Protesters call on MP Rebecca Pow to tighten waterways regulations

https://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/23279194.protesters-call-mp-rebecca-pow-tighten-waterways-regulations/

An Extinction Rebellion satirical plaque

PROTESTERS will unveil satirical blue plaques in Taunton claiming to “highlight MP’s Rebecca Pow failure to support the tightening of environmental legislation, to regulate the discharges of the water companies”.

Extinction Rebellion said they “will join a national day of action called Dirty Water to highlight the “shocking state of the waterways”.

The plaques will be unveiled on Saturday (January 28) at sites along the River Tone and the event will finish with a piece of Street Theatre in French Weir.

Reverend Jonathan Morris, a retired priest from the Diocese of Bath and Wells, and a member of Taunton Extinction Rebellion said: “We’ve watched in horror as our rivers and seas have become open sewers since October 2021, when the government, including the Taunton MP Rebecca Pow, voted down a proposal to stop water companies pumping waste directly into our rivers.

https://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/23279194.protesters-call-mp-rebecca-pow-tighten-waterways-regulations/

9.55 edit: Every UK MP who voted to ALLOW water companies to continue dumping RAW SEWAGE in rivers and the sea

“Lords Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.” report Evolve.

“Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustice recommended to his fellow MPs that they should reject it.”

“And, owing largely to the government’s 80 seat majority, the amendment was indeed defeated – by a margin of 268 MPs to 204.”

For your convenience, Evolve has collated a list of every single MP who voted to allow water companies to continue the horrendous practice of dumping raw sewage into our waterways below. Make sure you contact them or post on your social media to remind them of their duties. It is 2021 not 1988. Water companies which are highly profitable regional monopolies, some even avoiding UK tax, can not be allowed to get away with this for £.

Steve Double (Conservative – St Austell and Newquay)
Scott Mann (Conservative – North Cornwall)
George Eustice (Conservative – Camborne and Redruth – sewage affecting Godrevy, Portreath, Porthtowan etc)
Cherilyn Mackrory (Conservative – Truro and Falmouth – St Agnes, Porthtowan, Falmouth, Perranporth etc)
Gary Streeter (Conservative – South West Devon)
Robert Goodwill (Conservative – Scarborough and Whitby)
Greg Knight (Conservative – East Yorkshire)
Jacob Young (Conservative – Redcar)
Matt Hancock (Conservative – West Suffolk)
James Cartlidge (Conservative – South Suffolk

