Gayathri Vaidyanathan ::

Part 2: Activists say solar can power India, but politics and economics of coal win out

A failed solar experiment in the village of Dharnai has underscored the challenges of going solar in India. Photo by Gayathri Vaidyanathan. DHARNAI, India — One year ago, environmentalists hailed this tiny village as the future of clean energy in rural India. Today, it is powered by coal. Dharnai, a community of about 3,200 people […]

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Part 1: In India, climate change takes a back seat to coal-powered development

SINGRAULI, India — Here at the foot of a mountain of coal mining debris live 150 people in one of the most polluted places on Earth. The air is dense with coal dust and other particulates. The drinking water source is a spring that emerges from the coal dump. When the rains come, landslides from […]

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Australia Cuts 110 Climate Scientist Jobs

With an ax rather than a scalpel, Australia’s federal science agency last week chopped off its climate research arm in a decision that has stunned scientists and left employees dispirited. As many as 110 out of 140 positions at the atmosphere and oceans division at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will be […]

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Think tank that cast doubt on climate change science morphs into smaller one

The George C. Marshall Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank that has cast doubt on the science behind global warming for years, closed its doors in September. The institute, which had a twin focus on defense and climate change denial and had been funded by a number of fossil fuel interests, including the ExxonMobil Foundation, […]

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‘NOAAgate’ — probing a cover-up, or a ‘weapon of mass distraction’?

In the past month, congressional Republicans have subpoenaed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to gain access to the private documents and emails of scientists involved in a landmark climate change study to look for evidence of alleged wrongdoing. The attempts, by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, timed […]

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When drillers frack each other

During a frack hit, a company inadvertently ends up fracking a nearby, often older well owned by someone else. This is a problem because fracking happens at immense pressures — 10,000 psi. Oil wells constructed in the 1980s or even a century earlier are unable to cope with such immense pressures. In Canada The first inkling Alberta regulators […]

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Scientists trace origins of India’s tigers, elephants and other large mammals

 About 120 million years ago, the supercontinent of Gondwana broke into a jigsaw puzzle of continents and islands in the Southern Hemisphere. One of those was a giant island forming what we now call India.   About 55 million years later, an asteroid, perhaps, or a comet, hit Earth, and the planet’s dinosaurs died out. Mammals seized the […]

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Death on the gas field illustrates high risks of the rush to drill

Buckhannon, West Virginia: The ground was like a sponge and the men’s legs sank, in places up to their calves. A rumble of diesel engines filled the air. Then, there was a cry: “Back! Go back!” Charles “C.J.” Bevins, a 23-year-old roughneck, was pinned against a trailer by a forklift. The vehicle was partially sunk into […]

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Apes in Africa: The Cultured Chimpanzee

JALAY TOWN, Liberia (Jun 2011) — Thump! Thump! Thump! As the hollow sound echoes through the Liberian rainforest, Vera Leinert and her fellow researchers freeze. Silently, Leinert directs the guide to investigate. Jefferson ‘Bola’ Skinnah, a ranger with the Liberian Forestry Development Authority, stalks ahead, using the thumping to mask the sound of his movement. […]

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