The Ecologist


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Arctic warming: Greenland's ‘abnormal' Manhattan-sized ice shelf breakaway

Nick Breeze

5th October, 2016

Professor Jason Box, glaciologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, tells NICK BREEZE how the largest ice shelf in Greenland has just lost an area of ice shelf the size of Manhattan Island. Its recent breaking away was a 'spectacular' event - but also a highly abnormal one that raises deep concerns about the future of the Arctic and prospective global sea level rise. more...

Will Theresa May's new heavyweight Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy put climate change centre stage?

Joe Ware

19th July, 2016

At first glance the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) tolled a death knell for UK action on global warming. However, rising from the ashes is a new department that has the potential to put the climate agenda at the very heart of Government. more...

The Unfair Narrative on Global Warming and Development: Why it must be challenged

Mark Kernan

18th July, 2016

The industries that have primarily caused, are still causing, and will continue to cause climate change, are the recipients of huge subsidies. Whilst the marginalised are promised a paltry and relatively insignificant amount to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of the problem they did little or nothing to bring about. That's just plain wrong says MARK KERNAN more...
The smoke rises above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - no, not from the recent fires that afflicted the city, but from the highly polluting plant processing tar sand into oil. Photo: kris krüg / DeSmogBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Jeremy Leggett

7th June 2016

The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe? more...
From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen

27th April 2016

We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end. more...
How long before the entire Great Barrier Reef goes this way? Bleached coral at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: John Howell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Great Barrier Reef die-off - the latest harbinger of a global mass extinction?

James Dyke

12th April 2016

Large areas of the Great Barrier Reef are dying in what may be its greatest ever 'bleaching' event, writes James Dyke. The mass loss of the photosynthetic algae that sustain the coral is the result of this year's massive 'El Niño' perturbation to Pacific weather patterns, and global warming. Australia's response? The government has just approved leases for the world's biggest coal mine. more...
Big waves at Treyarnon Bay, Padstow, North Cornwall, 27th March 2016. Photo: Mark Seymour via Flickr (CC BY).

Stronger storms coming to Europe's Atlantic seaboard

Tim Radford

8th April 2016

The giant waves that hit Cornwall's coast this weekend form part of a long term trend, writes Tim Radford. Extreme weather linked to global warming is leading to more violent and more frequent storms devastating beaches, ports, infrastructure and coastal communities on Europe's exposed Atlantic coastlines. more...
A day before landfall, on 29th October 2012, Sandy intensified into a Category 2 superstorm nearly 1,000 miles wide. Photo: William Putman / NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Center for Climate Simulation via Flickr (CC BY).

Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: the threat of irreparable harm

Jim Hansen

24th March 2016

The term 'global warming' has a reassuring, comfortable sound, writes Jim Hansen. But paleoclimate data shows the reality could be anything but, with rapid climate oscillations, large, abrupt rises in sea level, major disruptions to ocean circulation, and massive superstorms. It may already be too late to forestall this dystopian future - but then it may not be. So let's act while we still can! more...
Polar bear adrift in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Gerard Van der Leun via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Shocking reality of climate change kicks in - but who's listening?

James Dyke, University of Southampton

18th March 2016

Last month must go down as one of the worst ever in the annals of climate change, writes James Dyke, with parts of the Arctic 16C hotter than usual and the 'safe' warming level of 2C breached across the Northern hemisphere. But even worse is the near-total lack of reaction from business, politicians and media. more...
A Mélange of Ice ... a glacier pours from the Greenland ice sheet between two mountain peaks into a narrow valley on its journey to the sea. Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory via Flickr (CC BY).

Greenland's darkening ice is melting faster

Tim Radford

15th March 2016

A dusty film of pollution is muting the reflective whiteness of Greenland's pristine icecap and making it vulnerable to accelerated melting rates, writes Tim Radford. And as warming continues, the declining reflectivity of the ice is accelerating the process. more...
Fishing trawler making its way across the Arctic ice. Photo: tpsdave via Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

Arctic warming opens pristine ocean to predatory trawling

Joe Sandler Clarke / Greenpeace Energydesk

3rd March 2016

Ice melt in the Arctic Ocean is opening up previously untouched areas to industrial fishing fleets using ecologically risky bottom trawling methods, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. Ecosystems supporting walruses, polar bears, puffins and other sea birds could be stripped bare. more...
A huge wild bee hive in Indian forest. Photo: Karunakar Rayker via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate change is killing off India’s bees

Pramila Krishnan

1st March 2016

A warming climate and the loss of natural areas are driving Indian bee colonies to the brink, writes Premila Krishnan. Losing this cousin of our European honeybee could be disastrous, as rural communities depend on their honey for food and income, and the bees perform vital pollination services. more...

