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Nuclear power and biodiversity - don't forget WMD proliferation!

Dr Jim Green

18th December 2014

A reminder to conservation scientists: not only can one little nuclear bomb ruin your whole day, it can also wipe out a whole lot of biodiversity. Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive? more...

With sub-$60 oil, fracking and tar sands losses threaten the whole financial system

Paul Mobbs

17th December 2014

Fracking is burning more than just our health. Our money's going up in flames too - and that's putting the whole financial system at risk. Photo: Bill Baker via Flickr. A new financial crisis is threatening to dwarf the 'subprime' mortgage debacle, writes Paul Mobbs. Cheap money from central banks has fuelled some $1.3 trillion of risky investments in high-cost 'unconventional' oil and gas. Now, with oil sinking below $60, all that paper is turning to junk - and that's putting the entire economic system at risk. more...

Taiwan: residents resist forced eviction for 'Aerotropolis' megaproject

Rose Bridger

16th December 2014

Protest against the Taoyuan Aerotropolis as broadcast by Formosa EnglishNews (see video embed). Communities facing around Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport are facing huge land grabs for a vast airport city that will line the pockets of powerful officials, politicians and developers, but leave them with nothing, writes Rose Bridger. Now, faced with official abuse and police brutality, they are fighting back with street protests and art projects. more...

COP20: an agreement of sorts. Now, a rocky climate road to Paris

Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell

15th December 2014

People's Climate March, COP20, Lima, with Christine Milne. Photo: Emma Bull / Green MPs via Flickr. After a second extra day of climate talks in Lima, an agreement has been cobbled together. Deadlines have been set for the world to come up with plans to curb emissions and adapt to climate change - but has been no progress on the key divisive issues, and the prospects of an effective mew treaty in Paris next year remain remote. more...

Stonehenge World Heritage Site at risk from A303 tunnel plans

Kate Fielden

13th December 2014

Stonehenge itself may benefit from the tunneling - but at the expense of the its wider landscape in the 27 sq.km World Heritage Site. Photo: Todd via Flickr. The government's plans to tunnel the A303 under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has one grievous flaw, writes Kate Fielden. The tunnel is too short, so huge portals and graded junctions at both ends would lie entirely within the WHS causing huge damage to landscape and wipe out archaeological remains. more...

Leaked: EU Commission plot to ditch waste and air pollution laws

EurActiv

12th December 2014

Coal fired power station at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Photo: Guy Gorek via Flickr. An anti-environment plot by Junckers' Commission would abandon agreed 'green' laws for clean air, waste reduction and recycling. But the leak of key documents to EurActiv has stimulated fierce opposition by Green MEPs and environment groups, while eleven EU countries have called on Junckers to hold to the green laws and speed up their implementation. more...

'Fracking frenzy' - how the shale gas industry is threatening the planet

Friends of the Earth Europe

11th December 2014

One of many anti-fracking protest posters. Nieu Bethesda, Karoo. Photo: Jose Gil Paris, Stichting Schaliegasvrij. The world is in the grip of a 'fracking frenzy that threatens us for centuries to come with polluted aquifers, runaway climate change, destruction of biodiversity and worthless 'sub-prime' investments. Just as the world must make the transition to a sustainable future, our 'leaders' are determined to make this last losing throw of the fossil fuel dice. more...

COP20 and corporate power - destroying the edifice of false climate solutions

Alexander Reid Ross

10th December 2014

At COP20 in Lima, Indigenous protestors from Saweto in the Peruvian Amazon protest at ongoing land grabs and murder of their leadeat the COP20 in Lima, Peru. Photo: Luka Tomacrs / Friends of the Earth International. Peru, notorious for its brutal exploitation of forests, oil and minerals, theft of indigenous lands and murder of eco-defenders, is an unlikely host for the COP20 climate talks, writes Alexander Reid Ross. Except that Peru's actions reflect the corporate land-grabbing agenda manifest in the false solutions on offer in Lima this week. It's a time for resistance, not compromise! more...

Petcoke: the toxic black dust coming to a community near you

Ben Whitford

9th December 2014

The August 2013 petcoke storm over the southeast side of Chicago. Photo: Anthony Martinez. It's the fossil fuel industry's latest stroke of genius - a coal substitute that's cheaper, dirtier and more toxic than coal itself, writes Ben Whitford. The waste product of refining heavy oil from Canada's tar sands, petcoke is stored in open mountains around Chicago's 'Slag Valley', sending plumes of sticky black dust over poor neighborhoods every time the wind blows. more...

'It's war!' Peru-Brazil indigenous people pledge to fight Amazon oil exploration

David Hill

8th December 2014

A Matsé leader in the Peruvian Amazon pledges to attack oil workers intruding into the tribe's territory with spears, bows and arrows. Photo: David Hill. Peru - host of the COP20 UN climate conference now under way in Lima - is facing rebellion by a 3,500 strong indigenous people deep in the Amazon committed to fighting oil exploration in their forest territory, writes David Hill, following the government's failure to consult Matsés communities or respect their rights. more...

Kenya: a forest people illegally evicted, beaten, imprisoned - paid for by the World Bank

Dean Puckett / REDD Monitor

7th December 2014

Torched Senger homes. Photo: Dean Puckett. Financed by the World Bank, the Kenya Forest Service has intensified its illegal campaign of evictions, arson, beatings and arrests of the Sengwer forest people of the Embobut forest, Dean Puckett reports from the Cherangani Hills. And behind the violence lies the lure of hard cash - from the prospect of selling the forest's carbon to international financiers. more...

