The Ecologist

 

EC: 1/25 of 1863
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Fracking is burning more than just our health. Our money's going up in flames too - and that's putting the whole financial system at risk. Photo: Bill Baker via Flickr.

With sub-$60 oil, fracking and tar sands losses threaten the whole financial system

Paul Mobbs

17th December 2014

A new financial crisis is threatening to dwarf the 'subprime' mortgage debacle, writes Paul Mobbs. Cheap money from central banks has fuelled some $1.3 trillion of risky investments in high-cost 'unconventional' oil and gas. Now, with oil sinking below $60, all that paper is turning to junk - and that's putting the entire economic system at risk. more...
Regular PV solar cells on the Brighton Earthship in the south of England  Dominic Alves, CC BY-SA.

Here comes the sun: explosion in solar power beckons

Ralph Gottschalg

12th December 2014

Solar power has a sunny future - even without any major breakthroughs, writes Ralph Gottschalg. There are huge gains to be made simply by getting smarter and using existing technologies more effectively. A new report shows that - given political support - solar PV could be competitive in the UK by 2020. more...
Murder most foul - a porpoise carcass bearing cruel bite marks. Photo: Johan Krol.

Murder most foul - who killed all the porpoises?

Ken Collins

9th December 2014

Since 2010 porpoise carcasses have been washing up on our shares, writes Ken Collins - displaying horrific wounds and bite marks that many thought a sign of Great White sharks in Britain's coastal waters. But now scientists have identified an improbably cuddly culprit ... more...
Wolves - to reduce farm animal predation, don't shoot them! Photo: USFWS Midwest, CC BY.

Shot in the foot? Killing wolves, lynx, cougar increases farm predation

Niki Rust

4th December 2014

Farmers who shoot wolves and other predators to save their animals from predation are actually having the opposite effect, writes Niki Rust. The disruption that killing predators has on the stability of their families and packs actually causes more, not less predation. Ultimately, we're better off learning to live with predators. more...
In the 1970s, refineries in the Middle East controlled the world’s flow of oil. Not any more. Photo: National Iranian Oil Company / Wikimedia Commons.

Lower oil prices are here to stay. Thank loss-making shale and tar sands - not OPEC

Jemma Green, Mark Andrich & Peter Newman

5th December 2014

Are recent oil prices slumps caused by OPEC ganging up against tar sand and other high-cost producers? Or a sinister conspiracy to destabilise the Russian economy? Far from it, argue Jemma Green, Mark Andrich and Peter Newman - it's the simple result of an excess of supply over demand. And the low prices will be with us for some time to come. more...
The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

Tar sands industry faces 'existential' $246 billion loss

Gregory McGann

27th November 2014

The exploitation of Canada's tar sands is more than just an environmental catastrophe, writes Gregory McGann. It's also an turning into an economic disaster, with massive investments at risk as falling oil prices leave the tar sands stranded. more...
Solar panels in space work very efficiently. But how to get them there? And how to get the power down to Earth? Image: John MacNeil via Greenpeace.

Seven breakthrough solar technologies - but will they work?

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energy Desk

17th December 2014

A bunch of innovations are taking place in the world of solar power, writes Zachary Davies Boren - and one or more of them could just propel the technology from providing just 1% of the world's electricity, to dominating the world's energy supply. Provided they work ... more...
Digital Green records a discussion on best agronomic practice with an Ethiopian farmer for dissemination among his peers. Photo: Digital Green.

New technologies can help poor farmers - just not the ones you're thinking of

Tony Juniper

18th November 2014

Modern technology has a lot to offer small farmers in poor countries, writes Tony Juniper - just not the GMOs and pesticides that are widely touted. But how about film, digital communications and smart phones? These new media can empower farmers and allow them to share knowledge and experience of how to produce more, from less. more...
No neonics here: organic Brussels sprouts from Home Farm, Nacton. Photo: Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr.

Farming for profit? Or for people, nature, health, wellbeing and human survival?

