DeSmog UK kicked off the summer with a bang as we headed to Washington, DC to check out this year’s climate denial conference, hosted by the Koch-funded Heartland Institute.
However, the Heartland Institute’s principled crusaders for free speech took the pragmatic step of banning us – credentialed journalists – from its event, fearing negative publicity. Of course, that didn’t stop us writing exactly that.
And, while we may not have physically been in the room, climate denial scientist Willie Soon made sure to give us a shout-out.
— DeSmogBlog (@DeSmogBlog) June 11, 2015
— DeSmog UK (@DeSmogUK) June 11, 2015
Glued to the Heartland’s denial-palooza livestream, we also reported on Texas Senator Lamar Smith declaring war on the US Environmental Protection Agency and NASA – constraints on climate science research are needed, he told the conference attendees.
And did I mention that before we were told to leave the event we managed to snag a Heartland goody bag?
Amongst the climate denial literature, we found a promotional bookmark advertising a new book attacking Michael Mann’s hockey stick as “a disgrace to the profession”. You can check out our post examining this claim here.
In June, we also revealed two big stories involving Shell, BP and a whole crew of other Big Oil businesses.
Firstly, documents obtained by DeSmog UK under a freedom of information request show that the UK Government lobbied Big Oil to become Big Gas – to tout the benefits of natural gas in order to be seen as climate leaders.
However, Shell and BP apparently weren’t interested in tackling the harmful methane emissions from gas extraction in order to become green gas leaders. Despite this, they are now emphasising the need to transition away from more harmful fossil fuels and towards natural gas in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Next, we revealed the names of 15 oil and gas companies working with the UK Government to help extract, literally, all of the oil and gas contained within the UK’s continental shelf.
Companies, including Shell, BP, Total, Chevron and ExxonMobil, were courted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to help implement the Wood Review recommendation to maximise the economic recovery of UK petroleum (MER UK) – a policy which is now law under the Infrastructure Act.
Fracking, Fracking, Fracking
A victory for green campaigners comes as the UK’s transparency watchdog rules that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) must release an un-redacted version of its Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts report.
The redacted report released last summer was blanked out 63 times within 13 pages, including a whole section on the impact of fracking on house prices. DEFRA now has until the end of July to publish the report in full.
We also reported in June that it seems like the Tories might be the last man standing when it comes to going all out for shale gas.
And, while it may be a no-brainer for David Cameron’s Tories, whether or not to supporting fracking has been no easy decision for Lancashire County Council, which – so far – has decided to reject one of Cuadrilla’s two fracking sites in the area.
After several delays, the highly anticipated decision was made at the end of June, amidst tense legal discussions. The council received legal advice which raised fears that it was being pushed to back fracking or risk exposure to expensive legal action from Cuadrilla.
The final decision will be made on Monday, meaning that if Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site is given the green light, this will be the first time fracking will take place in Britain since operations were stopped in 2011.
Do you have any questions or comments? Got any suggestions for investigations? Feel free to email me at [email protected]