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UK’s Jet Zero Strategy: Path To ‘Guilt-Free Travel’ Or ‘Pure Greenwash’?

As the UK recorded its first temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, Britain’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps unveiled a new plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation at the Farnborough Air Show.  The Jet Zero Strategy aims to achieve net-zero emissions from domestic flights and English airports by 2040, “so passengers can look forward to guilt-free travel,” as Shapps, Minister for Aviation Robert Courts and Minister for Transport Decarbonization Trudy Harrison put it in the foreword. However, climate activists argue that the plan promises something it can’t deliver.  “The Jet Zero strategy lands on the same day as the nation melts under record climate-change induced heat. But rather than a pragmatic plan to fully wean the aviation industry off fossil fuels, it allows the sector to carry on polluting with impunity for the next 30 years,” Transport & Environment (T&E) UK Director Matt Finch said in a statement.

Fossil Fuel Interests Are Behind Canada’s Blue Hydrogen Push

Talk to fossil fuel execs, government ministers, and industry reps these days and they’ll all tell a similar story: Blue hydrogen is the clean fuel of the future that will help Canada and the world get to net-zero emissions. It’ll power everything from airplanes to long-haul trucks and will even heat our homes. Canadian media has called blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas and has its emissions captured, “a key part” of the nation’s emissions-reduction strategy and “fairly clean” — a claim that echoes an infographic from ATCO, a major Canadian energy company, that said blue hydrogen produces “nearly zero emissions.” 

You Can’t ‘Green’ The Military

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense issued its Climate Adaptation Plan, which has been lauded by corporate media as a supposedly serious mobilization against climate change. More recently, the U.S. Army has followed suit with its own Climate Strategy. More and more frequently, Democratic politicians are learning to frame the eternal imperative of an eternally expanding military budget in the language of “greening” the military. Similar language is used by Pentagon higher-ups, and even more frequently by those from the “industry” side of the military-industrial complex. Make no mistake: the military is one of the worst polluters in the world and a huge contributor to climate change. The U.S. military owns enormous swaths of land and has a massive physical plant: by its own estimates, it outputs more carbon than all but 55 countries, and generates many other forms of pollution aside.

New ‘Green’ Elbit Drones Are A Masterclass In Military Weirdness

The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) is no stranger to a bad idea. Nobody who has spent more than five minutes in or round the UK military would deny it. The MOD’s latest project is a ‘green’ drone. In itself, this is a symptom of a broader global push towards ‘sustainable’ brands of warfare. This increasingly sees national militaries, and their worldviews, being used to grapple with an issue which has no military solution. Being oppressed or killed by green military equipment, let’s be honest, is hardly different from being oppressed or killed by the usual hardware. So what’s the story? In their quest for some good green optics, the MOD have enlisted none other than Elbit Systems. Yes, the firm which supplies 85 percent of Israel’s drones.

A Growing Wave Of Litigation Spurs Climate Action

In France, three non-governmental organizations sued the oil company Total over alleged “inadequate” environmental and human rights assessments of its oil project in Uganda and Tanzania. In Australia, a student filed a consumer complaint with Ad Standards against the financial services organization HSBC for claiming to support the protection of the Great Barrier Reef despite its links to fossil fuel operations. In South Africa, three civil society organizations launched a case alleging that the government’s plans to obtain new coal power threaten various constitutional rights. These are just a handful of the hundreds of cases of climate litigation that have arisen worldwide over the past few years.

Why Poorer Nations Aren’t Falling For Green-Washed Imperialism

Fighting global warming is not just about providing a path to net-zero carbon emissions for all countries. It is also about figuring out how best to meet the energy needs of people across the world while working toward net-zero emissions. If fossil fuels have to be given up, which has now become an urgent need given the current environmental challenges, countries in Africa and a significant part of Asia, including India, need an alternate path for providing electricity to their people. What then is the best alternate course for poorer countries to follow for electricity production—if they do not use the fossil fuel route—that is being used by rich countries? This in turn also raises questions about how much this alternative energy source route will cost poorer countries, and who will pay the bills incurred when making the switch to this new source of energy.

COP26: Greenwashing And Plutocratic Misadventures

COP 26 reaffirmed what has been obvious from the beginning: the Northern colonial and capitalist states most responsible for creating the climate crisis are unwilling to place people before profits in order to address the planet’s looming ecological collapse and humanitarian catastrophe. We need justice. But that word -- Justice! -- despite all of the philosophical pontificating from John Locke to John Rawls, is a concept incompatible with the rapacious civilizational logic of a colonial/capitalist system based on self-interest, greed, and social Darwinism.

