Fossil fuels

DEFINITION: A natural fuel such as coal or gas that were formed from the remains of living organisms millions of years ago. Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources which are harmful for the environment because they release carbon dioxide when they burn.

See also: Greenhouse gas

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Planning for a circular economy

The Environmental Services Association, the voice of the UK’s resource and waste management industry, has set out a number of recommendations to more closely align the planning system with the strategic objectives of the circular economy.

Researchers insists that the market forces driving the economic benefits of clean energy are far more powerful than a small group of climate-sceptic politicians

Clean energy stocks outpacing fossil fuel investments in Trump era, report finds

Global clean energy stocks have surged past investments in fossil fuels in the past year despite the political shockwaves caused by Donald Trump's US presidency, new research has found.

Dong Energy boss says falling price of renewables means they must power the electric car revolution or the environment will gain only a pyrrhic victory

Rise of electric car solves little if driven by fossil fuels, warns windfarm boss

The rise of electric cars will be a pyrrhic victory for the environment if they are powered by fossil fuels instead of renewables, according to the UK boss of the world's biggest offshore windfarm developer.

Of the money earmarked for fossil fuels, oil and gas received a total of 87% of UK funds, with 9% going to coal

Britain spent 'twice as much on overseas fossil fuels as renewables'

The UK has spent more than twice as much overseas support on fossil fuels projects as on renewable ones so far this decade, according to research commissioned by the Catholic aid agency Cafod.

It is believed that BATs will impact installations at around 3,500 coal plants within the EU

New industrial air pollution ruling puts EU coal plants on 'life support'

Large industrial plants have been given a four-year timeframe to adhere to new standards on air pollutants across the European Union (EU), a decision that places "the immediate future of coal plants into doubt", according to environmental lawyers ClientEarth.

According to the University of Washington study, there is a 90% likelihood that temperatures will rise between 2C and 4.9C by 2100

Planet has just 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal, study says

There is only a 5% chance that the Earth will avoid warming by at least 2C come the end of the century, according to new research that paints a sobering picture of the international effort to stem dangerous climate change.

HEAL’s report calls on government’s around the world to switch off the subsidies tap

Fossil fuel subsidies racking up trillions in health costs

Health costs related to fossil fuel use outweigh taxpayer-funded subsidies by 600%, according to a new study that insists governments should stop pumping money into dirty energy sources.

Of the 12 mining companies benchmarked on climate issues within the report, only one has a commitment to fully decarbonise by 2050

CDP: Top mining firms risking $16bn in climate costs

The world's largest mining companies are producing up to $16bn in emissions costs in their value chain, according to a report released today (20 July) by climate change research provider CDP.

The East coast of England was identified as a prime location for CCS deployment, based on its large emissions base and access to the offshore sites

No technical barriers for large-scale, low-cost UK CCS deployment, report finds

The UK has "more than enough" potential Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) sites to meet legally binding 2050 carbon targets in a cost-effective manner, which could save up to £2bn annually throughout the 2020s.

Measures to reach the new target include reopening a specialised climate change fund for applications in the next two years and establishing an advisory panel

Scotland eyes 90% emissions reduction target

The Scottish Government has proposed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 90% below 1990 levels by 2050, the climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.

Lower emissions in the UK were attributed to the “liberalising of energy markets” and the switch from oil and coal to gas in electricity production

UK leads the way on emissions reductions, despite overall increase across the EU

The UK recorded the largest decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU) in 2015, although new research has found the emissions from the bloc increased for the first time in five years.

Aldersgate Group manifesto 2017: A healthy environment, a competitive economy

The Aldersgate Group's manifesto includes calls for the prompt publication of both a detailed Clean Growth Plan and 25-Year Plan for the Environment, and a strong Industrial Strategy which enables the green business community to flourish.

Waitrose rolls out Europe's first 500-mile biomethane trucks

As part of an ongoing transition towards alternatively- fuelled trucks and lower fleet emissions, Waitrose has spent the early months of 2017 trialling Europe’s first 500-mile biomethane trucks, with plans to scale-up the project over the coming years.

