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Found 13 results

  1. The United Kingdom will have a general election tomorrow. One party that has seen a huge influx of new members lately is the Green Party. The Greens have high hopes to make substantial progress towards the UK's parliament - or at least help push for more climate action and sustainable policies - during this election. But to be able to gain more support and political power the Greens will have to attract more people than their average young, well-educated and - let's be honest - hippie voter. In this video the Guardian follows a few campaign workers from the Green Party as they try to reach out to working-class and ethnic minority voters in areas where the political interest is low, and where the few people who participate in elections predominantly tend to vote for the more established parties - or even the fascist UKIP. Watch the video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2passo_the-greens-a-voice-for-the-voiceless-or-a-middle-class-sect-video_news Will the Greens be able to become a voice for the voiceless or will they, as the Guardian puts it, remain a middle-class sect?  
  2. Plans to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm has just been approved by the UK’s energy secretary. The massive offshore wind farm, named the Dogger Bank Creyke Beck project, will be located around 130 km off the coast of the East Riding of Yorkshire. It will actually comprise of two offshore wind farms (Creyke Beck A and B.) with an installed capacity of up to 1.2GW each. But once built, it will act as a single wind farm and have up to 400 turbines generating a maximum of 2.4GWh per year – enough electricity to power almost two million homes. This means that this wind farm alone would fulfil 2.5 percent of the UK’s total electricity needs. The offshore wind project is also expected to boost the local economy. The government estimates that the wind farm will directly create up to 900 green jobs in Yorkshire and Humberside. “Making the most of Britain’s home grown energy is creating jobs and businesses in the UK, getting the best deal for consumers and reducing our reliance on foreign imports,” Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said. “Wind power is vital to this plan, with £14.5 billion invested since 2010 into an industry which supports 35,400 jobs.” RenewableUK, the wind industry association, says the project could create up to 4750 direct and indirect jobs and generate more than £1.5 billion for the UK economy. It’s estimated that the two offshore wind farms will cost somewhere between £6 billion to £8 billion. But the project could face construction problems and delays as it would be the furthest offshore farm that have ever been attempted. RenewableUK’s Director of Offshore Renewables Nick Medic said: “It will surely be considered as one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the wind industry. A colossal wind energy power station right in the middle of the North Sea, comprising hundreds of offshore wind turbines over 80 miles off shore.” “It is a project that pushes the offshore engineering envelope - demonstrating how far this technology has evolved in the ten short years since the first major offshore wind farm was installed in North Hoyle just 5 miles from shore.” A date for when construction starts has not yet been set, but is likely to be years away. The Forewind consortium, which the project is being developed by, has yet to make a final investment decision. The consortium includes the Scottish and Southern Energy, Germany’s RWE, and Norway’s Statoil and Statkraft.
  3. UK approves world's biggest offshore windfarm project
  4. The sound system was playing Bella Ciao. Flags of parties from across the left and the continent wiggled as their bearers danced and sang along. Ouzo flowed and fireworks flared. We could have been outside a G8 summit in the early noughties. Only the explosives weren’t directed at police lines, but in the air. The crowd chanting at the politician wasn’t protesting. It was cheering. An international movement which has become very good at licking its wounds was pretty quick to learn to celebrate. In fact, with perhaps 10% of the people at the rally in front of the Athens academy coming from outside Greece, this was very much a party for the European left – in the beer, loud music, and dancing sense of the word. But also, of course, in the political sense. So I should be clear. When I say that Syriza’s victory is in a sense the first Green government in Europe, it’s obviously not just Greens. Because Syriza is effectively a merger between most of the left wing parties in Greece, most left parties in Europe can reasonably see it as their sister. It has already been seen for a couple of years now as the archetypal party of the European left. A Green Government? Having said that, there is a remarkable extent to which Syriza is in practice a Green government. First, the Greek Green Party is a part of the Syriza coalition – they got one MP elected, who was promptly promoted to deputy environment minister. Secondly, as Kostas Lukeris, a member of the Greek Green Party’s ruling council put it to me over souvlaki on Syntagma square on the day of the vote “they adopted all of our platform”. Look through the policy