Environment

'Sightings' of extinct Tasmanian tiger prompt search in Queensland

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 7:57pm

Eyewitness accounts of large, dog-like animals in state’s far north spur scientific hunt for thylacines, thought to have died out in 1936

“Plausible” possible sightings of a Tasmanian tiger in north Queensland have prompted scientists to undertake a search for the species thought to have died out more than 80 years ago.

The last thylacine is thought to have died in Hobart zoo in 1936, and it is widely believed to have become extinct on mainland Australia at least 2,000 years ago.

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Categories: Environment

Gloom in the valley as Hazelwood fades to black | Gay Alcorn

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 7:06pm

Gay Alcorn meets the people of the Latrobe Valley facing an uncertain future as the power station that has sustained their community closes after 52 years

Snuffed out: the last days of Hazelwood power station – in pictures

It could be black humour. The faded, red HAZELWOOD sign has been switched off for years – perhaps to save electricity, who knows? – but a fortnight ago it was turned back on. HAZELVOOD now lights up the night sky in neon for miles. The letter W is dodgy, but nobody could be bothered to fix it now.

It’s not a joke. It’s sentimental, a kind of tribute instantly understood by the people of the Latrobe Valley east of Melbourne. On Friday, the Hazelwood power station will close after 52 years, its deafening hum silent, its boilers cooling, its eight stacks idle, its gigantic dredges ceasing to dig coal around the clock. Most of the workforce will be gone too.

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Categories: Environment

Snuffed out: the last days of Hazelwood power station – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 7:06pm

The Victorian plant will close down this week after half a century of electricity generation. The brown coal-powered station supplies more than 5% of Australia’s total energy demand – but is the country’s dirtiest and least efficient power plant, producing 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. It will shut down entirely on 31 March after its owner, the power company Engie, decided it was uneconomical and unsafe to continue running the plant without major upgrades

• Gay Alcorn: Gloom in the valley as Hazelwood fades to black

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Categories: Environment

Why is Australia's gas market broken? – Australian politics live podcast

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 6:28pm

Australia is about to become the biggest exporter of liquified natural gas in the world, but domestically it is the only country where the price of gas is rising. Bruce Robertson from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis tells Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy and Gabrielle Chan the government is running out of time to fix this problem: the market has failed and more industries will leave Australia due to the high price of gas. The only solution, he says, is regulation to increase transparency and ensure domestic supply at a fair price

Guardian Essential poll finds most Australians support a gas reservation policy

Subscribe and review this podcast via iTunes, Acast, or Audioboom and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

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Categories: Environment

Stressed street trees: mapping the urban forests to save them – and us

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 3:51pm

City trees are under increased threat but research tools show that looking after them will lower temperatures, prevent flooding and reduce pollution

Standing proud at the intersection of Queen and Little Bourke streets in Melbourne’s central business district is one of the city’s beloved London plane trees. It’s in declining health and will probably need to be replaced in a decade or so. I know this not as an arborist, or even as a keen observer, but because the City of Melbourne has assiduously assessed, mapped and put online all of its more than 70,000 street and parkland trees.

“It’s quite extraordinary the amount of data that we have on our trees,” says a councillor, Cathy Oke, who chairs the city’s environment portfolio.

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Categories: Environment

What Gave Some Primates Bigger Brains? A Fruit-Filled Diet

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 1:49pm

A new study suggests that diet had a big influence in driving the evolution of brain size in primates. Monkeys who thrive on fruit have bigger brains than their plant eating neighbors.

(Image credit: Anup Shah/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Proposed Budget Cuts Slash Funding For Great Lakes Clean-Up

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 1:28pm

Proposed White House budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies will end federal spending on Great Lakes clean-up. That includes axing work on invasive species like Asian carp and a public health program that protects drinking water from toxic algae for 11 million residents around Lake Erie.

Categories: Environment

Trump's Plan To Ditch Clean Power Plan Threatens Paris Agreement

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 1:28pm

President Trump is expected to ditch the Clean Power Plan this week. The CPP regulations would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that warm the planet. Without it, the U.S. won't live up to its pledge, made in Paris in 2015, to make deep cuts in emissions. That could jeopardize the Paris deal, in which nearly 200 nations made similar pledges.

Categories: Environment

Murder in Pondoland: how a proposed mine brought conflict to South Africa

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 9:45am

The death of activist Sikhosiphi Rhadebe in the Eastern Cape has not stopped local communities opposing plans for a titanium mine that threatens important lands and a way of life, reports Yale Environment 360

Environmentalists at risk: read parts one and two in this series

They called him “Bazooka” after his favourite soccer star. But Sikhosiphi Rhadebe’s real love was the magnificent coastal lands of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, where he chaired a community organisation campaigning to prevent an Australian mining company from strip-mining their sand dunes for titanium, one of the world’s most commercially valuable metals.

One evening last March, a Volkswagen Polo pulled up at his home and two men posing as police dragged Bazooka outside. When he resisted, they shot him eight times in front of his 17-year-old son, then sped away. “Bazooka” was dead. Nearly a year later, there have been no arrests, and no apparent progress in the investigation into his murder. I had come to find out why.

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Categories: Environment

EU greenlights Dow-DuPont mega-merger raising food security fears

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 9:31am

Green groups say $130bn merger signals lack of choice for farmers who need more seed diversity to adapt to changing climate

The EU has approved a $130bn mega-merger between Dow and DuPont, heralding a new round of agribusiness takeovers that environmentalists fear will endanger the future of sustainable food production.

