The Ecologist


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Fools' gold? The Hinkley Point nuclear complex in Somerset, UK. Photo: TempusVolat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Luxembourg joins Hinkley C nuclear challenge

Oliver Tickell

20th November 2015

Luxembourg will join Austria's legal challenge to the UK's support package for the Hinkley C nuclear power station. Meanwhile EDF has laid off 65 engineers working on the project in Paris, and the EU Commission has initiated proceedings against Hungary over its Paks II nuclear project with Rosatom. more...
Photo: Rachel Melton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lights out? Amber Rudd's disastrous absence of an energy strategy

Oliver Tickell

18th November 2015

Amber Rudd's speech today exposes her total failure to assemble a coherent energy strategy, writes Oliver Tickell. It reveals the increasingly certain failure to meet EU renewable energy targets, proposes a new tax on wind and solar generation, and leaves the country facing the real prospect of lights going out in the next decade. The one hard policy? To maximise oil and gas recovery. more...
Dr. Mark VanGessel brandishing a Palmer's amaranth on a Delaware farm - one of the glyphosate-resistant superweeds that's pushing biotech companies to develop 'stacked' herbicide resistant traits in soybeans and other crops. Photo: Delaware Agriculture vi

Regulators and retailers must stop ‘next generation' GMO imports

Helen Wallace

20th November

A new wave of ‘next generation' GM crops resistant to multiple herbicides, may be approved for import into the European Union, writes Helen Wallace, even though the health impact of the herbicide combinations is unknown. Regulators and retailers must refuse to authorise these GMOs or allow their use in any part of the food chain. more...
A large solar installation at Arico, Canary islands, Tenerife, Spain. Photo: Jose Mesa via FDlickr (CC BY).

Renewables offer clean prosperity for Southern Europe

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace Energydesk

17th November 2015

New reports show the huge potential of renewables in Southern Europe to rekindle prosperity, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson, using clean, low cost energy from wind, solar and geothermal sources backed up with pumped storage hydro, displacing dirty lignite and oil fired generation. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photo: Association for Decentralised Energy via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Leaked letter: Rudd admits 25% green energy undershoot, misled Parliament

Oliver Tickell

9th November 2015

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was 'on course' to deliver on its renewable energy targets - when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and 'credits' from abroad - everything but wind and solar. more...
Chafer Multidrive FC applying glyphosate and podstick to oilseed rape as a pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Glyphosate - EFSA must make a full and open scientific assessment

Jorgo Riss, K. Jensen & F. Veillerette

6th November 2015

The European Food Safety Authority is about to decide on a re-authorisation of glyphosate, a 'probable carcinogen', based on unpublished industry studies. In this Open Letter to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, campaigners call on him to ensure an open, scientifically robust process - and to immediately restrict the herbicide. more...
The Aquatic Warbler, once endangered, and been restored to a healthy population level thanks to action taken under the EU's Nature Directives. Photo: LubosHouska via Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain).

Why isn't the UK standing up for EU Nature Laws?

Catherine Weller / ClientEarth

5th November 2015

The EU's Nature Directives have been doing a great job of protecting Europe's most threatened species and habitats and building up wildlife numbers, writes Catherine Weller, and the UK knows it. But now it's the Directives themselves that are under threat. Other EU countries are standing up for them - but not the UK. more...
A truck transport huge logs in Indonesia. Photo: Hari Priyadi for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indonesia 'greenwashes' illegal timber exports

The Ecologist

3rd November 2015

Just as Indonesia's forests are going up in flames, in part as a result of illegal logging on a massive scale, the country's Trade Minister has issued a regulation that would rubber stamp exports of illegal timber - also undermining a timber agreement with the EU that's due to come into force next month. more...
Bumblebee, maybe Bombus terrestris or B. lucorum, at Fairlands Valley Park Environment Lake, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, 5 July 2013. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Our threatened bees deserve better!

Sandra Bell / Friends of the Earth

4th November 2015

On the first anniversary of the UK's National Pollinator Strategy, writes Sandra Bell, the Bee Coalition warns that bees are still under threat from highly toxic pesticides, continuing loss of habitat, and an increasingly inhospitable countryside. The Government must do more to protect our bees. more...
No signs of structural damage, but a a political earthquake took place here last week. Photo of European Parliament by Michal Sänger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Europe's big NO to half baked GMO compromises

Molly Scott Cato MEP

3rd November 2015

Political groups in the European Parliament have sent a clear message to the Commission on its GMO proposals, writes Molly Scott Cato - we are not willing to have piecemeal and vaguely-defined 'opt-out' legislation forced down our throats. more...
Don't let pesky nano-particles in candy spoil your children's Halloween. Photo: Cozy Coffin Motel by Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

Ban the tiny horrors in our Halloween candy!

Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield / Center for Food Safety

31st October 2015

The European Parliament voted this week to regulate nano-materials in the pending EU law on novel foods, write Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield. But no such moves are taking place in the US. Let's make this the last time our children are exposed to these hazardous substances in their Halloween candy! more...

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At least in Greece, the weather is warmer than in most of Europe. Photo: street scene in Monastiraki, Athens, by psyberartist via Flickr (CC BY).

