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Fracking Scotland

“The IPCC [UN climate science panel] is quite clear about the need to leave the vast majority of already proven reserves in the ground, if we are to meet the 2C goal. The fact that despite this science, governments are spending billions of tax dollars each year to find more fossil fuels that we cannot ever afford to burn, reveals the extent of climate denial still ongoing within the G20,” said Oil Change International director Steve Kretzman.

The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. The government money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International. The report found that  four times as much money was spent on fossil fuel exploration as on …

Polluted Power

Longannet in Kincardine, run by ScottishPower, was highlighted by international group the Health and Environment Alliance (Heal) as one of Europe's top polluters, according to environmentalists who claim the plant's emissions affect the health of people for hundreds of miles around by belching out thousands of tons of pollutants which travel in the atmosphere.

WWF Scotland said the report showed key health reasons for power providers to move away from coal. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said the findings were significant. He said: "This study shows there are important health reasons why we need to be ending our reliance on coal especially. It's clear that action is needed today to cut emissions from all existing coal power stations, including Longannet."

The report claimed fumes from coal-fired power stations cause 1600 premature deaths in the UK each year and that the emissions are linked to 18,000 premature deaths in the EU each year. Heal said: "A gro…

Profits and Pollution before Penicuik

Proposals for a huge new opencast coal mine in Midlothian have been given the go-ahead. The plans will see 10 million tonnes of coal excavated over 10 years at the 500-acre Cauldhall site  which will cover an area the size of 1,000 football pitches, near Penicuik.

Nine councillors voted in favour of the mine, which planning officers recommended be approved because it is in the national interest.

An action group called Stop Cauldhall Opencast, said the decision was a "travesty of the planning process". Malcolm Spaven from the protest group said: "What's the point in Scottish and Local Planning Policy if it can all be torn to shreds at the whim of a planning committee?"

Green MSP for Lothian Alison Johnstone, who is a member of Holyrood's economy and energy committee, said: "The impacts on local communities from this proposal, such as noise, dust and heavy traffic, are completely unacceptable. It is utterly illogical to approve yet more coal mining give…

Exploiting nature

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has approved a scheme by Scottish Coal to empty Loch Fitty, near Dunfermline in Fife, to dig up 3.4 million tonnes of coal from underneath its bed. Sepa's experts initially warned the plan would have a negative impact on people and the water environment. But internal emails show their initial advice was revised to make it more favourable to the development, at the request of senior managers.

"This looks like a desperate attempt by Scottish Coal to generate extra profits by ripping out every last ounce of coal from beneath Fife that it can," said Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland.

Existing mines are running out of coal, so Scottish Coal is anxious to extend them or dig new sites to meet the demand for coal to burn in power stations like Longannet on the Firth of Forth.