The Ecologist


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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...
Hero of the hour: Nicky Lowden McCrimmon gives a signature shortly after his victory in defeating a feeble land reform bill, followed by a standing ovation of almost 300 SNP members. Photo: Jen Stout.

SNP's land rebellion - we want radical reform, not watered-down compromise!

Jen Stout / Bella Caledonia

17th October 2015

It may not be on tonight's telly, but there's only one story on the lips of SNP members at their party's conference in Aberdeen, writes Jen Stout - the grassroots revolt against the feeble land reform bill advanced by the party leadership, rejected outright by members in a decisive vote. Now the SNP must come up with a bill that's as 'radical' as Nicola Sturgeon's speeches. more...
Grant Shapps MP cutting away at 'red tape' to demonstrate the government's commitment to corporate deregulation no matter what the cost to health, safety and environment. Photo: Department for Communities and Local Government via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

UK's business deregulation is out of control

Christine Berry

27th October 2015

Buried in the minutes of an obscure new quango is evidence of vast corporate capture of the UK government, writes Christine Berry. The order of the day is to strip away business regulation without regard to the public costs - so long as companies save money. more...
Reduced to one meagre bar; old lady fighting to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr (CC BY).

As tens of thousands die, the UK must act on fuel poverty

Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex

16th October 2015

Fuel poverty is a complex problem with many causes, writes Mari Martiskainen, but it is also a deadly one for some 25,000 thousand people every year. And there is one surprisingly simple solution: a huge upgrade in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. more...
Some pedestrians are getting tired of waiting ... Photo:  Samu Lang via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Can't drive? Won't drive? Want to drive less?

Chris Church

15th October 2015

Fewer than half the UK's inhabitants even have a driving licence, writes Chris Church. So how come the UK's transport policies are all about meeting the needs of drivers? After all, even drivers are pedestrians the moment they step out of their cars. Now a new campaign group is forming to give a voice to non-drivers - and demand a better deal. more...
Victims of the pine bark beetle: Lodgepole pines in Summit County, Colorado. They may not look pretty, but these dead trees are an ecological godsend. Photo: V Smoothe via Flickr (CC BY).

In defense of the Bark Beetle: a keystone species of Western forest ecosystems

Chad Hanson

28th October 2015

Bark beetles are invariably presented as terrible, forest killing pests, writes Chad Hanson. But in truth forest biodiversity depends on them to create the snags for insects to burrow in, woodpeckers to feed off, and countless birds and even pine martens to nest in. So when you hear politicians calling for bark beetle 'salvage' logging, send them off with a flea in the ear! more...
The UK nuclear-armed submarine HMS Vigilant returns to port. Photo: Defence Images (CC BY-NC).

Making sense of the UK's muddled energy policy - is it all about nuclear weapons?

Philip Johnstone & Andy Stirling

14th October 2015

On the face of it, the UK's policy to pursue nuclear power at all costs, while destroying the renewable energy sector, is totally illogical, write Philip Johnstone & Andy Stirling. But then it may make perfect sense - if only you accept that it's really all about maintaining the country's role as a nuclear weapons state for generations to come. And the 'deep state' has a way of getting its way. more...
Wind turbines at Rossendale, England. Photo: reway2007 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Wind turbines and solar panels into nuclear weapons: the UK's new industrial strategy?

Dr Stuart Parkinson

15th October 2015

The UK government is punishing renewable energy for its success in generating 25% of the country's electricity, writes Stuart Parkinson. But there's no austerity when it comes to the bloated military-nuclear industrial sector, no matter how egregious its failures or extreme its cost overruns. Our future prosperity is being sacrificed - and its costing taxpayers billions. more...
Propaganda - Brain Death by the Daily Mail. Image: Byzantine_K via Flickr (CC BY).

For climate change action, we must fight back against the media billionaires

Donnachadh McCarthy

12th October 2015

A handful of 'climate sceptic' billionaires, owners of most of the UK's biggest selling newspapers, have used their media dominance to spread a false narrative on climate change, and undermine prospects for effective action to curb fossil fuels, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. Campaigners must fight back - beginning with a series of actions that begin outside the Daily Mail this month. more...
David Cameron answering his first question from the new Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn on 16th September 2015. Photo: BBC / Parliament video still.

Jeremy Corbyn's chance to strike a blow for nuclear sanity

David Lowry

13th October 2015

The Conservatives' commitment to owning, renewing and using the UK's nuclear weapons was cheered to the rafters at their party conference, writes David Lowry. But it has left them vulnerable to Corbyn at tomorrow's Prime Minister's Questions - should he decide to expose their nuclear hypocrisy. more...
Meet the man Osborne just put in charge of the UK's energy policy: Lord Andrew Adonis. Photo: makeroadssafe via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's energy revolution - DECC's role usurped by new Infrastructure Commission

Oliver Tickell

7th October 2015

This week George Osborne took the entire energy policy brief out of the department for energy and climate change, and handed it to the new National Infrastructure Commission. It could mean a swift end to the Hinkley C nuclear plant and a new wave of renewables - but don't count on it. NIC chairman Lord Adonis is no green dreamer. But at least he takes energy seriously. more...

