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WITNESS: South Africa's Parliament split over future of fracking

Jasper Finkeldey

5th December, 2016

Eight years ago the first exploration applications for unconventional gas extraction were submitted in South Africa. Last week fracking finally received official attention from South Africa's legislature during a debate that revealed how the country's different political parties gauge the benefits and risks linked to the drilling technique. JASPER FINKELDY was at that debate. more...
Flaring at the Scott Township fracking well, Pennsylvania. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Climate? What climate? IEA backs fossil-fuelled future

Oliver Tickell

30th November 2016

The International Energy Agency's latest World Energy Outlook is calling for increased investment in new oil and gas, writes Oliver Tickell, while minimising the fast-growing and ever lower-cost contribution to world energy supply of renewables like wind and solar. more...
A recent demonstration in the British Museum to denounce BP's sponsorship. Photo: Kristian Buus / Art Not Oil.

In the age of Trump, Big Art must cut off Big Oil!

Chris Garrard

29th November 2016

With Trump denying climate change and threatening to reject the Paris Agreement, it's more important than ever for society to hold a firm ethical line, writes Chris Garrard. The last thing we need is our most revered museums and galleries muddying the water by courting the sponsorship of leading climate criminals. more...

Czechs angry at severe water loss caused by Polish mining

Claudia Ciobanu

28th November, 2016

The Turow open-pit lignite mine is drying up water sources on both sides of the Polish-Czech border. In light of plans to expand mining at Turow, Czechs are now rebelling against putting up with damages from a foreign mine they get no benefits from CLAUDIA CIOBANU reports more...
Up Coal Creek without a solar panel? UP C45ACCTE 7507 leads coal buckets through the s-curve near Coal Creek Junction, on the Orin Sub, Powder River Basin. Photo: Jerry Huddleston via Flickr (CC BY).

President Trump: up Coal Creek without a (solar) panel?

Mark Barteau, University of Michigan

10th November 2016

Trump has pledged to ditch the Paris Agreement, scrap Obama's clean power plan, get coal miners back to work, and 'make America great again' on the back of a huge expansion of fossil fuel production, writes Mark Barteau. But he will run into serious difficulties, not least states going their own renewable ways, cheap natural gas, and weak international demand for coal. more...
Longleaf Pine Regeneration in South Carolina. Photo: Justin Meissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix

Nina Skorupska / Renewable Energy Association

27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal. more...
Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo: ineos.com.

Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell & Peter Strachan

20th October 2016

The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment. more...
Lancashire: a local demonstration against fracking - 'Nanas to the front. Advance!' Photo: Victoria Buchan-Dyer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking trumps climate change, pollution, health - and democracy

Tony Bosworth / FoE

13th October 2016

Last week the EU ratified the Paris Agreement to limit climate change, writes Tony Bosworth. So how did Communities Secretary Sajid Javid mark the occasion? By overturning Lancashire's democratic rejection of fracking, so giving a whole new fossil fuel industry the green light to let rip. Hypocrisy? The word hardly does justice to our government's mendacity. more...

Biofuels from seaweed?

Laura Briggs

12th October, 2016

Seaweed is known for its culinary uses and has seen a renaissance in past years thanks to its health claims and a distinctive taste - but there are more ecological benefits to seaweed that currently remain untapped. more...
The Drax coal and biomass fired power station in North Yorkshire, one the UK's biggest point source emitters of greenhouse gases. Photo: Andrew Davidson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

#AxeDrax: campaigners unite for climate justice against coal and biofueled deforestation

Almuth Ernsting

18th October 2016

The Drax power station in North Yorkshire is among Britain's greatest greenhouse gas emitters, writes Almuth Ernsting. Not only is it burning some 6 million tonnes of coal every year, it is also burning its way through forests in the USA and other countries as it converts to biomass-fired units, rewarded by £1.3 million a day in subsidies. Join the #AxeDrax protest this weekend! more...
Aerial view of the completed Hinkley C project. Artists impression by EDF Energy.

Nuclear and fracking: the economic and moral bankruptcy of UK energy policy

Peter Strachan & Alex Russell

27th September 2016

With its choice of Hinkley Point C - a £100 billion nuclear boondoggle - its enthusiastic support for expensive and environmentally harmful fracking, and its relentless attack on renewable energy, the UK government's energy policy is both morally and economically bankrupt, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. It must urgently reconsider this folly and embrace the renewable energy transition. more...
'Imagine there's no Fracking' - banner at London protest outside Parliament, 26th January 2015. Photo: Ron F. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No fracking in the UK under Labour! Just trade not 'free' trade!

Barry Gardiner

26th September 2016

A future Labour government will ban all fracking in the UK and drive forward a clean, affordable energy revolution, Barry Gardiner promised in his conference speech today. And it will openly negotiate 'Just Trade' agreements that respect the environment, health and labour, boosting small business not just multinational corporations. more...

