The Ecologist

 

ec: 25/50 of 2096
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Jellyfish shall inherit the ocean ... if we keep on acidifying it. Photo: Stuart Chalmers via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Attack of the stinging jellyfish: the winners of ocean acidification

Jason Hall-Spencer, Plymouth University

16th December 2015

Rising levels of carbon dioxide don't just cause global warming, writes Jason Hall-Spencer. Another consequence is acidifying oceans - which promises to disrupt marine ecology around the world, killing off oysters and corals, while boosting 'nuisance species' like stinging jellyfish. more...
Portrait of Shuar Indian in Ecuador's Amazon, where gross violations of human and environmental rights have been committed by oil companies. Photo: 00rini hartman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

COP21: call for international treaty on rights of nature and communities

Hal Rhoades

8th December 2015

A new movement has been launched at COP21 in Paris to give legal effect to the rights of nature and communities, writes Hal Rhoades, providing effective protection against the gross environmental damage and human rights violations that accompany extractive industries from mining to oil development and agri-business projects, and which underlie climate change. more...
Formosan Clouded Leopard ... RIP. Despite 1,500 infrared cameras and scent traps being placed in the Taiwanese mountains since 2001, no trace of the animal has been detected. Image: Hank Conner via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Extinction is forever

Robert J. Burrowes

30th December 2015

Humanity is continuing to drive species into extinction at a terrifying rate, writes Robert J. Burrowes - not just nameless beetles and midges, but mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and trees. The biggest causes are habitat destruction, pollution and hunting ... and unless we stop soon, we too will be among the victims of our ecocidal attack on Earth. more...
Thanks to the growth of renewables, China's coal burn is falling. And it could be part of a long term trend of declining global emissions. Photo: Chengde, Hebei, China, by Gustavo M via Flickr (CC BY).

Good news for COP21: 2015 emissions fall

Tim Radford

8th December 2015

Levels of CO2 are at their the highest in 800,000 years, writes Tim Radford, but news of a probable decline in emissions this year is providing welcome cheer at the COP21 climate summit: thanks to renewables, economic growth and falling emissions can go hand in hand. more...
Minister Gregory Barker visits what was then the UK's largest rooftop solar array at Bentley Motors in Crewe, October 2013. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EU renews 70% 'solar tax' on Chinese PV

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The EU's decision to renew 'punitive' tariffs on imports of PV modules and cells from China will cost the EU's solar installers an extra £700 million, writes Oliver Tickell - just as the UK industry is reeling from 87% government cuts. more...
Yellowstone Bison. Photo: Jitze Couperus via Flickr (CC BY).

Bloodbath in Yellowstone: the park's plan to slaughter 1,000 wild bison

George Wuerthner

14th December 2015

Yellowstone Park is home to America's last pure-bred wild bison, writes George Wuerthner. Yet the Park's management is planning to kill around a thousand of these precious animals this winter. Ostensibly it's to protect cattle on public lands near the park from brucellosis. But bison have never been known to transmit the disease to them. The real reason is to keep all the pasture for livestock. more...
Intensive cultivation of soya advancing into the forests of the Mato Grosso, Brazil. Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monsanto on trial for crimes against nature and humanity

Pavlos Georgiadis

6th December 2015

Monsanto was accused of 'crimes against humanity and the environment' at COP21 in Paris this week, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. And now the evidence against it is being gathered for presentation at a 'Monsanto Tribunal' taking place next October in The Hague. more...
A Scottish Wildcat (Felis silvestris). Photo: By big-ashb via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Saving Scotland's 'Highland Tiger'

Louise Ramsay

19th December 2015

Extinction is not just for exotic species in Africa or Asia, writes Louise Ramsay. Right here in the UK we have almost allowed our very own Scottish wildcat to disappear through persecution and mismanagement - despite its being a protected species under EU and Scottish law. Now it will take swift and effective action to bring it back from the brink. more...
Coccolith. Photo: ZEISS Microscopy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21 warned on global warming's evil twin - acidifying oceans