Markets listed in the report have been urged to “build climate resilient portfolios” using the analysis of the scorecard to address issues

UK financial markets exposed to embedded fossil fuel reserves

UK businesses and investors may be inadvertently sitting on more than 15,000 tonnes of stranded fossil fuel asset emissions that could impact how the nation commits to a 2C energy scenario, new research has found.

Due to pressure from MPs and constituents, the pension fund publicised 20% of its holdings for the first time last month. Image: UK Parliament

MPs demand fossil fuel divestment for pension fund

Fifty MPs standing for re-election, including the Green Party's Caroline Lucas and the Conservative Party's Laura Sandys, have called for their £612m pension fund to sever investment ties with fossil fuels.

Overall, the 10 nations have provided £5.3bn annually between 2005 to 2016 on coal subsidies

UK's £350m coal subsidies clash with Government's phase-out pledges

The UK is providing £356m annually in coal subsidies, despite the UK Government denying that it provides financial support for fossil fuels, a new report has claimed.

Ravenswood Generating Station in Long Island City in Queens, New York. Staffers are said to be split on whether the US should remain a party to the environmental agreement

Trump aides abruptly postpone meeting on whether to stay in Paris climate deal

Donald Trump's aides have abruptly postponed a meeting to determine whether the US should remain in the Paris climate agreement, with an unlikely coalition of fossil fuel firms, environmental groups and some Republicans calling on the president to stick with the deal.

Factors behind the UK’s success include the switch from coal to gas for generating electricity and energy-efficiency schemes cutting demand

UK leads G7 on 'decoupling' emissions reduction from wealth creation

The UK has been more successful than any other G7 nation at decoupling emissions growth from that of the economy over the past 25 years, according to a new report.

The report warns that CCS and nuclear - such as the Dukovany plant (pictured) - offer limited growth prospects compared to renewables

Europe's energy giants set to overshoot Paris Agreement 'carbon budget'

Europe's major utilities companies are "locked" into high emission projects, placing €14bn of earnings at risk unless they realign strategies with the goals of the Paris Agreement, a new CDP report has found.

Industrial strategy fit for the future: perspectives on building a competitive UK economy

This publication brings together the views of respected thinkers from politics, business, trade unions and academia on the kind of economy the industrial strategy should be building and the role low carbon and resource efficiency can play.

Chinese emissions caused more than twice the number of deaths worldwide than the emissions of any other region, followed by emissions produced in India and the rest of the Asia region

Thousands of pollution deaths worldwide linked to western consumers

Western consumers who buy cheap imported toys, clothes and mobile phones are indirectly contributing to tens of thousands of pollution-related deaths in the countries where the goods are produced, according to a landmark study.

Ahead of the G20 summit in July, the German government feels it is its duty to remind fellow governments of their obligations to the Paris Agreement

Study: Backing fossil fuels is economically and politically irresponsible

A shift away from fossil fuels to renewables is needed at international level if the targets of the Paris climate deal are to be met. The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue wants to set an example by bringing plenty new to the table.

Even under a worst-case scenario of the outlined transition, the report still expects GDP to grow by 0.6%

Energy transition of 'exceptional scope' can unlock $10trn annually

Global energy-related carbon emissions can be reduced by 70% by 2050, generating $10trn a year in benefits, if countries ramp-up national commitments to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, a new report has found.

Scientists and environmentalists have condemned Pruitt for asserting that he does not believe human activity is a major cause of climate change. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

EPA head Scott Pruitt denies that carbon dioxide causes global warming

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump's head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has dismissed a basic scientific understanding of climate change by denying that carbon dioxide emissions are a primary cause of global warming.