Alun Cairns (Conservative – Vale of Glamorgan)
Duncan Baker (Conservative – North Norfolk)
Scott Benton (Conservative – Blackpool South)
Stephen Crabb (Conservative – Preseli Pembrokeshire)
David T C Davies (Conservative – Monmouth)
James Davies (Conservative – Vale of Clwyd)
Jamie Wallis (Conservative – Bridgend)
Nigel Adams (Conservative – Selby and Ainsty)
Adam Afriyie (Conservative – Windsor)
Peter Aldous (Conservative – Waveney)
Lucy Allan (Conservative – Telford)
Lee Anderson (Conservative – Ashfield)
Stuart Andrew (Conservative – Pudsey)
Edward Argar (Conservative – Charnwood)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative – Louth and Horncastle)
Gareth Bacon (Conservative – Orpington)
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative – Saffron Walden)
Shaun Bailey (Conservative – West Bromwich West)
Steve Baker (Conservative – Wycombe)
Harriett Baldwin (Conservative – West Worcestershire)
Steve Barclay (Conservative – North East Cambridgeshire)
Simon Baynes (Conservative – Clwyd South)
Aaron Bell (Conservative – Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Paul Beresford (Conservative – Mole Valley)
Bob Blackman (Conservative – Harrow East)
Crispin Blunt (Conservative – Reigate)
Peter Bone (Conservative – Wellingborough)
Andrew Bowie (Conservative – West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
Graham Brady (Conservative – Altrincham and Sale West)
Suella Braverman (Conservative – Fareham)
Jack Brereton (Conservative – Stoke-on-Trent South)
Andrew Bridgen (Conservative – North West Leicestershire)
Steve Brine (Conservative – Winchester)
Paul Bristow (Conservative – Peterborough)
Sara Britcliffe (Conservative – Hyndburn)
Anthony Browne (Conservative – South Cambridgeshire)
Fiona Bruce (Conservative – Congleton)
Felicity Buchan (Conservative – Kensington)
Alex Burghart (Conservative – Brentwood and Ongar)
Rob Butler (Conservative – Aylesbury)
Andy Carter (Conservative – Warrington South)
William Cash (Conservative – Stone)
Miriam Cates (Conservative – Penistone and Stocksbridge)
Maria Caulfield (Conservative – Lewes)
Alex Chalk (Conservative – Cheltenham)
Jo Churchill (Conservative – Bury St Edmunds)
Theo Clarke (Conservative – Stafford)
Brendan Clarke-Smith (Conservative – Bassetlaw)
Chris Clarkson (Conservative – Heywood and Middleton)
James Cleverly (Conservative – Braintree)
Thérèse Coffey (Conservative – Suffolk Coastal)
Damian Collins (Conservative – Folkestone and Hythe)
Alberto Costa (Conservative – South Leicestershire)
Robert Courts (Conservative – Witney)
Claire Coutinho (Conservative – East Surrey)
Virginia Crosbie (Conservative – Ynys Môn)
James Daly (Conservative – Bury North)
Gareth Davies (Conservative – Grantham and Stamford)
Mims Davies (Conservative – Mid Sussex)
Dehenna Davison (Conservative – Bishop Auckland)
Caroline Dinenage (Conservative – Gosport)
Sarah Dines (Conservative – Derbyshire Dales)
Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative – Huntingdon)
Leo Docherty (Conservative – Aldershot)
Michelle Donelan (Conservative – Chippenham)
Nadine Dorries (Conservative – Mid Bedfordshire)
Julian Lewis (Conservative – New Forest East)
Chris Loder (Conservative – West Dorset)
Oliver Dowden (Conservative – Hertsmere)
Jackie Doyle-Price (Conservative – Thurrock)
Flick Drummond (Conservative – Meon Valley)
David Duguid (Conservative – Banff and Buchan)
Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative – Chingford and Woodford Green)
Ruth Edwards (Conservative – Rushcliffe)
Michael Ellis (Conservative – Northampton North)
Natalie Elphicke (Conservative – Dover)
Luke Evans (Conservative – Bosworth)
David Evennett (Conservative – Bexleyheath and Crayford)
Ben Everitt (Conservative – Milton Keynes North)
Michael Fabricant (Conservative – Lichfield)
Laura Farris (Conservative – Newbury)
Simon Fell (Conservative – Barrow and Furness)
Katherine Fletcher (Conservative – South Ribble)
Mark Fletcher (Conservative – Bolsover)
Nick Fletcher (Conservative – Don Valley)
Liam Fox (Conservative – North Somerset)
Lucy Frazer (Conservative – South East Cambridgeshire)
