A selection of news items from outside the local area
Average CO2 level for March 414.50 ppm
(Data from ESRL Mauna Loa)
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be followed by even more deadly and destructive disease outbreaks unless their root cause – the rampant destruction of the natural world – is rapidly halted, the world’s leading biodiversity experts have warned.Read more »
Governments should not use taxpayer cash to rescue fossil fuel companies and carbon-intensive industries, but should devote economic rescue packages for the coronavirus crisis to businesses that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs, the UN secretary general has urged.Read more »
Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, according to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen.
Andersen said humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.Read more »
The vast illegal wildlife trade and humanity’s excessive intrusion into nature is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading US scientist who says “this is not nature’s revenge, we did it to ourselves”.Read more »
“It's easy for many people to run with the idea that we don't need neighbours. The cynicism in some people is the feeling that there's a default position that we will go back to. I'm not so sure about that.”Read more »
Britain gets through 2.5 billion of them every year, and the number is set to increase. But despite a growing clamour for coffee chains to make their cups more environment-friendly, the vast majority are used only once, which critics say is a considerable waste of natural resources.Read more »
Donald Trump wants a toxic trade deal with the UK. And UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss is keen to start negotiations as soon as she can, despite the pandemic.
A US trade deal could harm nature and the climate, especially if rushed. It could see food on our shelves made using chemicals that are currently banned, or pumped full of unnecessary, harmful antibiotics. It could mean giving US investors the power to influence our environmental standards.Read more »
Carbon emissions are set to fall by historic amounts this year, but environmental advocates aren’t celebrating.
Instead, they are zeroing in on a new battle: putting green conditions on the trillions in stimulus funds governments are pumping into their economies to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.Read more »
When veterinarian Prof Alessandra Nava first learnt of a new respiratory disease killing people in China, the initial cases linked to a Wuhan wet market, she felt a chill of inevitability.
“It gave me that cold feeling in my stomach,” she said. “It was the realization that what we had been expecting had actually happened.”Read more »
“We cannot and should not weigh a loss of human life against the potential of environmental progress. What we can do however, is look at how we can learn from this moment of pause.” Political correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service Luna Williams considers we should draw from these periods of reflection in lockdown, asking ourselves what we want ‘normal’ life to mean in a post-coronavirus world.Read more »
"Our first goal should be to bring about an immediate end to all armed conflicts."Read more »
Small pieces of plastic have been detected in sea ice in Antarctica for what scientists believe is the first time.
Microplastics have previously been discovered in Antarctica’s surface waters, sediment and in snow, but the new discovery could mean the region’s krill – which feed on algae from sea ice – may be more exposed to the plastic.Read more »
We are a new national network with over 50 years of campaigning experience between us. We have formed to empower communities fighting destructive road schemes and bus cuts, in order to tackle climate change, reduce social inequality, improve air quality, and protect green spaces and nature.Read more »
The loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic is now very likely before 2050, new research shows, even if the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis are cut rapidly.Read more »
A new Green Party report presses for a ‘community shield’ to be implemented by the government in an effort to suppress the coronavirus nationwide and draw upon the solidarity expressed within communities over the recent weeks before lifting the lockdown.Read more »
As the spread of coronavirus continues unabated, the response of the pharmaceutical industry is being thrust into the spotlight. For years, major public health crises have exposed the fundamental conflict between profit and public health in our pharmaceutical system.Read more »
As much of the world goes into lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, hopes are already being invested into the development of a vaccine as a way out of the crisis. However, aside from being several months away, large questions remain over who will develop the vaccine, how much it will cost and who will have access to it.Read more »
A new alliance of ministers, chief executive officers and researchers urged the European Union to build its recovery package after the coronavirus crisis around the Green Deal strategy of sustainable growth.Read more »