Colin Tudge

19th November 2014

Farming today is well on the way to becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the agro-chemical-biotech industry, writes Colin Tudge. Defra and the European Commission are all too keen to make it so, reflecting the interests of an agro-oligarchy obsessed with profits and growth at all costs. But there is an alternative. Join the 'real farming' agrarian renaissance ... more...
ITV interviews a victim of the flooded Severn in 2007. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Open Democracy.

We shall defend our island - if the cost-benefit analysis stacks up

Guy Shrubsole

16th November 2014

Such is the Government's neglect of our flood defences, revealed by a National Audit Office report, that they are failing to even keep pace with climate change, writes Guy Shrubsole. That alone is a national disgrace - but most shameful is that current expenditures mostly benefit the wealthy, while poor communities are neglected. more...
Marine parks need to be big enough to safeguard wide-ranging species, like the sharks being studied here. Photo: Manu San Felix / National Geographic Pristine Seas Expedition, Author provided.

Now is our chance to deliver on the 30% ocean protection target

Jessica Meeuwig

15th November 2014

In 2003 nations pledged to place 20-30% of the world's oceans into no-take marine parks, writes Jessica Meeuwig - but more than ten years on, such areas now cover just 1% of ocean area. Now the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, provides an opportunity to drive marine protection forward, and benefit both ecology and economy. more...
Paid for by taxpayers? Oil rigs moored in Cromarty Firth. Invergordon, Scotland, UK. Photo: Berardo62 via Flickr.

Breach of promise: G20 spending $88 bn a year on fossil fuel subsidies

Alex Kirby

13th November 2014

Despite promises to phase out subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries, a new report G20 governments are still providing them with massive financial help, writes Alex Kirby. The UK alone is spending over £1.2 billion per year to support fossil fuel exploration and production at home and abroad. more...

EC: 1/25 of 1863
next »

Is this the kind of Arctic you want, cross-crossed by shipping, complete with oil rigs, mining, industrial fishing and pollution? If not, get behind the Arctic Declaration! Photo: epsdave via Pixabay.

We must keep the Arctic clean, wild and free!

Professor Robert Spicer

17th November 2014

The Arctic is a special place, teeming with life, but it is under threat like never before, writes Robert Spicer - not just from climate change, but from oil drilling, industrial fishing and shipping, as receding ice creates now commercial opportunities. We must designate an Arctic Sanctuary where nature can reign undisturbed. more...
To help artisanal miners stop poisoning themselves and the environment around them with mercury, only ever buy Fairtrade stamped gold jewellery. Photo: Fairgold.org.

Fairtrade Gold - helping miners take the mercury out of gold jewellery

Greg Valerio

12th November 2014

The unregulated 'artisanal' gold mining sector is a massive source of mercury pollution and other environmental damage, writes Greg Valerio. But now the Fairtrade Gold initiative is helping miners to reform their practices with equipment, training and a hefty gold price premium. All it needs now is for consumers to demand Fairtrade Gold in all their jewellery purchases. more...
Over 50% of an iguana shipment found dead. Photo: PETA.

The exotic pet trade is a global evil that must be stopped

Clifford Warwick

10th November 2014

Behind the relatively sanitized façade of the exotic pet industry resides a vast chronicle of species decline, ecological disruption, animal suffering, mortality, and the global dissemination of pathogens, writes Clifford Warwick. We are in the midst of a profit-fueled frivolous wildlife biocide, as animal traders strive to bring the next curiosity fish, turtle or primate into our homes. more...
Cod smolts among seagrass. Photo: John Carroll.

For the love of cod, let's save our disappearing seagrass

Richard K. F. Unsworth

4th November 2014

Seagrass provides a key marine habitat, writes Richard Unsworth - it stablises the sea floor, sustains rich ecosystems, soaks up excess nutrients, sequesters carbon dioxide, feeds dugongs, and nurtures young cod. Hadn't we better stop wiping out some 1,500 sq.km of seagrass meadows every year? more...
Typhoon Haiyan - the aftermath, 10th November 2013. Photo: Reuters / Erik De Castro via Mans Unides / Flickr.

