Exxon Mobil’s climate change cover-up

In a demonstration of capitalism’s incapacity to act beyond its vested interests – even with humanity itself at stake – the world’s biggest oil conglomerate, Exxon Mobil, has been exposed as having concealed proof from its own scientists that climate change was real and manmade since 1978.

Two investigations, one from the Pulitzer prize-winning website Inside Climate News and another from the Columbia Journalism School, both found that Exxon ignored warnings from its own scientists. Instead it used the information to buy oil leases in the areas where it knew ice would melt and waged a global marketing campaign to promote climate change denial.

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Last chance for world leaders at Paris Climate Conference

Governments from 196 nations met at the Paris Climate Conference (COP) that began on 30 November with the urgent need to commit to global emissions reductions over the next decade and beyond. Climate scientists warn, unequivocally, that the global temperature must not exceed a rise of more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels to avoid irreversible ecological catastrophe. With 2015 set to be the hottest year on record, the planet is already more than halfway there. Despite over 20 years of alarm, negotiation and debate, projections based on current emissions put the Earth joyriding towards a rise of six degrees by the end of the century – a similar difference to that between today’s world and the last ice age. World leaders insist Paris will succeed where the debacles of Kyoto and Copenhagen failed. Barny Phillips reports.

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Government threatening councils over fracking

Following large scale public opposition to planned fracking - the extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing - at two sites in Lancashire at the start of the year, approved by the Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council rejected planning permission in June. The council was responsible for giving the final stage of approval required for Cuadrilla, Britain’s biggest fracking firm, to begin mining at the sites of Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road. These would be the first commercial fracking projects in Britain. As was to be expected, Cuadrilla immediately launched an appeal, showing complete disregard for public opinion. The appeal process is expected to take at least 16 months.

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EU food industry is entirely unsustainable

The European Union (EU) set three objectives for 2020 known as the 20-20-20. This PR gimmick promises a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, a raise in the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%, and a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency. No commitment was made however to reduce its role in the unnecessary global trade web of food products. An analysis of the Britain’s food trade with other EU nations highlights the utter disregard for the planet by capitalists, particularly those of imperialist countries. While the concept of ‘food miles’ is widely discredited as being too simplistic to be useful for determining environmental damage through greenhouse gas emissions, the figures of imports and exports, between countries for the purpose of food as a commodity, indicate an unnecessary and destructive trade web – rational only under the anarchic logic of capitalism.

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Shell capitalises on climate change

For Royal Dutch Shell, the melting of ice sheets in the Arctic seas, driven by man-made climate change, is just another opportunity to be exploited. The company has lucrative plans to drill in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea this summer.

The US government has given the go ahead for Shell to resume exploratory Arctic drilling operations for the first time since 2012 when its tow boat lost control of the ‘Kulluk’ rig due to a failure of the towing equipment, threatening an oil spill. The rig settled off the shore of an uninhabited Alaskan island. The incident happened as the rig was being removed at the end of the drilling season. An incident similar to BP's Deep Water Horizon disaster would be much more catastrophic in the Arctic if it could not be stopped before the close of the season when the sea refreezes.

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