Blog Posts: December 2015

December 18th, 2015

European Parliament Asks: Can Fracking “Be A Viable Technology” in The EU?

By Geert Decock

Admittedly, political processes move slowly. But when it comes to the position of the European Parliament on plans to turn the European Union into an Energy Union, it was worth the wait, all ten months of it.

After the European Commission announced its ideas for an Energy Union, the Parliament decided to respond to these plans. We were all holding our breath, when we learned that a conservative right-wing Member of the European Parliament, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, got appointed in March as a rapporteur and the pro-business Industry, Energy and Research Committee was going to handle the file. In the European Parliament, it is standard procedure for rapporteurs to write a first initial draft. After that, other Committee members can submit their amendments.

Read the full article…

December 17th, 2015

Looking Back at the Paris Agreement: A Ban on Fracking Was Never More Urgent

By Geert Decock

The Paris agreement on climate change is less than a week old, yet its contents have already been intensely analysed. Below, we want to share the top five analyses that we have read so far.

The Paris agreement and the promises by 196 governments do not offer any guarantee that the world will limit global warming to a safe level: Even if all parties kept their promises, “the planet would warm by an estimated […] 3.5 degrees Celsius, above preindustrial levels. And that is way, way too much,” says Bill McKibben of 350.org in the New York Times.

The Paris agreement offers too little, too late. “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. […} In fairness, the failure does not belong to the Paris talks, but to the whole process. […] The talks in Paris are the best there have ever been. And that is a terrible indictment,” says George Monbiot in The Guardian.

One of the main reasons why we remain deeply critical of the Paris agreement is one glaring omission in the text, as Food & Water Watch pointed out in its statement (also pointed out by Naomi Klein on her Twitter feed). How is it – after 21 years of climate summits – that we STILL cannot name the elephant in the room?

FoodandWaterEuropeNaomiKleinTwitterCop21

Read the full article…

December 14th, 2015

You Say, “Commitment.” I Say, “Convince Me.” – UK Fracking Policy Failure

By Eve Mitchell

Ban Fracking

I’m one of those women who doesn’t like fracking. I’m pretty sure my gender has nothing to do with it, and I’m irked by the dismissal of my considered objection as some frail, fearful failure to understand (and the rest of the bogus lines trotted out by vested interests, which are pretty insulting to men, too).

I’m not daunted by “an awful lot of facts”, but it is true that “more facts are not going to make any difference” to my views on fracking.

It’s quite simple really.

Fact: In January 2015, hot on the heels “streamlining” UK planning policy for infrastructure projects that promised to “make it fairer and faster for communities and applicants alike”, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a “commitment to an outright ban on fracking in National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

Hooray! (Ish – that leaves a lot of other places to go “all out for shale”.)

Fact: Days later, DECC Minister Amber Rudd wobbled: “[I]t might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them [protected areas] in all cases without unduly constraining the industry.”

By July the DECC confirmed it would be “impractical” to honour its January commitment. Instead there’s a new “clear commitment to ensure that fracking cannot be conducted from wells that are drilled in the surface”, but drilling under them is just fine, and the definition of protected area excludes SSSIs altogether.

Read the full article…

December 10th, 2015

Science Fiction in a Fish – GM Salmon Is NOT Food

FoodandWaterEuropeObamaCANStopGMSalmonBy Eve Mitchell

You’d be forgiven for missing the news, but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquaBounty’s genetically modified (GM) salmon for human consumption few days ago.

We’re fighting to get that decision revoked. You can help. In case natural revulsion isn’t enough of a prompt, a few reminders:

It’s a serious environmental hazard

Read the full article…

December 4th, 2015

Paris By Night – But Then Different

By Geert Decock

Global Frackdown to ParisI arrived on Thursday afternoon in Paris. As a tourist to Paris, you are faced with the impossible decision about which places to visit first: Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees… the list is endless and well-known. With the terrorist attacks fresh in my memory, my first visit was to the Bataclan club in the lively 11th district of Paris to pay my respect to the victims. I also biked past Place de la République where a lot of political demonstrations in France start, as the statues on the square symbolize the three key principles – liberty, equality and fraternity – of the French republic. As you can see from the pictures, the memory of the attacks is still very fresh… thousands of flowers and candles commemorate the victims.

Read the full article…

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