Lower oil prices are here to stay. Thank loss-making shale and tar sands - not OPEC

Jemma Green, Mark Andrich & Peter Newman

5th December 2014

In the 1970s, refineries in the Middle East controlled the world’s flow of oil. Not any more. Photo: National Iranian Oil Company / Wikimedia Commons. Are recent oil prices slumps caused by OPEC ganging up against tar sand and other high-cost producers? Or a sinister conspiracy to destabilise the Russian economy? Far from it, argue Jemma Green, Mark Andrich and Peter Newman - it's the simple result of an excess of supply over demand. And the low prices will be with us for some time to come. more...

Negligent and unlawful: EFSA's latest guidance on pesticide use and exposure

Georgina Downs

4th December 2014

Spaying agro-chemicals on a windy day. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr. After an apparent cave-in to Europe's pesticide industry, the European Food Safety Authority's latest guidance on pesticides conflicts with European law, writes Georgina Downs - by ignoring the real-life agrochemical exposure of rural residents. Commission President Juncker must step in and demand the withdrawal of this disgraceful document. more...

Stop forced displacements by Cerrejon Coal in Colombia!

Richard Solly

3rd December 2014

Villagers stand in the ruins of their house after the 2001 eviction of Tabaco. Photo: London Mining Network. Las Casitas is a small community living on the edge of one of the world's largest coal mines, writes Richard Solly - one inhabited by the descendants of escaped slaves, located in the poorest region of Colombia. The village is under imminent threat of forced displacement by the brutal corporation that runs the Cerrejón coal mine. more...

Critics denounce latest 'zero carbon homes' exemptions as 'nonsensical'

Alex Stevenson

2nd December 2014

A 'net zero carbon' development of 780 homes at Graylingwell Park, Chichester, with a centralised gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system run by an independent energy services company. Photo: Zero Carbon Hub. With continuing Coalition in-fighting over the troubled 'zero carbon homes' programme, writes Alex Stevenson, a plan is afoot to allow homes on smaller developments to meet a less demanding energy performance standard - but still carry the 'zero-carbon' label. Critics denounce the plan as 'nonsensical'. more...

Three card trick - the rich countries' plan to evade their climate obligations exposed

Friends of the Earth Europe

1st December 2014

Watch the lady! Rich country negotiators are trying to pull their own version of the three card trick on developing countries at COP20 in Lima. Photo: Steven Tyrie via Flickr. As the Climate Convention's COP20 kicks off in Lima today, FOEE reveals the developed countries cunning plan to evade their legal obligations by hiving them off into unofficial, non-binding documents. But the world can stand up to the 'three card tricksters' - forcing them to cut their emissions, and pay the $100s of billions they owe for the climate damage they have caused. more...

Flower power? Afghan opium production hits all-time high

Mike Whitney

30th November 2014

Waist-high in opium poppies, US Marines patrol west of Nahr-e Saraj canal. Photo:  DVIDSHUB via Flickr. The explosive growth of Afghanistan's heroin production after the Taliban brought the trade to a halt should be no surprise, writes Mike Whitney. It's all part of a lucrative plan whose real objective is to create global instability, disrupt social movements, facilitate resource colonialism, and justify the US's perpetual military presence in far flung corners of the world. more...

Move over big power - the micropower revolution is here!

Morgan Saletta

29th November 2014

Male, Maldives, October 2010: President Nasheed installs solar panels on the Presidential Residence in 2010 - 18 months before the coup which brought his term of office to an end. Small scale renewables are - almost un-noticed by policy makers - providing a quarter of the world's electricity, up from 10% in 2000, writes Morgan Saletta. Forget fracking and nuclear - this is the real energy revolution that's under way, and it's cutting big fossil fuel and centralised power grids out of the picture, while reducing emissions and delivering energy security and resilience. more...

'Acutely toxic' mine waste threatens the death of Norway's fjords

Tina Andersen Vågenes

28th November 2014

Sailing boat on Førdefjorden. Photo: Arild Nybø via Flickr. Two huge open pit mines in northern Norway are on the verge of approval, writes Tina Andersen Vågenes - even though they would dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of tailings in fjords where wild salmon spawn. Scientists are voicing serious concerns, and protests are growing, but government and mining companies appear determined to push the projects forward regardless. more...

New Mexico nuclear waste accident a 'horrific comedy of errors' that exposes deeper problems

Jim Green / Nuclear Monitor

27th November 2014

WIPP / Los Alamos National Laboratory celebrates its 1000th transuranic waste shipment. Photo: energy.gov / Wikimedia Commons. Last February's explosion at the WIPP dump for long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste from the US's nuclear weapons program remains unexplained, writes Jim Green. But with the site's history of ignored warnings, 'missing' safety culture, lack of supervision and dubious contractor appointments, it surely came as no surprise - and further accidents appear inevitable. more...

'Fake environmentalists' battle for Istanbul's last forest

Nick Ashdown

26th November 2014

Zekiye Ozdemir and Gulseren Caliskan, both 70, maintain their daily vigil directly in front of a large iron police barrier  at the construction site on the edge of Validebag Grove, Istanbul. Photo: Nick Ashdown. After Gezi Park, another battle for one of Istanbul's increasingly rare green spaces is raging, writes Nick Ashdown - and this time it's on the city's Asian side. Demonstrators are holding a 24-hour vigil on the edge of an 'illegal' construction site at Validebag Grove - despite having been repeatedly detained and attacked by police. more...

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