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News In Brief

Once-stable Antarctic glaciers have suddenly started melting

Bert Wouters

23rd May 2015

The melting on the southern Antarctic peninsula has been so sudden, that even the scientific expedition's supply ship seems to have been caught out. Photo: J Bamber, A dramatic shift has taken place in the glaciers of the southern Antarctic peninsula, writes Bert Wouters. Six years ago these previously stable bodies suddenly stated shedding 60 cubic kilometres of ice per year into the ocean. A stark warning of further surprises to come? more...

Support surge gives Greenpeace India new lease of life

The Ecologist

21st May 2015

Photo: Public Eye Spoof 2013 for Coal India, via sehroiber / Flickr (CC BY-NC). Greenpeace India is to fight on for another month after a surge of support from allies, new donors and staff, who have pledged to work through June for no pay after the Indian government blocked its bank accounts. more...

India: unlawful Pepsi plant wins police protection

The Ecologist

20th May 2015

Is the Pepsi brand getting tarnished? Pepsi sign in Rajasthan, India, by Matthew Stevens via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). First the Pepsi-Cola bottling company in south India caused outrage by depleting groundwater. Next it was found to be operating without valid permits.Then as protests grew the company won a High Court order giving it police protection. Now locals are vowing to keep the plant shut for good. more...

Flourishing savanna woodlands mean forests are still absorbing carbon

Tim Radford

18th May 2015

Vast extents of rainforest have been cleared, but extensive dry woodlands like these near Mt Barnett in Australia are producing more trees. Photo: yaruman5 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). Despite massive clearance of carbon-rich forests for palm oil, cattle ranching, soybeans and other cash crops, writes Tim Radford, a new study finds that the net volume of carbon stored in trees is increasing thanks to their growing numbers on grasslands, on abandoned farmland, and in China. more...

Pope Francis endorses climate action petition to world leaders

The Ecologist

15th May 2015

Pope Francis reads the Catholic Climate Petition with GCCM representatives Tomás Insua from Argentina and Allen Ottaro from Kenya. Photo: Fotografia Felici. The Pope has urged Catholics around the world to sign a new faith-inspired petition calling on world leaders to limit global warming to 1.5C, shortly after declaring that there is 'clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act' on climate change. more...

Thawing Arctic carbon threatens 'runaway' global warming

Tim Radford

14th May 2015

Scientists had thought that Arctic rivers like the Kolyma in Siberia carry dissolved carbon from melting permafrost to the oceans. They were wrong - it's all emitted to the atmosphere as CO2. Photo: Магадан via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Arctic warming is releasing ancient organic matter that's been deep-frozen for millennia, writes Tim Radford. And now scientists have discovered its fate: within weeks it's all digested by bacteria and released to the atmosphere as CO2 - with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate. more...

Get on with badger cull, Prince Charles told Blair

The Ecologist

13th May 2015

Prince Charles during the Big Jubilee Lunch on Piccadilly, 4th june 2012. Photo:  chego-chego via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). In a private letter to Tony Blair released today Prince Charles strongly urged Tony Blair to expedite a badger cull in 2005, raising the spectre of a third 'food scare' that would strike down British farming on the scale of BSE and Foot & Mouth disease. more...

Coal-heavy utilities stand in the way of a green internet

The Ecologist

12th May 2015

The lights may be green - but what about the energy? Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom via Flickr (CC BY-SA). Powered by 100% renewable energy, Apple is maintaining its lead as the internet's greenest company, But others are lagging behind: Google has yet to reach 50% and relies heavily on coal, while Amazon's AWS, the massive 'dark cloud' of the web, won't even answer questions. more...

Detroit: 25,000 households face water shutoff this month

Tyler Van Dyke / WSWS

9th May 2015

'Water is a human right!' - demonstration in Detroit. Photo: Detroit Water Brigade. Ignoring cries of protest from impoverished communities and fierce international criticism, Detroit will begin to serve water shut-off notices on some 25,000 households tomorrow as it prepares to privatise its water department. more...

Greenpeace India faces closure in weeks

The Ecologist

7th May 2015

Greenpeace India activists dump toxic sludge from the Asanikunta Lake in Medak District on ineffective pollution regulators in Hyderabad. Photo: Greenpeace India via Flickr (CC BY-ND). Greenpeace India has barely three weeks left to fight for its survival following a broad government crackdown on civil society. The green NGO has been left with funds for staff salaries and office costs that will last no later than 1st June. more...

Flood risk to nuclear reactors raises meltdown fears

Paul Brown

6th May 2015

On the beach ... EDF closed Dungeness nuclear power station, by the Channel, for 5 months in 2013 because of post-Fukushima flood fears. Photo: Andrew Gustar via Flickr (CC BY-ND) Sea level rise, storm surges and bursting dams all pose an increasing danger to nuclear power stations across the world, writes Paul Brown, as the long term risk posed by climate change combines with chance events from extreme weather events to earthquakes. more...

Shell's Arctic oil setback - unlawful use of Seattle Port

Oliver Tickell

5th May 2015

The 'Polar Pioneer' - made unwelcome on its arrival at the Port of Los Angeles on 17th April 2015 by Kayaktivists from the sHellNo! Action Council. Photo: Charles Conatzer & the sHellNo! Action Council / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY). The Port of Seattle is violating its shoreline permit in allowing Shell to set up a 'home port' for its Arctic oil drilling fleet, according to Seattle officials. The finding could nix Shell's oil drilling plans for the 2015 season. more...

Future dustbowl? Fracking ravages Great Plains land and water

Tim Radford

4th May 2015

Oil wells in the Bakken Oil Field of North Dakota, USA. Photo: Alan Graham McQuillan PhD ARPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The fracking boom has caused massive vegetation loss over North America's rangelands, writes Tim Radford, as 3 million hectares have been occupied by oil and gas infrastructure and 34 billion cubic metres of water have been pumped from semi-arid ecosystems. more...

Mayday, Mayday - Tesla's battery just killed fossil and nuclear power

Oliver Tickell

1st May 2015

With low cost batteries returns to home owners from solar systems like these will soon get a whole lot better. Photo: Edmund Tse via Flickr. Tesla Energy's new mains power battery has just transformed the energy market - giving a huge boost to small scale renewable energy and killing off both fossil fuelled and nuclear power in the process. more...

Chernobyl fire radiation hazard as 'hot particles' of plutonium go up in smoke

RT & The Ecologist

30th April 2015

As can be seen in this forest fire in the US, smoke and ash can be projected high into the sky by the intense heat. Photo: USFS Region 5 via Flickr (CC BY). Forest fires raging near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear disaster site in north Ukraine are releasing a surge of airborne plutonium particles as radioactive twigs, branches and leaf litter burn. more...

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