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BP Abandons Drilling in the Great Australian Bight
By Andy Rowell
Conservationists and environmentalists in Australia are celebrating a major victory after the oil giant BP announced that it is abandoning its hugely controversial plans to drill for oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight.
The area, which is off the country's southern coast, is a marine park and home to one of the largest breeding populations of endangered southern right whales in the world.
BP had big plans for the Bight and had once boasted that the region could be as important to the oil industry as the Gulf of Mexico.
But BP had also been struggling to persuade Australia's regulator, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, Nopsema, that it could safely drill in the highly ecologically sensitive region.
Three times the regulator has knocked back the company, the third being just last month, when it again found BP's environmental plans inadequate.
The company's plans have also long been opposed by the Wilderness Society and other groups. Speaking last year, the Society's South Australia's director Peter Owen said: "The Great Australian Bight is a haven for whales, boasting the world's most significant southern right whale nursery as well as many humpback, sperm, blue and beak whales."
Environmentalists have called on BP to abandon its plans saying that the area could not be put at risk from oil exploitation and that the company could never adequately clean up an oil spill.
Today their wish was granted. BP said it was pulling out due to costs and the low oil price.
Claire Fitzpatrick, BP's managing director for exploration and production, Australia said: "We have looked long and hard at our exploration plans for the Great Australian Bight but, in the current external environment, we will only pursue frontier exploration opportunities if they are competitive and aligned to our strategic goals."
She added: "After extensive and careful consideration, this has proven not to be the case for our project to explore in the Bight."
It is not surprising that today's decision by BP was welcomed by environmental groups.
Lyndon Schneiders, Wilderness Society national director said: "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 associated spill risks.
Greenpeace Australia oceans campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle was ecstatic too: "This will come as a huge relief to anyone whose business relies on clean, green seas in the Great Australian Bight, to the fishing communities, to the tourism industry and it is a huge victory for them."
The South Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young added "BP have said goodbye to the Bight, I say good riddance to BP."
She added that the Greens had a bill before the Senate that would permanently protect the Great Australian Bight from oil and gas drilling. "It's time that bill was supported, so that this precious natural environment can be protected for generations to come," said Hanson-Young.
Indeed, the Wilderness Society is now urging other oil and gas companies, such as Chevron, Santos and Statoil, to follow BP's and exit the Blight. Peter Owen, the Society's South Australian director of has also now called on the government to rescind all other permits for oil and gas in the region.
However, Statoil, BP's partner is currently continuing with the project.
"The risk to the Bight is not entirely over," argues Greenpeace Australia oceans campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle. "There are still multiple oil and gas companies with titles in the Bight and it won't be over until all the oil and gas prospects have left."
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By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›