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News In Brief

After UK's record solar year, government tries to kill the sector

Oliver Tickell

3rd March 2015

M&S's brand new 6MW solar array at its Castle Donington distribution centre is the largest roof-mounted system in the UK. The UK will soon complete a record year for solar installations, almost doubling the nation's solar capacity. But drastic and overtly discriminatory changes to support for renewables may see solar installations collapse to 1% of current levels. more...

Meat boom propels China's ecosystems into total collapse

John Dearing

2nd March 2015

The pollution of Chao Lake is obvious - even from space. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons. China's farming boom has massively increased food production, writes John Dearing - especially of meat. But it has come at a massive cost: the wholesale pollution and destruction of core ecosystems. more...

Keystone plankton 'go slow' as ocean acidity rises

Tim Radford

1st March 2015

As ocean acidity rises, diatoms stuggle to gow in variable light conditions. Photo: Mixed diatom frustules by Carolina Biological Supply Company via Flickr (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0). Increasing acidity in the Southern Ocean is slowing the growth of diatoms, reports Tim Radford. Why worry? Because these tiny plankton sustain essential marine ecosystems, and are highly effective at drawing CO2 down into the deep ocean. more...

China's fossil fuel emissions fell 3% in 2014

Lauri Myllyvirta / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

27th February 2015

The rate of growth in China's emissions from fossil fuels has been declining for a decade - but in 2014 it switched into reverse. China has just recorded its first fall in emissions from burning fossil fuels in 15 years, writes Lauri Myllyvirta. The sharp decline has surprised analysts, and reflects the fast growing proportion of renewables in the country's power supply. more...

Big stink! 24,500-pig factory farm defeated

The Ecologist

26th February 2015

Protestors against the proposed 25,000-pig factory farm at Foston, Derbyshire. Photo: Farms not Factories. A proposed factory farm at Foston, Derbyshire, condemned by locals as a 'pig prison' for 25,000 animals has been refused a permit by the Environment Agency because of the powerful stench it would emit and potential risks to health and the environment.
more...

Arboricide in Palestine - olive orchard destroyed

The Ecologist

25th February 2015

Olive tree cut by Israeli settlers from illegal settlements in the South Hebron Hills. Photo: Operation Dove. Israeli settlers in Palestine's South Hebron Hills last week cut down an orchard of 36 olive trees, in the latest attack of a decades-long war against Palestinian culture and survival in which has seen the cutting, burning and bulldozing of over a million olive, fruit and nut trees. more...

Palm oil wiping out Africa's great ape rainforests

The Ecologist

24th February 2015

Thousands of hectares of prime rainforest habitat for chimpanzees, drills, gorillas and other primates are being wiped out as agribusiness advances across Cameroon. Photo (Chimp Eden Sanctuary): Afrika Force via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). The rainforest habitat of chimpanzees and other great apes is being destroyed by the expansion of palm oil projects in central Africa, according to new evidence from Greenpeace. more...

New technologies promise cheap wave power

Paul Brown

23rd February 2015

New technological advances could make the power of Atlantic waves into a competitive source of renewable energy. Photo: Albert Bridge via Wikimedia Commons. Scandinavian inventors are hoping that efficient new waves power technologies will for the first time make the sector competitive with other renewable energy sources, writes Paul Brown - opening up a massive new clean energy resource around the world. more...

Montana's Carbon County farmers sue for protection from fracking

The Ecologist

22nd February 2015

Too good to frack? Spogen Lake lies in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in Carbon County, Montana. Photo: Troy Smith via Flickr (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0). Montana legislators have brushed off the attempts of farmers, ranchers and landowners to effect 'zoning' regulations to protect them, their land, their water and their livestock from the toxic impacts of fracking. Now they say: 'See you in Court!'. more...

US tax dollars must not finance $1bn Great Barrier Reef destruction!

The Ecologist

20th February 2015

A Coral Cod (Cephalopholis miniata) at Lighthouse Bommie, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). A powerful call has gone out the the US Export-Import Bank not to finance a massive coal mine, railway, port terminal and dredged 'canal' through Australia's Great Barrier Reef with $1 billion in loans and guarantees. more...

Oil lawyer turned judge rules: industry not liable for $50bn Gulf Coast damage

Farron Cousins / DeSmogBlog

19th February 2015

Houma, Louisiana: after the town of Venice was almost completely destroyed by Katrina, Houma became the service and transportation center for the offshore oil industry in this part of the Gulf. Photo: Paul Goyette via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). The oil and gas industry has admitted that its canals and drilling rigs have destroyed 1,900 square miles of coastal wetlands on the US Gulf Coast, but a Federal Judge with deep industry ties has ruled that 97 companies off have no liability for the $50 billion damage. more...

Belgian nuclear reactors riddled with 16,000 unexplained cracks

Oliver Tickell

18th February 2015

The Tihange nuclear complex in Belgium, where a reactor is suffering from sever multiple cracking. Photo: Kazumitsu_ via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). The discovery of over 16,000 cracks in two Belgian reactor vessels may have global implications for nuclear safety, says the country's nuclear safety chief. He and independent experts are calling for the immediate checks of nuclear reactor vessels worldwide. more...

Southwest USA faces long term 'megadroughts' this century

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

17th February 2015

Will we go the way of the Ancient Pueblo People? Climate models say we will, this century. Photo: Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, by Lorax via Wikimedia Commons. The same pattern of severe droughts that extinguished the Ancient Pueblo culture of the southwest US in the 13th century will come back with a vengeance later this century as climate warms and dries, writes Tim Radford. And it could have precisely the same effect on the region's modern-day residents. more...

USDA approves world's first GMO apples

The Ecologist

16th February 2015

These apples at Eberly's Orchard near North Liberty, Indiana are non-GMO - but look just like the GMO Arctic apple. In future, how will you know? Photo: Tom Gill via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Scientists, environmental and consumer groups have decried USDA's approval of two 'Arctic' apple varieties, while major food companies and apple growers have no plans to source or grow them - despite their potential to 'generate consumer excitement in the apple category.' more...

Bushmen aren't forever - the diamonds of the Kalahari

The Ecologist

14th February 2015

All that glitters is not gold ... Diamonds. Photo: Judy van der Velden via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Thirty years after diamonds were first discovered in Botswana's Kalahari desert, the Bushmen have been evicted, and the first diamonds have gone on sale. Happy Valentines! more...

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