Climate activists halt UK open-cast coal mine

Durham County is notably pro-renewables, despite being a mining community. The south facing rooftops are covered with polysilicon and thin-film solar panels. The rounded silhouette of hilly fields decorated with the spinning fans of wind turbines bobbing in and out of sight. Pont Valley sits within Durham, a rural area spotted with detached houses, horses and livestock. On Wednesday 26 February, it was 7 degrees and there were still clumps of snow and ice on the ground...

What is Article 6?

At the 2015 United Nations' climate negotiations in Paris (COP21), countries pledged to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C. But current policy is set to heat the planet by more than 3C. To help close this gap between promises and reality, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement - the piece of legislation responsible for setting up the mechanisms for a worldwide carbon emissions trading system - was to be finalised at the end of last year in Madrid, at COP25.

How not to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

Across Europe, and many other places, people are laying their bodies down, facing arrest, calling for government action on environmental policies, including cutting fossil fuel subsidies. In Ecuador, people are putting their lives at risk to reinstate them. The protests were successful. After eleven days of unrest, seven dead, hundreds arrested and thousands injured, the government met with protesters for peace talks, and negotiated the reinstatement of fossil fuel subsidies in Ecuador.

Bumpy ride for conservation in PNG as lack of roads hinders activities

The four-wheel-drive is king of the road in Papua New Guinea. Driving anywhere outside the capital, Port Moresby, is a whiplash roulette of swerving around zigzag crevices and blindsiding potholes. When the Australian government, a primary source of infrastructure aid funding for PNG, evaluated PNG’s road management from 2007-2017, it found almost 60 percent of national roads to be “in very poor condition.” This included sections of PNG’s sparse highways. Although the Pacific island nation is

Protecting Jaguars Across Borders

When big cats cross from one country into another, they can fall victim to wildlife traffickers, drug cartels, highways and more emerging threats. In early April the mutilated body of a jaguar was discovered in Mexico’s Yaxchilán Natural Monument. Researchers investigating the death quickly concluded that the animal, which had been tracked in neighboring Guatemala since 2015, had crossed the border and fallen prey to wildlife traffickers, who may have taken its head for sale on the black marke

‘Beautiful legislation’ fails to protect PNG’s environment, landowners

Papua New Guinea is a canopy-covered country, with a substantial chunk of the world’s third-largest rainforest and some 7 percent of global biodiversity. It is home to many endemic species, from legless lizards to the amber-plumed Raggiana bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana), immortalized on the nation’s flag. These natural wonders are ostensibly safeguarded by laws that include the Land Act of 1996, the Environment Act (2000), Forestry Act (1991), Mining Act (1992) and the Oil and Gas Act (

For APEC’s poorest member, flashy cars point to another boondoggle

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit that opens in Port Moresby this week is supposed to be a showcase of Papua New Guinea’s hosting, but the run-up to the event has been overshadowed by fast cars. Italian-made Maseratis, mostly — 40 of them, flown in on specially chartered cargo flights — as well as three Bentleys. At a reported $148,000 per Maserati, and an estimated freight cost of at least $1.2 million, this outlay by the poorest of the APEC member states has put the governme

Evicted for a showpiece project, this PNG community fights for justice

“I lost everything,” says Joe Moses, recalling the day homes in his community of Paga Hill were demolished. Moses is one of thousands of Papua New Guineans who have lost their homes to make way for new developments as the country prepares to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which begins Nov. 17. Plans for the gathering in the capital, Port Moresby, were underway as early as 2011, when the summit was held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The government has since embarked on a build

Papua New Guinea landowners take up arms against natural gas project

PORT MORESBY — Heavily armed civilian groups have burned and damaged ExxonMobil construction equipment in a land dispute involving a natural gas plant in Papua New Guinea. The civil unrest took place Wellhead A, part of the PNG LNG (Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas) project. In a statement to Mongabay, an ExxonMobil PNG spokesperson confirmed “vandalism to heavy equipment and some camp buildings,” last week in Angore, Hela province. PNG LNG is the largest infrastructure resource extract

Latin America-Europe trade pact to include historic indigenous rights clause

International trade negotiators don’t historically have a strong track record when it comes to protecting environmental or indigenous rights. So policymakers are hailing as monumental the indigenous human rights assurances to be included in a major trade agreement currently being finalized between Latin America and Europe. It will be the first time that human rights clauses – specifically indigenous human rights – will be included in a trade agreement between the Mercosur trade bloc (Brazil, Ar

Community leaders, politicians and business owners: are women leading a cultural shift in Nepal?

