Greenpeace just hooligans, not pirates, says Russia

A summary of today’s top climate and clean energy stories.
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Source: Will Rose/Greenpeace

Source: Will Rose/Greenpeace

Russia: Russian investigators announced on Wednesday they are dropping piracy charges against 28 environmental activists and two freelance journalists who have spent a month in custody since they were seized aboard Greenpeace’s boat, the Arctic Sunrise. All 30 will still be charged with hooliganism as part of an organised group, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to seven years, as opposed to 15 years for piracy. (Guardian)

UK: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has hinted that the government could seek to pay for the “green levies” on fuel bills through general taxation. This would enable the coalition to scrap the levies while not abandoning their environmental policies, he said. (BBC)

China: China’s Environment Ministry said on Thursday it will send inspection teams to provinces and cities most seriously affected by smog to ensure rules on fighting air pollution are being enforced. (Reuters)

UK: The National Trust has an “open mind” about fracking and would consider allowing it on its land, the head of the charity has said. Dame Helen Ghosh, the conservation trust’s director general, told the Times it would make up its mind about the controversial gas extraction procedure after seeing the evidence on its environmental impact. (Guardian)

US: Tony Abbott’s insistence that bushfires aren’t linked to climate change is like the tobacco industry claiming smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer, Nobel laureate Al Gore says. (Guardian)

US: Critics of the Keystone XL pipeline say they’re still optimistic President Barack Obama will block TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s planned $5.3 billion link between the oil sands in Alberta and refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Just to be sure, they’re organizing a nationwide civil-disobedience campaign to keep up the pressure should the U.S. State Department recommend Obama approve the project. (Bloomberg)

US: The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday kicked off an 11-city “listening tour” as part of its effort to craft emissions rules for existing power plants under the Obama administration’s strategy to address climate change. (Reuters)

Marshall Islands: Tony Abbott is risking the future of Australia’s Pacific island neighbours by “burying his head in the sand” over climate change, according to the vice-president of the Marshall Islands. Tony de Brum told Guardian Australia that the Marshall Islands and other Pacific nations had been “very disappointed” with the new Coalition government’s decision to scrap carbon pricing and abolish bodies such as the Climate Commission. (Guardian)

Indonesia: At home and abroad, Indonesia is highlighting its progress in curbing the environmental destruction that has depleted forests and made the Southeast Asian nation a leading source of greenhouse gases. But environmentalists are unconvinced. They say pulp and palm oil plantations are still expanding at an alarming rate in Sumatran forests, despite efforts by the government and industry. (Associated Press)

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