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Blogs and Comments

Geoengineering - the 'declaration' that never was may cause real harm

Andrew Lockley

28th August 2014

Chile's Lascar volano in eruption. Some geoengineering techniques would imitate the cooling effect of volcanic dust to reduce global warming. Photo: Neil via Flickr. It was a great story, writes Andrew Lockley - scientists signing up to a 'Berlin Declaration' imposing an effective 'test ban' on outdoor geoengineering experiments. Except there was no declaration, and scientists never agreed to it. The world's media got it completely wrong, yet the mud will stick - and may cause severe harm in the fight against climate change. more...

Defying reality - Natural England authorises 'unlawful' cull

Lesley Docksey

27th August 2014

The bloodied corpse of badger 200, whisked away before it could be retrieved by cullers and subjected to a post-mortem that showed it had been shot in the wrong place and suffered a slow and painful death. A High Court judgment on the lawfulness of the 2014 badger cull is awaited. A criminal investigation is under way on the dangerous and illegal behaviour of culling contractors. Obviously, writes Lesley Docksey, it's the perfect time for Natural England to authorise another round of culling. more...

Bombs Ahoy! Why the UK is desperate for nuclear power

Oliver Tickell

26th August 2014

The Vale of Mordor - or is the Sellafield 'atom factory' in Cumbria, UK? Photo: tim_d via Flickr. On the face of it, the UK government's obsession with nuclear power defies reason. It's very expensive, inflexible, creates 'existential' threats and imposes enormous 'long tail' liabilities tens of thousands of years into the future. But there is a simple explanation: it's all to maintain the UK's status as a nuclear WMD state. more...

The nuclear industry today: declining, but not (yet) dying

Jonathon Porritt

25th August 2014

Scheduled for completion in 2009, the Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant is still under construction, and Areva is no longer projecting a completion date. Costs are running at roughly triple initial estimates. Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report provides an account of an industry in decline, writes Jonathon Porritt - with rising operating costs and an ever-shrinking share of world energy production, while the sector loses the race for investment and new generating capacity to fast growing renewable energy technologies. more...

The cetacean brain and hominid perceptions of cetacean intelligence

Captain Paul Watson

22nd August 2014

Whale shark and diver. Photo: Robin Hughes via Flickr. Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? Paul Watson questions man's monopoly on advanced brain power, and finds a planet suffused with a far deeper intelligence than our own. more...

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA. Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...

Local authorities are key players in our renewable energy revolution

Councillor Mark Hackett

21st August 2014

These insulated pipes now connect a new building to University of Warwick's campus-wide combined heat and power system. Local authorities could deliver many more projects like this, where profit-driven energy companies have failed. Photo: Mike1024 / Wikim Government energy policy is caught between apparently conflicting objectives, writes Mark Hackett. But there is a solution that is already working in the UK and abroad - to encourage the active participation of local authorities in delivering low carbon energy to the communities they serve. more...

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr. Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...

More calories from fewer sources means less nutrition, more profit

David Nally

21st August 2014

A vast monoculture of corn in Iowa, USA - profitable, but not healthy. Photo: Rich Griffith via Flickr. It's a global phenomenon - we are consuming more calories, and more of those calories are the same, writes David Nally. Just ten crops produce 75% of our food, as factory-farmed meat, sugar, wheat, corn, soybeans and palm oil displace more nutritious and diverse diets. It's not good for us, or the planet - but it's great for corporate food monopolists! more...

Detroit: what happens when water is a commodity, not a human right

Pete Dolack

19th August 2013

Shu takes to the megaphone to get her message across - water is a human right! Photo: Detroit Water Brigade via facebook.com/waterbrigade . The shutoff of water to thousands of Detroit residents, the proposed privatization of the water system, and the diversion of the system's revenue to banks are possible, writes Pete Dolak, because water - the most basic human need - has become a means to extract profit from the City's people. more...

On-line activism - from surveillance to ecological footprint

Paul Mobbs

15th August 2014

A pile of waste at Aglogbloshie. Photo: qamp.net via Flickr. Campaigning has never been so easy - sign an Avaaz petition here, send an email there ... and the world is soon put to rights, no? No, writes Paul Mobbs. We must examine the impacts and implications of our e-life, from climate change to corporate dominance, and take control of the technologies we increasingly depend on. more...

Political taboos leave trail of rising transport emissions

Scott Cohen

24th August 2014

The people who care most about transport emissions are the ones most likely to be causing them - creating a problem for those seeking to regulate them. Photo: USAF. Transport emissions are a political hot potato - mobility is often associated with as 'freedom', while the most environmentally aware are also most addicted to high carbon emissions from travel, writes Scott Cohen. To cut transport emissions means tackling four big political taboos. more...

Blogs

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA. Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...

More calories from fewer sources means less nutrition, more profit

David Nally

21st August 2014

A vast monoculture of corn in Iowa, USA - profitable, but not healthy. Photo: Rich Griffith via Flickr. It's a global phenomenon - we are consuming more calories, and more of those calories are the same, writes David Nally. Just ten crops produce 75% of our food, as factory-farmed meat, sugar, wheat, corn, soybeans and palm oil displace more nutritious and diverse diets. It's not good for us, or the planet - but it's great for corporate food monopolists! more...

Comment

Geoengineering - the 'declaration' that never was may cause real harm

Andrew Lockley

28th August 2014

Chile's Lascar volano in eruption. Some geoengineering techniques would imitate the cooling effect of volcanic dust to reduce global warming. Photo: Neil via Flickr. It was a great story, writes Andrew Lockley - scientists signing up to a 'Berlin Declaration' imposing an effective 'test ban' on outdoor geoengineering experiments. Except there was no declaration, and scientists never agreed to it. The world's media got it completely wrong, yet the mud will stick - and may cause severe harm in the fight against climate change. more...

Defying reality - Natural England authorises 'unlawful' cull

Lesley Docksey

27th August 2014

The bloodied corpse of badger 200, whisked away before it could be retrieved by cullers and subjected to a post-mortem that showed it had been shot in the wrong place and suffered a slow and painful death. A High Court judgment on the lawfulness of the 2014 badger cull is awaited. A criminal investigation is under way on the dangerous and illegal behaviour of culling contractors. Obviously, writes Lesley Docksey, it's the perfect time for Natural England to authorise another round of culling. more...

Letters

Letter: water use need not stall desert solar power

Dr Gerry Wolff

25th August, 2010

CSP trough-based system Yes, pioneering concentrating solar power plants are thirsty facilities, but their water use requirements could be made dramatically less more...

Letter - Time to get serious with the EU Emission Trading Scheme

27th May, 2010

Mark Chadwick

Carbon dioxide emissions Mark Chadwick from Carbon Clear argues a full auctioning of ETS permits is needed if the trading scheme is to start working more...

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