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News In Brief

Health alert - fracking’s chemical cocktails

Tim Radford

21st August 2014

Deep concerns: gas wells at a fracking site in the US state of Pennsylvania. Photo: Gerry Dincher via Wikimedia Commons. Scientists in the US have established that chemicals used in fracking to extract gas and oil could represent health and environmental hazards, writes Tim Radford. Among the greatest hazards: biocides and corrosion inhibitors. more...

Alabama - a community fights toxic waste, discrimination

Oliver Tickell

20th August 2014

William Gibbs and his wife live near the massive coal ash dump in Uniontown, AL. Photo: Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice. When the US's biggest ever coal ash spill buried 300 acres of waterfront property in a white, middle class suburb, the waste was treated as a toxic hazard. But by the time it reached Uniontown, a black community in Alabama, that was all forgotten. Now they are fighting back. more...

Weather-related disasters rise five-fold from 1970s to 2000s

Chris Rose / DeSmogBlog

19th August 2014

Hurricane Katrina caused the greatest property damage of any weather disaster in history. In the photo, it Katrina approaches landfall. Photo: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr, 27th August 2005. Data collected by the WMO shows there were almost five times as many weather- related disasters in the first decade of this century than in the 1970s, writes Chris Rose. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the most expensive ever, costing $147 billion. more...

NFU and cull companies out of police control rooms

The Ecologist

18th August 2014

The social structure of badger families is perturbed by the loss of a single member, and this can cause the spread of any TB they may be harbouring. Photo: Tim Brookes via Flickr. Avon & Somerset police say that National Farmers Union and cull company representatives will be excluded from the control room in the 2014 cull. Their presence in control rooms in the 2013 cull caused a major loss of public confidence in the policing operation. more...

Green energy co-ops blocked by UK financial regulator

Adam Vaughan / Guardian Environment

15th August 2014

Westmill Solar Park, Oxfordshire, is the world's largest community owned solar installation. Rated at 5MW, it covers 30 acres. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr. The FCA is accused of undermining official policy by refusing new applications for community energy projects with a co-operative structure, writes Adam Vaughan. The key question: what is a bona fide co-op? Is investment alone a valid form of participation? more...

Last chance to stop USDA approval of 2,4-D GMO crops

The Ecologist

14th August 2014

Crop-spraying in the USA. Photo: CFS. The US is poised to 'deregulate' GMO corn, soybean and cotton varieties resistant to the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba. The result will be a big increase in the use of those herbicides, as high as 600%. Only a huge public outcry can now stop the GMO-herbicide juggernaut. more...

Fossil fuels raising mercury levels in oceans, and fish

Chris Rose

13th August 2013

Mmmm, sushi ... but watch out for rising mercury levels in seafoodin the future, fallout from burning fossil fuels, coal in particular. Coal burning in particular is responsible for releasing the toxic heavy metal mercury to the oceans, writes Chris Rose, where it accumulates in fish. In future levels will rise, as processes that carry mercury to deep waters weaken. more...

Toxic risk as missiles strike Ukraine's biggest chemical plant

The Ecologist

11th August 2014

A still from YouTube video by SputnikTV allegedly shows remains of a shell near the facilities of Gorlovka chemical plant in eastern Ukraine. As the warring parties fight for control for Donetsk, the country's biggest chemical plant has come under fire, with missiles landing close to pipelines and storage tanks. If released, toxic nitrochlorobenzene could cause widespread death. more...

Solar firms to sue Government for ending support

Rosie Murray-West & Ruth Lumley

9th August 2014.

A large-scale solar farm in the UK. Photo: Trillion Fund. Four large solar firms are suing the British Government over its decision to end support for 'farm scale' solar generators of 5MW or more. The move reflects ministerial concern about the success of the UK's fast growing solar power sector. more...

Mongolian herders protest - 'protect our grazing land!'

The Ecologist

8th August 2014

The recent protest of Mongolian herders in China's Bayangol province, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, before it was broken up by police. Photo: via Intercontinental Cry. In China's remote Mongolian region, indigenous herders are being forced from their traditional pastures to make way for roads and vast mining projects. Last week they held a public demonstration - but it was immediately dispersed with ten arrests. more...

Pakistan - no response to flood, drought, deforestation crisis

Saleem Shaikh

6th August 2014

Deforestation in the high mountains has devastating effects downstream. The Forest of Aliabad, near Hajipir, district Bagh, Azad Kashmir. Photo: Muzaffar Bukhari via Flickr. Pakistan is already experiencing a pattern of devastating flood and drought brought on by climate change and deforestation, say the country's top climate scientists. Yet the government has failed to either tackle the problems, or prepare for future disasters. more...

Exposed: Barroso's EU anti-environment crusade

EuroActiv

5th August 2014

José Manuel Barroso - whatever's on his mind, it's not the environment. Photo: European Parliament via Flickr. Plans to crack down on endocrine disruptors and illegal timber were buried by the outgoing President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and his secretary-general Catherine Day - while undermining action on climate, renewables and energy efficiency. more...

Niger Delta oil - Shell ignores horrendous pollution

Oliver Tickell

4th August 2014

A Shell oil well-head in Ogoniland - situated in a wetland, and surrounded by spilt oil. Photo by Friends of the Earth International via Flickr. The systemic failure of the Nigerian government and oil giant Shell to clean up the horrendous oil pollution in the Niger Delta has been branded 'shameful' by a group of Nigerian and international NGOs. more...

Brazil: GMO 'Bt corn' no longer resists pest attack

The Ecologist

2nd August 2014

A fall armyworm caterpillar in a sweetcorn cob. Photo: Judy Baxter via Flickr. GMO corn varieties that express insecticidal Bt toxins are failing in the field, with reports of infestations of the fall armyworm on Bt corn in Brazil and the USA. Now the EU is poised to approve one of the failing varieties for use on European farms. more...

Badger Trust wins 'right to know' about badger cull development

The Ecologist

1st August 2014

Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr. The Government must release key documents about its secret development of England's badger cull with the National Farmers Union. The Upper Tribunal ruled that the public interest would be served by a full disclosure. more...

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