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An artist's impression of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Image: EDF Energy media library.

NAO investigates Hinkley C nuclear subsidies

Terry Macalister / The Guardian

17th October 2014

Hinkley C's subsidy package may have won European Commission approval - but now it faces a National Audit Office 'value for money' investigation, following a demand from a powerful Parliamentary committee. more...
Owen Paterson meets Hillary Clinton. Photo: from owenpaterson.org.

Keeping the lights on

Owen Paterson

16th October 2014

Last night's speech on Britain's energy choices by former environment secretary Owen Paterson's caused widespread outrage long before it was delivered. But what exactly did he say on the night? Read on, and be surprised to discover that it makes excellent sense - in parts. more...
The author at an oil production site in Ecuador. Photo: David Poritz.

Certified-responsible oil and gas - we need it now!

David Poritz

21st October 2014

The oil and gas industry is disrupting communities and damaging ecosystems worldwide, writes David Poritz. Tough, independent social and environmental standards for the industry can bring urgently-needed improvements to company practices - even where government regulation has failed. more...
Who needs vegetables when there's deep-fried Mars Bars to eat? Photo: karendesuyo via Flickr.

Scotland: time for a National Food Service?

Pete Ritchie & Miriam Ross

15th October 2014

The Scottish diet is famous for being the worst in Europe, write Pete Ritchie and Miriam Ross. Yet the country has rich land and sea resources, and exports large quantities of high quality food. By treating food as a common good instead of leaving the market to provide, Scots can start to transform their food future. more...
Hinkley Point B. Photo: Ken Grainger / geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C gets the go-ahead - but will it prove a dodgy nuclear deal too far?

Paul Dorfman

8th October 2014

The outgoing European Commission has just given the UK's controversial Hinkley C nuclear project the go-ahead, writes Paul Dorfman - approving a deal that will cost the UK public tens of billions of pounds. But now the deal faces a legal challenge in the European Court of Justice. more...
A Nobel Prize for the Penan people of Sarawak, famous for defying the loggers to protect the rainforest on which they,a nd the world, depend? Photo: Friends of the Earth.

Alfred Nobel would have wanted an environment prize

James Dyke

8th October 2014

Nobel's choice of prizes addressed the key disciplines of his time that conferred greatest benefit on mankind, writes James Dyke. To his initial selection an economics prize was later added - so what's to stop us adding a new one for sustainability - how mankind can live in harmony with planet Earth and all who sail on her? more...
Would TTIP force the privatization of the NHS? No - but it could make it impossible to roll back any privatisation once it had taken place. Photo: 38 Degrees' members in Sheffield Hallam hand in a massive NHS petition to their MP, Nick Clegg. By 38 Degree

Make no mistake - the TTIP is a move in the wrong direction

Gabriel Siles-Brügge

6th October 2014

A huge EU-US trade and investment deal may not be quite so dangerous as its opponents portray it, writes Gabriel Siles-Brügge - but it still represents a serious threat to governments' ability to regulate for the benefit of citizens and environment, and would entrench 'competitive' markets in public service provision. more...
Commercial agriculture is creating an uncertain future for tribes like the ancient Hamer. Photo: Matthew Newsome.

Ethiopian tribes' ancient ways threatened by UK-backed sugar project

Matthew Newsome

10th October 2014

A massive sugar plantation and up to 700,000 migrant workers will occupy almost 2,000 sq.km of Ethiopia's Omo Valley, with the help of British aid finance. But the valley's native inhabitants have been given no choice in the matter, and are being forced to abandon their homes, lands, cattle, and entire way of life, or go to jail. more...
About half the world's coal is being produced at a loss, as buyers turn away. ALCOA Anglesea coal mine, Australia. Photo: Takver via Flickr.

Tide turning against global coal industry

Chris Rose / DeSmogBlog

2nd October 2014

King Coal's reign is coming to an end, writes Chris Rose, at least as a fuel for generating electricity. Following a price collapse half of all production is being sold at a loss - and major coal users like China are still moving away from the high-carbon fuel. more...
This 62.5 MW Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-II) at the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) was built in 1965 and closed in 1994 due to its abysmal economics and proliferation concerns. The design is the basis of the PRISM and Integral Fast Reactors being

'New' reactor types are all nuclear pie in the sky

Jim Green

2nd October 2014

There's an Alice in Wonderland flavour to the nuclear power debate, writes Jim Green. Lobbyists are promoting all sorts of new reactor types - an implicit admission that existing reactors aren't up to the job. But the designs they are promoting have two severe problems. They don't exist. And they have no customers. more...
Homes of Sengwer people stand burning in Embobut, Kenya. Photo: Forest Peoples Programme.

World Bank 'failing to protect Kenya forest dwellers'

John Vidal / The Guardian

30th September 2014

The eviction of Kenya's Sengwer forest people in a World Bank financed project was a failure of the Bank's duty to protect indigenous people, according to an internal report. The Bank's directors are to decide on how to respond today - but if they follow their own management's advice, the evictions will continue. more...
Nothing but the best for Uruguay's pot-smokers when the state monopoly comes into force in 2015. Photo: Katheirne Hitt via Flickr.

Uruguay's legalization of marijuana leads the world

Benjamin Dangl

25th October 2014

Next year Uruguay will create a state marijuana monopoly, writes Benjamin Dangl. Supplying high quality product in limited per person quantities, and at controlled prices that undercut the black market, the initiative will safeguard public health, cut off funds from criminals, and finance social programs. So why don't we all do it? more...

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View of the Riiser-Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Photo: Ben Holt - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) via Wikimedia Commons.

