VW scandal caused nearly one million tonnes of extra pollution
Volkswagen’s rigging of emissions tests for 11 million cars means that the company was responsible for producing one million tonnes of air pollution, the equivalent of the emissions produced by every power station in Britain combined.
The analysis by the Guardian suggests that VWs defective vehicles emit more than 10 to 40 times the limit on nitrous oxides than are allowed for new cars in the United States. The newspaper reports the scandal could have a greater impact in Europe, where more cars are diesel than in the US.
The news comes as several media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, suggest that the German car company’s chief executive Martin Winterkorn is fighting for his job. Three years ago, Winterkorn faced down a similar scandal when regulators in California found that VWs were performing better in lab tests than they were on the road.
Hillary Clinton voices opposition to Keystone Pipeline
US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has finally voiced her opposition to the controversial Keystone Pipeline project, which would transport oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
In a move which is being hailed as a major victory for environmentalists, Clinton described Keystone as a “distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change.”
She added: “Therefore, I oppose it.”
The project has been under consideration for seven years, and was opposed by President Obama. The future of the pipeline now appears to depend on who wins the race to the White House next year, with all the Republican candidates firmly in favour of the deal.
Elsewhere in the United States, Senate Democrats have put together legislation designed to radically cut greenhouse emissions in the country and adopt cleaner energy.
The bill is in line with President Obama’s stated goal of reducing carbon emissions by 34% by 2025. But it is likely to face opposition from Republicans in Congress.
Major US corporations Goldman Sachs and Walmart have also added the voices to calls for cleaner energy, with the companies committing to gaining more power from renewable sources over the next few years as delegates get ready to meet in Paris at the UN cleat conference this winter.
Pope visits US as Catholic Church dishes out drill permits
Pope Francis has landed in the United States, ahead of a landmark political visit.
Before he landed on US soil, he was at pains to tell journalists that he is “no lefty”, insisting that encyclical on climate change is in line with the Church’s social policy.
But members of his church in the US clearly didn’t get his message, with Reuters reporting that several diocese and other Catholic institutions in the States are currently leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies to boost their finances.
Al Gore blasts Conservatives for climate climb down
Former Vice President and Nobel prize-winning climate change campaigner, Al Gore, has criticised the UK government for going back on its promises to tackle climate change.
Gore urged Prime Minister David Cameron to renew the UK’s leadership on climate change, and said he was “puzzled” by the government’s decision to launch wholesale cuts on renewable energy products.
Also in the UK, Reuters report that small energy companies have been making a splash in the energy market in the last year.
Britain’s small energy companies now enjoy 13.4% of the country’s energy market, compared to just over 2% two years ago. Over the same period, the Big Six energy companies lost 660,000 accounts.
Putting that disappointment aside, EDF’s chief executive, Jean-Bernard Levy, has called for the company to make moves in the renewables market outside Europe.
Levy said that just 5% of his company’s interest were outside Europe, and suggested the company was ready to expand beyond its core markets in Britain, France and Italy.
In other news
UK: As the oil price continues to stagnate, more severe cost cuts will need to be made to return North Sea oil back to profit, according to an analysis by one of the Scottish National party’s favourite economists. (FT)
New Zealand: The world’s first climate refugee, who made international headlines when he moved to New Zealand, is to be deported back to the native Pacific island of Kiribati. (Bloomberg)
US: Leonard DiCaprio has become the latest celebrity to lend his name to the divestment campaign. New research suggests that, taken together, the fossil fuel assets of all the institutions that have joined the campaign amount to $2.6tn. (Reuters)