canberraA march expected to attract 200,000 people onto the streets of Paris ahead of crunch UN climate change talks was cancelled by the French government  in light of last Friday’s terror attacks and ongoing security concerns.  But organisers have said it is now even more important for people around the world to come out onto the streets for “the biggest global climate march in history” to protest “on behalf of those who can’t”. There were 2,173 events organised in more than 150 countries around the world on 28 and 29 November. The world’s largest solar-powered boat is en route to Paris for the COP21 climate conference, where it will be moored up as an ‘ambassador vessel’ to draw attention to the key issues of ocean plastic waste and maritime emissions.

The Brazilian government is fining the mining giants Vale and BHP Billiton for a dam burst at their jointly owned mine. The companies face preliminary fines of 250m Brazilian reais (£43.6m; $66.3m). President Dilma Rousseff said the country was “committed in the first place to blame those who are responsible.” On 5 November two dams at the Samarco iron ore mine in southern Brazil ruptured setting off a deadly mudslide. Authorities have confirmed that eight people died and 19 people are still missing. The mud is also being tested for potential toxins from the mine. The companies could face even higher fines from environmental regulators for water pollution and damage to local areas. State prosecutors are also considering whether to pursue criminal charges. Contaminated waste from so-called tailing ponds, mineral waste that was stored in reservoirs contained by the dams, was flowing through two states, interrupting the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people and raising questions about the potential impact of the waste on residents’ health, agriculture and the ecology of the region.  Teams of biologists are rushing to rescue fish from the river that was contaminated by the collapse: Mining company Samarco said in a statement that it was providing logistical support to the so-called Operation Noah’s Ark effort aimed at saving aquatic life from the now-turbid waters of the Doce river. Experts have warned that the ecological harm caused by the 5th November breaches could last a generation. water supplies for over a quarter of million people have been contaminated.

airpollutionThe UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has proposed. Ms Rudd wants more gas-fired stations to be built since relying on “polluting” coal is “perverse”. Only if gas-fuelled power can fill the void created by closing coal-powered stations would coal plants be shut, she said. Environmentalists are concerned little is being done to promote renewables.

Sir David Attenborough is attending the UN climate conference in Paris. He is working with the Global Apollo Programme, a campaign group which supports renewable energy. Attenborough told BBC Breakfast that solar energy needs to “undercut the price of energy obtained from oil and coal.”

UK retail giant Tesco has announced it is donating a further 700,000 meals from its 10 distribution centres to charities in an attempt to reduce the amount of surplus food the company is producing.  Tesco already supplies to redistribution charity FairShare with surplus food from its ambient fresh distribution centres; and the charity will receive a one-off donation of one million meals from Tesco, on top of the original 700,000 meals. FairShare’s CEO Lindsay Boswell said: “Over the last 12 months FareShare redistributed over 2,660 tonnes of food from Tesco – including food donated from the twice yearly Neighbourhood Food Collections – to over 2,100 charities across the UK. Our rewarding and longstanding partnership with Tesco means this latest donation will help us reach – and feed – even more vulnerable people.”

There’s a population crisis all right. But probably not the one you think. While all eyes are on human numbers, it’s the rise in farm animals that is laying the planet waste: Human numbers are rising at roughly 1.2% a year, while livestock numbers are rising at around 2.4% a year. By 2050 the world’s living systems will have to support about 120m tonnes of extra humans, and 400m tonnes of extra farm animals – More from George Monbiot on the Guardian here.

FrackOffAfter nearly 5 years Cuadrilla have abandoned their proposed fracking site at Becconsall near Banks, Lancashire. This is the same site that was occupied by protesters on the same day that Cuadrilla admitted causing seismic activity back in 2011. Residents and members of the UK’s very first anti-fracking community group Ribble Estuary Against Fracking (REAF) said: “REAF would like to thank all those who have supported us as we continue our work with other communities faced with the dangers of fracking.” Cuadrilla are still trying to press ahead with two new sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre, in Lancashire. They are trying to overturn Lancashire Councillors refusal by taking an appeal to the planning inspectorate” and “It comes as no surprise to members of REAF that exploratory drilling company Cuadrilla are to abandon the Becconsall site and remove over 150 monitoring stations in the local area. Their failure to comply with time frames and mitigation measures imposed on them by Lancashire County Council has shown their disregard for the planning process and has left locals with many unanswered questions.” Read more…

The world’s most widely used insecticides harm the ability of bumblebees to pollinate apple trees, scientists have discovered. The finding has important implications for agriculture and the natural world, say the researchers, as many food crops and wildflowers rely on bee pollination to reproduce. There is good evidence that neonicotinoids harm bees but the new research, published in the journal Nature, is the first to show a negative impact on the vital pollination services bees provide. However new research has also shown that organic pesticides also increase the risk to bumble bees. Nematode worms, meant o infect and kill pests such as slugs and caterpillars, were found to wipe out up to 90% of bees within four days by scientists at Liverpool John Moores University who led the research.

