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Greenpeace action at Shell's petrol station in Davos, January 2013. Photo: Greenpeace Switzerland via Flickr.

Arctic madness: oil majors plead for lower safety standards

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

6th October 2014

Oil majors are gearing up to exploit Arctic oil, writes Mike G. But they don't want to carry the costs of all the safety equipment the US Government is demanding to protect the fragile Arctic environment from spills. And they're reluctant to give up the use of toxic chemical dispersants. more...
The Solucar PS10 solar tower near Seville in southern Spain. Photo: Alejandro Flores via Flickr.

IEA: Solar could be world's biggest power source by 2050

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

10th October 2014

Solar power could be producing over a quarter of the world's electricity within 35 years, according to the International Energy Agency. But in the US, Congress's failure to extend solar tax credits is causing projects to be withdrawn.
more...
About half the world's coal is being produced at a loss, as buyers turn away. ALCOA Anglesea coal mine, Australia. Photo: Takver via Flickr.

Tide turning against global coal industry

Chris Rose / DeSmogBlog

2nd October 2014

King Coal's reign is coming to an end, writes Chris Rose, at least as a fuel for generating electricity. Following a price collapse half of all production is being sold at a loss - and major coal users like China are still moving away from the high-carbon fuel. more...
Uvinye villagers sheltering from the midday sun. Photo: Alejandra Orozco-Quintero.

Uvinje, Tanzania - an indigenous community erased in the name of conservation

Alejandra Orozco-Quintero

3rd October 2014

A small fishing community in Tanzania is the victim of a land grab carried out by powerful national park officials using inaccurate maps, writes Alejandra Orozco-Quintero - even though they are part of a long-standing, successful conservation partnership. Is it all to make way for a high-end tourism development? more...
Homes of Sengwer people stand burning in Embobut, Kenya. Photo: Forest Peoples Programme.

World Bank 'failing to protect Kenya forest dwellers'

John Vidal / The Guardian

30th September 2014

The eviction of Kenya's Sengwer forest people in a World Bank financed project was a failure of the Bank's duty to protect indigenous people, according to an internal report. The Bank's directors are to decide on how to respond today - but if they follow their own management's advice, the evictions will continue. more...
These bananas in India are grown for their edible seed as well as their flesh. To increase food security in a warming world, we must increase the diversity of our food crops. Photo: VitaminGreen via Flickr.

In a warming world, food security means crop diversity

Sayed Azam-Ali

10th October 2014

The global homogenisation of food carries costs, writes Sayed Azam-Ali - notably the world's the increasing dependence on just a few 'elite crops', creating a precarious food system vulnerable to climate change. We must diversify our diets, and the crops that that feed us. more...
Former EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt speaks at an ALEC event sponsored by ExxonMobil, among other dirty energy interests and Fortune 500 companies. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Like Google, Facebook, responsible corporates must ditch climate-change denying ALEC

Forecast the Facts

30th September 2014

Google and Facebook have both recently quit ALEC, the corporate-funded climate change-denying US body that drafts right-wing laws for adoption by state legislatures. In a letter to Google, ALEC claims it does not deny climate change - an assertion strongly challenged by campaign group Forecast the Facts. more...
Gray Wolf. Photo: Digimist via Flickr.

Wyoming's Gray Wolves win back federal protection - for now

The Ecologist

29th September 2014

In a rare 'summary judgment' a federal court has ruled that the devolution of gray wolf protection to the state of Wyoming was unlawful because it was based on non-binding assurances. Federal protection is restored - for now. But an even bigger battle lies ahead. more...
A Navajo Hotshot firefighter in Division A battles the West Mullan Fire in the Lolo National Forest, MT, July 2013. Photo: USDA via Flickr.com.

California burning points to more intense wildfires

Kieran Cooke

4th October 2014

As the forest fires burn on in the western US, writes Kieran Cooke, a new report predicts that climate-led temperature rise will lead to millions more acres across the world being burned to the ground, especially in southern Europe and Australia. more...
The Indigenous Peoples of Russia's Siberian region are among those opposed to oil development in the Arctic. Is that why officials blocked their representatives from attending the indigenous summit in New York? Photo: Irina Kazanskaya via Flickr.

