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News In Brief

Japan: 'solar islands' replace nuclear power

Jon Major

13th September 2014

Kagoshima solar power plant: are 'solar islands' the future? Photo: Kyocera. As Japan seeks to end reliance on nuclear power, one of the answers is floating 'solar islands', writes Jon Major. A 70MW solar island opened last year, and two additional plants have just been announced. more...

China - is it kicking its coal habit?

Kieran Cooke

12th September 2014

A coal-fired power station at Yangzhou in China’s central Jiangsu province. Photo: Vmenkov via Wikimedia Commons. There are hopeful signs that China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is becoming less reliant on the polluting coal that powered its rapid economic rise, writes Kieran Cooke. Great news for China, and the planet - but worrying for coal exporters! more...

Assassination in the Amazon

Oliver Tickell

11th September 2014

Ashaninka traveling by boat from eastern Peru to visit neighbors in Acre state, Brazil. Photo: © Mike Goldwater / Survival. Four Indian leaders who have opposed illegal logging in their forests have been shot dead in eastern Peru as they traveled by boat to an indigenous meeting in Brazil. The murders followed pleas to Peruvian authorities for protection, and warnings by Brazilian officials that the Indians were in extreme danger. more...

Collectors' trade threatens 'Holy Grail' of the reptile world

The Ecologist

10th August 2014

Lanthanotus borneensis or the Earless Monitor Lizard. Photo: TRAFFIC. An earless species of monitor lizard from Borneo has suddenly erupted into the international trade among pet keepers and reptile collectors. Although it is protected within its range, there are no restrictions on international trade in the species. An urgent CITES listing is desperately needed! more...

Ocean acidification and greenhouse gases hit new records

Alex Kirby

9th September 2014

Reef stricken: corals, fisheries and tourism will all be damaged by ocean acidification. Photo: coral reef on the Andaman Islands by Ritiks via Wikimedia Commons. New scientific evidence released today by the WMO shows the highest greenhouse gas concentrations on record, writes Alex Kirby, with 2012-2013 a record year for emissions. Meanwhile oceans are acidifying faster than at any time in the last 300 million years. more...

Europe's vultures face extinction from toxic vet drug

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2014

At risk of extinction: the Bearded vulture. Photo: Joachim S Muller. Vultures have become one of the most threatened families of birds on the planet thanks to poisoning by the veterinary drug diclofenac. Now Birdlife has discovered that it's on sale in Europe - threatening to wipe vultures out and undermine significant EU investments in vulture conservation. more...

Success for challenge to Idaho 'ag-gag' law

Oliver Tickell

5th September 2014

Still from the Mercy for Animals video of Bettencourt Dairy, Idaho. A legal challenge to a draconian Idaho law that outlaws free speech about animal abuses on factory farms has survived a 'motion to dismiss' in a federal court. The challenge, mounted by free speech, animal welfare, food and environment groups, claims the 'ag gag' law is unconstitutional. more...

With 4% support, Labour robs Green seat in 'rotten borough' election

Adam Ramsay

5th September 2014

Oxford: the buildings are beyond compare. So is the politics. Photo of the Radcliffe Camera by Chris chabot via Flickr. A 'rotten borough' election in Oxford has won Labour a councillor on the lowest turnout in British electoral history - robbing the Greens of a winnable seat. The by-election in a mainly student ward was timed for the summer vacation - disenfranchising 60% of voters. more...

Global support for a sanctuary to protect the Arctic

The Ecologist

4th September 2014

Greenpeace action for an Arctic Sanctuary in front of the melting mouth of Austria's Goldbergkees glacier. The banner reads International polling today revealed strong public support for a formally protected area in the High Arctic for mammals and other marine life. The weakest support came from Japan, where opinion was evenly split over the industrialization of the Arctic. more...

'Misleading' fracking ad 'must not appear again'

Oliver Tickell

3rd September 2014

Frackers' promises don't add up to a row of beans. Gas fracking on the Haynesville Shale near Shreveport, Louisiana. Photo: Daniel Foster via Flickr. The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has ordered the withdrawal of an ad extolling the virtues of fracking, ruling that it is misleading, exaggerating, and lacks substantiation. In the process it has undermined the Government's entire case for fracking in the UK. more...

Farm pests' global advance threatens food security

2nd September 2014

Tim Radford

CIAT cassava specialist Dr. Tin Maung Aye studies cassava crops in NE Thailand, affected by pest and disease outbreaks. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT) / Wikimedia Commons. Agricultural pests - viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and caterpillars - are spreading thanks to trade, travel and global warming, writes Tim Radford. The world faces a dire future of increased crop losses and growing insecurity. more...

Danish Navy helps Faroe Islanders kill 33 pilot whales

Oliver Tickell

1st September 2014

Stranded whales in the 2014 'grind' on the Faroe Islands reduced to butchered meat. Photo: Sea Shepherd. The Danish Navy has just supported the annual 'grind' cetacean slaughter on the Faroe Islands, seizing three boats used by Sea Shepherd to obstruct the hunt, and detaining their crew. The move enabled whale hunters to slaughter an entire pod of 33 pilot whales. more...

Europe’s warming brings risk of dengue fever

Tim Radford

31st August 2014

The Aedes aegypti mosquito - vector for dengue disease - biting a human. Photo: US Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons. As greenhouse gases raise temperatures in Europe, writes Tim Radford, British researchers warn that the risk is increasing of the arrival of dengue fever and other mosquito-borne killer tropical diseases. more...

Scotland's double first: tidal array and twin-bladed offshore wind turbines

The Ecologist

29th August 2014

The world's first offshore deployment of two-bladed wind turbines, and Britain's first tidal power array, are both moving forward in Scotland's seas. Images: Crown Estate. Two innovative renewable energy projects are moving forward in Scotland: Britain's first tidal power array, and the world's first deployment of two-bladed wind offshore turbines. The experimental technologies are hoped to achieve significant cost savings and unlock a huge offshore energy resource. more...

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

The familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI. Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...

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