The Ecologist


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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...
Another extraordinary sunset over Lake Baikal - the deep hues heightened by the ever-present forest fires. Photo: Bryce Stewart.

New dams, warming waters, forest fires - Lake Baikal in peril

Bryce Stewart

17th September 2015

Longer than England, almost as deep as the Grand Canyon, Russia's Lake Baikal is one of the world's greatest aquatic wonders, writes Bryce Stewart. But it's a fragile paradise: the limpid waters are warming much faster than the global average, with as yet unknown effects on its ecology. And it faces the danger of a huge dam on its principal tributary, Mongolia's Selenga River. more...
Comparison of Sierra Nevada snowpack in 2015 v 2010. Photo: NASA / MODIS.

The 2015 Sierra Nevada snowpack is at a 500-year low

Valerie Trouet & Soumaya Belmecheri

15th September 2015

The lack of snow in California's Sierra Nevada is historically unprecedented, write Valerie Trouet & Soumaya Belmecheri. It's also seriously bad news for the state's water supplies - and may be an indicator of even worse to come in a warming world. more...
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...
Tar sands processing in Alberta, Canada is a huge source of emissions in its own right. Canada is one of the countries putting forward an 'inadequate' target, with no credible plan to deliver it. Photo: Williamson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Emissions cuts pledges too weak to achieve 2C 'safety limit'

Alex Kirby

3rd September 2015

Promises made by governments to cut their greenhouse emissions come nowhere near stopping global warming rising above the 2C danger level, writes Alex Kirby. And in many cases the laws and policies needed to deliver them are absent. more...

Framing the Climate Talks

Laurence and Alison Matthews

28 August 2015

Laurence and Alison Matthews explain how the framework for the Paris Climate Change talks are set to skew the debate and distract us from the real agenda which should be to find a global solution to a global emergency. more...
Do wild boar eat in the woods? Photo:  bzd1 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warmer winters boost Europe's wild boar

Paul Brown

23rd August 2015

Increasingly mild winters have caused an abundance of acorns and beech nuts in Europe's woodlands, writes Paul Brown, triggering a wild boar population explosion - just one of the effects of warming climate on wildlife populations. more...
Wind turbines on farmland near Tow Law, County Durham, UK. Photo: Jonathan Pearson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind farm subsidies bad, farm subsidies good?

Brendan Montague /

10th August 2013

Major funders of the pro-fossil fuel Global Warming Policy Foundation are always keen to speak out against public support for renewable energy, writes Brendan Montague. So how come they're so keen to help themselves to a fortune in farm subsidies? more...
It's getting hot, and we're racing towards for even hotter. Photo: SMADE|MEDIA Galleria via Flickr (CC BY).

Global warming's record-breaking trend continues

Alex Kirby

29th July 2015

A detailed update of key climate indicators by hundreds of scientists reveals that 2014 saw rises in temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases to record levels, writes Alex Kirby. more...

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The Gerlache strait, Andvord Bay, Antarctica. Photo: Rita Willaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The world is already committed to a six meter sea level rise

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

24th July 2015

The climate change discourse rarely looks beyond 2100, writes Pete Dolack. Maybe that's because even at current levels of CO2, we are committed to thousands of years of warming and polar ice melt that will raise sea levels by at least six meters. However the implacable imperatives of capitalism mean there's little prospect of change for a long time to come. more...
The North American bumblebee Bombus vosnesenskii in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Sean McCann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Warming world traps bumblebees in 'climate vice'

Tim Radford

10th July 2015

As Europe and North America warm, bumblebees should be able to fly north to cooler climes, writes Tim Radford. But they're not: the bees' range is receding in the south, but staying put in the north, and scientists fear their shrinking habitat will put many species at risk of extinction. more...
Whose water is it anyway? Photo: ricardo / via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

California is the 'canary in the coalmine' of global drought

Maude Barlow

1st July 2015

California's drought is a harbinger of things to come around the world, writes Maude Barlow. Because of global warming, yes - but also because the Golden State is an exemplar of the 'water as property for corporate profit' neoliberal paradigm that's taking over the world. It's now essential to assert water as a Commons - to be both justly shared, and fiercely protected! more...
A Mursi boy suffering from Malaria in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. With warming, the range of malaria-carrying mosquitos will extend up into the Highlands. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Court orders Dutch government to cut emissions, as doctors warn of health catastrophe

