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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...
Local impacts matter too! Fracking fluid and other drilling wastes are dumped into an unlined pit located right up against the Petroleum Highway in Kern County, California. Photo: Faces of Fracking via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Policy makers warned on UK shale gas - assume there won't be any

The Ecologist

25th March 2015

High ranking academics have issued a stark warning to policy makers on the future of Britain's shale gas - your best bet is that we have none that can be recovered consistent with policy objectives. more...
Sustainable living does not mean choosing a more efficient tumble drier - but washing clothes less often, and hanging them out to dry! Photo:  JW Capture via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Crossing a chasm slowly, in ten small steps? Sustainable living demands big changes

Kirstie O'Neill, Adrian Friday & Adrian K. Clear

29th March 2015

A new government website to promote more sustainable lifestyles is hopelessly lacking in ambition, write Kirstie O'Neill, Adrian Friday & Adrian K. Clear. We need to be re-engineering our infrastructure, re-imagining society and re-thinking the ways we live for disruptive, transformative change - not tinkering ineffectually at the margins of 'normality'. more...
Where water meets desert ... Egypt depends entirely on the waters of the Nile to irrigate its farmland, but the river's flows are now imperilled by dam building upstream in Ethiopia. Casus belli? Photo: Tom Lowenthal  via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Global water crisis causing failed harvests, hunger, war and terrorism

Nafeez Ahmed

27th March 2015

The world is already experiencing water scarcity driven by over-use, poor land management and climate change, writes Nafeez Ahmed. It's one of the causes of wars and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond, and if we fail to respond to the warnings before us, major food and power shortages will soon afflict large parts of the globe fuelling hunger, insecurity and conflict. more...
The Amazon forest still looks green and verdant, but over the whole region changes are afoot, with trees maturing faster - and dying younger. Photo: Dams999 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Amazon carbon sink declines as trees grow fast, die faster

Oliver Phillips & Roel Brienen

21st March 2015

To date the Amazon has been a huge carbon sink, soaking up billions of tonnes of our emissions from fossil fuels, write Oliver Phillips & Roel Brienen. But now that's changing, as trees grow faster and die younger: the sink appears to be saturating. 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...
Swarthmore students ready to join the Peoples Climate March, 21st September 2014 in New York City. Photo: maisa_nyc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

College fossil fuel divestment - Yes we must!

Cutler J Cleveland

18th March 2015

Univerisities' core mission is one of civilization and enlightenment, and that's incompatible with investing in fossil fuels that pose an existential threat to humanity and the planet, writes Cutler J Cleveland. It's is also financially prudent for for them to avoid sinking capital into future 'stranded assets' of unburnable carbon. more...
Let them eat carbon! At the 2011 UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Photo: Ainhoa Goma / Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Let them eat carbon! The corporate plan to cook Africa in its own fossil fuels

Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry

17th March 2015

Mining corporations, politicians and big NGOs are meeting in London today to plan the future of extractive industries in Africa, write Nnimmo Bassey & Sheila Berry. Absent African civil society and impacted communities, delegates are setting an agenda for 'resource-led development' that will cook the continent in the greenhouse gases of its plundered oil, gas and coal. 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...
Women from all over Côte d'Ivoire gather to celebrate International Women's Day at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: UN Photo / Ky Chung vias Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Patriarchy is killing our planet - women alone can save her

Nafeez Ahmed

13th March 2015

The global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule us are integral to man's violent exploitation of Earth and her resources, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The fight to save the Earth must begin with the empowerment of women - and that means ending our complicity in their oppression, and servitude. more...
A swamp forest in Louisiana, of the same kind that's already being clear-felled and chipped to supply fuel to Drax power station in Yorkshire on a fatuous 'low carbon' promise. Photo: J E Theriot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UK plans first new coal power station since 1974 - and it burns forests too!

Almuth Ernsting

17th March 2015

A new coal and biomass-fired power station could soon be built at Drax in Yorkshire, already the UK's biggest coal burner, writes Almuth Ernsting. It comes with a weak promise of possible 'carbon capture and storage' - an expensive, inefficient technology shunned elsewhere. As the Government's nuclear dream fades, could this be its equally flawed replacement? more...
Victory! Global Divestment Day City Hall action by Divest London, 14th February 2015. Photo: 350 .org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

London Assembly votes for £5 bn fossil fuel divestment - listen up, Boris!

