Energy Companies Spent Millions Influencing Climate Policy Over Last Two Years

Read time: 3 mins
silhouettes of two men handshaking

Not for the first time, big energy companies have been caught spending millions trying to influence UK and European policy, including greenhouse gas regulations.

The extent of the lobbying by the world’s largest companies listed in the FTSE 100 was revealed in The Times this weekend.

Shell and BP are the biggest spenders of all FTSE 100 companies, collectively spending around £6 million over the past two years.

That includes spending on “intense lobbying” of “recent emissions legislation”, according to an analyst from transparency campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory, which spoke to The Times.

Is the UK Prepared for the Environmental Risks of a New Era in the North Sea?

Read time: 10 mins
North Sea oil rig off the coast

For the North Sea oil and gas industry, it must seem like Christmas comes in March. The chancellor’s budget announcements for the past five years have given increasingly generous financial incentives to ensure every last drop of oil is extracted from the rapidly depleting North Sea fields.

But at what cost?

Around 470 platforms and 5,000 wells are due to be decommissioned from the North Sea, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK. The government is currently consulting on plans to decommission seven projects in the North Sea, including Shell and Exxon’s famous Brent oilfield. Many of these sit near or in environmentally significant sites.

Mapped: How a Big Oil Lobbying Network Makes Billions from Taxpayers as North Sea Wells Run Dry

Read time: 7 mins
A diagram of the North Sea oil network with Big Oil and Big Four companies

Big Oil companies have made billions from exploiting the North Sea’s oil and gas resources. But as it gets harder to squeeze a profit out of the drying fields, they are increasingly asking the taxpayer to fund their polluting activities, all while making billions for their shareholders.

Since 2015, the Treasury has given the industry tax breaks worth £2.3 billion. This is despite BP, Shell and Total making after tax profits of $10 billion in 2016 alone.

Newly Appointed Government Special Advisers Linked to Brexit Climate Denier Network

Read time: 5 mins
Theresa May arrives at Number 10

The names of those who have been appointed as special advisers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s new cabinet have been steadily trickling out these past few weeks.

Among these newly announced special advisors, or SpAds, are Nick Timothy – the man credited with the demise of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – and Rob Oxley of Vote Leave and the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Meanwhile several others have previously worked on campaigns for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s London mayoral candidacy, and many more of them formed part of Vote Leave’s core campaign staff.

Industry Conference on Fracking and the Environment Denies Journalist Entry

Read time: 3 mins
Map of UK fracking licences

An independent fracking journalist was refused entry to an onshore oil and gas summit focused on planning and the environment held in Manchester this week.

Ruth Hayhurst, a journalist for Drill or Drop was twice denied a press pass by organisers Open Forum Events on the grounds there were none, “though they held out the prospect of a standby press pass (whatever that is)” she wrote.

The 6 July summit, sponsored by industry trade body UKOOG, included attendees such as Centrica executives, academics, the Environment Agency, and a local council planning manager.

Discussion focused on the ‘shale gas revolution’, environmental regulations, and how to speed up the planning process.

Revealed: The 15 Former UK Civil Servants Now Lobbying Government for Oil and Gas

Read time: 4 mins

More than a dozen employees currently working in government relations for oil and gas companies used to work for the British government, reveals Greenpeace’s investigations team.

The findings highlight the cosy relationship between the fossil fuel industry and the government at a time when UK policy continues to become increasingly favourable to gas.

Both big oil and the British Government continually emphasise the climate benefits of switching from coal to gas – a line heard frequently ahead of the Paris climate talks in both government speeches and industry press releases.

Meet the 15 Fossil Fuel Giants Behind the Controversial Law to Maximise UK Oil and Gas Extraction

Read time: 5 mins

Shell, BP, Total UK and Centrica are just a few of the 15 oil and gas companies courted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to help implement the Wood Review recommendation to maximise the economic recovery of UK petroleum (MER UK) – a policy which is now law under the Infrastructure Act.

Under the Infrastructure Act this policy introduces a new legal obligation on current and future governments to extract every last drop of oil and gas. This is in direct conflict with Britain’s target to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

According to the agenda for a June 2014 PILOT meeting between government and industry obtained by DeSmog UK, the companies were consulted on how to implement the MER UK recommendation one month prior to the government issuing its official statement on implementing the Wood Review.

Have Frackers’ Shares Hit Rock Bottom?

Read time: 3 mins

A major investor in British fracking has suffered a catastrophic fall in share price as protesters continue to fight attempts to drill the countryside in pursuit of shale gas.

Allan Campbell has now resigned as chief executive of AJ Lucas in Australia after two decades at the helm, as the company heads perilously close to the rocks. “It is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life,” he said.

The Sydney-based mining company is a founding investor in Cuadrilla, the company leading the fracking initiative in Britain. It was also among the first to gamble on hydraulic fracturing, and at its height in 2008 was trading at more than Au$5.50 per share.

Frack The Public: UK Shale Gets US Style PR Makeover

Read time: 8 mins


Fracking is an incendiary issue: fractious campaigners are terrified drilling for shale gas will cause earthquakes and contaminate our water supplies. But the chancellor George Osborne and the industry both tell us fracking could fuel an economic recovery and protect the environment.

Lord Chris Smith (pictured) has now stepped into the breach, promising to bring harmony, truth and hope where there has only been discord about the real economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing, apparent errors spread about the environmental risks and doubts about the claims from vested interests.

He has also just been selected by The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee to give evidence on an inquiry into the environmental risks of fracking next week.

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