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Prime Minister Harper’s Inaction on Climate Killed the Keystone XL Oilsands Pipeline

Stephen Harper climate change

With U.S. President Barack Obama expected to deny a permit to the Keystone XL pipeline this fall, Canada’s oil industry is looking for someone to blame.

The National Post’s Claudia Cattaneo wrote last week that “many Canadians … would see Obama’s fatal stab as a betrayal by a close friend and ally” and that others “would see it as the product of failure by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to come up with a climate change plan.”

The latter is the more logical conclusion. Obama has made his decision-making criteria clear: he won’t approve the pipeline if it exacerbates the problem of carbon pollution.

Even the U.S. State Department’s very conservative analysis states the Keystone XL pipeline would “substantially increase oilsands expansion and related emissions.” The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed.

While Canada’s energy reviews take into account “upstream benefits” — such as jobs created in the oilsands sector as a result of pipelines — they don’t even consider the upstream environmental impacts created by the expansion of the oilsands.

For all the bluster and finger-pointing, there’s no covering up the fact that Canada’s record on climate change is one of broken promises.

100 Days Before The UN Climate Talks – Reasons To Be Cheerful. And Reasons Not To

This article by Alice Bell, writer and researcher on science, technology and the environment, has been reposted from The Road to Paris.

It’s less than 100 days before the big UN climate talks in Paris. How does that feel? Concerned, excited, or just a bit meh?

Are we kneeling at the seat of history? Are we finally about to save the planet? Or is it all the same business as usual which we know is already hurtling us to six degree warming? Here’s four reasons to feel good about the Paris climate talks, and four reasons for concern.

California Public Pension Funds Lost $5 Billion On Fossil Fuel Investments In One Year

Two of California’s massive public pension funds lost more than $5 billion on investments in coal, oil and natural gas in just 12 months.

According to a report released by environmental group 350.org, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) lost $3 billion and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) lost $2.1 billion from their holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies between June 2014 and June of this year.

Combined, the two funds lost a total of $840 million from their stock investments in coal companies alone — one-fourth of the value of their coal holdings.

Matt 'King Coal' Ridley Admits Fossil Fuel Investments May Cloud Views on Climate Change

Matt ‘King Coal’ Ridley was seriously concerned that his vested interests in open cast mining would cloud his judgement on climate science, the Tory peer confirmed in a remarkable interview.

The member of the House of Lords, famous author, and self-styled climate ‘lukewarmer’ also admits that he has not read widely on the science of global warming and is likely to be guilty of selection bias.

Ridley claims that he had originally believed climate scientists who claimed fossil fuels were causing dangerous climate change – despite the fact he was at the time profiting from coal mining.

The US Installed More Than Twice As Much Solar and Wind As Fossil Fuel Electricity So Far In 2015

Throughout the entire first half of 2015, solar and wind energy accounted for 2,518 megawatts of new electricity generating capacity brought online in the US — some 65 percent of all new capacity added so far this year.

Coal accounted for a mere 3 MW during that time period, while natural gas accounted for 1,173 MW (there was no new oil). That’s less than half the amount of solar and wind energy added January to June. Wind alone, at 1,969 MW, was more than all fossil fuels combined.

Blankenship Lawyers Fight To Keep Mine Explosion Discussion Out Of Criminal Trial

As jury selection begins for the trial of coal baron Don Blankenship, his team of lawyers are doing everything possible to prevent prosecuting attorneys from mentioning the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that claimed the lives of 29 mine workers.

Blankenship is currently awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to violate mine safety standards and making false statements. These charges are what ultimately led to the mine disaster, but Blankenship has not been charged for that explosion.

Australia's IPA Think Tank Adds Coal Lobbying To Its Climate Science Denial

The Institute of Pubic Affairs holds the unofficial and dubious title of being Australia’s leading climate science denial organisation.

The so-called “think tank”, based in Melbourne, promotes fringe views on climate science from non-experts while attacking renewable energy.

Now if you were a coal company, you’d be concerned how for many decades scientists have linked the burning of your product to climate change. 

You might be worried too that investment in renewable energy is going through the roof while the cost of power from aforementioned renewables is going in the opposite direction.

A short-sighted coal company might decide to start launching critiques of the science of climate change and start having a crack at renewables while at the same time selling its product as some sort of silver bullet that can solve global poverty with a single well-aimed shot.

This brings us back to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and its latest report, titled: “The life saving potential of coal: How Australian coal could help 82 million Indians access electricity”. It could have been written by the coal industry.

Climate Science Denial Group CFACT Praises Australia’s War on Renewables

wind farm in Victoria, Australia

Bravo Australia,” came the cry earlier this week from one US-based climate science denial group.

The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow was reacting to the latest efforts by the Australian Government to stifle its renewable energy industry.

For a country that claims to be a “good global citizen” on climate change, the support from an organisation that claims human-caused climate change is largely a hoax should be seen as a major embarrassment.

CFACT sent an email to supporters saying “you’ve got to hand it to the Aussies” after conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott ordered a government-backed clean energy funding institution to stop financing wind farms and small-scale solar energy projects.

Drillers Under Pressure as Low Prices, Broad Uncertainties Put Oil & Gas Industry's Financial Prospects 'In Limbo'

At a climate change conference in Paris last week, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, had a blunt message for energy companies.

“We see some moves from energy companies in the direction of sustainable development. However, it is not at the level you would like to see,” Mr. Birol, who will be promoted to chief of the IEA in September, told those assembled. “If they think that their businesses are immune to the impacts of climate policy, they are making a strategic mistake.”

Other experts sound a similar note, calling for changes so fast and sweeping that they would be like an “induced implosion.”

Peabody Energy to White House: Greenhouse Gas a 'Non-Existent Harm'

In an official submission to the White House earlier this year, U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy claims that greenhouse gas is a “non-existent harm” and a “benign gas that is essential to all life.”

The March 2015 submission from Peabody further claims that “while the benefits of carbon dioxide are proven, the alleged risks of climate change are contrary to observed data, are based on admitted speculation, and lack adequate scientific basis.”

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