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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The plaintiffs are composed of groups representing communities in virgin forest areas of the EU and the US

European lawsuit on biomass rules threatens Drax plant

A coalition of environmental campaigners has launched a court bid to stop the European Commission treating forest grown wood as a renewable source of energy.

The World Bank has argued that the study “paints a distorted picture of [its] energy sector work”

The World Bank accused of dodging 'no-coal' pledge by funnelling billions of dollars into fossil fuels

A large-scale study on hundreds of active energy projects commissioned by The World Bank Group has concluded that the body is currently financing $21bn of fossil fuel projects, compared to $7bn in the renewables sector.

Shell will offset emissions generated by motorists using its services, as well as those from the extraction, refining and distribution of its fuel

Shell commits $300m to conservation and carbon offset projects

Oil giant Shell has unveiled plans to invest $300m over the next three years on conservation and carbon offset projects in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint by up to 3%.

Participants of REBA account for 95% of all large-scale corporate renewable energy deals in the US to date

Corporate giants target 60GW of US renewable energy

Google, Facebook and Walmart are amongst the businesses to commit to bringing more than 60GW of renewable energy online in the US through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

Friends of the Earth says the figure of £44bn is

Report: UK oil and gas industry 'responsible for £44bn of damage each year'

The UK's oil and gas sector is causing £44bn worth of costs through environmental damage, negative social impacts and healthcare spending, a new Friends of the Earth (FotE) report has concluded.

The move builds on Bloomberg's service as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and the co-founder of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Michael Bloomberg to launch decarbonisation tracker for utility firms

Businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has unveiled fresh plans to utilise his firm Bloomberg LP and its charitable arm, Bloomberg Philanthropies, to help the utility sector to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Eni is the latest oil major to outline a transition towards the low-carbon economy. Image: Eni, Flickr

Oil giant Eni targets net-zero carbon emissions by 2030

Italian oil and gas group Eni has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions for its operations by 2030, despite announcing plans to increase oil and gas production by 3.5% annually up to 2022.

Plans put in place for the brownfield facility aim to reduce the potential impact of noise and dust on the surrounding environment.

First deep coal mine in 30 years given go-ahead in Cumbria

Cumbria County Council has granted planning approval for a new coal mine facility, Woodhouse Colliery in Whitehaven, the first of its kind in more than 30 years.

The UN has warned that arctic temperatures are likely to rise by 3-5C above pre-industrial levels, even if the Paris Agreement goals are met

Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable, UN warns

Sharp and potentially devastating temperature rises of 3C to 5C in the Arctic are now inevitable even if the world succeeds in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement, research has found.

The world has already warmed by around 1C over the past century

World 'nowhere near on track' to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target

The world's governments are "nowhere near on track" to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit.

Humanity is currently extracting natural resources three times more rapidly than in 1970, UN Environment has warned

Resource extraction responsible for half world's carbon emissions

Extraction industries are responsible for half of the world's carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss, according to the most comprehensive environmental tally undertaken of mining and farming.

One-third of companies reported increased emissions

Majority of European firms have no CO2 reduction targets

Most European companies have no target for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions even though 80% see climate change as a business risk, a survey has found.

Levels of the climate-warming gas are set to rise by near-record amounts this year, the Met Office has warned

'Worrying' rise in global CO2 forecast for 2019

The level of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is forecast to rise by a near-record amount in 2019, according to the Met Office.

The number of marketing emails being sent has decreased by 1.2 billion per day since the implementation of GDPR

How GDPR is curbing carbon emissions

Despite being the bane to many business professionals, new research suggests that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework is assisting in the global fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Fossil fuel output fell almost 7% to 131TWh

Renewables forecast to overtake fossil fuels in 2020

Renewables will overtake fossil fuels in 2020 to become the "dominant" source of power in Great Britain, EnAppsSys has predicted in a new report.

