EU

Bee on blossom

Campaigners rejoice European Union neonicotinoid ban

Catherine Early
| 30th April 2018
Bee-killing insecticides will face a near total ban in Europe following a vote by member states in favour of proposals by the European Commission. The UK government supported the ban, which it says it will maintain after Brexit. CATHERINE EARLY reports

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Why it's time for a European climate law

Molly Scott Cato
| 23rd April 2018
Climate laws are being adopted around the world. MOLLY SCOTT CATO and JAKOB DALUNDE, MEPs for the UK and Sweden, consider whether legally binding commitments can save us from a climate crisis and pave the way towards a net zero emissions planet

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VIDEO: What will Brexit mean for the environment?

Craig Bennett
| 19th March 2018
CRAIG BENNETT, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth, is a self styled “hard remainer”. Craig led the environment charity's campaign to stay in the European Union. He argues leaving the EU poses a tremendous threat, not only to current environmental protections but also to any future legislation needed to tackle new challenges

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'Plastic Ocean': Installation of wasted materials into art by Tan Zi Xi (Singapore) at sam @ 8Q during the imaginarium - Over the Ocean, Under the Sea exhibition. Photo: Choo Yut Shing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Government plans to bin the 'latte levy' could undermine Green Brexit plan

Joseph Dutton
| 15th March 2018
This week the UK government announced a consultation on introducing a tax on single-use plastics, as part of its pledge to reduce plastic waste. But earlier this month ministers stepped back from plans to introduce a charge for non-recyclable coffee cups - putting the government’s war on plastic and promise of a Green Brexit under scrutiny. JOSEPH DUTTON investigates

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Ecuador's 'free trade' agreement with the US only undermined their ability to get justice for Texaco's toxic legacy of oil pollution, and did little to attract investment. Now it has been dumped along with 15 others. Photo of Lago Agrio by Caroline Bennet

Ecuador rips up 16 toxic trade treaties

Nick Dearden
Global Justice Now
| 31st May 2017
Ecuador is the latest country to tear up 'free trade' agreements that have so far cost the country $21 billion in damages awarded to foreign companies by 'corporate courts', and yielded next to nothing in return, writes Nick Dearden. So the outgoing President Correa did the only sensible thing: in one of his final executive acts this month, he scrapped 16 toxic trade and investment treaties.

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Prime Minister Theresa May signed her Article 50 setting out the UK's intention to withdraw from the European Union, 28th March 2017. Photo: Jay Allen / Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Revealed: May's secret EU mission to weaken climate and energy targets

Zachary Davies Boren
Greenpeace Energydesk
| 30th May 2017
When Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels to hand in her 'Article 50' Brexit notice, she was also pursuing a separate, covert objective, writes Zachary Davies Boren. Leaked papers show that the UK was lobbying to gut new EU rules and targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency - even though they will only come into force after Brexit.

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Liberian Coast Guard prepares to board the Star Shrimper XXV. Photo: Alejandra Gimeno / Sea Shepherd Global.

Sea Shepherd helps arrest 'sustainable' shrimp trawler for illegal fishing in Liberian waters

Peter Hammarstedt
Sea Shepherd
| 26th May 2017
A 'Friend of the Sea' Dutch-owned trawler certified to supply 'sustainably caught' shrimp to the US and EU was arrested in Liberia after operating in an an area reserved for artisanal fishers, writes Peter Hammarstedt. The vessel, which had no licence and lacked the turtle excluders required by law, was discovered by the crew of Sea Shepherd's 'Bob Barker' in a joint mission with the Liberian Coast Guard to clamp down on rampant illegal fishing.

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If you think fossil fuel lobbyists belong in UN climate negotiations, maybe you also think Santa smokes Lucky Strikes, and the tobacco industry belongs in the World Health Organisation. Photo: Phil Wolff via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Bonn climate talks' glacial progress shows why we must kick fossil fuels out!

Pascoe Sabido
Corporate Europe Observatory
| 25th May 2017
The participation of the fossil fuel industry in UN climate talks represents clear a conflict of interest, writes Pascoe Sabido. And nowhere has this been more apparent than at this month's UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, where fossil fuel representatives have slowed progress to a snail's pace. With just six months to go before November's COP23 negotiations, it's time to defy the US, EU and Australia, and kick fossil fuel lobbyists out!

