By David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report...
In a week that has seen a number of blows for the prospects of ecological stability - there's been an innovative backlash to @Shell 's greenwashing campaigns. Subvertised posters have appeared in bus stop advertising panels in London, Leeds, Bristol and Oxford ahead of Shell's #MakeTheFuture spin festival, which has co-opted pop stars in a bid to win back young people.
One of the biggest corruption cases faced by the oil industry in recent years is due to resume in Milan on Wednesday as two of the world’s biggest oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Italian firm Eni are facing trial.
Prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against Shell and Eni executives over allegations of corruption regarding a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria.
This is the first time an oil company as large as Shell or senior executives of a major oil company have ever stood trial for bribery offences.
The case, which has been repeatedly delayed, involves the 2011 purchase by Shell and Eni of Nigeria’s OPL 245 offshore oilfield — one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.
By Andy Rowell, Open Democracy UK
North Yorkshire Police are coming under renewed pressure to answer questions over the apparently hasty, heavy-handed and heavily publicised arrest of two campaigners in January this year at the height of the protests against fracking firm Third Energy.
As the protests reached a peak at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire, many people believed that fracking could be approved by the Government any day. To add to the heightened tensions, North Yorkshire Police issued a news article which stated that two men had been arrested on suspicion of poisoning a guard dog – potentially with “pellets” made from aniseed balls. The media were quick to pick up the press release leading to stories in the BBC, ITV; Daily Mail as well as local press outlets.
The media was quick to point the finger of blame at the anti-fracking campaigners: “Two men arrested on suspicion of poisoning a fracking site guard dog were environmental protesters”, revealed the Mail Online.
Millionaire businessman Arron Banks, a major donor of the Leave.EU Brexit campaign, has come under the spotlight again. This time, Russian gold is also involved.
Banks’ involvement in the Leave campaign has come under close scrutiny from MPs after leaked emails showed he held multiple meetings with Russian officials in the run-up to the EU referendum, including three with the Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko.
The documents, obtained by the Sunday Times, also showed Banks flew to Moscow in February 2016 which Banks admitted was to discuss a business deal concerning “six Russian gold mines in Siberia” owned by Russian magnate Siman Povarenkin.
Gold mining businessman Peter Hambro and former army chief Field Marshal Lord Guthrie are also reported to have been involved in the deal.
FIFA has been accused of double standards after it joined a UN Climate Change initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during this year’s football World Cup while continuing to receive lucrative sponsorship deals from big polluters.
Thirty years ago, oil company Shell was warned in private that its own products were responsible for climate change which in turn could lead to large scale climate migration.
Yet over the following decade, the company publicly justified the ongoing need for fossil fuels as the only realistic way to achieve sustainable development and lift vulnerable communities out of poverty.
Shell has repeatedly used the arguments of population growth and increasing energy demand at the heart of its public pronouncements about its role in driving economic and sustainable development.
But Shell also knew that burning fossil fuels would “alter the environment in such a way” that it would affect parts of the world’s “habitability” and could lead to new migration patterns.
The UK has been accused of trying to “fudge” how much money it spends on subsidising coal mining and fossil fuel use despite its pledge to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020.
The country ranked first on its commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies but last on transparency in a new study led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) which ranks each G7 country on ending support for the production and use of oil, gas and coal ahead of a group meeting which starts in Canada on Friday.
The UK does not provide national reports on its fiscal support for fossil fuel production and consumption and the government has repeatedly denied providing fossil fuel subsidies. However, the report states that the UK is providing subsidies in the form of tax breaks for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and the decommissioning of oil.
Researchers also argue that the UK is using public finance through the UK Export Finance, a government agency which underwrites loans to boost British companies’ exports, to support fossil fuel projects abroad - a finance stream they say the government should be counting as a subsidy.
The UK Government has been urged to take action after a British mining and energy giant was accused of extensive human rights abuse and environmental damage in India.
Vedanta Resources, a British-registered company listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), is under the spotlight after 13 protesters demanding the shutdown of India’s second largest copper plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were shot dead by police. Dozens were injured.
The deadly mass protest is the latest major incident to engulf Vedanta, which has been accused of a series of human rights violations, with campaigners demanding the company be delisted from the LSE.