Divest London

12th March 2015

Members of the London Assembly yesterday voted for the London Pension Fund Authority, worth £4.8 billion, to ditch all its fossil fuel investments over a 5-year period. The vote is non-binding, but the huge 15-3 margin puts strong pressure on London Mayor Boris Johnson to follow through. more...

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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...
The destroyed Bab Amro neighbourhood of Homs through a blooming field of poppies, 2nd May 2012. Photo: Freedom House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Climate change sparked Syria's ruinous war

Alex Kirby

6th March 2015

Climate change probably caused the savage drought that struck Syria nearly a decade ago, writes Alex Kirby - and helped to trigger the civil war that has so far claimed over 200,000 lives. more...
The melting Chukchi Sea, 20th July 2011: the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy encountered only small patches of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea during the final days collecting ocean data for the 2011 ICESCAPE mission. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Fl

Save the Arctic sea ice while we still can!

John Nissen

5th March 2015

The Arctic Ocean is coming close to complete summer meltdown, writes John Nissen - indeed it could happen as soon as September, triggering a severe deterioration in climate across the northern hemisphere. With fast-rising temperatures predicted in the coming decade, we must act now to save the Arctic, before it's too late. 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 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...
As ocean acidity rises, diatoms stuggle to gow in variable light conditions. Photo: Mixed diatom frustules by Carolina Biological Supply Company via Flickr (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0).

Keystone plankton 'go slow' as ocean acidity rises

Tim Radford

1st March 2015

Increasing acidity in the Southern Ocean is slowing the growth of diatoms, reports Tim Radford. Why worry? Because these tiny plankton sustain essential marine ecosystems, and are highly effective at drawing CO2 down into the deep ocean. more...
Protest rally against Kinder Morgan at Burnaby Mountain Park, 20th November 2014. Photo: Mark Klotz via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Tar sands campaigners are Canada's new 'terrorists'

Pete Dolack

5th March 2015

Canada's 'Anti-Terrorism Bill' proposes a massive increase in the power of security services, writes Pete Dolack - and in the crosshairs are campaigners against a tar sands industry that's intent on releasing 240 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and those fighting the pipelines needed to get the heavy crude to market. Who are the real 'extremists'? more...
A dry branch of the Atibainha reservoir, part of the Cantareira system of reservoirs that serves Sao Paulo, 26th February 2015. Photo: Clairex via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil's ravaged forests are taking their revenge

Robert Hunziker

2nd March 2015

Thanks to massive deforestation along Brazil's Atlantic coast and the Amazon, São Paulo's reservoirs are at just 6% of their capacity and water rationing is in place. But this is just the beginning of a long term drying process that could be recreated around the world as forests are laid waste and hydrology disrupted. 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...
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...
A Coral Cod (Cephalopholis miniata) at Lighthouse Bommie, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

US tax dollars must not finance $1bn Great Barrier Reef destruction!

The Ecologist

20th February 2015

A powerful call has gone out the the US Export-Import Bank not to finance a massive coal mine, railway, port terminal and dredged 'canal' through Australia's Great Barrier Reef with $1 billion in loans and guarantees. more...
Which side are you on? Global Divestment Day Amsterdam. Photo: Nichon Glerum www.nichon.nl / 350.org (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Fossil fuel divestment backlash forces the question: Which side are you on?

Kate Aronoff / Waging Nonviolence

18th February 2015

The fossil fuel industry's big reaction to Global Divestment Day shows us something important, writes Kate Aronoff - they understand the existential danger they face better than we do. To win the battle for the world's climate, as we must, the victory must be total - and there is no place for neutrality or weak compromise. more...
Will we go the way of the Ancient Pueblo People? Climate models say we will, this century. Photo: Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, by Lorax via Wikimedia Commons.

Southwest USA faces long term 'megadroughts' this century

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

17th February 2015

The same pattern of severe droughts that extinguished the Ancient Pueblo culture of the southwest US in the 13th century will come back with a vengeance later this century as climate warms and dries, writes Tim Radford. And it could have precisely the same effect on the region's modern-day residents. more...

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