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...
For a problem-free pregnancy, don't live near here. Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, PA, operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Premature birth and problem pregnancies near fracking wells

The Ecologist

9th October 2015

A new study in the US's 'fracking capital' Pennsylvania has found that pregnant women who live near gas fracking wells are far more likely to give birth prematurely or develop problems during their pregnancies. 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...
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...
All hail our fracking future! Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to an IGas site in Gainsborough on 13th January 2014, flanked by company officials. Photo: Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking will only dig our fossil fuel addiction deeper

Oliver Tickell

16th September 2015

A new report on fracking and climate change from the Task Force on Shale gas presents a rosy picture of the fuel's role as a climate-friendly 'bridge' to a renewable energy future, writes Oliver Tickell. But the truth is the precise opposite - it's a climate disaster that will only delay the arrival of clean energy. more...
'Oil Refinery at Oxymoron'. Artwork by Wyatt Wellman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

China syndrome: fracked oil and Saudi Arabia's big gamble hit sinking global economy

James Meadway /

10th September 2015

For anyone who believes in the ineffable wisdom of 'free' markets, the current sinkaway oil price takes some explaining, writes James Meadway. Saudi Arabia's big gamble that it could put US shale oil out of business by over-pumping has now collided with China's falling demand for energy. Result: oil producers everywhere are swimming in red ink. Where will it all end? more...
Criatg Bennett, new Executive Director of Friends of the Earth (EWNI). Photo: Rob Monk / Friends of the Earth EWNI.

FoE's new CEO Craig Bennett: 'We have people on our side everywhere'

John Vidal / Guardian Environment

5th September 2015

They tried to influence government - but that's not working any more, writes John Vidal. So Friends of the Earth's new boss is taking a more radical approach rooted in community activism. And as he prepares for a storm of protest over fracking and cuts to wind and solar, he's ready to take on George Osborne in an 'ideological war' for the future of Britain. 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...
Fracking - not for shale! Photo: 70023venus2009 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Fracking fast-track stacks odds against planning refusal

Oliver Tickell

13th August 2015

New measures to compel local councils to speed up frackers' planning applications have a clear intention, writes Oliver Tickell - to make it ever harder for planners to refuse permission. more...
There's coal in them thar hills outside Merthyr Tydfil. But Caerphilly councillors have just voted to leave it where it is, under the ground. Photo: Stuart Herbert (CC BY-NC-SA).

Campaigners celebrate as Caerphilly councillors vote: the coal stays in the ground

Guy Shrubsole

7th July 2015

Caerphilly councillors yesterday refused permission for a huge open cast coal mine in South Wales that's fiercely opposed by local people furious at its impacts on air, landscape, tranquillity and climate, writes Guy Shrubsole. Coming so soon after the rejection of fracking in Lancashire, the message is clear: fossil fuels are best left safely underground. more...
Lancashire protesters make their feelings on Cuadrilla's fracking plans plain, 18th September 2011. Photo: Justin Woolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cuadrilla will appeal Lancashire's fracking refusal

Kyla Mandel & Ben Lucas /

24th July 2015

Shale gas company Cuadrilla will appeal Lancashire's decision to refuse permission to frack, write Kyla Mandel & Ben Lucas. The planning battle will last well into 2016, as campaigners prepare to fight all the way. more...
Protest at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Permanent Peoples' Tribunal puts fracking on trial

Dr Damien Short & Dr Tom Kerns

23rd July 2015

The damage caused by fracking to people, communities and the wider environment will be put under the legal spotlight in public hearings in the US and the UK, write Damien Short & Tom Kerns. While the 'ruling' that emerges will be non-binding, it will provide an authoritative, expert dossier of fact and argument for real legal actions to follow. more...

Fracking: 1/25 of 152
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Workers at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lancashire's fracking victory was even greater than we knew

Damien Short

21st July 2015

The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice. more...
Now it could be fracked: North Meadow, a traditional uncultivated water meadow of 110 acres, contains 80% of the UK population of the Snakeshead Fritillary. Photo: Nick Warner via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fracking go-ahead in SSSI wildlife sites, groundwater sources

Adam Vaughan / Guardian Environment

17th July 2015

Breaking a clear pre-election promise, the government will allow fracking to take place in the UK's most precious wildlife sites and in vital groundwater source areas, writes Adam Vaughan. more...
Where is the Love? That'll be at the Earth First Gathering in the Peak District, 19th-24th August. And much more besides ... Photo: Vertigogen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Earth First! summer gathering - the resurgence

Indra donFrancesco

17th July 2015

Next month is the time for green activists to get together in the glorious Peak District, coordinate future actions on everything from fracking to road-building and climate change ... and of course, share the love, writes Indra donFrancesco, Yes, it's the Earth First! summer gathering, and there's never been stronger reasons to go. more...
Repower Balcombe members launch their solar coop in April 2014. Photo: RePower Balcombe via Facebook.