Mike Freer (Conservative – Finchley and Golders Green)
Marcus Fysh (Conservative – Yeovil)
Mark Garnier (Conservative – Wyre Forest)
Nusrat Ghani (Conservative – Wealden)
Nick Gibb (Conservative – Bognor Regis and Littlehampton)
Peter Gibson (Conservative – Darlington)
Jo Gideon (Conservative – Stoke-on-Trent Central)
John Glen (Conservative – Salisbury)
Richard Graham (Conservative – Gloucester)
Helen Grant (Conservative – Maidstone and The Weald)
Chris Green (Conservative – Bolton West)
Andrew Griffith (Conservative – Arundel and South Downs)
Kate Griffiths (Conservative – Burton)
James Grundy (Conservative – Leigh)
Jonathan Gullis (Conservative – Stoke-on-Trent North)
Robert Halfon (Conservative – Harlow)
Luke Hall (Conservative – Thornbury and Yate)
Stephen Hammond (Conservative – Wimbledon)
Mark Harper (Conservative – Forest of Dean)
Rebecca Harris (Conservative – Castle Point)
Sally-Ann Hart (Conservative – Hastings and Rye)
John Hayes (Conservative – South Holland and The Deepings)
James Heappey (Conservative – Wells)
Darren Henry (Conservative – Broxtowe)
Antony Higginbotham (Conservative – Burnley)
Richard Holden (Conservative – North West Durham)
Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative – Thirsk and Malton)
Philip Hollobone (Conservative – Kettering)
Paul Holmes (Conservative – Eastleigh)
John Howell (Conservative – Henley)
Paul Howell (Conservative – Sedgefield)
Nigel Huddleston (Conservative – Mid Worcestershire)
Neil Hudson (Conservative – Penrith and The Border)
Eddie Hughes (Conservative – Walsall North)
Jane Hunt (Conservative – Loughborough)
Tom Hunt (Conservative – Ipswich)
Alister Jack (Conservative – Dumfries and Galloway)
Andrea Jenkyns (Conservative – Morley and Outwood)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative – Newark)
Caroline Johnson (Conservative – Sleaford and North Hykeham)
Gareth Johnson (Conservative – Dartford)
David Johnston (Conservative – Wantage)
Andrew Jones (Conservative – Harrogate and Knaresborough)
David Jones (Conservative – Clwyd West)
Marcus Jones (Conservative – Nuneaton)
Simon Jupp (Conservative – East Devon)
Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative – Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Alicia Kearns (Conservative – Rutland and Melton)
Gillian Keegan (Conservative – Chichester)
Julian Knight (Conservative – Solihull)
Danny Kruger (Conservative – Devizes)
Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative – Spelthorne) (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
John Lamont (Conservative – Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Andrea Leadsom (Conservative – South Northamptonshire)
Andrew Lewer (Conservative – Northampton South)
Mark Logan (Conservative – Bolton North East)
Marco Longhi (Conservative – Dudley North)
Julia Lopez (Conservative – Hornchurch and Upminster)
Jack Lopresti (Conservative – Filton and Bradley Stoke)
Rachel Maclean (Conservative – Redditch)
Kit Malthouse (Conservative – North West Hampshire)
Anthony Mangnall (Conservative – Totnes)
Julie Marson (Conservative – Hertford and Stortford)
Theresa May (Conservative – Maidenhead)
Jerome Mayhew (Conservative – Broadland)
Paul Maynard (Conservative – Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
Karl McCartney (Conservative – Lincoln)
Stephen McPartland (Conservative – Stevenage)
Mark Menzies (Conservative – Fylde)
Stephen Metcalfe (Conservative – South Basildon and East Thurrock)
Robin Millar (Conservative – Aberconwy)
Maria Miller (Conservative – Basingstoke)
Nigel Mills (Conservative – Amber Valley)
Andrew Mitchell (Conservative – Sutton Coldfield)
Gagan Mohindra (Conservative – South West Hertfordshire)
Damien Moore (Conservative – Southport)
Robbie Moore (Conservative – Keighley)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative – Portsmouth North)
Anne Marie Morris (Conservative – Newton Abbot)
James Morris (Conservative – Halesowen and Rowley Regis)
Joy Morrissey (Conservative – Beaconsfield)
Jill Mortimer (Conservative – Hartlepool)
Wendy Morton (Conservative – Aldridge-Brownhills)
