Environment

The U.N. Goal That Doesn't Get A Lot Of Respect

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 8:55am

Leaders in developing countries were asked to rank the U.N.'s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One particular goal was typically at the bottom of their priority list.

(Image credit: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Mountain gorilla population rises above 1,000

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 7:52am

New total represents an increase of 25% since 2010 in its central African heartland

It is one of the most recognisable animals in the world and one of the most endangered, but a new census reveals the surviving mountain gorilla population has now risen above 1,000.

This represents a rise of 25% since 2010 in its heartland of the Virunga Massif in central Africa. It also marks success for intensive conservation work in a region riven by armed conflict, and where six park guards were murdered in April.

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Categories: Environment

Tourists told to stay away from Indian city of Shimla due to water crisis

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 7:43am

Residents use social media to beg holidaymakers to avoid area as supply runs dry

Residents of the picturesque Indian hill station Shimla are begging tourists to stay away amid a severe drinking water shortage that is being compared to Cape Town’s water crisis.

The Himalayan city was the former summer capital of the British Raj and continues to be popular with Indians fleeing scorching summers on the Gangetic plain. Water supplies have been critically low for at least the past three years but ran out completely on 20 May.

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Categories: Environment

Romania breaks up alleged €25m illegal logging ring

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 7:38am

Security forces launch raids linked to deforestation in the Carpathian mountains, home to some of Europe’s last virgin forest

Romania’s security forces have mounted a series of raids to break up an alleged €25m illegal logging ring, in what is believed to be the largest operation of its kind yet seen in Europe.

Officers from Romania’s Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) swooped on 23 addresses – including factories owned by the Austrian timber group Schweighofer Holzindustrie, according to local press reports.

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Categories: Environment

Humans v birds: poorly managed urban growth squeezes biodiversity

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 1:12am

Melbourne bird survey supports research suggesting native species thrive better if planning includes environmental reserves, rather than backyards

The outskirts of Melbourne are a maze of newly-paved culs-de-sac. Freestanding homes twist in on each other, filling the footprint of their small street blocks.

On the other side of the road, short wooden stakes have been tied with fluorescent tape to mark out the next development.

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Categories: Environment

Margaret Atwood: women will bear brunt of dystopian climate future

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 12:39am

Booker prize-winning author predicts climate reality will not be far from scenarios imagined in her post-apocalyptic fiction

Climate change will bring a dystopian future reminiscent of one of her “speculative fictions”, with women bearing the brunt of brutal repression, hunger and war, the Booker prize-winning author Margaret Atwood is to warn.

“This isn’t climate change – it’s everything change,” she will tell an audience at the British Library this week. “Women will be directly and adversely affected by climate change.”

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Categories: Environment

Newcastle port expansion plans scrapped due to weak demand for coal

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 12:28am

Green groups welcome decision as a sign of a larger trend away from fossil fuels towards renewables

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Plans to expand a coal port in Newcastle, New South Wales, have been scrapped by the developer because demand for coal has not increased enough to support the project.

Port Waratah Coal Services said on Thursday it would allow its lease for the T4 terminal to lapse when it expired next year because the capacity of existing terminals was likely to be sufficient for future growth in coal exports.

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Categories: Environment

Mining company accused of expanding Acland coalmine without permission

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 12:25am

Queensland environment department will investigate but New Hope denies allegations

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Queensland’s environment department is investigating claims that the mining company New Hope expanded existing operations at its New Acland coalmine without permission.

The state environment department confirmed on Thursday it was investigating New Hope’s controversial mine, west of Brisbane, but the company insisted the complaints were part of a campaign against it.

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Categories: Environment

Mind your beeswax: global price surge leaves bearded Australians in a tangle

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/31 - 12:24am

Australia is one of the few countries in the world where hives are free of the debilitating varroa mite

The soaring price of Australian beeswax could be bad news for local beard owners – and good news for scammers – as demand for high-quality beeswax heats up.

New uses for the wax – from cosmetics to food wraps – and the comparative health of Australia’s bees have driven the export price of Australian beeswax up in the global marketplace.

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Categories: Environment

Rise of the ultra-cyclists: a new breed of riders go the distance

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 11:30pm

With no spectators, no bags of freebies and no medals, the 400km London-Wales-London ride provides a welcome antidote to overblown sportives

“Cycling far?” asks a woman in the bakery as a group of us queues for coffee and sausage rolls, as well as an all-important receipt to prove we passed through Tewkesbury.

Increasing numbers of cyclists are getting bored with 100-mile sportives and looking for something else

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Categories: Environment

Reprieve for Abbott's booby after Christmas Island mining expansion ruled out

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 10:05pm

Coalition says phosphate exploration would have had unacceptable impact on endangered seabird

The Turnbull government has knocked back a controversial phosphate exploration proposal on Christmas Island “because it is likely to have significant and unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environment law”.

Phosphate Resources Limited – the owners of a phosphate mine on Christmas Island – had proposed to clear 6.83ha of land and undertake exploration drilling along 44 survey lines in an effort to determine the extent of the additional phosphate resources on Christmas Island.

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Categories: Environment

Kilauea's Fast-Moving Lava Threatens Another Community, Volcanic Haze Reaches Guam

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 6:18pm

As eruptions continue to terrorize people in Hawaii, volcanic haze has drifted across 4,000 miles to bother residents of the Mariana Islands, officials say.

