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Economy

Double standards of oil-gas majors as CEOs unveil climate offer ahead of UN talks

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Analysis shows the new green claims of the biggest oil and gas companies are undermined by their support for trade associations that actively obstruct climate policy

A report from InfluenceMap published today, and drawn from over 10,000 evidence points, demonstrates the stark contradictions in stated claims of the oil and gas companies and the obstructive lobbying activities of the trade associations they actively support and finance

The research analyses three key strands of climate policy – the carbon tax, emissions trading and greenhouse gas emissions regulations – and intersects the public stance of the oil majors with the actions of the trade bodies they have close links to. The findings show Shell demonstrating the biggest disconnect between rhetoric and action, followed by French firm Total. BP, Chevron and Exxon, however, appear to be as equally obstructive as their trade associations with misalignment factors close to zero.

Anthony Hobley, CEO of Carbon Tracker said: “If oil and gas companies calling for a price on carbon want to be taken seriously it is imperative that they commit both to calling on governments to implement such a policy and at the same time ensuring that all their lobbying is 100 percent consistent with this objective. This is a strong line to take that has to be held accountable by investors, shareholders, governments and the public.

“Any company not able to do this should not be taken seriously when calling for such action in relation to climate change and such a call should then be seen for what it is, a cynical attempt to manipulate public opinion and create the perception amongst shareholders that the company is taking the issue of climate change seriously.”

The report comes as leading energy groups this week launch a range of measures through the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), as a way of improving their image in the face of longstanding criticism of their business practices ahead of UN COP 21 climate talks in Paris. The big European companies behind the OGCI – notably oil majors Shell, Total and BP – will come under ever greater scrutiny, as the distance between the companies’ professed positions and the realities of the lobbying actions of their trade bodies grows ever starker.

The results raise serious questions about the oil companies’ role in the climate debate. Can Shell, Total and BP’s commitment to a climate solution be taken at face value? Are they hiding behind unaccountable trade bodies to subvert and delay progress on the details of climate legislation? And is it time they withdrew from the trade bodies in question, if they are as serious on climate action as they now claim?

Dylan Tanner, InfluenceMap, Executive Director notes:  “Companies like Shell appear to have shifted their direct opposition to climate legislation to certain key trade associations in the wake of increasing scrutiny. Investors and engagers need to be aware that these powerful energy and chemicals-sector trade bodies are financed by, and act on the instruction of, their key members and should thus be regarded as extensions of such corporate-member activity and positions.”

The InfluenceMap report findings come in the wake of criticism of the likely motivations behind Shell’s creation of the Energy Transitions Commission launched in late September this year and its high profile departure from theCorporate Leaders Group. Shell is also on the on the board of CEFIC  (the powerful European chemicals trade body) that recently lobbied aggressively against much needed reform of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, critical for an effective price on carbon. Shell has also been lobbying against energy efficiency and renewable energy targets and regulation in the European Union, which raises questions about the consistency of its own messaging.

The report also highlights the aggressive rhetoric and action being taken by trade associations against key global climate legislation. It ranked the most obstructive of such trade groups globally as the American Petroleum Institute (API) whose CEO believes the UNFCCC’s COP21 process in Paris is driven by “narrow political ideology”. French oil giant Total, also has its executive Jean-Michel Lavergne on the board of this powerful US body.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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