Two Thirds Of Online Posts From Fossil Fuel Companies ‘Greenwashing’

One expert called it a “systematic deceptive marketing campaign designed to interfere with the solution that is necessary to respond to the climate emergency: stopping fossil fuel production.” Nearly two thirds of social media posts put out by six major European fossil fuel and energy companies since the end of 2019 present a “green” image of the company, despite the majority of their business activity remaining in fossil fuels, reveals new analysis by DeSmog. The findings add to campaigner concerns that fossil fuel companies are promoting a misleading image of their business models as the need to decarbonize the economy becomes increasingly urgent. DeSmog’s investigation shows a disproportionate focus on green or environmental efforts by the companies — including highlighting their net zero targets — compared to the share of their business devoted to clean energy.

Greenwashing, Subsidies And Carbon Pricing

There is a growing chorus in favour of carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) by fossil fuel firms and governments. In brief, CCS technologies capture emissions from fossil fuel extraction and production.  The captured emissions are buried in no longer economically viable oil or gas wells to render them productive once more over a longer period of time.  For spent oil wells, this is known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). One of the reasons many of the oil and gas majors are on the bandwagon for a price on carbon is because they believe that a high carbon price would render CCS “economically viable,” provided CCS is accompanied by outrageous government subsidies.  Considering CCS removal of carbon comes to about US$120/U.S. ton, a high carbon price would allow the industry to pursue business-as-usual, while concurrently appearing to be committed to a green economy.

How The Meat Industry Is Climate-Washing Its Polluting Business Model

In February last year, the head of a leading global meat industry body gave a “pep talk” to his colleagues at an Australian agriculture conference.  “It’s a recurring theme that somehow the livestock sector and eating meat is detrimental to the environment, that it is a serious negative in terms of the climate change discussions,” Hsin Huang, Secretary General of the International Meat Secretariat (IMS), told his audience. But the sector, he insisted, could be the “heroes in this discussion” if it wanted to. “We cannot continue business as we have done in the past,” he went on. “If we are not proactive in helping to convince the public and policymakers in particular, who have an impact on our activities – if we are not successful in convincing them of the benefits that we bring to the table, then we will be relegated to has-beens.”

Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry’s Deceptive ‘Net Zero’ Strategy

A new report published Wednesday by a trio of progressive advocacy groups lifts the veil on so-called "net zero" climate pledges, which are often touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency, but which the paper's authors argue are merely a dangerous form of greenwashing that should be eschewed in favor of Real Zero policies based on meaningful, near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The report—titled "The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a "Net Zero" Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny" (pdf)—was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by over 60 environmental organizations.

Greenwashing The US military, Julian Assange, RIP Kevin Zeese

The weather is getting more extreme by the year and conversations about climate change are growing along with it. So when Michael Moore made the movie ‘Planet of the Humans’, criticizing the corporate co-optation of the green movement, he came under attack from well-connected activists. Lee Camp reports on how Bill McKibben, one of the targets of Moore’s movie, has adopted a role of helping some of the worst industries and institutions out there to greenwash their images. In an op-ed from a year ago, McKibben used his platform to rehabilitate the image of the US military.

Wet’suwet’en Strong: Unceded And Unwavering + Mining The Deep Ocean

Trans rights are human rights – because human rights are only valid if they include every person in their entirety. Next, mining on land is so 20th century – the new frontier of mining is just as deep and dark as it is terrifying and catastrophic. And finally, we hear from the Wet’suwet’en on their ongoing battle to preserve their ancestral homelands.

Meat Is (Ecological) Murder, Greenwashed Deforestation & Fighting Toxic Prisons

Meat isn't good for you – even if it's good for you. Next, the charred reality driving deforestation and greenwashed consumer products in your markets. Plus, Fight Toxic Prisons joins us to talk direct action, solidarity with prisoners and the layers of toxicity in the prison industrial complex.

There Is No Such Thing As A Green War

It is not enough to academically trace a red thread between issues. Recognizing the connections that tie climate chaos to war to imperialism to the growing refugee crisis demand solutions founded on that real-world intersectionality. We need an active solidarity that erases the demarcations of single-issue movements and builds a power that reflects the reality of our place and time. Likewise, we must be wary of soft reforms, greenwashing and capitalism’s unending affinity for shaming people. Soft reforms are often linked with greenwashing in a sort of shot and chaser combo, made to placate the mind and ultimately uphold the status quo.
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