Greece is the testing ground for the TTIP era of corporate rule

Pavlos Georgiadis / Sustainable Food Trust

5th November 2015

Greece is Europe's sandbox for the neoliberal free-for-all to follow if the EU and the US sign off on the TTIP trade and investment treaty, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. The termination of public services, the cut-price sell-off of public assets, the dismantling of environmental protection, the democratic closedown, the rule of corporations and finance capital ... all coming your way soon. more...
German protestors opposing TTIP and CETA in Berlin, 10th October 2015. Photo: Jakob Huber / Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

EU-Canada CETA trade deal is a back door for US to sue EU - even if TTIP fails

Maude Barlow / Global Justice Now

30th October 2015

There's been a big fuss about the 'ISDS' clauses in the TTIP trade deal that would allow US corporations to sue the EU and its member states for 'lost profits', writes Maude Barlow. But ISDS is already in CETA, the already negotiated EU-Canada trade deal - and nothing would be easier than for US companies to use it as their 'back door'. We must make sure CETA is rejected at its final hurdle. more...
If no EU institution or state refers the ISDS provisions of TTIP and CETA to the European Court of Justice (pictured) then these symbols of sovereignty may become empty of meaning. Photo: Cédric Puisney via Flickr (CC BY).

Is TTIP legal? European Court must be asked to rule

Laurens Ankersmit & Oliver Tickell

26th October 2015

The investor protections in the US-EU TTIP treaty would privilege US corporations over the EU's own citizens and businesses, writes Laurens Ankersmit & Oliver Tickell. That would sideline EU courts and undermine the completion of the internal market. It is therefore essential that the EU Court be asked to rule whether they are legal. more...
Devastated mountains in Romania's Sebes Valley. Photo: Magda Munteanu / BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network).

Austrian timber giant ransacking Romania's forests

The Ecologist

21st October 2015

Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. more...
View across Lake Ohrid with small boats. Photo: Jaime Pérez via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Macedonia: EBRD's planned destruction of Lake Ohrid Biosphere Reserve

Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry

27th October 2015

UNESCO's Lake Ohrid-Prespa Biosphere Reserve at Mount Galicica, Macedonia, is at risk from a raft of aggressive developments, write Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry: tourism complexes, a new expressway and ski resort all threaten its tranquility and stunning diversity of wildlife, backed by loans from the EU's taxpayer-funded Bank, the EBRD. more...
You want chlorine with that? With TTIP, we will soon be forced to eat US-style meat - hormone-fed animals, chlorine-washed chicken, beef soaked in lactic acid. Photo: Anthony Albright via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Be very scared: TTIP and 'regulatory cooperation'

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

20th October 2015

The 'regulatory cooperation' clauses in TTIP threaten to strip away vital EU protections on food, health and environment, writes Alex Scrivener. Indeed it has already begun: the mere prospect of TTIP has persuaded the EU to back off on plans to ban lactic acid-treated beef and 31 toxic pesticides. We must reject the entire package! more...
'When we lied, we never meant you to believe us' - Paul Willis, VW's UK managing director. Photo: still from

No pollution? No deaths? Who does VW think it's kidding?

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

15th October 2015

It was a remarkable spectacle, writes Damian Kahya: MPs trying to get straight answers out of VW's top man in the UK over the 'dieselgate' scandal. Of course our cars gave false test results. But who would ever believe those stupid tests anyway? How many people died from all the extra pollution? None! There was no pollution! more...
Cows near Dolwyddelan Castle in the Conwy Valley, Wales. Photo: George Frost / Gelephoto via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Britain's dairy crisis - we must account for real costs, and for true value

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

30th October 2015

The UK dairy industry is in crisis, writes Megan Perry, with falling prices forcing many farmers out of business. Smaller, more sustainable farms have been the worst casualties, while the large, intensive producers survive. We must ditch market-driven 'survival of the fittest' attitudes - and recognise both the real costs of intensification, and the true value of traditional farming. more...
Make hay while the sun shines! This farmer in Cyprus can remain GMO-free - for now. Photo: Tony Woods via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

GM crops: an uneasy truce hangs over Europe

Mary Dobbs, Queen's University Belfast

9th October 2015

With all the EU's GMO exemptions filed, a clear majority - by number, population and area of farmland - have chosen to be GMO-free, writes Mary Dobbs. But the rules surrounding their opt-outs are complex in the extreme and many countries will find it hard to maintain their GMO-free status - specially if the Commission and the biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta choose to exercise their powers. more...
No GM crops here! Typical farm house amid cropland in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Germany. Photo: Domenico via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Two thirds of EU cropland, population ditch GM crops

The Ecologist

1st October 2015

Fifteen EU states have now joined the GM-free movement as the 3rd October deadline for registration nears, along with four regions. They collectively account for 65% of the EU's arable cropland, and 65% of its population, and Greenpeace expects more to sign up. more...
A cob of Portuguese maize: Portugal being one of the only countries in the EU to permit the cultivation of a GMO maize variety. Photo: Rosino via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

France, Germany, Poland ... ten European nations to go GMO-free

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2015

With the deadline for EU countries who wish to ban genetically GM crops drawing near, writes Oliver Tickell, Poland is the latest to register with the European Commission to go GM-free. Now the division of the EU into pro and anti-GM zones may test the single market beyond its limits. more...
It's not just VWs. Photo: Luc via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

It's not just VWs - we need fewer cars, and less driving

Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck

25th September 2015

With all diesel cars failing EU clean air standards in real world driving, and the worst 22 times over the limit, there's only one real solution, write Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck: adopt sustainable transport strategies to keep cars off our streets and break our dependence on them. more...
A pile of pants? Golf Diesel. Photo: Peter P. via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

How Volkswagen got caught cheating emissions tests by a clean air NGO

Paul Nieuwenhuis

23rd September 2015

The discovery that Volkswagen has been 'gaming' vehicle emissions tests has taken the world by storm, writes Paul Nieuwenhuis. But it comes as no surprise to campaigners who have long been aware of the huge gap between 'official' emissions and real word pollution. Where were the regulators? And why did it take an NGO to uncover the scandal? more...


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