The Ecologist


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Can you imagine Stephen Harper here? Justin Trudeau at the 2015 Pride Toronto parade. Photo: Alex Guibord via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Canada's new Liberal government - an environmental renaissance?

Carol Linnitt /

21st October 2015

It's all change in Canada with the dramatic ousting of anti-environment Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, writes Carol Linnitt. Under the new Liberal PM Justin Trudeau things are looking a lot better for climate, science, environment, transparency and First Nations. But Canada is still set to go into the Paris climate talks with the same weak level of commitment. more...
Plane coming in to land at Heathrow. 70% of flights are taken by just 15% of the population, while over half don't travel at all in any single year. Photo: Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Instead of airport expansion, a 'frequent flyer tax'

Keith Taylor MEP

10th October 2015

The demand for ever more air travel and new runways comes from a small minority of frequent flyers, writes Keith Taylor - the 15% who take 70% of flights. So we can reduce that demand with a frequent flyer tax - while making it cheaper for ordinary families to enjoy an annual holiday abroad. more...
Flames break through from deep peatland in burning Indonesian rainfoirest. Photo: Greenpeace via Youtube video (see embed).

Indonesian forest fires will emit more CO2 than UK

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

8th October 2015

Thanks to massive forest clearance for palm oil plantations combined with drought conditions in this 'El Nino' year, writes Zachary Davies Boren, rainforest and peatland fires across Indonesia are set to emit more carbon than the UK, while covering millions of square kilometres with choking smoke. more...
The derelict Crowood Petrol Station next to the dual carriageway on the Cumbernauld Road as you enter the wee town of Chryston on the edge of Glasgow. Photo: byronv2 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

VW wipeout: the end of fossil fuels looms near

Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall

29th September 2015

VW's pollution cheating has caused thousands of premature deaths, write Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall, creating costs that could destroy the company's entire shareholder equity. But this is no 'Black Swan' event. It is an early example of the existential threat to the fossil fuel economy. more...
There's a mammoth surprise lurking in the permafrost: 1,700 billion tonnes of frozen carbon. Let that go and the world's climate may never be the same. BC Museum Photo: Tyler Ingram via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Mammoth Arctic carbon thaw would cost us $43 trillion

Tim Radford

23rd September 2015

Something scary is lurking in the melting Arctic permafrost, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell: 1,700 Gt of carbon. That's 53 years worth of current emissions, and if we let it melt the impact would cost the world $43 tn. Or act now, and we could preserve the Arctic ice for a seventh as much. more...
Sun sinking in smoke from Indonesia's burning forests and peatlands, Singapore, around 6pm on 21st September 2014. Photo: Yvonne Perkins via Flickr (CC BY).

Indonesia chokes as forest and peatland fires rip

The Ecologist

21st September 2015

The burning forests and peatlands of Indonesia are once again casting a pall of choking smoke across the region, in the process releasing billions of tonnes of carbon. Promises to solve the problems stand betrayed - and COP21 commitments to tackle the problem are being weakened. more...
Burn all our fossil fuels, and all the ice in Antarctica will melt, causing sea levels to rise 58m. The Ellsworth Range in Antarctica as seen from the IceBridge DC-8, 22nd October 2012. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY).

Let fossil fuels rip for an ice-free Antarctica

Tim Radford

18th September 2015

Scientists warn that burning up the planet's remaining fossil fuel would cause all Antarctic ice to melt and lead to 58m of sea level rise over 10,000 years, writes Tim Radford. But devastating impacts would strike much sooner, with oceans rising by 3m a century for the next millennium. more...
All hail our fracking future! Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to an IGas site in Gainsborough on 13th January 2014, flanked by company officials. Photo: Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking will only dig our fossil fuel addiction deeper

Oliver Tickell

16th September 2015

A new report on fracking and climate change from the Task Force on Shale gas presents a rosy picture of the fuel's role as a climate-friendly 'bridge' to a renewable energy future, writes Oliver Tickell. But the truth is the precise opposite - it's a climate disaster that will only delay the arrival of clean energy. more...
The campaign against Heathrow expansion has really taken off - but climate change part of the argument. Is it all hunky-dory at Gatwick? Photo: Tony Hisgett via Flickr (CC BY).

Labour's climate change fudge: Heathrow, no; Gatwick, yes

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

12th September 2015

Labour's new candidate for London Mayor has taken a firm stand against Heathrow expansion, write Victor Anderson & Rupert Read. But he's all for it at Gatwick - never mind the climate change. For those who oppose new runways on principle, there's only one choice: The Greens' Sian Berry. more...
Protesters from Bund, the German FoE NGO, demand climate action now at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 11 June 2015. But the delegates were unable to deliver. Photo: UNclimatechange via Flickr (CC BY).

Bonn climate talks end with no draft text for Paris

Henner Weithöner / Climate News Network

10th September 2015

'Unbearably tardy' climate negotiations have ended in failure, writes Henner Weithöner. Without even a draft text at this late stage, the chances of a meaningful deal emerging from the crucial UN summit in Paris are looking paper-thin. more...
Tar sands processing in Alberta, Canada is a huge source of emissions in its own right. Canada is one of the countries putting forward an 'inadequate' target, with no credible plan to deliver it. Photo: Williamson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Emissions cuts pledges too weak to achieve 2C 'safety limit'

Alex Kirby

3rd September 2015

Promises made by governments to cut their greenhouse emissions come nowhere near stopping global warming rising above the 2C danger level, writes Alex Kirby. And in many cases the laws and policies needed to deliver them are absent. more...
Going, going ... Photo: ad for WWF by TBWA\PARIS, France via brett jordan on Flickr (CC BY).