commitments of Tsipras’ government and the manifestoes of the Green parties in the UK, and you’ll find little to separate them. Some of these similarities are unsurprising, and could be found within the platform of most contemporary parties of the left – rejecting austerity, opposition to privatisation. Both have campaigned for a crack down on tax dodging. Both are generally against corporate domination of politics and the corruption that comes with it. Some of the similarities are on issues which haven’t always united those on the left but which tend to today. Twenty years ago, there were active socialist traditions which saw feminism, anti-racism, LGBTIQ rights and environmentalism as “bourgeois deviationalism” – as distractions from class struggle. Many within these traditions were in practice homophobes, sexists and smokestack industrialists who saw environmentalism as standing in the way of their five year plans. Look to George Galloway’s comments on Julian Assange, and it’s clear that these sorts of people are still around. But they are not Syriza – whose colours are green and purple as well as red, indicating that they are proud feminists and environmentalists as well as socialists. Photo: Alexis Tsipras, newly-elected Prime Minister of Greece and party leader of Syriza. I could go even further: they support decriminalisation of drugs, cutting military expenditure and the introduction of direct democracy in some areas. They have already scrapped two of the tiers of school exams. These are not policies universally supported across the left. But they are to be found in Green manifestoes across Europe. Then there are a few issues on which the original Syriza coalition needed to be pushed. When the Greek Greens discussed merging into the broader party, they first published a list of twenty one demands – policies Syriza would have to adopt in order to get this support – the things they didn’t already agree on. The list includes independence from fossil fuels within 20 years, addressing desertification by supporting forests, protection of fisheries; participatory processes in public services, equal treatment of the islands in what they see as an over-centralised state. Syriza accepted every one of the policies. None of this was easy for Greens – who ended up shedding their more liberal wing to the Potami list (“the hipster party”, as my Green friend called it) and a couple of egos to another left alignment before they joined the Syriza list. But ultimately, it’s looking like the party can celebrate a significant victory in part as a product of its pains. The Left Has Changed None of this feels at all surprising, for two reasons. Firstly, the left across Europe, probably across the world, has changed significantly in the past twenty years. It’s no longer acceptable to ignore the interlocking struggles against different forms of oppression. Since 9/11 and the Iraq war, it’s been impossible to avoid accepting anti-imperialist arguments. Since the financial crash, you can’t really be progressive and ignore macro-economics and the struggle against neoliberalism. As the climate has changed, few reject the basics premises of environmentalism any more. In other words, where the reference points for the left were once where various groupings stood on particular bits of the history of the Soviet Union, a new generation has emerged where the relevant questions are very different. The cracks of the past have started to heal in the heat of history. In these contexts, it’s not surprising that we’ve seen a bit of a realignment, with much of the socialist left moving into a space once occupied more uniquely by (some in) the Greens, and some of Europe’s Greens (including those in the UK) getting better at articulating explicitly anti-neoliberal economic arguments. In a sense, Syriza is a product of those forces. Secondly, it’s worth understanding Syriza’s own specific history. The party is a coalition, but its biggest section, the one from which Alexis Tsipras came, was called Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías. Or, in English “Coalition of Left, of Movements, and Ecology”. Its roots were in Eurocommunism – the Gramscian corner of communism which was critical of the Soviet Union. In England, its sister organisation “Democratic Left” went through various permiatations and ended up as the campaign group “Unlock Democracy”. Democratic Left Scotland still exists, and provides a useful non-partisan forum to discuss politics under the slogans “there’s more to politics than parties” and “radical, feminist, green”. Their colours are, like Syriza, still red, green and purple. Its membership includes the Scottish Green Party co-convener, Maggie Chapman and many other prominent people in the party (and, less significantly, me). Eurocommunists were in many ways like the old New Left – accepting of broader struggles ‘beyond the class struggle’. Likewise, they tended to have a more discursive rather than dogmatic approach to social change, keen to bring together coalitions and to constantly step back and reappraise what they ought to be doing, rather than following any one handbook. On a night out with a senior figure in Syriza’s youth wing, they jokingly emphasised this point when being indecisive about which pub to go to. An International Movement If all of