Judge Allows First UK Fracking in 7 Years to Proceed
Lancashire resident Robert Dennett had won a temporary injunction last week to stop shale natural gas company Cuadrilla from fracking in a well near Blackpool in northwest England. At a hearing Thursday, his lawyers argued that Lancashire County Council had not adequately planned for an emergency at the site on Preston New Road. But on Friday, a high court judge ruled that the council's planning was adequate and that fracking could go ahead.
The decision comes the same week as a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.
"Cuadrilla can now carry on regardless, ignoring the urgent warning issued this week by the IPCC about the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but all of the fracking companies need to know that fracking will never get a foothold in the UK because they will meet resistance at every stage of their projects," a spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire told The Guardian.
The Guardian said the ruling meant that Cuadrilla could begin fracking within hours, but Cuadrilla lawyer Nathalie Lieven told the judge at Thursday's hearing that the timing of the hearing meant they were planning to begin Saturday instead, BBC News reported.
"[E]very day, it costs Cuadrilla £94,000 to keep all that kit and equipment on site," she told the judge.
Fracking was set to restart after the conservative UK government approved two new wells in July and September. It had been halted at the Blackpool site in 2011 because of earthquakes, but the government has issued more stringent regulations and wants to try again, citing a need for energy independence.
Opponents, meanwhile, pledged to continue fighting.
"[I'm] obviously disappointed," Dennett told The Guardian after Friday's ruling. "We will continue to be defiant and fight this. We will never give up. We've put too much effort in to throw the towel in."
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley called the verdict a "real blow" in the wake of the IPCC report and pledged direct action against fracking companies.A climate change protest is planned at a farm near the Cuadrilla site later in the month. The protest will also call for the release of four anti-fracking activists who were jailed last month for an action blocking trucks from entering the Cuadrilla site, making them the first environmental protestors to be jailed in the UK in 86 years.
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
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Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.