No fracking way!: On the back of several scientific studies warning of the dire implications of fracking, the United Kingdom has banned the practice with immediate effect | Photo:

UK outlaws fracking

The United Kingdom has banned fracking with immediate effect on the basis of numerous scientific findings that warned of “unacceptable” consequences for those living nearby. The government has also said no to allowing any future permissions for the practice, as it was difficult for regulators to predict the magnitude of earthquakes that the practice could trigger as it fractures bedrock.

The decision scores a massive victory for environmentalists, but Cuadrilla — UK’s largest proponent of fracking — is hopeful that the ban will be lifted, as has happened previously. 

MoPNG slapped with notice over hydrocarbon exploration in TN

The Madras high court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) over its proposed plan to explore hydrocarbons and produce methane at the Cauvery river delta in Tamil Nadu. The notice is in response to a PIL that says that the project could shrink agricultural land in the “rice bowl” of the state and endanger the livelihoods of local farmers. MoPNG has been directed to reply by January 7, 2020.

Global energy efficiency growth fell to 1.2% over the last decade

IEA estimates that worsening extreme weather events and adverse social and economic factors have slowed the growth in global energy efficiency down to a decadal-low of 1.2% for 2018. Out of touch policy measures, and investments have also dragged the metric down, although IEA has stated that increasing digital interconnectedness between buildings, appliances and transport systems presents a major opportunity to boost energy efficiency.

EU finance ministers urge EIB to end fossil fuel lending

Finance ministers from EU member states last Friday issued a joint statement urging on the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to end fossil fuel lending. The document is the first such declaration from the EU calling for an end to the multi-billion Euro funding of fossil fuels by EIB, and other MDBs. The EIB, which is owned jointly by the EU and also the bloc’s top lender, has funded fossil fuel projects worth almost $15 billion since 2003. The bank had earlier sought approval to end lending to fossil fuel projects from 2021, but has thus far not reached consensus among its 28-member board. Now, with European finance ministers backing the proposal, a decision is expected this week when the EIB board meets to discuss the issue.

Australia: Top coal miners account for as much as 75% of annual aviation emissions

A new report has found that 10 of Australia’s top coal mining firms together pump 670 million tons (MT) of CO2 in the atmosphere each year — equivalent to 75% of the annual emissions released by global air traffic. Worse, six of these miners were together responsible for more emissions (554 MT) than all annual emissions from the entire Australian economy. The report follows findings that Australian fossil fuel firms are planning even more extraction in the country’s north, to sell the products in Asia. 
However, the country is also testing its first-ever offshore wind farm, off the coast of Victoria (South Australia). The 2GW farm is expected to come online fully by 2027. Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas, too, has announced it will cap its emissions to 2020 levels and slash them to net zero by 2050.