The Ecologist


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A Russian Su-24 of the type shot down today at Welzow, Germany, January 2014. Photo: Rob Schleiffert via Fliclr (CC BY-NC).

Russia's shot down jet is sending us a powerful message: keep well out of Syria!

Oliver Tickell

24th November 2015

Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet near its border with Syria has just revealed the real nature of the war, writes Oliver Tickell, and sharply illustrates the dangers of getting involved in a conflict that is driven more by a battle of two gas pipelines than a clash of ideologies. The message for the UK - keep well out! Or if we are serious about crushing IS, best join in with Assad and Putin. more...
Photo: Rachel Melton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lights out? Amber Rudd's disastrous absence of an energy strategy

Oliver Tickell

18th November 2015

Amber Rudd's speech today exposes her total failure to assemble a coherent energy strategy, writes Oliver Tickell. It reveals the increasingly certain failure to meet EU renewable energy targets, proposes a new tax on wind and solar generation, and leaves the country facing the real prospect of lights going out in the next decade. The one hard policy? To maximise oil and gas recovery. more...
Israel's exploitation of wind energy in the occupied Golan Heights is legal under international law because it does not deplete the territory's natural capital. But oil drilliing would violate that principle. Photo: Yuval Shoshan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Israel to annex Golan Heights after 'billion barrel' oil find

Jonathan Cook / Middle East Eye

15th November 2015

After a massive oil find in Syria's Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, Israel is asking President Obama to recognise its annexation of the territory, writes Jonathan Cook. To consolidate its hold, plans are afoot to quadruple Israeli settler numbers to 100,000. more...
Image: Sebastián Núñez via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Paris attacks - COP21 and the war on terror

Oliver Tickell

14th November 2015

Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009? Perhaps, writes Oliver Tickell. But failure to reach a strong climate agreement now looks more probable. And that's an outcome that would suit ISIS - which makes $500m a year from oil sales - together with other oil producers. more...
Internally displaced Rohingya residents of a camp near Sittwe carrying vital supplies of rice and cooking oil. Photo: Mathias Eick, EU/ECHO, Rakhine State, Burma, September 2013.

Genocide: Burma's Rohingya sacrificed in global scramble for oil and gas

Nafeez Ahmed

13th November 2015

As Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy takes a strong lead in Burma's elections, Nafeez Ahmed warns that the military will remain the real power in the land. And as UK, EU, US, Chinese and Gulf state energy corporations compete to exploit Burma's hydrocarbons, don't expect them to denounce the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, and anyone else in the way of their oil and gas infrastructure. more...
He listened! 'No KeyStone XL' protest in Washington, DC 18th November 2012. Photo: John Duffy ( via Flickr (CC BY_NC-SA).

Obama rejects KXL pipeline - it's the climate!

Oliver Tickell

6th November 2015

US President Obama today refused to permit the 1,200 mile Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska that would have carried 800,000 barrels of oil a year of tarsands oil into the US, citing climate concerns. more...
Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...
Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State oil well in McKenzie County, North Dakota, east of Arnegard and west of Watford City. Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Are the fracking vampires going bust? That's how it looks

Joshua Frank

26th October 2015

The high oil prices that turned North Dakota into a boom state have turned, writes Joshua Frank. Now high-cost oil and gas are in the doldrums everywhere, production is falling - and even if prices do pick up one day, risk aversion and the relentless advance of renewables will leave lakes of oil and caverns of gas underground where they belong. Folks, the oil party really is over! more...
Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres taking part in a recent Art no Oil protest at the British Museum. He is taking BP to court over its alleged involvement in his 42-day kidnap and torture by a paramilitary group, during which he was kept in an insec

BBC fails to challenge BP arts sponsorship chief on kidnap and torture allegations

Chris Garrard / Art Not Oil

26th October 2015

Last week BP's Peter Mather - who claims to have 'green and yellow oil' flowing in his veins - took to the airwaves on Radio 4's The Bottom Line'. Evan Davies asked some tough questions, writes Chris Garrard - but failed to mention the shocking case of Colombian trades unionist Gilberto Torres, kidnapped and tortured for 42 days by paramilitaries employed by BP's joint venture partner. more...
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...
Proposed rig for Statoil's Aasta Hansteen gas field in the Arctic waters of the Norwegian Sea. A pipeline to Norway's coast is now under construction. Photo: Statoil Image Bank / ASA.

Norway's dash for Arctic oil violates its own Constitution

Aleksander Melli, Pål W. Lorentzen, Mari Seilskjær, Hans Morten Haugen &...

16th October 2015

Large-scale oil extraction in the Arctic is irreconcilable with the 2C global warming limit, write Aleksander Melli, Pål W. Lorentzen, Mari Seilskjær, Hans Morten Haugen & Truls Gulowsen. And that puts Norway's dash to develop Arctic oil into direct conflict with its Constitution, which requires the state to try and secure climate stability for its citizens, present and future. A lawsuit is imminent. more...
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, an area affected by fracking licences. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT for CIFOR on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences

The Ecologist

6th October 2015

Brazil is about to auction hundreds of fracking blocks across the country - extending deep into the Amazon forest including the territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous peoples. Registered bidders include BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. more...

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sHellNo! Flotilla Departure Blockade in Seattle's Elliott Bay, 15th June 2015. Photo: Jeff Dunnicliff / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Shell's retreat from the Arctic - what tipped the scales?

