’ subsidies
The Guardian 23 Aug 2023 Ajit Niranjan
The G20 poured record levels of public money into fossil fuels last year despite having promised to reduce some of it, a report has found.
The amount of public money flowing into coal, oil and gas in 20 of the world’s biggest economies reached a record $1.4tn(£1.1tn) in 2022, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) thinktank, even though world leaders agreed to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow two years ago.
In The Ecologist online, editor Brendan Montague highlights the likely potential loss to the UK Government of allowing Norwegian energy giant Equinor to develop the Rosebank oilfield off Shetland.
Sunak's £755mn oil tax giveaway
UK set to make huge tax loss from Rosebank, as Equinor announces billions in profits.
Britain is set to make a loss of more than £755 million if the proposed new Rosebank oil field is approved, according to new analysis by climate group Uplift, writes Brendan Montague.
The analysis comes as Rosebank’s developer, Equinor, posted global profits of over £15 billion in the first six months of this year.
Campaigners have accused the government of selling Britain short over the huge subsidies to new North Sea developments that will do nothing to lower fuel bills or boost UK energy security.
Shetland Times 30 June 2023 Chris Cope
ANOTHER protest against the proposed Rosebank oil development west of Shetland was held in Lerwick on Friday – this time at the town’s Market Cross and Commercial Street.
It comes after a similar protest at the Clickimin earlier this month.
Rosebank is the largest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea region and it has the potential to produce hundreds of million barrels of oil over its lifetime.
The field sits around 130km to the west of Shetland, and Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor is behind the development. Its final go-ahead rests with the UK Government.
Environmental campaigners say the development should not go ahead and that alternative forms of energy production should be pursued.
But those in favour say oil is needed during the transition to net zero.
FoES 'Stop Rosebank' campaign
Prompted by an email from Friends of the Earth Scotland, we recently sent a slightly personalised version of their standard email message to all Highland MSPs.
Text of FoES' campaign email
The UK Government is currently considering approving a huge new oil field in the North Sea, called Rosebank. It would be almost three times the size of the controversial Cambo oil field, which was paused last year because of widespread public and political opposition.
Burning the oil and gas from Rosebank would produce more CO2 than the annual CO2 emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries in the world combined.
Climate science is clear that the window for maintaining a liveable climate is closing. Every new oil field pours more fuel on the fire. We have to come together to make some noise to stop this field.
The campaign to stop Cambo last year gained cross-party support from many different MSPs. When the Scottish Government finally spoke out against it, it didn’t take long for Shell to pull out of the project.
Although the final decision on Rosebank will be taken by the UK Government, MSPs and the Scottish Government have the power and responsibility to influence this decision by taking a stand against Rosebank - and all new oil and gas in the North Sea.
The Scottish Government has already said that they don’t agree with the UK Government’s plans to expand oil and gas extraction. New oil and gas is not the answer to either the cost of living crisis or the climate crisis. But they are yet to speak out directly against Rosebank.
Text of email provided by FoES for campaign supporters to send to their MSPs.
Our constituency MSP Kate Forbes, and Emma Roddick (SNP), sent similar responses saying that they and the Scottish Government were opposed to further extraction of fossil fuels but pointing out that extraction licensing was a reserved matter and The Scottish Government had no direct involvement in the process, until such time (implied or stated) that Scotland achieved independence.
Ariane Burgess, on behalf of the Scottish Green Party, sent a much more detailed response, with links to statements from the IPCC and the International Energy Agency on the need to end fossil fuel extraction, and to a letter sent to UK Energy minister Jacob Rees-Mogg by Green MSP Mark Ruskell, protesting in the strongest terms against the possible development of the Rosebank field.
Jamie Halcro Johnston (Conservative) gave a very different response, decrying what he described as 'knee jerk decisions that will see us import oil and gas from other countries which would lead to increased pollution, but will not create jobs in Scotland'. Accepting that we need to transition away from non-renewable energy sources, he says that 'we need to do that gradually and sensibly in a way that ensures we protect those jobs and deliver a real future for [Scotland's oil and gas] sector and the North East.' Implicitly supporting the Development of Rosebank, he suggests that 'The Scottish Government’s obligation should be to bring Scotland in as a full partner in the North Sea Transition Deal' (a UK Government initiative involving co-operation between various government and industry bodies and support for the development of Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) technology) - to protect jobs and reduce emissions.
It is not known wnen a decision on licensing Rosebank will be made. It has been suggested (The Guardian 30 October), that the UK Government stands to lose more than £100m, rather than benefit, if drilling at the UK’s largest undeveloped oil field is approved. This is because of the 'investment rebate' loophole in the windfall tax legislation passed in May this year (2022).
Mine victory for Welsh community
'Ecologist' online Catherine Early 5 May 2023 c Creative Commons
Campaigners in Wales are celebrating the refusal of a coal mine extension - but are in despair that restoration repeatedly promised to them in return for putting up with noise and dust from the open cast coal mine might never happen.
Councillors at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council have voted unanimously to refuse planning permission for the expansion of the Ffos-y-Fran coal mine, a 400ha open cast coal mine 1.5km from the town centre of Merthyr Tydfil.
The mine contains dry steam coal, which is suited to steel manufacturing rather than power generation, and is mostly sold to the TATA Steel plant at nearby Port Talbot. It was originally granted permission in 2005, but this was amended in 2011 along with a condition that all coal extraction from the development was to cease no later than 6 September 2022, with final restoration of the land to be completed by 6 December 2024.
However, last year operator Merthyr South Wales applied to extend coaling to March 2024, and to move the restoration deadline to June 2026, which would allow the 240,000 tonnes of coal remaining in the mine to be extracted.
UK government approves Cumbria coalmine
The UK will build its first new coalmine for three decades at Whitehaven in Cumbria, despite objections locally, across the UK and from around the world.
Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, gave the green light for the project on Wednesday, paving the way for an estimated investment of £165m that will create about 500 new jobs in the region and produce 2.8m tonnes of coking coal a year, largely for steelmaking.
'Cumbria coalmine approval shows Sunak does not care whether he is seen as green'The Guardian 7 December 2022 Fiona Harvey, Environment editor
'First UK coal mine in decades approved despite climate concerns'BBC News 7 December 2022 Christina McSorley, Joshua Nevett, Justin Rowlatt.
- Friday 8 December
- 19:30 Culbokie Players Panto 2023 - 'The Legend of Clachnafudden'
- Saturday 9 December
- 14:00 COP28 Global Day of Action Inverness, Edinburgh and around UK
- 19:30 Culbokie Players Panto 2023 - 'The Legend of Clachnafudden'
- 10:30 Cromarty Community Market
- Wednesday 13 December
- 19:30 Transition Together recruit and revive forum
- Thursday 14 December
- 19:00 GGFP film - 'Rooted: Growing a Local Ecosystem'
- Saturday 16 December
- 10:00 Culbokie Community Market
- Saturday 6 January
- 13:00 BLACK ISLE REPAIR CAFE Victoria Hall, Cromarty
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