Alex Kirby

25th June 2015

In a landmark ruling, judges have ordered the Netherlands to do more to tackle the 'imminent danger' of climate change. Meanwhile an expert commission reports of an impending global health breakdown from unmitigated global warming. more...
Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright & Emily Morris

27th June 2015

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness? more...
Smoking dawn over Wiersbaden, Germany. Photo: Martin Fisch via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Climate negotiators, please cut soot and methane - but not at the expense of CO2!

Myles Allen

6th June 2015

Climatologists have spotted an 'easy hit' to reduce global warming by cutting emissions of short lived forcing agents like soot from dirty power plants, 2-stroke engines and cooking fires, writes Miles Allen. But while we should take action on these pollutants, it must not come at the expense of holding back on cutting emissions of the big long term climate forcer: carbon dioxide. more...
Soon this could be happening to coral reefs everywhere - bleached Staghorn coral in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Matt Kieffer via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Geoengineer or our tropical reefs will die, scientists warn

Tim Radford

30th May 2015

To keep the world's coral reefs alive we may have to cool tropical seas by blocking the sun's rays above them, writes Tim Radford. Even if the world reduces carbon emissions, warming already 'in the pipeline' could kill 90% of the world's coral by 2050 unless we act. more...
Monsoon Bliss in the Nilgiri Hills of Kerala - now baking in the torrid  summer heat as the monsoon fails to make landfall on cue. Photo: ram reddy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

India's killer heatwave - a deadly warning of the world we face, without climate action

Liz Hanna

30th May 2015

As delegates prepare for the Bonn climate talks, India is being struck by extreme heat with a long-delayed monsoon season and a death toll of thousands, writes Liz Hanna. If this is an indicator of the warming world to come, it's giving us all the reasons we could possibly want to act decisively before it's too late. more...
Pope Francis reads the Catholic Climate Petition with GCCM representatives Tomás Insua from Argentina and Allen Ottaro from Kenya. Photo: Fotografia Felici.

Pope Francis endorses climate action petition to world leaders

The Ecologist

15th May 2015

The Pope has urged Catholics around the world to sign a new faith-inspired petition calling on world leaders to limit global warming to 1.5C, shortly after declaring that there is 'clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act' on climate change. more...
Scientists had thought that Arctic rivers like the Kolyma in Siberia carry dissolved carbon from melting permafrost to the oceans. They were wrong - it's all emitted to the atmosphere as CO2. Photo: Магадан via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thawing Arctic carbon threatens 'runaway' global warming

Tim Radford

14th May 2015

Arctic warming is releasing ancient organic matter that's been deep-frozen for millennia, writes Tim Radford. And now scientists have discovered its fate: within weeks it's all digested by bacteria and released to the atmosphere as CO2 - with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate. 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...
A Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) off the coast of Massachusetts, USA. Photo: chris buelow via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Time to 'Get Oil Out!' from sea to shining sea

Ralph Nader & David Helvarg

4th July 2015

Faced with the double crisis of global warming and the decimation of marine wildlife, what does the Obama administration do? Open up the US's Atlantic and Arctic Ocean seafronts to oil and gas drilling, write Ralph Nader & David Helvarg. But this assault on our climate and cetaceans can be stopped, as a 'Sea Party Rebellion' prepares to fight it all the way in forthcoming Presidential elections. more...
Allanblackia trees and a woman participating in the Novella project which aims to increase the incomes of hundreds of thousands of African farmers. Photo: Charlie Pye-Smith / World Agroforestry Centre via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Forest foods - the tasty, resilient, sustainable answer to world hunger

Bhaskar Vira

1st June 2015

Forest foods are a vital source of nutrition for millions of people, writes Bhaskar Vira, and we need to make them an even bigger part of our diets for the sake of health, biodiversity, local economies, and to increase food global security in a warming world. more...


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