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Anti-pollution activists stage protest at Volkswagen's UK headquarters

Campaigners and doctors set up ‘sick bays’ to highlight diesel emissions health risks

Doctors and anti-pollution activists have blockaded the UK headquarters of Volkswagen as the campaign to highlight the country’s air pollution crisis gathers pace.

Hundreds of staff were prevented from getting into VW’s head office in Milton Keynes by doctors and other medics who, with Greenpeace activists, set up “sick bays” at entrances to highlight the damage VW diesel vehicles are doing to people’s health.

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Summer weather is getting 'stuck' due to Arctic warming

Rising arctic temperatures mean we face a future of ‘extreme extremes’ where sunny days become heatwaves and rain becomes floods, study says

Summer weather patterns are increasingly likely to stall in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, according to a new climate study that explains why Arctic warming is making heatwaves elsewhere more persistent and dangerous.

Rising temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, says the paper, which means high and low pressure fronts are getting stuck and weather is less able to moderate itself.

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The poachers and the treasures of the deep: diving for abalone in South Africa

The seafood delicacy can sell for £420 a plate in China. As demand outstrips legal supply, divers from the poor suburbs of Cape Town are making up the shortfall

A muscular, bald man moved through the kelp, hunting forbidden shellfish. His scuba rig bubbled and hissed. He was nearly 100 metres from the seashore and 20 metres below the surface, which was grey and flat like a lake. The water was clear, giving far range of sight. Below him the seafloor spread out until it blurred into nothingness.

It was dangerous territory, but Shuhood (not his real name) accepted the risks. For more than a decade he’d been an abalone poacher, lifting a marine snail worth hundreds of pounds per kilo in Asia from reefs around South Africa. The first time he’d used scuba gear, without training, he’d almost drowned, held down by his weight belt and a mesh bag stuffed with abalone. Another day, his air hose broke underwater, and he blacked out as he swam up to the surface. One night the skipper of a boat he was working on ran him over while fleeing a police patrol vessel, and Shuhood was almost chopped by the propellers. Months later, a poacher was decapitated in a similar incident off Robben Island.

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World is finally waking up to climate change, says 'hothouse Earth' author

Report predicting spiralling global temperatures has been downloaded 270,000 times in just a few days

The scorching temperatures and forest fires of this summer’s heatwave have finally stirred the world to face the onrushing threat of global warming, claims the climate scientist behind the recent “hothouse Earth” report.

Following an unprecedented 270,000 downloads of his study, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, said he had not seen such a surge of interest since 2007, the year the Nobel prize was awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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South Africa's Wild Coast under threat of mining – photo essay

Thom Pierce photographed the people of Xolobeni, who have campaigned for decades to stop titanium mining on their land

Xolobeni is a cluster of rural communities on the eastern coast of South Africa. Tourists know the beautiful and rugged area as the Wild Coast. The people of Xolobeni are mostly self-sufficient, living off the land and fishing in the sea, and often only travelling the two hours to the closest shops once a month to buy sugar, oil and other basic provisions.

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