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US: Coal company funds climate denial as GOP rejects carbon tax

Peabody Energy has funded more than two dozen groups that challenge the existence of climate change and pushed back against environmental regulation.

An analysis by the Guardian of court documents found that America’s largest coal company has given money to front groups, trade associations, thinktanks and lobbying firms; while making extensive political donations to the Republican Party.

The news comes as the Republican led House of Representatives passed a motion denouncing a carbon tax in the strongest possible terms, stating that the policy would “would be detrimental to American families and businesses.”

Major fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, officially support a carbon tax, but some Democrats accused big oil of being behind the resolution.

Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said: It’s not just a matter of lobbying by Big Oil and the Koch operation on how Republicans ought to vote; given their control over the Republican Party, it is very likely that the vote itself was brought up at their behest.”

Elsewhere, Japan is also struggling to kick it’s addiction to dirty fuels.

Bloomberg reports that the Japanese government is resisting calls by international governments and environmentalists to phase out coal power plants, even as pressure to cut carbon emissions intensifies after the Paris agreement.

Islamic State beats climate change in rankings of what Europeans fear most

Europeans view Islamic State as the biggest threat to their countries, according to a poll conducted in April, just a few weeks after the terror attacks in Brussels.

The threat from the militants was viewed as more serious than economic instability, migration and climate change.

The survey, conducted by Pew Research Center, found significant differences from nation to nation.

Polish respondents were more concerned about the rise of Russia and the refugee crisis than their counterparts in Western Europe. Meanwhile, Greeks unsurprisingly saw economic instability as the biggest threat facing their country.

Carbon dioxide levels set to pass symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million this year

Pew might want to do another survey after seeing this story.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide will exceed 400 parts per million (ppm) this year and will not drop below it in our lifetimes, according to a new study by the Met Office.

The Guardian’s Arthur Neslen reports that the increase in C02 will be larger than the last major El Nino weather event in 1997/8 chiefly because manmade emissions increased by a quarter since then.

Measures of C02 were taken at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii.

The study’s lead author Professor Richard Betts said the fact the 400ppm threshold had been breached posed a significant warning for the future.

He said: “Once you have passed that barrier, it takes a long time for CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere by natural processes. Even if we cut emissions, we wouldn’t see concentrations coming down for a long time, so we have said goodbye to measurements below 400ppm at Mauna Loa.”

In other news

China: Investment growth slowest since 2000

Europe: Alpine soil storing less carbon as temperatures warm

Greenland: Climate change a boon for inhabitants of isolated island

UK: Insurance giant Prudential puts bets on green energy

US: Shale output drops for seventh straight month