Our Claire on the London Climate March

Our Claire on the London Climate March

Conservationists are calling for an end to a government cull of tens of thousands of fruit bats in Mauritius that they say is putting the survival of the threatened species at risk. Authorities began shooting 18,000 Mauritius fruit bats (Pteropus niger) on 7 November, despite protests and even though the species is protected on the Indian Ocean island and listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, the world’s conservation union. The government claims the cull is necessary because the number of bats has soared to almost 100,000 and is causing significant economic damage to the country’s lucrative fruit crops of banana, pineapple, lychee and mango.

The EU has dropped a plan to pressure countries into cutting food waste and marine litter by nearly a third, documents seen by the Guardian show. The law would have obliged countries to reduce food waste 30% by 2025 with national strategies for their retail, distribution, manufacturing and hospitality and household sectors. By 2030, under an aspirational target, countries would also have had to cut common pieces of rubbish found on their beaches by 30%, as well as fishing gear found at sea. But in the new draft of the EU ‘circular economy’ legislative proposal, which could change, references to marine litter have been removed and countries are merely asked to take unspecified “measures” to curb food waste, with no time frames or targets. More on the Guardian here.

France has banned the import of lion heads, paws and skins as hunters’ trophies, nearly four months after the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion by an American trophy hunter sparked international outrage. In a letter to the actor and animals rights activist Brigitte Bardot, France’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal, said that she had instructed officials to stop issuing permits for lion trophies and was considering stricter controls on trophies from other species.

Stephanie Choate, a champion angler and a board member of marine conservation body Wild Oceans has been filmed riding on the back of a bluefin tuna holding a bottle of champagne. The fish had been hauled beside a boat.  Choate said ‘its hard to explain the love I have for these fish’ on an Instagram posting. The bluefin population in Nova Scotia has halve din the last 45 years.

The UK could get more than a third of its electricity demand from offshore wind by 2030 while also supporting 50,000 skilled jobs, a new Offshore Wind Vision document has found.  The document outlines a trajectory for offshore wind that will provide the UK with the “best opportunity for cost-effective decarbonisation”. Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council said: “It is only 15 years since the first UK offshore wind farm – just two 2 megawatt turbines – began operating. Since then the technology has matured rapidly to the point where the UK leads the world in deployment and could readily build 30 gigawatts of capacity by 2030.”

Britain will enter the Paris climate change talks this week with its credentials as a responsible, low-emission power generator in tatters. That is the stark conclusion of one of the country’s leading energy experts, Professor Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University. Haszeldine believes George Osborne’s last-minute decision to axe the government’s £1bn support for a scheme to capture and bury carbon dioxide emissions from power stations was a final act that utterly undermined British negotiators’ status in Paris. More here.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotJapan is set to resume whaling early next year, after a break of more than 12 months, in defiance of an international court of justice ruling that it cease the practice. The Japanese government says it has taken into account the court ruling and its “scientific” whaling programme will catch only a third of the minke whales it caught under its previous programme – 333 instead of 1,000 – which it halted in March last year. Japan’s international whaling commissioner, Joji Morishita, said in a letter that his government had “sincerely taken into account” recommendations of the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee. He said Japan’s new programme “does not require any substantial changes” and confirmed whaling would resume.

Shifting disease patterns, extreme weather events and degraded air and food quality are examples of how climate change is already killing tens of thousands of people each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned . The UN agency said the upcoming global climate change conference in the French capital, Paris is an “important opportunity” to protect the health of current and future generations. Climate change is “the defining issue for the 21st century,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The UN agency estimates that seven million people died from diseases related to air pollution in 2012, making it the world’s largest single environmental health risk. It also predicts that between 2030 and 2050, an additional 250,000 people will die from malaria, diarrhoea, heat stress and under-nutrition. WHO will be in Paris for the global climate change conference, known as COP21, which kicks off at the end of the month.


We Remember

Nick Alexander, the Eagles of Death Metal’s Merchandising Manager.

Nathalie Jardin, who ran the house lighting at Le Bataclan and known by her nickname “Natalight”

Thomas Ayad, 34. International Product Manager for Mercury Records France

Guillaume B. Decherf, 43. Journalist for celebrated French music and culture magazine, Les Inrockuptibles

Marie Mosser, 24. Digital Marketing executive at Mercury Records France

Manu Perez. Music industry marketing executive who worked at Universal Music France for over a decade