Ice sheets will be melting, and raising seas, for centuries to come

Eelco Rohling

28th September 2014

A study of 120 ice sheet collapses shows that 68% went from initial change to maximum retreat within 400 years - and that once triggered, the process and the associated sea level rise kept accelerating for hundreds of years. We may face a 1m sea level rise by 2100, writes Eelco Rohling - and much more in centuries to come. more...
Falling costs make renewables such as solar energy competitive in the US without subsidy. Photo: US Bureau of Land Management via Wikimedia Commons.

Investor heavyweights call for climate action

Kieran Cooke

23rd September 2014

At the UN climate summit in New York today, institutional investors managing $24 trillion of assets are demanding stronger, more ambitious policies on climate change, writes Kieran Cooke. These include an effective carbon price and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. more...
Green and pleasant - GPT head office, Sydney. Photo: Woods Bagot.

Putting people at the heart of climate-friendly buildings

John Alker

24th September 2014

Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, show that green building design makes employees happier and more productive, and you're really onto something ... more...
The challenge is to ensure that her voice, and those of millions of other indigenous people, does not get drowned out by economic and political power. A woman from the Ndebele tribe in Kwadlaulale Market, South Africa. Photo: United Nations Photo via Flic

Indigenous women versus men of power: the real dispute at the UN

Lisa VeneKlasen

24th September 2014

Both the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Summit have taken place at the UN this week, writes Lisa VeneKlasen - each producing their lofty declarations. But what really matters is whose voices are being heard, and will be acted on, in a profound clash of worldviews. more...
Fin whale landed at Miòsandur whaling station Hvalfjördur, Iceland, in August 2014. Photo: EIA.

EU leads diplomatic protest against Iceland's whaling

The Ecologist

16th September 2014

As the IWC meeting begins today in Slovenia, the EU, its 28 member states and the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, have expressed their opposition to Iceland's commercial whaling in a powerful diplomatic broadside. more...
Suzano's eucalyptus plantations in Urbano Santos, Brazil, specifically planted to satisfy the EU's projected future biofuel demand.

EU biofuel demand is driving land grabs in the Global South

Oliver Munnion

11th September 2014

With the EU projected to source most of its 'renewable' energy by burning biomass, its policies are leading to widespread land-grabbing and forest destruction, writes Oliver Munnion. And because many of the biomass projects are purely speculative, 'sustainability standards' will do little or nothing to improve practice on the ground. more...
Icelandic fin whale meat on sale in Japan. Photo: EIA.

Iceland's whaling and whale meat exports - the IWC must act!

Clare Perry

10th September 2014

Tomorrow the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission begins in Slovenia, writes Clare Perry. Among the issues: Iceland's slaughter of fin whales in defiance of the IWC moratorium, and its illegal export of their flesh and blubber to Japan - over 2,000 tonnes this year alone. The IWC and its member nations must act. more...
The view down the borehole through half a mile of the Antarctic ice to Lake Whillans. Photo: Reed Scherer / Northern Illinois University.

Abounding life! 4,000 microbes thrive in Antarctic lake beneath the ice

Helen Thompson

15th September 2014

Beneath half a mile of ice scientists have uncovered the first hard evidence of a life in a subglacial lake, writes Helen Thompson. And not just life, but a complex ecosystem comprising thousands of microbial species. Could Jupiter's frozen moon Europa be hiding lakes like this? more...
After the Fujushima catastrophe, this rice was grown nearby by IAEA to test methods of soil decontamination. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima radiation damages rice genome

Gregory McGann

18th September 2014

Research on the biological effects of radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site finds a powerful response in rice seedlings, writes Gregory McCann. The discovery will do nothing to boost consumer confidence in resumed rice exports from the Fukushima region. more...
The rice harvest in Bicol Region, Philippines. Photo: α is for äpΩL † via Flickr.

Philippines: farmers call to stop 'Golden Rice' trials

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2014

Farmers in the Bicol region of the Philippines have gathered to renew their fight against field trials of Golden Rice and halt moves towards its commercialization. But with last year's 'advanced' Golden Rice trials showing low yields, the prospect of a GR release is fast receding. more...
Konstantin Rubakhin is currently in hiding. Photo: Konstantin Rubakhin.

Western sanctions could help Russia's environment - but will they?

Konstantin Rubakhin

19th September 2014

Sanctions against Russian natural resource tycoons could be good for the environment, writes eco-campaigner Konstantin Rubakhin - if only they would target the right people. But so far, the EU has been turning a blind eye to powerful Kremlin insiders with an open licence to pollute and destroy. more...
Male, Maldives, October 2010: President Nasheed installs solar panels on the Presidential Residence in 2010 - 18 months before the coup which brought his term of office to an end.

Only connect - a renewable energy future for small island states

Zaheer Allam

5th September 2014

The future of small island states has to be renewable, says Zaheer Allam. But that's only the first of many choices. It's just as important to develop energy networks that are diverse, resilient, adaptive and flexible - and avoid the centralised, unimodal models that investors and bureaucrats prefer to impose, often at huge long term cost. more...
Shamu show with Orcas in San Diego's Sea World Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

SeaWorld - save your money on super-size tanks. Orcas need the ocean!

Sea Shepherd

7th September 2014

Seaworld San Diego is about to build the world's biggest tank for its captive orcas. Fifty foot deep and covering 1.5 acres, it's almost twice as big as current tanks and will represent an improvement in living conditions when complete in 2018. But for Sea Shepherd, that's missing the point. For these wild and majestic sea mammals, only the ocean will do. more...

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