Statoil’s oil and gas production, and subsequent emissions, are already below the industry average, with the firm emitting more than 15 million tonnes of CO2 in 2016

Statoil vows to slash carbon emissions by a fifth

Just one day after it was revealed that eight of the world's largest fossil fuel companies were responsible for pollution levels equal to that of the US, Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil has pledged to reduce its own emissions by three million tonnes by 2030.

Cheaper gas has seen emissions from that area rise by 12.5% as a result, and emissions from oil also increased by 1.6%

UK carbon emissions fall by 5.8% in 2016, analysis finds

A huge decline in coal use saw national carbon emissions in the UK fall by 5.8% in 2016, reaching its lowest recorded levels in almost 100 years, analysts have claimed.

Solar costs have fallen by more than 80% in less than decade

Renewables reaching cost-parity with fossil fuels, research finds

Low-carbon technologies are now reaching cost-parity with fossil fuels, according to a new report which states that solar cell technology is likely to have a "major impact" in the near future.

The study predicts solar PV will become “materially cheaper than alternative power options globally” between 2030 and 2040

Low-carbon boom to stall fossil fuel demand by 2020, say researchers

The demand for coal and oil will peak in 2020 as low-carbon technology prices continue to tumble, a new report which examines the energy sector has claimed.

BIC has suggested that the World Bank is turning Indonesia “into a major coal producer” by subsidising fossil fuels through the Development Policy Financing (DPF) programme

World Bank quashes fossil fuel funding claims

The World Bank has criticised what it believes are "grossly misrepresented" findings from the Bank Information Center (BIC), which has claimed that up to $5bn in intended low-carbon funds have instead been used to introduce tax breaks for fossil fuel developments in developing countries.

Ebell, speaking in London, claimed that the motivation for climate action was protecting a special interest

Green movement 'greatest threat to freedom', says Trump adviser

The environmental movement is "the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world", according to an adviser to the US president Donald Trump's administration.

Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century

2016 hottest year ever recorded - and scientists say human activity to blame

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change.

edie explains: Water retail competition

This edie explains: Water retail competition guide provides an in-depth summary of the government-led strategy which will allow all non- domestic water users to switch suppliers of water retail services.

The report found that 688 institutions and more than 58,000 individuals across 76 countries are now committed to divestment

Fossil fuel divestment funds double to $5tn in a year

The value of investment funds committed to selling off fossil fuel assets has jumped to $5.2tn, doubling in just over a year.

Engineers said that their methodology could be applied to create more accurate estimates of future emissions savings and readings for energy developers, planner and policymakers

Report: British wind farms cut carbon emissions by 36 million tonnes

Renewable energy generated from wind farms in Britain has prevented the creation of around 36m tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the last six years, a new study from the University of Edinburgh has found.

The world may have no way to avoid the most devastating consequences of global warming if Donal Trump pulls the US out of the Paris Agreement

28 days later: What we know so far about the climate impact of Trump

In the first 28 days since Donald Trump's presidential triumph in the US elections, edie investigates the initial impact of the climate change denier's victory on the global green economy.

The growth in AD plants gives the UK more capacity to recycle food waste, more sustainable farming and wastewater treatment, more low-carbon baseload electricity, and more green gas in the grid

AD sector doubles in 2016 as Ecotricity targets fracking sites for new green gas plants

Britain now has almost 90 plants injecting green biomethane into the gas grid - nearly double the number in operation this time last year, according to a new report.

Tabled amendments to the EU ETS scheme include additional subsidies being given to pollution-heavy industries such as the steel and energy sector

Polluting industries stand to gain from EU ETS reform, report claims

A reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which is being voted on by the European Parliament next week, could end up giving more than €230bn in subsidies to polluting industries, a new report has claimed.

The InfluenceMap research was debated at an event hosted by the Carbon Market Watch earlier this week in Brussels

Is the cement industry undermining the Emissions Trading System?

Research by UK-based non-profit InfluenceMap has found that, despite the European cement industry seeming to embrace the Paris Agreement on climate change, many companies within the sector continue to oppose ambitious science-based climate policy.