Kieran Mullan (Conservative – Crewe and Nantwich)
Holly Mumby-Croft (Conservative – Scunthorpe)
David Mundell (Conservative – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale)
Sheryll Murray (Conservative – South East Cornwall)
Andrew Murrison (Conservative – South West Wiltshire)
Robert Neill (Conservative – Bromley and Chislehurst)
Lia Nici (Conservative – Great Grimsby)
Neil O’Brien (Conservative – Harborough)
Guy Opperman (Conservative – Hexham)
Neil Parish (Conservative – Tiverton and Honiton)
Owen Paterson (Conservative – North Shropshire)
Mark Pawsey (Conservative – Rugby)
Mike Penning (Conservative – Hemel Hempstead)
John Penrose (Conservative – Weston-super-Mare)
Chris Philp (Conservative – Croydon South)
Christopher Pincher (Conservative – Tamworth)
Dan Poulter (Conservative – Central Suffolk and North Ipswich)
Rebecca Pow (Conservative – Taunton Deane)
Victoria Prentis (Conservative – Banbury)
Mark Pritchard (Conservative – The Wrekin)
Tom Pursglove (Conservative – Corby)
Will Quince (Conservative – Colchester)
Tom Randall (Conservative – Gedling)
John Redwood (Conservative – Wokingham)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative – North East Somerset)
Nicola Richards (Conservative – West Bromwich East)
Angela Richardson (Conservative – Guildford)
Laurence Robertson (Conservative – Tewkesbury)
Mary Robinson (Conservative – Cheadle)
Douglas Ross (Conservative – Moray)
Lee Rowley (Conservative – North East Derbyshire)
Dean Russell (Conservative – Watford)
David Rutley (Conservative – Macclesfield)
Gary Sambrook (Conservative – Birmingham, Northfield)
Selaine Saxby (Conservative – North Devon)
Paul Scully (Conservative – Sutton and Cheam)
Bob Seely (Conservative – Isle of Wight)
Andrew Selous (Conservative – South West Bedfordshire)
Grant Shapps (Conservative – Welwyn Hatfield)
Alec Shelbrooke (Conservative – Elmet and Rothwell)
Chris Skidmore (Conservative – Kingswood)
Chloe Smith (Conservative – Norwich North)
Greg Smith (Conservative – Buckingham)
Henry Smith (Conservative – Crawley)
Julian Smith (Conservative – Skipton and Ripon)
Royston Smith (Conservative – Southampton, Itchen)
Ben Spencer (Conservative – Runnymede and Weybridge)
Mark Spencer (Conservative – Sherwood)
Alexander Stafford (Conservative – Rother Valley)
Andrew Stephenson (Conservative – Pendle)
Jane Stevenson (Conservative – Wolverhampton North East)
Bob Stewart (Conservative – Beckenham)
Iain Stewart (Conservative – Milton Keynes South)
Mel Stride (Conservative – Central Devon)
Graham Stuart (Conservative – Beverley and Holderness)
Julian Sturdy (Conservative – York Outer)
James Sunderland (Conservative – Bracknell)
Desmond Swayne (Conservative – New Forest West)
Robert Syms (Conservative – Poole)
Maggie Throup (Conservative – Erewash)
Edward Timpson (Conservative – Eddisbury)
Justin Tomlinson (Conservative – North Swindon)
Michael Tomlinson (Conservative – Mid Dorset and North Poole)
Craig Tracey (Conservative – North Warwickshire)
Laura Trott (Conservative – Sevenoaks)
Tom Tugendhat (Conservative – Tonbridge and Malling)
Shailesh Vara (Conservative – North West Cambridgeshire)
Martin Vickers (Conservative – Cleethorpes)
Matt Vickers (Conservative – Stockton South)
Christian Wakeford (Conservative – Bury South)
Robin Walker (Conservative – Worcester)
Charles Walker (Conservative – Broxbourne)
David Warburton (Conservative – Somerton and Frome)
Matt Warman (Conservative – Boston and Skegness)
Giles Watling (Conservative – Clacton)
Suzanne Webb (Conservative – Stourbridge)
Helen Whately (Conservative – Faversham and Mid Kent)
Heather Wheeler (Conservative – South Derbyshire)
John Whittingdale (Conservative – Maldon)
James Wild (Conservative – North West Norfolk)
Craig Williams (Conservative – Montgomeryshire)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative – South Staffordshire)
Mike Wood (Conservative – Dudley South)
William Wragg (Conservative – Hazel Grove)
Jeremy Wright (Conservative – Kenilworth and Southam)
TELLER: Alan Mak (Conservative – Havant)
TELLER: Craig Whittaker (Conservative – Calder Valley)

