The Ecologist


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Will all this come to an end now? Photo: Centre for Alternative Technology ( via Flickr (CC BY).

Senseless and damaging: UK's solar cuts

The Ecologist

22nd July 2015

The UK government has announced massive cuts in support for solar roofs and farms that appear designed to undermine investor confidence just as the technology is on track to be subsidy-free by 2020. more...
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd at the launch of Kingspan Energy’s latest solar PV project on their warehouse roof in Selby, 7th October 2014. The array spans 30,000 sq.m, making it largest rooftop solar renovation project in UK. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC

Government turns fire on solar power

Kyla Mandel /

20th July 2015

Energy secretary Amber Rudd promised 'a new solar revolution' for the UK, writes Kyla Mandel. But now the industry is braced for a massive round of cuts that could kill off the sector, just as it's on course to be the UK's first subsidy-free renewable power source in 2020. more...
Farewell, Broad-faced potoroo. We hardly knew ye. Photo: John Gould.

Earth's sixth mass extinction is under way - but are we bothered?

James Dyke

25th July 2015

The Earth is now undergoing the biggest mass extinction since the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, writes James Dyke - the result of our collective desire to convert our planet into goods, services and trash. If we go on the biosphere itself will survive, but it will be impoverished. As will we. more...
What doesn't he like about renewables? Photo of George Osborne by altogetherfool via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Osborne's £3.9bn stealth attack on renewables

Oliver Tickell

9th July 2015

The UK government kicked away one of the main financial supports for renewable energy in yesterday's budget. The surprise move will cost the sector £3.9 billion over the next five years and undermines any prospect of the country meeting its EU renewable energy targets. more...
One of the big debates under TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' chapter concerns animal welfare and meat safety, with US standards consistently lower than those in the EU. But the cheaper US meat could take over EU markets. Photo: US 'broiler' chicken farm b

TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' would force down standards in US and EU

Friends of the Earth Europe

13th July 2015

Dissent over the massive USA-EU TTIP trade deal is focused on the 'corporate courts' allowing investors to sue national governments, But largely neglected has been the equally serious issue of 'Regulatory Cooperation' - which would impose a huge burden of 'red tape' on EU and US legislatures, while forcing down health, safety, social and environmental standards. more...
The Hinkley Point nuclear site from the boundary fence near Stolford. Photo: Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Will the Hinkley C fiasco rouse Labour from its nuclear dream?

Dr Ian Fairlie

30th June 2015

Will Labour turn against nuclear power? As Chancellor, Ed Balls would have cancelled Hinkley C due to its massive cost, writes Ian Fairlie. But he never got the chance, and now the party remains muted even though the Government's nuclear enthusiasm is completely out of kilter with reality. To end nuclear's grip on Labour there's only one choice of leader: Jeremy Corbyn. more...
A nursery of loblolly pine – approx. 500,000 in view, all waiting to be dispatched and planted (c. 1,000 acres). Photo: Drax Group.

Biomass for energy is the common sense option

Matthew Rivers

5th June 2015

Today UK campaigners against burning biomass for power will deliver a 110,000 signature petition to DECC to protest at government subsidies for the practice. But in this 'Right of Reply' article Matthew Rivers, chairman of Drax Biomass, argues that biomass combustion is sustainable, benign, and helps to conserve forests worldwide. more...
This time, it's tear gas: masked man at a farmers and student protest in Colombia, August 2013. Photo: Nick Jaussi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Colombia's first steps of resistance against Monsanto's chemical war

W.T. Whitney Jr

8th June 2015

The mass spraying of glyphosate in Colombia, both on farmland and in the 'war on drugs', is a direct an attack on small scale farmers, rural communities and FARC rebels, writes W.T. Whitney Jr. But since the chemical was declared a 'probable carcinogen' Colombia has restricted aerial applications. The first step in a wider backlash against the toxic herbicide? more...
Royal Navy ID card of British hero Able Seaman William McNeilly.

Trident nuclear accidents and terrorism are the greatest threats we face

Able Seaman William McNeilly

18th May 2015

The UK's Trident nuclear missile system and the nuclear submarines on which it depends represent a massive danger to the UK due to faulty equipment, gross security lapses and ignorance of operating procedures, writes William McNeilly. This leaves the system open to accidents and terrorist attack, and apparently unable to even fire missiles should the need arise. more...
The lights may be green - but what about the energy? Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Coal-heavy utilities stand in the way of a green internet

The Ecologist

12th May 2015

Powered by 100% renewable energy, Apple is maintaining its lead as the internet's greenest company, But others are lagging behind: Google has yet to reach 50% and relies heavily on coal, while Amazon's AWS, the massive 'dark cloud' of the web, won't even answer questions. more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
An indigenous peoples' protest against dam building in Sarawak, February 2012. Photo: The Borneo Project.

Commerce or Corruption? The rainforest dams of Sarawak

The Borneo Project

18th June 2015

Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo already has an excess of electricity from existing hydropower dams - so why is the government determined to build a dozen more, displacing indigenous communities and flooding vast areas of rainforest? The answer, says a new documentary film by The Borneo Project, is simple - massive political corruption. more...

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Oil wells in the Bakken Oil Field of North Dakota, USA. Photo: Alan Graham McQuillan PhD ARPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Future dustbowl? Fracking ravages Great Plains land and water

Tim Radford

4th May 2015

The fracking boom has caused massive vegetation loss over North America's rangelands, writes Tim Radford, as 3 million hectares have been occupied by oil and gas infrastructure and 34 billion cubic metres of water have been pumped from semi-arid ecosystems. more...
The notorious M3 motorway cutting through Twyford Down, near Winchester, which gave birth to the modern road protest movement. Photo: Jim Champion / via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Roads to nowhere: why is transport policy getting lost in this election?

