Thunberging, Heathrow ruling and is UK Gov really in new push for oil?

Are UK Government officials working to approve new exploration and drilling for oil off the coast of Scotland? According to this report by Unearthed, the answer is yes.

They say evidence from FOI requests show that ousted former cop26 head and Energy Minister Claire O’Neill had meetings with some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies in relation to potential new developments, and even write to congratulate one firm on the discovery of 25m barrels of oil in the Moray Basin. Read the full Unearthed article – ‘Sacked climate chief encouraged out exploration in North Sea’.

Executives from The Oil and Gas Authority, were meeting with government officials says The Guardian, to try and mitigate the impact of tackling the climate emergency on their industry.

It also reports on warnings from outgoing Bank of England chief / incoming UN climate finance envoy Mark Carney that unless there is a way to measure how big businesses are organisations are tackling their own climate responsibilities, the world is on course to miss its targets of slashing emissions and temperature growth.

One threat to the climate has been grounded, at least for now, after judges ruled a third runway at Heathrow Airport was illegal … on climate grounds.

The Guardian has a long read on the relief from those in local communities, CNN took an international perspective talking of the potential wider climate positive implications that could follow. BBC News, however, caution that while the development is is doubt, the story might not be over yet with likely appeals and political manoeuvrings to come.

Chapman House, meanwhile, muses over three directions the UK Government might want to consider if it is to emerge as a true global leader at Cop 26. It suggests Non-Alignment, Dynamic Alignment or a Higher Ambition are pathways open to ministers and officials to contemplate.

That comes as George Tyler, writing for Social Europe, suggests that ‘the EU should bring a new climate agenda to Glasgow’ —including a roadmap for emerging nations to embrace a future beyond fossil fuels.’

Legislators have also been contemplating the long term actions needed to deal with the fall out from climate change. People fleeing immediate danger due to the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, the UN has said.

A report by RNZ details a ruling on the case of Kiribati man Ioane Teitiota, whose home is threatened by rising sea levels. Although ultimately he lost a cause to remain in New Zealand lawmakers have made it clear that times have changed.

There’s more anticipated fall-out from the Budget set by Kate Forbes earlier this week at the Scottish Parliament after the Scottish Green Party secured spectacular concessions on a range of funding initiative, not least free bus travel for under 19 year olds. The Daily Record is among those reporting questions of how it will be funded, with the Minister insisting the £15m has been set aside.

The Scottish Government along with Forestry and Land Scotland, meanwhile, have hit back over concerns about the number of trees being felled to make way for wind farm projects in the north of Scotland. Campaigners against their installations say seven million trees have been felled to make way for the clean tech. Officials insist, however, many will have been replanted or replaced elsewhere and point to 272m trees being planted in the past 20 years. The report appeared in Energy Voice.

There will be panic on the streets of, well, everywhere according to the Just Transition Commission, Energy Voice again reporting concerns of ‘rioting’ French style should the Scottish Government accelerate cuts in emissions that some – it claims – may deem unfair.

This just days after Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, called for civil disobedience the other way – saying people power may be needed to secure exactly those kinds of cuts.

And as Greta Thunberg prepares for her UK visit in Bristol, a row has broken out over policing the event as senior officers cited concern over potential numbers and the safety of those attending. It has lead to you leaders to react by saying it is ‘no time for being patronised’, reports Common Dreams.

It comes as St Mungo’s school in Glasgow becomes what is thought to be the first in the country to install a reverse vending machine on campus. The Scottish Catholic Observer reports the school has already gathered 1800 plastic bottles in its first week of use, with pupils receiving school ‘house points’ for doing so.

MOVERS & SHAKERS

Lynette Purves has been appointed to renewable energy company ERG as its first UK legal counsel, reports Scottish Legal News. She takes up the role full time next month.

Details of those taking part in the Edinburgh Climate Commission have also been published by, among others, Smart Cities World. It explains former WWF Scotland deputy director Sam Gardner will chair the commission.

And finally …

Thunberging: How the Greta effect is impacting online dating. The Guardian reports mentions of the activist were up 800% on profiles of users on one dating app, amid a growing trend of like minded people who say they are concerned about the environment.

CREDIT: Main image Bilal EL-Daou

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