Category: Fossil fuels

An application to carry out fracking in England for the first time since a ban was lifted in 2012 has been approved.

North Yorkshire County Council considered a bid by Third Energy to extract shale gas at a site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

Hundreds of protestors had attended a meeting in Northallerton to voice anger at the project, which was previously recommended for approval.

Councillors on the council’s planning committee voted 7-4 in favour.

Live updates from today’s meeting

The meeting has heard a number of objections from people opposed to the plans.

Supporters including landowners, farmers and Third Energy employees also had their say.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at rock to release the gas inside.

Opponents say it can cause water contamination, earthquakes and noise and traffic pollution.

Immediately after the vote, North Yorkshire Police tweeted a warning to protesters.

It read: “Please be aware, the police will take action against unlawful behaviour linked to the #nyshale protest.”

After the decisionm, campaigners gathered outside County Hall in Northallerton chanting “we say no”.

Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy said the approval meant the firm now had “a huge responsibility”.

“We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment,” he said.

Campaign group Frack Off said: “These plans could pave the way for thousands of fracking wells to spread across Yorkshire and many other parts of the country if not stopped.

“Impacts, including pipelines, air pollution and waste disposal will spread far beyond the areas being drilled.

“Third Energy’s plans in Ryedale are the thin end of a very large wedge.”

No fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011, when tests on the Fylde coast were found to have been the probable cause of minor earthquakes in the area.

Since then, two high-profile applications to frack in Lancashire have been rejected by councillors and are now the subject of appeals.

Third Energy wants to frack for shale gas using an existing two-mile deep well – called KM8 – drilled in 2013 close to the North York Moors National Park. They could start by the end of the year.

Andy Mortimer, the company’s subsurface director, told the committee fracking at Kirby Misperton was “highly unlikely to cause any sort of earth tremor”, describing the area as “seismically benign”

He said Third Energy would operate a safety system that would halt operations if a seismic event measuring above 0.5 on the Richter Scale occurred, adding that “trains cause seismic signals several orders of magnitude greater than our proposed threshold”.

The firm already had licences to produce gas in North Yorkshire and offshore in the North Sea.

Source: Landmark North Yorkshire fracking vote approved – BBC News

COATZACOALCOS, Mexico — Twenty-four people died after a leak caused a deadly petrochemical plant blast, and the death toll could still rise, Mexican oil giant Pemex said on Thursday, the latest in a series of fatal accidents to batter the company.

Pemex CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, who traveled to the site of Wednesday’s blast near the port of Coatzacoalcos, one of Pemex’s top oil export hubs, told local television it was unclear what caused the accident.

The massive explosion at the facility’s chlorinate 3 plant in the Gulf state of Veracruz also injured 136 people, 13 of them seriously. Another 18 people were unaccounted for, and one badly damaged part of the plant had yet to be scoured.

“We know there was a leak, what we don’t know is why, but everything points to an accident,” Gonzalez Anaya said.

Source: Death Toll Rises to 24 in Mexico Petrochemical Plant Explosion – NBC News

Representatives of more than 170 countries endorse Paris agreement to cut carbon emissions, with France’s president saying: ‘There is no turning back’

More than 170 governments declared an end to the fossil fuel era on Friday, using the signing ceremony for the landmark Paris agreement as an occasion to renew their vows to fight climate change.

The outpouring of support – the largest ever single-day turn-out for a signing ceremony – underscored strong international commitment to deliver on the promises made in Paris last December to avoid a climate catastrophe, the leaders said.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said signatories to the deal were embracing “a new covenant of the future”. Leonardo DiCaprio, a UN climate ambassador, likened efforts against climate change to the campaign to end slavery.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous women’s leader from Chad, called on countries to following through on their promises. Temperatures in her country were already a blistering 48C (118F), she said, and climate change threatened to obliterate billions spent on development aid over recent decades.

“Climate change is adding to poverty every day,” she said.

Friday’s gathering was entirely ceremonial, with schoolchildren and brass bands filling out the UN hall, and John Kerry, the secretary of state, toting his granddaughter in his arms when it came his turn to sign the agreement.

But the turnout – including the presence of about 60 presidents and prime ministers – and stirring rhetoric were seen as an important measure of the momentum behind efforts to bring the Paris agreement into force earlier than originally thought, possibly even this year.

Leaders also reaffirmed previous commitments to help poor countries protect their people from climate change.

Source: World governments vow to end fossil fuel era at UN climate signing ceremony | Environment | The Guardian

A charitable fund of the Rockefeller family – who are sitting on a multibillion-dollar oil fortune – has said it will withdraw all its investments from fossil fuel companies.

The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity set up in 1967 by descendants of John D Rockefeller, said on Wednesday that it would divest from all fossil fuel holdings “as quickly as possible”.

The fund, which was founded by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson and David Rockefeller, singled out ExxonMobil for particular attention describing the world’s largest oil company as “morally reprehensible”.

John D Rockefeller, who was the richest person in US history when he died in 1937, made his fortune from Standard Oil a precursor of ExxonMobil.

“There is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons,” the RFF, which has relatively small total holdings of $130m (£92m), said in a statement. “We must keep most of the already discovered reserves in the ground if there is any hope for human and natural ecosystems to survive and thrive in the decades ahead.

“We would be remiss if we failed to focus on what we believe to be the morally reprehensible conduct on the part of ExxonMobil. Evidence appears to suggest that the company worked since the 1980s to confuse the public about climate change’s march, while simultaneously spending millions to fortify its own infrastructure against climate change’s destructive consequences and track new exploration opportunities as the Arctic’s ice receded.”

Source: Rockefeller family charity to withdraw all investments in fossil fuel companies | Environment | The Guardian

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