Brussels is widely expected to clear another hookup between Syngenta and ChemChina in the next two weeks, with notification of a marriage between Monsanto and Bayer expected later in the year.

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Categories: Environment

Not the sunshine state: why is Florida so far behind with solar energy? – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 9:09am

Despite its Sunshine State moniker, Florida is barely harnessing its bountiful rays for energy, with the number of households getting solar panels not projected to squeak past 100 a year until 2021. Meanwhile, there’s a solar boom occurring in north-east states such as New York and out west in California

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Categories: Environment

Desperately wanted: python hunters to tackle Florida's unwelcome intruder

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 8:13am

Since Burmese pythons found their way into the wild in the 80s, they have decimated native wildlife. Now 150,000 could be lurking in the state’s waterways

Bill Booth struggles to recall the last time he saw a raccoon, a fox or a rabbit on one of his frequent hunting excursions deep into the swamps of the Florida Everglades. An outdoorsman all his life, he knows as well as anyone how the native wildlife once abundant across the vast wilderness has been all but wiped out by an invasion of a deadly species he is trying his hardest to remove: the Burmese python.

By some estimates, up to 150,000 of the unwelcome intruders are swimming through the state’s 1.5m acres (600,000 hectares) of waterways, reproducing uncontrollably and consuming almost every living creature in their path, sometimes taking on even the previously undisputed king of the Everglades, the American alligator.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change: ‘human fingerprint’ found on global extreme weather

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 3:01am

Global warming makes temperature patterns that cause heatwaves, droughts and floods across Europe, north America and Asia more likely, scientists find

The fingerprint of human-caused climate change has been found on heatwaves, droughts and floods across the world, according to scientists.

The discovery indicates that the impacts of global warming are already being felt by society and adds further urgency to the need to cut carbon emissions. A key factor is the fast-melting Arctic, which is now strongly linked to extreme weather across Europe, Asia and north America.

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Categories: Environment

PBS is the only network reporting on climate change. Trump wants to cut it | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 3:00am

During a record-breaking hot presidential election year, American news networks failed to report on climate change

Media Matters for America has published its annual review of American evening newscast climate coverage for 2016, and the results are stunning:

In 2016, evening newscasts and Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Fox Broadcast Co.’s Fox News Sunday, collectively decreased their total coverage of climate change by 66 percent compared to 2015

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Categories: Environment

UK nuclear decommissioning debacle costs government nearly £100m

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 2:22am

Business secretary orders inquiry into flawed tendering process for dismantling old reactors at 12 sites as US firms get paid for out of court settlement

The government has been forced to pay nearly £100m in a settlement with two US companies for mishandling the way it awarded a £6.1bn nuclear decommissioning contract.

Ministers have ordered an inquiry headed by the former boss of National Grid to find out why the procurement process was so flawed. Labour said the payout showed “dramatic levels of incompetence”.

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Categories: Environment

EPA Chief: Trump Plans To Kill Obama-era Clean Power Plan

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 2:06am

The Trump administration is expected this week to unveil its executive order undoing President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Categories: Environment

Senior ministers at odds over readiness of new coal-fired power stations

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 12:53am

Matt Canavan says new station could be built within three years but Josh Frydenberg says any ‘clean coal’ initiative is ‘a long way off’

Senior Turnbull government ministers are publicly at odds over the timing of new investment in coal-fired power – with the resources minister suggesting Asian and domestic investors “are very interested” and could build a plant within three years, and the energy minister arguing any investment would be “a long way off.”

The resources minister, Matt Canavan, told 2GB on Monday that proponents of “clean” coal-fired power had told him a new power station could be operational in Australia within three years.

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Categories: Environment

Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump 'can't bring mining jobs back'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 12:00am

The founder and chief executive of Murray Energy supports Donald Trump’s move to roll back Obama’s clean power plan but cautions the president to go easy on talk of a jobs revival

America’s biggest coal boss is hopeful that his industry will soon be freed of “fraudulent” green legislation that has hampered his industry, but warned Donald Trump to “temper” expectations about a boom in mining jobs.

Related: Donald Trump blames everyone but himself for healthcare legislation failure

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Categories: Environment

Sunshine state shuns solar as overcast New York basks in clean energy boom

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 12:00am

Despite its natural advantages, disincentives mean Florida has few solar panels but the Empire state’s policies have boosted installed solar capacity by 800%

If you were to fly a camera-laden drone several hundred feet above Pani Herath’s house in south Miami, Florida, it would become clear his rooftop is an oddity compared with virtually all of his neighbors. Despite living in a part of the world that bakes in the sun throughout the year, just a few thousand people across Florida, such as Herath, have installed solar panels.

“Unfortunately, not many people know about solar. That’s why nobody around here has solar at all,” said Herath. He has become an object of curiosity in his tidy neighborhood, where watering the manicured lawn and scooping debris from the pool is of greater concern.

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Trump presidency 'opens door' to planet-hacking geoengineer experiments

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 10:05pm

As geoengineer advocates enter Trump administration, plans advance to spray sun-reflecting chemicals into atmosphere

Harvard engineers who launched the world’s biggest solar geoengineering research program may get a dangerous boost from Donald Trump, environmental organizations are warning.

Under the Trump administration, enthusiasm appears to be growing for the controversial technology of solar geo-engineering, which aims to spray sulphate particles into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s radiation back to space and decrease the temperature of Earth.

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Categories: Environment
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