Tag Archives: climate change

Dominican Republic: The Lake That Burned Down A Forest


VICE News travels to the Dominican Republic, site of a looming environmental and economic crisis many experts believe is the result of climate change.

Lake Enriquillo is the largest lake in the Caribbean — and for the past 10 years, it’s been getting larger. Having already doubled in area, the lake is destroying everything in its path and displacing local residents who are being forced to take extreme measures to survive.

The Lake That Burned Down A Forest (Part 1)

After seeing the devastation Lake Enriquillo’s massive growth has inflicted on the region, VICE News meets residents who have lost everything and finds out what they’re now doing in order to survive.

The Lake That Burned Down A Forest (Part 2)

VICE News heads into the hills near Lake Enriquillo to see how people whose livelihoods have been ruined by the lake’s unstoppable expansion are now surviving. What we find is that many have become involved with the black-market charcoal trade. As they cut down and burn trees to make the charcoal — labor-intensive work that isn’t very lucrative — they actually contribute to the climate change that probably led to the lake’s growth in the first place.

The Lake That Burned Down A Forest (Part 3)

In response to Lake Enriquillo’s rapid rise and expansion, a black-market charcoal trade has flourished, and Haiti is the Dominican Republic’s biggest customer. In part 4, VICE News heads to the Dominican Republic’s largest open-air market, on the border between the two countries, to witness this trade in action.

The Lake That Burned Down A Forest (Part 4)

As with all catastrophes it is the poorest nations that suffer the most.

Vice News.

#UK’s new #energy and #environment #ministers opposed #green energy


Matthew Hancock called for cuts to wind power subsidies while Liz Truss claimed renewable power was damaging the economy.

Britain's new minister for energy, business and enterprise, Matthew Hancock, at 10 Downing Street.Britain’s new minister for energy, business and enterprise, Matthew Hancock, at 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

The new set of Conservative environment and energy ministers announced on Tuesday bring a track record of opposing renewable energy, having fought against wind and solar farms, enthusiastically backed fracking and argued that green subsidies damage the economy.

New energy minister, Matthew Hancock, signed a letter to David Cameron in 2012 demanding that subsidies for onshore windfarms were slashed. “I support renewable energy but we need to do it in a way that gives the most value for money and that does not destroy our natural environment,” he said at the time.

Hancock, who takes over from Michael Fallon, also opposed new turbines in his Suffolk constituency, arguing: “The visual and other impact of the proposed turbines is completely unacceptable in this attractive rural corner of Suffolk.”

New environment secretary and former Shell employee, Liz Truss, dismissed clean renewable energy as “extremely expensive” and said it was damaging the economy during an appearance on BBC Question Time last October.

“We do need to look at the green taxes because at the moment they are incentivising particular forms of energy that are extremely expensive,” she said. “I would like to see the rolling back of green taxes because it is wrong that we are implementing green taxes faster than other countries. We may be potentially exporting jobs out of the country as our energy is so expensive.”

In 2009, as deputy director of the free-market thinktank Reform, Truss said energy infrastructure in Britain was being damaged by politicians’ obsession with green technology: “Vast amounts of taxpayers’ money are being spent subsidising uneconomic activity,” she said. Research from the London School of Economics recently concluded that green policies were not harming economic growth. Continue reading

Wind and other renewables generated a fifth of Britain’s electricity in early 2014


New windfarms, strong winds and a good winter for hydropower plants sent renewable energy generation surging to 19.4% of all electricity from January to March.

Wind and other renewables generated a fifth of Britain's electricity in early 2014A ship passes the windfarm just off the beach at Crosby, Merseyside. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

One fifth of all electricity was generated in Britain by windfarms or other green technologies in the first three months of the year, according to new statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC).

New windfarms coming online, strong winds and a good winter for hydropower plants sent renewable energy generation surging to 19.4% of all electricity from January to March 2014, up from about 12% for the same period last year. The power produced was enough for about 15m homes during the quarter. It was hailed as a breakthrough by the wind industry, which alone provided 12% of the overall power produced, and a rebuff to critics who have said that renewables would never account for such a large proportion of the energy mix.

However, the DECC data could stoke a new price row with energy suppliers because it shows gas prices to domestic customers rising in the first quarter with prices to businesses in decline at the same time.

The cost of gas to householders, including VAT, rose by 4.8% in real terms between the first quarter of 2013 and the same period of this year, while average gas prices to business customers, including the climate change levy, were 5.2% lower.  Continue reading

Greenpeace UK: Drilling the South Downs: a national park at risk from fracking


Drilling the South Downs

This morning the Not For Shale fracking roadshow rolled into Midhurst at the heart of the glorious South Downs. This is the frontline of a local and national battle for the future of our communities, landscapes and climate.

Sleepy Midhurst is home to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), the UK’s newest National Park. The South Downs has a momentous decision to make: it must decide whether it is prepared to fire the starting pistol for the race to frack the UK.

At the top of its inbox sits an application from Celtique Energie, who plan to drill and subsequently frack for shale oil and gas at Fernhurst in West Sussex. Local people in Fernhurst have come together to exercise their right to deny permission to drill under their homes, surrounding the drill site with a Wrongmove  legal blockade to prevent fracking.

The fracking industry is terrified that such blockades will fatally damage their plans to frack half the country. They have lobbied the government ferociously to pull out yet another frack-fix  and remove this problem.

This has resulted in new government plans to disconnect you from your home and landscape, tearing up your rights  and handing them over to the frackers who will be able to drill and frack under your home without your permission. Our own mercurial frackers Frack & Go recently made use of this scandalous scheme by paying David Cameron a visitContinue reading

World’s energy systems vulnerable to climate impacts, report warns


Power plants and electricity distribution networks are particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods.Power plants and electricity distribution networks are particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods. Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

Rising sea levels, extremes of weather and an increase in the frequency of droughts and floods will all play havoc with the world’s energy systems as climate change takes hold, a new report has found.

Energy companies are more often cited as part of the problem of climate change, generating the lion’s share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, amounting to around 40% of the total. But they will also suffer as global warming picks up pace, as generators – from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants – feel the brunt of the weather changes.

Many large plants are particularly at risk from droughts, because they need water to cool their facilities, and floods, because they lack protection from sudden storms. Electricity distribution networks are also likely to be affected.

The vulnerability of energy systems to natural shocks was shown starkly when the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan had to be closed down following the 2011 tsunami, which prompted governments around the world to review their nuclear policies.

The World Energy Council (WEC), which compiled the study along with Cambridge University and the European Climate Foundation, urged generators to examine their vulnerability to climate change, saying that with suitable adaptations – such as protecting power plants from water shortages and building resilience into power networks – the worst of the problems could be avoided.  Continue reading