T&E noted that because these biofuels would count as “zero-emission fuels”, they would make the EU's transport emissions look 478 million tonnes lower than they actually are

Leaked biofuel plan set to increase European transport emissions

A leaked draft of the European Commission's (EC) Renewable Energy Directive (RED) has revealed that a promised phase-out of food-based biodiesels will not be met, with new proposals set to increase European transport emissions by 219 million tonnes by 2030.

The European Commission building in Brussels. The Commission has targeted 20% renewables in the EU’s energy mix by 2020

Leaked EU energy package subsidises fossil fuels, undermines renewables

The EU claims to be promoting an ambitious agenda at the Marrakesh climate conference, but its latest piece of energy legislation could subsidise new coal capacity and undermine market access for renewables.

Political outsider Donald Trump will become the 45th US president after a stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Does Donald Trump's Presidential triumph spell the end of America's climate progress?

Donald Trump has pulled off one of the biggest electoral shocks in US history, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th US President. edie explores what this could mean for the country's future international leadership on climate action.

Christian Aid wants to see clear timelines and transition plans created to keep the institutions, and their clients, in line with the Paris Agreement

Banks not living up to climate pledges, says Christian Aid

Charity organisation Christian Aid has today (November 7) kick-started a campaign calling on UK's major high street banks to rapidly shift investments from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Drax’s biomass storage domes, which hold 300,000 tonnes of compressed wood pellets between them - enough to power Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool for more than 12 days. Photo: Drax

Britain's biomass generation carries big emissions risk, report claims

The UK's renewable energy industry has hit back at new economic analysis which finds that biomass power could be causing more carbon pollution than burning coal or natural gas, claiming it is "distorting the facts".

More than 70 experts quantified the models listed in the report, claiming that a 2C pathway to limit global warming would require an “exceptional and enduring effort”

World Energy Council: Energy demand to peak at 2030 as part of 'grand transition'

Disruptive trends and technology, such as the rise of renewables and the electrification of the transport sector, will create a "fundamentally new world" for the energy industry, which would see energy demand and fossil fuel use peak before 2030.

The trend will not continue into winter because of solar’s seasonal nature, but the symbolic records reveal the dramatic impacts solar subsidies and penalties for coal have wrought

Solar outstrips coal in past six months of UK electricity generation

Electricity generated by solar panels on fields and homes outstripped Britain's ageing coal power stations over the past six months in a historic first.

Fresh evidence reveals that renewable power generation costs are lower, on average, worldwide than those of fossil fuels

Global cost-effectiveness of renewables revealed amid fears over domestic energy security

New analysis has highlighted the need for policymakers and investors to exploit the global cost-effectiveness of renewable power generation, as the Renewable Energy Association (REA) casts a doubt over the UK Government's willingness to prioritise energy security in post-Brexit negotiations.

So far, 700 churches have signed up as part of the ‘big church switch’ initiative promoted by charities Christian Aid and Tearfund

UK churches show faith in renewable energy suppliers

Figures released today (1 September) have revealed that 3,500 UK churches have switched electricity suppliers to those that will only source renewable electricity, while US architects have also demanded new legislative action on climate change.

According to CDP, the number of large companies that use an internal carbon price will pass the 1,000 mark within the next year, with 437 companies already operating with one as of 2015

From Exxon to Jack Black: The call for a global carbon price is gathering pace

As the Paris Agreement nears its crucial ratification stage, individuals, organisations and entire nations are beginning to ease away from fossil fuels in their energy consumption habits. Now, with COP22 in Marrakech just around the corner, the call for a carbon price is becoming hard to ignore.

The motor company has agreed to pay a fine to the EPA for selling roughly 340,000 tuners that alter emission control systems beyond legal limits since 2008. Photo: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson fined $15m for polluting 'super tuners'

American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has reached a settlement with US authorities to pay $15m (£11m) and stop selling an aftermarket tuning product that exceeds national pollution limits.