this sounds a little like Green Parties, that’s, essentially, because it is. Look at the lineage of Greens across Europe, and you’ll repeatedly find it criss-crossing with a mixture of the New Left and Euro-communists. The Dutch GreenLeft Party, for example, was formed from a merger between its Euro-communists and others, and prominent English Green member Bea Campbell was once one of Britain’s best known Euro-communist activist. Let me put it another way: each country has its own history, context and traditions. But many of the people who have ended up in the Green Party in the UK come very much from the same political tradition as those who are now running Greece: a mixture of the anti-capitalist but anti-Soviet left of the 70s and 80s, the anti-globalisation then anti-Iraq War movement of the 90s and noughties and the anti-austerity movement of the twenty teens. This heritage isn’t unique to Greens by any means, it’s a history on which much of the European left can draw. But Greens have as much right to lay claim to it as does anyone else. Driving to a polling station in Athens’ working class docks area with the national campaign co-ordinator of the Greek Green Party, he told me that he had been surprised how keen Syriza had been to include Greens in their coalition – they had never had an MP, and didn’t bring with them a huge swaith of votes. But then, he said, he realised the cause of their enthusiasm. They needed European partners. Adding the European Greens to their list of sister parties brings a big block of support across the continent. And perhaps most importantly, there are lessons to be learnt. As they dance to the music of time, most of the left in Greece has found itself aligned – at least for now. While the instruments across Europe may be different, the drums are thumping the same beats. In the UK, by far the biggest of Syriza’s sister parties is the Greens. And, with Plaid Cymru backing a Green vote in England, perhaps some of the spirit of collaboration could, like all the best tunes, be infectious?
  5. Members of the UK Parliament group, the Environmental Audit Committee, have in a report released last Monday called for a moratorium on the controversial shale gas extraction technology; fracking. This comes in the same week that Lancashire City Council in the North of England, was meant to have decided upon whether to grant fracking company Cuadrilla permission for two shale gas wells. On Wednesday the council said that they would need to defer the decision for eight weeks in response to legal advice. Half of the Environmental Audit Committee’s 16 members called for a moratorium on fracking in the report, which had been ordered following an inquiry on the environmental risk of the activity. The Committee consists of seven Conservative MPs, six Labour MPs, two Liberal Democrat MPs and one Green MP. In related news, on Monday, a cross party group of ten MPs also proposed a fracking moratorium motion in Parliament. One of the MPs, Labour’s Yasmin Qureshi, said: "The public have serious concerns about fracking that need to be listened to. In Lancashire where the council is set to decide on whether to allow fracking imminently, two thirds of the public are opposed. The Government should follow the example of New York and bring in a moratorium so that the risks of fracking can be properly assessed." That motion failed overwhelmingly when a majority of MP’s voted against it, including a large group of Labour MPs. However Labour did manage to insert amendments into the Government’s Infrastructure Bill that would tighten fracking regulation, which were subsequently accepted. Last week, Labour said that if they win May’s general election they will impose stricter regulations on the fracking industry, including banning fracking activities near water aquifers. Supporters of the growing anti fracking movement will say that the case for banning fracking is getting stronger, highlighting decisions like the one by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo decision to ban fracking in the New York state in the US. Environmental group Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Donna Hume stated: ‘’The call for a UK moratorium by senior cross party MPs is a further blow to an industry still reeling from the recent ban on fracking in New York State due to health risks. The truth is people do not want a high-impact fossil fuel industry that would leave a legacy of pollution and disruption and would lock the world into further climate change.’’ But the UK government remains adamant that a fracking revolution should take place in this country, having unveiled a series of tax breaks for the fracking industry and saying it would be foolish not to relish the golden opportunity that a shale gas revolution would bring. Meanwhile Cuadrilla have asked for today’s Lancashire City Council decision to be deferred. Cuadrilla was responding to the news that planning officials were encouraging the council to deny the permit for the two wells and made amendments to their application. It was due to these amendments that the Council was asked to defer for eight weeks for legal reasons, angering anti fracking campaigners. The Council said they regretted the decision but said they were left with no choice due to the legal advice being presented to them.
