The Ecologist


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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...
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...
Smoke rises above the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukuzilla? China's nuclear boom threatens global catastrophe

Oliver Tickell

28th October 2015

China's plans for 400 nuclear reactors threaten global catastrophe, writes Oliver Tickell. In the normal way of things we could expect major accidents every few years, but with 300 reactors along China's seismically active coast, a major tsunami would be a Fukushima on steroids - wiping out much of China and contaminating the whole planet. more...
Logging road and cut logs awaiting collecting in the Laos rainforest. Photo: Denis Smirnov.

Leaked WWF report: illegal logging in Laos 'a worst-case scenario'

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

22nd October 2015

Forests in Laos are disappearing at a ferocious rate under the impact of rampant illegal logging which accounts for 90% or more of the industry, with lucrative export markets in Vietnam and China, writes Chris Lang. 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...
Years late, billions over budget: construction of two AP1000 reactors at Vogtle, South Carolina, October 2011. Photo: Charles C Watson Jr / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

UK-China nuclear deal won't keep our lights on

Oliver Tickell

21st October 2015

The UK's plan to get China to build and finance new nuclear power stations is based on a wish and a prayer, writes Oliver Tickell. There is no reactor design, including new Chinese ones, that we can depend on to fill our impending power generation gap. This time, the last one out won't even have to turn out the lights. more...
Will China blow up the UK's nuclear bubble? The Sizewell nuclear site (A left, B right) where state owned Chinese companies are lined up a build another nuclear power plant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The UK-China nuclear deal is an existential threat to our nation's future

Dr David Lowry & Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

The UK is embarking on a reckless endeavour in its attempted nuclear union with China, write David Lowry & Oliver Tickell. China's investments will come at a high price, one that transcends mere money and the undoubted security risk inherent in its control of key elements of our energy infrastructure. At risk is the UK's very future as a sovereign, independent nation. more...
George Monbiot at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson / TED Conference via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

China syndrome: meltdown time for pro-nuclear 'greens'

Jonathon Porritt

19th October 2015

The love affair of the 'pro-nuclear greens' with a failed technology has paved the way to the UK's destruction of its renewable energy industry, writes Jonathon Porritt, and to the imminent deal with Chinese parastatal corporations to build a new fleet of already obsolete nuclear power plants at massive cost to us all. more...
Smog Alert in Peoples Square, Beijing, China, on 15th February 2014. Photo: Lei Han via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

China's smog kills over a million each year - but there's blue skies ahead

Oliver Wild, Lancaster University

19th October 2015

China's smog is an increasing cause of public discontent, writes Oliver Wild - and no wonder! New research shows that the country's air pollution is killing over a million people every year. Thanks to China's geography the problem is hard to solve, but the rapid rise of renewables and the slow demise of coal do offer the promise of cleaner, healthier future. more...
These anti-TPP protesters in Vancouver, Canada, are about to get their way. Now the text will have to be made public. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

TPP agreement in 12 points - the fightback begins here

Nick Dearden

6th October 2015

The successful conclusion of the TPP talks is a huge blow for social and economic justice, writes Nick Dearden in his twelve point summary. But it's not over yet: the long secret text must now be made public. And there's every chance it can be defeated in an increasingly skeptical Congress. more...
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...

CHINA: 1/25 of 133
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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...
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...


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