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The densely conditions in Brazil's 'favelas', like this one in São Paulo, and the need for water tanks and containers, create idea conditions for Aedes mosquitos. And as the world warms, the mosquitos' range is expanding. Photo: Fernando Stankuns via Fli

Hotter planet helping spread of Zika virus mosquitos

Nadia Pontes

10th February 2016

The Aedes mosquitos that carry the Zika virus and dengue fever are not just perfectly adapted to life in cities, writes Nadia Pontes. They are also being helped along by warming climates which increase their range. It's time to get serious about the health implications of a hotter planet. more...
In the foreground a plesiosaur, and the left an ichthyosaur, feature in this reconstruction of a Cretaceous ocean in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. The absence of oxygen in deeper waters led to the preservation of the fossil riches we enjoy t

Ancient 'dead seas' offer a stark warning for our own future

Richard Pancost, University of Bristol

29th January 2016

For long periods animals in ancient oceans could live only in shallow surface waters, above vast 'dead zones' inhabited only by anoxic bacteria, writes Richard Pancost. Human activity is now creating immense new dead zones, and global warming could be helping as it reduces vertical mixing of waters. Could this be the beginning of something big? more...
The Monument Butte project area is all public lands and minerals managed by the BLM. The BLM has already opened up wide swaths of the Uinta Basin for the oil and gas industry, effectively turning our public lands into an industrial zone. Photo: WildEarth

President Obama: Keep our oil and gas in the ground!

Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, Waterkeeper Alliance &...

15th January 2016

Now that the US is signed up to ambitious Paris targets to limit warming, it too must play its part in keeping fossil fuels under the ground, write leading US campaigners. So let's make an immediate start by halting all new federal oil and gas leasing on public lands pending a full climate and environmental impact study. more...
D12: on Saturday 12th December thousands of protestors marched from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower for climate action and climate justice. Photo: Takver via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

After Paris, the year of Climate Insurgency

Jeremy Brecher

13th January 2016

The Paris Agreement provides a clear mandate to limit global warming, writes Jeremy Brecher. And with governments doing nowhere near enough, it's up to ordinary citizens - through civil disobedience if needs be - to make sure the world breaks free from fossil fuels. Let's make 2016 the year of 'Climate Insurgency'! more...
Ross McKitrick, Photo: YouTube screen grab (see embed).

Greenpeace 'peer review' climate sting's first scalp?

Brendan Montague /

6th January 2015

A leading member of the climate change-skeptic Global Warming Policy Foundation has resigned from his post in the wake of a Greenpeace investigation that exposed its phoney 'peer review' process. But he insists: 'nothing going on here!' more...
Qooroq Fjord in South Greenland, August 2015. Photo: joxeankoret via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Greenland glaciers melt rate hits 9,500 year record

Tim Radford

9th December 2015

As Arctic Peoples at COP21 in Paris appeal for unity to halt global warming, writes Tim Radford, scientists report that Greenland's glaciers are now melting at a speed not seen since the last Ice Age almost 10,000 years ago. more...
Jellyfish shall inherit the ocean ... if we keep on acidifying it. Photo: Stuart Chalmers via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Attack of the stinging jellyfish: the winners of ocean acidification

Jason Hall-Spencer, Plymouth University

16th December 2015

Rising levels of carbon dioxide don't just cause global warming, writes Jason Hall-Spencer. Another consequence is acidifying oceans - which promises to disrupt marine ecology around the world, killing off oysters and corals, while boosting 'nuisance species' like stinging jellyfish. more...
A pair of beaver dams in Bamff, Perthshire. Photo: Paul Ramsay.

Carlisle floods: bring back the trees, and the beavers!

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The key to reducing the risk of more floods like those in Carlisle is to realise that conventional 'flood defence' can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. We must embrace natural solutions to holding back flood waters: more trees; and bring back the beavers! more...
Coccolith. Photo: ZEISS Microscopy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21 warned on global warming's evil twin - acidifying oceans

Tony Juniper

3rd December 2015

Increased atmospheric CO2 is doing much more than warming the Earth, writes Tony Juniper - it's also acidifying oceans, something that is already having major impacts on ocean ecology in the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic. Likely effects: more CO2 in the atmosphere, more jellyfish. more...
A Greenland glacier breaks up into pieces into Ilulissat Icefjord. With rising sea levels and warming temperatures, such events are becoming ever more frequent. Photo: Tim Norris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

WMO: record warming rises into danger zone

Alex Kirby

28th November 2015

A climate negotiators gather in Paris for COP21, the WMO say that a combination of human and natural causes will make 2015 temperatures the hottest ever - half way to the 2C 'safety threshold'. But despite the ever falling price of solar and wind, many newly industrialising countries are insisting on coal-fired development. more...
Pizol Glacier and summit in the Swiss Alps, July 2013. Photo: HD Zimmermann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Global warming reduces snows that water 2 billion people

Tim Radford

24th November 2015

New research warns that rising temperatures will reduce the mountain snow in 97 major river basins worldwide, writes Tim Radford - cutting summer water supply to 2 billion people in lowland areas who depend on the meltwaters. 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...
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...


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