The Ecologist


climate change : 25/50 of 1497
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This slag heap in northern France could contain enough alkaline waste to sequester half a million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. Photo: Guillaume ūüď∑ DELEBARRE via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Industrial wastes could capture 1Gt a year of CO2 emissions

Helena I. Gomes, Mike Rogerson & Will Mayes

15th November 2015

The world produces over a billion tonnes a year of dangerously caustic wastes, write Helena Gomes, Mike Rogerson & Will Mayes. They are currently being dumped, although they could be used to sequester a gigatonne of CO2 from the atmosphere - while also yielding minerals essential for key renewable energy technologies. more...
Ice may be breaking off the Antarctic's sea shores, but in its vast centre, ice mass is growing three times faster. Photo: Glacier in Penola Strait, Antarctica, by Liam Quinn (CC BY-SA).

NASA: mass gains of Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses

Maria-Jos√© Vi√Īas / NASA

4th November 2015

Antarctic glaciers are famously losing ice around the margins of the continent, writes Maria-Jos√© Vi√Īas. But a new study from NASA shows that those losses are offset three times over by ice thickening in central Antarctica, causing sea levels to drop. However the net ice gain may run of steam in coming decades. more...
If there's one thing the French are good at, it's demonstrating - as it this huge climate action and anti-nuclear protest outside the Assemblée Nationale, Paris, on 20th March 2011. Photo: philippe leroyer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21 101 - The Ecologist Guide to the Paris mobilisations

Kara Moses

3rd November 2015

This December, world leaders will meet at COP21 in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on climate change, writes Kara Moses. But the real action and inspiration will be in a host of parallel events, conferences, action and demonstrations attended by tens of thousands of global climate activists. So here's your definitive guide to what will be happening - and how you can join in! more...
RAN activists holding a banner in front of Duke Energy's Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina, denouncing the banks responsible for its financing. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Top banks put nine times more money into fossil fuels than renewables

The Ecologist

3rd November 2015

Since the last big climate conference in 2009 the world's biggest private sector banks have provided more than nine more money to fossil fuels than to renewable energy - showing up their oft-repeated 'green finance' promises as little more than PR puff. more...
Floods in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2004. 17% of the country may be permanently inundated by rising seas by 2050, displacing 18 million people. Photo: dougsyme via Flickr (CC BY).

Earthquakes, superstorms ... and other little-known perils of climate change

Matthew Blackett / Coventry University

2nd November 2015

Climate change will impact the world in many ways, writes Matthew Blackett. Some of them may be good, like more rain in African drylands and coral atolls adapting to rising seas. But most of them - like coastal flooding, long term drought, earthquakes and stronger tropical storms - will be very challenging. We must increase the resilience of the most vulnerable countries without delay. more...
New building in Masdar City with an old twist. Photo: André Diogo Moecke via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Traditional architecture offers relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf

Amin Al-Habaibeh, Nottingham Trent University

8th November 2015

As temperatures soar in the Persian Gulf, modern buildings rely on energy-guzzling air-conditioning to maintain tolerable temperatures, writes Amin Al-Habaibeh. But traditional buildings stay cool passively using shade; wind and thermally driven ventilation; and naturally insulating, reflective materials. For a sustainable future, modern architects must revive the ancient knowledge. more...
Christiana Figueres at COP18 in Qatar. Photo: Arend Kuester via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Bonn climate talks brought COP21 agreement closer

Ruth Davis / Greenpeace Energydesk

29th October 2015

Last week's Bonn negotiations saw the world move closer to a climate agreement at COP21 in Paris, writes Ruth Davis. The current text includes important proposals on climate finance; accelerated decarbonisation of the global economy; and a 5-year cycle of ever higher national emissions targets. more...
Candlelit vigil outside the Daily Mail offices in London to commemorate the estimated half million people dying every year as a result of climate change. Photo: Still from video by IndyRikki media.

Occupy Daily Mail claim 'historic' climate win

The Ecologist

27th October 2015

Climate protestors claimed a big win after a successful 48-hour vigil outside the Daily Mail's London offices with Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett that won wide support from the Mail's own journalists. More events will follow in the run up to COP21. more...
Nicholas Stern at the COP15 United Nations climate Change conference, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT (CC BY-SA).

