Climate Weekly: oil man out, oil money in?

This week’s top climate change stories. Sign up to have our newsletter sent to your inbox

The state department flag flies over the Washington monument (Photo: DoD)


Remember how shocked you were when Donald Trump appointed the former head of Exxon Mobil as the top US diplomat?

Well, Rex Tillerson at least paid lip service to climate action. The White House is reportedly now planning to replace him with an avowed opponent of the Paris Agreement – and the all-time biggest beneficiary of Koch Industries’ political spending.

Mike Pompeo has ducked questions about climate science in recent months, as director of the CIA. Will he engage with the topic if confirmed at the state department? Or largely ignore it, like his predecessor?

Clean coolants

There is one climate deal the Trump administration supports – although officials don’t use the c-word.

The US is starting the process to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a deal to phase down the potent warming HFCs used in fridges and air conditioning. It will also pay into a $540 million fund to support the transition in developing countries.

What’s different about this? US chemical majors stand to benefit from selling cleaner alternatives.

EU too

When is a fossil fuel subsidy not a fossil fuel subsidy? If you’re the European Commission, when it’s an investment in security of gas supplies.

Commissioners Maroš Šefčovič and Miguel Arias Cañete lobbied the European Investment Bank to provide publicly backed loans to the controversial Southern Gas Corridor, a letter released under freedom of information law reveals.

The EIB is considering loans of more than €2 billion to the pipeline, planned to run from Azerbaijan to southern Italy. Campaigners oppose it on both human rights and environmental grounds.

Not in Queensland

Election results in Queensland, Australia, this week dealt a blow to the prospect of public subsidy for Adani’s proposed massive coal mine.

The victorious Labor party has pledged to block a concessional loan to the rail link that would deliver that coal to port for shipment to India.

It is a “death knell” for coal development in the region, according to economist and former Liberal party leader John Hewson.

Climate conversations

How New Zealand can make world-leading climate refugee visas work – Nina Hall, John Hopkins University
Sexual harassment at UN talks weakens the fight against climate change – Megan Darby

Britain’s last coal mines

The UK has promised to close its last coal-fired power station by 2025. Its mining sector was radically slashed in the 1980s.

Yet remarkably, there are two proposals in the pipeline to expand coal production. DeSmog Blog’s Mat Hope visited Britain’s last coal sites.

Green finance

One of India’s biggest non-bank lenders raised $400 million this week with an international “green bond” to support renewable power and energy efficiency.

The Power Finance Corporation, which also funds conventional energy projects, said the money would support the national target to install 175GW of clean power capacity by 2022.

India lags behind China, France and the US in issuing green bonds, data compiled by the Climate Bonds Initiative shows.

Read more on: Climate politics