Controversial glyphosate weedkiller wins new five-year lease in Europe

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 10:42am

EU votes to reauthorise the pesticide, ending a bitterly fought battle that saw 1.3 million people sign a petition calling for a ban

Glyphosate, the key ingredient in the world’s bestselling weedkiller, has won a new five-year lease in Europe, closing the most bitterly fought pesticide relicensing battle of recent times.

The herbicide’s licence had been due to run out in less than three weeks, raising the prospect of Monsanto’s Roundup disappearing from store shelves and, potentially, a farmers’ revolt.

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Categories: Environment

Company allowed to keep water for extra year after Darling buyback

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 10:00am

Commonwealth did not value extra 22GL of water, which was then transferred to other NSW properties owned by the company

The agribusiness company Webster was allowed to retain 22 gigalitres of water entitlements, purchased by the commonwealth for environmental flows, for an extra year so that it could grow another cotton crop – but the water was transferred within weeks to other properties owned by the company.

The $78m purchase of water from the property Tandou, on the lower Darling near Menindee Lakes in far-western New South Wales, has come under intense scrutiny in the Senate after reporting by the Guardian on the sale. The water transfers raise further questions about whether the deal was good value for taxpayers.

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Categories: Environment

Indian police use elephants to evict illegal settlers

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 8:04am

Animals were used in protected forest area in Assam, where authorities want to demolish about 1,000 bamboo and tin huts

Indian police have taken the unusual step of using elephants in an attempt to evict hundreds of people living illegally in a protected forest area in the country’s remote north-east.

Related: More than 1,000 people killed in India as human and wildlife habitats collide

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Categories: Environment

Video: A View Of A Breathing Earth

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 7:48am

In this visualization, based on data collected by scientists, we see Earth changing — its plants, surface winds and sea currents responding to the energy coming from the sun, says Marcelo Gleiser.

(Image credit: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory)

Categories: Environment

American leaders should read their official climate science report | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 4:00am

The United States Global Change Research Program report paints a bleak picture of the consequences of climate denial

The United States Global Change Research Program recently released a report on the science of climate change and its causes. The report is available for anyone to read; it was prepared by top scientists, and it gives an overview of the most up to date science.

If you want to understand climate change and a single document that summarizes what we know, this is your chance. This report is complete, readily understandable, and accessible. It discusses what we know, how we know it, how confident we are, and how likely certain events are to happen if we continue on our business-as-usual path.

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Categories: Environment

Bitcoin mining consumes more electricity a year than Ireland

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 3:39am

Network’s estimated power use also exceeds that of 19 other European countries, consuming more than five times output of continent’s largest windfarm

Bitcoin’s “mining” network uses more electricity in a year than the whole of Ireland, according to statistics released as the currency broke $9,000 for the first time.

According to Digiconomist the estimated power use of the bitcoin network, which is responsible for verifying transactions made with the cryptocurrency, is 30.14TWh a year, which exceeds that of 19 other European countries. At a continual power drain of 3.4GW, it means the network consumes five times more electricity than is produced by the largest wind farm in Europe, the London Array in the outer Thames Estuary, at 630MW.

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Categories: Environment

More than 100 reindeer killed by freight trains in Norway 'bloodbath'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 3:37am

Sixty-five animals died on railway track on Saturday while further 41 killed last week during winter migration

More than 100 reindeer have been killed by freight trains in northern Norway in the past days in what has been called a senseless tragedy.

One train killed 65 deer on a track on Saturday while 41 died between Wednesday and Friday, the public broadcaster NRK reported late on Sunday.

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Categories: Environment

Indonesia Tries To Evacuate 100,000 People Away From Erupting Volcano On Bali

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 2:39am

Mount Agung began spewing ash last week, but over the weekend authorities raised the alert level for a possible larger eruption and expanded a danger zone around the base of the volcano.

(Image credit: Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

Categories: Environment

Balkan hydropower projects soar by 300% putting wildlife at risk, research shows

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 1:00am

More than a third of about 2,800 planned new dams are in protected areas, threatening rivers and biodiversity

Hydropower constructions have rocketed by 300% across the western Balkans in the last two years, according to a new analysis, sparking fears of disappearing mountain rivers and biodiversity loss.

About 2,800 new dams are now in the pipeline across a zone stretching from Slovenia to Greece, 37% of which are set to be built in protected areas such as national parks or Natura 2000 sites.

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Categories: Environment

How to get the most out of cycling in winter | Peter Walker

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/27 - 12:00am

Cycling has its challenges as the nights draw in and the frosts arrive – but it can also be more rewarding and straightforward than one might think

The nights have well and truly drawn in, and for many Britons the frosts have arrived. Time to pack away the bike for a few months?

Don’t be tempted. Cycling, particularly bike commuting, can bring its challenges in winter. But it’s compellingly rewarding, and can be much more straightforward than many would think.

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Categories: Environment

‘Their own media megaphone’: what do the Koch brothers want from Time?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 10:29pm

The company’s decline is readily apparent – but if the billionaire brothers’ other interests are a guide, their investment will be about more than money

That Charles and David Koch are putting $650m into Meredith Corp’s purchase of Time would ordinarily be cause for great soul-searching in media. But these are not ordinary times.