The EU spent €55bn on fossil fuel subsidies in 2016, with the UK contributing €12bn

UK revealed as EU champion of fossil fuel subsidies

The UK spends the most of any EU nation on subsidising fossil fuels, according to a new report by the European Commission, which also found that EU-wide payments have failed to decrease despite the bloc's commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Deep-sea mining also posed a new threat to the oceans, and should be closely regulated, the report suggested

'Stop treating seas as a sewer,' MPs urge in bid for protection treaty

A new global agreement to protect the seas should be a priority for the government to stop our seas becoming a "sewer", according to a cross-party group of MPs.

The Druridge Bay project makes a mockery of UK’s goal to phase out coal by 2025, say critics

Minister urged to drop new coal-mining plans in Northumberland

A wild stretch of Northumberland beach has become the ultimate testing ground of the Government's much-vaunted commitment to phase out coal by 2025, according to campaigners.

Rising sea level has been among the most dangerous long-term impacts of climate change

Global warming of oceans equivalent to an atomic bomb per second

Global warming has heated the oceans by the equivalent of one atomic bomb explosion per second for the past 150 years, according to analysis of new research.

Scotland is on course to meet its 2020 Climate Act target

Scottish industry's greenhouse gas emissions lowest since records began

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by Scotland's industrial sector fell to an unprecedented low in 2017, the latest official figures have confirmed.

Shell is currently in the process of investing $1-2bn in green energy by 2020, but this figure could soon rise considerably

Shell set to double investment in green energy

Oil and gas giant Shell is exploring the feasibility of doubling its annual green energy investments to $4bn (£3.2bn), as it begins to transition away from fossil fuels and move into the low-carbon and renewables sectors.

Coal-fired power plant in Patnow, Konin, Poland

EU forges deal on coal phase-out, with special Polish clause

European Union legislators reached agreement in the early hours of Wednesday (19 December) over a proposed reform of electricity market rules that includes a 2025 cut-off date for coal subsidies, and a special clause for Poland.

During the industrial era, Wales was home to the three largest coal exporting ports in the world

Wales pledges to phase-out fossil fuels in favour of renewables

The Welsh Government has committed to phase out the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels, including those obtained by fracking, as it strives to reduce national carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, against a 2011 baseline.

The EAC claims that less than 1% of UKEF's energy financing was used for renewables in 2016

MPs to examine environmental impact of UK's export credit agency

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has launched an inquiry into the sustainability efforts being made by UK Export Finance (UKEF), following claims that the body's financing of fossil fuels overseas is at odds with the aims set out in the UK's Clean Growth Strategy.

Developed nations are relying on gas and oil - rather than renewables - as the coal phase-out continues, the IEA has warned

IEA: Global carbon emissions set to rise in 2018, breaking five-year decline

The amount of carbon emitted by the world's most economically advanced nations is set to rise before the end of 2018, bucking a five-year decline in emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned.

The UN report warns that there is still a

UN: World must triple efforts or face catastrophic climate change

Countries are failing to take the action needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change, a UN report has found, and the commitments made in the 2015 Paris agreement will not be met unless governments introduce additional measures as a matter of urgency.

The report's authors are calling for more to be done to implement smart grids and boost flexibility

Report: Renewables could meet half of UK's electricity demands by 2030, at price parity with fossil fuels

Wind and solar power - if distributed using smart, flexible power grids - could meet around 50% of the UK's electricity demands by 2030, at a price parity with coal, oil or gas generation.

Industrial coal-fired power plant at sunset near Gillette, Wyoming, US

Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN

The main greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change have all reached record levels, the UN's meteorology experts have reported.

The findings come ahead of the UN's COP24 conference, where delegates will develop a

Report: G20 nations off track to meet Paris Agreement goals, despite clean energy promises

Of the energy provided to G20 nations during the past 10 years, 82% was generated using coal, oil or gas - despite the bloc's promises to transition to clean power.

