Body of British botanist found in South Africa

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 7:58am

Rachel Saunders went missing with her husband in February while looking for rare seeds

Police in South Africa have identified the body of a British botanist who disappeared earlier this year while searching for rare seeds in a remote nature reserve.

Rachel and Rodney Saunders are thought to have been looking for rare plant seeds near the oNgoye Forest in KwaZulu-Natal province when they were last confirmed alive in mid-February.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 6:42am

A colourful sand lizard, a giant baobab tree and a racoon with a head for heights are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Delhi's air pollution is now so bad it is literally off the chart

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 6:39am

Dust storms come months before the start of city’s traditional ‘pollution season’

Smog more toxic than can be measured by monitoring devices has blanketed the Indian capital this week, months before the start of Delhi’s traditional “pollution season”.

A thick haze was visible across the city from Tuesday and some government pollution monitors have recorded concentrations of 999 – the highest they can measure – as dust storms kicked up in nearby Rajasthan state blanketed the region.

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Categories: Environment

First Nations look to buy equity in pipeline to have say in project's future

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 3:00am

Despite high-profile protests some indigenous Canadians believe only way to mitigate environmental impacts is through ownership

After Justin Trudeau’s surprise announcement that the Canadian government would nationalize a contentious pipeline, indigenous protesters have been among the most vocal in their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, arguing that the project trespasses on their territory and poses a risk to the environment.

Protests led by First Nations have amplified public unease of over the mega project – which will triple the flow of bitumen from Alberta to the coastal waters of British Columbia – as the country attempts to balance its fight against climate change with an economy driven largely by the energy industry.

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Categories: Environment

Frydenberg tells states conservative Liberals won't get their way on emissions cuts

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 2:42am

Environment minister says he won’t back-end load target as some in his party demand

Josh Frydenberg has told his state and territory counterparts the emissions reduction trajectory in the national energy guarantee will be steady over 10 years, not back-end loaded as some of his conservative party room opponents have demanded.

Frydenberg, the federal energy minister, was clear during a phone hook-up on Friday that Canberra wanted least-cost abatement in the electricity sector, and that meant implementing a linear emissions reduction trajectory between 2020 and 2030, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

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Looking back at Standing Rock - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 2:41am

Photographer Josué Rivas spent seven months documenting the Native American community that came together to protest against the controversial Dakota pipeline. The work has been published in the book Standing Strong, which has won the 2018 FotoEvidence Book award with World Press Photo.

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As Nuclear Struggles, A New Generation Of Engineers Is Motivated By Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 2:01am

The number of people graduating with nuclear engineering degrees has more than tripled since 2001. Many say they are motivated by climate change.

(Image credit: Jeff Brady/NPR)

Categories: Environment

EDF Energy to pay £350,000 smart-meter penalty

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 1:35am

Company fails to meet annual target of fitting smart meters in customers’ homes

EDF Energy has agreed to pay out £350,000 for failing to fit enough smart meters in customers’ houses, the first time an energy supplier has been penalised for missing domestic smart meter targets.

Every large energy supplier has an annual target for rolling out smart meters, which provide consumers with real-time electricity usage data and automate readings, with a government goal of all households being offered one by the end of 2020.

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Categories: Environment

The magical wilderness farm: raising cows among the weeds at Knepp

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00pm

You can’t make money from letting cows run wild, right? When Patrick Barkham got access to the sums at a pioneering Sussex farm, he was in for a surprise.

Orange tip butterflies jink over grassland and a buzzard mews high on a thermal. Blackthorns burst with bridal white blossom and sallow leaves of peppermint green unfurl. The exhilaration in this corner of West Sussex is not, however, simply the thrilling explosion of spring. The land is bursting with an unusual abundance of life; rampant weeds and wild flowers, insects, birdsong, ancient trees and enormous hedgerows, billowing into fields of hawthorn. And some of the conventional words from three millennia of farming – ‘hedgerow’, ‘field’ and ‘weed’ – no longer seem to apply in a landscape which is utterly alien to anyone raised in an intensively farmed environment.

This is Knepp, a 3,500-acre farm in densely-populated lowland Britain, barely 45 miles from London. Once a conventional dairy and arable operation, at the turn of this century, Knepp’s owners, Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree, auctioned off their farm machinery, rewilded their land and, as much by accident as design, inched towards a new model of farming. Some view the result as an immoral eyesore, an abnegation of our responsibility to keep land productive and tidy. Others find it inspiring proof that people and other nature can coexist.