  6. If all goes well, Northeast Scotland might soon be home to the world’s largest tidal energy park. The MeyGen project will place 269 sunken turbines on the Scottish seabed, capable of generating 400 megawatts of power and supplying nearly 175,000 homes in the UK with electricity. Atlantis Resources, majority owner of the MeyGen project, announced last week that the energy project had now successfully met all conditions required to start drawing down finance through the UK’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund. The project is therefore now one step closer to materialize. Atlantis Resources hopes that 60 of these turbines will be up and operational by 2020. The project will use the new AR1500 turbines, designed by Lockheed Martin (as seen in the photo above). “Having reached financial close on the first phase of our MeyGen project in Scotland, we are building momentum on our projects around the world, realising our goal of bringing cost effective clean energy to market at commercial scale,” said Tim Cornelius, Atlantis Resources CEO. Scotland is trying hard to reach its goal of having 100 percent of its electricity produced by renewable energy by 2020. In November it was announced that renewables have become Scotland’s main source of electricity. The majority of renewable energy in Scotland comes from wind and hydro. Onshore wind generated more than half of all renewable electricity output in Scotland in 2013. Hydro power contributed almost one third of renewable electricity output. Experts say that other renewable energy sources, such as biomass, have a substantial potential for growth in the future. And maybe, in a near future, tidal energy could play an important role in Scotland’s renewable energy mix. But it’s still a long way to go, both for Scotland and Atlantis Resources until they reach their goals. The Scottish government have been accused before of “pulling the rug” from other promising (and perhaps overhyped) renewable energy projects. Atlantis Resources are also working on other tidal energy project in Nova Scotia off the cost of Canada, although these energy projects are much smaller. Initially, the company is planning on deploying a single (AR1500) 1.5MW tidal turbine system in Nova Scotia – enough to power up to 750 local homes. Earlier in November this year, Atlantis Resources was awarded the wave and tidal industry’s first-ever “Navigator Award” at the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE). The company was awarded for the work on the MeyGen project and its significant contribution to global marine renewable industry. “Scotland, France, Ireland and Nova Scotia are the places to watch for these prototype tidal power projects,” said Elisa Obermann of Marine Renewables Canada, the national organization hosting the ICOE this year.
  7. According to newly released statistics from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, renewable energy sources produced 32 percent of Scotland's electricity in the first half of 2014 – beating both nuclear power, which used to be Scotland's main source of electricity, and fossil fuels. Scotland produced 10.3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity from renewable energy sources in the first half of 2013. Nuclear energy, which had previously been Scotland’s main source of electricity, only generated 7.8TWh over the same period. Other fossil-fuel sources then followed, with 5.6TWh of electricity generated from coal and another 1.4TWh from gas-fired power stations. The energy policy of the Scottish government is that 100 percent of all electricity consumed in Scotland by 2020 should come from renewable energy sources. The majority of renewable energy in Scotland comes from wind and hydro. Onshore wind generated more than half of all renewable electricity output in Scotland in 2013. Hydro power contributed almost one third of renewable electricity output. Experts say that other renewable energy sources, such as biomass, have a substantial potential for growth in the future. Environmental campaigners and leaders in the green energy sector have hailed this as an historic event and urged increased commitment towards renewables in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Niall Stuart, chief executive of the industry body Scottish Renewables, said that “the renewables industry has come a long way in a short space of time” and that there is still “plenty of potential” for more. Besides fighting climate change, Stuart also said that renewables will decrease the country’s reliance on imported energy while supporting communities across Scotland with more jobs and investment. “The announcement that renewables have become Scotland's main source of electricity is historic news for our country and shows the investment made in the sector is helping to deliver more power than ever before to our homes and businesses,” Stuart added. “This important milestone is good news for anyone who cares about Scotland's economy, our energy security and our efforts to tackle climate change.” Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said that this “represents a major step on the way to Scotland becoming a 100 per cent renewable nation” and added that “last month, while nuclear reactors were forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland's renewables were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country.” “Put simply, renewables work and are helping to cut climate change emissions and create jobs in Scotland.”
