Denmark to end oil and gas extraction in North Sea by 2050, Trump plans to sell oil drilling rights in Alaska before leaving office, and a dedicated highway overpass for wildlife
Welcome to this week’s news roundup. As always we’ll be mixing it up - there’ll be some good news stories, some not so good news stories, and maybe some stories you won't have seen elsewhere!
Hope you enjoy!
Denmark to end oil, gas extraction in North Sea (Associated Press)
“Denmark has decided to end all oil and gas activities in the North Sea by 2050 and has cancelled its latest licensing round, saying the country is “now putting an end to the fossil fuel era.” The Danish Parliament voted late Thursday to end offshore gas and oil extraction, which had started in 1972 and made the country the largest producer in the European Union. Non EU-members Norway and Britain are larger producers, with a bigger presence in the North Sea.
Denmark is this year estimated to pump a bit over 100,000 barrels of crude oil and oil equivalents a day, according to the government. That is relatively little in a global context. The U.K. produces about ten times that amount while the U.S., the world’s largest producer, pumped over 19 million barrels of oil a day last year. Environmental activists nevertheless said the move was significant as it shows the way forward in the fight against climate change.”
“The UK will cut greenhouse gas emissions further and faster than any other major economy in the next decade, according to a new carbon target set out by the prime minister. There will be a reduction of 68% in annual carbon emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, a significant increase on the current target of about 57% reductions. The raising of ambition on tackling climate breakdown is intended to galvanise other countries to follow suit, as Boris Johnson prepares to co-host a virtual summit of world leaders on the climate next week. The prime minister said on Thursday: “We have proven we can reduce our emissions and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. We are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy … The UK is urging world leaders to bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net zero [carbon] targets.””
“France has identified a zone off the coast of Normandy for the construction of a 1 Gigawatt (GW) windfarm and launched the tender process for its development, Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said on Saturday. The planned windfarm will be located 32 km (20 miles) off the shore of Cotentin and generate the electricity needed to power 800,000 homes, Pompili said in a statement. It will be France’s eighth offshore wind farm. The government’s current multi-year energy plan targets tenders for wind farms to generate a combined 2.5 to 3 GW by 2024. Fishermen from the region, who are already worried about the impact of Brexit on their industry, expressed concerns during a public debate that the wind park could harm their livelihoods.”
The not so good:
“The Trump administration is racing to sell off oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before president-elect Joe Biden takes office, saying on Thursday it would issue a sale notice next week and hold an auction in early January. The sale of drilling rights is scheduled for 6 January 2021, via video livestream, according to the US Bureau of Land Management. Following a sale, there is typically a months-long review process but it is possible that the leases could be completed before Mr Biden, who opposes drilling in the unspoiled refuge, is sworn into office two weeks later. It would then be difficult for Mr Biden to reverse the decisions. The notice of the lease sale will take place on 7 December – a day after the 60th anniversary of the refuge being established by president Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, "for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values".”
“"Our planet is broken," the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has warned. Humanity is waging what he describes as a "suicidal" war on the natural world. "Nature always strikes back, and is doing so with gathering force and fury," he told a BBC special event on the environment. Mr Guterres wants to put tackling climate change at the heart of the UN's global mission. In a speech entitled State of the Planet, he announced that its "central objective" next year will be to build a global coalition around the need to reduce emissions to net zero.”
And something a bit different:
“In an effort to reduce accidents involving wildlife on a busy highway, Utah officials got creative: they built a bridge. New video shows the plan has been a success. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources built the bridge back in 2018 over Interstate 80 to reduce traffic accidents in Parleys Canyon caused by wandering animals. Last week, the agency released a video of the bridge in use -- aiding moose, porcupines, deer and even bears across the busy highway. "It's working!" officials posted on Facebook. "Thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah State University for monitoring the Parley's Canyon wildlife overpass this year. As you can see, the 2nd year of this overpass has been successful at helping wildlife safely migrate over busy Interstate 80 and helping motorists be much safer as well. Please keep off of this overpass. Thanks!" The overpass is filled with rocks, boulders and logs, giving wildlife a welcome alternative to the six lanes of traffic on I-80.”