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A rosier future for the high seas beckons. Photo: Moyan Brenn via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UN talks begin on a new law to save our oceans

The Ecologist

30th January 2015

Countries at the UN have agreed to start formal negotiations on a new 'legally binding instrument' to conserve the biological riches of the high seas that cover 45% of planet Earth, and ensure their sustainable use for the benefit of all mankind. more...
Children gather around an unexploded shell fired by Kiev forces into a residential area of Eastern Ukraine. Photo: Colonel Cassad (cassad-eng.livejournal.com).

Russian aggression and the BBC's drums of nuclear war

Oliver Tickell

30th January 2015

The drums of war are beating on the BBC and other mass media, writes Oliver Tickell - naked propaganda about fictitious 'Russian aggression' intended to soften us up for a war that could wipe out life on Earth. We must refuse to fall for the endlessly repeated lies, and tell our politicians that our highest priority of all is peace. more...
Nuclear fail: Entergy's 'Vermont Yankee' nuclear plant shut last year because it was running at a loss even with all its capital costs sunk. It now faces a $1.24 billion decommission - of which only $670 million is funded.

Running in reverse: the world's 'nuclear power renaissance'

Dr Jim Green

29th January 2015

The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear's share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where's the money to pay for it? more...
Mountain Gorilla in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Ebola is killing chimps and gorillas too - now we must save them!

Meera Inglis

29th January 2015

Ebola has wiped out a third of chimps and gorillas since the 1990s, writes Meera Inglis, and together with hunting and deforestation is pushing them towards extinction. So why haven't we even used a safe, effective Ebola vaccine developed for chimps and gorillas? more...
Despite the handshake between Barack Obama and Narendra Modi, no deal was done on Indian emissions reductions. Photo: Government of India Press Information Bureau.

100GW solar support in US-India climate talks, but no emissions cuts

Nivedita Khandekar

27th January 2015

India made no promises to cut its CO2 emissions from coal power stations, writes Nivedita Khandekar, and refused to reveal its ambitions for the Paris climate talks - but Obama promised US support for its plans to roll out 100GW of solar power. more...
HMS Victorious on the Clyde. Photo: Photo: Will Haigh for UK Ministry of Defence via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Election 2015: finally, our chance to ditch Trident

Paul Ingram

24th January 2015

Campaigners against nuclear weapons on a 'Wrap up Trident' demo at the Ministry of Defence in London today have a new spring in their step, writes Paul Ingram. Thanks to the new electoral geometry of the 2015 general election, they could finally get to close down Britain's £100 billion nuclear weapons programme - and not a moment too soon! more...
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy, join EDF's top brass to view plans for the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Photo: Number 10 via Department of Energy and Climate Change / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Austria: 'we will launch Hinkley C nuclear subsidy legal challenge by April'

Arthur Neslen / the Guardian Environment

23rd January 2015

Austria will launch its legal challenge against the UK's massive support package for the planned 3.2GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power station by April, writes Arthur Nelsen. The move will add years of delay to the controversial project, and may well finish it off altogether as fears over the troubled EPR reactor design grow, and renewables continue to fall in cost. more...
The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods. Photo: unknown.

Sellafield - how the nuclear industry fleeced taxpayers

David Lowry

19th January 2015

Last week the consortium holding a £22bn contract to clean up the Sellafield nuclear site was sacked, writes David Lowry. But this is just the end of a long and scandalous tale of corporate profit at taxpayers' expense, and the active collusion of ministers and senior officials in fighting off Parliamentary scrutiny. more...
A new landfill site opens for business, Scotland. Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Toxic landfills, fracking and the lethal threat of Environment Agency neglect

Talk Fracking / The Ecologist

19th January 2015

Nearly a year ago at the height of the UK floods, tragedy struck an ordinary family in Surrey as toxic gas from a nearby landfill site killed a 7-year old boy, Zane. Now the authorities appear determined to exculpate the source of the poison - an old landfill site - even as they prepare for a massive increase in hazardous waste from fracking. more...
Another advantage of vertical axis turbines is that they can be placed closer together. Image: Vertax Wind.

Going vertical: offshore wind power must find a new axis

Maurizio Collu & Michael Borg

14th January 2015

Offshore wind turbines are trying to reproduce at sea what works on land, write Maurizio Collu & Michael Borg. But it's proving a costly and high maintenance exercise. It's time to switch to new 'vertical axis' designs that promise to be cheaper to build and operate. more...
Soon smartphones could work as mobile air quality sensors - but probably best avoided by smokers! Photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Information to the people! The coming air quality revolution

Prashant Kumar

15th January 2015

Air quality across the UK is currently monitored by just a few hundred fixed stations, writes Prashant Kumar. That leaves most of us ignorant about the pollution we are breathing. But tiny air quality sensors in our mobile phones could soon create a network of millions of data points - and spur much needed official action to clean our air. more...
Photo: Alice Popkorn via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0.

Charlie Hebdo

The Ecologist

8th January 2015

The Ecologist offers its support and condolences to the colleagues and families of all those who suffered in the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. more...

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The future of farming is green, organic and healthy! Photo: Sandy Lane organic farm, Oxfordshire.