  8. It is estimated that seven million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away every year by people in the UK. Approximately one fifth of this is food that could have been consumed, equating to 1,400,000 tonnes in total (the equivalent weight of over 250,000 bull elephants). This is an astounding quantity of waste which has a significant environmental, social and economic impact on both the UK and the planet. Figures released earlier this year have discovered that recommendations to food banks have risen by 163% with more than 900,000 people who require food banks. 50% of these referrals are a result of benefit delays or cuts, leading to 582,933 adults and 330,205 children who depend on food banks to eat. With the UK having the sixth richest economy globally, this number of people going hungry is a real issue, especially with the vast quantities of decent food going to waste. Last year, almost 2,500 tonnes of food was contributed to food banks, which is an incredible figure– but this only makes up a mere 3% of 7 million tonnes of binned food. The difference the food could have made had it not been thrown away would have been great for those in need, as well as to the environment. As well as accepting food donations, food banks gladly welcome monetary contributions, for example Best of Suffolk, a company specialising Suffolk cottages and other holiday cottages in the area recently donated £3,000 to the East Suffolk Food Bank, a scheme seeded by the Trussell Trust. Business director, Naomi Tarry describes that “The ability to feed yourself and your family is such a basic need that needs to be met”. So, contributing to a needy cause can be done so by…? Needlessly throwing away food is very costly as well. Although binning that moulding banana might not seem like that much, it all adds up in the long run. On average, the price of discarded food is setting back the average household by almost £470 each year. For families with offspring, food waste can amount to approximately £60 each month, equating to £700 a year. Intentionally planning meals, writing shopping lists and not getting fooled by offers is a great way to reduce the household waste and the binning of excess food. The planting, growing, harvesting and packaging of food can all immensely contribute to both an individual’s carbon and water footprint. A small percentage of people are aware that it takes a shocking twenty of litres of water to produce a single egg and if you throw that away, you’re basically throwing away all that water. The waste of decent food is presently connected for almost 5% of the UK’s total water footprint. Additionally, wasted food is accountable for a substantial amount of the UK’s carbon footprint. If no food was made futile whatsoever in the UK, the carbon saved would be equal to taking one quarter of the cars of the of the road. To lessen your waste in your home, attempt and make an active attempt to be alert of the food you have in your refrigerator and cupboards and plan your weekly meals to try and use what needs eating before everything expires. By simply not throwing food away, you will be shrinking the impact you are having on the environment and will help save yourself valuable cash.
  9. Air pollution has serious health impacts, a recent WHO study concluded that about 7 million people around the world died in 2012 as a result from exposure to air pollution. And it’s expected that 29 000 people die too early as a result of air pollution in the UK alone. Now the UK government has admitted that they don’t expect to meet EU’s legal limits for nitrogen dioxide air pollution in at least three major cities until after 2030 – over 20 years too late and five years later than previously admitted. The UK was supposed to meet EU’s legal air pollution limits back in 2010 but the progress to reduce the emissions has been slow. The failure to meet the deadline has resulted in legal procedures against the UK which could result in fines of £300m a year. EU Commission lawyers has described the case as “a matter of life and death” and said this would be “perhaps the longest running infringement of EU law in history”. Judges at the Court of Justice of EU, where the legal case is currently being handled, was told earlier last week by representatives from ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law organisation, and European Commission lawyers that the UK Government won’t meet nitrogen dioxide limits in London, Birmingham and Leeds until after 2030. Representatives from the UK Government tried to suppress this information using rules on legal privilege, but later during the proceedings they admitted to it as it became clear that the DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK) had published information in support of this claim the day before on its website. “It’s bad enough that the government has no intention of complying with these limits in the foreseeable future. It’s even worse that they’re trying to hide behind legal procedural rules to keep this quiet,” Alan Andrews, ClientEarth lawyer, said in a statement. “Another five years of delay means thousands more people will die or be made seriously ill. The UK needs to act now to get deadly diesel vehicles out of our towns and cities.” Until now, the UK government has maintained it would meet nitrogen dioxide limits by 2025 in London and by 2020 in 15 other zones. But the new admissions means that London is expected to meet the targets five years later than previously acknowledged, and 10 years later for Birmingham and Leeds. The air pollution reduction target has also been delayed and pushed back in many other cities around the UK. “These air quality rules should already have been met. Government, councils and the London Mayor must make this issue an urgent priority, and end this national scandal,” Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates said. “Rapid steps to ban the dirtiest vehicles and cut traffic levels must be taken, and road-building plans that will simply add to the problem should be abandoned.”