Continue ReadingProtesters call on MP Rebecca Pow to tighten waterways regulations

Ministers allow banned bee-killing pesticide to be used for third year running

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fury-as-ministers-allow-banned-beekilling-pesticide-to-be-used-for-third-year-running-b2269333.html

image of black bees
Black bees

Sugar beet farmers will be allowed to use a banned bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticide this year – for the third year in a row – the government has decided.

Farming minister Mark Spencer made the decision to allow use of thiamethoxam in England under an emergency exemption, just days after the EU outlawed such action.

UK guidance states that emergency exemptions should not be granted more than once.

The Pesticide Collaboration, a coalition of health, environmental, farming and consumer groups, academics and trade unions, said the decision to approve the neonicotinoid for a third year running was “a total failure of responsibility to protect vital species”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fury-as-ministers-allow-banned-beekilling-pesticide-to-be-used-for-third-year-running-b2269333.html

Continue ReadingMinisters allow banned bee-killing pesticide to be used for third year running

Nine Palestinians killed by Israelis in the occupied West Bank

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/nine-palestinians-killed-israelis-occupied-west-bank

NINE Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and at least 20 others wounded today during a raid in the West Bank.

The latest surge of violence against Palestinians was the heaviest death toll in years in the occupied territory.

A gun battle broke out when the Israeli military conducted a daytime operation in the Jenin refugee camp that it said had been aimed at preventing an imminent attack on Israelis.

Israeli violence has intensified this month after the country’s new far-right government took office and pledged to take a hard line against the Palestinians.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/nine-palestinians-killed-israelis-occupied-west-bank

Continue ReadingNine Palestinians killed by Israelis in the occupied West Bank

Nearly 20% of Brits already living in poverty before cost-of-living crisis, report finds

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/nearly-20-of-brits-already-living-in-poverty-before-cost-of-living-crisis

Image of banknotes and prepayment meter key

MILLIONS of people in Britain, including 3.9 million children and 1.7m pensioners, were in living in poverty even before the cost-of-living crisis hit, damning figures revealed today.

Around 20 per cent of the population, equating to 13.4m people, were living in poverty in 2020/21, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s annual poverty report found.

The report warned that there are elements in the benefits system that increase poverty, including the two-child limit, five-week wait for universal credit payments and unaffordable debt deductions.

About 7.2m people are skipping meals, showers and heating, it found.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/nearly-20-of-brits-already-living-in-poverty-before-cost-of-living-crisis

Continue ReadingNearly 20% of Brits already living in poverty before cost-of-living crisis, report finds

Revealed: Taskforce to tackle NHS backlog is stuffed with private health CEOs

Original article republished from Open Democracy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Lobbyists for private health corporations were among those tasked with shaping proposals for NHS recovery plan

Adam Bychawski 19 January 2023, 3.31pm

Sunak met with the CEOs of several UK private health corporations in Number 10 in December.
| No 10 Downing Street

Rishi Sunak hosted a meeting with seven bosses from the UK’s biggest private health companies to discuss how to tackle the NHS backlog, openDemocracy can reveal.

Campaigners have raised concerns that the close involvement of private healthcare corporations in the government’s response to the NHS crisis will benefit shareholders at the expense of public investment.

The government announced the creation of the Elective Recovery Taskforce in December to provide advice on how to “turbocharge NHS recovery from the pandemic, reduce waiting times for patients and eliminate waits for routine care of over a year by 2025”.

At the time, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) refused to give openDemocracy details of the group’s members, or say who had attended its launch at Number 10 led by the PM and health secretary Steve Barclay in December.

A guestlist for the event, obtained by openDemocracy through a Freedom of Information request, reveals that half a dozen CEOs from private health firms were in attendance. 

Guests included the chief execs of the UK’s two largest private hospital operators: Paolo Pieri, the chief exec of Circle Health Group, and Justin Ash, who heads up Spire Healthcare. Also present was Jim Easton, the chief executive of Practice Plus Group, the NHS’s top private healthcare provider.

They were joined by David Hare, the chief executive of Independent Healthcare Provider Network, a lobby group that represents for-profit and not-for-profit private health organisations including Bupa and HCA, one of the biggest healthcare facility companies in the US.

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2H2J51G

Revealed: Conservatives took more than £800,000 from private health firms

Private health tycoons have wined and dined senior ministers while cashing in on NHS contracts

The private healthcare executives, which also included CEOs from Horder Healthcare, Newmedica, InHealth and Medefer, outnumbered the five NHS England directors invited to the event.

DHSC said it could not provide openDemocracy with minutes from the meeting because none were taken, and refused to share any papers handed out to attendees.

Separately, the government quietly published a list of members of the Elective Recovery Taskforce on Monday. The 16-person group includes DHSC ministers, six NHS bosses, and Hare.

Other members include Bill Morgan, a private healthcare lobbyist whose past clients included Virgin Care, who was appointed a Number 10 adviser in November, and Paul Manning, an NHS consultant surgeon who is also chief medical officer for Circle Healthcare.

