The Ecologist


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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...
Loadsamoney !!! For the fossil fuel industry, that is. Renewables are left out in the cold. Photo: Helen Keegan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

UK's £10 billion a year fossil fuel subsidies - and rising!

The Ecologist

12th November 2015

In 2009 G20 nations pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. But they are still supporting them with $452 billion a year. Worst offenders include the UK, the only G7 country that's ramping up its fossil fuel spending; and Turkey, host of tomorrow's G20 summit, which plans to double its CO2 emissions with a huge new fleet of coal power plants. more...
Tigyit coal mine. Photo: Carole Oudot / Matthieu Baudey.

Burma goes for coal - but at what cost in pollution, disease and land grabs?

Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey

29th October 2015

The president of Burma has decided that coal is the way to future wealth and prosperity, write Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey. But if the experiences of farmers and village people near Tigyit, site of the country's biggest coal mine and coal-fired power plant is anything to go by, it will bring only poverty, pollution, ill-health and land grabs to rural communities across the country. more...
Smog Alert in Peoples Square, Beijing, China, on 15th February 2014. Photo: Lei Han via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

China's smog kills over a million each year - but there's blue skies ahead

Oliver Wild, Lancaster University

19th October 2015

China's smog is an increasing cause of public discontent, writes Oliver Wild - and no wonder! New research shows that the country's air pollution is killing over a million people every year. Thanks to China's geography the problem is hard to solve, but the rapid rise of renewables and the slow demise of coal do offer the promise of cleaner, healthier future. more...
Opencast coal mine at Pont Neddfechan, Wales, UK. Photo: Ben Salter via Flickr (CC BY).

Global South campaigners tell UK planners: no new opencast coal mines!

Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades

7th October 2015

Campaign groups from Indonesia, Kenya and Peru have called on planners in the UK to turn down opencast coal mines in Co Durham and Derbyshire, write Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades. Not only do the mines damage local health and environment, say the activists. They also threaten global climate stability - and all countries must play their part in ending the world's coal addiction. more...
Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...
The city of Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port, is among those to join the divestment movement. Port Waratah Coal Loader and freight train carrying steel. Photo: OZinOH via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Divestment pledges rise 50-fold to $2.6 trillion

The Ecologist

22nd September 2015

Pledges by investors to divest from fossil fuels have soared to $2.6 trillion - 50 times more than a year ago. 'Now is the time to divest', says Leonardo di Caprio, one of the latest to join the movement, which even includes Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port. 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...
'No Coal - the 'Ende Gelände' action, 15th August 2015. Photo: Ruben Neugebauer / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Into the heart of the beast - occupying Germany's open cast coal nightmare

Toni Belly

21st August 2015

Last weekend Toni Belly was occupying Germany's biggest open cast coal mine in the once lovely Rhineland area, one of thousands of protestors from and other groups determined to shut the operation down. Nursing his bruises and eyes still sore from pepper spray, he set down his account of an unforgettable day of action. more...
Jeremy Corbyn attends the People's Assembly Against Austerity, 8th July 2015, where DPAC, Friends of the Earth, Green Party and other organisations gathered in Parliament Square to protest Chancellor George Osborne's 'emergency' budget. Photo: Jasn via

Jeremy Corbyn: Big Six under public control, a solar panel on every roof and no new nukes

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

24th August 2015

Despite Labour's 'great purge' of left-leaning voters in the leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn remains the odds-on bookies favourite. So if he comes to power, what policies can we expect in energy and climate change? Damian Kahya asks the questions ... and is astounded at the range and scope of his ambitions. But how much could he really deliver? 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...
President Barrack Obama. Photo: White House.

Obama unveils deep cuts to power plant emissions

Dan Roberts / Guardian environment

4th July 2015

Obama has delighted climate campaigners with this 'clean Power Plan' that will force states to make deep cut in carbon emissions from power stations, writes Dan Roberts. But not everyone is happy, and legal challenges loom. more...

Coal: 1/25 of 150
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Mountaintop removal mining impacts on Blair Mountain, West Virginia, USA. Photo courtesy of Paul Corbit Brown.

RBS, Barclays, HSBC ... it's time to get out of coal!

Greig Aitken / BankTrack

4th August 2015

There's one big thing that Britain's biggest banks could do to reclaim their grievously impaired reputations, writes Greig Aitken: commit to stop investing in coal projects. As well as reducing climate change and local environmental impacts, it would also 'de-risk' their balance sheets as the global tide, from the US to China, turns against the dirty, carbon-heavy fuel. more...
Young participants observing the flames at the symbolic check burning ceremony. Photo: Paul Anderson / EarthJustice.

Indian Treaties are the new front in the battle against coal exports

Jan Hasselman / EarthJustice

16th July 2015

The 1865 Treaty of Point Elliot is clear, writes Jan Hasselman: the Lummi Nation has the right to fish, hunt and gather in their accustomed places in perpetuity - and they can't do that if a gigantic coal terminal is built in the Salish Sea's most productive waters. First Nations' treaty rights are now central to protecting the Pacific Northwest from destruction by fossil fuels. more...
'After all, we are betting the planet!' Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. Photo: OECD via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

OECD chief: World must ditch coal, go renewable

Alex Kirby

5th July 2015

The secretary general of the OECD group of the world's 34 richest nations has issued a dramatic plea to its members to act now to end 'unabated coal' burning, writes Alex Kirby, and invest in renewables around the world to prevent climate disaster. more...
Path to riches? A woman rummages through mining overburden in search of left-over coal to sell at Jugsalai, Jharkhand. India. Photo: Akshay Mahajan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Climate change? Let them eat coal!

