The Ecologist


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The HFC gases that run most of the world's heat pumps and air conditioners, like these ones in Singapore, are very powerful greenhouse gases. But now the world has agreed to solve the problem. Photo: Rym DeCoster via Flickr (CC BY).

Paris talks, Montreal delivers! Kigali's massive climate victory

Nigel Paul

17th October 2016

The 'Kigali Amendment' agreed this weekend to control HFC gases thousands of times more powerful than CO2 is the first major step in delivering the goals of the Paris agreement, writes Nigel Paul - and a second huge success for the Montreal Protocol, originally agreed to save the ozone layer from destruction by CFCs. more...
Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories.

Superbug-infected pigs get into Britain unchecked, contaminate food chain

Andrew Wasley / Bureau of Investigative Journalism

14th October 2016

Regulatory failures are allowing Danish pigs infected with lethal antibiotic-resistant bacteria into British farms, writes Andrew Wasley, with contaminated pork found in UK supermarkets, and three human infections recorded. The official response? Deny there's a problem, take no action, and hope for the best. Six people may have died from the bug in Denmark, but the UK is safe, surely? more...
Among the 28 EDF nuclear power stations at risk: Sizewell B in Suffolk, England. Photo: Simon James via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sizewell B and 27 other EDF nuclear plants 'at risk of catastrophic failure'

Oliver Tickell

29th September 2016

A new report finds that 28 nuclear reactors, 18 of them EDF plants in France and one at Sizewell in the UK, are at risk of failure 'including core meltdown' due to flaws in safety-critical components in reactor vessels and steam generators, writes Oliver Tickell. The news comes as EDF credit is downgraded due to a growing cash flow crisis and its decision to press on with Hinkley C. more...
Protestors march on the UK Prime Minister's Downing Street residence to demand a complete ban, in the UK and worldwide, on the trade in antique ivory. Photo: Paul Nicholls Photography.

Elephants: ten years left, and counting ...

Anneka Svenska

27th September 2016

Poaching of elephants and rhinos for their ivory tusks and horn is fast pushing these beautiful animals to extinction, writes Anneka Svenska. Decisive action is needed at the 17th CITES congress in South Africa to ban all international trade in these products, matched by equally strict laws at a national level. more...
Can we secure the future of our countryside - like this landscape in the Yorkshire Dales - with markets in 'ecosystem services'? Robert J Heath via Flickr (CC BY).

Can markets in 'ecosystem services' secure the future of the English countryside?

Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris

1st September 2016

The EU is already paying farmers and landowners for creating and maintaining valuable habitats, write Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris. But could the UK do better by creating markets in 'ecosystem services' that would put financial value on clean water, key wildlife habitats, endangered species and precious landscapes? more...
The first ingestible GE product, L-typtophan, derived from GMO bacteria.contained impurities that killed dozens of Americans and seriously sickened thousands, permanently disabling many of them. Image: Bin im Garten via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

The GMO food venture is built on a foundation of mass deception

Steven M. Druker

23rd August 2016

The very first GE product, a dietary supplement, poisoned thousands of people of which dozens died, writes Steven M. Druker. The first GE food, the 'Flavr Savr' tomato, caused stomach lesions. But a long campaign of concealment and deception by regulators and corporate scientists re-engineered the truth to present GMOs as so safe they did not even need to be tested for safety. more...
Shooting grouse in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Photo: Richard Woffenden via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to close down Britain's devastating grouse-shooting industry

Eduardo Goncalves

18th August 2016

The disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier on a Scottish grouse moor and the loss of eight Golden eagles in five years provide the latest evidence for a ban on driven grouse-shooting, writes EDUARDO GONCALVES. But birds of prey are only the most high-profile victims of a cruel and ecologically destructive industry. more...
The transformer fire at Vermont Yankee nuclear power station, 18th June 2004. Photo: anonymous whistleblower via

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's 'enforcement' is as fierce as the comfy chair

Linda Pentz Gunter

2nd August 2016

The NRC routinely fails to enforce its own safety codes at nuclear power plants, writes Linda Pentz Gunter - putting all of us at risk from accidents. It's the US's most extreme example of regulatory capture, rivalling Japan's 'nuclear village' of crony agencies and feeble regulation that led to the Fukushima disaster. How long can it be before the US experiences another nuclear catastrophe? more...
The three-unit Ikata nuclear power plant in the south of Japan.Its 890MW unit 3 is the only reactor in Japan that has a chance of restarting in 2016. Photo: ja:User:Newsliner via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Japan's big 'nuclear restart' overtaken by conservation and renewables

