Environment and Climate Change

Identity crisis in Lithuania’s bohemian republic

Gentrification threatens the artists’ colony where ‘a dog has the right to be a dog.’ By GINGER HERVEY Politico VILNIUS — In Užupis, Lithuania, a gate is not just a gate. A gate, you see, is a symbol — of barriers, of impossibilities, of divisions between people and of outdated ideas about property. A symbol that might belong in oldLithuania, but is unwelcome in Užupis, a bohemian self-proclaimed republic in the center of the former Soviet country’s capital. Not that Užupis ... Read More »

Madagascar’s vanilla wars: prized spice drives death and deforestation

As the price of pods has soared so has violence – and forest defenders are increasingly risking their lives to protect precious wildlife habitat from being felled for profit Jonathan Watts The Guardian The vanilla thieves of Anjahana were so confident of their power to intimidate farmers they provided advance warning of raids. “We are coming tonight,” they would write in a note pushed under doors in this remote coastal village in Madagascar. “Prepare what we want.” But they either undervalued ... Read More »

Australia’s greenest energy companies leave big retailers behind

Powershop and Diamond Energy have been voted as Australia’s most green energy retailers in Greenpeace’s electricity guide. Cole Latimer The Sydney Morning Herald The two retailers were the only companies to win a five out of five star rating in the third annual Green Electricity Guide from Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre. “In taking the top two places for the third time running, five-star retailers Powershop and Diamond Energy continue to be the guiding lights in the retail energy ... Read More »

Tasmanian regional forest agreement delivers $1.3bn losses in ‘giant fraud’ on taxpayers

Forestry Tasmania’s total cash losses were $454m over 20 years, with a write-down of $751m in value of forest estate John Lawrence The Guardian The first Tasmanian regional forest agreement, signed between the state and the commonwealth in 1997, was supposed to start an era in which forestry was both ecologically and economically sustainable. In fact the last 20 years have been a financial disaster for forest management in Tasmania. According to my calculations, Forestry Tasmania’s total operating cash losses over the 20 ... Read More »

Finland’s race for Arctic riches

A small city on the Baltic may soon become a vital part of Helsinki’s push to compete with Russia and China. Reid Standish Politico OULU, Finland — A new frontier of geopolitics is opening up as countries move to control lucrative and strategically important natural resources and shipping lanes in the Arctic, and Finland doesn’t want to be left… The unprecedented rate at which the polar ice caps are melting is creating a flurry of activity. So far, Russia and ... Read More »

Everyday heroes compelled to break the law when government fails to protect us

What does it say about the state of our democracy when it falls upon everyday people to stop a billionaire building the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere? Julian Burnside * The Sydney Morning Herald And what does it say about our politicians that they will let Adani’s mine proceed when the vast majority of Australians don’t want it, and scientists are urging us to keep coal in the ground to avoid more dangerous climate change? This month, nine ... Read More »

Big coal no more

The industry once ruled Europe. Now it’s struggling to survive. Sara Stefanini Politico The coal lobby used to be a Brussels power player. No more. Euracoal’s staff peaked in the 1970s. The 60-year-old industry association was a force to be reckoned with as it lobbied hard for the fuel that had powered Europe’s industrial revolution and was still a crucial part of its energy mix. Today, Euracoal has just three staffers, and this year the organization left its old spacious offices ... Read More »

Time running out to save the Earth’s plants and animals

Five new reports unveiled at a UN biodiversity summit in Colombia are sounding the alarm over the rapidly deteriorating state of biodiversity on our planet. Dave Keating DW But they also provide the tools to fight back. Delegates at a major international summit on biodiversity in Medellín, Colombia have been rattled after being presented with stark new evidence about the state of the world’s biodiversity. The 750 delegates from 115 countries are meeting for the sixth plenary of the Intergovernmental ... Read More »

China’s latest energy megaproject shows that coal really is on the way out

China has some of the worst air pollution in the world. In several cities, thick layers of smog are common, resulting in thousands of deaths every year. Leanna Garfield Business Insider According to a 2016 study, the top contributor of air pollution-related deaths in China is the burning of coal. The team of Chinese and American researchers behind the study said that pollution from coal caused 366,000 premature deaths in 2013. To improve the country’s air quality, the Chinese government vows to spend at least ... Read More »

Climate change soon to cause movement of 140m people, World Bank warns

Tens of millions in three regions of the developing world expected to migrate before 2050 unless environment is improved Fiona Harvey The Guardian Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank. More than 140 million people in just three regions of the developing world are likely to migrate within their native countries between now and 2050, the ... Read More »

Berlin 24/7: Why Berlin is so dirty

Rotting food, cigarette butts, old furniture: these items litter the streets of Berlin — and reflect the mentality of the inhabitants of the German capital, thinks Gero Schliess. City cleaning efforts are laughable. Gero Schliess (ad) DW Each time when American friends of mine visit me in Berlin, they actually praise the city for its cleanliness. That’s when I start to pity my pals. If they seriously think that Berlin is clean and neat, what on earth do the streets look like in ... Read More »

Men fined $17,000 after dead green turtles, dugong found in boat

Two men have been fined $17,000 after park rangers found two dead green turtles and a dead dugong in their boat off Hervey Bay last year. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers found the dead turtles and dugong, both protected species, in a boat in the Great Sandy Marine Park in October. The men told rangers they had been given permission by Aboriginal elders to hunt and kill the animals for ... Read More »

U.S. Coast Guard detains 20 Mexican fisherman for illegal fishing

Four lancha boats, 100 red snapper and the Mexican boat crews’ fishing gear were seized. KiiiTV A total of 20 Mexican fishermen were arrested Sunday and Tuesday of this week by U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement crews out of Corpus Christi. The fishermen made up four lancha boat crews that were fishing illegally in federal waters near South Texas. Along with the four lancha boats, Coast Guard crews seized 100 red snapper and fishing gear from the boat crews. The ... Read More »

Migration is a successful climate adaptation strategy

Governments across the world should legalise and regulate temporary climate migration, rather than try to prevent it. Alex Randall Al Jazeera After a particularly bad year for rainfall, Miguel told a group of researchers that he was leaving Mexico for the US. This wasn’t a permanent move he explained, he would be back. In fact, he’d made the move several times before. “The only solution is to go away, at least for a while. Each year, I’m working for three to five ... Read More »

UN moves towards recognising human right to a healthy environment

Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment Jonathan Watts The Guardian It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the world body’s chief investigator of murders, beatings and intimidation of environmental defenders. John Knox, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said the momentum for such ... Read More »

Another oil firm seeks sweeping injunction against UK protesters

Critics say legal move by UK Oil and Gas, that could see protesters at its sites jailed and fined, is draconian and anti-democratic Rob Evans The Guardian Another firm is seeking a sweeping injunction against environmental protesters, drawing accusations that the legal move is “draconian and chillingly anti-democratic”. UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) has applied for a broad injunction to prevent campaigners from mounting protests that it says would unlawfully interfere with its operations. The injunction, if granted by a… ... Read More »