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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...
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...
Artists impression of the finished Hinkley C reactor. Image: EDF.

Hinkley C's claimed benefits evaporate under scrutiny

Paul Dorfman

6th October 2015

To explain their desperation to commit an estimated £76 billion of public money to the Hinkley C nuclear project, writes Paul Dorfman, the Treasury and its Chancellor, George Osborne, claim there are other benefits that justify this vast expenditure. So what exactly are they? And do the claims survive critical examination? more...
34 people were killed at the 2009 protest for indigenous rights at Bagua, Peru. Photo: anonoymous via powless / Flickr (CC BY).

Neoliberals with chainsaws: deforestation in Peru and the future of the Amazon

Clément Doleac

5th October 2015

Peru is in hot competition with Brazil to be the main focus of Amazonian deforestation, writes Clément Doleac. A neoliberal government desperate to hand over the country's forests, oil, gas, minerals and indigenous lands for corporate exploitation is unafraid to break national laws, turn a blind eye to air and water pollution, and respond to any challenges with overwhelming violence. more...
Watch out - your enemies are behind you! Jeremy Corbyn at his first Prime Minister's Questions, 16th September 2015, with Angela Eagle. Photo: David Holt (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear attack? We must support Corbyn's refusal to murder millions

Oliver Tickell

1st October 2015

This week's Labour conference sent the party and its new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, soaring in popularity. So better get the knife in quick, writes Oliver Tickell. His refusal to commit mass murder in a nuclear attack gave his enemies just the cue they needed - including those who should be his loyal allies. We must not let them succeed. more...
Cooperative and renewable: the Westmill wind and solar farm in south Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Clean, affordable, secure, democratic: our green energy future

Lisa Nandy

30th September 2015

Britain has a huge role in effecting the global energy transition to renewables, new shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy told the Labour Party Conference. But that will mean a complete reversal of Tory policies to attack wind and solar, lock us into polluting fossil fuels and overpriced nuclear power, and maintain 'big six' profits at consumers' expense. more...
Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...
An unauthorised Travellers' site at Pryor's Wood Nature Reserve, Hertfordshire. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Travellers' and Gypsies' ethnic Catch 22 must end

Dan Allen, University of Salford

3rd October 2015

Under new planning rules, Travellers and Gypsies must be able to prove they are actually traveling to qualify for limited planning benefits to create new sites. But for many, it's impossible to do that. Not only to remain in employment, or education - but precisely because there are so few sites, that they are unable to travel. more...
Plenty more where that came from under the desert sands. Garage in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Jon Bowen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Yemen in dust, blood and flames, and the world is silent. Could it be oil?

Martha Mundy

25th September 2015

There's a plan afoot in Yemen, writes Martha Mundy, but no one is telling you about it. It's a plan so big that a country of 20 million people has to be starved and bombed into total submission, yet the world is indifferent. Yes, its oil. Lots of oil, and gas too, and lakes of fossil water, all lurking beneath the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula. How do we know? Because they told us. more...
PostCapitalism by Paul Mason, published by Penguin / Allen Lane.

PostCapitalism: is it what we Greens have always wanted?

Caroline Lucas

2nd October 2015

Will we ever be able to say goodbye to capitalism? In his new book Paul Mason argues that its demise is inevitable, writes Caroline Lucas: neoliberalism contains the seeds of its own destruction, and it's up to ordinary people to replace it with a green, sustainable and cooperative society. So let's do it! more...
Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design.

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee questions George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Hinkley C and other issues, 8th September 2015. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Shame upon them! The government's nuclear lies exposed

Oliver Tickell

23rd September 2015

The UK government and its Chancellor George Osborne are grossly misleading the public over the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, writes Oliver Tickell. Osborne's claim that nuclear is the 'cheapest low carbon technology' is the very reverse of the truth. He and his nuclear plans must be stopped. more...
Sweden's Red-Green coalition is determined to deliver the goods on climate, environment and social justice. Wild flowers at Kiruna, Sweden. Photo: Kathryn Waychoff / Dartmouth / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY).

They really mean it! Sweden's Green transition gathers pace

Dominic Hinde

24th September 2015

There could hardly be a bigger contrast to the UK, writes Dominic Hinde. Sweden is closing airports and nuclear plants, selling off coal mines, spending billions to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, increasing green spending in developing countries, and is determined to lead by example at COP21 in Paris. Will other nations follow the green trail they are blazing? more...


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