Russia: officials block indigenous leaders from UN Assembly

The Ecologist

26th September 2014

Why so few Russian representatives at the UN's World Conference on Indigenous Peoples? Officials prevented activists - some opposing Arctic oil development - from leaving the country, damaging passports and detaining them so they missed their planes. more...
Much of Australia's coal is too high in ash, sulphur, or both, to meet China's new environmental standards. Will it be able to find the new customers it needs? Photo: Stephen Codrington / Wikimedia Commons.

China's war on pollution could leave Australia's dirty coal out in the cold

Shabbir Ahmad

25th September 2014

To tackle its serious air pollution, China is imposing stringent restrictions on dirty coal high in ash or sulphur, writes Shabbir Ahmad. One result: half of Australia's coal exports to China face exclusion, or extra 'washing' costs. But Australia's response is not to raise environmental quality. Instead, it's increasing production. more...
The challenge is to ensure that her voice, and those of millions of other indigenous people, does not get drowned out by economic and political power. A woman from the Ndebele tribe in Kwadlaulale Market, South Africa. Photo: United Nations Photo via Flic

Indigenous women versus men of power: the real dispute at the UN

Lisa VeneKlasen

24th September 2014

Both the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Summit have taken place at the UN this week, writes Lisa VeneKlasen - each producing their lofty declarations. But what really matters is whose voices are being heard, and will be acted on, in a profound clash of worldviews. more...

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Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, Butler County, PA operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr.

Skin, respiratory symptoms increase near gas wells

The Ecologist

25th September 2014

A health study in Pennsylvania, USA, shows that people living near fracking and other natural gas wells are more likely to suffer from skin conditions and upper respiratory symptoms. It calls for further study of the associations, including the role of specific air and water exposures. more...
Flaring the Bakken shale with cows, North Dakota. Photo: Sarah Christianson / Earthworks via Flickr.

US shale oil drillers flaring and venting billions of dollars in natural gas

Sharon Kelly / DesmogBlog

20th September 2014

Gas flaring of natural at shale oil wells is carried out on such a scale in North Dakota and Texas that 'phantom cities' show up at night in satellite photos, writes Sharon Kelly. Billions of dollars worth of gas are going up in smoke, adding to CO2 emissions - but far worse for the climate is when the gas is 'vented'. Regulators are doing too little, too late. more...
All tooled up and nowhere to go? HMS Vanguard 'vents off' as she leaves HMNB Clyde in Scotland. Photo: UK Ministry of Defence via Flickr.

A Yes vote in Scotland could finish Trident

Paul Ingram

17th September 2014

If the Scots vote yes on Thursday the UK's already tight military budget will be squeezed even harder, writes Paul Ingram, dramatically increasing the chances of nuclear disarmament. Adding to the UK's headache: the only medium term alternative base for its Trident submarine fleet would be ... in Georgia, USA. more...
A group of Dayaks photographed on Borneo in 1910. The Indonesian government no longer recognises the People as 'indigenous', which may rob modern day Dayaks of protection against World Bank financed development projects.

World Bank to roll back safeguards for indigenous people

Irin News

16th September 2014

The World Bank is considering 'reforms' to its policies to protect indigenous peoples from the impacts of projects it finances that would devolve key decisions to national governments - such as whether an ethnic group is 'indigenous' at all. If passed by the Bank's Board, the changes would strip away a raft of essential human rights protections.. more...
Ashaninka traveling by boat from eastern Peru to visit neighbors in Acre state, Brazil. Photo: © Mike Goldwater / Survival.

