The Ecologist


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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...

Victory! Corbyn's political earthquake will resound long and deep

Oliver Tickell

12th September 2015

The magnitude of Corbyn's victory today represents an irreversible seismic shift in British politics, writes Oliver Tickell. Finally the Tories face serious, principled opposition that will reveal them as the far-right ideologues they truly are. The reverberations will echo far, wide, long and deep, including to the US where the socialist Bernie Sanders is well on his way to winning the Democratic nomination. 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...
Scotland's Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil with Kimberley Stoddart, a tenant of West of Scotland Housing Association. Photo: Scottish Government via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Community Energy Fortnight - to participate is to resist!

Jonathon Porritt

11th September 2015

This year's Community Energy Fortnight is taking place at a strange time, writes Jonathon Porritt, with the entire renewable energy industry under government attack as never before. What can we do about it? For a start, by joining in some of the hundreds of events that are taking place across the UK! 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...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the 'End Austerity Now' march on the State Opening Of Parliament, 27th Ma7 2015. Photo: Sleeves Rolled Up via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Jeremy Corbyn's innovative energy policies are no 1980s throwback

Stephen Hall

8th September 2015

Consumers are routinely ripped off in an anti-competitive retail energy market dominated by a handful of big, polluting companies, writes Stephen Hall. Jeremy Corbyn's vision of a nimble, decentralised energy democracy with rapid development of renewables and real choice is both timely and innovative. more...
Wind turbines along a mountain ridge in Galicia, Spain. Photo: Luis Alves via Flickr (CC BY).

The archaic nature of 'baseload' power

Michael Mariotte

7th September 2015

Nuclear power advocates cling like limpets to the idea of 'baseload' power, writes Michael Mariotte. No surprise there - it's the only selling point they've got. It's just too bad the idea is obsolete. Variable renewables combined with stronger grids, energy storage and responsive demand can do a better job for less money. No wonder the shills are getting desperate. more...
The true cost of the three nuclear power stations at Sizewell, England were concealed under state ownership. But they still cost us a bomb. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Nuclear power is expensive everywhere!

David Toke

7th September 2015

The notion that nuclear is cheaper outside the UK is a myth, writes David Toke. Yes, it looks more expensive here - but only because new stations like Hinkley C have to compete in an electricity marketplace, making it harder to conceal the true costs like we used to. more...
Is it all a pipe-dream? Artist's impression of the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Image: EDF Energy.

Hinkley C nuclear plant postponed indefinitely

Oliver Tickell

4th September 2015

EDF has indefinitely postponed its Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, England, as a new IEA analysis shows that its power will cost UK energy users three times more than it should, writes Oliver Tickell. A similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget - and may never be completed. more...
TidalStream T36 at FORCE Berth, Bay of Fundy. Photo: still from Youtube video by Windmill John (see embed).

Floating turbines could harness the awesome power of the tides

Ross Jennings

18th September 2015

Tides in the UK's coastal waters could be generating 10GW of clean power, representing half of Europe's tidal resource, writes Ross Jennings. So far it's going unexploited, but a new generation of lightweight, low cast tidal turbines that float off the surface could soon get that electricity into our homes and businesses. more...
Solar deals are now being struck in Texas, USA, for under $60 / MWh. Duke Energy’s 14MW Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas with nearly 215,000 photovoltaic solar panels. Photo: Duke Energy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The solar age is upon us

Chris Goodall

1st September 2015

Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. more...
Best of friends? President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India en-route to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, 30th September 2014. Photo: Pete Souza / The White House via Wikimedia.

Crushed: the US and the WTO demolish India's solar energy ambitions

Charles Pierson

5th September 2015

President Obama and India's Prime Minister Modi are best of friends - aren't they? So how come the US took India to the WTO's trade court - and just won a resounding victory? And why isn't India challenging the US's own discriminatory solar subsidies? It's because of the money, writes Charles Pierson. And poor India has no choice but to play by Washington's rules. more...

energy: 25/50 of 1104
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The South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP), where faulty reactors are being operated beyond their design lifetime. But ciriticise, and you'll get sued. Photo: Вальдимар via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Ukraine sues anti-nuclear campaigners

The Ecologist

28th August 2015

Ukraine's state-owned nuclear generator is suing anti-nuclear activists in its latest attempt to stifle public debate over the country's ageing fleet of 15 nuclear reactors, while refusing to release information in breach of international obligations. more...
The Earthship at Stanmer Park, just outside Brighton, East Sussex, UK. Photo: Esa Ruoho via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Repowering renewables - a silver lining amid the gloom?

