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Red state, red power: Nebraska's publicly-owned electricity system

Thomas M. Hanna

31st January 2015

Nebraska landscape with wind turbines. Photo: Rich via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0). Republican Nebraska's energy is all publicly owned or cooperative, writes Thomas M. Hanna, and prices are among America's lowest, with great service standards and a strong commitment to renewables. Decentralised and locally accountable, this could be the model that replaces inefficient, unresponsive monopolies - both nationalised and corporate. more...

The seed saving rebellion is growing - and banging at the Commission's door

Ben Raskin

29th January 2015

Hayes Valley Farm Seed Library. Photo: edibleoffice via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). A year ago today, Europe-wide protests defeated an EU regulation that would have outlawed many seed saving activities, writes Ben Raskin. Now growers are taking matters into their own hands, saving and developing open-pollinated seeds - and campaigning for a seed regulation that supports them, not the monopolist seed corporations. more...

Running in reverse: the world's 'nuclear power renaissance'

Dr Jim Green

29th January 2015

Nuclear fail: Entergy's 'Vermont Yankee' nuclear plant shut last year because it was running at a loss even with all its capital costs sunk. It now faces a $1.24 billion decommission - of which only $670 million is funded. The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear's share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where's the money to pay for it? more...

Nigerian farmers face destitution from 300 sq.km land grab backed by UK aid

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2015

Lands of the Gassol community allocated to Dominion Farms, showing the link road constructed by UBRBDA and the community's use of the lands for grazing. Photo: Centre for Environmental Education and Development. Development secretary Justine Greening is facing questions over UK involvement in a massive land-grab in Nigeria that is evicting local farmers from 300 square kilometres of fertile farmland to clear the way for a rice farm owned and controlled from the US and Canada. A 45,000-strong community faces landlessness and destitution. more...

TTIP is sputtering, but other 'trade' deals threaten our sovereignty

Glyn Moody

25th January 2015

Bali, Indonesia: US Secretary of State John Kerry participates in a meeting with nations' leaders discussing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, 8th October 2013. Photo: William Ng / State Department (Public Domain). Even as the controversial TTIP 'trade' deal runs into sand, writes Glyn Moody, a spate of similar deals to empower corporations over national governments and democratic forces are being negotiated even more secretively - like CETA, TPP, TISA - and could become cemented into binding treaties before civil society even knows of their existence. more...

Europe's 'circular economy' waste laws binned despite MEPs' fury

James Crisp / EurActiv

26th January 2015

The 'circular economy' package could have added billions to Europe's economy - but now it's on the scrapheap. Photo: Eddie McHugh via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). The European Commission has confirmed that it will drop its 'circular economy' package, writes James Crisp, in the face of protest by MEPs and environment ministers. The EC's insistence that a future version would be 'improved' - but in in unspecified ways - only raised suspicions of a deregulatory coup by Europe's dirtiest businesses. more...

The Philippines are squandering their moral authority on climate change

Walden Bello

25th January 2015

The world stood with Yeb Sano and the Philippines in 2013 - but now the Philippines are dumping him and the principled policies he represented. Photo: Handing over 600k solidarity messages to Yeb Sano at the Warsaw COP, by Push Europe (CC BT-NC 2.0). Yeb Sano, Philippines climate negotiator at the COP19 Warsaw climate talks, spoke for the entire poor and climate vulnerable world as his country was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. But he was mysteriously absent from Lima in 2014 - signalling a major national policy reversal in which the Philippines are giving everything away - and receiving nothing in return. more...

Austria: 'we will launch Hinkley C nuclear subsidy legal challenge by April'

Arthur Neslen / the Guardian Environment

23rd January 2015

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy, join EDF's top brass to view plans for the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Photo: Number 10 via Department of Energy and Climate Change / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0). Austria will launch its legal challenge against the UK's massive support package for the planned 3.2GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power station by April, writes Arthur Nelsen. The move will add years of delay to the controversial project, and may well finish it off altogether as fears over the troubled EPR reactor design grow, and renewables continue to fall in cost. more...

Thai communities poisoned by illegal lead mine waste

The Ecologist

22nd January 2015

A child brushes his teeth in lead-contaminated water in Klity Creek, Thailand. Photo: Human Rights Watch. For 16 years the Thai government has ignored the plight of a community where toxic lead mine waste is causing severe chronic poisoning - defying both a 2013 court order, and its international obligations. It's just one of many toxic sites across Thailand that need to be cleaned up - but the government's main concern is to encourage further industrialisation. more...

Condors or lead ammunition? We can't have both

Dawn Starin

21st January 2015

A California Condor near the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon. Photo: George Kathy Klinich via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). The recent death of Ventana the condor in Los Angeles zoo illustrates a simple truth, writes Dawn Starin: wild condors cannot survive so long as the dead amimals they eat are riddled with lead from spent ammunition. With lead poisoning to blame for 60% of condor deaths, it's time to ban lead ammunition across their entire range - and beyond. more...

Fracking policy and the pollution of British democracy

Paul Mobbs

20th January 2015

Ribble Estuary against Fracking demo, August 2014. Photo: Victoria Buchan-Dyer via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). UK politicians and officials are studiously ignoring the growing evidence that fracking is an economic and environmental disaster, writes Paul Mobbs. As the circle of 'acceptable' view spins ever smaller, industry PR is dominating a phoney debate that's increasingly remote from reality, public opinion and core democratic principles. more...

