UK likely to miss Paris climate targets by wide margin, analysis shows

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/dec/05/uk-miss-paris-climate-targets-emissions

Exclusive: Under current policies, Britain could fall short of internationally agreed goal of 68% cut in emissions by 2030

The UK government is likely to miss its targets under the Paris climate agreement by a wide margin, analysis shows, dealing a devastating blow to Britain’s standing on the international stage.

Under current policies, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be 59% lower in 2030 than they were in 1990 – but the country’s internationally agreed target is for a 68% reduction by the end of this decade. The gap is likely to leave Britain in breach of these commitments.

The 2030 emissions goal was agreed at Cop26, the UN climate summit hosted by the UK in Glasgow in 2021, and has been reaffirmed at Cop28, taking place in Dubai this week.

Failure to meet the UK’s commitments would hinder international efforts to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels.

The estimate comes from analysis of publicly available and government data carried out by Friends of the Earth. It found that current policies would achieve just over half the emissions cuts needed by 2030.

The gap had grown significantly under Rishi Sunak’s leadership, Friends of the Earth found.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/dec/05/uk-miss-paris-climate-targets-emissions

Image of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reads 1% RICHEST 100% CLIMATE DENIER
Image of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reads 1% RICHEST 100% CLIMATE DENIER
Continue ReadingUK likely to miss Paris climate targets by wide margin, analysis shows

Climate Coalition Says ‘Stop Carbon Offsetting Now!’

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Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Environment technicians gather on a sample plot at the Kasigau corridor in Kenya on August 9, 2023. (Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images)

“Carbon offset trading is reckless and irresponsible,” said one campaigner.

A coalition of climate groups had a message for world leaders on Monday, Finance Day at the United Nations Climate Change Conference: “Stop carbon offsetting now!”

The conference, COP28, is hosted in Dubai by the United Arab Emirates—which, as the coalition highlighted in a joint statement, is set to “hold numerous promotional thematic events,” despite two decades of negative impacts from carbon offset schemes.

“Carbon offset trading is reckless and irresponsible,” declared Jutta Kill of the World Rainforest Movement—part of the coalition that includes ETC Group, Focus on the Global South, GRAIN, Indigenous Environmental Network, Just Transition Alliance, and the Oakland Institute.

“Throughout 2023, academic research media , and civil society investigations have exposed how these projects routinely generate phantom offsets and result in land grabbing and human and Indigenous rights violations,” the organizations noted, pointing to “the forced relocation of Ogiek Peoples in Kenya’s Mau Forest” and “extensive sexual abuse at a Kenyan offset project.”

“Over the past months, Kenya, along with Liberia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, have signed deals with Dubai-based Blue Carbon covering a total of over 24 million hectares of community lands,” the coalition continued. “Carbon offset project developers, standards bodies, auditors, and credit providers have pocketed millions from churning out carbon credits that have failed to reduce emissions and exacerbated the climate crisis.”

One “damning” probe from September found that nearly 80% of the top carbon offset schemes be deemed “likely junk or worthless.” Another study from that month, focused on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects, similarly concluded that reductions were dramatically exaggerated.

“At COP28, world leaders and climate negotiators need to recognize once and for all that carbon markets are a failed source of climate finance. They are volatile and unstable, marked by fraud, incapable of reducing emissions, and actually harm communities,” Oakland Institute executive director Anuradha Mittal said Monday.

The coalition pointed out that in addition to impacts such as relocations and abuse, “these projects, many of which are repackaged as so-called ‘nature-based solutions’ or ‘natural climate solutions’ or, when done at coastal and marine areas, as ‘blue carbon,’ have also drawn peasant and Indigenous communities into costly and complicated legal battles in their effort to affirm their rights and reclaim community territories and in their fights to resist the projects.”

The Kichwa communities in the Peruvian Amazon, Dayak communities in Indonesia, and Aka Indigenous communities and Bantu farmers in the Republic of Congo’s Bateke Plateau are among those negatively affected by carbon offsetting schemes.

