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News In Brief

Analysts slate GM mosquito firm, shares plummet

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

28th April 2016

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito filled up on human blood. Photo: Stephen Ausmus / USDA via Flickr (CC BY). Investment analysts say Oxitec's GM mosquito technology 'won't work, is way too expensive, and is many years from generating even minuscule revenue', writes Claire Robinson. As shares in its owner, Intrexon, slump, three law firms have announced they are investigating. more...

Thirty years after Chernobyl, Belarus goes nuclear

Kieran Cooke

25th April 2016

Impression of the double VVER-1200/392M (AES-2006) reactors for at Russia's Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant II, almost identical to the reactors planned for Ostrovets, Belarus. Photo: Rosenergoatom via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY). Belarus may have taken the brunt of the fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, writes Kieran Cooke. But now it's pushing ahead with its own nuclear power station at Ostrovets - just 50km from Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, where the project is causing widespread public concern. more...

Australian river on fire with fracked coal seam gas

The Ecologist

22nd April 2016

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham by the burning Condamine River in Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jeremy Buckingham. So much methane is bubbling into a river surrounded by hundreds of fracking wells that it's a fire hazard! Local campaigners blame the coal seam gas industry for the gas releases which are spreading along Queensland's river Condamine and gaining in intensity. more...

Amid Paris Agreement fanfare world fails shipping emissions test

Stephen Buranyi / DeSmog.uk & Oliver Tickell

22nd April 2016

Obama spoke out at the COP21 climate conference. But his officials helped to thwart limits on emissions from international shipping at the IMP this week. Photo: ConexiónCOP Agencia de noticias via Flickr (CC BY). World leaders are meeting in New York today to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, write Stephen Buranyi & Oliver Tickell. But the world just failed a big test of its commitment to the Paris targets by deadlocking on IMO proposals to limit emissions from international shipping. more...

Almost all climate scientists agree: climate change is real!

Tim Radford

19th April 2016

Climate scientists are agreed: climate change is real, and humans are responsible. Photo: worldmetorg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). New analysis of the vast body of research shows 97% of climate scientists agree that human activities are fuelling climate change, writes Tim Radford. But thanks to aggressive attempts to convince us otherwise, only 12% of people in the US are aware of this high level of agreement. more...

New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

Oliver Tickell

21st April 2016

Image of CRISPR / Cas9. Image: NHGRI. via ja.wikimedia.org (Public Domain). The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing. more...

World Bank doubles fossil fuel funding in four years

Victoria Seabrook / DeSmog.uk

18th April 2016

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on fossil fuels: 'Do as I say, not as I do'. Photo: World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). World Bank President Jim Kim talks a good talk on cutting support to fossil fuels. But what the bank does, writes Victoria Seabrook, is a whole other story. Not only is the WB Group still pouring money into the sector, but its funding doubled between 2011 and 2015. more...

CETA Canada-EU 'free trade' deal could come into force without vote

Oliver Tickell

15th April 2016

CETA could act as a 'backdoor agreement' for US corporations even if TTIP fails - no wonder they are trying to push it through!  Demo against TTIP & CETA in Hamburg, February 2015. Photo: Foto: Chris Grodotzki / Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The Stop TTIP coalition is warning that under a 'stealth clause' in CETA the trade deal could come into force without a single parliamentary vote - including its ISDS provisions allowing investors to sue governments in secret courts. US corporations would then be able to sue EU nations - even if TTIP fails. more...

BP's deep sea oil exploration in South Australia - no way!

Graham Readfearn / DeSmog.uk

14th April 2016

The famous Bunda Cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight. Photo: Matt Turner. BP's plans to explore for oil in the deep seas of the Great Australian Bight came under fire today at the company's Annual General Meeting in London, writes Graham Readfearn. The drilling would risk the ocean's rich marine wildlife - while blowing a massive hole in Australia's COP21 emissions targets. more...

European Parliament votes to ban most uses of glyphosate

Oliver Tickell

13th April 2016

Monsanto's 'probably carcinogenic' Roundup on open retails sale. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY). The EU Parliament has responded to the health concerns of millions by calling on the Commission to severely restrict permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, including an effective ban on pre-harvest dessication of crops. more...

Scotland's secret cat slaughter revealed in FOI documents

Oliver Tickell

12th April 2016

Scottish wildcat out hunting at night. Photo: Adrian Bennett / Wildcat Haven. Documents released to Wildcat Haven reveal the secret plans of the Scottish Wildcat Action Plan - funded by taxpayers and the National Lottery - to kill trapped feral cats by shooting them in the head with shotguns. Public documents mention only neutering, successfully carried out by Wildcat Haven to protect pure wildcat populations. more...

Stronger storms coming to Europe's Atlantic seaboard

Tim Radford

8th April 2016

Big waves at Treyarnon Bay, Padstow, North Cornwall, 27th March 2016. Photo: Mark Seymour via Flickr (CC BY). The giant waves that hit Cornwall's coast this weekend form part of a long term trend, writes Tim Radford. Extreme weather linked to global warming is leading to more violent and more frequent storms devastating beaches, ports, infrastructure and coastal communities on Europe's exposed Atlantic coastlines. more...

French energy minister: Hinkley C must not 'dry out' renewables funding

Angelique Chrisafis & Chris Johnston

8th April 2016

'Getting out of nuclear - we can do it!', reads the banner at this 2011 protest against Hinkley C. French Energy Minister Segolene Royal might just share the opinion. Photo: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament via Flickr (CC BY). France's energy minister Ségolène Royal has backed union demands for the EDF's Hinkley C project in Somerset to be re-examined, write Angelique Chrisafis & Chris Johnston - adding that the project must not go ahead if it would 'dry out' funds needed for EDF's renewable energy program. more...

Campaigners' No to UK field trials of GM potatoes, oilseeds

The Ecologist

7th April 2016

Late blight is a serious disease - but there are already dozens of conventionally-bred potato varieties with much stronger resistance than the 'new improved' GM version. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr (CC BY-NC). British NGOs have objected to two applications for open-air field trials to grow GM crops. One is for a blight-resistant potato that is much less resistant than existing non-GM varieties. The other is an oilseed to be used as fish food whose fatty acid profile has been subject to only 'rudimentary analysis'. more...

Industrial expansion threatens half of natural World Heritage Sites

The Ecologist

6th April 2016

South Water Caye Marine Reserve is one of seven protected areas that make up the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, at risk from oil exploration and drilling. Photo: © Antonio Busiello / WWF-US. Precious World Heritage Sites that protect vital biodiversity and human cultures are at risk from oil decelopment and other industries. Under threat are not just nature, wildlife, land and water but the 11 million people who depend on the 114 sites' environmental quality for their livelihoods. more...

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