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2015

The Tories' decision to scrap the UK's renewable energy sector deserves condemnation, writes Oliver Tickell. But there is a silver lining: it creates the space in which to design better, cheaper, more cost effective support mechanisms to drive the clean energy revolution forward. more...
An end to the UK's solar industry? Solar panels on a house near the Northfield bypass, England. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY).

Government kills off UK solar industry

Oliver Tickell

27th August 2015

The UK government is to cut support for domestic rooftop solar to 13% of current levels, with similar cuts for bigger systems, and end all support for small scale renewables by 2019. The likely result, and surely the intention, is to kill off the UK's solar industry altogether. more...
The 'plonkable heliostats'. doing their job. Photo:

'Plonkable' mirrors promise cheaper solar energy

Jeffrey Barbee / Guardian Environment

26th August 2015

The 'other' solar technology, CSP, which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays, is about to get a lot cheaper, writes Jeffrey Barbee. A South African team has developed a low cost design suitable for mass production that can be 'plonked' on site straight from the factory. more...
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, speaking outside Iraq inquiry, London, on 29th January 2010 - with Tony Blair giving evidence inside. Photo: Chris Beckett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The Ecologist is for Corbyn

The Ecologist

20th August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is the one candidate for the Labour leadership who is serious about the environment and social justice. Only he can re-energise the Party, turn it into a political force capable of defeating neo-liberalism, and lead the progressive government that Britain so desperately needs. more...
The New York Steam Company commenced its piped heat distribution in the city in 1882. Steam venting from the street at 33rd and 5th Avenue, December 2007. Photo: Paul Churcher via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to tap in to an underused energy source: wasted heat

Rob Raine

10th September 2015

The single biggest energy service we all need is heat, writes Rob Raine - yet it's largely ignored in the energy policy discourse. By focusing on heat as well as power, we can accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and - because heat stores are far cheaper than batteries - keep the costs down. more...
Wylfa or windmills? Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey, along with some greener alternatives. Photo:  Eifion via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Do the UK government's sums on Hinkley and climate change add up?

Doug Parr / Greenpeace Energydesk

20th August 2015

It's a fair question, writes Doug Parr, but one to which we are getting no answers - the government is keeping its sums and energy models secret. It looks as if the energy department, DECC, is making things up as it goes along to justify its pro-nuclear, anti-efficiency and anti-renewables policies. And when it all goes disastrously wrong, who will end up paying for the mess? We will. more...
One way to use up China's surplus solar panels is with large domestic installations - like this one on the roofs of the Hongqiao Passenger Rail Terminal in Shanghai. Photo: Jiri Rezac / Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

China's solar industry hits downturn

Kieran Cooke

16th August 2015

China is by far the world's biggest producer of solar panels, writes Kieran Cooke. But the industry is suffering from over-capacity, razor thin profits and a failure to innovate. more...
Fracking - not for shale! Photo: 70023venus2009 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Fracking fast-track stacks odds against planning refusal

Oliver Tickell

13th August 2015

New measures to compel local councils to speed up frackers' planning applications have a clear intention, writes Oliver Tickell - to make it ever harder for planners to refuse permission. more...
The valley of the shadow of death: near Fukushima Daichi, March 2015. Photo: Lucas Wirl via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Fukushima: thousands have died, thousands more will die

Dr Ian Fairlie

17th August 2015

New evidence from Fukushima shows that as many as 2,000 people have died from necessary evacuations, writes Ian Fairlie, while another 5,000 will die from cancer. Future assessments of fatalities from nuclear disasters must include deaths from displacement-induced ill-heath and suicide in addition to those from direct radiation impacts. more...
Labour must make green the new red. Wind Farm near Oxton, Scottish Borders. Photo: raghavvidya via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

For Labour to win, green must be the new red

Keith Barnham

13th August 2015

The success of the SNP and surveys carried out by DECC show that green energy is overwhelmingly popular, writes Keith Barnham. Labour's failure to support renewables and oppose nuclear power and fracking may have cost them the last election - but now, with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn there's a real chance for the party to put that right. more...
Green is where the new. high quality, sustainable jobs are. But some governments just don't see it. Photo: Salvatore Barbera via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Green jobs: the potential is there, but where's the political will?

Jean Lambert MEP

11th August 2015

There is huge untapped potential in the green economy to create millions of decent jobs, writes Jean Lambert - but only if lessons are learned from the Government's flawed, now scrapped, Green Deal. Lesson one: we desperately need a well-funded, ambitious replacement. more...
Kepler's 'ocean fence' tidal power unit. Photo: Kepler Energy.

Revolutionary 'sea fence' promises tidal power price crash

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

11th August 2015

An new design of tidal power turbines will generate power at a third the price of current technologies, write Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell, even at a lower price than offshore wind - without endangering marine life. more...


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