Charities are meant to serve a public good, does it therefore follow that climate sceptic think tanks should loose charitable status?

In the UK, despite the vast majority of the population fully understanding what is happening to the climate as a result of emissions, there are still a number of high profile groups that are arguing against the status quo. The problem is when we give charitable status – which allows them to increase donations by reclaiming tax (among other benefits).

This is why it is so encouraging that a cross party group of MPs have added their voice to the call for the “climate sceptic thinktank” to be stripped of its charitable status. This claim has been put forwards by the “Good Law Project” which has put forwards an argument that this “thinktank” does not meet its aims as a charity and is simply a lobbying organisation.

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News in brief – roundup of politics in the way of action, fossil fuel problems and positive moves

Huge extra emissions because of “cutting the green crap” The level of gas imports in the UK are around 13% higher than they would have been, had the Conservative government not “cut the green crap” one decade ago. It is estimated that this would account for 65 terawatt hours of gas that we will have to burn that would not have needed to burn without the foolish move of David Cameron and the cabinet around him. This is an astounding amount of extra emissions that are only emitted because it was politically helpful.

Crude oil pipeline from Uganda to Tanzania will emit 25 times the host nations combined emissions This pipeline will emit 379 million tonnes of climate pollution. The main backers of this project is Total, the French oil company. This project is considered a midlevel carbon bomb, one of many that need to be avoided to get control of climate heating.

24 banks, and 18 insurance refuse to be involved in the project in question. This quite simply still the problem. If we can halt western finance institution from paying for this behaviour it will be harder for it to happen. At the current time there are probably institutions in China that would step in, but we have to end all of it.

Four deep geothermal Plants are planned for the UK These projects will produce enough power to run 45,000 houses, with a further 20mw of heat for the area. All carbon neutral. The company in question makes it clear that this is just a first step, with the intention of producing in excess of 500mw of power from geothermal resources in the next 20 years. This is one of the best forms of baseload power in the UK – that is, the power that is needed all day long, when you get rid of any peak demand. This project is extracting steam at 175 degrees C, 5.1km below ground, and is on schedule to deliver 3MW of power to the national grid by the end of the year. The water stays in the system, with a heat exchanger used to extract the heat, before it is pumped back underground. There are only certain parts of the UK that is suitable under the UK, namely Cornwall and Devon.

Not all the country is capable of accessing this sort of energy, but it is reasonable to expect that in 20 years, a great deal more operators might be enacting similar projects, all over wales and other parts of the UK where suitable. There are obviously other countries in the world where far more energy could be got from this form, and this is a very useful baseload provider, though whether we will help finance this important infrastructure is another issue.

Lithium supply in this ground source geothermal water A recent discovery of the highest concentration of lithium found in geothermal fluid, may make geothermal energy far cheaper. If we start to reach a point where geothermal heat and electricity are both free positive biproducts, in the search for lithium, it cuts the cost dramatically. It is thought that the 4 drill sites talked about above, might lead to about 4000 tonnes of ithium extraction a year. The one plant already constructed is thought to be able to produce 1500 tonnes of lithium by the end of 2023 (just over 1 year ago). In a tesla battery, at the moment roughly 900g of lithium is required per kwh of storage. This means that each tonne of lithium is capable of creating roughly 1.1 mwh of batteries. While this is not large compared to the huge amount of batteries required, it will dramatically change the cost of geothermal energy.

Majority of Australians want an extra tax to limit the super profits of fossil fuel companies This is not out of the ordinary, there have been many similar moves around the world. It is not thought right that fossil fuel providers have made bumper profits on the back of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The fossil fuel burning currently happening has happened before Last time, it left the earth almost lifeless for 5 million years. In this instance, a series of massive eruptions started this issue, wiping out much of life on land. 200,000 years later rapid global heating (it is not only humans capable of global warming). This was triggered by Magma being unable to erupt out of the earth, and therefore spreading sideways, and burning vast deposits of coal and other hydrocarbons that were laid down in the rocks it entered. This is thought to have triggered increases in temperature of 8-10 degrees. Part of the problem will have been that this increase in temperature will have allowed the seas to soak up more carbon dioxide which will have made them more acidic – killing many species. This lasted so long, because rainforests replaced with deserts had a hard time recolonising, which meant that the earth was bereft its usual tools to control carbon in the atmosphere.

How are we doing? Well, while having made various relatively weak promises, virtually every country on earth is going to extract as much of their fossil fuel reserves as they can. If this is to happen we will exceed our remaining carbon budget by roughly 7 fold. It is increasingly clear that human life will only go on as it is, if the population as a whole demands change. Mass abandonment of combustion engine travel, along with carbon neutral heating and electricity could quickly make these reserves largely irrelevant- they will be left in the ground if there is no reward for burning them.

UN sees no credible pathway to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C Having failed to cut our emissions over the last 3 decades, only rapid transformation of our society can allow us to limit impact. Current pledges on emissions cuts are wholly inadequate. The problem with this, is that the 1.5 degree target was not plucked out of the air, but instead came about because this is the level of warming that the world is thought to be able to stand without horrific changes to how it operates (what we will need to do to adapt, will still be enormous). Current pledges, if fully enacted, would lead to a temperature rise of about 2.3 degrees. If the long-term pledges on carbon neutrality were met, we might be able to limit warming to 1.8 degrees, but given the current snails pace of progress, make even this nightmare scenario unlikely to be met. To keep 1.5 targets alive, global emissions would have to halve by 2030 (in the next 7 years) requiring cuts of emissions of 7% a year to be sustained. Much of the problem lies in waste, often encouraged by poorly designed subsidy programs on food creation, and badly designed food tax.