Sellafield - how the nuclear industry fleeced taxpayers

David Lowry

19th January 2015

The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods. Photo: unknown. Last week the consortium holding a £22bn contract to clean up the Sellafield nuclear site was sacked, writes David Lowry. But this is just the end of a long and scandalous tale of corporate profit at taxpayers' expense, and the active collusion of ministers and senior officials in fighting off Parliamentary scrutiny. more...

Green surge - 13 reasons why the Greens are a party whose time has come

Adam Ramsay

16 January 2015

The future is bright - the future is Green. Image: 'Green tree' by livewallpapers.org. Yesterday, Green party membership in the UK overtook that of UKIP and the Lib Dems, writes Adam Ramsay, who offers 13 reasons why in just two days over 4,000 new members joined the Greens, an astounding 10% growth rate. And it's no flash in the pan - membership had already doubled since September, and the Green surge could still have a long way to run ... more...

Oil prices and the devil's ransom

Alexander Reid Ross

15th January 2015

Burning oil field in Kuwait, Gulf War 1. Photo: VA Comm via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0). The global economic shake-down of low oil prices continues apace, writes Alexander Reid Ross, causing environmentalists to celebrate the collapse of dirty energy projects. But the oil price collapse is the manifestation of a multi-layered conflict being fought out on the political, military and ideological battlefields of the Middle East - and it may not last much longer. more...

Indonesia: palm oil expansion drives massive illegal logging

Environmental Investigation Agency / Oliver Tickell

14th January 2015

Log yard operated by plantation company PT Kahayan, October 2014. Photo: EIA. Indonesia appears to brought rainforest logging under control - but it's all a huge illusion, according to a new EIA report. Traditional logging has been replaced by the mass clearance of rainforest for oil palm plantations, creating massive supplies of hugely profitable but often illegal timber. And lurking beneath the surface is a pervasive network of criminality and corruption. more...

El Quimbo, Colombia: Enel-Endesa's 'low carbon' hydroelectric racket

Philippa de Boissière

13th January 2015

The Government displaces small farmers, imposes outsiders, robs our resources, divides our peoples - leave us in peace! Photo: Asoquimbo. For the world's multinational corporations, the climate crisis is just another business opportunity, writes Philippa de Boissière. One example is Enel-Endesa's 'climate friendly' 217m high El Quimbo dam in Colombia - a huge exercise in expropriation at taxpayer expense, backed by police violence against strong local resistance. more...

After 40 years, still waiting for justice: Western Sahara, Africa's last colony

Oscar Güell

12th January 2015

Western Sahara refugee children in Dakhla Refugee Camp, Algeria. Photo: UN Photo / Evan Schneider via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). The Sahrawi people of Western Sahara have been waiting 40 years for a self-determination referendum, writes Oscar Güell. But thanks to the passivity of the EU, the US and the rest of the 'international community' their wait for justice won't end any time soon. Meanwhile, Morocco settles the country with colonists and exploits its natural resources. more...

As rivers re-open to shipping, oil threat to Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest continues

ASMG Kibria

9th January 2015

A dead Irrawaddy dolphin floats on the Harintana-Tembulbunia channel of the Sela River on 6th January 2015. Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain for the Dhaka Tribune. Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest, home of incredibly rich biodiversity, is under unprecedented threat, writes ASMG Kibria. The recent oil tanker capsize on the Shela river puts the forest at risk of widespread biodiversity loss, but just this week, the authorities re-opened the Shela river to shipping with no restrictions on hazardous cargoes. more...

A tale of two farming conferences: the future is 'real' and organic

Peter Melchett

8th January 2015

The future of farming is green, organic and healthy! Photo: Sandy Lane organic farm, Oxfordshire. Lord Krebs, self-appointed spokesman for industrial agriculture, used the Oxford Farming Conference to attack organic systems for causing more climate change - a claim as demonstrably false as it is ludicrous, writes Peter Melchett. But across the city, the upstart 'real farming' conference was showing the way to a cleaner, greener and healthier future. more...

Fracking's future is in doubt as oil price plummets, bonds crash

Kieran Cooke

7th January 2015

Burning money? North Dakota flaring of gas out of the Bakken Formation. Photo: Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0. Increased production from US fracking operations is a major reason for the drop in oil prices, writes Kieran Cooke. But there are warnings that the industry now faces an existential crisis from which it may never recover, as the financial sector faces the prospect of worthless shares and $100s of billions of defaulted debt. more...

FBI harassing fossil fuel activists in the Pacific northwest

Alexander Reid Ross

6th January 2015

Tar sands equipment just south of Missoula on 'megaload' transporters - whose free passage on rural roads is facing increasing opposition from impacted communities. Photo: Nicholas Brown via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. A grassroots movement of eco-activists is achieving unprecedented success in challenging fossil fuel developments in the Cascadia region of the US's Pacific northwest, writes Alexander Reid Ross. And that has attracted the wrong kind of attention - from local police, FBI and right-wing legislators determined to protect the corporate right to exploit and pollute. more...

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