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News In Brief

Huge US coal leasing program releasing tens of Gigatonnes of carbon

The Ecologist

29th July 2014

A massive open pit coal mine in the US's Powder River Basin. Photo: Greenpeace. A massive expansion of coal leasing by the US's Bureau of Land Management will release tens of billions of tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere, a new Greenpeace report reveals - completely at odds with President Obama's stated climate objectives. more...

Fracking go-ahead on UK's National Parks, World Heritage Sites, nature reserves

Oliver Tickell

28th July 2014

Under the new guidance, even Stonehenge could by destroyed by fracking if it would 'achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss.' The UK has just opened a bidding round for fracking licences. But the rules contain only weak protections against fracking in National Parks and AONBs - and none at all for even the most important wildlife sites and drinking water aquifers. more...

Victory - 30 new marine reserves for Scotland

The Ecologist

25th July 2014

The beautiful nudibrach Trinchesia caerulea, photographed in Scottish waters by Jim Anderson / savescottishseas.org/ . Scotland's network of marine reserves doubled in area today with the designation of 30 new marine reserves. The move has been welcomed by green groups who have long campaigned on the issue - but they warn: this is where the real work begins. more...

A quarter of 361 newly-recognised birds are 'threatened'

The Ecologist

24th July 2014

The Somali ostrich is now recognised as a separate species, but it's listed as 'vulnerable' owing to hunting, egg collecting and other threats. Photo: Steve Garvie via Flickr, taken in Kenya's Rift Valley. A global taxonomic review of birds has 'discovered' 361 new species that were previously considered 'races' of existing bird species - but many of them are endangered, forcing a rethink of conservation priorities. more...

Thailand army forcibly evicts six forest villages

HRW

23rd July 2014.

A typical indigenous village in up-country Buriram Province, NE Thailand. Photo: Pinyapat Smily Wilaichit via Flickr. Forest-dwellers in Buriram province involved in a land dispute with the Thai government have been forcibly evicted, intimidated, arrested, held without charge, and dumped on a site unfit for human habitation with no water supply. more...

Germany and UK top EU's 'Dirty 30' pollution league

Kieran Cooke

22nd July 2014

Neurath coal-fired plant, in Germany, is one of Europe’s worst polluters. Photo: Bert Kaufmann via Wikimedia Commons. A new report names the 30 biggest sources of greenhouse gases in the EU, writes Kieran Cooke. Coal-fired power plants are undermining Europe's long-term targets on emissions reductions - and the UK and Germany lead the list of shame. more...

Badger Trust's High Court cull challenge

The Ecologist

21st July 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. The Badger Trust will challenge the trial badger culls in the High Court next month, claiming that Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Natural England are acting unlawfully in failing to appoint an expert panel to oversee the experiment. more...

California and Texas are mainstreaming renewable energy

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

20th July 2014

At the heart of the US oil industry, 'solar sunflowers' just off the I-35 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jim Hutchison via Flickr. California and Texas continue to break new ground in making electricity generation from renewable sources, writes Mike G. Solar PV in particular has become a vital part of the US' energy mix, accounting for half of new generation capacity. more...

Australia's drought - yes, it's climate change

Tim Radford

18th July 2014

Water depth marker in the dried out bed of Lake Albert, South Australia. Photo: Bidgee via Wikimedia Commons. Australia's prime minister thinks climate change is 'crap' and has just abolished his country's carbon-pricing system. But scientists say that it's rising levels of CO2 that are leaving the south of the country parched and sweltering - and it's only going to get worse. more...

Truss - the badgers must die!

The Ecologist

17th July 2014

Liz Truss threatens a badger with a garden fork at the Family Action's Escape Allotment in Swaffham. Photo: Matthew Usher / edp24.co.uk/ The new Environment Secretary Liz Truss flunked her first 'Green test' today as she told Parliament that the badger cull goes on. We run this excerpt from the Parliamentary record in which she states 'We are progressing with our programme!' more...

Bill launched to ban wild animals in circuses

The Ecologist

17th July 2014

Wild animals photographed at Jolly's Exotics circus. Photo: Animal Defenders International. A former Defra minister will introduce a new Bill to Parliament in September to ban wild animals in circuses. It reflects Government policy since 2012 and the Prime Minister has promised 'We're going to do it'. But will he keep his word? more...

Climate inaction could cost Europe 200,000 lives a year

Tim Radford

16th July 2014

Smoke from Russian forest fires obscures the Sun in 2010. Photo: Ximonic, Simo Räsänen via Wikimedia Commons. A failure to act to reduce the impacts of climate change could cost Europe almost €200 billion and 200,000 lives a year, writes Tim Radford. These 'conservative estimates' are published in a new European Commission study. more...

Andaman tribe threatened by illegal 'human safari' road upgrade

The Ecologist

15th July 2014

A Jarawa woman and boy by the side of the Andaman Trunk Road. Photo: © Salomé / Survival. An illegal road on India's Andaman Islands has already opened up a 55,000 year old tribe to disease, sexual abuse and the theft of their resources. But instead of closing the road, local politicians are upgrading it with two new bridges. more...

Fossil fuels the 'new sub-prime crisis'

Nathan Wood

14th July 2014

Dark clouds gather over a sunset industry - represented by a Chevron oil tanker. Photo: Jamie Grant via Flickr. The UK's conservative Daily Telegraph warns: investors in fossil fuels are 'throwing good money after bad', reports Nathan Wood, as renewable energy takes off leaving a potential $19 trillion of oil assets 'stranded'. more...

London, B'ham, Leeds will not get clean air until after 2030

The Ecologist

10th July 2014

Air Pollution Level 5, London, April 30 2014. Photo: David Holt via Flickr. The UK will break nitrogen dioxide limits until after 2030, EU judges were told today. And now the 'secret' information is public - accidentally published on a Government website, while lawyers were asking judges to keep it secret. more...

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