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Dried beans in Blantyre Market, Malawi. Photo: Michaelphoya via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

'Heat beater' beans could feed millions in warmer world

Alex Kirby

27th March 2015

Thirty new heat tolerant varieties of bean - a staple food crop around the world's tropical regions - will help people survive in a world as much as 4C warmer that it is now, writes Alex Kirby - and look: no genetic modification! more...
Where ice meets ocean - Antarctic coastline by McKay Savage via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Antarctic warmth brings more snow, reducing sea level rise

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

18th March 2015

Rising temperatures will result in more snow falling in Antarctica, and the build-up of ice will reduce sea level rise from other sources. But as the extra weight of ice makes Antarctica's glaciers flow faster, the continent will still be a net contributor to sea level rise. more...
Michael Mann on a Tundra Buggy looking for polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (13th November 2010). Photo: via Michael Mann.

Unlikely hero (or villain): Michael Mann, creator of the hockey stick graph

Brendan Montague / DeSmog UK

16th March 2015

Michael Mann will be remembered as the creator of the 'hockey stick' graph of rising global temperatures, which has put him forever in the crosshairs of climate change sceptics. But as Brendan Montague found, he is a curiously unlikely hero, or villain: rather a dedicated scientist living the American dream, who just happened, to his own surprise, to stumble on something big. more...
'Altered Genes, Twisted Truth' front cover (cut).

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Jane Goodall

26th March 2015

The history of genetically modified food has been one of systematic deception and fraud by corporations, scientists, media and regulators, Steven Druker writes in his remarkable new book. Jane Goodall finds the story by turn fascinating, chilling, distressing and ultimately, hope-inspiring. more...
NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed

3rd March 2015

Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all. more...
The GREEN research garden in Stroud, Gloucestershire, which generated eight years of research data. Photo: Matt Adams.

No-dig farming to sustain nutrition in soils, crops, and us

Matt Adams

2nd March 2015

An eight-year research project into the nutrient content of food grown under three different organic gardening systems has left a filing cabinet full of documents, writes Matt Adams. Now he wants to analyse those years of accumulated data, in the hope that they can show the way to richer soils, more nutritious food, and healthier people. more...
The future Amazon? Keep on deforesting the Amazon, and Leticia in the Colmbian rainforest, which currently gets 2500mm of rain a year, could get as little rain as Israel's Negev Desert, with 20mm. Photo of the Negev by Francois BESSONNET via Flickr (CC BY

Without its rainforest, the Amazon will turn to desert

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2015

Mainstream climatologists predict a 15% fall in rainfall over the Amazon if it is stripped of its rainforest. But the 'biotic pump' theory, rooted in conventional physics and recently confirmed by experiment, shows that the interior of a forest-free Amazon will be as dry as the Negev desert. We must save the Amazon before it enters a permanent and irreversible dessication. more...
Industrial fumes caught in early morning sunshine in Chilwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze

27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity. more...
Cornfield in Iowa, almost certainly growing a GMO crop. Photo: Laura Bernhardt via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

There is no scientific consensus on GMO safety

Angelika Hilbeck & colleagues

23rd February 2015

A broad community of independent scientific researchers and scholars challenges claims of a 'consensus' that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are 'safe' to grow and eat. The claims - which continue to be widely and often uncritically aired - are a false and artificial construct that have been misleadingly perpetuated through diverse media. more...
What goes up, must come down. Arizona's Navajo Generating Station consumes up to 25,000 tons of coal per day, and the mercury it emits - along with other coal plants - is poisoning our oceans, our fish, and us. Photo: Alan Stark via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Mercury - thanks to our pollution, tuna will soon be unsafe for human consumption

Paul Drevnick

18th February 2015

Levels of neurotoxic mercury in Yellowfin tuna are rising at almost 4% per year, and will soon reach a point where the fish are officially unsafe to eat, writes Paul Drevnick. And after decades of debate, there's no longer any doubt where the mercury comes from: humans. Industrial sources like coal burning are mainly to blame, and it's high time we put a stop to it. more...
Ghanaian farmer Alanig Bawa drying cowpeas in his yard. Photo: Tree Aid via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Don't 'abhor' us - abhor GMO scientists laden with conflicts of interest!

Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour / Food Sovereignty Ghana

17th February 2015

Africa's biotech establishment is deploying its biggest guns to attack NGOs opposed to GMO crops to help push through Ghana's corporation-friendly Plant Breeders Bill - a key element in the corporate enclosure of Africa's farming, seeds and agricultural heritage. more...
Gigatonnes of carbon rising from the frigid Southern Ocean put an end to the last ice age. Photo: Natalie Tapson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Carbon stored deep in Antarctic waters ended the last ice age

Miguel Martinez-Boti & Gianluca Marino

12th February 2015

The last ice age came to an end following the massive release of carbon dioxide from the Southern Ocean, write Miguel Martinez-Boti and Gianluca Marino, and the signature of that event is written in planktonic shells. It's a timely reminder that the oceans contain 60 times more carbon than the atmosphere - and we want to keep it there. more...

