The Ecologist


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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...
Cows housed indoors at a UK mega-dairy. Photo: Andrew Wasley / Ecostorm.

The march of the industrial mega-dairy - is this the future of milk?

Andrew Wasley

23rd November 2015

As falling milk prices push dairy farm out of business, new mega-dairies and feedlot operations of 700 or more cows are filling the void, writes Andrew Wasley. Never mind the pollution, slurry lagoons, and heavy plant on country lanes - do we want the cows that produce our milk confined to sheds? And what's the future for traditional dairy farmers with small, well cared for herds? 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...
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...
Stockwell Tube Station, London, where Jean Charles da Silva e de Menezes was shot dead on 22nd July 2005 by officers of the London Metropolitan Police Service at Stockwell Station. He was entirely innocent of having anything to do with terrorism. Photo: A

Shooting to kill Corbyn - the coup is on

Oliver Tickell

18th November 2015

Right wing Labour MPs have launched a full-scale coup against Jeremy Corbyn, and against the members of the party they represent, writes Oliver Tickell. Their plan is simple - backed by mainstream media, to discredit him so utterly that even his supporters turn against him - and elect a new 'heir to Blair' leader. more...
'Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.' Prometheus Brings Fire by Heinrich Friedrich Füger.

Britain's race for the climate abyss - only we can stop it now!

Alan Simpson

13th November 2015

The government's policies on climate, energy and industry are not merely stupid, writes Alan Simpson. The repeated cuts to renewables and energy efficiency, combined with limitless largesse to fossil fuels, has reached the point of insanity in the face of the UK's legal obligations and the growing climate crisis. Only we, the people, can end the madness. more...
Thanks to the sudden withdrawal of tax benefits for community energy projects, these waters at Abingdon Lock, Oxfordshire, will remain unharnessed for many years to come. Photo: Victor Bayon (CC BY-NC-SA).

George Osborne must back down on community energy tax

Georgina Matthews

11th November 2015

Surprise changes to the Finance Bill in its third reading have withdrawn tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy projects, writes Georgina Matthews. While some societies are rushing to complete their fund-raising by the end of the month, others have been forced to close. If these measures are not withdrawn, a small but flourishing sector will be at risk. more...
Energy Secretary Amber Radd fielding questions in the Energy and Climate Change Committee today, 10th November 2015. Photo: still from

Facing legal action, strong support for solar and wind, Rudd refuses to reverse cuts

Oliver Tickell

10th November 2015

Despite strong public support for wind and solar power in an official survey published today, the UK's likely failure to meet its EU renewable energy target, and an impending legal challenge, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd today told MPs she would not be reversing recent cuts, writes Oliver Tickell. more...
Photo: Greg Lilly via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

An activists' guide to the 'Snooper's Charter' - and what to do about it

Paul Mobbs

12th November 2015

The recently announced Snoopers Charter 2.0 gives the state enormous powers to delve into our lives, writes Paul Mobbs. And all the more so when combined with other data to which the government has access - by simply buying it from commercial providers. If you don't like the idea, it's time to get your systems secure and shrink your digital data trail. more...
DCNS and Nass&Wind designed this 'Winflo' floating wind turbine.

With floating platforms, offshore wind cost set to plunge

Paul Brown

11th November 2015

Floating wind turbines offer huge falls in the cost of offshore wind power, writes Paul Brown, and could be generating power in UK waters at well under the cost of new nuclear by 2020, provided adequate support. more...
Dressed to kill ... the Essex Hunt. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Fox hunting season begins under cloud of political spin

Dr Toni Shephard

8th November 2015

The fox-hunting season is now well under way, writes Toni Shephard. But with Cameron still pressing for a Commons vote on wrecking amendments to the Hunting Act, political controversy shows no sign of subsiding. Take, for example, the proposed lifting of the limit on number of dogs that can be used for the 'observation or study' of a wild mammal. more...
Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photo: Association for Decentralised Energy via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Leaked letter: Rudd admits 25% green energy undershoot, misled Parliament

Oliver Tickell

9th November 2015

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was 'on course' to deliver on its renewable energy targets - when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and 'credits' from abroad - everything but wind and solar. more...

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Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd at the 'Vote Out Trident' CND protest outside the Ministry of Defence,  London, 13 April 2015. Photo: RonF / The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Jeremy Corbyn is right to reject Trident

Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret'd)

9th November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn came under attack yesterday for his refusal to countenance the use of nuclear weapons, writes Commander Robert Green. But his stance is honourable and both legally and strategically correct - especially with his opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear missile system. more...
Xioa Yan Kou Farm, China. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

From China to Europe, nuclear is losing the energy race to renewables

Paul Dorfman

10th November 2015

The UK-China plan for new nuclear build in England defy the evolving reality of 21st century power networks, writes Paul Dorfman. In China itself, the nuclear dream is hitting construction problems and delays, while wind and solar blossom at ever falling cost. But the phenomenon is global. Despite some governments' nuclear obduracy, renewables are winning the race hands down. more...
The UK's nuclear deal with China comes with a quid pro quo: the City of London's lucrative access to Chinese financial markets, exemplified by the glistening towers of Shanghai's Pudong District. Photo: Allan Watt via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's nuclear deal with China is a boon for bankers - and no one else

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th November 2015

The UK's nuclear deal with China makes no sense, writes Jeffrey Henderson - unless you factor in the simultaneous agreement to forge lucrative links between UK and Chinese financial markets. Lucrative, that is, for the City institutions whose interests the British government so assiduously represents. As for the rest of us, our task is simple: to bear the ever-growing cost. more...
A new dawn beckons for renewable energy. Photo: winter sun in Joppa, Massachusetts by Russ Seidel via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

A clean, green energy future beckons!

