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News In Brief

Experts 'stunned' at how fast oceans are warming

Mike G / SeSmogBlog

23rd October 2014

Getting warmer far faster than thought - the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Cross, Namibia. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr. Southern hemisphere oceans are warming at double the expected rate, a new study has found. This may explain why surface warming has slowed over the last decade - the oceans have absorbed the 'missing' heat. more...

Arctic ice loss sends Alaskan temperatures soaring

Alex Kirby

22nd October 2014

Melting point: researchers study Arctic sea ice and melt ponds on the Chuckchi Sea. Photo: Kathryn Hansen / NASA via Wikimedia Commons. Scientists analysing more than three decades of weather data for the northern Alaska outpost of Barrow have recorded an astonishing 7°C temperature rise, writes Alex Kirby - and the likely cause is the decline in Arctic sea ice. more...

ICC told: Cambodia land-grabbing is 'crime against humanity'

Kevin Ponniah / Phnom Penh Post

21st October 2014

A soldier speaks to villagers in 2012 as they are being evicted from Kratie province’s Chhlong district. Photo: Heng Chivoan / Phnom Penh Post. A British lawyer has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, writes Kevin Ponniah, alleging that a wave of violent land-grabbing that has displaced 770,000 people has been carried out by Cambodia's ruling elite, and that it amounts to a crime against humanity. more...

Palm oil - the new threat to the Amazon

Alex Kirby

20th October 2014

Cattle are still driving deforestation in the Amazon - but a new wave of cash crop agriculture for palm oil and other commodities is on its way. Photo: Kate Evans for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been sharply reduced in recent years, writes Alex Kirby. But analysts say that palm oil and other cash crops are set for a major expansion, while high demand for beef, and administrative chaos, may undermine efforts to reform the ranching sector. more...

NASA confirms US's 2,500-square-mile methane cloud

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

18th October 2014

Flaring the Bakken shale with cows, North Dakota. Photo: Sarah Christianson / Earthworks via Flickr. Floating over the US Southwest is a cloud of methane the size of Delaware, writes Mike G - reflecting the release of almost 600,000 tonnes of the powerful greenhouse gas every year. Its origins? Coalbed gas production, fracking and horizontal drilling. more...

NAO investigates Hinkley C nuclear subsidies

Terry Macalister / The Guardian

17th October 2014

An artist's impression of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Image: EDF Energy media library. Hinkley C's subsidy package may have won European Commission approval - but now it faces a National Audit Office 'value for money' investigation, following a demand from a powerful Parliamentary committee. more...

African habitat loss driving migrating birds' decline

The Ecologist

16th October 2014

The Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) has declined by 88% since 1995, due to multiple causes: habitat loss in Africa; disease in its UK breeding grounds, and hunting between the two. Photo: Alan Shearman via Flickr. A new report reveals huge declines in the UK's migratory birds that winter deep in Africa's rainforests. Shorter distance migrants are performing much better, with some recording big population increases. more...

Renewables can supply 100% of world's power by 2050

Tim Radford

15th October 2014

Keeping it clean: a hydropower site at Holbuvatnet in the highlands of eastern Norway. Photo: Ximonic / Simo Räsänen via Wikimedia Commons. The first ever global life-cycle assessment of clean energy sources shows that a renewable system could supply the world's entire electricity needs by mid-century, writes Tim Radford. more...

India: tiger reserve tribes face illegal eviction

The Ecologist

14th October 2014

Tribal peoples are the best conservationists. Yet they are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of tiger 'conservation'. Photo: © Sandip Dey A tribal community within India's Similipal tiger reserve is facing eviction after forest department officials tricked and coerced villagers into signing a document in which they promised to leave. Complaints to the state's Human Rights Commission have been ignored. more...

Big Biotech's African seed takeover

The Ecologist

13th October 2014

Famers in Sokoine, Tanzania, examine a drought tolerant maize variety developed by the nationally-owned seed company Tanseed International Limited. Photo: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center via Flickr. Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Limagrain are among the companies to buy into Africa's indigenous seed companies. It's all part of the corporate takeover of the continent's agriculture at the expense of the small farmers who feed most of Africa's people. more...

Acidifying seas endanger sharks' survival

Tim Radford

12th October 2014

Bamboo Shark in Indonesia's Lembeh Straits. With high levels of CO2, the species' survival is reduced by 40%. Photo: Steve Childs via Flickr. Scientific studies show that as carbon dioxide acidifies the oceans, sharks are less able to detect prey, and their chances of survival are reduced, writes Tim Radford - with serious consequences for ocean ecology. more...

IEA: Solar could be world's biggest power source by 2050

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

10th October 2014

The Solucar PS10 solar tower near Seville in southern Spain. Photo: Alejandro Flores via Flickr. Solar power could be producing over a quarter of the world's electricity within 35 years, according to the International Energy Agency. But in the US, Congress's failure to extend solar tax credits is causing projects to be withdrawn.
more...

Greenpeace victory - LEGO ends Shell promotion link

The Ecologist

9th October 2014

It was Greenpeace wot won it. Image: Greenpeace. Following a 1 million signature Greenpeace petition, LEGO has pledged not to renew a 50-year link with the oil company Shell. The move comes as Shell bids to renew its Arctic drilling in 2015, and following revelations that it is trying to dilute environmental regulation in Arctic waters. more...

Plan to label tar sands as 'polluting' scrapped by EU

The Ecologist

7th October 2014

Heavy oil undergoing extraction from tar sands, Alberta. Canada. Photo: Howl Arts Collective via Flickr. The EU is dumping a plan to label fuel made from tar sands as 20% more polluting than oil from conventional sources, making it cheaper for European countries to import. But the concession - intended to smooth the TTIP trade deal - still has to be approved by the European Parliament. more...

Native Hawaiians protest 'sacred mountain' telescope

The Ecologist

7th October 2014

The summit of Hawaii's 'sacred mountain', Mauna Kea. Now an even larger telescope is to be built there. Photo: Markus Jöbstl  via Flickr. Native Hawaiians and others are gathering today for a peaceful protest at the ground-breaking ceremony for a huge new telescope on the 4,207 meter summit of Hawaii's 'sacred mountain', Mauna Kea. more...

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