These brilliant women are defying cultural traditions in Nepal, and are becoming community leaders, environmentalists politicians and business owners. Lucy EJ Woods reports. After decades of turmoil, 22 governing coalitions in 26 years, a royal massacre and a merry-go-round of impermanent heads of state, Nepal has started to do things a little differently. The country is on the precipice of calm. After 10 years of negotiations, the country saw the debut of its first democratic constitution las

Al Gore likens climate movement to suffrage and abolition of slavery

Former US vice president Al Gore compared climate change to historic “moral causes” such as abolishing slavery, universal suffrage, anti-apartheid, civil, and gay rights. It was “clearly wrong to destroy the prospects of living prosperously and sustainably on a clean Earth” and to “condemn future generations” said Gore. In the same way “it was wrong to allow slavery to continue”, “to deny women the right to vote”, “to discriminate on the basis of skin colour or who you fell in love with”, and “

Collaboration and communication: how science and environmentalists can fight climate change together

Science: the global endeavour of humans to understand the universe. People carrying out this endeavour - scientists - are defined by the UK Science Council as: "someone who systematically gathers and uses research and evidence, making a hypothesis and testing it, to gain and share understanding and knowledge." The intent to share scientific research is a crucial distinction; it defines science as a public good, as much about method as it is about values. At a pro-science march in London, clima

'Bad-ass business women' bring solar empowerment to Nepal

“People talk here when a woman talks to men. They say things like how a woman should not leave the house,” says Runa Jha, a solar entrepreneur in Janakpur, eastern Nepal. “But I don’t care.” A widow, Jha lives in one room with her three teenage children. In rural Nepal, widows are treated as social outcasts. They are seen as predatory, potential husband-stealers and their interactions with men are frowned upon. “You should do what you want,” says Jha, who received training from Empower Generat

Brazilian tribal leader tours Europe to plead for help to stop killings and land grabs

Ladio Veron, leader of Brazil’s indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá people, is touring Europe and making a desperate international appeal to halt attacks and killings, land theft and environmental destruction that his people say have become a hallmark of Brazil’s Temer administration. The Guarani-Kaiowá is fighting for recognition of their indigenous land rights in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in southwest Brazil, bordering Paraguay. After decades of violent territorial disputes with cattle ranchers,

Facing oversupply, Indonesia scales back its coal-based electricity plan

The Indonesian government appears to be backtracking on its aggressive 35,000-megawatt, coal-centric energy development plan. The ambitious 35,000 megawatts of new electricity generation projects were to be completed by 2019, according to a plan announced by President Joko Widodo in 2014. However, only 15,000 megawatts will be required by then, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ignasius Jonan, said last month. Jonan attributed the U-turn on energy development goals to setbacks to t

China kickstarting new coal boom in Pakistan

Chinese investments are speeding up new coal developments in the Thar region of Pakistan, despite local water scarcity and pollution and an abundance of solar energy potential. The CEO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECM), Shamsuddin Ahmad Shaikh, said on Thursday that with government and investor support – particularly from China – its coal developments in Thar are running quicker than expected. SECM is developing a 1,320MW coal power plant in Thar which is expected to be completed by Ju

Women in STEM raise voices at London March for Science

“Girls just want to have fun…ding for science” These are just some of the witty quips that were etched onto placards in support of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), at the London March for Science on the 22nd of April. Draped in white lab coats, marchers brought the streets of central London to a halt chanting: “What do we want? Evidence based policy! When do we want it? After peer review!” An estimated 10,000 scientists marched with colleagues, friends, famil

Unprecedented climate change investigation begins: what does this mean for renewables?

A human rights investigation into the carbon emissions of 47 companies begins in the Philippines this month. The investigation is an inquiry into human rights violations as a result of climate change. The inquiry focuses on 47 so-called ‘Carbon Major’ companies. Mostly fossil fuel and cement producers, the list includes Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, BP and Total. The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (a constitutionally independent office that investigates human rights breaches) gave the
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