Dave Elliott

5th November 2015

The world could soon be generating all its electricity from renewable sources, writes Dave Elliott, by harnessing diverse technologies for generation, grid balancing and energy storage. Add to that the use of power surpluses to make fuels, and it could even be feasible to make all our energy - not just electricity - renewable. A clean green future beckons. more...
The Aquatic Warbler, once endangered, and been restored to a healthy population level thanks to action taken under the EU's Nature Directives. Photo: LubosHouska via Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain).

Why isn't the UK standing up for EU Nature Laws?

Catherine Weller / ClientEarth

5th November 2015

The EU's Nature Directives have been doing a great job of protecting Europe's most threatened species and habitats and building up wildlife numbers, writes Catherine Weller, and the UK knows it. But now it's the Directives themselves that are under threat. Other EU countries are standing up for them - but not the UK. more...
Bumblebee, maybe Bombus terrestris or B. lucorum, at Fairlands Valley Park Environment Lake, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, 5 July 2013. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Our threatened bees deserve better!

Sandra Bell / Friends of the Earth

4th November 2015

On the first anniversary of the UK's National Pollinator Strategy, writes Sandra Bell, the Bee Coalition warns that bees are still under threat from highly toxic pesticides, continuing loss of habitat, and an increasingly inhospitable countryside. The Government must do more to protect our bees. more...
In the dark: a badger in Pembrokeshire snaffles up a tasty snack. Photo: Chris Frewin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

In the dark: badger cull cost-benefit report is state secret

The Ecologist

2nd November 2015

The Government has refused to publish its report on the cost effectiveness of England's badger cull because it is 'still in draft form'. Campaigners say the real reason is that it reveals the cull to be cruel, ineffective and incredibly expensive. more...
Solar panels, and the price we pay for them, have already fallen to earth. Coming up next, batteries. Photo: International Space Station, 2011, by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Batteries and renewables - believe the hype!

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace Energydesk

5th November 2015

What's the new 'big thing' in energy? Of course, cheap, abundant solar power is very new and very big. But to make it work on a really large scale we need to be able to store its energy to use when we need it, not just when the sun is shining. Soon the batteries will be there to make that possible - at a price we can afford. And that will be a very big thing, indeed. more...
Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne map out their planned destruction of the UK renewable energy industry. Photo: Number 10 via Fliclr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government cuts tax relief for community green energy

Aisha Gani / the Guardian Environment

30th October 2015

Another week, another renewable energy cut. This time George Osborne is swinging the axe at tax breaks for community renewable energy schemes, writes Aisha Gani - even though previous cuts have already made 90% of projects unviable. more...
Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres taking part in a recent Art no Oil protest at the British Museum. He is taking BP to court over its alleged involvement in his 42-day kidnap and torture by a paramilitary group, during which he was kept in an insec

BBC fails to challenge BP arts sponsorship chief on kidnap and torture allegations

Chris Garrard / Art Not Oil

26th October 2015

Last week BP's Peter Mather - who claims to have 'green and yellow oil' flowing in his veins - took to the airwaves on Radio 4's The Bottom Line'. Evan Davies asked some tough questions, writes Chris Garrard - but failed to mention the shocking case of Colombian trades unionist Gilberto Torres, kidnapped and tortured for 42 days by paramilitaries employed by BP's joint venture partner. more...
Michael Meacher MP addresses the group 'The State We Need' at the Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square, 25th October 2014. Photo: Sheila via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Michael Meacher: an environment minister who stood up for his beliefs

John Vidal / the Guardian Environment

22nd October 2015

The late Labour MP fought both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on environmental policies, writes John Vidal, standing up for climate and access to countryside, and against GMO crops and road building. Radical to the end, he was one of the few MPs to support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. more...
The £1 plan garnered cross-party support from over 30 MPs from all parties yesterday at an action outside the House of Commons including Sir David Amess MP (Con), Mims Davies MP (Con), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con), Caroline Flint MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MP

Back our emergency £1 solar rescue plan

Sonia Dunlop / Solar Trade Association

22nd October 2015

Massive government cuts in solar 'feed in tariffs' threaten to wipe out our highly successful solar industry, writes Sonia Dunlop - and all to save £1 year off our fuel bills. Yes, that's all it would cost to keep the sector in business, employing tens of thousands of expert solar installers all over the UK. 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...


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