A tale of two farming conferences: the future is 'real' and organic

Peter Melchett

8th January 2015

Lord Krebs, self-appointed spokesman for industrial agriculture, used the Oxford Farming Conference to attack organic systems for causing more climate change - a claim as demonstrably false as it is ludicrous, writes Peter Melchett. But across the city, the upstart 'real farming' conference was showing the way to a cleaner, greener and healthier future. more...
A dead Irrawaddy dolphin floats on the Harintana-Tembulbunia channel of the Sela River on 6th January 2015. Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain for the Dhaka Tribune.

As rivers re-open to shipping, oil threat to Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest continues

ASMG Kibria

9th January 2015

Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest, home of incredibly rich biodiversity, is under unprecedented threat, writes ASMG Kibria. The recent oil tanker capsize on the Shela river puts the forest at risk of widespread biodiversity loss, but just this week, the authorities re-opened the Shela river to shipping with no restrictions on hazardous cargoes. more...
Gemasolar solar thermal power plant, Spain, uses molten salt storage to run 24 hours per day. Photo: Beyond Zero Emissions via Flickr, CC-BY.

2015 will see nuclear dream fade as wind and solar soar

Paul Brown

30th December 2014

Governments are still spending billions on nuclear research, writes Paul Brown - but 2015 looks like being an unhappy year for the industry as it continues to shrink while renewables grow, amid massive delays and cost over-runs. more...
As CO2 rises, common blue mussels' shells get more brittle on the outside, and softer on the inside. Photo:  Marcel Theisen via Flickr, CC-BY.

Carbon dioxide threat to mussels' shells

The Ecologist

24th December 2014

The world's mussel population could be under threat as rising CO2 levels in atmosphere and oceans makes their shells weaker and more brittle shells - making them more vulnerable to stormy seas, and predation. more...
Black smoke at Fukushima Daichi, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr.

Fukushima and the institutional invisibility of nuclear disaster

John Downer

20th December 2014

The nuclear industry and its supporters have contrived a variety of narratives to justify and explain away nuclear catastrophes, writes John Downer. None of them actually hold water, yet they serve their purpose - to command political and media heights, and reassure public sentiment on 'safety'. But if it's so safe, why the low limits on nuclear liabilities? more...
Under TTIP, US states could be sued if they try to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA in plastics. Photo: nerissa's ring via Flickr, CC-BY.

TTIP: Chemical corporations against safety protections

Patrick Gleeson

24th December 2014

Under the TTIP US-EU trade agreement, the world's largest chemical corporations would be able to attack US states' attempts to regulate for chemical safety, writes Patrick Gleeson. In both the US and the EU, corporate rights - asserted in secret courts - would trump democracy and attempts to raise health, safety and welfare standards. more...
Ground Zero - Lac-Mégantic, summer 2013, after the oil train disaster. Photo:  Axel Drainville via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Dangerous oil trains are one more reason to end extreme oil

Ralph Nader

6th January 2015

More than 25 million Americans live within an 'oil train blast zone', writes Ralph Nader. But as volumes of tar sands and shale oil carried by train soar, the oil cars identified as a 'substantial danger to life, property, and the environment' in 1991 remain in use. We must ban those dangerous railcars - and put an end to all 'extreme oil'. more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

2014 badger cull failed - but the cull goes on

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2014

England's 2014 badger cull has failed to meet key targets for effectiveness with such low numbers of animals shot that TB spread is likely to be increased. But Defra boss Liz Truss insists the cull will go on regardless. more...
In September 2010 Vattenfall opened Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, off England’s south east coast - the largest in the world. Photo: Nuon via Flickr.

All over the world, renewables are beating nuclear

David Elliott

18th December 2014

As flagship nuclear projects run into long delays and huge cost overruns, solar and wind power are falling in price, writes David Elliott. Renewables already supply twice as much power as nuclear. It's just too bad the nuclear-fixated UK government hasn't noticed. more...
An iceberg floating in the Amundsen Sea, where glaciers are shedding ice faster than in any other part of Antarctica. Photo: NASA / Jane Peterson via Wikimedia Commons.

Antarctica: warming ocean trebles glacial melt

Tim Radford

17th December 2014

As temperatures rise in the Southern Ocean, warmer currents are eroding the Antarctic ice sheet from below, writes Tim Radford - causing the melting rate to treble in two decades to 83 billion tonnes a year. more...
The mushroom cloud of the USSR's Tsar Bomba nuclear bomb test. With its 60 Mt yield, this was the largest nuclear explosion ever. Photo: via Andy Zeigert / Flickr.

Austria's campaign to 'stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate' nuclear weapons

Rebecca Johnson

27th December 2014

Austria's pledge to strive for the elimination of nuclear WMD kindled fresh energy and hope at this month's Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons, writes Rebecca Johnson. Now we must maintain the momentum towards global nuclear disarmament at the May 2015 meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. more...
A reminder to conservation scientists: not only can one little nuclear bomb ruin your whole day, it can also wipe out a whole lot of biodiversity.

Nuclear power and biodiversity - don't forget WMD proliferation!

Dr Jim Green

18th December 2014

Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive? more...
Reduced to one meagre bar of an electric fire, an old lady fights to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Meanwhile Centrica's CEO rakes in £3.7 million a year. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr.

Reclaim the power! It's time to deprivatise Britain's energy

Sam Lund-Harket

16th December 2014

Privatised energy has failed us, writes Sam Lund-Harket. While energy company chiefs earn millions of pounds a year, one in ten English households live in fuel poverty. But there is another way. All over the world countries and communities are taking energy, water and other essential public services back under democratic control. more...

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