The government said the role of the task force would be to “shape proposals for how the healthcare system can make use of all resources at its disposal, further tackling the backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”. It will conclude its work in March.

Last week, the prime minister said he had signed up to an NHS GP after the Guardian reported that he had registered with a private clinic in west London that charges £250 for a consultation.

The British Medical Association warned last year that the government’s NHS recovery plan would significantly increase the outsourcing of services to private providers and that it “threatens the clinical and financial viability and sustainability of the NHS”.

Tony O’Sullivan, a retired consultant paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, told openDemocracy: “The head parasites are at the table to maximise future extraction of NHS funds.”

He added: “This is an important disclosure extracted from the government proving the direction of travel – to continue disinvesting in the NHS and increase its enforced dependence on private health care.

“The private sector was bailed out during Covid, has a lucrative four-year £10bn deal ongoing and is also in a position to earn massive profits from patients forced to go privately to avoid NHS queues of 7.2 million.”

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Original article republished from Open Democracy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Continue ReadingRevealed: Taskforce to tackle NHS backlog is stuffed with private health CEOs

Flying shame: the scandalous rise of private jets

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/26/flying-shame-the-scandalous-rise-of-private-jets

It was a Labour spokesperson who said the prime minister was behaving “like an A-list celeb”, after Rishi Sunak made his third trip by private jet in 10 days. Last week, he flew from London to Blackpool in a 14-seat RAF jet – a 230-mile journey that would have taken about three hours by train. The week before, he did the same to Leeds, which he could have done in two and a half hours by train, but which wouldn’t have looked nearly so glamorous – to go by the ludicrous photograph of him looking important and being saluted as he boarded the aircraft.

Private planes are up to 14 times more polluting, per passenger, than commercial planes and 50 times more polluting than trains, according to a report by Transport & Environment, a European clean transport campaign organisation. “It goes against the fact that the government has committed to net zero by 2050,” says Alice Ridley, a spokesperson for the Campaign for Better Transport. “They have said they want to see more journeys by public transport, walking and cycling. Taking a private jet is extremely damaging for the environment, especially when there are other alternatives that would be far less polluting and would also be cheaper.”

Private planes carry far fewer passengers, while about 40% of flights are empty, simply getting the aircraft to the right location. Flying short distances also means planes are less fuel-efficient.

“A private jet is the most polluting form of transport you can take,” says Matt Finch, the UK policy manager for Transport & Environment. “The average private jet emits two tonnes of carbon an hour. The average European is responsible for [emitting] eight tonnes of carbon a year. You fly to the south of France and back, that’s half a year in one trip.”

Continue ReadingFlying shame: the scandalous rise of private jets

Shareholder Resolutions Push Big Banks to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Financing

Original article republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Protest placard reads Greenwash detected

Any climate commitment from a bank that is still financing fossil fuel expansion is greenwashing, pure and simple,” said a Stop the Money Pipeline campaigner.

BRETT WILKINS Jan 24, 2023

Taking aim at Wall Street banks financing the oil, gas, and coal extraction fueling the climate crisis, a coalition of institutional investors on Tuesday announced the filing of climate-related shareholder resolutions in an effort to force “more climate-friendly policies that better align with” the firms’ public commitments to combating the planetary emergency.

In the resolutions, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Harrington Investments asked six banks—Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo—to enact policies phasing out fossil fuel finance, disclose plans for aligning their financing with their stated near-term emissions reduction goals, and to set absolute end-of-decade emissions reduction targets for their energy sector financing.

Shareholders also filed climate resolutions at four companies—Chubb, Travelers, The Hartford, and Berkshire Hathaway—that insure fossil fuel projects.

“Each of the major banks has publicly committed to aligning its financing with the goals of the Paris agreement to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, a target widely considered imperative to avoid catastrophic climate impacts and financial losses,” ICCR said in a statement. “Scientific consensus shows that new fossil fuel expansion is incompatible with achieving net-zero by 2050, yet these banks continue to invest billions of dollars each year in new fossil fuel development—a fact corroborated by a new Reclaim Finance report released last week.”