“Over 20 years of history with offsets have resulted in the rights of Indigenous peoples being violated, increased land grabbing, and disproportionate impacts on Indigenous environmental defenders,” stressed Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom Goldtooth. “The false solutions will become a crime against humanity and Mother Earth.”

GRAIN’s Devlin Kuyek said that “they prop up a system that has enabled corporate polluters and rich countries to delay action and profit from the crisis. Whether unregulated or with a U.N. seal of approval, carbon offsetting in all its shapes and forms, including REDD or so-called ‘nature-based solutions’ and ‘blue carbon,’ is a fraud that must be immediately scrapped.”

The coalition asserted that rather than carbon offsetting, “what is urgently needed is renewed focus on keeping fossil fuels in the ground and commitments to real climate action based on equity and justice.”

As Friends of the Earth International’s Kirtana Chandrasekaran put it: “What we need are real emissions reductions and real climate finance. Anything less is failure.”

The coalition’s demands contrasted sharply with Sunday comments from Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 president and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company CEO, who claimed there is “no science” behind the push to rapidly phase out planet-heating fossil fuels—which one leading expert said “dismisses decades of work” by global scientists.

Going into COP28, a U.N. analysis warned that countries’ currently implemented policies put the world on track for 3°C of warming by 2100, or double the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C target. Already, the planet has warmed about 1.1°C relative to preindustrial levels.

Even though the international community is way off track in terms of meeting its climate goals, Bronwen Tucker, global public finance lead at Oil Change International , pointed out Monday that “on Finance Day at COP28, instead of rich country governments committing to pay their fair share for a fossil fuel phaseout, they tried to shirk their responsibilities.”

The biggest historical contributor to planet-heating pollution, the United States, and foundation partners on Sunday announced the Energy Transition Alliance. Rachel Cleetus, the policy director and a lead economist for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Climate and Energy Program, said the offset initiative “is still very much a work-in-progress, and the details shared thus far raise a fair degree of skepticism about its ability to meaningfully contribute to addressing the climate crisis.”

“Richer nations and large corporations should have no claim over monetizing the scarce remaining carbon budget and yet this program is premised on that unjust idea,” Cleetus added. “At COP28, the primary focus should be on securing an agreement among nations for a fast, fair fossil fuel phaseout and ramping up public finance.”

Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue ReadingClimate Coalition Says ‘Stop Carbon Offsetting Now!’

Rejecting Destruction to Communities, Groups Sue Biden Admin Over Offshore Lease Sale

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Original article by Julia Conley republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Canadian wildfire 2023
Canadian wildfire 2023

“This vast lease sale—for millions of acres—poses threats to Gulf communities and endangered species while contributing to the climate crisis this region knows far too well,” said one advocate.

Calling the Biden administration’s plan to go ahead with an offshore drilling lease sale “mind-boggling” as the United States faces escalating climate harms including “record heat, fires, and flooding,” several advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging the U.S. Interior Department’s impending sale of 67 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to the fossil fuel industry.

Groups including the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Earthjustice, and Friends of the Earth (FOE) filed the lawsuit saying that in moving forward with Lease Sale 261—the last of three offshore lease sales mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act—the Interior Department did not sufficiently consider the environmental impacts on people and wildlife across Gulf communities.

“As steward of the country’s public lands and waters, Interior has a duty to fully consider the harms offshore leasing can cause, from air pollution to oil spills, and beyond,” said Julia Forgie, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the plaintiffs. “This vast lease sale—for millions of acres—poses threats to Gulf communities and endangered species while contributing to the climate crisis this region knows far too well. We are holding the agency to its obligation to carefully assess these risks and the climate fallout of this giveaway to Big Oil.”

“If we are going to make a dent in the climate crisis, business as usual must stop.”

A study published in May in Environmental Research showed that people living near offshore drilling rigs are at heightened risk for respiratory and cardiovascular issues as well as other serious illnesses, along with facing the rising threat of extreme weather due to fossil fuel emissions from such projects.

