Great Barrier Reef to get $60m rescue package from government

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 9:01pm

Malcolm Turnbull announces $36.6m will be spent on ‘supporting farmers stopping runoff’ to improve water quality

Malcolm Turnbull has announced a $60m rescue package for the Great Barrier Reef which includes research on developing “resilient” coral, and paying farmers to pollute less.

The package, to be spent over 18 months, will also include an increased number of reef officers and vessels targeting crown of thorns starfish outbreaks.

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Categories: Environment

UK flood warnings issued as cold snap ends with heavy rain

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 5:28pm

Homes evacuated and rail services disrupted after snow gives way to warmer weather

Flood warnings have been issued and treacherous conditions forecast across the UK as the recent cold snap gives way to milder temperatures.

Heavy rain and meltwater have swollen rivers in parts of England and Wales, where the the Environment Agency has issued eight flood warnings and 52 flood alerts.

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Categories: Environment

Living Well Now: What Does It Take?

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 1:55pm

Shaping our lives around fulfilling social, intellectual and creative potential — keys to happiness — is more compatible with sustainability than pursuing unlimited wealth, says author Randall Curren.

(Image credit: WangAnQi/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Categories: Environment

Search restarts for area willing to host highly radioactive UK waste

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 8:52am

Right geology and local consent are key in consultation due to be launched this week

The government is expected this week to begin a nationwide search for a community willing to host an underground nuclear waste dump to store highly radioactive material for thousands of years.

Britain has been trying for years to secure a site with the right geology and local communities which would volunteer to host a £12bn geological disposal facility (GDF), as a long-term solution for the most dangerous waste from nuclear power stations.

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Categories: Environment

Lloyd's of London to divest from coal over climate change

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 8:35am

Firm follows other big UK and European insurers by excluding coal companies from 1 April

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, has become the latest financial firm to announce that it plans to stop investing in coal companies.

Lloyd’s will start to exclude coal from its investment strategy from 1 April. The definition of what is a coal company and the criteria for divestment will be set over the coming months.

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Categories: Environment

Trump administration could be sued over pesticide threat to orca and salmon

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 6:45am
  • Fishing industry and environmentalists mull lawsuits
  • EPA tried to delay report detailing chemicals’ harm to wildlife

Commercial fishermen and environmental groups could file lawsuits against the Trump administration, if it fails to follow a recommendation by one of its own agencies to protect salmon, sturgeon, orca and other endangered species in the Pacific north-west.

Related: Common pesticide can make migrating birds lose their way, research shows

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Categories: Environment

Class war in the American west: the rich landowners blocking access to public lands

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 4:00am

Private landowners present a rising threat to the millions of acres set aside for public use by blocking access to public lands

The Diamond Bar X is a postcard-perfect slice of Montana solitude. A former cattle ranch that’s been parceled up into sprawling home sites, it sits not far outside Augusta, a cowboy town beneath Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, where the Great Plains crash into majestic snow-peaked mountains to dramatic effect.

The area is prime habitat for elk and grizzlies, people are few, and its residents have easy access to countless miles of trails and streams on the adjacent public lands.

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Categories: Environment

We must hope for real answers about Carillion. We don’t usually get them

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/21 - 12:00am
Underbidding for contracts to bring in cash – if that is what has happened – is a dangerous practice. We need to know

The collapse of Carillion, the building and outsourcing company, throws up so many questions about the state of UK business and government services it is difficult to know where to begin.

Lifting the lid on Carillion’s strategic plans, it is clear that the company’s board mistook tactical nous for strategy. Not that there was much common sense in taking a building company and morphing it into a conglomerate that tries to meld together the management of prisons, hospitals and schools as if they were all the same.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's biodiversity strategy a global embarrassment, green groups say

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 5:29pm

Extinction prevention plan branded ‘deeply inadequate’ after environment department publishes paper without targets

The federal government’s latest strategy to protect Australian plants and animals facing extinction has been branded “deeply inadequate” and “a global embarrassment” by environment groups.

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that a new 13-page document had quietly replaced the old 100-page biodiversity conservation strategy just before Christmas on the Department of Environment’s website.

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Categories: Environment

On the Amazon’s lawless frontier, murder mystery divides the locals and loggers

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 5:05pm
The Ka’apor tribe fight a daily battle in Brazil’s Maranhão state to protect their forests

Sairá Ka’apor patrolled one of the most murderous frontiers in the world, a remote and largely lawless region of the Brazilian Amazon where his indigenous community has fought for generations to protect their forest land.

Armed with clubs, bows and arrows, GPS trackers and crude guns, he and fellow members of Ka’apor Forest Guard drove off – and sometimes attacked – loggers who intruded into their territory, the 530,000-hectare Alto Turiaçu Indigenous Land, which is roughly three times the area of Greater London and contains about half of the Amazon forest left in Brazil’s northern Maranhão state. That vigilante role came to an end last April when Sairá was stabbed to death in Betel, a logging town close to Ka’apor territory.

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Categories: Environment

Britain risks losing green protections after Brexit

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 5:05pm
Friends of the Earth, National Trust and others voice ‘serious concerns’ that UK will not cooperate with EU

A coalition of leading environmental groups says there is a “significant risk” that British environmental protections will be reduced after Brexit, despite the government’s positive rhetoric.

Greener UK, which represents 13 campaign groups including WWF, National Trust, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance and the Wildlife Trusts, says there are “serious concerns” that the government will not cooperate with the European Union after Brexit on environmental issues which need international agreement. Although the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has made several recent announcements, such as the 5p levy on plastic bottles, Greener UK believes there may be a “lack of willpower to ensure high standards across the UK”.