Louise Rouse / Greenpeace Energydesk

30th September 2014

When Shell decided to quit its Arctic oil exploration it cited 'insufficient quantities' of oil and gas, writes Louise Rouse. But that was not the whole story: what tipped the balance was a combination of investor discontent, reputational damage and public opposition on an unprecedented scale. more...
Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new solar installation in Little Buffalo, Alberta. Photo: Greenpeace Canada via Youtube.

Energy democracy: Lubicon Cree build a solar dream in a tar sands nightmare

Melina Laboucan-Massimo

15th November 2015

An 500-strong Indigenous community in Alberta, the heart of Canada's environmentally catastrophic tar sands industry, is fighting back against the pollution, writes Melina Laboucan-Massimo - by cutting themselves adrift from dependence on fossil fuels, and starting up their own solar power station: a vital first step towards building a just and sustainable society. more...
Yes we did! Shell no Kayak Flotilla climate stabilization demo in April 2015. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Victory! Shell quits Arctic

Terry Macalister / the Guardian Environment

28th September 2015

Shell's US president says the oil giant's unpopular drilling operations in Alaska's Chukchi Sea will stop for the 'foreseeable future' as exploratory drilling finds little oil and gas to justify its $7 billion investment. more...
The city of Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port, is among those to join the divestment movement. Port Waratah Coal Loader and freight train carrying steel. Photo: OZinOH via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Divestment pledges rise 50-fold to $2.6 trillion

The Ecologist

22nd September 2015

Pledges by investors to divest from fossil fuels have soared to $2.6 trillion - 50 times more than a year ago. 'Now is the time to divest', says Leonardo di Caprio, one of the latest to join the movement, which even includes Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port. more...
The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe.

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...
President Obama in the American Arctic, Alaska, in from of a fast-retreating glacier, 4th September 2015. Photo: Still from White House video by Hope Hall (see video embed).

Arctic charade: Obama's Alaskan tour and the climate change 'puzzle'

Timothy Clark

15th September 2015

President Obama's whistlestop Alaskan tour highlighted his unique ability to believe in two completely contradictory ideas at once, writes Timothy Clark. On the one hand, the importance of climate change and the urgency of preventing dangerous warming. On the other, the importance of the Arctic's fossil energy and the urgent need to exploit it as rapidly and completely as possible. more...
Linevo and its water reservoir formed by a dam on Koinikha, a small river falling into Ob. The giant Novosibirsk Electrode Factory is on the background. Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Russia - has the world's biggest country turned against the environment?

Lucy E J Woods

22nd September 2015

While other countries apply themselves to environmental challenges from climate change to nature protection, Russia - with its massive wealth of nature and natural resources - is stubbornly refusing to take part, writes Lucy E J Woods. And as the economy declines, the pressure is on: to ignore environmental regulations, and clamp down on environmental defenders. 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 icebreaker MSV Fennica, which now has a metre-long gash in its hull below the waterline. Photo: Marcusroos vis Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

On the rocks: hull gash disables Shell Arctic icebreaker

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

13th July 2015

Shell's Arctic drilling expedition is literally on the rocks after its icebreaker MSV Fennica suffering a metre-long gash to its hull below the waterline, writes Zachary Davies Boren. more...
Tax breaks for oil and gas, cuts for renewables. Oil rigs moored in Cromarty Firth. Invergordon, Scotland, UK. Photo: Berardo62 via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Whatever happened to the 'greenest ever' Conservative Party?

Steffen Böhm

11th July 2015

Just when the UK's government might want to be boosting its green credentials it has chosen to do the precise opposite, writes Steffen Böhm: giving tax breaks and subsidies to oil and gas, while attacking renewables and energy efficiency. We must unite to oppose these destructive and short-sighted policies more...
Crude oil in an open toxic oil waste pit abandoned by Texaco / Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon Rainforest near Lago Agrio. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Ecocide in the Amazon - Chevron evades $9.5bn restitution order

Orlan Cazorla & Miriam Gartor

17th July 2015

After 20 years of oil spills, deforestation, waste dumping and ill health, farmers and indigenous people in the the Ecuadorian Amazon have been fighting the Chevron-Texaco corporation. But despite its three times conviction and a $9.5 billion damages award to the victims, the oil giant looks no closer to making good its damage. more...
More than a hundred people converged in Ticonderoga, NY on 7th July for a flotilla and symbolic blockade to ‪#StopOilTrains. Photo:  Rising Tide Vermont.

#StopOilTrains - How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb-train

Stephyn Quirke

9th July 2015

Two things are new in the Pacific Northwest, writes Stephyn Quirke: abnormally hot, dry weather that has even killed Chinook salmon on their run upriver to spawn; and 'bomb trains' a mile more long carrying thousands of tonnes of oil, with just a single sleep-deprived driver on board. What could possibly go wrong? more...
The 'sHellNo!' Flotilla Departure Blockade, 15th June 2015. Photo: Jeff Dunnicliff / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Government hides fears over Shell's Arctic spill safety

Christine Ottery / Greenpeace Energydesk

19th June 2015

As Shell's Polar Pioneer drilling rig sails from Seattle into the north Pacific, Christine Ottery discovers that US federal regulators had serious concerns about the company's safety equipment designed to contain any oil spill. more...


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