The IEA calculated that existing infrastructure would “lock in” 550 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 22 years

World has no capacity to absorb new fossil fuel plants, warns IEA

The world has so many existing fossil fuel projects that it cannot afford to build any more polluting infrastructure without busting international climate change goals, the global energy watchdog has warned.

Norwegian firm Equinor ranked first in the report, after pledging to invest 15% of its CAPEX into low-carbon energy by 2030

Report: Oil and gas industry failing to invest in low-carbon projects

Global oil and gas firms have collectively invested just 1.3% of their combined capital expenditure (CAPEX) into low-carbon technologies and projects since the start of 2018, new research from CDP has concluded.

In total, 57% of electricity generation was low carbon over the period, produced either by renewables or nuclear power stations

UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time

The capacity of renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time, in a milestone that experts said would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Global carbon emissions are expected to rise to a new record level in 2018

Global economic growth threatening climate change progress, report warns

The expansion in the global economy is undermining the world's efforts to achieve the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement, a new report from global consultancy Capgemini has warned.

Since 2015, Firmenich has recorded a 12% reduction in absolute emissions

Perfume giant Firmenich unveils approved science-based targets

Perfume company Firmenich has had a goal to reduce Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 39% approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Cement is one of the world's carbon-heavy industries, accounting for 6% of global CO2 emissions

World Cement Association aligns climate action strategy with 2C trajectory

Global non-profit World Cement Association (WCA) has released a climate action strategy targeting carbon emissions and waste management, in a drive to help the industry align with the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting the global temperature increase below 2C.

Green groups said the deal showed the government should back renewable energy firms rather than fossil fuel and nuclear companies

Scottish Power shifts to 100% wind generation after £700m Drax sale

Scottish Power has ditched fossil fuels for electricity generation and switched to 100% wind power, by selling off its last remaining gas power stations to Drax for more than £700m.

YouGov surveyed almost 850 professionals on a range of sustainability topics, from carbon emissions to energy efficiency

Almost two-thirds of UK businesses yet to set emissions targets, survey reveals

Almost two-thirds (61%) of companies in the UK's private sector have not yet set a specific, numerical target for reducing their emissions, a new survey from consultancy YouGov has revealed.

The new target will see Interface developing factories and products that sequester more carbon than they emit

Interface unveils goal of becoming carbon negative by 2040

Modular flooring firm Interface has set a new target of becoming carbon negative by 2040, building on a 2020 ambition of having “no negative environmental impact”.

The move from Shell comes after BP and ExxonMobil announced methane reduction aims earlier this year

Shell sets near-zero methane emissions target for 2025

Oil and gas giant Shell has made a new commitment to reduce the methane emissions intensity of its operations to below 0.2% by 2025.

Increasing the amount of forested land in the UK to 5% of land area could play a major role as trees act as a carbon sink

Urgent greenhouse gas removal plan could see UK hit 'net zero' target - report

Tree-planting, restoring wetlands and using chemicals to take carbon dioxide from the air will all be needed to reduce the UK's greenhouse gases in line with government plans, scientists have said.

The report predicts that global fossil fuel demand will enter an

Report: Fossil fuel demand to peak in the 2020s due to clean energy growth

The global transition to clean energy and low-carbon technologies is set to be much quicker than previously expected, with worldwide demand for fossil fuels set to peak in the 2020s.

The Carbon Clean200 update marks only the second time since 2016 that fossil fuel investments have outpaced clean energy stocks

Report: Clean energy stocks no longer outpacing fossil fuel investments

Clean energy investments by 200 of the world's leading corporations have underperformed compared to fossil fuel energy stocks over the past year and a half, new figures have revealed.

Sévellec says the statistical upward nudge from natural variation this year is twice as great of that of long-term global warming

Extreme temperatures 'especially likely for next four years'

The world is likely to see more extreme temperatures in the coming four years as natural warming reinforces manmade climate change, according to a new global forecasting system.