  10. Petition Amazon crime in UK gardens?

    Rare Amazon trees are being cut down by criminal loggers and turned into luxury garden decking. And it’s for sale at builders merchant Jewson!   We’ve reported Jewson to the UK government regulator. But if we kick off a big enough threat to their reputation as a responsible company, we could get them to stop selling dodgy wood in days, not months. We can do it with a huge and fast-growing petition.    Can you sign now to demand Jewson stop plundering the Amazon? https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/amazontimber2   The criminal loggers use sophisticated scams to give their illegal timber a legitimate-sounding cover story. You won’t find Amazon timber at B&Q and Homebase - but you will at Jewson.   A two-year Greenpeace investigation and an undercover sting in April have revealed they buy wood from the riskiest part of Brazil, where almost 80% of logging is illegal.     A salesman for Jewson’s partner company told our undercover investigator that the paperwork from Brazil, claiming to show where the timber comes from, is "not worth much more [than] what it's written on”.    The Amazon rainforest is living, breathing, vast and beautiful.  It’s home to millions of animal, plant, insect and bird species. Yet criminal loggers smash roads right through it to get to rare trees, roads that are often later used to start fires for illegal land clearance.   Recently, together we got Oriental & Pacific Tuna to stop using fishing methods that kill turtles and sharks after targeting their biggest retailer, Tesco. And we got Procter & Gamble to agree to stop buying palm oil from companies that destroy Indonesia’s rainforests.   Now let’s do it for the Amazon.   Sign the petition: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/amazontimber2 Jewson claims that the wood it sells is legal but the only evidence they can point to is exactly the same paperwork used by criminal gangs to disguise illegal timber. Time to call them out - sign now.
  11. In the article, Cameron writes that he wants to see fracking in all parts of Britain - and not just in the less populated areas in the north. "It's been suggested in recent weeks that we want fracking to be confined to certain parts of Britain. This is wrong," he said. "I want all parts of our nation to share in the benefits: north or south, Conservative or Labour. We are all in this together." Fracking is a controversial method of extracting gas. The word fracking comes from its technique, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water and chemicals to extract natural gas. The British Geological Survey has estimated that there could be around 1300 trillion cubic feet of gas in northern England alone. Cameron claims that only 10% of that is the equivalent of 51 years' worth of gas supply. Besides cheaper gas and energy bills for the British people, Cameron also promises that fracking will bring money to local neighborhoods and create new jobs in a struggling economy. He estimates that around 74 000 news jobs, in and around the gas sector, could be created. "If neighborhoods can see the benefits - and are reassured about its effects on the environment - then I don't see why fracking shouldn't receive real public support," Cameron said. "The Prime Minister's claim that UK shale gas will reduce energy prices doesn't stack," Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Leila Deen said in a response Cameron's pro-fracking comments. "Experts from Ofgem to Deutsche Bank to drilling company Cuadrilla itself agree UK shale will not bring down bills, because unlike the US, the UK is part of a huge European gas market," she said. "The government must come clean about where its getting its advice from, and the role shale gas lobbyists are playing in it." Fracking will bring potential dangers to the local environment, the climate and people's health. Fracking is a fossil fuel which production creates greenhouse gas emissions. It's no more different than coal and more conventional gas - in fact, its carbon footprint could even be worse than coal. Considering all the chemicals involved in the fracking process and the numerous reports of gas leaking into people's water supply, fracking could also become a real threat to people's health. In the US, at least eight states have reported surface, ground, and drinking water contamination due to fracking. In Pennsylvania alone, over 1,400 environmental violations have been attributed to deep gas wells utilizing fracking practices. Fracking will also bring pollution from truck traffic, chemical contamination around storage tanks, and habitat fragmentation and damage from drilling in environmentally sensitive. But Cameron claims that fracking is safe for both the public and the environment. "There is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage," Cameron said. At least if it's "properly regulated." And if "any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down," Cameron promises. "Our countryside is one of the most precious things we have in Britain and I am proud to represent a rural constituency. I would never sanction something that might ruin our landscapes and scenery." But, Cameron added, "the huge benefits of shale gas outweigh any very minor change to the landscape." If Cameron gets what he wants, which is thousands of shale gas pads scattered across Britain, he will just lock Britain into another form of fossil fuel addiction for another generation. And we cannot afford that. We need truly green and renewable energy sources.
