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Fracking review suggests UK has softened precautionary principle since leaving EU – here's why it matters

The UK government recently conceded that the reasons for its 2019 ban on hydraulic fracturing “have not gone away,” and there is “no compelling evidence” to support rethinking it. Better known as fracking, this industrial process injects millions of gallons of water underground at high pressure to release fossil gas from rocky pores. The moratorium was prompted by a series of tremors at the UK’s lone fracking rig in Lancashire. Cuadrilla, the operator, was scheduled to seal off its wells in Mar

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, but the EU will count it as a green investment – here's why

The European Commission has decided that power plants burning natural gas can be considered generators of green energy. This means they can count as sustainable investments along with nuclear power. The commission’s technical rules on sustainable finance classify a list of sustainable economic activities in the EU. Under these guidelines, economic activities that may help EU countries meet their energy needs while shifting from coal power can be considered sustainable. As soon as the rules were

COP 27 should focus on tackling fossil fuel subsidies

It is no longer true that fossil fuel-based energy is just cheap. Every year, governments across the world pour in more than half a trillion dollars to artificially lower the price of fossil fuels. Renewables only receive a third as many subsidies. Governments provide fossil fuel subsidies either by giving direct payments/tax breaks (production subsidies) to fossil fuels extraction companies or by cutting fuel prices for the final consumers (consumption subsidies). While production subsidies ar

Trends in the European Union Climate Litigations as a Neo-Functionalist

In 2018, members of ten European families, engaged in the occupation of medium-sized agriculture and related businesses, bought an action (Carvalho case) in the general court of the European Union (EU) contending that the EU’s current greenhouse gas emission (GHG) targets (40 % reduction from the 1990 level) is insufficient and will impact their livelihood by distorting their farmlands. Interestingly, the petitioners of the Carvalho case mentions the Netherland Supreme Court’s decision (Urgenda

Fracking in India

Oil and gas corporations have been allowed to begin drilling and other hydrocarbon exploration activities in India without conducting environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies or public consultations since the beginning of this year. The corporations are free to use any hydrocarbon exploration drilling technique without assessing its ecological impact on the natural world. This includes the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a water-intensive method in which the cor

India's Groundwater Caught Between Industrial Growth, Sustainable Development

Industries can no longer extract groundwater in India without conducting an environment impact assessment of their extraction activities. In a July 20, 2020, order, the National Green Tribunal NGT, directed the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to stop granting ‘general’ permission for withdrawal of groundwater by commercial entities. The NGT clarified that ““any groundwater extraction permission should be for specific times and a specified quantity of water, and not in perpetuity”.

Fracking in India Must be regulated

During the winter of 2010, people residing near American shale gas extraction sites complained that their domestic supply of water was “catching fire”. Subsequent scientific investigations revealed that the water was contaminated with a highly flammable gas -- methane, a major component of shale gas. This revelation fuelled a debate over the costs and benefits of extracting shale (natural) gas via ‘hydraulic fracturing’ or ‘fracking’. Currently, more than a dozen countries have banned fracking (including some states in the US). However, in 2020, India exempted industries from obtaining an environmental clearance before exploring natural gases through any method, including fracking.

The Shale Gas Challenge

On August 1, 2018, the Central government approved a far-reaching policy that allows private and government players to explore and exploit unconventional hydrocarbons (including shale gas) in contract areas that were primarily allocated for extracting conventional hydrocarbons. Unlike conventional hydrocarbons that can be sponged out of permeable rocks easily, shale gas is trapped under low permeable rocks. Therefore, a mixture of ‘pressurised water, chemicals, and sand’ (shale fluid) is require

Trump backs fracking over science

US President Donald Trump signed an order on 31 October to "protect" Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) from Joe Biden’s Green Deal and decarbonisation plans. This development came just two weeks after the publication of a pathbreaking study explaining how fracking can accelerate the airborne spread of lethal radioactive material, including polonium isotopes, a poison that was used to kill Alexander Litvinenko (a Russian Spy) in London. This is not the first-time fracking and its lethal consequen

Water Is Now a Traded Commodity; Can It Still Be a Human Right, Too?

Global warming has reduced the availability of freshwater resources, pushing 3 billion people to live in water-stressed conditions. However, corporations (at least in California to begin with) can now ensure for themselves a steady supply of affordable water by trading water as a commodity, like oil and gold. These water-commodity contracts, known as water futures, are now offered on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which has highlighted that demand for water futures will only grow due to

Describing the Pandemic As a 'War' Is Ineffective and Dangerous

India’s official hashtag in response to Covid19 is #IndiaFightsCorona. Words such as ‘battle,’ ‘war,’ ‘fight,’ ‘kill,’ and ‘warrior’ are repeatedly used by the state and media to describe the pandemic. Our fixation with describing pandemics and illnesses using an overly militarized tone is not new. We’ve had the ‘War on Cancer,’ ‘Ebola Wars,’ and ‘Battles with Jaundice.’ However, this excessive use of violence as a metaphor for describing a contagious pandemic like Covid19 can be dangerous, divi

Challenges in Shale Gas Production Cannot Be Resolved by Generic Environment Clearance Processes

The demand for natural gas in India is increasing at an alarming rate of 20% per year burdening India’s economy with an import bill of around $120 billion annually (Abdi 2018). In pursuit of producing in-house natural gas, India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is keener than ever before to exploit unconventional natural gas resources, particularly shale gas. As reported by United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2011, India has around 290 trillion cubic feet (TCF) risk

Fracking i Indien – en potentiel økologisk katastrofe

(in Danish) Virksomheder i Indien kan nu udforske muligheden for at udvinde skifergas – uden at få miljøgodkendelse inden. Virksomheder i Indien kan nu udforske muligheden for at udvinde skifergas – uden at få miljøgodkendelse inden. Olie- og gasvirksomheder har fået lov til at påbegynde boringer og andre former for carbonhydrid-udvinding (udvinding af alle former for organisk stof, der kun består af kulstof og brint, red.) i Indien, uden at foretage udredninger af de miljømæssige konsekvenser (EIA-unders

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