Lease Sale 261 could result in the production of more than 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of fossil gas over the next 50 years, noted the groups, leading to more than 370 tons of greenhouse gases at a time when scientists and energy experts are warning that continued fossil fuel extraction is threatening the planet.

The sale is scheduled to be held on September 27, around the same time that the Interior Department is expected to release its proposal for a five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program.

That proposal could include as many as 11 new offshore lease sales “with the potential to emit up to 3.5 billion tons of carbon pollution,” said the groups.

The lawsuit filed on Friday accused the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of presenting “an incomplete and misleading picture of oil spill impacts and risks based on flawed modeling that failed to properly consider reasonably foreseeable accidents” in its analysis of environmental impacts that could be caused by Lease Sale 261.

“The final SEIS [supplemental environmental impact statement] failed to take the required ‘hard look’ at the significant impacts of this action,” reads the lawsuit. “For example, the bureau did not rationally evaluate the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, relying instead on problematic modeling and assumptions to conclude that these massive lease sales will result in only slightly higher emissions than not leasing at all, and further failed to consider the impacts of such fossil fuel development on climate goals and commitments. With regard to environmental justice, the final SEIS arbitrarily dismissed the impacts of onshore oil and gas infrastructure—refineries, petrochemical plants, and other industrial sources that process fossil fuels and related products from these lease sales—on Gulf communities.”

The lawsuit was filed as thousands of people in Louisiana’s so-called “Cancer Alley” were ordered to evacuate due to a chemical leak and fire at a petroleum refinery.

Hallie Templeton, legal director for Friends of the Earth, said the group will “keep fighting until the Gulf of Mexico is off the table for good.”

“Unfortunately, given BOEM’s history of sacrificing the Gulf of Mexico to Big Oil, this lease sale decision comes as no surprise,” said Templeton. “Our lawsuit should also come as no surprise, since BOEM continues to rely on the same outdated, broken environmental analysis. If we are going to make a dent in the climate crisis, business as usual must stop.”

Original article by Julia Conley republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingRejecting Destruction to Communities, Groups Sue Biden Admin Over Offshore Lease Sale

In ‘Climate-Wrecking’ Reversal, Shell Ditches Plans for Oil Production Cut and Hikes Dividend

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By JAKE JOHNSON Jun 14, 2023

Original article republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.
Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.

“It will always be profit over people and planet for polluters,” said one campaigner. “Shell simply cannot be trusted—with either their own meager targets or our futures.”

Shell announced Wednesday that it is raising payouts to wealthy shareholders and scrapping plans to cut oil production by up to 2% annually, a move that environmental groups said lays bare the futility of relying on fossil fuel corporations to voluntarily curb their climate-destroying activities.

The London-based company, which more than doubled its annual profits last year, said in a press release that it now intends to “achieve cash flow longevity” by keeping oil production stable until 2030 and boosting gas production, even as scientists say a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels is necessary to avert global climate destruction.

“It is unacceptable that Shell is betting on even more short-term returns to appease shareholders,” said Sjoukje van Oosterhout, Climate Case Shell’s lead researcher. “Shell is now throwing in the towel on reducing oil production and even scaling up gas production.”

Shell also announced Wednesday that it is hiking its dividend by 15%, a change that’s set to take effect this quarter. In an additional gift to shareholders, the company said it plans to buy back at least $5 billion of its own stock in the second half of 2023.

“Record profits, off the back of the energy crisis, should be boosting up green investment,” Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior campaigner at Global Witness, said in a statement Wednesday. “Instead it’s shareholder pay-outs and a doubling down on climate-wrecking fossil fuels.”

Shell had previously said its oil and gas production would fall by 1-2% each year through 2030. But as Bloombergreported, Shell justified the newly announced shift by claiming it “achieved its initial output-reduction plan—announced in 2021 amid a focus on cutting carbon emissions—faster than anticipated.”

Noronha-Gant called Shell’s announcement a “climate bombshell” that “exposes the hollowness behind the setting of such a target.”

