Fuels errand

5 March 2021 — DesSmogUK

This year’s spring budget was like the worst kind of meal: A lot of fanfare before it, yet in the tasting rather bland, leaving much to be desired.

There were crumbs to be had. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans for the “world’s first” green bond, designed to give UK savers the chance to buy bonds which help support green projects, and gave the Bank of England a new mandate to align with the government’s net zero target.

Less appetising was the galling lack of attention paid to the climate – just months before the UK hosts two critical global summits: the G7 in Cornwall, and the UN’s climate talks in Glasgow. As Fatima Ibrahim from campaign group Green New Deal UK noted: “Our response to the climate crisis should have been front and centre of the budget, not a footnote.”

Signs of the “Green Industrial Revolution”, much championed last year, were nowhere to be seen, especially in the freezing of fuel duty for the 11th consecutive year. Climate researchers have foundthat raising fuel duty on polluting petrol could be one of the most effective ways to combat climate change – but every year there is a whole lot of vocal opposition to raising the tax.

This week, DeSmog reported how a diverse group of vested interests lobbied against the hike in the run-up to this spring budget, from Fair Fuel UK – a lobby group which campaigns against charges and taxes on UK motorists – to the RAC and Petrol Retailers Association (PRA). There was also opposition from several Conservative MPs, and a sustained media campaign from the Daily Express and The Sun – who appear to have paused their recent green campaigns to push for the fuel duty freeze.

Freezing fuel duty may be politically expedient, but it signals that the government’s commitment to tackling climate change is only skin-deep. Rishi may have nailed the presentation side of green growth, but the real proof is in the pudding.

Read our full analysis on the fuel duty freeze

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Analysis: Fuel Duty Freeze Set to Continue Thanks to Sustained Media Campaign

If the Budget means one thing above all else for the road transport lobby, it’s fuel duty. And recent years have shown it knows exactly which pressure points to push to get its way, with the sector having successfully fought off any increase to the tax on petrol and diesel for more than a decade now.

That has big implications for the UK’s progress on tackling climate change, if estimates are correct. Read more…

Analysis: How Exxon Is Being Forced To Accept The Reality Of Bad Fossil Fuel Investments

Last August, ExxonMobil warned that it may need to remove 20 percent of its oil and gas proved reserves from its books. While that was a shocking number from the oil major, reality proved to be even more of a shock to the company. On February 24, Exxon reported that it would actually remove over 30 percent of its proved reserves from its books — essentially wiping out the value of its Canadian tar sands holdings from its books. Read more…

New IEA Data Shows World on Path to Resume ‘Carbon-Intensive Business-as-Usual’

Following warnings that the coronavirus-triggered drop in planet-warming emissions would be short-lived without structural changes, the International Energy Agency released data showing that global CO2 emissions from the energy sector were 2 percent higher in December 2020 compared to the same month the previous year.

The Paris-based agency said the figures reflect a lack of concrete action by global governments to follow through on net zero pledges. Read more…

Daily Express Removes Climate Denial Article That ‘Fails to Reflect Our Direction of Travel’

The Daily Express removed an article quoting prominent climate science denier Naomi Seibt after a green energy supplier said it was reviewing whether to remove its advertising from its wesite.

The article quoted Seibt criticising the BBC’s decision to show Greta Thunberg’s new documentary. Read more…

Climate Deniers Backed Violence and Spread Pro-Insurrection Messages Before, During, and After January 6

On the day of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, former coal mining executive Don Blankenship, who ran against Donald Trump as a third-party candidate in the 2020 election, began an all-caps Twitter thread.

“Why is it that American politicians and media support citizen uprisings in China, Poland, South Africa, […] but when an American citizen is killed during an uprising against a corrupt American government the citizens are at fault?” Read more…

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