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Categories: Environment

Gloucestershire is building a big bonfire of waste. To last for eternity

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 5:04pm
A 70-metre-high waste incinerator is being built next to the M5

Marooned on the flatlands between the Severn river and the Cotswolds escarpment, Stonehouse in Gloucestershire isn’t the sort of place to make the news. But, of late, outrage has been the dominant emotion here as construction traffic has brought what was a country village to a standstill. Blue plastic barriers proliferate, mobile traffic lights are set down apparently at random and workers clad in hi-vis saunter about with the swagger of the new sheriff in town.

While the slow crawl of traffic to and from the M5 is frustrating, it is the cause of the blockage that is more troubling. Stonehouse is being dug up to lay a cable to service the giant waste monster being built next to junction 12 of the M5, an edifice that its opponents warned would grow to four times the size of nearby Gloucester cathedral, a glorious testament to the grand folly of another age.

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Categories: Environment

How The Shutdown Will Impact National Parks

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 4:17pm

Visitors to national parks across the United States will see the impact of the government shutdown. Many parks will remain open but services are being discontinued.

Categories: Environment

Millions spent on Great Barrier Reef projects against expert advice

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 12:00pm

One $2.2m experiment involves giant fans to cool water down, despite government’s own advisers highlighting risks

Millions of dollars of commonwealth money is being handed to tourism-linked groups for Great Barrier Reef protection, despite official advice recommending against the projects, or repeatedly finding them to be failing.

The contracts include millions of dollars for tourism operators to cull out-of-control coral-eating crown of thorns starfish. Funds continue to be distributed, despite researchers employed to evaluate the program repeatedly finding it to have failed, and potentially having made the problem worse.

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Categories: Environment

As A Massive Garbage Dump Closes In Brazil, Trash-Pickers Face An Uncertain Future

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 5:25am

Authorities are closing a dump on the outskirts of Brasilia. Some 2,000 trash-pickers, who sort and sell recyclables, depend on the dump for their livelihoods — despite the risk of disease and injury.

(Image credit: Philip Reeves/NPR)

Categories: Environment

'It's a no-brainer': are hydrogen cars the future?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 3:00am

Inventor Hugo Spowers has a dream: to replace today’s cars with his own hydrogen prototype. Is the world ready?

In the mid-1990s, Hugo Spowers ran a Formula Three racing team. At the time, motorsport was in the pocket of big tobacco. Every weekend, Formula One cars emblazoned with cigarette brands – Marlboro, Camel, Silk Cut – raced on TV in front of millions. “It was pretty clear it was killing people,” Spowers says. “Meanwhile, the industry was portraying a link between smoking and winners. It was ludicrous. But nobody was going against it.”

So when, in 1995, Spowers’ team introduced a car decorated with an anti-smoking campaign, it caused a commotion. At a party the night before the car was set to debut at the British Grand Prix, the chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club summoned Spowers, outraged. “He bellowed at me for a full five minutes, about how motorsport needed its sponsors, and ‘not pinkos like you’,” Spowers says now, chuckling. But Spowers was unmoved: he knew he was right. Furthermore, he believed it made financial sense: the relationship with tobacco was tainting the sport for businesses that didn’t want to be associated with smoking.

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Categories: Environment

Vancouver aquarium won't keep whales or dolphins captive after public outcry

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/20 - 2:00am

Canada aquarium has announced it will end the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity, after pressure from the public

For years the Vancouver aquarium fended off pressure from animal right activists, local government and residents, arguing instead that whales and dolphins were central to its mission. But this week the tourist attraction gave in to public pressure, and announced that it would end the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity.

“It had become a local hot topic, to the point where it was just hijacking everything else,” said John Nightingale, the aquarium’s president.

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Categories: Environment

Why do supermarkets sell organic products wrapped in non-cyclable plastic?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/19 - 11:59pm
We find organic mushrooms in non-recyclable trays next to plain veg in compostable wrapping

My environmentally conscious wife Clare is the keenest recycler possible. She even collects and recycles the silver milk bottle tops that I tend to chuck out. But when it comes to organic food she’s furious. Why? Because she finds it is the worst culprit for wrapping almost everything in plastic and polywrap that cannot be recycled. How, she asks, did we reach the situation where the most environmentally produced food is also the worst for packaging and recycling?

Like many others, the Brignall household despairs at the revelations over the past year that 86% of collected plastic is not actually recycled, and the Blue Planet claim that 8m tonnes of the stuff ends up in oceans.

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Categories: Environment

Thai police arrest notorious wildlife trafficking suspect

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/19 - 11:00pm

Exclusive: Boonchai Bach allegedly ran tusk and horn smuggling route from Africa

Police in Thailand have arrested one of the world’s most notorious wildlife traffickers, allegedly involved in the smuggling thousands of tonnes of elephant tusks and rhino horns from Africa to Asia, the Guardian has learned.

Boonchai Bach, who goes by multiple aliases including Bach Mai Limh, was arrested at his operational base in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Phanom, next to the Mekong River on Thursday.

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Categories: Environment

NSW's largest windfarm highlights power of community investment | Simon Holmes à Court

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/19 - 2:53pm

The Sapphire Wind Farm in northern NSW has invited the locals to invest in it – the first such co-investment project in Australia

In the early days of windfarming, carpetbaggers almost ruined it for everyone.

Opportunists scoured regional Australia looking for prospective project sites. Farmers were pressured to sign up to leases and planning applications were rushed through. As soon as the permit was in hand, the developer would flip the project and start again.

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Categories: Environment
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