Jim Green

12th August 2016

For all Japan's talk of 43 'operable' nuclear reactors, only two are actually running, writes Jim Green, as renewables and a 12% fall in demand eat into the power market. And while Japan's 'nuclear village' defends safety standards, the IAEA, tasked with promoting nuclear power worldwide, has expressed deep concerns over the country's weak and 'fragmented' safety regulation. more...
Quarry in Brescia, Lombardy, Italy. Photo: Thomas Nemeskeri via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Plunder of Earth's natural resources up 200% in 40 years

Alex Kirby

26th July 2016

A new UN report warns of a threefold increase in extraction of the Earth's primary materials between 1970 and 2010, writes Alex Kirby. The boom in the production of minerals, ores, fossil fuels, timber and biomass and will be to intensify climate change, increase air pollution and reduce biodiversity. more...
Without EU directives and regulations to protect us, could scenes like this become common in the UK countryside. Waste water pond in the Pilliga Forest, NSW, Australia, June 2011. Photo: Kate Ausburn / Lock the Gate Alliance.

Brexit could lead to a bonfire of fracking regulations

Zachary Davies Boren / Energydesk

21st June 2016

Almost all UK laws that regulate fracking's impact on the environment emanate from EU directives and regulations, writes Zachary Davies Boren. Once out of the EU, the UK would be free to amend them, scrap them or simply ignore them. And given the UK's record of support for fracking and lobbying in Brussels for deregulation, that may be exactly what the Brexiteers have planned. more...

Brexit - a nasty sting in the tail for Britain's bees?

Dave Timms

21st June, 2016

Britain's bees are under threat from Brexit and moves to allow farmers to use banned bee-harming 'neonictinoid' pesticides, warns Dave Timms, Bees Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. With 20 species extinct since 1900 and a further 35 under threat, how much more can our bees take? more...

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September sun rising over foggy wetlands, Ķemeri National Park, Latvia - part of the 'Natura 2000' territory designated under EU nature laws for its biological diversity, the unique Ķemeri Moorland, various ecosystems, and springs of mineral and curativ

Leaked official report: EU Nature Directives are 'fit for purpose'

Oliver Tickell

16th June 2016

The official 'fitness test' on the EU's nature directives carried out for the EU Commission under its 'better regulation' initiative finds that the laws are 'fit for purpose' in every respect, writes Oliver Tickell. But there's a mystery: the report was completed in January, yet it remains unpublished. Did it reach the 'wrong' conclusion for a Commission intent on a bonfire of red tape? more...
Are we the real lab rats? If glyphosate herbicides can mess up rats uterine development, what's it doing to humans? Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Glyphosate disrupts rats' uterine development


21st June 2016

As the EU prepares to vote on whether to re-authorise glyphosate this week, a new study finds that commercial formulations of the herbicide alter the development of rats' uteruses, potentially causing cancer and affecting fertility. more...
Pesticides - what's actually in them? If this judgment from a US federal court stands, you will never find out any but the 'active' ingredients. Photo: Gail Langellotto via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Judge rules: no right to know hazardous pesticide ingredients

Oliver Tickell

14th June 2016

A federal judge has ruled that the US Environmental Protection Agency is under no obligation to force pesticide makers to disclose supposedly 'inert' ingredients in their products - even where those ingredients are seriously hazardous to health or environment. more...
Just about every one of the 11,000 organochlorine chemicals in industrial use is harmful - so maybe we should just ban the lot, rather than worry about a handful of 'bad actors'. Photo: Grey World via Flickr (CC BY).

The problem is not glyphosate, or DDT, or BPA - we must challenge the entire system!

Jonathan Latham, PhD

20th May 2016

Apparent 'victories' in the fight against toxic chemicals - like the EU's failure to re-approve glyphosate yesterday - are illusory, writes Jonathan Latham. The real problem is not one of specific 'bad actors', but the entire system that allows new, likely to be toxic compounds to pollute the environment in near-total ignorance of their impacts. It's time to take our campaigning to a whole new level. more...
What the European Parliament wanted to ban: glyphosate being applied to oilseed rape as a pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Glyphosate in the EU: product promoters masquerading as regulators in a 'cesspool of corruption'?