As Stop the Money Pipeline—a coalition of over 200 groups seeking to hold “financial backers of climate chaos accountable”—noted:

A slate of resolutions calling for policies to phase out financing for fossil fuel expansion was filed by the same investors at U.S. banks in 2022. They received between 9% and 13% support, which was a significant milestone for these first-of-their-kind proposals. This year’s fossil fuel financing proposals have been updated to encourage banks to finance clients’ low-carbon transition so long as those plans are credible and verified. The previous resolutions were supported by many major institutional investors, including the New York State and New York City Common Retirement Funds.

New in 2023 are the resolutions on absolute emissions reduction targets for energy sector financing filed by the New York City and New York State comptrollers, and the resolutions calling for disclosure of climate transition plans filed by As You Sow. The day before the resolutions were filed, Denmark’s largest bank, Danske, announced a phaseout of corporate financing for companies engaged in new coal, oil and, gas development.

“Any climate commitment from a bank that is still financing fossil fuel expansion is greenwashing, pure and simple,” Arielle Swernoff, U.S. banks campaign manager at Stop the Money Pipeline, said in a statement. “By supporting these resolutions, shareholders can hold banks accountable to their own climate commitments, effectively manage risk, and protect people and the planet.”

Dan Chu, executive director of the Sierra Club Foundation—which led the filing at JPMorgan Chase—lamented that “all major U.S. banks continue to finance billions of dollars for new coal, oil, and gas projects every year. Such financing undermines the banks’ net-zero commitments and exposes investors to material risks.”

“These shareholder resolutions simply ask banks to align their promises with their actions and to adopt policies to phase out the financing of new fossil fuel development,” Chu added.

Referring to a warning from the International Energy Agency, Kate Monahan of Trillium Asset Management—which spearheaded the Bank of America filing—said that “we will not be able to achieve the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C if banks continue to finance new fossil fuel exploration and development.”

“Bank of America has publicly committed to the Paris agreement but continues to finance fossil fuel expansion with no phaseout plan, exposing itself to accusations of greenwashing and reputational damage,” Monahan contended. ” By continuing to fund new fossil fuels, Bank of America and others are taking actions with potentially catastrophic consequences.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Original article republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingShareholder Resolutions Push Big Banks to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Financing

‘Spectacular Failure of Climate Leadership’: Biden Outpaces Trump on Oil and Gas Permits

Original article republished from Common dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Although President Joe Biden vowed on the campaign trail to phase out federal leasing for fossil fuel extraction, his administration approved more permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in its first two years than the Trump administration did in 2017 and 2018.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity’s analysis of federal data released Wednesday, the Biden White House greenlit 6,430 permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in 2021 and 2022—a 4.2% increase over former President Donald Trump’s administration, which rubber-stamped 6,172 drilling permits in its first two years.

“Two years of runaway drilling approvals are a spectacular failure of climate leadership by President Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Avoiding catastrophic climate change requires phasing out fossil fuel extraction, but instead we’re still racing in the opposite direction.”

Of the drilling authorized so far by the Biden administration, nearly 4,000 permits have been approved for public lands in New Mexico, followed by 1,223 in Wyoming and several hundred each in Utah, Colorado, California, Montana, and North Dakota.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, these “Biden-approved drilling permits will result in more than 800 million tons of estimated equivalent greenhouse gas pollution, or the annual climate pollution from about 217 coal-fired power plants.”

Just last week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the elites gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos that “fossil fuel producers and their enablers are still racing to expand production, knowing full well that their business model is inconsistent with human survival.”

Reams of scientific evidence show that pollution from the world’s existing fossil fuel developments is enough to push temperature rise well beyond 1.5°C above the preindustrial baseline. Averting calamitous levels of global heating necessitates ending investment in new oil and gas projects and phasing out extraction to keep 40% of the fossil fuel reserves at currently operational sites underground.

As a presidential candidate, Biden pledged to ban new oil and gas lease sales on public lands and waters and to require federal permitting decisions to weigh the social costs of additional planet-heating pollution. Although Biden issued an executive order suspending new fossil fuel leasing during his first week in office, his administration’s actions since then

have run roughshod over earlier promises, worsening the deadly climate crisis that the White House claims to be serious about mitigating.

“The president and interior secretary have the power to avoid a climate catastrophe, but they need to change course rapidly.”

