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News In Brief

Hinkley C nuclear plant postponed indefinitely

Oliver Tickell

4th September 2015

Is it all a pipe-dream? Artist's impression of the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Image: EDF Energy. EDF has indefinitely postponed its Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, England, as a new IEA analysis shows that its power will cost UK energy users three times more than it should, writes Oliver Tickell. A similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget - and may never be completed. more...

Emissions cuts pledges too weak to achieve 2C 'safety limit'

Alex Kirby

3rd September 2015

Tar sands processing in Alberta, Canada is a huge source of emissions in its own right. Canada is one of the countries putting forward an 'inadequate' target, with no credible plan to deliver it. Photo: Williamson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Promises made by governments to cut their greenhouse emissions come nowhere near stopping global warming rising above the 2C danger level, writes Alex Kirby. And in many cases the laws and policies needed to deliver them are absent. more...

Brazil: Guarani man murdered by ranchers' gunmen

The Ecologist

2nd September 2015

Guarani man Semião Vilhalva lies on the ground, murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend. Photo: still from video by Marcelo Zelic via Facebook. Guarani man Semião Vilhalva was murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend after his community reoccupied parts of their ancestral land from ranchers. Thousands of Guarani Indians holding on to tiny patches of their ancestral land are living in constant fear of forcible eviction. more...

Ocean plastic plague threatens seabirds

Chris Wilcox, Britta Denise Hardesty & Erik van Sebille

1st September 2015

Too beautiful to die by plastic: Laysan Albatross mate for life, live 60 years or more, and show their soft, sensitive side by preening each other. Photo: kris krüg / midwayjourney.com via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Already 60% of seabird species have plastic in their guts, often as much as 8% of their body weight. And with ocean plastic increasing exponentially, that figure will rise to 99% by 2050, threatening some birds' survival. Unless we act. more...

Over 370 arrests for blocking NY fracked gas store

Ashoka Jegroo / Waging NonViolence

31st August 2015

Seneca Lake defense = Climate defense. Protestors at Crestwood's Senaca Lake 'compression facility', 18th August 2015. Photo: via Facebook. Protests against plans to make an enormous storage site for fracked gas at Seneca Lake in New York state seven times bigger are gathering pace, writes Ashoka Jegroo, with 13 arrests at a gate blockade last week. But is the company, Crestwood, getting the message? more...

Brian May: I'll take Dorset badger cull to the High Court

The Ecologist

30th August 2015

This cull is not the answer to TB in cattle - and now the question will be settled in the High Court. Photo: the badger march outside Parliament, 8th June 2013, by David Clare via Flickr (CC BY-SA). The government's decision of extend the badger cull to Dorset, and persist with the Somerset and Gloucestershire culls, is 'completely irrational', say badger protection groups - and now they intend to prove it in a High Court legal action, forcing an end to the killing. more...

Ukraine sues anti-nuclear campaigners

The Ecologist

28th August 2015

The South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP), where faulty reactors are being operated beyond their design lifetime. But ciriticise, and you'll get sued. Photo: Вальдимар via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA). Ukraine's state-owned nuclear generator is suing anti-nuclear activists in its latest attempt to stifle public debate over the country's ageing fleet of 15 nuclear reactors, while refusing to release information in breach of international obligations. more...

Government kills off UK solar industry

Oliver Tickell

27th August 2015

An end to the UK's solar industry? Solar panels on a house near the Northfield bypass, England. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY). The UK government is to cut support for domestic rooftop solar to 13% of current levels, with similar cuts for bigger systems, and end all support for small scale renewables by 2019. The likely result, and surely the intention, is to kill off the UK's solar industry altogether. more...

'Plonkable' mirrors promise cheaper solar energy

Jeffrey Barbee / Guardian Environment

26th August 2015

The 'plonkable heliostats'. doing their job. Photo: helio100.sun.ac.za/. The 'other' solar technology, CSP, which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays, is about to get a lot cheaper, writes Jeffrey Barbee. A South African team has developed a low cost design suitable for mass production that can be 'plonked' on site straight from the factory. more...

FoE mounts legal challenge to bee-killer pesticide permits

Oliver Tickell

24th August 2015

Neonic insecticides in seed treatments damage bees and other pollinators as the toxic chemicals are expressed in their pollen and nectar. Photo: Claus Rebler via Flickr (CC BY-SA). A month after warning the government of legal action over its decision to allow farmers to use bee-killing pesticides banned under EU law, Friends of the Earth has filed a High Court legal challenge to have the 'derogations' declared unlawful. more...

Warmer winters boost Europe's wild boar

Paul Brown

23rd August 2015

Do wild boar eat in the woods? Photo:  bzd1 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Increasingly mild winters have caused an abundance of acorns and beech nuts in Europe's woodlands, writes Paul Brown, triggering a wild boar population explosion - just one of the effects of warming climate on wildlife populations. more...

Roundup may cause potentially fatal 'adrenal insufficiency'

GMWatch & The Ecologist

21st August 2015

Roundup by Monsanto, photographed in February 2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia. Via Flickr (CC BY). A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans. more...

China's emissions 14% lower than IPCC thought

Eliza Berlage

20th August 2015

The NK cement plant near Manpo, From across the Yalu River, Ji'an. Cement making is a major source of emissions in China due to the breakneck pace of construction. Photo: Caitriana Nicholson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY). The IPCC has over-estimated China's emissions since 2000 by 14%, almost 3 gigatonnes of carbon since 2000, while its energy consumption has been 10% higher than realised, writes Eliza Berlage. The country is far more carbon-efficient than we ever knew. more...

Do not disturb! Persecuting badgers may perpetuate TB hotspots

Oliver Tickell

17th August 2015

Do not disturb: sleeping badgers in their sett at the British Wildlife Centre. Photo: John Morris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). A scientific paper published today says badger persecution may be one of the reasons for the persistence of bovine TB hotspots, writes Oliver Tickell. A further finding is that the main risk factors for bTB are all to do with cattle - not badgers at all. more...

China's solar industry hits downturn

Kieran Cooke

16th August 2015

One way to use up China's surplus solar panels is with large domestic installations - like this one on the roofs of the Hongqiao Passenger Rail Terminal in Shanghai. Photo: Jiri Rezac / Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). China is by far the world's biggest producer of solar panels, writes Kieran Cooke. But the industry is suffering from over-capacity, razor thin profits and a failure to innovate. more...

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