(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Hawaii's Volcanic Eruption Draws Scientific Interest

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 3:16pm

The eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island is causing local devastation, but it is an exciting research opportunity for volcanologists.

(Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Categories: Environment

I was arrested for protesting against Canada's pipeline – and the battle is far from over | Elizabeth May

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 10:23am

There is nothing logical about the Kinder Morgan pipeline – especially not the decision to gut environmental laws for it

The twists and turns in the saga of the Kinder Morgan pipeline just took a turn for the seriously weird today, but the path has never been clear.

The Alberta oil sands lie under thousands of square kilometers of boreal forest, wetland and muskeg. Bitumen is a viscous substance found in small concentrations amid the rock and soil. It is either mined out from huge open pits, or pumped out through in situ production, injecting hot water deep into the ground to loosen it. Either way, the resulting product is highly polluting, very expensive to produce and of low value. Bitumen is a solid. To be refined, bitumen must undergo costly upgrading. Bitumen, being both low value and expensive to produce, would never have been developed without government subsidies, with the lowest royalty rates in the world at 1% and massive federal subsidies of several billion/year.

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Categories: Environment

Uncomfortable truths about the control of predators | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 10:07am
Benjamin Mancroft says Labour allowed its prejudice that all hunting people were toffs to blind it to the realities of managing foxes. Plus letters from Andrew Barker, Karen Lloyd, Ian Coghill and Philip Merricks

There is growing anecdotal evidence that the fox population in lowland rural Britain is in sharp decline (Is Britain’s fox population in decline?, Shortcuts, G2, 23 May). This is not because they are short of food, and thus in need of feeding on roadkill by Chris Packham or anybody else.

Professor Stephens of Durham University is right that “fox populations appear to have dropped specifically within the past 15 or 20 years”, ie since the enactment of the ban on fox-hunting in 2004. Nor is he wrong when he suggests that “people who were enthusiastic about hunting would often encourage fox populations”. More accurately, this means that they provided habitat (which benefited all wildlife), observed a closed season to allow foxes to breed and rear their cubs in peace, and practised a method of culling that encouraged survival of the fittest and removed the surplus numbers required to maintain a level population. The existence of hunts also acted as a deterrent to those wishing to shoot foxes indiscriminately and all year round with rifles which have significantly increased in accuracy and range over the past 15 years.

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Categories: Environment

How to rewild your garden: ditch chemicals and decorate the concrete

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 5:44am

There are several ways to embrace nature – no matter the size of your plot

Rewilding excites people with its images of wolves and ambition to return entire landscapes to nature as humans withdraw after centuries of domination. But the grandeur of rewilding can also make the concept seem remote or irrelevant to people living ever more urban lives.

To declare we are rewilding our garden, or window box, is probably a contradiction in terms and risks cheapening this important conservation concept. But there are principles of rewilding – stepping back and allowing natural processes to occur, and encouraging wild plants and insects – which we can all embrace. The most relevant rewilding idea for us urban beings? Let go, and reduce our micromanagement of whatever small patch of earth we own, rent or enjoy and influence.

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Categories: Environment

The Conflicting Educations Of Sam Schimmel

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 5:36am

More than 50 years after the federal government forced hundreds of Alaska Natives into boarding schools, their descendants are haunted by — and trying to overcome —residual trauma.

(Image credit: Kiliii Yuyan for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Are avocados toast? California farmers bet on what we'll be eating in 2050

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 3:00am

For farmers planting crops they hope will bear fruit in 25 years – including avocado trees – climate change must be reckoned with now

Chris Sayer pushed his way through avocado branches and grasped a denuded limb. It was stained black, as if someone had ladled tar over its bark. In February, the temperature had dropped below freezing for three hours, killing the limb. The thick leaves had shriveled and fallen away, exposing the green avocados, which then burned in the sun. Sayer estimated he’d lost one out of every 20 avocados on his farm in Ventura, just 50 miles north of Los Angeles, but he counts himself lucky.

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Categories: Environment

Can the world's most ambitious rewilding project restore Patagonia's beauty?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/05/30 - 12:00am

Purchasing huge tracts of land in Chile and Argentina, former clothing tycoons Doug and Kristine Tompkins have led a quarter century-long effort to reintroduce threatened and locally extinct species to the wilds of South America

During an elegant dinner in the wilds of Patagonia, Kris Tompkins suddenly remembered the fresh guanaco carcass down the road. She rose from the table and drove us to the nearby grasslands of Patagonia national park, gushing about the possibility of staying up all night with a torch in hope of spying a mountain lion come to feast on the dead llama-like creature.

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Categories: Environment

Meat and fish multinationals 'jeopardising Paris climate goals'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/05/29 - 11:00pm

New index finds many of the world’s largest protein producers failing to measure or report emissions, despite accounting for 14.5% of greenhouse gases

Meat and fish companies may be “putting the implementation of the Paris agreement in jeopardy” by failing to properly report their climate emissions, according to a groundbreaking index launched today.

Three out of four (72%) of the world’s biggest meat and fish companies provided little or no evidence to show that they were measuring or reporting their emissions, despite the fact that, as the report points out, livestock production represents 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

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Categories: Environment
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