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) argued on August 24, 2021 that it was required to resume lease auctions because of a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. Judge Terry A. Doughty, a Trump appointee who ruled in favor of a group of Big Oil-funded Republican attorneys general that sued Biden over his moratorium. In a memorandum of opposition filed on the same day, however, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asserted that while Doughty’s decision prevented the Biden administration from implementing its pause, it did not compel the DOI to hold new lease sales, “let alone on the urgent timeline specified in plaintiffs’ contempt motion.”

Just days after Biden called global warming “an existential threat to human existence” and declared Washington’s ostensible commitment to decarbonization at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the DOI ignored the DOJ’s legal advice and proceeded with Lease Sale 257. The nation’s largest-ever offshore auction, which saw more than 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico offered to the highest-bidding oil and gas giants, was blocked in January 2022 by a federal judge who wrote that the Biden administration violated environmental laws by not adequately accounting for the likely consequences of resulting emissions.

Despite Biden’s pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by the end of this decade, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management held lease sales in several Western states in 2022, opening up tens of thousands of acres of public land to fossil fuel production. The DOI has so far announced plans for three new onshore oil and gas lease sales in 2023. The first will offer more than 261,200 acres of public land in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming to the highest-bidding drillers. The second and third will put a total of 95,411 acres of public land in Nevada and Utah on the auction block.

In addition, the Biden administration published a draft proposal last summer that, if implemented, would permit up to 11 new oil and gas lease sales for drilling off the coast of Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico over a five-year period.

The president’s 2021 freeze on new lease auctions was meant to give the DOI time to analyze the “potential climate and other impacts associated with oil and gas activities on public lands or in offshore waters.” Nevertheless, the agency’s long-awaited review of the federal leasing program effectively ignored the climate crisis, instead proposing adjustments to royalties, bids, and bonding in what environmental justice campaigners described as a “shocking capitulation to the needs of corporate polluters.”

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that roughly 25% of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions and 7% of its overall methane emissions can be attributed to fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters. According to peer-reviewed research, a nationwide prohibition on federal oil and gas leasing would slash carbon dioxide emissions by 280 million tons per year.

The Biden administration “has not enacted any policies to significantly limit drilling permits or manage a decline of production to avoid 1.5°C degrees of warming,” the Center for Biological Diversity lamented. The White House even supported the demands of right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.)—Congress’ leading recipient of fossil fuel industry

cash and a long-time coal profiteer—to “add provisions to the Inflation Reduction Act that will lock in fossil fuel leasing for the next decade.”

On numerous occasions, including earlier this month, progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups have implored the Biden administration to use its executive authority to phase out oil and gas production on public lands and in offshore waters. A petition submitted last year came equipped with a regulatory framework to wind down oil and gas production by 98% by 2035. According to the coalition that drafted it, the White House can achieve this goal by using long-dormant provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and the National Emergencies Act.

“The president and interior secretary have the power to avoid a climate catastrophe, but they need to change course rapidly,” McKinnon said Wednesday. “Strong executive action can meet the climate emergency with the urgency it demands, starting with phasing out fossil fuel production on public lands and waters.”

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KENNY STANCIL Kenny Stancil is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Full Bio >

Original article republished from Common dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue Reading‘Spectacular Failure of Climate Leadership’: Biden Outpaces Trump on Oil and Gas Permits

Ken Loach blasts Sir Kir as a ‘tool of the establishment’ in new documentary

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/ken-loach-blasts-sir-keir-tool-of-the-establishment

LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer is a “tool of the Establishment” who deliberately undermined Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, legendary film director Ken Loach has charged.

In excerpts from his interview in the upcoming documentary film Oh Jeremy Corbyn — The Big Lie, the award-winning film-maker said the ex-shadow Brexit secretary acted like an “undercover spy cop” at his predecessor’s top table.

In the film, due to receive its premiere in central London next month, Mr Loach says: “Every now and then, to show that we’re a democracy, there’s a change of government.

“The party changes, but it’s so important from the Establishment’s point of view that the alternative party won’t change anything — and that’s what Starmer is proving now.”

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/ken-loach-blasts-sir-keir-tool-of-the-establishment

Continue ReadingKen Loach blasts Sir Kir as a ‘tool of the establishment’ in new documentary