Tony Juniper

3rd December 2015

Increased atmospheric CO2 is doing much more than warming the Earth, writes Tony Juniper - it's also acidifying oceans, something that is already having major impacts on ocean ecology in the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic. Likely effects: more CO2 in the atmosphere, more jellyfish. more...
Drax power station in Yorskshire, England, was to host the UK's examplar of BECCS in its White Rose project, with a planned CCS add-on. In a rare moment of santity, the UK government has pulled the funding. Photo: Ian Britton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

COP21's climate technofix: spinning carbon into gold and the myth of 'negative emissions'

Rachel Smolker

3rd December 2015

Paris has been awash with hype about 'CO2 recycling' and 'carbon neutral' or even 'carbon negative' technologies based on burning millions of trees, writes Rachel Smolker. But the alchemical notion that waste carbon can be spun into corporate gold is hitting serious reality checks. It's time to ditch the fantasies and progress the real solutions: like caring for land, soils, forests and grasslands. more...
This protestor on the Global Climate March, 29th November 2015 in Berlin, could just have a point. Photo: Jörg Farys / BUND via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Paris climate talks are doomed to failure - like all the others

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

1st December 2015

The most significant feature of COP21 is the topics that never even made it onto the agenda for discussion, writes Steffen Böhm. And the biggest of all the growth-driven economic system that ultimately thwarts all efforts at sustainability, as it drives ever increasing consumption of energy and resources. more...
Responding to climate change is all about replacing or adapting our established energy infrastructure. Photo: Jes via Fliclr (CC BY-SA).

How fast can the world transition to a low-carbon energy system?

Paul N Edwards, University of Michigan

30th November 2015

As world leaders convene in Paris for the COP21 climate summit, the major task before them is to replace fossil energy generation with renewables, writes Paul N Edwards - and with the right incentives, it could happen fast. For developing countries it's different: they could skip over fossil fuels much as they have gone straight for mobile telephony. But will they seize the opportunity? more...

ec: 25/50 of 2096
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Photo: Visit Exmoor via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Forget Black Friday - this is 'Buy Nothing Day'!

Vicki Hird

27th November 2015

Black Friday is yet another manifestation of a consumer culture that is both empty and destructive, writes Vicki Hird. So instead let's join in creative celebrations of Buy Nothing Day ('no purchase necessary'), and develop a new life-enhancing ethic of joyful frugality. more...
With lithium-air batteries, this Tesla EV could travel from Boston to Washington DC, or from London to Edinburgh, on a single charge. Photo: Niall Kennedy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Li-air battery could make oil obsolete in ten years

The Ecologist

23rd November 2015

Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, say Cambridge scientists. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future. more...
Ed Miliband still has a plan for a better future. On the campaign trail in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, 30th April 2015. Photo: Din Mk Photography via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

COP21 - the UK must lead to world to 'net zero' emissions

Ed Miliband

23rd November 2015

Earth's temperature is heading towards its highest for three million years, writes Ed Miliband. The world must move as fast as possible to 'net zero' carbon emissions - and the UK should take a lead in this global effort, enshrining the target in law, and driving a technological renewal that will assure our future prosperity. more...
Traditional Farmer in Kabaune village, Kenya working in the field with his cattle. The village has joined in planting trees in order to increase rain and water. Photo: P. Casier / CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The tremendous success of agroecology in Africa

Colion Todhunter

21st November 2015

While the Gates Foundation and conservative politicians are bigging up GMOs and agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter, a quiet revolution has been working its way across Africa. Agroecological farming, constantly adapting to local needs, customs, soils and climates, has been improving nutrition, reducing poverty, combatting climate change, and enriching farmland. more...
Blondie - one of a rough half dozen coyotes that freely roam Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA. She probably carries a mixture of genes from dogs and wolves as well as coyote, but that does not mean she's of a new species. Photo: Dave Inman via Flickr (CC

Who believes in the big bad coywolf?