The novelist on how coronavirus threatens India — and what the country, and the world, should do next.Read more »
Labour has called on ministers to publish the suppressed conclusions of a cross-government pandemic drill that took place in 2016, which accurately predicted that the NHS would be plunged into crisis by an infectious and deadly disease.Read more »
The coronavirus recession will hurt all parts of society – but nothing can derail a Conservative megaproject.Read more »
Now is the time to reflect on the work we’ve done to create an economy based on abundance rather than scarcity, and where to go from here.Read more »
Unrepairable phones and laptops are one of the scandals of our throwaway society. But the pushback is building – and the coronavirus crisis has added more pressure for change.Read more »
“The degree to which we’ve coped, we’ve changed and adapted during the coronavirus outbreak, offers a positive lesson. Change is possible, and can be good, even wonderful.”Read more »
A new ourEconomy series with TNI putting the spotlight on struggles to bring services into democratic control.Read more »
Delhi is one of many capitals enjoying improved air quality since restrictions were introduced due to the coronavirus.Read more »
Global carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry could fall by a record 2.5bn tonnes this year, a reduction of 5%, as the coronavirus pandemic triggers the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels on record.Read more »
While carbon emissions fall as human activity decreases, in the end it will be about the politics.Read more »
A disregard for creature welfare is often central to disease. But politicians won’t dare make the connection.Read more »
"It’s a sign of our broken economy that hedge fund managers are raking in billions, while care workers who are putting their lives on the line can barely scrape by. When the immediate crisis has passed, we need to rebuild a more equal economy."Read more »
Thousands of UK motorists have won the first stage of a High Court action against Volkswagen over the installation of emissions cheating devices in its diesel vehicles.Read more »
The as yet incalculable physical, moral, and economic toll of the global crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic will have been to no avail if we accept the two contentions brandished by many governments as they manage the response.
Firstly, that the crisis is external, as if it were a natural calamity unrelated to human actions. Secondly, that the victory over the crisis will be attained when we return to “normal”, to doing the same things in the same ways as before.Read more »
The postponement of COP-26 in Glasgow, announced this week, is a decisive defeat for the longstanding impotent institutionalism made evident by the climate crisis.Read more »
The United Nations’ biodiversity chief has called for a global ban on wildlife markets – such as the one in Wuhan, China, believed to be the starting point of the coronavirus outbreak – to prevent future pandemics.Read more »
Ukraine has reported a spike in radiation levels in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, caused by a forest fire.Read more »
Fall in energy use combined with bright, breezy weather leads to first for negativity electricity prices.Read more »
Scientists, farmers and volunteers are looking for ways to lessen the impact of climate change as experts warn a third mass bleaching has taken place.Read more »
A growing micro-tannery sector in the UK is helping to create value for thousands of male goats that would otherwise be killed at birth.Read more »
If you are locked down in an urban area due to coronavirus, we want to know what flora and fauna you can see from your home.Read more »
The glory of the world’s oceans could be restored within a generation, according to a major new scientific review. It reports rebounding sea life, from humpback whales off Australia to elephant seals in the US and green turtles in Japan.Read more »
HS2 is beginning an operation to remove soils from ancient woodlands at a catastrophic time of year for wildlife, according to the Woodland Trust.Read more »
The plunging demand for oil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic combined with a savage price war has left the fossil fuel industry broken and in survival mode, according to analysts. It faces the gravest challenge in its 100-year history, they say, one that will permanently alter the industry. With some calling the scene a “hellscape”, the least lurid description is “unprecedented”.Read more »
Moles are daring to clamber above ground to hunt for worms, oystercatchers are nesting on deserted beaches, and overlooked plants such as ivy-leaved toadflax are gaining new friends.Read more »
Chris Packham is seeking an urgent injunction to immediately halt HS2’s destruction of ancient woodlands as campaigners criticise construction teams for allegedly ignoring the government’s physical distancing rules for coronavirus and endangering local people.Read more »