Beyond fracking: Balcombe's renewable future

Joe Nixon / RePowerBalcombe

13th July 2015

When fracking came to Balcombe in West Sussex in 2013, it divided village opinion, writes Joe Nixon. But the community is now united in its commitment to locally owned renewable energy, with solar projects on schools and farm buildings, and plans just in for a new 5MW solar farm. more...
No, not a fracking rig: a biogas purification plant in Lund, Sweden. Photo: Petter Duvander via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Safe, low carbon, inexpensive: the renewable alternatives to fracking

Keith Barnham

8th July 2015

In its haste to get fracking, the UK Government is neglecting safe, clean alternatives that could be providing low-carbon gas and heat energy, writes Keith Barnham. The technologies are already well established in other European countries and are picking up fast here too - so why the insistence that only fossil fuels can deliver the UK's energy needs? more...
Frack off! Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Secret report: fracking could hurt house prices, health and environment

Adam Vaughan & Rowena Mason / Guardian Environment

2nd July 2015

House prices could fall 7% near fracking rigs, according to the 'secret' Defra report on fracking in rural areas, only published in full after a legal battle, while leakage of waste water could damage human health and contaminate food. more...
'We've bloody won!' Image via Frack Free Lancashire / Facebook.

Cuadrilla's fracking application defeated

The Ecologist

29th June 2015

In a dramatic decision this morning, Lancashire county councillors voted 9:3 to reject Cuadrilla's planning application to frack at Preston New Road, defying the warnings of their own planning officers. more...
Image: via Frack Free Lancashire on Facebook.

Lancashire councillors have every right to refuse fracking application

The Ecologist

28th June 2015

Independent legal advice shows that Lancashire councillors can refuse Cuadrilla's application for planning permission to frack at the Preston New Road site in Lancashire - contrary to advice from the Council's officers. more...
'Cuadzilla' out for a wander on 1st June 2015 at #ReclaimThePower day of actions against dirty fossil fuel companies. Photo: via Frack Free Lancashire.

Government ordered: release full fracking report!

Kyla Mandel /

22nd June 2015

As Lancashire councillors prepare to decide the planning application to frack in the county, writes Kyla Mandel, the UK's transparency watchdog has ordered the government to publish in full a report on the impacts of fracking, previously published only in a heavily redacted version. more...
Today, the PR is a whole lot slicker. Charlie Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel in 'The Great Dictator', 1940. Photo: via Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Behind the Magna Carta spin, Britain's 'dictatorship of the 1%' is taking shape

Paul Mobbs

11th June 2015

A consistent pattern is emerging in the UK government's plans and policies, writes Paul Mobbs: the stripping away of human rights and freedoms; the detachment of public institutions from democratic accountability; an increase of the powers of the state; and the empowerment of corporations at the expense of people. We must act to preserve our liberties, while we still can. more...
Realities of Fracking page 1 (cut). Image: Toxin Free Community.

'What does FRACKING mean?' 80,000 leaflets already distributed across the UK

Jojo Mehta / Toxin Free Community

15th June 2015

As Lancashire planners come out in support of the UK's first fracking well, Jojo Mehta has something to celebrate: the resounding success of the 'What does FRACKING mean?' leaflets she crowd funded for in April. So far 80,000 have gone out to campaigners and volunteers all over the UK, and requests for more are piling up. more...
Disregarded: anti-fracking campaigners at Cuadrilla drilling site at Balcombe, West Sussex, August 2013. Photo: Sheila via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Fracking surge follows Tory election win

Ben Lucas /

31st May 2015

Emboldened by the Tory election victory and the appointment of Amber Rudd as energy Secretary, writes Ben Lucas, planning applications to frack have been coming in thick and fast - even in densely populated London boroughs. more...
Reclaim the Power! Banner at the Didcot Climate Camp this weekend. Photo: Zoe Broughton.

Reclaim the Power: join the camp for energy democracy

Diêgo Lôbo

31st May 2015

Hundreds of campaigners are gathering at Didcot Power station in Oxfordshire to demand a green energy future - and an end to the Government's relentless push for fossil fuels and nuclear power, writes Diêgo Lôbo. Preparations are under way for a series of actions due to take place tomorrow, Monday 1st June. more...


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