The Ecologist


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Finance and terror, war and profit: never far apart. A US army helicopter hovers over Royal Victoria Dock, away from the DESI 2015 arms fair at the ExCeL Centre, 19th September 2015. Photo: Matt Buck via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

'The terror dividend' - how traders and lobbyists made a killing from the Paris attacks

Paul Mobbs

25th November 2015

Amid the human suffering caused by terror attacks, it's easy to forget the economic dimensions, writes Paul Mobbs. But after the 13th November attacks in Paris defence industry shares soared, while a host of connected think tanks, lobbyists and politicians dominated the media in pushing for military responses. Is it time to expose and confront the terror industrial complex? 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...
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...
You may not be able to march for the climate in Paris, but there's plenty of other events taking place all over the world. Photo: People's Climate March in New York, 20th September 2014 by Canopic (CC BY-NC-ND).

The Paris attacks make climate protests more important than ever

Nick Dearden / Global Justice Now

19th November 2015

There is a sad irony in the security clampdown on the climate 'mobilisations' planned for COP21 in Paris, writes Nick Dearden. Because those affected are the very people who are most commited to building a green, just, peaceful world free of the chaos and disruption that climate change is bringing. more...
Eiffel Tower, Paris, 16th November 2015. Photo: Pras viedegeek via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21, Paris: 'Another world is possible, necessary and urgent'

Brian Tokar

17th November 2015

The greatest danger of the Paris conference is that the global South will be bullied into to accepting a terrible deal rather than leave with none at all, writes Brian Tokar. That gives civil society an essential role - to support the resistance of developing country representatives inside the summit to an unjust and ineffective agreement imposed on them by the rich, powerful, high-emitting nations. more...
Image: Sebastián Núñez via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Paris attacks - COP21 and the war on terror

Oliver Tickell

14th November 2015

Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009? Perhaps, writes Oliver Tickell. But failure to reach a strong climate agreement now looks more probable. And that's an outcome that would suit ISIS - which makes $500m a year from oil sales - together with other oil producers. more...
If there's one thing the French are good at, it's demonstrating - as it this huge climate action and anti-nuclear protest outside the Assemblée Nationale, Paris, on 20th March 2011. Photo: philippe leroyer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21 101 - The Ecologist Guide to the Paris mobilisations

Kara Moses

3rd November 2015

This December, world leaders will meet at COP21 in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on climate change, writes Kara Moses. But the real action and inspiration will be in a host of parallel events, conferences, action and demonstrations attended by tens of thousands of global climate activists. So here's your definitive guide to what will be happening - and how you can join in! more...
What's his plan? Xi Jinping portrait by thierry ehrmann via Flickr (CC BY).

Will Hinkley C ever be built? If so, China will exact a very high price

Oliver Tickell

22nd October 2015

China's nuclear investment into the UK raises more questions than it answers, writes Oliver Tickell. The £6bn committed is nowhere near enough to see Hinkley C to completion, and EDF has few options for raising the rest elsewhere. The only answer is more Chinese money, and it won't come cheap - not for Britain, nor indeed for France's vulnerable nuclear corporations. more...
Permanent pastures and wetlands are a huge and growing carbon store - like this floodplain meadow of 'pozzine' grassland near Ninu lake, south Corsica, France. Photo: Quentin Scouflaire via Flickr (CC BY).

France's plan to increase its soil carbon is an example to the world

John Quinton, Lancaster University

17th October 2015

It sounds like a modest ambition: France wants to raise the amount of carbon in its soils by 0.4% a year, writes John Quinton. But that represents a vast amount of carbon, and its capture into soils will bring a host of other benefits. We should all get with the program! 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...
Some pedestrians are getting tired of waiting ... Photo:  Samu Lang via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Can't drive? Won't drive? Want to drive less?

Chris Church

15th October 2015

Fewer than half the UK's inhabitants even have a driving licence, writes Chris Church. So how come the UK's transport policies are all about meeting the needs of drivers? After all, even drivers are pedestrians the moment they step out of their cars. Now a new campaign group is forming to give a voice to non-drivers - and demand a better deal. more...
Platinum Catalyst in Aqueous Solution: the oxygen atoms, in water, are red; the hydrogen molecules are white, and platinum atoms are blue-gray. High-level details of the structure can be seen in the reflections of each atom surface. Photo: Argonne Nationa

Hydrogen car price breakthrough: it's the platinum

The Ecologist

14th October 2015

Hydrogen cars - and the fuel cells that drive them - are about to get a whole lot cheaper thanks to a redesign of the platinum catalyst that makes them work, writes Oliver Tickell. By inserting atom-sized holes into the precious metal's surface, its activity can be trebled. more...