Assassination in the Amazon

Oliver Tickell

11th September 2014

Four Indian leaders who have opposed illegal logging in their forests have been shot dead in eastern Peru as they traveled by boat to an indigenous meeting in Brazil. The murders followed pleas to Peruvian authorities for protection, and warnings by Brazilian officials that the Indians were in extreme danger. more...
San Onofre Beach State Park, California. In the background, a nuclear power station. Two of the three generating units are now closed. Photo: Luke Jones via Flickr.

Nuclear power - insanity at taxpayers' and consumers' expense

Ralph Nader

12th September 2014

Nuclear power exists for one reason only, writes Ralph Nader - government support. Without the taxpayer subsidies, accident liability waivers and exploited consumers, nuclear power wouldn't exist. And even with all the above, it can barely hold on. It's time to end the nuclear boondoggle for once and for all. more...
Hunter Lovins. Photo: Joi Ito via Flickr.

Wild horses, Hunter Lovins, and the way to a better world

Sophie Morlin-Yron

10th September 2014

Hunter Lovins is on a mission, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron: to put the transformational technologies we already have to work for the benefit of people and business - and to re-create the economy so it's no longer a machine for polluting the planet and devouring natural resources, but a mechanism for building and sustaining natural and human capital. more...
Amaranth amongst the the corn plants. It is traditional in Oaxaca, to grow crops in the same field. This is called the ‘milpa system'. Photo: Anna Bruce.

Amaranth revival - Mexican farmers rediscover an ancient superfood

Anna Bruce

25th October 2014

Mexico's conquistadors outlawed amaranth - a highly nutritious seed farmed by the indigenous peoples for millennia - due to its use in religious rituals. But it's now being hailed as a 'superfood', writes Anna Bruce, and a growing number of Mexican campesinos are once again cultivating the 'noble plant' among their corn, squash and beans. more...
Ranching on BLM lands is a taxpayer-subsidised environmental degradation. Photo: Cattle near the Bruneau River in Elko County, Nevada. Photo: Famartin / Wkimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wild West Welfare - how ranching made US public lands private property

William Williers

26th September 2014

Livestock ranching on US public lands underlies a vast range of environmental problems - so should we welcome 'conservation buyouts' of ranches that own grazing leases? No way, writes William Williers, because the lands are already ours, and to 'buy' them is to support and perpetuate a $1 billion per year fraud against the American people. more...
Nightingale singing in a hawthorn tree. Photo: John Bridges / rspb-images.com.

Housing against nightingales - no way!

Martin Harper / RSPB

8th September 2014

A 5,000-house development has just won planning permission on a SSSI nature area in Kent which is home to over 1% of the UK's nightingales. It violates government planning policies, and ministers have the power to stop it. But will they? Yes they will, writes Martin Harper - provided enough people show they care! more...
Still from the Mercy for Animals video of Bettencourt Dairy, Idaho.

Success for challenge to Idaho 'ag-gag' law

Oliver Tickell

5th September 2014

A legal challenge to a draconian Idaho law that outlaws free speech about animal abuses on factory farms has survived a 'motion to dismiss' in a federal court. The challenge, mounted by free speech, animal welfare, food and environment groups, claims the 'ag gag' law is unconstitutional. more...
Konstantin Rubakhin is currently in hiding. Photo: Konstantin Rubakhin.

Western sanctions could help Russia's environment - but will they?

Konstantin Rubakhin

19th September 2014

Sanctions against Russian natural resource tycoons could be good for the environment, writes eco-campaigner Konstantin Rubakhin - if only they would target the right people. But so far, the EU has been turning a blind eye to powerful Kremlin insiders with an open licence to pollute and destroy. more...
This $4.9bn diamond mine opens tomorrow in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Photo: Gem Diamonds.

Botswana government lies exposed as $5bn diamond mine opens on Bushman land

Oliver Tickell

4th September 2014

Ten years after promises of 'no mining' in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a $5 billion diamond mine opens a few miles from a Bushman village. Elsewhere in the Reserve, fracking is under way. And President Ian Khama, a director of Conservation International, denounces the Bushmen as 'poachers' and evicts them from their land. more...

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