Church leaders are encouraging more to switch away from fossil fuels

More than 5,500 UK churches now running on renewables

British churches have diverted more than £5m from fossil fuels, with more than 5,500 places of worship putting their faith in clean energy by switching to renewables.

Fossil fuels’ share of energy investment needs to drop to 40% by 2030 to meet climate targets

IEA warns of 'worrying trend' as global investment in renewables falls

The world's energy watchdog has sounded the alarm over a "worrying" pause in the shift to clean energy after global investment in renewables fell 7% to $318bn (£240bn) last year.

According to the report, 630 million people in urban slums have no cooling to protect them against heatwaves

One billion people without access to efficient cooling technology, says report

With the global heatwaves setting record high temperatures around the world in recent weeks, a new report warns that more than 1.1 billion people globally don't have access to some form of cooling.

The Irish fossil fuel divestment bill was passed in the lower house of parliament on Thursday

Ireland becomes world's first country to divest from fossil fuels

The Republic of Ireland will become the world's first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament.

The rise of electric cars, which the government is banking on to displace conventional cars and cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, poses a double whammy for oil companies

Shell would support UK bringing forward petrol ban from 2040

Shell, one of the world's biggest oil and gas companies, has backed calls for the UK to bring forward its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales.

The SBTi's overall aim is that, by 2020, science-based targets will become standard business practice

Ikea gets stamp of approval for 80% science-based emissions target

The Ikea Group has had its target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its stores and operations by 80% by 2030 approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

The findings suggest that a rapid decline in fossil fuel demand is no longer dependent on stronger policies

'Carbon bubble' could spark global financial crisis, study warns

Plunging prices for renewable energy and rapidly increasing investment in low-carbon technologies could leave fossil fuel companies with trillions in stranded assets and spark a global financial crisis, a new study has found.

Ikea’s climate positive ambition aims to fulfil the retailer’s contribution to the Paris Agreement through an emissions reduction across the value chain that is aligned to climate science

Ikea to ban single-use plastics, targets 'climate-positive' status under new strategy

Removing all single-use plastics products from its range globally, eliminating more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain emits, and generating more renewables than it consumes are all headline goals of Ikea's updated People and Planet Positive strategy.

G7 governments provided at least $80.62bn in fiscal support and $19.54bn in public finance for fossil fuels in 2015 and 2016

G7 countries pour $100bn a year into oil, gas and coal: study

Each year, at least $100bn goes to support the production and consumption of oil, gas and coal, according to a major new study published on Monday (4 June). That is despite a promise from all G7 and G20 members to stop subsidising fossil fuels by 2025.

The Unfriend Coal report accuses 25 of the world’s largest insurers of continuing to invest in ‘dirty’ tar sands and coal energy projects

Top pension funds and insurers failing to engage with climate risks

Some of the UK's biggest pension funds are failing to address climate-related impacts, while 25 of the world's largest insurance brokers continue to invest in coal or tar sands projects, two damning reports have claimed this week.

Six of the top ten supplier leaders are based in Europe

'High risk' meat and fish sector failing to combat climate-related business risks

More than half of global meat and fish suppliers have been labelled as "high risk", with new research warning that the sector is failing to manage sustainability issues such as greenhouse gas emissions and antibiotics stewardship.

The report claims that HSBC is one of the sector’s “biggest backsliders” on fossil investments

Banking industry one of UK's 'most unethical sectors'

The UK's big five high street banks are hindering the sector's efforts to tackle climate change by continuing to profit from some of the world's dirtiest fossil fuel projects.

The LDC group voiced frustrations over having to adapt to a changing climate, all while striving to lift their people out of poverty

Developing nations call for 'urgent' action to develop Paris Agreement rulebook

A network of some of the least developed countries in the world has called on developed economies to turn "concepts into action" by accelerating the implementation of a 'rule book' for the Paris Agreement through increased climate finance.