Claire's blog

Tory manifesto 2017: a blank cheque for fracking

Update: following clarification from fracking campaigners we understand that the manifesto pledge poses a greater threat than is immediately apparent - this blog post has been updated accordingly. 

Fracking

The doors may have opened a chink for onshore wind in the manifesto (see below), but they are thrown open for fracking. "Non-fracking wells" would become permitted development, so would not need planning permission. The Infrastructure Act redefined the term 'fracking' to reduce the activity in the UK that would be covered by it. All oil drilling in the Weald in the south east and much of the initial testing for shale gas elsewhere will not need planning permission.

Take action... UK media vs climate scientists

It has been harder and harder for certain tabloids and other sections of the UK media to push doubt and disinformation about the existence and seriousness of climate change. With the last three years each consecutively breaking records for the highest ever global temperatures the 'sceptics' are fighting a losing battle, and they know it.

But a journalist like the Daily Mail's David Rose is certainly not going to let Trump go unsupported in his war on climate science and clean energy. In a recent article, described by one expert as “so wrong it’s hard to know where to start” he launches an attack on one study. Rose claims, with breathtaking dishonesty, that this may undermine the entire scientific understanding of global warming, calling this "Climate Gate 2" and asking breathlessly:

"does this mean that truly dangerous global warming is less imminent, and that politicians’ repeated calls for immediate ‘urgent action’ to curb emissions are exaggerated?"

Er, no.

This article is only one example of the deliberate misinformation which has made it much easier for those wishing to cut "the green crap" (attrib. D. Cameron) to delay and divert vital policies to cut UK emissions. The main culprits are Rupert Murdoch's Times and Sun, Richard Desmond's Express, Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail and the Barclay brothers' Telegraph. The editorial policies of just five billionaire newspaper-owners have had a huge impact. In the absence of any serious regulation, the only meaningful leverage is through advertising revenue.

The campaign Advertising Action on Climate Project is calling on those in the business community who already understand the seriousness of the climate threat, and whose massive advertising budgets are the major source of revenue for these climate sceptic media corporations, to use this influence constructively by urgently engaging in dialogue with these media organisations’ editors and owners on the issue. The purpose of such a dialogue would be to seek assurances that, as a beginning, all climate crisis coverage would in future be science-based and that an end would be put to the flood of uncontested comment and editorial articles from non-scientific climate-sceptic lobbyists.

ImageTake action

Write to BT asking them to act (sample letter below)

Write to M&S asking them to act (sample letter below)

Briefing paper on climate misinformation in newspapers

Letter from climate scientists to The Times, April 2016

Scientists vs Trump

Plans are taking shape for a scientists' march on Washington as US scientists and public officials are finding themselves the forefront of the resistance to Trump. Staff at key agencies have responded to the social media lock-down imposed on them by creating over a dozen anonymously run Twitter accounts such as @AltNatParkSer, @altUSEPA and @RogueNASA to share climate science and crucial facts. In less than 24 hours, @RogueNASA alone has garnered 275,000 followers.

The Twitter resistance seemed to be sparked by the official Badlands National Park twitter account tweeting climate science in defiance of the media shutdown. While the tweets were deleted (and attributed to an ex-employee), they were screenshot and widely shared.

Free communication of public research silenced

Trump administration officials have instructed employees at multiple agencies responsible for overseeing environmental and scientific policy to cease communicating with the public through news releases, official social media accounts and correspondence. At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, communications staff received a memo instructing them that “no social media will be going out” and “a digital strategist will be coming on board” to oversee it. It added, “Incoming media requests will carefully screened.”

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