  12. Today, six brave activists from Greenpeace climbed to the top of the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard in London, UK. The daring stunt was made in an effort to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The six climbers were Ali Garrigan from the UK, Sabine Huyghe from Holland, Sandra Lamborn from Sweden, Lisbeth Deddens from Belgium, Victoria Henry from Canada and Wiola Smul from Poland. You can read the full story here. Meet the climbers, from the left: Sabine, Sandra, Victo, Ali, Wiola & Liesbeth. The six activists started their journey up the 72-story building by climbing on to the roof of the neighboring London Bridge station early in the morning. Greenpeace says the Shard was chosen because it’s located in the middle of Shell’s three corporate headquarters. This photo shows how everyone involved in the action trained the day before the daring stunt. They arrived to the Shard in a van and climbed up to the London Bridge station using a ladder through a hatch on the roof of the van. Sabine Huyghe and Victoria Henry can be seen here climbing up the side of the Shard. “We'll try to hang a huge art installation 310m up. We may not succeed, but we’re going to do everything we can to pull it off,” Henry said. “Millions of people have called on Shell to get out of the Arctic but they're still trying to drill there anyway. If we reach the top we’ll be able to see all three of Shell’s London offices below us, meaning they'll be able to see us. Maybe then they'll stop ignoring the movement ranged against them.” Ali Garrigan has been climbing since age 18 & hopes the action can bring attention to the dangers facing the Arctic. People could follow and watch the six climbers while they climbed to the top of the Shard, situated 310 meters above ground. The live-feed was managed from the Greenpeace UK headquarter. The climbers used Iphones to stream live from their journey to the top of the Shard where they planned to unveil “a huge work of art that captures the beauty of the Arctic.” Lisbeth Deddens began climbing in high school. She has now climbed ice, rock, alpine, and the Shard. The media seemed to love the stunt and the Save the Arctic campaign got some much needed attention. Wiola Smul hopes that today’s action helps to change the way companies exploit vulnerable regions like the Arctic. Sabine Huyghe was inspired to train as a climber after helping other Greenpeace activists get ready in Belgium. Sandra Lamborn who has just finished an MA in environmental science was the lead climber during the action. “We do this to draw attention to the untenable situation in the Arctic, where the ice has melted by more than 80% since the 1950s. As the ice disappears, opportunities for development in the area previously been virtually inaccessible to humans,” Lamborn said. “This is a threat not only for the Arctic ecosystem and the animals that lives there, but actually for the planet and thus the future of humanity. The oil industry, with giant Shell in the lead, wants to drill for oil in the Arctic icy water, a place where the conditions are extremely unpredictable. Any oil spill would be devastating to the sensitive Arctic ecosystem and almost impossible to clean up. Extraction and consumption of Arctic oil leads to climate change, which in turn disrupts the planet's delicate balance ending in disasters, the extent of which we have only seen the beginning of.” The climbers reached the top of the Shard late on Thursday evening. All safe and sound, but exhausted from their free climb up the tallest building in Western Europe. All six climbers will be spending the night in police custody.
  13. Early this Thursday morning, six activists from Greenpeace started to scale the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard in London, UK. The daring stunt is made in an effort to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, which could potentially cause "irreparable harm" to the fragile nature and its inhabitants. The six climbers - identified as Ali Garrigan, Sabine Huyghe, Sandra Lamborn, Lisbeth Deddens, Victoria Henry and Wiola Smul - have been climbing for over 12 hours and, at the time of publish, managed to "free climb" 240 meters. Once they reach the top, at 310 meters, they plan to unveil "a huge work of art that captures the beauty of the Arctic." Greenpeace, who is calling for a moratorium ban on oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic, hopes that the action will result in even more signatures to their already one million strong Arctic petition. Greenpeace says the Shard was chosen because it's located in the middle of Shell's three corporate headquarters. But also because the 72-story building is modelled on a shard of ice - the very same environment that is being threatened by our continued use of dirty fossil fuels. In a response to the action, Shell said that they "respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations." They also defended themselves against the criticism from Greenpeace and other environmental organizations by claiming that they have the "technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas responsibly." But Shell's failed track record in the Arctic and around the world, casts real doubts on the company's claims of being able to drill for oil and gas safe and responsible - especially in a region such as the Arctic where fierce environmental conditions are a daily occurrence. New findings, released earlier this week, also shows that it's impossible, even in fairly safe waters, to operate oil and gas rigs without a steady release of oil and other chemicals leaking out into the sea. You can watch the six-Greenpeace climbers on their journey up the Shard from the live-stream here. Photo Gallery: Meet the six brave women who scaled Europe's tallest building to save the Arctic