The United States has become the new center of the global coronavirus pandemic, with over 86,000 cases, more than China or Italy. More than a thousand Americans have already died, but this is surely only the very beginning of this deadly collision between the US's uniquely inadequate public healthcare system and a real pandemic.Read more »
Wherever you live, Britain’s flora and fauna will be at their peak of activity during the nation’s enforced isolation.Read more »
The government has quietly drawn up proposals to lend other countries £1bn of public money so that they can buy British-made bombs and surveillance technology.Read more »
Badger Trust condemns ‘largest destruction of a protected species in living memory’ as government admits failings and focuses on vaccination.Read more »
The fight to ban plastic bags, many of which end up polluting oceans and rivers, has taken a step backward as conservative US think-tanks exploit the fear of Covid-19, campaigners have said.Read more »
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak.Read more »
European airlines crippled by the coronavirus have demanded lasting relief from environmental taxes - in a move that pits their immediate survival against longer-term emissions goals.Read more »
Every roof in the city district of Utrecht is to be “greened” with plants and mosses or have solar panels installed under plans driven by the success of a similar scheme for the municipality’s bus stops.Read more »
The motor industry has been accused by campaigners of trying to use the coronavirus crisis to avert stricter environmental regulation, after correspondence showed carmakers had lobbied the EU to defer impending laws.Read more »
With the cruise ships gone and the souvenir stalls closed, the coronavirus lockdown has transformed La Serenissima’s waterways.Read more »
The temporary fall in CO2 emissions due to coronavirus has been a respite for the planet – it should be a wake-up call for us.Read more »
A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process.Read more »
The corona crisis signifies a civilization that is dying. But it also shows a 'pluriverse' of other worlds rising up.Read more »
Rightwing governments have denied the problem and been slow to act. With coronavirus and the climate, this costs lives.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought urgency to the defining political question of our age: how to distribute risk. As with the climate crisis, neoliberal capitalism is proving particularly ill-suited to this.Read more »
The economic rescue packages to deal with the impact of the coronavirus must also be green, a growing chorus of environmental campaigners have urged, concerned that hasty measures will lock the world into a high-carbon future.Read more »
In her new book Why Trust Science? Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard University, argues that if more people heard scientists talk personally about their values, it would help turn back the creeping tide of anti-science sentiment.Read more »
The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down industrial activity and temporarily slashing air pollution levels around the world, satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows.Read more »
Electric vehicles produce less carbon dioxide than petrol cars across the vast majority of the globe – contrary to the claims of some detractors, who have alleged that the CO2 emitted in the production of electricity and their manufacture outweighs the benefits.Read more »
Rail franchising is being suspended “for a limited period, initially six months,” said the Department for Transport. Are you sure? It seems more likely the whole franchising model, as understood since privatisation in the 1990s, is now finished for good.Read more »
The world’s five biggest pesticide manufacturers are making more than a third of their income from leading products selling chemicals that pose serious hazards to human health and the environment, a joint investigation by Unearthed and Public Eye has found.
Analysis of a huge database of 2018’s top-selling “crop protection products” has revealed the world’s leading agrochemical companies made more than 35% of their sales from pesticides classed as “highly hazardous” to people, animals or ecosystems.Read more »
At first glance, the Richemont crèche, nestled in the French city centre of Vannes, not far from the docks, looks like any other childcare centre: plastic slides and drawings on the walls, bins full of slippers and booties, bright colours splashed everywhere, giving the place a warm, cosy feeling. But the parents who arrive to pick up their children at the end of the day on an afternoon in September, seem a little more calm and collected than the usual stressed-out variety. “When I come to pick up Suzanne, I know that she has had a good lunch, with fresh healthy ingredients,”Read more »
An ecological report revealing that a new road would imperil one of Britain’s rarest mammals was rewritten to remove the warning.
Warnings in a survey undertaken for Norfolk county council by an independent environmental consultant were deleted from the report by another consultancy before it was published by the council.Read more »
Plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food and drink containers look set to be banned in Wales under proposals from the Welsh government.