UK ending electric cars exemption from vehicle excise duty from April 2025 At the moment, roughly 14% of UK cars are electric, which means that we are far from full acceptance, it seems foolish to start changing rules when the adoption is not anywhere near complete. While the RAC suggested that the move would have little impact on people switching, AA has warned that it will reduce incentives to switch. Mr Hunt the UK chancellor of the Exchequer, cited predictions by the Office for budget responsibility which predicts 50% of cars will be electric by then. Under current plans, any electric cars registered from April 2025 will pay £10 in the first year and then the standard rate after that(£165). It will also be back-dated for any car registered after April 2017. Company cars will still have a discount for electric cars. We will have to wait and see which is right, but it is certainly a foolish move. Unfortunately they have also decided to remove the exemption from the expensive car supplement, which is £355 on top of the standard rate. The problem is that electric cars tend to be more expensive upfront, with owners recouping much of the cost through savings over the year. As a result, it may well be hard to find an electric car from 2025 which does not incur charges of over £500 a year. While I recognize that the government needs to replace the huge amount of money it gets from fossil fuel tax, this is likely to be a large burden that is put in place way to soon.

USA is being looked on harshly for its obstruction over the last few decades as well as its historical emissions- larger than any other country

COP27 levelled stinging criticism on the USA. Now it is true, that China still has rising emissions (and USA wishes to remove its negative labels and pass them on). It is true that at the COP27, the USA behaved well in terms of helping fight for the behavioural change required. However, having come off 4 years of climate rubbish under Donald Trump, there is still a lot of hesitancy to trust the USA. After all, there is still a great deal of fear that the American people will repeat their foolish mistake and give Donald Trump another go at breaking the earth.

Wolves, Bears and white tailed eagles are making great comebacks across Europe and other species are also doing well

Wolf numbers have increased by 1800% since the 1970s with a total of over 17,000 now inhabiting the continent. Bears started from a less precarious place, but have still increased by 44% over the same period

While wolves were missing for some time from France, they are well and truly back and we who share the space must recognize that and adapt

Among herbivores, beavers are one of the big success story (and unlike many of the others are living in the UK once again in large numbers in a series of populations from Devon right up to Scotland.

EU blocks uplifting the Hippopotamus to an Appendix 1 endangered animal from an Appendix 2

Hippopotamus populations have declined by 30-50% over the last decade. This is an animal which is moving fast in the direction of extinction, yet despite a plea from 10 african countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) to move them to appendix 1 has been blocked.

Hippopotamus are often easy to find on Safari, as they are usually found in the few deep pools and rivers that exist. They can be very dangerous if you are between them and the water, and roam widely in and out of protected reserves. This is the most common view for people who visit a national park
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Emperor penguins listed as endangered by the USA

Under the Biden administration in the USA, science is not ignored. There were a handful of animals that were listed as endangered in the rest of the world, but the listing was not changed in the USA because of the political impact. Thankfully, that time is at least over at the current time. The Emperor penguins are obviously threatened by global warming given there uses of extreme areas of the Antarctic.

Emperor penguins face extinction by the end of the century, because of the destruction of their habitat

The population that was filmed for the popular film “March of the Penguin” has halved in size in the last 50 years. These sorts of issues are predicted to lead to a 99% reduction in population by the end of the century, should these changes not lead to the total extinction.

Could we increase the yields of wheat 600 times through vertical farming?

Vertical farming is a new concept. By growing crops indoors under lights, the crops grow far faster and so can be harvested multiple times a year. Furthermore, by using artificial lights it is possible to have many layers of food.

At the current time, indoor vertical farms only work for expensive fast growing plants, but this will change if electricity prices fall significantly
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Indonesia has signed a $20 billion deal with the G7 to accelerate their clean energy transition

The clean energy transition is accelerating in some parts of the world. It is often cheaper to install solar or wind turbines, than to continue to buy coal to keep using the coal power plant, never-the-less this has not stopped developing countries from failing to make the change.

Coal power plants are a large source of carbon emissions
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If the UK only emits 1% of the worlds carbon emissions what can we do? well a lot

There is often an argument put forwards in the UK, that as the UK is just a small country we cannot do much when it comes to global warming. After all we only emit about 1% of the worlds emissions, right?

Well firstly, given the world has a population of 8 billion (roughly speaking) and we have a population of about 67 million, so we are only about 0.8% of the worlds population, yet are emitting 1% of emissions.

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OPEC the worlds biggest oil producers have decided to cut their oil output roughly in half – what is the result

The world is gradually transforming from a fossil fuel based energy system to a renewable system. We all know (I hope at least the readers here) that we need to stop using oil and gas.

Unfortunately at the moment, much of the system in the west is reliant on these resources. As a result, a move like this does hit us hard. Higher prices are going to hit us. This is going to happen because OPEC, a group of countries which have agreed to set quantities of output together. Including a variety of countries, from the middle eastern countries to places all over Africa.

Perhaps one of the good things that might come out of this, is the fact that it will be a slap in the face for much of the fossil fuel using countries. We need to see a point in investing in net zero industries that can cut our emissions until we reach zero. The aim is to cut oil available by 2 million barrels per day.

In the long run, obviously, OPEC does not want the world to move away from fossil fuels, as they will then have to find another source of revenue, but it is going to happen in the next few years either way.