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Categories: Environment

Leaked UN draft report warns of urgent need to cut global warming

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 8:39pm

IPCC says ‘rapid and far-reaching’ measures required to combat climate change

The world is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming unless countries rapidly implement “far-reaching” actions to reduce carbon emissions, according to a draft UN report leaked to Reuters.

The final draft report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) was due for publication in October. It is the guiding scientific document for what countries must do to combat climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: four rivers are most responsible for pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00am

Burdekin, Fitzroy, Tully and Daintree rivers in Queensland pose greatest risk, researchers find

Four rivers are most responsible for polluting the Great Barrier Reef, according to research that scientists hope will help governments better target efforts to reduce damage to the reef from land use.

The Burdekin, Fitzroy, Tully and Daintree rivers in Queensland posed the greatest risk to the reef, the study led by The Nature Conservancy and the University of Queensland found.

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Categories: Environment

Inside the AEF, the climate denial group hosting Tony Abbott as guest speaker

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00am

The Australian Environment Foundation has secured a former prime minister to speak. But what does it actually do?

Securing a former prime minister to speak at your organisation is no doubt a coup for many groups.

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy recently got Kevin Rudd. Australia’s Nelson Mandela Day committee has snaffled Julia Gillard for their next annual lecture.

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Categories: Environment

Human activity making mammals more nocturnal, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00am

Research involving 62 species found mammals spent relatively less time being active during the day when humans were nearby

Human disturbance is turning mammals into night owls, with species becoming more nocturnal when people are around, research has revealed.

The study, encompassing 62 species from around the globe, found that when humans were nearby, mammals spent relatively less time being active during the day and were more active at night - even among those already classed as nocturnal.

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Categories: Environment

'Ethical grocer' Farmdrop raises £10m to expand home delivery service

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 10:43am

Skype founder increases his investment, saying firm is using technology for good

The online ethical grocer Farmdrop has raised £10m from investors, including the founder of Skype, to take its home delivery service to the north of England.

The London-based company, launched by an ex-city broker, Ben Pugh, in 2014, wants to open a warehouse in Manchester after expanding to Bristol and Bath late last year.

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Categories: Environment

Who’s to blame for the ecological apocalypse? | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 10:09am
Readers respond to Chris Packham’s recent observations on environmental destruction, and to the suggestion that one positive step would be for us to give up our pets

If we’ve normalised the ecological damage we are doing to our country, as Chris Packham suggests, it’s only because as individuals we feel helpless (Packham: ‘We are presiding over ecological apocalypse’, 11 June). As it is, the signs are extraordinary, and not just the absence of iconic species like butterflies, bees, frogs and hedgehogs. I have noticed a decline in the number (and size) of ticks, for example, and houseflies and greenflies – even dung flies – are actually rare this summer.

If we do not mourn their decline we are foolish – no flies means no maggots, which means no cleaning up of the dead badgers Packham mentions; no greenflies and ticks means less food for some species up the food chain, which is presumably why there are no birds on our feeders these days. It really does feel like an apocalypse, and yet the government still drags its feet over the poisons which have almost certainly caused it.
Jeremy Cushing

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Categories: Environment

As The Scandals Mount, Conservatives Turn On Scott Pruitt

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 9:54am

One of Pruitt's closest political allies in Congress said he would call for the EPA chief to step down if his ethical scandals don't stop.

(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Fight Over Federal Land In The West

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 8:06am

When the federal government says some publicly owned lands should be used "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people," who do they mean?

(Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 3:00am

Enbridge wants to build a new tar sands pipeline

Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuels. These are low-quality heavy tar-like oils that are mined from sand or rock. Much of the mining occurs in Alberta Canada, but it is also mined elsewhere, in lesser quantities.

Tar sands are the worst. Not only are they really hard to get out of the ground, requiring enormous amounts of energy; not only are they difficult to transport and to refine; not only are they more polluting than regular oils; they even have a by-product called “petcoke” that’s used in power plants, but is dirtier than regular coal.

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Categories: Environment

EU raises renewable energy targets to 32% by 2030

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 2:31am

UK called for 30% as green groups say increase does not go far enough

The EU is raising its target for the amount of energy it consumes from renewable sources, in a deal lauded by the bloc’s climate chief as a hard-won victory for the switch to clean energy.

Energy ministers agreed a binding renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, up from the previous goal of 27%, but fell short of the hopes of some countries and green groups for a more ambitious share.

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