Roland Kays, North Carolina State University

20th November 2015

Novel canids are hunting the forests of Eastern North America from Florida to Labrador, writes Roland Kays, where hybrids of coyote, dog and wolf have evolved into highly competitive forms. But is it the evolution of new species? If left in long term isolation, perhaps - but that's not about to happen. Genetic mixing and evolution still have a long way to run. more...
Where to get the money from to finance the transition to a low carbon economy? Simple: 'QE for climate' by the world's central banks. Photo: Pictures of Money via Flickr (CC BY).

'QE for climate' is the win-win solution for COP21

Dr. Matthias Kroll

25th November 2015

The governor of the Bank of England recently argued that the risk to the stability of the financial system from climate change is a responsibility of central banks, writes Matthias Kroll. They can begin by using QE - 'quantitative easing' - to finance the Green Climate Fund, and so stimulate the economy, rescue the climate, and save the global financial system. more...
Nuclear power plant at Ohi, Japan. It may be gleaming and impressive looking, but the plant stands near several active seismic faults and lacks adequate protection against earthquakes. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co. via IAEA Imagebank on Flickr (CC BY-S

Don't nuke the climate! James Hansen's nuclear fantasies exposed

Dr Jim Green

20th November 2015

NASA scientist James Hansen is heading to COP21 in Paris to berate climate campaigners for failing to support 'safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power', writes Jim Green. But they would gladly support nuclear power if only it really was safe and environment friendly. In fact, it's a very dangerous and hugely expensive distraction from the real climate solutions. more...
Area of Bento Rodrigues, Minas Gerais state, affected by the release of mine tailings from the failed dams. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Tailings dam breach - 'the assassination of Brazil's fifth largest river basin'

Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes

19th November 2015

Brazil has suffered its biggest ever industrial disaster, write Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes. Breached and overflowing dams have released a massive slug of toxic muds and tailings from iron mining into the country's fifth largest river system that provides drinking water for downstream cities, destroying ecosystems in rivers and vast areas of biologically fragile ocean. more...
Front cover of 'Green Parties, Green Future' by Per Gahrton, published by Pluto Press.

Green Parties, Green Future: lessons from history for Green politics

Rupert Read & Bennet Francis

8th December 2015

How can Green parties acquire real political power? A new book by Per Gahrton, founder of the Swedish Green Party, is much more than a useful reference text on the history of Green Parties around the world, write Bennet Francis and Rupert Read. It's also a valuable manual in realpolitik that resonates here and now in the UK. 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...
Dulse growing on kelp as an epiphyte: a feast fit for a king. Photo, Fiona Bird.

Seaweed on the shore, seaweed in the kitchen

Fiona Bird

26th November 2015

Fresh or dried wild seaweed may be on sale in a supermarket near you, writes Fiona Bird. But much better than supporting what may be unsustainable harvesting, gather your own at low tide on rocky shores, picking just enough for your needs. Once a poverty food, seaweed is now a sought after ingredient that expresses the 'fifth taste', umami. more...
This jaguar is in a zoo in French Guyana - not to be confuised with the wild jaguars of Mexico, now returning to their former range in the US. Photo: Yannick TURBE via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

From Yucatan to Arizona, from Sonora to New Mexico: the return of the jaguar

Kent Paterson

13th November 2015

Mexico is determined to restore populations of its largest native predator, the jaguar, to long term viability, writes Kent Paterson. That means creating millions of acres of ecological corridors across the country, and joining with US colleagues to secure large areas of habitat in southwestern states, where recent sightings give hope that jaguars are returning to their former range. more...
Thanks to the sudden withdrawal of tax benefits for community energy projects, these waters at Abingdon Lock, Oxfordshire, will remain unharnessed for many years to come. Photo: Victor Bayon (CC BY-NC-SA).

George Osborne must back down on community energy tax

Georgina Matthews

11th November 2015

Surprise changes to the Finance Bill in its third reading have withdrawn tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy projects, writes Georgina Matthews. While some societies are rushing to complete their fund-raising by the end of the month, others have been forced to close. If these measures are not withdrawn, a small but flourishing sector will be at risk. more...

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