The Ecologist


News In Brief

ClientEarth against UK government in High Court over illegal air pollution

Ecologist reporter

18th October, 2016

Environmental Lawyers group ClientEarth is in court today to bring a case against the Government for failing to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in the UK more...

$24 trillion tells car industry: it's time to act on climate!

Terry Macalister

12th Octobver 2016

If mainstream car makers fail to keep up with fresh, nimble competitors like Tesla, they could go the way of the horse & cart. Photo: Windell Oskay via Flickr (CC BY). International investors worth a collective $24 trillion have warned car manufacturers that they must 'get with the beat' on climate change, writes Terry Macalister. If car makers fail to shift to low emission models, they will face a large-scale sell-off of their shares. more...

Peru: national park 'Master Plan' opens uncontacted tribe's land to oil drilling

Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd

7th October 2016

No place for oil drilling: lonely Mountain in the Sierra del Divisor national park, Peru. Photo: Diego Pérez / El Taller / Ministerio del Ambiente via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Full credit to Peru for creating the Sierra del Divisor national park in one of the most precious areas of the Amazon, write Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd. But not for leaving it open to oil drilling, risking the future of uncontacted indigenous tribes that depend on their pristine rainforest environment to survive. more...

Toad's 30-year decline shows 'large-scale deterioration of environmental quality'

Oliver Tickell

6th October 2016

A Common toad colony migrating across a road near Ipswich. A 30-year decline in toad populations recorded by volunteers, shows the need to rebuild vital 'green infrastructure' across both the wider countryside and urban areas, writes Oliver Tickell: reversing habitat fragmentation, digging out ponds and ditches, and leaving ample unkempt areas for cover and hibernation. more...

Cheap as chips! 'Negligible' cost of integrating big solar into UK grid

Oliver Tickell

4th October 2016

Wall to wall solar panels on industrial buildings in Birmingham, UK, where the Aurora report was published this week. Photo: h080 via Flickr (CC BY-SA). A new study shows that the cost of 'integrating' the variable power output of large scale solar PV is surprisingly affordable, writes Oliver Tickell, at just a few pence per unit. Costs will fall further as more wind power, batteries and ever-cheaper solar drive the transition to a 100% renewable power system. more...

Proposal for a ban on international trade in elephant ivory is defeated at the CITES conference

Johannesburg, South Africa

3rd October

Desperate not to offend the host country, the EU delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ignored a million-strong petition, a resolution from the European Parliament and the views of a large majority of African Range states and failed to give elephants greater protection more...

ExxonMobil sued over climate cover-up

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2016

Sunrise over the Mystic River in Medford-Somerville-Boston, Massachusetts - the area that ExxonMobil is accused of endangering by its climate change deceit. Photo:  Paul via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The Conservation Law Foundation has just filed the first lawsuit against ExxonMobil for violations under the Clean Water Act and other laws, committed in its deliberate, reckless and deceitful cover-up of it's true knowledge of the dangers of climate change. more...

Climate food crunch demands sustainable food system

Tim Radford

27th September 2016

Clouds cast their fast moving shadows across the rolling arable farmlands of South Africa's Western Cape region, where production will become increasingly stretched with warming climate. Photo: Christopher Griner via Flickr (CC BY). Global food production may need to double over the next century to feed a growing world population, writes Tim Radford - just as yields crops in major crop-growing areas fall due to higher temperatures. But there is another way: to build sustainability into our food production and consumption. more...

Reduce flood-risk through rewilding, says new report from Rewilding Britain

Rewilding Britain

21st September, 2016

A new report from Rewilding Britain highlights the positive impact which rewilding the UK's landscapes can have upon flood risk. The report comes as MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee consult on better ways to manage the UK's environment post-Brexit, with many calling for an approach which places nature centre stage. more...

ICC to prosecute environmental crimes for profit

John Vidal & Owen Bowcott, Guardian Environment

21st September 2016

Myanmar: Monsoon rains threaten Rohingya who have been displaced from their homes, villages and lands under violent and discriminatory government policies. Photo: Evangelos Petratos / EU/ECHO, Myebon, June 2013 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The International Criminal Court in The Hague is to broaden its focus to prosecute governments and individuals for environmental crimes, write John Vidal & Owen Bowcott. Examples include illegal deforestation, theft of resources, and expulsion of populations from their land. more...

Thailand court: National Park officers 'can burn indigenous homes'

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

20th September 2016

Soldiers came with the park officers. They planted a Thai flag and told the Karen to leave the village at once, or be shot. Photo: via CW. The Thai government was right to evict an indigenous community from the Kaeng Krachan National Park at gunpoint and burn down homes, a Bangkok court has ruled - even though one resident had lived there for 100 years and the Park was only created in 1981. more...

Brazil’s new government to sacrifice the Amazon for 'growth'

Ed Atkins, University of Bristol

19th September 2016

Yanomami children in their forest home - which, with notorious 'Soy King' Bairo Maggi as agriculture minister, is now looking decidedly less secure. Photo: Dung Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). It's not that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's ousted President, was wonderful for the environment, writes Ed Atkins. It's that Michel Temer's new regime is certain to be far worse. Plans are afoot to weaken environmental assessments for large projects like mines, roads and dams. And the new Minister of Agriculture is a notorious campaigner for hugely increased deforestation. more...

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels

Alex Kirby

15th September 2016

Wind farm in India. Photo: Sundaram + Annam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel. more...

Azerbaijan-Italy gas pipeline defeats EU energy policy

Terry Macalister

14th September 2016

The pipelines that make up the 3,500km Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea to Italy’s Adriatic coast. Image: Bankwatch Network. The European Investment Bank is set to offer €3 billion to build the 3,500 km Southern Gas Corridor pipeline from the South Caucasus to the EU, writes Terry Macalister - even though it would undermine EU climate change targets and exacerbate serious human rights abuses. more...

EFSA creates 'plant health' loophole for banned weedkillers

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2016

Weeds in farmers' crops - like these poppies in an oilseed rape field near Thirsk - may reduce profit margins - but they are hardly a 'serious danger to plant health'. Photo: James West via Flickr (CC BY-SA). The EU's food and farming safety regulator is trying to create a 'back door' system to licence the use of herbicides that have been banned for their toxic impacts on people and wildlife - under a clearly inapplicable 'plant health' exemption. more...

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