A year after Typhoon Haiyan, we demand climate justice

The Undersigned

8th November 2014

A year ago Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, struck central Philippines leaving tens of thousands of people dead and missing, millions homeless and livelihoods destroyed. Today climate-affected communities worldwide are demanding change. more...
The road to hell - that's where we are heading if we do not act on climate. Photomontage: Andreas Levers via Flickr.  A115 Autobahn by Andreas Levers. Lightning by ~Prescott. Cloud lightning by Kristiewells. Fire and smoke by Jason Gillyon.

IPCC must speak out - we are creating a hell for future generations

Roger Jones

3rd November 2014

The IPCC's 'synthesis report' makes a good scientific case on climate change and the need for action, writes Roger Jones. But its economics are weak, especially when it comes to the costs of inaction. And nowhere does it set out the core truth - that the alternative to swift, effective action is to create a hellish, dystopian world for our descendants to endure. more...
We have the technology - but which? IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. Photo: IPCC Photo / David Plas, via Flickr, © Belspo / Nevens.

IPCC: rapid emissions cuts vital to stop worst impacts of climate change

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

3rd November 2014

The IPCC's most important ever assessment of global warming warns that the world must cut its carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon, writes Damian Carrington - and the cost is affordable. But in fact, emissions are rising at record levels, and the IPCC's strong support for unproven-at-scale CCS technology will leave many mystified. more...
Green Party leader Natalia Bennett, Green MEP Keith Taylor and colleagues have a genuine alternative to offer. Photo: Green Party of England and Wales.

The Green Party's joined-up policies - the threat of a genuine alternative?

Ian Sinclair

2nd December 2014

Today the Green party announced a doubling of its membership since January - 500 this last weekend alone, writes Ian Sinclair. They offer an increasingly attractive alternative to the 'mainstream' parties, who have little to offer but a bleak package of privatisation, neoliberalism and never-ending austerity. more...
Hurricane Sandy brought this blackout to Lower Manhattan in October 2012. Unless Britain's nuclear power stations perform implausibly well this winter, we could well be sharing the experience. Photo: Reeve Jolliffe via Flickr.

UK faces serious winter blackout risk - National Grid's rosy nuclear forecast fails reality test

Chris Goodall

31st October 2014

The National Grid's forecast for UK power supply this winter relies on overstating the availability of increasingly unreliable nuclear power stations, writes Chris Goodall. Realistic estimates of nuclear, gas and coal power station availability shrink the 'safety margin' to zero. more...
Hunting for lugworms for fishing bait at Brighton beach. Photo: Martin Thomas via Flickr.

Lugworms suffer toxic impact of acidifying oceans

Alex Kirby

30th October 2014

A common marine worm key to the richness of many coastal ecosystems is being damaged by the increasing ocean acidification that was thought to imperil mainly shellfish and coral, writes Alex Kirby. It's an unwelcome sign of more unexpected ecological changes to come. more...
An artist's impression of the Searaser at work. Photo: DWE Ltd.

New wave generator brightens ocean power prospects

The Ecologist

27th October 2014

A new wave power generator has moved closer to reality after successful testing in simulated marine conditions. An array of the 1.5MW 'Searaser' devices could be deployed on Britain's coast within a few years. more...
Texaco's signature, written in oil, at Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr.

Latin American progressives and environmental duplicity

Daniel Macmillen

26th October 2014

Left wing governments across the Americas are faced with a dilemma, writes Daniel Macmillen - high social spending programs financed by income from destructive mining and hydrocarbon extraction - or a slower but sustainable development path that puts ecology, equity and justice first. Their answer - a constant pushing back of the resource frontier. more...
In Ghana, more than 100,000 straw coloured fruit bats are harvested as bushmeat every year. But the country is not affected by the Ebola epidemic. Photo: Diana Ranslam, CC BY-NC.

Ebola: don't blame the bats!

Alexandra Kamins, Marcus Rowcliffe & Olivier Restif

23rd October 2014

Bats serve as a natural reservoir for the Ebola - but we cannot blame them for the epidemic. In Ghana alone people eat over 100,000 fruit bats a year as 'bushmeat', yet the country has escaped the epidemic. Much more research is needed to discover the mechanisms of transmission, and to devise effective, appropriate interventions. more...

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