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News In Brief

New map shows way to reducing roads' destruction of nature

Tim Radford

18th January 2017

The roadless areas map developed by Roadfree.org and partners. The map referred to in this article is behind Science's paywall! Scientists are calling for the urgent protection of ecologically valuable roadless areas, writes Tim Radford, as a new global map shows that roads lead to loss of biodiversity and damage to ecosystems by fragmenting habitat and providing access to exploiters. more...

World's biggest tropical carbon sink found in Congo rainforest

Tim Radford

16th January 2017

Riverside rainforest in the Congo basin. Photo: Paul Godard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). A 145,000 sq km area of peatland swamp forest has been discovered in the Congo Basin, writes Tim Radford, and it holds a record 30 Gt of carbon, equivalent to 20 years of US fossil fuel emissions. Now the race is on to protect it from damaging development that would emit that carbon over coming decades. more...

OECD takes up complaint that WWF has funded abuses of Cameroon's forest peoples

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

12th January 2017

Evicted from their forests for a flawed model of conservation: Baka 'Pygmies' in the Cameroon forest. Photo: ..zuzu.. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The OECD is pursuing a complaint that WWF has funded abuses against the indigenous forest-dwelling Baka or 'Pygmy' peoples of Cameroon, after determining that its human rights guidelines do apply to WWF owing to the 'commercial nature' of its conservation activities. more...

London breaches air pollution limit for all 2017

Oliver Tickell

6th January 2017

The Brixton Road in South London, already in breach of its NO2 pollution limits for 2017 on the 6th January. Photo: Nico Hogg via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Days into the 2017 pollution limits on the Brixton Road in Lambeth, South London, has already breached EU pollution limits for NO2 for the entire year. Meanwhile UK sales of diesel cars - one of the main causes of NO2 pollution - reached record levels in 2016, reflecting the government's failure to tackle the problem in spite of numerous court orders. more...

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson new US Secretary of State?

Steve Horn / DeSmogBlog

12th December 2016

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation Rex W. Tillerson. Photo: premier.gov.ru via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY). President-elect Trump's widely anticipated appointment of Exxon's CEO Rex Tillerson as new US Secretary of State is creating a government of, by, and for the oil and gas industry, writes Steve Horn. more...

Vital EU wildlife laws saved! But will UK keep them after Brexit?

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2016

White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album), Parc de Woluwé, Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Frank Vassen via Flickr (CC BY). Two key wildlife laws that underpin nature conservation across the EU will be retained intact, the EU Commission announced today after an 18 month review that generated record public engagement due to fears that they would be weakened. Now campaigners are determined to ensure the UK retains the laws post-Brexit. more...

Biodiversity Convention call to block new 'genetic extinction' GMOs

GMWatch & The Ecologist

6th December 2016

Gene drives could be used, for example, to attack fast-breeding pest species like aphids. But with what consequences on other species and wider ecosystems? Photo: Nigel Jones via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). 160 global groups have called for a moratorium on new 'genetic extinction' technology at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Gene drive technology, they say, poses serious and irreversible threats to biodiversity, national sovereignty, peace and food security. more...

Amazon: rainforest road threatens Peru's last isolated tribes

Oliver Tickell

1st December 2016

'Entry forbidden - Law number 26834 - Law number 28736 - Zone of restricted access owing to the presence of indigenous peoples living in isolation'. Sign in the Manu National Park, Peru. Photo: oarranzli via Flickr (CC BY-ND). Peru's Congress may soon approve a road through remote rainforest which is home to the country's last uncontacted tribes. The link to the Inter-Oceanic highway would open the area up to land grabs, wood cutting and gold mining, and expose vulnerable indigenous people to diseases to which they have no immunity. more...

Climate? What climate? IEA backs fossil-fuelled future

Oliver Tickell

30th November 2016

Flaring at the Scott Township fracking well, Pennsylvania. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The International Energy Agency's latest World Energy Outlook is calling for increased investment in new oil and gas, writes Oliver Tickell, while minimising the fast-growing and ever lower-cost contribution to world energy supply of renewables like wind and solar. more...

Sea Shepherd captain 'guilty' of causing suffering to dolphins

Oliver Tickell

28th November 2016

Hvalba beach, Faroe Islands, during a Grindadráp. Photo: Erik Christensen via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). The captain of a Sea Shepherd speedboat who was attempting to guide a pod of over 200 Atlantic white-sided dolphins from slaughter on a Faroe Islands 'killing beach' has been convicted by a Danish court on animal cruelty charges. more...

Scotland's wild beavers win legal protection

Oliver Tickell

24th November 2016

Scottish beaver seen in 2008. Photo: Paul Stevenson via Flickr (CC BY). The Scottish government has announced that its wild beaver populations will be given the full protection of both UK and EU law. The decision has been welcomed by campaigners who point out all the benefits of beavers to biodiversity, water management and flood control. Now, they say, England and Wales should follow suit. more...

High Court gives UK Government eight months to draw up fresh air quality plan

21st November, 2016

The UK Government has been ordered by a High Court judge to draw up an improved plan by July next year which must bring air pollution within legal limits. more...

Rebel MEPs demand legal scrutiny of CETA's ‘corporate court' system

Oliver Tickell

18th November 2016

Stop CETA Luxembourg make their views known, 17th October 2016. Photo: Friends of the Earth Europe via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). With the EU Parliament voting next week on CETA, the EU-Canada trade deal, 89 MEPs are demanding that its system of 'corporate courts' must first be verified by the European Court of Justice as compatible with existing EU law. But pro-CETA parliamentary leaders are trying to block all debate in the run-up to the vote. more...

Israeli military resumes live fire manoevres on Palestinian farmland

The Ecologist

17th November 2016

Military tanks in fields cultivated by a-Ras al-Ahmar community, partially seen in the top-left corner. Photo: 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem, 27 Jan. 2016. Israeli military forces have resumed their harassment of Palestinian pastoralists in the occupied Jordan Valley, part of the West Bank, holding live-fire tank and infantry maneuvers on pastures and cropland close to local communities, accompanied by the forced expulsion of both people and livestock. more...

Red squirrels return to Scotland's Caledonian forest

Oliver Tickell

15th November 2016

Red squirrel among dead bracken at Kinrara, northern Scotland. Photo: Paul Buxton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). A project to reintroduce red squirrels to isolated areas of regenerating forest in the Scottish Highlands gets under way this month. This will increase both the numbers and the range of red squirrels in the UK, and help to regenerate their native Caledonian forest habitat. more...

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