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News In Brief

Intensive, corporate agriculture is increasing poverty in Africa

Lawrence Woodward

10th February 2016

Global Justice Now supporters dressed as business people from Monsanto, Diageo, SABMiller and Unilever campaigning against the Department for International Development's involvement with the 'New Alliance'. Photo: Global Justice Now via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) New research indicates that agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa is making things worse, writes Lawrence Woodward. Big businesses are forcing modern farming practices through under the guise of aid, but only the rich will benefit. more...

Hotter planet helping spread of Zika virus mosquitos

Nadia Pontes

10th February 2016

The densely conditions in Brazil's 'favelas', like this one in São Paulo, and the need for water tanks and containers, create idea conditions for Aedes mosquitos. And as the world warms, the mosquitos' range is expanding. Photo: Fernando Stankuns via Fli The Aedes mosquitos that carry the Zika virus and dengue fever are not just perfectly adapted to life in cities, writes Nadia Pontes. They are also being helped along by warming climates which increase their range. It's time to get serious about the health implications of a hotter planet. more...

They don't like it up'em: Greenpeace 'frack' Parliament Square

The Ecologist

9th February 2016

Greenpeace erecting their fracking rig in Parliament Square, London early this morning. Photo: Greenpeace. As Cuadrilla's application to frack in Lancashire goes to public inquiry today, protestors from Greenpeace have installed a full-size 'fracking rig' in Parliament Square, London, complete with flare and deafening sound effects, to let MP's know just how great it is to have a fracking well on your doorstep. more...

Indian Point reactors contaminate New York groundwater

Sam Thielman & Alan Yuhas / Guardian Environment

8th February 2016

The Indian Point nuclear site in Buchanan, NY, Units 2 and 3. Photo: ©Entergy Nuclear / Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Highly radioactive tritium has leaked into groundwater at the Indian Point nuclear site 40 miles north of Manhattan, New York, write Sam Thielman & Alan Yuhas. Governor Cuomo has ordered a review of safety at the site, where two reactors are operating with no NRC license. more...

Bangladeshi farmers ditch GM brinjal

Farida Akhtar / GMWatch

5th February 2016

In 2014 many GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to locally available varieties, bringing financial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh). Cornell’s 'no pest' Bt brinjal project in Bangladesh appears to be going great with 200 farmers signed up, reports Farida Akhter. Only its not - hardly any of the farmers who grew the GM plants in previous years have come back for more after their crops wilted, failed to ripen, or were devastated by pests. more...

Glyphosate 'the most heavily used weedkiller in history'

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

3rd February 2016

The use of Glyphosate is ever increasing with farmers spraying it on numerous crops. Photo: Skeeze via Pixabay (CC0) The global use of glyphosate has rocketed over the last decade thanks to the introduction of 'Roundup ready' GM crops, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. But since IARC classified the chemical a 'probable carcinogen', and with the spread of resistant superweeds, the tide may finally be turning. more...

MEPs vote for killer car pollution at double the legal limit

EurActiv

3rd February 2016

There's the pollution you can see, and the even more dangerous pollution that's invisible: the high levels of nitrogen oxides produced by many modern diesel cars. Photo: Adrian Midgley via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Right wing MEPs in the European Parliament including UK conservatives today voted car makers a 'get out of jail free' card over air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of citizens a year, allowing their vehicles to emit double the legal limit for nitrogen oxides. more...

'Renewable energy highways' offer quick fix for US emissions

Tim Radford

2nd February 2016

Wind farms such as these in Palm Springs, California could be the answer to low-cost energy throughout the US. Photo: Prayitno Hadinata via flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) Scientists say interstate energy 'highways' offer a simple approach to delivering low-cost electricity to where it’s needed throughout the US, writes Tim Radford. The best part? It's using clean, renewable energy sources, and it can be achieved in the near future using only existing, mature technologies. more...

Burkina Faso calls time on Monsanto's GM cotton, demands $280m damages

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

1st February 2016

Dadjan Wassinatou, 34, holds a basket of freshly harvested cotton in the village of Zorro, Burkina Faso. Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC). After a run of low quality GM cotton crops with unusually short fibres, Burkina Faso has ended its love affair with Monsanto's Bt cotton, writes Claire Robinson. In a further blow to the company, growers are demanding $280 million compensation for their losses. more...

Europe's summers hottest for 2,000 years - and you ain't seen nothing yet!

Alex Kirby

29th January 2016

Hot is good - up to a point! On the beach at Magnan, Nice in France's Cote d'Azur. Photo: Juska Wendland via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The last 30 years of European summers have been the hottest in thousands of years, writes Alex Kirby, and we had better start getting used to it - most of all in the Mediterranean and the Arctic, where a 1.5C global temperature rise could be amplified to 3.4C and 6C respectively. more...

Humans will be remembered for leaving a 'plastic planet'

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2016

Children playing on a 'plastic beach' at the mouth of Versova Creek near Mumbai - an area formerly home to large tracts of mangroves and Great Egrets. Photo: Ravi Khemka via Flickr (CC BY). Long after we go extinct the human presence on Earth will be marked by a geological stratum rich in plastic garbage, according to a new study. Long-lived plastics are already widespread over the ocean floor, and there's a lot more on its way. Forget the 'Anthropocene' - the human era should rightly be called the Plasticene. more...

Hunting in the Amazon threatens rainforest carbon

The Ecologist

27th January 2016

An Amazonian Grey woolly spider monkey feeding in the treetops. As a important seed disperser, it is essential to the forest ecology - and its capacity to store carbon. Photo: UEA. The over-hunting of wildlife in the Amazon has an unexpected knock-on effect: the reduced seed dispersal reduces the forest's capacity to store carbon in its biomass, increasing emissions from apparently 'intact' rainforest areas. more...

Unable to raise Hinkley C nuclear cash, EDF turns to French government

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

Hinkley C as it would look, if ever built: 'like building a cathedral inside a cathedral', says one nuclear engineer. Artwork: EDF. Just as EDF was due to make its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C, writes Oliver Tickell, another delay. In spite of incredibly generous subsidies, the company is unable to finance it. Its last hope is to persuade the French state to take a 10% stake in the doomed project. more...

Too much of a bad thing? World awash with waste plutonium

Paul Brown

24th January 2016

The Pacific Egret, with its small naval cannon visible, left and right, on its rear deck. Left, its companioin vessel, the Pacific Heron. Photo: Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment via Facebook. As worldwide stocks of plutonium increase, lightly-armed British ships are about to carry an initial 330kg of the nuclear bomb metal for 'safekeeping' in the US, writes Paul Brown. But it's only the tip of a global 'plutonium mountain' of hundreds of tonnes nuclear power's most hazardous waste product. more...

Flint drinks lead-laden water; Republicans attack Clean Water Act

Farron Cousins / DesmogBlog.com

22nd January 2016

Photo: Quincas Moreira via Flickr (CC BY-NC). To save a small amount of money residents of Flint, Michigan, have been forced to consume hazardous levels of lead in their drinking water, writes Farron Cousins. Just the moment for the Republican House Speaker to attack the Clean Water Act. more...

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