Environment

Will China's children solve its crippling water shortage problem?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 3:35am

China is home to 21% of the world’s population but just 7% of its freshwater. One NGO teaches young people to make tackling water scarcity a priority

In Beijing’s Tongzhou Number Six school, around 100 impeccably-behaved middle school students are being lectured about water.

The visiting teacher tells them that, among other things, they should take shorter showers, buy less clothes, eat less meat and drink tea rather than coffee, to help alleviate China’s water scarcity problems.

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Categories: Environment

Sheffield tree protesters to take legal action against police

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 3:19am

Protesters detained for trying to stop contractors from chopping down trees to challenge legality of their arrest

Fourteen campaigners arrested in a dispute over tree-felling in Sheffield are to take legal action against South Yorkshire police.

The protesters, who include a Green party councillor and university academics, were detained under trade union legislation for preventing council contractors from chopping down roadside trees.

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Categories: Environment

Global warming is increasing rainfall rates | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 3:00am

A new study looks at the complex relationship between global warming and increased precipitation

The world is warming because humans are emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases. We know this for certain; the science on this question is settled. Humans emit greenhouse gases, those gases should warm the planet, and we know the planet is warming. All of those statements are settled science.

Okay so what? Well, we would like to know what the implications are. Should we do something about it or not? How should we respond? How fast will changes occur? What are the costs of action compared to inaction? These are all areas of active research.

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Categories: Environment

Coal in 'freefall' as new power plants dive by two-thirds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 1:25am

Green groups’ report says move to cleaner energy in China and India is discouraging the building of coal-fired units

The amount of new coal power being built around the world fell by nearly two-thirds last year, prompting campaigners to claim the polluting fossil fuel was in freefall.

The dramatic decline in new coal-fired units was overwhelmingly due to policy shifts in China and India and subsequent declining investment prospects, according to a report by Greenpeace, the US-based Sierra Club and research network CoalSwarm.

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Categories: Environment

Princess Anne backs GM crops and livestock – unlike Prince Charles

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 11:03pm

Anne says she would farm GM food and GM livestock a ‘bonus’, while Charles says GM crops will cause ‘biggest disaster environmentally of all time’

Princess Anne has strongly backed genetically modified crops, saying she would grow them on her own land and that GM livestock would be a “bonus”.

Her stance puts her sharply at odds with her brother Prince Charles, who has long opposed GM food and has said it will cause the “biggest disaster environmentally of all time”.

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Categories: Environment

Water spins into a million bubbles filled with light

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 10:30pm

The Long Mynd, Shropshire The sound of Light Spout waterfall seems, at first, to be all roar and splash

To stand in the stream under the Light Spout is to be drenched in sound and mesmerised by light. Through a narrow cleft, water gathered from bogs on the plateau of the Long Mynd plunges 20ft over the rock face into a shallow pool before roiling down the stream of Carding Mill valley.

The sky is grey, there is bite left in the season and a fine drizzle lowers between hills. Shale ledges break the flow of water; it spins into a million bubbles filled with light so that, on a day like this, it looks like the ghostly Lady in White, a shimmering apparition.

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Categories: Environment

Carbon fibre: the wonder material with a dirty secret

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 10:00pm

Researchers are scrambling for ways to get the strong, light material out of landfill and make it ready for recycling and reuse

Carbon fibre is increasingly celebrated as a wonder material for the clean economy. Its unique combination of high strength and low weight has helped drive the wind power revolution and make planes more fuel efficient.

Carbon fibre turbine blades can be longer and more rigid than traditional fibreglass models, making them more resilient at sea and more efficient in less breezy conditions.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 8:50pm

The Flame Refluxer is essentially a big copper blanket: think Brillo pad of wool sandwiched between mesh. Using it while burning off oil yields less air pollution and residue that harms marine life.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Categories: Environment

Cane toad that may have 'hitchhiked' to Mount Kosciuszko prompts disease fears

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 7:39pm

National Parks and Wildlife Service says amphibian chytrid fungus could affect endangered frog species

The discovery of a cane toad that may have “hitchhiked” to Mount Kosciuszko has prompted concerns about the spread of dangerous diseases to native frog species.

The dead cane toad was found by the side of the road at Charlotte Pass earlier this month, near a popular viewing platform that looks out to Australia’s highest mountain and the surrounding alpine high country.

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Categories: Environment

Renewables roadshow: how the 'nonna effect' got Darebin's pensioners signing up to solar

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 6:31pm

In our new series on Australian renewable projects, we visit a suburb where an investment scheme makes solar energy accessible to those who need it most

In Darebin in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, solar installations have spread rapidly through the area’s low-income households.

“We call it the ‘nonna effect’,” says Trent McCarthy, a Greens councillor in Darebin. “The nonna in the street has her solar on her roof. She’s very proud, she tells all of her friends. It’s social marketing 101.”

