Also by christian

BP ditches support for climate bill

Posted by christian — 17 February 2010 at 3:41pm - Comments

We called for strong climate action from the US. But support for the proposed climate bill is being undermined by BP.

It's not perhaps the most surprising of news, but it is worth noting. BP USA has quit a leading business coalition that's been lobbying for a climate bill to cut carbon emissions in the states.

You can be sure that what goes on in the States will have been approved from the London office, where over the past few years BP have been working hard to create the impression of a company that has moved away from fossil fuels. So does this move mark an admission of oily business-as-usual from the company that claims it is "beyond petroleum"?

Clouds on the horizon for tar sands?

Posted by christian — 15 February 2010 at 2:52pm - Comments

Canada before and after tar sands extraction. Producing tar sands oil is also at least three time more carbon intensive than making normal crude. © Jiri Rezac / WWF-UK

Some dirty oil news bubbled up over the weekend, as big oil companies including Shell and BP mobilise to try and stop tar sands oil being banned from the sixth largest economy in the world.

That would be California, personal fiefdom of 'surprisingly green governor' Arnie Schwarznegger. In an effort to cut vehicle emissions 10 per cent by 2020, he has brought in laws that require a cut in the carbon content of fuels sold in the state. "Our cars have been running on dirty fuel for too long," intoned Arnie, in his rich Austrian accent.

Conservative gas security fears exposed as dangerous hot air

Posted by christian — 10 February 2010 at 5:26pm - Comments

What gives us more energy security? Deploying troops to secure gas pipelines, or building a renewable economy?

Since before their conference in October the Conservative party have been raising fears of energy blackouts in Britain. Greg Clark, Shadow energy minister, even claimed in his party conference speech that 'there must be immediate action to keep the lights on' - a speech which, for dramatic effect, began in a darkened room. The same language was trotted out at a debate about gas security in Westminster we helped organise, when Charles Hendry, Conservative Shadow Minister for Energy, raised the spectre of energy blackouts. He claimed that during the recent cold spell Britain had been ‘down to three days of gas storage' and had ‘reached the situation where we were at risk.'

What's going on here? Well, the thinly veiled subtext behind the Tory line goes like this: Britain is at the mercy of foreign powers - in particular the Russians - who supply us with our gas. It's a pretty strong challenge. But is it right?

"Shock waves of anxiety" over Shell's tar sands move

Posted by christian — 27 January 2010 at 3:16pm - Comments

Sometime Greenpeace tar sands expert Lorne writes on priceofoil.org in reaction the announcement that Shell are scaling down their tar sands plans...

Remarks made by Shell CEO,Peter Voser to the Financial Times energy editor that his company has "clearly scaled down" its plans for a massive expansion of tar sands production should send waves of anxiety through the Canadian oil industry and a serious rethink among energy security hawks in Washington.

Since the middle of last year I have been writing about the vulnerability of the tar sands industry to a slow down in the growth rate of oil demand. With some of the most expensive cost structures in the oil industry, the future growth of tar sands production requires oil prices to stay high over the long term.

But high oil prices exert a deflating effect on the economy and in turn reduce demand and prices. Compounding this effect is the fact that high oil prices have made large economies that are increasingly dependent on oil imports, such as the USA and China, painfully aware of their economies' vulnerability to the rising cost of oil.

>> Read the rest of the article on priceofoil.org

Food Inc puts intensive modern farming under the spotlight

Posted by christian — 25 January 2010 at 5:34pm - Comments

Food, Inc. opens on 12th February and features factory farming, making it the ideal Valentine's day date film.

25% of us are obese. GM crops have slipped into our grocery stores and kitchen pantries without us knowing. Our food production systems stress animals, rely on ever-increasing quantities of pesticides, and leave one sixth of the world population without secure access to food. That's the contention of Food Inc, a forthcoming film from the same distributors that brought us ‘End of the Line'. It takes a look under the surface of the US food production industry to examine how we get our food in a modern, mechanized society.

While we don't campaign on food issues, it looks like it'll be pretty interesting - check out more details here: www.foodincmovie.co.uk The film opens on the 12th February, and as with other small but worthy films, (like Age of Stupid, for example) it's the first week that makes the difference in terms of getting rebooked - so maybe go along and check it out.

Tar sands edginess from Shell

Posted by christian — 25 January 2010 at 2:26pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace / Colin O'Connor

There's a really interesting interview with the new CEO of Shell Peter Voser in the FT today, with an important development for tar-sands watchers. Shell, who are heavily involved in extracting oil from Canadian tar sands, are scaling back a planned expansion of their operations.

Impossible Hamster crushes all before it

Posted by christian — 25 January 2010 at 10:41am - Comments

Is economic growth at the root of the environmental challenges we're struggling to get to grips with? That's a central tenet of the diagnosis for the 100 Months campaign from our hipster friends at the New Economics Foundation.

But how to illustrate this argument? Enter: The Impossible Hamster, twitchy growth-based anti-hero. nef have also produced a report, Growth Isn't Possible, and so both boxes of the modern campaigning strategy are very much ticked: solid research backed up by meme-hugging hamster video.

So, what do you reckon? Is growth the key problem? And does the hamster take your fancy as the unlikely hero of the fightback?

Act Now - Change the Future

Posted by christian — 13 January 2010 at 2:35pm - Comments

Act Now - Change the Future Recovering from the post-copenhagen blues? Want to tell world leaders you expect better? Want to show your support for the activists who spent 20 days in prison over Christmas and New Year for interrupting the heads of state dinner with some simple truths about the scale of failure?

Then take action here.

Impossible odds?

Posted by christian — 2 December 2009 at 10:37am - Comments

Today's the day that some of our colleagues head off to the ferryport, bound for Copenhagen. And when you're confronting challenges on this scale, it's good to remind yourself what's come before. So here's a little morning inspiration for you all on 'Copenhagen eve'.

Carbon in exile - Siberia melts away

Posted by christian — 1 December 2009 at 5:02pm - Comments
Nasta Vanuyto, a young Nenet girl who lives on the Yamal peninsula. 

If you live in a developed country, you're pretty well insulated from climate change. Shifts in weather patterns, heavier rainfall, gradually rising sea levels and temperature increases - at the moment western society absorbs these changes without us really noticing much difference. But for the indigenous peoples of the arctic who live on one of the front lines of climate change, such shifts in the planet's behaviour are much more obvious.

About Christian Hunt

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Sea ice geek, former web editor at GP.

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