Brendan Montague /

21st July 2015

Coal companies and their 'sceptic' shills have almost given up on denying climate change, writes Brendan Montague. The new message is that coal is essential ... to end world poverty! And those who advocate climate action are 'harsh, cold-hearted' beasts. The one thing that hasn't changed? It's all lies. more...
A lignite-burning power station in Greece. Photo: Greenpeace-Greece.

Greece’s anti-solar, coal-based energy policies underlie its economic collapse

Takis Grigoriou / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

3rd July 2015

As Greece prepares for its referendum, Takis Grigoriou takes Greece to task for its highly polluting lignite power sector, its ditching of a successful solar program in favour of more coal, the minimal insulation in its buildings that locks in high fuel bills, and Syriza's failure to tackle these issues. The good news? Greece's latest €1.4bn coal project looks like going unfunded. more...
China has chosen its energy future - and it will be renewable. A huge windfarm in Xinjiang. Photo: Mike Locke via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

China's climate pledge for green growth spells doom for coal exporters

John Mathews

3rd July 2015

Renewable energy is all go in China, as set out in its climate pledge this week, writes John Mathews, with huge growth planned for wind and solar. The one big loser - coal exporters who can expect falling sales volumes in coming years. Wake up Australia! more...
Canunda wind farm, near Millicent, south-eastern South Australia. A composite of three photos, combined using Photomatix Pro. Early morning. Photo: David Clarke via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal closures give South Australia the chance to go 100% renewable

Mark Diesendorf

18th July 2015

Moving to 100% clean, renewable energy is a win-win option for South Australia, writes Mark Diesendorf. First of all it's highly doable over a 25-year transition period. It will also bring lower power prices, more employment, better health and a cleaner environment. What's not to like? more...
The massive 5-reactor Hamaoka nuclear site, 200km SW of Tokyo, is built directly over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates. It was closed in 2011 to avoid a second Fukushima scale disaster. Photo: Cesar Ogasawara via Flickr (CC BY-

To stop using fossil fuels any time soon, Japan must follow Germany's lead

Peter Matanle, University of Sheffield

15th June 2015

Japan and Germany have much in common: both are major industrial countries that have gone nuclear-free, writes Peter Matanle - Germany by choice, Japan by necessity. But while Germany is actively pursuing its renewable energy revolution, or Energiewende, Japan, possessed of the richest renewable energy resources in East Asia, is stuck in a fossil fuel pit. more...
Wind power in China at Urumqi, Xinjiang province. Photo: Asian Development Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

World must wake up to China's energy revolution

Kieran Cooke

15th June 2015

China's success in driving down its fossil fuel burn will raise chances of a success at this year's Paris climate talks, writes Kieran Cooke - but first the world must appreciate the changes China is making, and how clean energy is catalysing a broader economic transformation. more...
Make up of UK power generation from 9am to 9pm, 6th June 2015. The left hand axis is Megawatts (MW). 1 GW is 1,000 MW. Image: Chris Goodall.

43%! New record for UK renewable power

Chris Goodall

8th June 2015

Thanks to the windy, sunny weather conditions on Saturday, the UK's output of renewable power reached an all-time record level of 43%, writes Chris Goodall. At the same time power from coal reached a low of just 7%, it what may be a record low contribution. more...
Victory! Months after demonstrators in Oslo, Norway, demanded that the country's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund divest from fossil fuels, they got their way (or at least a big part of it). Photo: Attila Dinnyes / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Norway's $1 trillion wealth fund to divest from coal

The Ecologist

5th June 2015

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, worth over $900 billion, has today announced that it will divest from coal, a move expected to force the sale of investments worth $13.3 billion. Campaigners say that other funds have now 'run out of excuses' not to follow suit. more...
Protesters at David Cameron's constituency office - accusing him of being in bed with the UK's energy oligarchs at the expense of people and climate. Photo: Zoe Broughton.

Reclaim the Power! Climate protestors rout security with UK-wide fossil fuel strikes

Oliver Tickell

1st June 2015

The fossil fuel industry and its political backers have been left reeling by an unprecedented series of direct action strikes against targets across the country to protest at continuing investment in and official support for fossil fuels, inaction over fuel poverty and the systematic neglect of renewable energy despite the global climate emergency. more...
Unit 3 of the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan, has been converted for post-combustion CCS, producing over 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year - pipelined to oil fields in the south of the province to increase recovery. Photo: SaskPower vi

False promise of 'carbon capture' exposed

The Ecologist

26th May 2015

The widely touted 'carbon capture and storage' technology is much more expensive than wind and solar, says a Greenpeace report. It also represents a perverse subsidy to the fossil fuel sector that will only boost coal and oil, and delay the transition to a renewable energy system. more...


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