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Were the mice in the 2001 Kumar study suffering from an oncogenic virus infection? There's no evidence that they were. Photo: Mouse (Mus musculus) by George Shuklin (talk) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

EFSA dismissed glyphosate cancer study after unsupported 'viral infection' slur of ex-EPA official

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 25th May 2017
A 2001 study that showed that glyphosate caused cancer in mice was ignored by the EFSA after the unsubstantiated allegation of a former US-EPA official that the mice used in the study were suffering from a viral infection that might have given them cancer, writes Claire Robinson. The EFSA failed to properly investigate the allegation, which appears to originate in a document linked to Monsanto, maker of the world's top-selling herbicide, glyphosate-based Roundup.

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Figure 1: Two views of economic 'sustainability'. Image: Nature's Rights.

Nature's rights: a new paradigm for environmental protection

Mumta Ito
| 9th May 2017
Recognising nature as a legal stakeholder with inalienable rights in environmental law proceedings is a powerful counterbalance to corporate dictatorship, writes Mumta Ito. It empowers people and governments to stand up for nature - the underlying basis of our economy and our lives. And it stands in contrast to feeble approaches based on the financialisation and commodification of nature, which may be twisted to justify more destruction.

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Back to the future? Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, in the Great Fog of 1952. Photo: N T Stobbs via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Conservatives' hard right Brexit plans: UK's great leap backwards to 'dirty man of Europe'

Brendan Montague
| 27th April 2017
It's barely mentioned in the election campaign or reported in the media. But a powerful faction of Tory ministers, ex-ministers and backbench MPs are bent on using Brexit to ignite a massive bonfire of 'spirit-crushing' laws on wildlife protection, air and water pollution, pesticides, renewable energy and public health, writes Brendan Montague. At risk are not just EU directives and regulations but even the UK's own Climate Change Act. May's Brexit may not just be hard, but very, very dirty.

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Thick winter smog over London, 14th January 2012. Photo: stu mayhew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Dieselgate: time for strong, effective pollution laws

Keith Taylor MEP
| 4th April 2017
MEPs vote today on proposals to cut air pollution by setting up an independent EU monitoring body to ensure that a scandal like Dieselgate never happens again, writes Keith Taylor. However fears are growing that Brexit promises the UK a bonfire of environmental laws including those on air pollution. We need a strong, new Clean Air Act now!

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Does this look like genetic engineering to you? Crystal Structure of Cas9 in Complex with Guide RNA and Target DNA. By Hiroshi Nishimasu, F. Ann Ran, Patrick D. Hsu, Silvana Konermann, Soraya I. Shehata, Naoshi Dohmae, Ryuichiro Ishitani, Feng Zhang, and

'New Breeding Techniques' and synthetic biology - genetic engineering by another name

Helena Paul
Elisabeth Bücking
Ricarda A. Steinbrecher
| 4th April 2017
Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs.

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EURATOM was once a symbol of Europe's nuclear future. But it's true role may be to supervise the sector's decline. Photo: Euratom Inspectors inspecting URENCO, Almelo, Netherlands, 13 October 2015. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The nuclear fallout from 'Brexatom': threat, opportunity, or plain bonkers?

Pete Roche
| 24th February 2017
The UK's inability to import radio-isotopes for cancer therapy is just the latest outcome of the UK's decision to leave EURATOM to hit the headlines, writes Pete Roche. It may also put a brake on the UK's plans to build new nuclear plants, and import and export nuclear fuel and wastes. The UK's exit from the treaty, as a strongly pro-nuclear state, could also mark an EU-wide anti-nuclear swing.

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Radical roots ... radishes in a Boston farmers' market. Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and the future of farming: threat or opportunity?

Molly Scott Cato MEP
| 21st February 2017
With most of our food exports going to the EU, and most of our food imports coming from the EU, Molly Scott Cato wondered what plans the government had for the sector after Brexit. The answer? None! Two reports published today map out a positive future of sustainable farming, local food, thriving rural economies and abundant biodiversity. But is the government on the same page?

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Herbicide spraying in Arkansas, USA. Photo: Kevin Wood via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Suppressed EPA toxicologist: 'it is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer'

Carey Gillam
| 14th February 2017
Letters from an EPA toxicologist to the EPA official in charge of assessing whether glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, causes cancer, reveal accusations of 'staff intimidation' and 'political conniving games with the science' to favour pesticide corporations, writes Carey Gillam. Could this be a game-changer for cancer-suffering plaintiffs?

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