Stern warns: humanity is at climate crossroads

Kieran Cooke

23rd October 2015

Economist Nicholas Stern warns that the stakes have never been higher for radical action to be agreed at the Paris summit, writes Kieran Cooke: while we have the capacity to do all that's needed, it's far from clear that we will actually will. more...
Even this could be called 'climate smart agriculture' - because the term is undefined. Oil palm plantations on deep peat in Indonesian Borneo. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

To keep carbon in the ground, COP21 must back agroecology

Pavlos Georgiadis

24th October 2015

'Climate Smart Agriculture' advocates were out in force at the just concluded climate talks in Bonn, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. But their finely crafted corporate message presents a real threat to genuine agroecological solutions to the interlinked food, farming and climate crises. more...
Prime-Minister-elect Justin Trudeau on CBC News. Photo: Can Pac Swire via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Is lagging on climate change an electoral liability?

David Konisky & Matto Mildenberger

23rd October 2015

Political earthquakes in Canada and Australia have seen climate-sceptic leaders replaced by new ones committed to effective climate action, write David Konisky & Matto Mildenberger. It may be going too far to say that's why they were elected - but these elections do show that green policies are no electoral drawback. more...
Michael Meacher MP addresses the group 'The State We Need' at the Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square, 25th October 2014. Photo: Sheila via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Michael Meacher: an environment minister who stood up for his beliefs

John Vidal / the Guardian Environment

22nd October 2015

The late Labour MP fought both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on environmental policies, writes John Vidal, standing up for climate and access to countryside, and against GMO crops and road building. Radical to the end, he was one of the few MPs to support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. more...

climate change : 25/50 of 1497
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Agroecology in action: rice farm in Batad, the Philippines. Photo: Joe Coyle via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No to 'Climate Smart Agriculture', yes to agroecology

Climate Smart Agriculture Concerns

21st October 2015

Climate Smart Agriculture sounds like a great idea, write hundreds of civil society organisations worldwide. But in truth it's a PR front for international agribusiness to promote corporate agriculture, pesticides and fertilisers at COP21, with a heavy dose of greenwash. Countries must resist the siren calls - and give their support to true agroecology that sustains soil, health, life and climate. more...
Cattle killed by the drought, district of Admitullu Jiddo Kombolcha in Ethiopia, 2009. Photo: Zeresenay Berhane Mehar / Oxfam International via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warming world means more drought in Horn of Africa

Alex Kirby

18th October 2015

Evidence stretching back 40,000 years shows that global warming will increase drying in a region of East Africa where drought already causes humanitarian crises, writes Alex Kirby - dashing earlier hopes of increased rainfall. more...
Permanent pastures and wetlands are a huge and growing carbon store - like this floodplain meadow of 'pozzine' grassland near Ninu lake, south Corsica, France. Photo: Quentin Scouflaire via Flickr (CC BY).

France's plan to increase its soil carbon is an example to the world

John Quinton, Lancaster University

17th October 2015

It sounds like a modest ambition: France wants to raise the amount of carbon in its soils by 0.4% a year, writes John Quinton. But that represents a vast amount of carbon, and its capture into soils will bring a host of other benefits. We should all get with the program! 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...
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...
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...
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...
Opencast coal mine at Pont Neddfechan, Wales, UK. Photo: Ben Salter via Flickr (CC BY).

Global South campaigners tell UK planners: no new opencast coal mines!

Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades

7th October 2015

Campaign groups from Indonesia, Kenya and Peru have called on planners in the UK to turn down opencast coal mines in Co Durham and Derbyshire, write Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades. Not only do the mines damage local health and environment, say the activists. They also threaten global climate stability - and all countries must play their part in ending the world's coal addiction. more...
Climate change is putting our future prosperity at risk - but is the horizon too distant for us to care? Photo: Ian Smythe via Flickr (CC BY).

Financial instability and the tragedy of the climate horizon

Mark Carney

5th October 2015

The finance industry faces a 'wicked' problem, says Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. Climate change creates risks that threaten the financial system to its foundations - but on a timescale beyond the usual horizon for investment decisions. The only way to reduce those risks is to act with unusual foresight - and avoid abrupt and destabilising transitions. more...
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...
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...
Killer Whales in Monterey Bay, California - helping to sequester the carbon emissions from those smokestacks in the background. Photo: © John Krzesinski 2012 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Predators keep the oceans' carbon pump ticking

Peter Macreadie, Euan Ritchie, Graeme Hays & Trisha B Atwood

29th September 2015

By keeping marine herbivores in check, predators from sharks to crabs are essential to keep the oceanic 'carbon pump' working - with seaweed and plankton fixing atmospheric carbon and bearing it down to deep waters and sediments before getting munched. It's time to give ocean predators the protection they deserve, for climate's sake. 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...


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