“It will always be profit over people and planet for polluters,” Noronha-Gant said Wednesday. “Shell simply cannot be trusted—with either their own meager targets or our futures.”

Others responded with similar outrage. Climate scientist Bill McGuire wrote on Twitter that Shell CEO Wael Sawan “knows exactly what the consequences of this decision are.”

“People will die—are already dying,” McGuire tweeted. “I want to see him jailed—along with all the other CEOs who have been unequivocally complicit in crimes against humanity. And so should you.”

https://twitter.com/CJAOurPower/status/1668944856012451841?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1668944856012451841%7Ctwgr%5Eec05d99c9db872b46c10035937ed391a9d054200%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fnews%2Fshell-ditches-oil-production-cut

Shell’s announcement comes weeks after Carbon Brief released an analysis highlighting the oil giant’s tacit admission that limiting warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century means an “immediate end to fossil fuel growth.”

“Shell had previously claimed that oil and gas production could rise for another decade, even as warming was limited to 1.5°C,” Carbon Brief observed. “The dramatic shift in its new ‘Energy Security Scenarios’ is not explicitly acknowledged, but… is hidden in plain sight.”

“The immediate end to fossil fuel growth in Shell’s new 1.5°C scenario marks a dramatic shift from its earlier work, which had squared the circle between limiting warming to 1.5°C and continuing to expand oil and gas production by invoking implausibly-large forest expansion,” Carbon Brief added.

Shell insisted Wednesday that it is “aiming to achieve near-zero methane emissions by 2030” and “net-zero emissions by 2050,” but research released earlier this week showed that such commitments are often meaningless because companies rarely outline specific steps they plan to take to achieve their stated targets.

Last month, Friends of the Earth Netherlands published a report accusing Shell of overstating its spending on renewable energy solutions by including “the sale of flowers and sandwiches at its gas stations” in the total, along with “biofuels with a high carbon footprint.”

“The company continues to contribute to catastrophic climate change,” the group concluded.

Original article republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue ReadingIn ‘Climate-Wrecking’ Reversal, Shell Ditches Plans for Oil Production Cut and Hikes Dividend

Another call for earlier ban on flaring in oil and gas fields

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This is the second report this month to call for a ban on flaring in the next two years. A cross-party report by the House of Commons environmental audit committee made the same recommendation on 5 January.

Mr Skidmore was commissioned by the former prime minister, Liz Truss, to review UK proposals to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Last year, the government accepted a ruling by the High Court that its net zero strategy was unlawful. The landmark judgement agreed with arguments by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project that the strategy failed to show how the UK’s legally-binding carbon budgets would be met.

The review ran to 340 pages and had 129 recommendations.

It said flaring was responsible for 22% of carbon emissions on oil and gas fields. About 70% of oil and gas field emissions were from powering equipment on platforms, it said.

The offshore industry published a Methane Action Plan in 2021 to reduce emissions and flaring. This committed the industry to a 50% methane emission reduction by 2030, compared with 2018 levels. Shell has committed to zero routine flaring by 2025.

Net zero: Tory MP warns government must take urgent action to meet climate goals
Continue ReadingAnother call for earlier ban on flaring in oil and gas fields

Friends of the Earth takes legal action against government over new coalmine in Cumbria

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https://leftfootforward.org/2023/01/friends-of-the-earth-takes-legal-action-against-government-over-new-coalmine-in-cumbria/

Environmental campaign group, Friends of the Earth, is taking legal action against the UK government following its recent decision to grant planning permission for a new coal mine in Cumbria.

The claim will be filed later this month and will focus on the harmful impacts to the environment from the coalmine. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.

The other main opponent of the mine, South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC), is also considering legal action and sent a letter to the Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, in December seeking more information and setting out some of the errors in law in his decision. 

Niall Toru, lawyer at Friends of the Earth, said: “By giving the go-ahead to this polluting and totally unnecessary coal mine the government has not only made the wrong decision for our economy and the climate, we believe it has also acted unlawfully.

Continue ReadingFriends of the Earth takes legal action against government over new coalmine in Cumbria