Three trillion trees live on Earth - and we need every one of them

James Dyke

3rd September 2015

Isn't three trillion trees enough to keep our planet healthy? It sounds like a lot, writes James Dyke, but they are under threat as never before, from deliberate deforestation and climate change. Many of the 1.5 billion trees we are losing a year are in the last great rainforests - key ecosystems under threat of drying out forever under our escalating double onslaught. more...

Emissions: 1/25 of 114
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Measuring mangroves: a study on above-ground and below-ground biomass in mangrove ecosystems, part of Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP). Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Kate Evans / CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NCA).

Stop mangrove destruction in Indonesia to slow climate change

Prodita Sabarini

8th August 2015

The loss of Indonesia's coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win. more...
President Barrack Obama. Photo: White House.

Obama unveils deep cuts to power plant emissions

Dan Roberts / Guardian environment

4th July 2015

Obama has delighted climate campaigners with this 'clean Power Plan' that will force states to make deep cut in carbon emissions from power stations, writes Dan Roberts. But not everyone is happy, and legal challenges loom. more...
The Gerlache strait, Andvord Bay, Antarctica. Photo: Rita Willaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The world is already committed to a six meter sea level rise

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

24th July 2015

The climate change discourse rarely looks beyond 2100, writes Pete Dolack. Maybe that's because even at current levels of CO2, we are committed to thousands of years of warming and polar ice melt that will raise sea levels by at least six meters. However the implacable imperatives of capitalism mean there's little prospect of change for a long time to come. more...
Roofscape: the 'BedZED' (Beddington Zero Energy Development), the UK's largest and first carbon-neutral eco-community, was completed in 2002. Photo: Tom Chance from Peckham via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Scrapping 'zero carbon' homes is policy vandalism

Gordon Walker

20th July 2015

The UK Government has ditched the requirement for new homes to be 'zero carbon' from April 2016, writes Gordon Walker. With builders already geared up to meet the challenge, this needless reversal will raise energy bills and carbon emissions for a century or more to come, and send out all the wrong signals for the Paris climate talks. more...
Cattle ranching in the Amazon: once rainforest, now meat. Photo: Joelle Hernandez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Meat - the climate opportunity we can seize at every meal

Dora Marinova & Talia Raphaely

9th July 2015

Meat is already a huge contributor to climate change, write Dora Marinova & Talia Raphaely, and as 'atmospheric space' for greenhouse gas emissions contracts, its importance will only increase. The good news? If rich countries were just to eat less of it, there's a huge climate win there for the taking! more...
'After all, we are betting the planet!' Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. Photo: OECD via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

OECD chief: World must ditch coal, go renewable

Alex Kirby

5th July 2015

The secretary general of the OECD group of the world's 34 richest nations has issued a dramatic plea to its members to act now to end 'unabated coal' burning, writes Alex Kirby, and invest in renewables around the world to prevent climate disaster. more...
The small scale solar sector is also taking off around the tropics, as at this shop for solar cell panels in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo: Wegmann via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Global emissions stay flat thanks to renewable energy surge

Alex Kirby

30th June 2015

The world economy and energy use both grew in 2014 - but carbon emissions did not, writes Alex Kirby. The reason? The worldwide surge in renewables, especially in China, has reduced demand for coal in power generation. more...
Meat is all very well for lions, like this one in the Masai Mara, Kenya. But can the planet take billions of humans eating it too? Photo: Stuart Richards via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Worried about climate change? So why aren't you vegan?

Chris Lang

1st July 2015

You might be forgiven for thinking that climate change is all about fossil fuels, writes Chris Lang. But with livestock farming causing around a sixth of global emissions, there's one quick, cheap way to cut our carbon footprints: go vegetarian, or better still, vegan. So what's taking us so long? more...
Scientists had thought that Arctic rivers like the Kolyma in Siberia carry dissolved carbon from melting permafrost to the oceans. They were wrong - it's all emitted to the atmosphere as CO2. Photo: Магадан via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thawing Arctic carbon threatens 'runaway' global warming

Tim Radford

14th May 2015

Arctic warming is releasing ancient organic matter that's been deep-frozen for millennia, writes Tim Radford. And now scientists have discovered its fate: within weeks it's all digested by bacteria and released to the atmosphere as CO2 - with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate. more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
The rate of growth in China's emissions from fossil fuels has been declining for a decade - but in 2014 it switched into reverse.

China's fossil fuel emissions fell 3% in 2014

Lauri Myllyvirta / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

27th February 2015

China has just recorded its first fall in emissions from burning fossil fuels in 15 years, writes Lauri Myllyvirta. The sharp decline has surprised analysts, and reflects the fast growing proportion of renewables in the country's power supply. more...
Tagebau Garzweiler strip mine, Germany. Photo: Bert Kaufmann (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Coal's dark cloud hangs over Germany's energy revolution

Henner Weithöner

22nd January 2015

Germany cut emissions and boosted renewables to record levels last year, writes Henner Weithöner. Yet the country's coal burn remains the EU's highest - and ambitious emissions targets can only be met by closing coal-burning power stations. more...
Looks like they got it right: the 2014 People's Climate March in New York City. Photo: South Bend Voice via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

UNEP calls for world to be carbon neutral in 40 years

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace Energy Desk

3rd January 2014

If the world is to hit crucial climate change targets, emissions must reach 'net zero' much sooner than previously thought, by 2055-2070, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson - and then go into reverse as we pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. more...


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