Science: 1/25 of 318
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Global average temperature anomaly 1850-2015. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 was hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd February 2015

The World Meteorological Organization has ranked 2014 as the hottest year on record. And it's no flash in the pan: 14 of the 15 hottest years have been in the 21st century, a powerful indication of warming trend. more...
Yes, it was about the oil. The Kuwait-Basra 'Highway of Death', 26th February 1991. Photo: samer via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Crude conspiracies? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil

Petros Sekeris & Vincenzo Bove

4th March 2015

A wide-ranging academic study of civil wars in 69 countries from 1945 to 1999 finds that the likelihood of outside intervention increases when the country at war has large reserves of oil, and a potential intervener needs to secure oil imports on favourable terms to meet domestic demand. more...
The flowers are gorgeous! But the oil that's pressed from their seeds is best avoided due to its high linoleic acid levels. Photo: Ken Slade via Flickr (Cc BY-NC 2.0).

Linoleic acid - the overwhelming evidence against this 'healthy' poly-unsaturated oil

David Brown

24th February 2014

The established wisdom that 'high in polyunsaturates' means healthy, and that saturated fat and cholesterol are the way to an early grave, lack any supporting scientific evidence, writes David Brown. Indeed the truth appears to be the precise reverse: over-consumption of the omega-6 polyunsaturate linoleic acid is causing untold harm to our health and wellbeing. more...
If only badgers could read. Photo: jayneandd (CC BY 4.0).

Fail - 2014 badger cull didn't kill enough badgers to be effective

Rosie Woodroffe

20th January 2015

Sneaked out just before Christmas, Defra's assessment of the 2014 badger cull inspired NFU leaders to claim 'success', writes Rosie Woodroffe. But the figures indicate the precise reverse: that too few badgers were killed to be effective against bovine TB, indeed the cull may even help to spread the disease. more...
Black smoke at Fukushima Daichi, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr.

Fukushima and the institutional invisibility of nuclear disaster

John Downer

20th December 2014

The nuclear industry and its supporters have contrived a variety of narratives to justify and explain away nuclear catastrophes, writes John Downer. None of them actually hold water, yet they serve their purpose - to command political and media heights, and reassure public sentiment on 'safety'. But if it's so safe, why the low limits on nuclear liabilities? more...
The SPICE project will investigate the release of small particles into the stratosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting a few percent of incoming solar radiation. Photo: Hugh Hunt CC BY-SA 3.0.

What's worse than geoengineering the climate?

Nick Breeze

23rd December 2014

Film maker Nick Breeze has conducted a series of interviews with experts on 'geo-engineering' to forestall runaway global warming. Here he presents the distilled wisdom from his meetings - and concludes that we should at least be experimenting with the techniques, and studying their impacts. more...
Rising sea level? What rising sea level? Peter, CC BY-SA.

I'll talk politics with climate change deniers - but not science

Mark Maslin

17th December 2014

The responses that climate change demands of us are collective, writes Mark Maslin, and force us to accept the finite nature of global resources and the need for equitable sharing. So when climate change collides with belief in neoliberalism, free markets, strong property rights and rugged individualism, denial trumps science every time. more...
A reminder to conservation scientists: not only can one little nuclear bomb ruin your whole day, it can also wipe out a whole lot of biodiversity.

Nuclear power and biodiversity - don't forget WMD proliferation!

Dr Jim Green

18th December 2014

Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive? more...
For tomatoes, apples and oats, there is no 'organic yield gap'. 'Heirloom' organic tomatoes on sale in San Francisco. Photo: Zacklur via Flickr CC-BY.

Organic farming can close the gap on conventional yields

Lauren C. Ponisio

28th December 2014

The apparently lower productivity of organic farming systems is caused by research bias, writes Lauren C. Ponisio, and the far greater research spending on 'conventional' agriculture. Funds should be redirected to agro-ecological methods that are highly productive, sustainable and maintain biodiversity. more...
The cartographic submarine at work. Photo: WHOI.

Antarctic sea ice expands to record extent - and it's deeper than we thought

Edward Hanna

28th November 2014

While the Arctic melts, Antarctica's ice has spread to record extents in three consecutive years, writes Edward Hanna. But is the news as good as it looks? Yes, if indications from a robot submarine that the ice is thicker than expected are supported by further evidence. It may just be that Antarctica's ice is more resilient than scientists dared to hope. more...
Chris Rapley in '2071' at the Royal Court Theatre. Photo: Stephen Cummiskey.

Five stars! Scientist's dramatic climate change act is a winner

Tim Radford

25th November 2014

A spellbinding solo performance by veteran climate scientist Chris Rapley at London's Royal Court puts the climate debate centre stage, writes Tim Radford - and earns the admiration of hard-to-please theatre critics. more...
Bill Gates speaking at Stanford University. Photo: Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

Gates Foundation 'feeds the world' with corporate agriculture

GRAIN

5th November 2014

The Gates Foundation is spending half a billion dollars a year to 'feed the world', most of it aimed at Africa. But as GRAIN discovers, it is imposing a model of high-tech, high-input 'green revolution' farming, complete with GMOs, agro-chemicals and a pro-business neoliberal agenda, all in in alliance with corporate agriculture. more...
A welcoming committee at Christmas Island - site of the UK's Grapple X and Grapple Y bomb tests. But do these children, or their parents, know about the long term legacy of uranium pollution? Photo: Philip via Flickr.

The 'forgotten' uranium isotope - secrets of the nuclear bomb tests revealed

Chris Busby

4th November 2014

Papers reluctantly released by the UK Government in the bomb test veterans' legal case for compensation reveal what it has long denied, writes Chris Busby - that bomb fallout is rich in uranium, and that most of its radioactivity is concentrated in the 'forgotten' but highly active isotope U-234, explaining much of the substantial, long term damage to veterans' health. more...

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