Meredith’s Koch-backed deal with Time – which owns, in addition to Time magazine, titles including People, Fortune and Sports Illustrated – was sealed Sunday night. Meredith said in a statement announcing the deal that they are building “a premier media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers.”

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Categories: Environment

Fears for world's rarest penguin as population plummets

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 9:06pm

Commercial fishing blamed for the crash in numbers of yellow-eyed penguin on a sanctuary island in New Zealand

Almost half the breeding population of the world’s most endangered penguin species, the yellow-eyed penguin, has disappeared in one part of New Zealand and conservation groups believe commercial fishing is to blame.

The yellow-eyed penguin is endemic to New Zealand’s South Island and sub-Antarctic islands, where there are just 1,600 to 1,800 left in the wild, down from nearly 7,000 in 2000.

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Categories: Environment

The rise of the robots brings threats and opportunities | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 12:00pm
Readers respond to the advance in robotics, and what it means for our economy, social fabric and the planet

The difference between the robots of today and all previous forms of automation is that they are so flexible (Editorial, 25 November). Intelligent robots will be utilised in any new enterprise rather than people now because the financial returns are likely to be so much greater, given that there will be no recruitment difficulties, wage demands, overtime claims, strikes, sickness absence, pensions, transport or housing problems to take care of. Factories can be situated anywhere, and HS2 could be redundant before it becomes operational.

In the past, workers displaced by automation could rely on new industries springing up to take them on, but in future these will create far more jobs for robots than people across the board. Our whole economic system, which concentrates on profitability and economics rather than the welfare of the population, can only encourage this trend. What we need is a new economic system.
Dr Richard Turner
Beverley, East Yorkshire

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Categories: Environment

Boom in renewables weakens fracking's case in UK, says Tory MP

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 7:47am

Chair of policy committee also points to action to extract more North Sea gas and oil, suggesting support for shale gas is cooling

The case for fracking in Britain has weakened because of government action to extract more oil and gas from the North Sea and meteoric growth in renewable power, according to a Conservative MP tasked with developing the party’s energy policy.

James Heappey said the new rules on tax relief for offshore oil and gas fields announced in last week’s budget could change the energy landscape.

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Categories: Environment

Can Paris Get Rid Of Gas-Fueled Cars?

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 5:57am

The mayor of Paris wants to rid the capital of all gas and diesel cars by the year 2030. But critics doubt the idea is feasible or even a good anti-pollution strategy.

Categories: Environment

The Fragmented Forests Of Madagascar

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 5:57am

Madagascar is home to plants and animals found nowhere else, but their habitats are disappearing. This story was reported with support from the environmental news service Mongabay.

Categories: Environment

Ash Fills The Sky As Bali's Mount Agung Erupts

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 3:00am

The volcano on the Indonesian tourist island covered nearby villages with a thin layer of ash.

(Image credit: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The trouble with big data is the huge energy bill | John Naughton

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/26 - 12:00am

The power consumed by the internet giants’ massive server farms and the mining of the cryptocurrency are growing into a giant environmental headache

Once upon a time, a very long time ago – 2009 in fact – there was a brief but interesting controversy about the carbon footprint of a Google search. It was kicked off by a newspaper story reporting a “calculation” of mysterious origin that suggested a single Google search generated 7 grams of CO2, which is about half of the carbon footprint of boiling a kettle. Irked by this, Google responded with a blogpost saying that this estimate was much too high. “In terms of greenhouse gases,” the company said, “one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2. The current EU standard for tailpipe [exhaust] emissions calls for 140 grams of CO2 per kilometre driven, but most cars don’t reach that level yet. Thus, the average car driven for one kilometre (0.6 miles for those in the US) produces as many greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches.”

Every service that Google provides is provided via its huge data centres, which consume vast amounts of electricity to power and cool the servers, and are therefore responsible for the emission of significant amounts of CO2. Since the advent of the modern smartphone in about 2007 our reliance on distant data centres has become total, because everything we do on our phones involves an interaction with the “cloud” and therefore has a carbon footprint.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to yoga

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/25 - 11:00pm

Mindfulness helps us deal with the stress of climate trauma, and seek solutions. Make sure your kit’s sustainably sourced and exercise outside

Daily yoga sessions were the unexpected hit at the recent Cop23 climate talks in Bonn. Delegate demand was so high that the organisers (the Indian delegation) ran out of mats.

Yoga is an accessible route to mindfulness, and a crucial tool for exposing environmental emergency

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef coral-breeding program offers 'glimmer of hope'

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/25 - 7:02pm

Project, which could help restore damaged coral populations, has seen success in the Philippines

Scientists have stepped in as environmental matchmakers by breeding baby coral on the Great Barrier Reef in a move that could have worldwide significance.

Coral eggs and sperm were collected from Heron Island’s reef during last November’s coral spawning to produce more than a million larvae.

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Categories: Environment
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