It said the ban would be part of wider measures to make Wales the world’s top recycling nation.Read more »
As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics.Read more »
Last year’s summer was so warm that it helped trigger the loss of 600bn tons of ice from Greenland – enough to raise global sea levels by 2.2mm in just two months, new research has found.Read more »
At a time of rising fares and growing passenger dissatisfaction, an investigation has revealed that thousands of unused trains are standing idle in rail sidings and depots across the country.
According to industry experts, the unused “ghost trains” worth at least £3bn and containing over 110,000 seats are being stored across at least half a dozen sites, including Crewe, Worksop, Ely and Long Marston.Read more »
The number of new renewable energy projects applying for planning permission reached a four-year high in the UK last year as energy companies raced to meet the rising demand for clean electricity.
There were 269 planning applications for new wind, solar and bioenergy projects in 2019, up from 204 the year before, according to an analysis of government data by energy consultancy PX Group.Read more »
Last year was one of the worst in recent times for both flooding and drought in England, a study has found.
There were more than 5,600 flood warnings in England in 2019, more than in any of the last 15 years except 2012. Groundwater levels were lower than normal in 25 areas, more than in any year since comparable records began in 2006.Read more »
More than a million people in Great Britain now live at least a mile from a bus stop with a regular service, BBC research suggests.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said cuts to services had left some people "trapped in their homes".
In Somerset the number of concessionary journeys taken was down by 45%.Read more »
New rules could spell the death of a "throwaway" culture in which products are bought, used briefly, then binned.
The regulations will apply to a range of everyday items such as mobile phones, textiles, electronics, batteries, construction and packaging.
They will ensure products are designed and manufactured so they last - and so they're repairable if they go wrong.Read more »
This week the European Commission made a new push to limit cities’ rights to promote sustainable local development and social justice.
Some European cities are trying to use their spending power – via public tendering – to promote social justice and environmental goals. However, this is in a context of neoliberal EU procurement directives that were designed to promote a single market for public procurement, where contracts go to the bidder with the lowest price.Read more »
Einstein probably didn’t say “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”, but might have done had he kept tabs on the impact of the annual climate negotiations.Read more »
Commercial tree plantations in Britain do not store carbon to help the climate crisis because more than half of the harvested timber is used for less than 15 years and a quarter is burned, according to a new report.Read more »
irst seagrass restoration in Britain will capture carbon rapidly and offer habitat for lost marine life.Read more »
In a conference room overlooking the gray Thames, a group of young corporate types tried to imagine how the world could save itself, how the international community could balance the need for growth with our precarious ecological situation. For the purposes of our speculative scenarios, everything except for carbon was supposed to be up in the air, and democracy’s track record is mixed.Read more »
The Environment Agency is planning to implement a controversial overhaul to its pollution response operations as it admits a surge in pollution incidents driven by climate change is “overwhelming” its depleted staff, according to documents seen by Unearthed.Read more »
The fight against global warming has entered a new phase. What strategies will help us halt catastrophe?
2019 was undoubtedly a year of awakening to the climate emergency. Environmental warnings have intensified. All this information has started to form part of the conversation for a wider public, not just for small groups of nerds or experts.Read more »
We are on the threshold of an extraordinary decade. Before now the effects of climate and environmental breakdown were mapped on to the future, but today we can see them all around us.Read more »
The new chancellor should rewrite the rules of public spending to support investment in climate mitigation and adaptation.Read more »
The US oil firm ExxonMobil met key European commission officials in an attempt to water down the European Green Deal in the weeks before it was agreed, according to a climate lobbying watchdog.Read more »
There are now hundreds of thousands of data centres around the world, storing everything from viral videos to doctors' notes and even bank account details. Many of them run on electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.Read more »
TV naturalist Chris Packham has launched a legal challenge to HS2 high-speed rail link.
The Springwatch presenter said the government's approval of the controversial project fails to take carbon emissions targets into account.
Mr Packham said: "In regard to the HS2 rail project I believe our government has failed."Read more »
Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg has rebuked the EU's plan for tackling climate change, telling MEPs it amounts to "surrender".Read more »