Colin Todhunter

17th May 2016

With EU ministers due to decide tomorrow on the future of the glyphosate in the EU, Colin Todhunter finds evidence of collusion between regulators and the corporations whose sales of the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year - evidence that underlies a legal action alleging fraud by the European Food Safety Authority against the EU's 508 million citizens. more...
Crop spraying in the British countryside close to a rural resident's home. Spraying of pesticides, including glyphosate, regularly takes place in the locality of homes and gardens with no protection for those living there. Photo: courtesy of UK Pesticides

No, the UN has not given glyphosate a 'clean bill of health'

Georgina Downs

17th May 2016

News headlines today suggest that a UN report on glyphosate residues has given the controversial herbicide a clean bill of health, writes Georgina Downs. But that's seriously misleading: the panel concludes that exposure to the chemical in food is unlikely to cause cancer. But that does not apply to those exposed to it occupationally or who live near sprayed fields. more...
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant is set to cost $1.2 billion to decommission, but the fund set up by its owner, Entergy, contains just $625 million - and Entergy has already been rumbled for using the fund to pay for nuclear waste disposal. Photo: U

US nuclear industry's plan thanks to NRC: let taxpayers carry the can for closed power plants

Linda Pentz Gunter

13th May 2016

With five reactors closed in the last three years, the US nuclear industry is in shutdown mode, writes Linda Pentz Gunter - and that means big spending on decommissioning. But now the nuclear regulator is set to exempt owners from safety and emergency costs at their closed plants - allowing them to walk away from the costs and liabilities, and palm them onto taxpayers. more...
Sumatran orangutans have lost huge areas of forest habitat to logging, burning and palm oil plantations. Photo: Richard Whitcombe.

Good news for the only place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together

Bill Laurance, James Cook University

10th May 2016

The remarkable Leuser ecosystem in Aceh, Sumatra, has faced massive destruction over recent years with rice farms, palm oil, roads and mines, writes Bill Laurance. But that's all set to end with a moratorium on forest clearance that's supported at the highest levels of government, both state and national. This is definitely news to celebrate! But we must also maintain our vigilance. more...
Commercial almond orchards in the US receive some 2.1 million pounds of glyphosate a year - hence the strips of bare earth beneath these trees near Vernalis, along 132 west of Modesto, CA. Photo: Tom Hilton via Flickr (CC BY).

Withdrawn: the EPA's memo on the increasing use of glyphosate on food crops

Carey Gillam / USRTK

10th May 2016

The EPA's release of an internal memorandum last month showing the increasing use of the cancer-linked weedkiller glyphosate looked like a welcome opening up of information to the public, writes Carey Gillam. But then it was suddenly withdrawn, along with other related documents - though not before she grabbed her copy and reviewed the scale and scope of glyphosate usage. more...
Image of CRISPR / Cas9. Image: NHGRI. via (Public Domain).

New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

Oliver Tickell

21st April 2016

The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing. more...
Kate Kelland's article implies that the IARC considers almost everything it meets to be carcinogenic, with bacon the prime example. Photo: cyclonebill via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Industry fingerprints all over Reuters' attack on IARC over glyphosate and cancer

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

21st April 2016

The Reuters news organisation has just sullied its reputation with a disgraceful attack on the WHO's specialist body on cancer, the IARC, writes Claire Robinson. Resorting to smear, innuendo and anonymous critics, it relies heavily on discredited industry sources including tobacco defenders in its attempt to undermine IARC's view that glyphosate probably causes cancer. more...
The protection of our coastal waters, management of our fishers, cleanliness of our air and the protection of our widlife are all mandated by European law. Outside the EU, this iconic view of the Seven Sisters could be sadly tarnished. Photo: weesam2010 v

Remain in the EU to protect our environment

Caroline Lucas

20th April 2016

Remember when the UK was the 'dirty man of Europe'? What has changed since then, writes Caroline Lucas, is our membership of the EU - which has made us raise our environmental performance on everything from fisheries to air pollution, nature conservation, clean bathing waters and renewable energy. Leave, and it could all go into reverse. more...
Cyclists stage Die-In at Mansion House in June 2015, following death at Bank junction. Photo: Stop Killing Cyclists.

This deadly pollution must stop! London cyclists rally for health and climate

Donnachadh McCarthy

20th April 2016

Stop Killing Cyclists are staging a protest in London on 27th April to demand an end to the UK's intolerable air pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. With an estimated 40,000 people dying every year from filthy air, much of it caused by diesel cars, all are welcome to join in, denounce the government's 'polluters' friend' policies, and insist on swift action to stop the needless deaths. more...


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