The Ecologist


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The UK government is lavishing billions of pounds of subsidies on North Sea gas and oil - while cutting renewable energy to the bone. Photo: Thistle Alpha oil rig in the North Sea roughly halfway between the Shetland islands and Norway by snapper via Flic

COP21: Time to end fossil fuel subsidies!

Tony Juniper

30th November 2015

The theme at COP21 today has been the urgent need to cut fossil fuel subsidies that favour dirty energy over renewables, writes Tony Juniper. Sadly the UK is setting all the wrong examples - ramping up its spending on fossil fuels, while slashing its much smaller renewable energy budgets. more...
A Russian Su-24 of the type shot down today at Welzow, Germany, January 2014. Photo: Rob Schleiffert via Fliclr (CC BY-NC).

Russia's shot down jet is sending us a powerful message: keep well out of Syria!

Oliver Tickell

24th November 2015

Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet near its border with Syria has just revealed the real nature of the war, writes Oliver Tickell, and sharply illustrates the dangers of getting involved in a conflict that is driven more by a battle of two gas pipelines than a clash of ideologies. The message for the UK - keep well out! Or if we are serious about crushing IS, best join in with Assad and Putin. more...
Internally displaced Rohingya residents of a camp near Sittwe carrying vital supplies of rice and cooking oil. Photo: Mathias Eick, EU/ECHO, Rakhine State, Burma, September 2013.

Genocide: Burma's Rohingya sacrificed in global scramble for oil and gas

Nafeez Ahmed

13th November 2015

As Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy takes a strong lead in Burma's elections, Nafeez Ahmed warns that the military will remain the real power in the land. And as UK, EU, US, Chinese and Gulf state energy corporations compete to exploit Burma's hydrocarbons, don't expect them to denounce the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, and anyone else in the way of their oil and gas infrastructure. more...
Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State oil well in McKenzie County, North Dakota, east of Arnegard and west of Watford City. Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Are the fracking vampires going bust? That's how it looks

Joshua Frank

26th October 2015

The high oil prices that turned North Dakota into a boom state have turned, writes Joshua Frank. Now high-cost oil and gas are in the doldrums everywhere, production is falling - and even if prices do pick up one day, risk aversion and the relentless advance of renewables will leave lakes of oil and caverns of gas underground where they belong. Folks, the oil party really is over! more...
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, an area affected by fracking licences. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT for CIFOR on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences

The Ecologist

6th October 2015

Brazil is about to auction hundreds of fracking blocks across the country - extending deep into the Amazon forest including the territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous peoples. Registered bidders include BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. more...
Yes we did! Shell no Kayak Flotilla climate stabilization demo in April 2015. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Victory! Shell quits Arctic

Terry Macalister / the Guardian Environment

28th September 2015

Shell's US president says the oil giant's unpopular drilling operations in Alaska's Chukchi Sea will stop for the 'foreseeable future' as exploratory drilling finds little oil and gas to justify its $7 billion investment. more...
The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe.

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...
Solar deals are now being struck in Texas, USA, for under $60 / MWh. Duke Energy’s 14MW Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas with nearly 215,000 photovoltaic solar panels. Photo: Duke Energy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The solar age is upon us

Chris Goodall

1st September 2015

Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. more...
Seneca Lake defense = Climate defense. Protestors at Crestwood's Senaca Lake 'compression facility', 18th August 2015. Photo: via Facebook.

Over 370 arrests for blocking NY fracked gas store

Ashoka Jegroo / Waging NonViolence

31st August 2015

Protests against plans to make an enormous storage site for fracked gas at Seneca Lake in New York state seven times bigger are gathering pace, writes Ashoka Jegroo, with 13 arrests at a gate blockade last week. But is the company, Crestwood, getting the message? more...
Young fishers with their catch on the opening day after a temporary fisheries closure. Small-scale fisheries support the livelihoods of at least 500 million people worldwide - Andavadoaka, Madagascar. Photo: Garth Cripps / Blue Ventures.

Sustainable abundance - rebuilding fisheries to support coastal communities in Madagascar

Alasdair Harris

12th May 2015

Marine conservation is usually expressed in austere and negative terms, writes Alasdair Harris, with strict quotas and exclusion zones. But the truth is the exact opposite: it's about working with natural ecosystems to unlock their productive potential, creating sustainable wealth and abundance for fishing communities while enhancing marine biodiversity. more...
A Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) off the coast of Massachusetts, USA. Photo: chris buelow via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Time to 'Get Oil Out!' from sea to shining sea

Ralph Nader & David Helvarg

4th July 2015

Faced with the double crisis of global warming and the decimation of marine wildlife, what does the Obama administration do? Open up the US's Atlantic and Arctic Ocean seafronts to oil and gas drilling, write Ralph Nader & David Helvarg. But this assault on our climate and cetaceans can be stopped, as a 'Sea Party Rebellion' prepares to fight it all the way in forthcoming Presidential elections. more...
As California's drought bites, its $500 fines for 'water waster' households, but the water's still flowing for the state's powerful agribusiness sector. Photo: Malcolm Carlaw via Flickr (CC BY).

California drought: agribusiness, fracking untouched by water rationing

Evan Blake

5th April 2015

California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water. more...