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Categories: Environment

Renewables roadshow – Darebin: 'I save money, and there's a feelgood factor' – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 6:30pm

In the second of our series highlighting innovative renewable energy projects across Australia we show how many older residents of a Melbourne suburb have embraced solar energy, backed by a council scheme where they can pay for panels in instalments. One of the early adopters was a 102-year-old man. ‘He understood that the benefits lasted way beyond his lifespan,’ reports Kate Nicolazzo of Positive Charge. The residents say they are making big savings on their energy bills and doing their bit for the environment too

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Categories: Environment

'Better de-horned than dead' – zoo chops rhino horns to foil poachers

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 6:25pm

Czech zoo takes saw to the horns of its 21 rhinoceroses in response to deadly attack at Paris wildlife park this month

A Czech zoo has started to remove the horns from its 21 rhinos as a precaution after the recent killing of a rhinoceros at a wildlife park in France by assailants who stole the animal’s horn.

With rhino horns considered a wonder cure in Asia – for everything from cancer, colds and fevers to high blood pressure, hangovers, impotence and other ailments – poachers have killed thousands of the animals in Africa and elsewhere.

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Categories: Environment

World Water Day: one in four children will live with water scarcity by 2040

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 5:01pm

Unicef report says climate change and conflict are intensifying risks to children of living without enough water, and that the poorest will suffer most

One in four of the world’s children will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040 as a result of climate change, the UN has warned.

Within two decades, 600 million children will be in regions enduring extreme water stress, with a great deal of competition for the available supply. The poorest and most disadvantaged will suffer most, according to research published by the children’s agency, Unicef, to mark World Water Day on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Crocodile blamed for death of spearfisherman killed in north Queensland

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 4:39pm

Rangers trap and kill four-metre crocodile near where Warren Hughes disappeared on Saturday

Rangers have killed a four-metre crocodile blamed for a fatal attack on a spearfisherman in Queensland’s far north.

The crocodile was trapped and killed about 10pm on Tuesday, at the mouth of the Russell river close to where Warren Hughes, 35, disappeared on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment

Dakota Access pipeline: ING sells stake in major victory for divestment push

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 12:09pm

The financial giant is the first of a group of 17 banks to divest from the loan that financed the pipeline as the embattled project is set to begin transporting oil

The financial giant ING has sold its stake in the $2.5bn loan financing the Dakota Access pipeline, the latest victory for the anti-pipeline divestment campaign that comes as the project is set to begin transporting oil.

The Dutch banking and financial services company is the first of a group of 17 banks to divest from the loan that financed the project. ING’s share in the loan was $120m.

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Categories: Environment

The snow bunting’s drift takes them much further than Somerset | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 11:38am

Anent the admirable Stephen Moss’s remark (Birdwatch, 20 March) that his snow bunting on the Somerset coast was “probably the furthest south they ever get”, I have been spotting snow buntings all across the Alps for more than 40 years. In winter they are common, often seen in flocks around picnic spots, in all the high ski resorts.

My last sighting was in January. While photographing Alpine choughs on the summit of the Marmolada, the Queen of the Dolomites at just under 11,000ft, joining the choughs was a pair of snow buntings. Back at our hotel, a small flock of fieldfares, also breeders in Arctic latitudes, were feeding on berries. I suspect that both species were drifting northwards from even further south.
Jim Freeman
Croftamie, Loch Lomondside

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Categories: Environment

Oil theft 'provides billions for terrorists and drug cartels'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 11:12am

$1bn of oil is stolen in Mexico each year, while EU loses massive revenues, says the Atlantic Council thinktank

Oil theft is fuelling terrorist groups and drug cartels around the world, according to a new analysis.

Mexican drug gangs can earn $90,000 (£72,000) in seven minutes from tapping a pipeline of refined oil, while insurgents in Nigeria financially benefit from a share of the third of the country’s refined oil exports that is lost to theft, said the Atlantic Council.

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Categories: Environment

Former Greens leader Bob Brown to launch alliance to oppose Adani coalmine

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 10:30am

The Stop Adani Alliance says north Queensland coalmine would ‘fuel catastrophic climate change’

The former Greens leader Bob Brown will launch a new alliance of 13 environmental groups opposed to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine on Wednesday in Canberra.

The Stop Adani Alliance will lobby against the coalmine in northern Queensland, citing new polling that shows three-quarters of Australians oppose subsidies for the mine when told the government plans to loan its owners $1bn.

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Categories: Environment

Access to nature reduces depression and obesity, finds European study

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 7:08am

Trees and green spaces are unrecognised healers offering benefits from increases in mental wellbeing to allergy reductions, says report

People living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on anti-depressants, according to a new report.

Middle-aged Scottish men with homes in deprived but verdant areas were found to have a death rate 16% lower than their more urban counterparts. Pregnant women also received a health boost from a greener environment, recording lower blood pressures and giving birth to larger babies, research in Bradford found.

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Categories: Environment

Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 4:44am

Indian court cites the Whanganui in New Zealand as example for according status to two rivers considered sacred

The Ganges river, considered sacred by more than 1 billion Indians, has become the first non-human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as people.

A court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand ordered on Monday that the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, be accorded the status of living human entities.

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