The Ecologist


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When China General Nuclear Power Corporation (under its former name of China Guangdong Nuclear Power) built China's first nuclear power station at Daya Bay near Hong Kong, they left out reinforcement rods from the concrete base under the reactor. Photo: P

Serious issues for George Osborne on China's role in the UK's nuclear future

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th October 2015

George Osborne's silence over nuclear power in his conference speech yesterday speaks volumes, writes Jeffrey Henderson. Fresh from his trip to China to put together deals worth tens of billions with state-owned Chinese corporations to get Hinkley C and Bradwell nuclear plants built, he had nothing to say on the matter. Is it because too many serious questions remain unanswered? 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...
'Oil Refinery at Oxymoron'. Artwork by Wyatt Wellman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

China syndrome: fracked oil and Saudi Arabia's big gamble hit sinking global economy

James Meadway /

10th September 2015

For anyone who believes in the ineffable wisdom of 'free' markets, the current sinkaway oil price takes some explaining, writes James Meadway. Saudi Arabia's big gamble that it could put US shale oil out of business by over-pumping has now collided with China's falling demand for energy. Result: oil producers everywhere are swimming in red ink. Where will it all end? more...
The NK cement plant near Manpo, From across the Yalu River, Ji'an. Cement making is a major source of emissions in China due to the breakneck pace of construction. Photo: Caitriana Nicholson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

China's emissions 14% lower than IPCC thought

Eliza Berlage

20th August 2015

The IPCC has over-estimated China's emissions since 2000 by 14%, almost 3 gigatonnes of carbon since 2000, while its energy consumption has been 10% higher than realised, writes Eliza Berlage. The country is far more carbon-efficient than we ever knew. more...
It'll take more than Obama's clean power plan to topple these smokestacks at the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Photo: Troy Snow via Flickr (CC BY).

Obama's 'clean power plan' is feeble and fragile

Tim Kruger

15th August 2015

President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions may look like a climate victory, writes Tim Kruger - but it's no such thing. It's feeble because the US can meet its targets by reducing emissions to 2030 more slowly than it has since 2000. And it's fragile as any future President can scrap it at will. more...
One way to use up China's surplus solar panels is with large domestic installations - like this one on the roofs of the Hongqiao Passenger Rail Terminal in Shanghai. Photo: Jiri Rezac / Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

China's solar industry hits downturn

Kieran Cooke

16th August 2015

China is by far the world's biggest producer of solar panels, writes Kieran Cooke. But the industry is suffering from over-capacity, razor thin profits and a failure to innovate. more...
Nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset, UK. Photo: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament via Flickr (CC BY).

Hinkley Point C: is it all over now?

Oliver Tickell

6th August 2015

Following high-level criticisms of the Hinkley C nuclear plant from HSBC and the Chancellor's father in law, EDF, the company in line to build the power station, is fighting back hard, writes Oliver Tickell. But it could all be too late to rescue the doomed project. more...
Ordinary white rice, and Golden rice. Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikimedia (CC BY).

Golden rice GMO paper retracted after judge rules for journal

Retraction Watch

31st July 2015

A key paper that's been widely cited to justify the use of GM 'Golden rice' to boost vitamin A nutrition has been withdrawn due to ethical breaches, with no proof of consent by parents of the children taking part in trials. But that's not the only objection. more...
Nike was one of the 'problem companies' identified in an earlier Greenpeace report, but now it's leading the battle against releases of toxic chemicals. Photo: Alan Klim via Flickr (CC BY).

Victory! Toxic chemical banned in EU textile imports

Yixiu Wu / The Ecologist

26th July 2015

'Detox' campaigners scored a huge victory this week when EU countries voted unanimously to ban imports of clothes and textiles containing the toxic 'gender bender' chemical NPE. more...
The Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, where two AP1000 reactors are under construction, and subject to long delays and cost overruns. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Nugen's AP1000 nuclear reactor - is it any better than the EPR?

Chris Goodall

17th July 2015

As nuclear projects using the EPR design run into long delays and huge costs overruns, industry hopes are pinned on the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, writes Chris Goodall. But with eight AP1000 projects around the world going the way of the EPR, is it really a wise choice for the UK's Moorside nuclear site? 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...
The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site from Drigg Beach, Cumbria, UK. Photo: Ashley Coates via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Civil servants must speak out: 'the time has gone for nuclear power'

Paul Flynn MP

18th June 2015

Despite the PR spin the truth about nuclear power is clear, says Paul Flynn. Current projects are plagued with technical failures, cost escalations and long delays - while renewables power ahead. As tin-eared ministers refuse to get the message, it's time for civil servants to speak out direct to the public. more...

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Some 300 indigenous Guajajara and Awá-Guajá people blockade the Carajás railroad in October 2012 to call for the repeal of Brazil's Ordinance 303, which abolished the need for indigenous consultation for major infrastructure projects deemed integral to

'Deadly' trans-Amazon railway sparks fear among rainforest tribes

The Ecologist

16th June 2015

A proposed $30 billion railway line linking the the Peruvian and Brazilian coasts threatens devastation to forests and indigenous tribes that lie along its route, and will add to wider pressures on land and forests. 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...
The Tesla Roadster - pictured here in Ventura, California - is a great car. But even though it creates no pollution when you drive it, its manufacture leaves a heavy toxic footprint. Photo: Wendell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The green energy revolution is exciting - but don't forget the pollution!

Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme

3rd June 2015

Boading, dubbed China's 'greenest city', is the world's biggest maker of solar panels and wind turbines, write Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme. But it's also has the country's worst pollution. Green energy, electric cars and the batteries that power them are great, but with the heavy toxic footprint they carry from mine to factory, we must not delude ourselves that they are 'sustainable'. more...
Despite constant reports of China's soaring coal burn, the country's carbon emissions are falling. Photo: coal power plant near one of Beijing's 'Ring Roads' by Bret Arnett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Is China's emissions slump real - or are they making it up?

David Toke

17th May 2015

Cynical western media are pouring cold water on reports of China's declining carbon emissions, writes David Toke. The trouble is, the cross-sectoral statistics that demonstrate the reductions are actually rather convincing. Maybe journalists should be asking different questions - like just how well is the US performing? more...
The Olkiluoto nuclear power complex in the snow, with the Unit 3 EPR under construction to the left. A second EPR has now been cancelled. Photo: Mattias Olsson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Finland cancels Olkiluoto 4 nuclear reactor - is the EPR finished?

Dr Jim Green & Oliver Tickell

15th May 2015

This week Finland cancelled its option for a second European Pressurised Reactor as the existing EPR project sinks into a abyss of cost over-runs, delays and litigation, writes Jim Green. It now looks like the EPR is a failed technology and its owner, French nuclear giant Areva, is fast running out of both money and orders as its 'hot prospects' evaporate. more...
The sacred water of Gosainkunda Lake at the headwaters of the Trishuli River, soon to be changed forever by the construction fo a succession of high dams. Photo: Yosarian via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

In Nepal's next big quake, hydropower dams threaten catastrophe

Michael Buckley

4th May 2015

A spate of hydroelectric dam building in Nepal means that future earthquakes could send inland tsunamis flooding down the steep mountain valleys, writes Michael Buckley. Disaster was averted in last month's quake - a badly damaged dam was not yet filled. But despite the risks and the damage to river ecology, tourism and rural livelihoods, there's no sign of any policy shift. more...
Blue skies shining on renewable energy ... Bangui Windmills, located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Photo: Paolo Dala via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The renewable revolution is upon us

Michael Klare

7th May 2015

Mainstream energy analysts cling firmly to the belief that fossil fuels will attract the lion's share of world energy investment for a long time to come, writes Michael Klare. But there are four compelling reasons why they are wrong. The renewable revolution is under way, and has already gathered an unstoppable momentum. more...
Precious little harmony here: a building site in Beijing. But change is on the way. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Amid the smoke and chaos of 'development', China seeks a return to ancient harmony

Thembi Mutch

19th May 2015

China is struggling with a myriad of environmental challenges, writes Thembi Mutch, as the country 'develops' at breakneck speed with massive construction projects, and industrial expansion. But amid the chaos and filth, the Chinese people are mindful of their history and ancient principles of harmony with nature - something that many are working hard to restore. more...
Cycling in Beijing. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Chinese environmentalism: driven by a deep desire for healthy living and wholesome food

Thembi Mutch

24th April 2015

China's growing 'bling' culture has taken off big time, writes Thembi Mutch - yet it is widely reviled among ordinary people who in the face of China's industrial boom hold resolutely to traditional values of economy and frugality, quietly yearning for the old days of clean air and safe, wholesome food to fill their stomachs. more...
A gigantic dam under construction on the Upper Mekong River.

Damming Tibet: China's destruction of Tibet's rivers, environment and people

Michael Buckley

13th April 2015

When Michael Buckley took a white water rafting trip in Tibet in 2005, he had no idea of the adventure he was embarking on - a ten-year investigation of China ruthless exploitation of Tibet's mineral and hydroelectric resources, and its systematic attack on indigenous Tibetans, their culture and their survival on the land. more...
The dazzling pace of development in China comes at a human cost - of those dispossessed to make way for it all. Tianmu is one of the villages in the way of the expansion of Tianjin, pictured. Photo: Yang Aijun / World Bank via Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).

Tianjin, China: a village 'land grab' protest spells trouble for the Communist state

Samantha Hoffman & Jonathan Sullivan

11th April 2015

Rising anger by China's dispossessed - those displaced from their homes, villages and farms to make way for ever-expanding cities and infrastructure - is posing an existential threat to the ruling regime, write Samantha Hoffman & Jonathan Sullivan. At the root of the problem is the state's inability to tackle endemic official corruption and deliver justice to its citizens. more...
If the Adami mine goes ahead, the Abbot Point port will be in line for a massive upgrade. But the Queensland Government is paying nothing towards the cost. Photo: Greenpeace.

Money dries up for Great Barrier Reef coal project

Marina Lou & Christine Ottery / Greenpeace Energydesk

16th March 2015

Indian coal firm Adani is struggling to finance its proposed mega coal mine in Australia's Galilee Basin, write Marina Lou & Christine Ottery, as promised government support evaporates and a major investor looks set to pull out. more...
The pollution of Chao Lake is obvious - even from space. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Meat boom propels China's ecosystems into total collapse

John Dearing

2nd March 2015

China's farming boom has massively increased food production, writes John Dearing - especially of meat. But it has come at a massive cost: the wholesale pollution and destruction of core ecosystems. more...


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