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After more than century of colliery dumping, there's still plenty of coal to be picked up at Seaham Harbour. But now a far more toxic form of pollution is on its way, thanks to UGC - underground coal gasification. Photo: David Robson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

'Underground coal gasification' hell-fires threaten Tyneside and the North Sea

Paul Mobbs

3rd April 2015

After over a century of coal ash and colliery waste dumping, the Tyne and Wear coastline is no stranger to industrial pollution. But soon a horrific new technology - underground coal gasification (UCG) - will endanger human health and the environment, backed by unflinching Government support and generous lashings of taxpayers' money. more...
MPs may make the law - but that does not make them above the law. Photo: UK Parliament via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking: MPs and Lords have derelicted their legal duties - now they must pay the price!

Jojo Mehta

26th February 2015

The rushed passage of the Infrastructure Bill with all its pro-fracking provisions and toothless 'safeguards' is an abuse of democracy. And as it's manifestly against the national and public interest, it's also in breach of both MPs' and Lords' legally binding Codes of Conduct. Now Jojo Mehta intends to hold them to account - in Court. more...
An oil rig in the Irish Sea, two hours from Liverpool. Photo: *Psycho Delia* via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Fracking, the oil price crash, and the 'greenest government ever'

Simon Bullock & Tony Bosworth / FoE

2nd February 2015

Faced with climate change, economic doldrums and collapsing oil prices, the government has the perfect opportunity to put Britain on the right track, write Simon Bullock & Tony Bosworth - reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, and invest in renewables and efficiency. So what's it actually doing? The exact opposite. more...
'Free Cascadia' banner. Photo: ario_ via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Design by Joe Martin.

Fighting the 'Big Club': blockades, strikes, and the fossil fuel blowback

Alexander Reid Ross

2nd February 2015

North America's environment campaigners face a fearsome enemy in the 'Big Club', writes Alexander Reid Ross - the nexus of fossil fuel and infrastructure corporations, government, militarized police, private security contractors, PR agencies, astroturf NGOs and quasi-judicial bodies. But the activists are winning key victories in their battle to halt the industrialization of Cascadia. more...
Undergound coal gasification explained. Image: Bretwood Higman, (CC BY-NC 3.0).

The EAC's plan for a 'fracking moratorium' in Britain doesn't go far enough

Paul Mobbs

26th January 2015

The Environmental Audit Committee today calls for shale fracking in the UK to be 'put on hold', writes Paul Mobbs. But the EAC is missing an even more dangerous technology that the Infrastructure Bill would support - underground coal gasification. more...
Ribble Estuary against Fracking demo, August 2014. Photo: Victoria Buchan-Dyer via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Fracking policy and the pollution of British democracy

Paul Mobbs

20th January 2015

UK politicians and officials are studiously ignoring the growing evidence that fracking is an economic and environmental disaster, writes Paul Mobbs. As the circle of 'acceptable' view spins ever smaller, industry PR is dominating a phoney debate that's increasingly remote from reality, public opinion and core democratic principles. more...
The Force is with us! Giant carbon bubbles were chased through the streets of London during the People's Climate March in September. Photo:

2015 - the fossil fuel endgame begins

Melanie Mattauch

12th January 2015

With 80% of the world's fossil fuel reserves 'unburnable' if the world is to meet its climate targets, writes Melanie Mattauch, the divestment movement is moving from strength to strength. As investor confidence in fossil energy ebbs away, 2015 is where the endgame for a dying industry begins. more...
Russian underground coal mining by SUEK - financed by the British taxpayer. Photo: SUEK via Greenpeace.

UK's soaraway financial support to foreign fossil fuels

Christine Ottery / Greenpeace Energydesk

9th January 2015

The UK's financing of fossil fuels abroad increased tenfold in two years to exceed £1 billion in 2013 / 2014, writes Christine Ottery. Incredibly, the fossil fuel funding increase came after a government promise to use the money to support 'innovative and green technologies'. more...
There is now no atmospheric space for any new 'extreme energy' to be developed. The Deepwater Horizon Fire, 21st April 2010. Photo: EPI2oh via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0.

Leave most fossil fuels in the ground, or fry

Alex Kirby

8th January 2015

For the world to meet its climate goals, a third of the world's oil, half its gas and 80% of its coal must stay underground, writes Alex Kirby. And it's not us saying it - but scientists writing in the journal Nature. more...
Burning money? North Dakota flaring of gas out of the Bakken Formation. Photo: Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Fracking's future is in doubt as oil price plummets, bonds crash

Kieran Cooke

7th January 2015

Increased production from US fracking operations is a major reason for the drop in oil prices, writes Kieran Cooke. But there are warnings that the industry now faces an existential crisis from which it may never recover, as the financial sector faces the prospect of worthless shares and $100s of billions of defaulted debt. more...
Anti-fracking protest at Balcombe, Sussex. Photo: Robin Webster via, CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Fracking in the UK: what to expect in 2015

Richard Heasman / DeSmogUK

2nd January 2015

The government appears as determined as ever to push ahead with fracking as a central plank of its energy policy, writes Richard Heasman - ignoring growing evidence of health and environmental harm. But with the economics of fracking undermined by heavy energy price falls, the UK industry may never get off the ground. more...
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...
The Drake Oil Well, PA, the first ever drilled in the US, in 1859, could still be producing emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Photo: Trey Ratcliff via Flickr CC-BY.

Disused oil and gas wells wells a major source of methane

Richard Heasman & Oliver Tickell

28th December 2014

Long-disused oil and gas wells in the US have been found to be a 'significant' source of the super greenhouse gas methane, writes Richard Heasman. The climate impact of oil and gas is underestimated, as this long term impact is not included in existing calculations. more...


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