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BP’s Removal From Great Australian Bight Is Welcomed By Environmental Organisations

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Nathaniel Pelle, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Campaigner, has commented on BP’s actions to abandon its oil exploration program in the Great Australian Bight:

“This is a welcome move from BP, who should never have considered drilling for oil in such a pristine wilderness in the first place.

“This news will be especially welcomed by the local communities near the waters of the Great Australian Bight like the tourism operators, oyster farmers and fishers who rely on it for their livelihoods.

“Malcolm Turnbull should now heed this signal from BP, stop further oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight for good, and protect this unique wilderness while he still can.

“Other companies such as Chevron, Bight Petroleum, Santos and Murphy are still eyeing the Great Australian Bight and have exploration permits. They should take the lead from BP, pack up their bags and go home.

“It’s clear that the age of oil is over, and that BP should cancel all frontier oil projects worldwide. It’s time for corporations like BP to steer clear of all extreme oil provinces as we transition away from fossil fuels forever.”

Carbon Tracker Initiative

Andrew Grant, senior oil & gas analyst at the Carbon Tracker Initiative, said:

“Even if drilling in the Great Australian Bight had been successful, production would most likely have been high-cost and many years into the future. Such frontier exploration projects are obvious cancellation candidates at a time when companies are focusing on capital discipline.”

“This decision makes both economic and climate sense from an investor perspective. More oil and gas companies should follow BP’s lead and avoid throwing cash at projects that are unneeded as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. Instead companies should align their portfolios and investment plans with a 2 degree target that prioritises shareholder returns, and stick with a value over volume approach even as prices rise.”

ShareAction welcomes BP’s U-turn on Great Australian Bight project

ShareAction has welcomed BP’s decision not to proceed with plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, offshore South Australia.

Earlier this year, ShareAction wrote and distributed an investor briefing to over 100 investors globally outlining the operational, economic and reputational risks of the project, ahead of the company’s AGM.

ShareAction then worked with allies in the investment community and in civil society to ensure that the company’s risky plans in Australian deep water were the subject of numerous tough questions at the AGM. The level of shareholder concern expressed caused CEO Bob Dudley to remark during the AGM: ‘Well, this investment in Australia is not popular today.’

Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive at ShareAction said:

“BP’s new strategy of constrained growth is good news for shareholders, and the company’s decision to retreat completely from Australian deep water projects suggests the company’s intentions are genuine. We are delighted to have helped bring this issue to the attention of the investor community, and ultimately to the board of the company. The board listened to shareholder concerns, and is to be applauded for that.”

“Pension savers in the UK remain highly exposed to the oil and gas sector, and ShareAction wants to see much stronger evidence that pension schemes understand and are acting to reduce the risks presented by that exposure following the Paris Climate Agreement last December.”

Greenpeace UK

Charlie Kronick, of Greenpeace UK said:

“BP’s forced withdrawal from the Great Australian Bight is another nail in coffin for big oil. The case for opening up new fossil fuel reserves in high-risk environments is crumbling before our eyes under the weight of environmental, climate and economic concerns. The reality is that the future of energy won’t be pumped out of the deep water off Southern Australia, the Norwegian Arctic or the Canadian tar sands – literally the ends of the earth, where drilling is expensive, difficult or dangerous, and is usually all three. We’re facing some touch challenges, from preventing catastrophic climate change to cleaning up air pollution and avoiding the destruction of the last pristine wilderness areas on earth. Drilling for more oil isn’t the answer to any of those questions. The Great Australian Bight has avoided disaster for now, but the real challenge is to make sure these projects don’t waste millions of pounds and valuable time chasing more oil we can never use.”

The Wilderness Society of Australia:

All oil and gas companies should follow BP’s lead and leave the Great Australian Bight
Government should immediately rescind oil and gas leases and permanently protect Bight
If BP can’t produce an acceptable drilling plan, then other companies will fare no better
All remaining oil and gas companies will face increasing community opposition
All oil and gas companies should follow BP’s lead and leave the Great Australian Bight after the British petroleum giant announced today it was quitting its operations in the Bight before attempting drilling, the Wilderness Society said today.

Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulator, NOPSEMA, has sent back BP’s application to drill in the Bight three times.

“If BP with all its experience cannot produce an acceptable drilling plan for NOPSEMA, the remaining companies exploring in the Bight will be wasting their shareholders’ money trying to pursue this folly,” said Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders.

“This decision shows that it’s too expensive to establish the significant and costly risk management and clean up capacity infrastructure needed to protect our communities from the enormous spill risks associated with drilling in this part of the world. Clearly this is a far too high cost oil basin for any oil company to consider exploiting.

“Chevron, Santos, Murphy and Karoon, which received its permit just last week, will face the same massive costs and increasing community opposition that BP experienced. We call on these companies to follow BP’s lead and leave the Bight and the communities surrounding the Bight in peace.

“The Australian Government must now recognise that deepwater exploration drilling cannot be undertaken safely in the rough waters of the Great Australian Bight, or without presenting unacceptable risks to its unique marine environment. It must now step in and terminate BP’s leases and rescind all exploration permits in the Bight Basin.

“The fact is that drilling here is far too dangerous ‑ for our environment and our communities ‑ and our Great Australian Bight needs to be permanently protected from the risks inherently associated with oil and gas exploration.

“We should not be opening up entire new oil and gas precincts when the world already has enough oil reserves ‑ let alone coal and gas reserves ‑ to take the world global temperature rise above 2 degrees Celsius, let alone the 1.5oC mark of the Paris climate agreement that has just been ratified.”

Wilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen said: “We should not be expanding the fossil fuel industry into pristine treacherous seas where the risk of spills is far greater than we’ve seen before. A rapid transition away from this industry is our only hope for a liveable climate.”

“The Great Australian Bight waters are deeper, more treacherous and more remote than the Gulf of Mexico, where BP was responsible for 800 million litres of oil spewing into the Gulf for 87 days in 2010. Waves in the Bight in winter are six times bigger than the waves in the Gulf of Mexico around the time of BP’s disaster. Even in summer Bight waves are four times higher.

“The Great Australian Bight’s pristine waters are a haven for 36 species of whales and dolphins, including the world’s most important nursery for the endangered southern right whale as well as many humpback, sperm, blue and beak whales. It’s also Australia’s most important sea lion nursery and supports seals, orcas, giant cuttlefish and some of Australia’s most important fisheries.

“BP’s spill modelling shows a spill from an uncontained blowout from its proposed Stromlo-1 well is guaranteed to impact the South Australian coast and could hit Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island in 15 days and Adelaide in 20 days. The Karoon lease issued just last week is even closer to Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln and its important tuna fishing industry.

“It’s time to end the dangerous fiasco of oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

“As conservationists, we have been proud to work as part of the community to ensure that BP was never able to roll the dice off our shores and risk the oceans, beaches and marine wildlife that support our coastal industries, economies and lifestyles.”

 

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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