Vladimir Putin’s cynical extortion makes as eloquent a case for the clean energy transition as any environmental idealist
When Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, he gambled that it would be won quickly and that the west would acquiesce in a fait accompli. He underestimated Ukrainian resilience and European readiness to punish Kremlin aggression with sanctions. That forced Mr Putin into a longer game. Now he is betting that European reliance on Russian gas exports will corrode western solidarity, leading to a degrading of sanctions and restored tolerance of Moscow’s territorial aggressions.
To hasten that scenario, Russia has cut the flow of gas through the main east-west pipeline. The Kremlin’s message of strategic extortion is not subtle: go softer on the war and have a cosier winter; stay tough and freeze. European solidarity is just about holding. Earlier this week EU members agreed a deal to cut gas usage by 15% as part of a phased move away from reliance on Russian supplies. But the deal is diluted by opt-outs and exceptions for various countries. Hungary, the EU state that is cosiest with the Kremlin, has not signed up at all.
Exclusive: Campaigners say funding may provide incentive to restart fracking if moratorium is lifted
Fracking companies are likely to be eligible for tax breaks, potentially worth billions, that the government is extending to oil and gas companies to encourage new exploration of fossil fuel resources.
Combined with high gas prices, the extra funding – which amounts to a subsidy, according to campaigners – could provide a strong incentive to restart fracking operations if a moratorium in the UK is lifted, which could happen as early as this week.
Twenty years ago, the anti-GM movement had wide backing. Experts say the current mood on gene editing is softer
At the height of the anti-GM movement, in 1999, the then head of Greenpeace UK, Peter Melchett, was charged with theft and criminal damage after scything down a field of genetically modified maize.
In a decisive victory for the anti-GM movement, Lord Melchett and 27 fellow activists were acquitted by a jury in what many took as a measure of the profound negative public sentiment towards GM technology.
Slough, London and Leeds among worst locations on map showing air pollution above WHO limits
Virtually every home in the UK is subjected to air pollution above World Health Organization guidelines, according to the most detailed map of dirty air to date.
More than 97% of addresses exceed WHO limits for at least one of three key pollutants, while 70% of addresses breach WHO limits for all three.
One of the leading advocates of energy conservation explains why this could be a turning point for climate economics
Temperatures dropped far below freezing this week in Snowmass, Colorado. But Amory Lovins, who lives high up in the mountains at 7,200ft above sea level, did not even turn on the heating.
That’s because he has no heating to turn on. His home, a great adobe and glass mountainside eyrie that he designed in the 1980s, collects solar energy and is so well insulated that he grows and harvests bananas and many other tropical fruits there without burning gas, oil or wood.
Demand is growing as more of us work from home. But does the £5,000 outlay for installation pay off?
With energy bills on their way up again from April, homeowners are looking skywards to try and ease the pressure on their budgets – by installing solar panels.
The latest change to the regulator’s cap on default tariffs means, from spring, that the average annual dual-fuel bill will go up to £1,971, an increase of 54% on current levels.
Reducing speed limits, banning home wood-burning and providing free transport are just some of the approaches taken
Earlier in January the London mayor and other organisations issued the first pollution warning of the year. These warnings follow the UK government index.
They are designed to protect vulnerable people, but they do this by asking those people who experience most harm to avoid doing things outdoors. They do not ask the polluters to reduce their emissions.
From local activism to shareholder rebellions, here’s what climate advocates accomplished over the last year.
After a year of record-breaking climate disasters and a grim prognosis from the world’s top experts who warn the planet has already sustained “irreversible” harm, a movement is gaining momentum to force change. As the UN secretary general declared in August, the urgent need to curb carbon emissions marks a “death knell” for the fossil fuel industry.
For decades, Americans were told that standing up to powerful oil and gas companies wasn’t possible. But the reality is that everyday people are making a difference in the fight to cut emissions. These grassroots victories also show that the people who have been made most vulnerable by fossil fuel extraction, including Black and brown communities, already have solutions on hand.
LVMH, Zara, Nike and others at risk of contribution to destruction of rainforest based on connections to leather industry
New research into the fashion industry’s complex global supply chains shows that a number of large fashion brands are at risk of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, based on their connections to tanneries and other companies involved in the production of leather and leather goods.
The report, released Monday, analyzed nearly 500,000 rows of customs data and found that brands such as Coach, LVMH, Prada, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Teva, UGG and Fendi have multiple connections to an industry that props up Amazon deforestation.
Yes, there have been compromises. But this is the biggest ever plan to curb emissions and, ahead of Cop26, will send a signal to the world
Move aside, Donald Trump: there’s a new American for the world’s progressives to hate. What’s more, he’s not even a Republican, but rather a member of Joe Biden’s Democratic party. He’s Joe Manchin, who represents West Virginia in the US Senate – the body that’s split 50-50, and which Democrats only control if every single senator stays onside. It’s thanks to him – aided and abetted by the Arizona’ Democrat senator Kyrsten Sinema – that Biden cannot take his place at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow proudly pointing to a raft of measures, signed and sealed, by which the US government will tackle the climate crisis.
Biden had a whole plan worked out, and most Democrats backed him. But Manchin refused to say yes. He insisted that Biden drop perhaps the most powerful element of his climate programme: rewards for energy companies that shift to renewable sources, and fines for those that stick with fossil fuels. Manchin killed that off, perhaps because he represents a state that still has some coal mining, perhaps because he has big personal investments in coal, perhaps because he has received fat donations from the fossil fuel industry. Or maybe just because West Virginia voted by an almost 40-point margin for Trump last year and so, to keep winning, Manchin has to look more like a Republican than a Democrat.