Rupert Read, Sandy Irvine and Bennet Francis

1st May 2015

Only one party is challenging the mainstream concensus on transport, write Rupert Read, Sandy Irvine and Bennet Francis - massive spending on roads and HS2, and the little that's left for everything else. It's time to throw away the old thinking and commit to an effective, sustainable transport system that begins with local needs. more...
Photo: Coca Cola sign on the San Francisco skyline by .freeside. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EU's 'trade secret' protection risks health, environment and freedom!

Anne Friel & Anaïs Berthier / ClientEarth

10th June 2015

A new Trade Secrets law to be voted on next week by the European Parliament threatens a massive clampdown on journalists and whistle-blowers, write Anne Friel & Anaïs Berthier, giving corporations the right to sue those who disclose private information even in the public interest to protect health, safety and environment. more...
The education and health care model that British taxpayers are financing across Africa - in partnership with for-profit multinational corporations. Photo of White River Primary school, sponsored by Coca-Cola, by Roo Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Coca-Cola schools - British aid pushing corporate education and health on world's poorest

Nick Dearden

28th April 2015

British taxpayers are forcing private health care and schooling onto many of the world's poorest countries including Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mozambique, writes Nick Dearden - backing a huge neoliberal experiment whose only certain outcomes are high costs, low standards and massive corporate profits. more...
The abandoned reactors 5 and 6 at Chernobyl, under construction at the time of the catastrophe. Photo: Michael Kötter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2014.

The Chernobyl catastrophe 29 years on: it's not over yet!

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace Japan

27th April 2015

The stricken 4th reactor at Chernobyl presents a massive long term hazard, writes Kendra Ulrich. A planned €2.15 billion containment arch remains underfunded, and even if it's ever completed, it will only last 100 years. Meanwhile the intensely radioactive nuclear fuel will remain in place representing a long term risk of further huge radiation releases. more...
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz speaking at the Left Forum, 20 March 2010. Photo: Thomas Good / NLN via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

The American genocide, indigenous resistance and human survival: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Stephyn Quirke

21st May 2015

The Indigenous Peoples of North America are the survivors of a multi-century genocide that was still being deliberately waged in the 1950s and has still not stopped today, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz told Stephyn Quirke. But the fightback is on, and for the world to overcome both genocide and ecocide, the indigenous struggle must grow to encompass the mass of humanity. more...
A truck pulls into the Enviva Ahoskie wood pellet plant that supplies Drax power station, loaded with whole trees. Photo: Dogwood Alliance.

End support for Drax: stop subsidies for biomass power and phase out coal!

The Undersigned

22nd April 2015

Hundreds of millions of pounds meant to be spent on green energy will soon be lavished on Britain's biggest coal fired power station to reward it for burning 7 million tonnes of wood pellets a year - meant to be 'renewable' but actually driving biodiversity loss and even worse for climate change than coal. DECC must stop this madness! more...
Precious little harmony here: a building site in Beijing. But change is on the way. Photo: Thembi Mutch.

Amid the smoke and chaos of 'development', China seeks a return to ancient harmony

Thembi Mutch

19th May 2015

China is struggling with a myriad of environmental challenges, writes Thembi Mutch, as the country 'develops' at breakneck speed with massive construction projects, and industrial expansion. But amid the chaos and filth, the Chinese people are mindful of their history and ancient principles of harmony with nature - something that many are working hard to restore. more...
Lake Baikal at Irkutskiy Raion, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. Photo: Fedor Stroganov via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lake Baikal: World Heritage ecosystems at risk from Mongolian dam

Anson Mackay

19th April 2015

Russia's Lake Baikal is under threat by a massive dam and pipeline on the main river that feeds into it, that would supply mines with power and water, writes Anson Mackay. In line to fund the project? The World Bank. more...
Vast extents of rainforest have been cleared, but extensive dry woodlands like these near Mt Barnett in Australia are producing more trees. Photo: yaruman5 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flourishing savanna woodlands mean forests are still absorbing carbon

Tim Radford

18th May 2015

Despite massive clearance of carbon-rich forests for palm oil, cattle ranching, soybeans and other cash crops, writes Tim Radford, a new study finds that the net volume of carbon stored in trees is increasing thanks to their growing numbers on grasslands, on abandoned farmland, and in China. more...
The mass extinction that closed the Triassic period was marked by massive CO2 emissions from volcanoes - like the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. Photo: Óli Jón via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

End-Triassic CO2 surge and mass extinction - an analog for climate change today?

Jessica H. Whiteside

13th April 2015

The end of the Triassic era 200 million years ago was marked by a surge in CO2 and anoxic oceans saturated with toxic hydrogen sulfide, writes Jessica H. Whiteside - enough to finish off half of all known organisms. Could humans now be embarking on a similar experiment? more...
Utah's Book Cliffs are no empty wasteland - but that's what the tar sands industry is set to turn them into. Photo:  Loco Steve via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness Society's 'Grand Compromise' is a fossil-fuelled sell out

Alexander Reid Ross

7th April 2015

A deal to give up 500,000 acres of public lands in Utah to the tar sands industry in return for 1.5 million acres of industry is a sacrifice too far, writes Alexander Reid Ross, as it disclaims the wider costs of massive water use and contamination in the headwaters of the Colorado River, already seriously stressed by drought. more...
Now it's Japan's press that's muzzled. Residents of Iitate village, about 40 kilometers from the radiation-spewing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, prepare fopr evacuation, 13th April 2011. Photo: Kyodo News via Irish Typepad on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

After Fukushima: Japan's 'nuclear village' is back in charge

Jim Green

28th March 2015

Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe's right-wing government has been putting the country's infamous 'nuclear village' back in control - boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the 'lessons' of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable? more...


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