Fuel: 1/25 of 472
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Wind farm in India. Photo: Sundaram + Annam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels

Alex Kirby

15th September 2016

A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel. more...
The pipelines that make up the 3,500km Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea to Italy’s Adriatic coast. Image: Bankwatch Network.

Azerbaijan-Italy gas pipeline defeats EU energy policy

Terry Macalister

14th September 2016

The European Investment Bank is set to offer €3 billion to build the 3,500 km Southern Gas Corridor pipeline from the South Caucasus to the EU, writes Terry Macalister - even though it would undermine EU climate change targets and exacerbate serious human rights abuses. more...
Jeremy Corbyn addressing a leadership rally, 8th August 2016. Photo: Paul Newport via Flickr (CC BY).

Jeremy Corbyn: my plan for Britain's green industrial revolution

Jeremy Corbyn

8th September 2016

Under my leadership Britain will act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environment policies, writes Jeremy Corbyn. Meeting our Paris climate targets will be the starting point for a green industrial revolution that will deliver clean, affordable energy to all, create millions of new jobs, and establish the export industries of the future. more...

The Ecologist Environmentalist Interview: Bill McKibben

Joe Ware

8th September, 2016

The irrepressible Bill McKibben, and the movement he founded - 350.org - have been behind two of the biggest climate change victories in recent years: the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline and the withdrawal of 3.4 trillion dollars of fossil fuel investments. He talks to JOE WARE more...
Before and after: natural wetland forest dominated by Swamp cypress, and an industrial plantation of Lolbolly pine. Both photos via Wikimedia Commons (see details on individual photos); amalgamation by The Ecologist (no rights claimed).

Are the UK 'biomass sustainability standards' legitimising forest destruction?

Almuth Ernsting / Biofuelwatch

18th August 2016

This month wood pellet mills in the southern US that supply the UK's Drax power station were awarded 'sustainability' certificates under a voluntary scheme governed entirely by energy companies. The certificates provide no credible guarantee that the fuel does not come from ecologically valuable natural forests and wetlands, clear-cut and replaced by industrial plantations. more...
Soon the world will be producing its liquid fuels for vehicles from the sun - at a lower cost than mineral petrol / gasoline. Photo: Nick Blackmer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Artificial photosynthesis - how renewable fuels will make oil obsolete

Chris Goodall

22nd August 2016

New technologies are coming on stream that can turn sunlight and wind into liquid fuels for vehicles, homes or power plants, writes Chris Goodall. And by powering the process using 'free' renewable energy on sunny or windy days, the fuel will be as green as can be, and cost less than petroleum. more...
There gold in them thar coffee grounds ... Photo: Dominick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thanks Hugh - now let's stop throwing away the coffee grounds!

Rhodri Jenkins, University of Bath

2nd August 2016

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a done a great job exposing the scandal of Britain's billions of non-recyclable coffee cups, writes Rhodri Jenkins. But what about the coffee itself? The grounds can be used for everything from compost and biodiesel to boutique chemicals and supercapacitors - yet the vast majority of the world's 9m tonnes a year of waste coffee ends up in landfill. more...

TTIP: The most dangerous weapon in the hands of the fossil fuel industry

Andreas Sieber & Pavlos Georgiadis

27th July, 2016

The European Union and the USA have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) behind closed doors since 2013. Negotiators kept insisting that their secret talks would work in the best interest of the public and the environment. But since Greenpeace leaked the TTIP draft negotiating documents it became clearer than ever, that this trade agreement could become one of the most dangerous weapons in the hands of the fossil fuel industry in its effort to kill Climate Action for the 21st century. The elephant in the room is here and it is huge: the word "climate" means something totally different in the TTIP papers. more...
New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...
A bottomland hardwood clearcut that Dogwood Alliance have linked to Enviva, the company that runs the Ahoskie pellet mill, which supplies the UK's Drax power station. Photo: Matt Adam Williams.

Dirtier than coal: burning forests for 'green' energy

Matt Williams

19th July 2016

The UK imports millions of tons of American wood pellets every year to be burned in power stations for 'climate friendly' electricity, writes Matt Williams. But his recent visit to the southern US showed him that this practice is devastating beautiful, natural forests rich in wildlife - while the UK government's own research shows that it's worse for the climate than the coal it replaces. more...
Offshore wind turbine under construction at Burbo Bank, North Sea. Photo: The Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Offshore wind powers ahead as prices drop 30% below nuclear

Kieran Cooke

19th July 2016

The cost of offshore wind power in the North Sea is 30% lower than that of new nuclear, writes Kieran Cooke - helped along by low oil and steel prices, reduced maintenance and mass production. By 2030 the sector is expected to supply 7% of Europe's electricity. more...

The Unfair Narrative on Global Warming and Development: Why it must be challenged

Mark Kernan

18th July, 2016

The industries that have primarily caused, are still causing, and will continue to cause climate change, are the recipients of huge subsidies. Whilst the marginalised are promised a paltry and relatively insignificant amount to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of the problem they did little or nothing to bring about. That's just plain wrong says MARK KERNAN more...
Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall

15th July 2016

Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper. more...

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