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Plane coming in to land at Heathrow. 70% of flights are taken by just 15% of the population, while over half don't travel at all in any single year. Photo: Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Instead of airport expansion, a 'frequent flyer tax'

Keith Taylor MEP

10th October 2015

The demand for ever more air travel and new runways comes from a small minority of frequent flyers, writes Keith Taylor - the 15% who take 70% of flights. So we can reduce that demand with a frequent flyer tax - while making it cheaper for ordinary families to enjoy an annual holiday abroad. more...
Look, no pollution! The 2016 Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Dieselgate - our wake-up call for new car technologies

Harry Hoster, Lancaster University

8th October 2015

The real lesson of Volkswagen's 'dieselgate' scandal is that we must ditch petroleum fuels, writes Harry Hoster. There's new, clean technologies just waiting to take off - and the most promising is fuel cells. They will also fit right into the new world of renewables, with surplus power from wind and solar making the hydrogen they burn. more...
EDF puts in place the reactor dome on the Flamville 3 EPR reactor in July 2013. But sadly it failed to make sure the reactor vessel that sits at its heart was up to scratch first. And it's not - it has serious metallurgical flaws that could end up sinking

Flamanville nuclear safety fail sounds death knell for Hinkley C

Oliver Tickell

2nd October 2015

Just as George Osborne is hoping to get China to invest billions in EDF's Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, news from EDF's Flamanville nuclear site threatens to sink the project. French regulators are to demand another lengthy round of tests on its flawed reactor vessel. And if Flamanville isn't working by 2020, £17 billion of UK finance guarantees for Hinkley C will collapse. more...
The derelict Crowood Petrol Station next to the dual carriageway on the Cumbernauld Road as you enter the wee town of Chryston on the edge of Glasgow. Photo: byronv2 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

VW wipeout: the end of fossil fuels looms near

Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall

29th September 2015

VW's pollution cheating has caused thousands of premature deaths, write Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall, creating costs that could destroy the company's entire shareholder equity. But this is no 'Black Swan' event. It is an early example of the existential threat to the fossil fuel economy. more...
A bull from Romania meets a grisly death in Gaza following trans-shipment through Israel, winter 2014. Photo: Compassion in World Farming.

EU must end its cruel exports of live animals

Peter Stevenson

3rd October 2015

The EU's long-distance trade in live cattle to the Middle East inflicts horrendous cruelty at every point from farm to slaughter, writes Peter Stevenson, as well as posing public health risks due to grossly insanitary conditions. Live animal exports for meat should be stopped and replaced with a humane trade in refrigerated meat and carcasses. 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...
Salisbury Cathedral took 46 years to build. Would Hinkley C be any quicker? Photo: Photo Phiend via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Hinkley Point must be stopped - even if you believe in nuclear

Chris Goodall

19th September 2015

UK support for low-carbon energy technologies is running at £250 million a year, writes Chris Goodall. Yet the government wants to throw four times more, every year for 35 years, at the Hinkley C nuclear power station, that could take almost as long to build as Salisbury Cathedral. more...
The campaign against Heathrow expansion has really taken off - but climate change part of the argument. Is it all hunky-dory at Gatwick? Photo: Tony Hisgett via Flickr (CC BY).

Labour's climate change fudge: Heathrow, no; Gatwick, yes

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

12th September 2015

Labour's new candidate for London Mayor has taken a firm stand against Heathrow expansion, write Victor Anderson & Rupert Read. But he's all for it at Gatwick - never mind the climate change. For those who oppose new runways on principle, there's only one choice: The Greens' Sian Berry. more...
Maybe he has a better idea? Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide on a spacewalk, 5th September 2012. Photo: Fragile Oasis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Osborne's nuclear fantasies - can you hear me Major Tom?

Doug Parr

10th September 2015

This week Chancellor George Osborne told Parliament that the power from the planned Hinkley C nuclear plant would be cheaper than onshore wind, writes Doug Parr. That could be true on Planet Zog - but here on Earth the reverse is the case. Exactly what are Osborne and his Treasury mandarins smoking? more...
Is it all a pipe-dream? Artist's impression of the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Image: EDF Energy.

Hinkley C nuclear plant postponed indefinitely

Oliver Tickell

4th September 2015

EDF has indefinitely postponed its Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, England, as a new IEA analysis shows that its power will cost UK energy users three times more than it should, writes Oliver Tickell. A similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget - and may never be completed. more...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally 2015. Photo: Rwendland via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Jeremy Corbyn: the green Britain I want to build

Jeremy Corbyn MP

7th August 2015

We need a renewable energy revolution, an end to fracking, no new nuclear power, efficient homes, and the break up of our energy cartels, writes Jeremy Corbyn, All that, and strong protection for wildlife and oceans, no TTIP trade deal with the US, clean air to breathe, and massive investment in public transport. Is there anything not to like? more...
To get more people cycling, you have to make it safe and pleasant as on the Bike North Birmingham cycle path. Photo: BBC Birmingham News Room via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

All go for cycling and walking - but where's the money?

Matthew Ford / CPRE

27th July 2015

Before the election David Cameron promised to increase funding for cycling to £10 a head across the UK, up from its current £2 outside London, writes Matthew Ford. But with the national cycling and walking strategy coming into force this week, that promise is looking ever less likely to be delivered. more...
Trucks in the airport excavation area. Photo: North Forest Defence.

Campaigners resist destruction of Istanbul forests and wetlands for airport megaproject

Rose Bridger

25th July 2015

Destruction of 76 square kilometres of forests, lakes and farmland is proceeding north of Istanbul for the city's third airport, writes Rosie Bridger. But the gigantic ‘aerotropolis' project is vigorously opposed by local farmers and residents, and an urban resistance fighting other ecologically destructive megaprojects across the beautiful, biodiverse region - both on the streets and in the courts. more...


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