Environment

Single-use plastic bags ban under scrutiny as shoppers switch and ditch reusables

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 11:42pm

Australian states with bans in place see rise in consumers and retailers resorting to thicker bags to escape the rule

Shoppers in states that have banned single-use shopping bags are reportedly buying reusable plastic bags then throwing them away.

The Australian Capital Territory requested an investigation into the use of thicker plastic bags last month, after reports that retailers and consumers had simply switched their plastic bag consumption to thicker bags to escape the ban.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Victoria's blackouts, Hazelwood's closure and the search for someone to blame

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 11:16pm

The blackouts appear to have been caused by fuses blowing in substations rather than being a problem with supply

Blackouts in Victoria this week caused by substation malfunctions have spawned a plethora of responses, many attempting to pin the blame on either a lack of coal or too much renewable energy.

One national newspaper has argued that the focus on substations was a “smokescreen” to hide what it identified as the real cause – Victoria’s moratorium on gas exploration.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Can Sri Lanka's elephants and humans learn to live together? – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 11:00pm

On this small, densely populated island, clashes between elephants and humans are rapidly increasing. Rangers and villagers are working to find ways to avoid the conflict and the devastating, at times deadly, impacts on both sides

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Qantas uses mustard seeds in first ever biofuel flight between Australia and US

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 10:34pm

Blended fuel powers 15-hour Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 flight between LA and Melbourne, reducing carbon emissions by 7%

A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The 15-hour flight used a blended fuel that was 10% derived from the brassica carinata, an industrial type of mustard seed that functions as a fallow crop – meaning it can be grown by farmers in between regular crop cycles.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

New Zealand heatwave sparks health alerts and scramble for fans

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 6:10pm

Temperatures forecast to hit 40C as even prime minister Jacinda Ardern struggles to keep cool

A week-long heatwave has floored New Zealand, breaking temperature records across the country and causing a nationwide shortage of fans.

Temperatures have soared above 37C (98.6F) in parts of the South Island, with records broken in Dunedin, Wanaka, Christchurch and many other cities and towns.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Support our new series that shines the spotlight on Australia’s neglected environmental issues

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 3:55pm

Help us to move these issues up the public agenda and challenge governments to do more

Australia’s fragile environment is under attack. Environmental protections have been dramatically eroded and funding slashed. The threat of climate change so dominates debate that other pressing and immediate environmental dangers struggle for attention. Few Australians know that our country has one of the worst records for species loss, with even the koala threatened; that microplastic pollution is so prevalent it can be found in the sediments of our river estuaries and nearby ocean floors; or that land clearing rates are just as severe as the notorious deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon jungle.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Why Low Snowfall In The Rockies Is Concerning For Western Water Managers

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 2:54pm

Record-low snowfall in some parts of the Rocky Mountains this winter isn't just bad for the ski industry. It's also a real problem for water managers throughout the western United States.

Categories: Environment

Chile creates five national parks over 10m acres in historic act of conservation

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 12:06pm
  • Ex-CEO of Patagonia firm donates 1m acres of private land
  • President Bachelet signs ‘unprecedented’ measure into law

Chile has created five sprawling national parks to preserve vast tracts of Patagonia – the culmination of more than two decades of land acquisition by the US philanthropists Doug Tompkins and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and the largest donation of private land to government in South America.

The five parks, spanning 10.3m acres, were signed into law on Monday by Chile’s president Michelle Bachelet, launching a new 17-park route that stretches down the southern spine of Chile to Cape Horn.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Away from the public gaze, serious threats to the environment keep rising | Lenore Taylor

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 12:05pm

Our new in-depth series focuses on the less-scrutinised threats to Australia’s natural places, and you can get involved

Threats to the Australian environment get reported in bursts – a contested development decision or a particular conservation campaign can thrust an issue into the headlines and on to the nightly news bulletins for weeks before a deal is crunched and a “solution” heralded.

Related: 'The Franklin would be dammed today': Australia's shrinking environmental protections

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'The Franklin would be dammed today': Australia's shrinking environmental protections

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 12:02pm

The nation is losing the political will to protect our pristine places – and biodiversity is suffering

What if the Franklin river hadn’t been saved?

Stopping the Gordon-below-Franklin dam was one of the Australian environment movement’s great victories: in the late 1970s, the state-owned Hydro-Electric Commission wanted to flood one of three last temperate rainforests in the southern hemisphere to create a power station.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Simple steps to save the planet from plastic | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 10:55am
Maggie Sutton calls on all sellers of loose fruit and veg to supply only paper bags, and Kate Lammin says Waitrose and Prince Charles’s Duchy brand aren’t helping, while Melanie Wood looks to the Guardian to set an example

I do so agree with Joleah Lamb (‘It’s like gangrene’: disease soars as plastic fouls reef, 26 January) about the need for people to take direct action against plastic. I would love to do so and so would thousands like me, but the question is how when manufacturers and supermarkets are calling the shots? I will buy only loose fruit and vegetables to avoid packaging, but all supermarkets and some market stalls offer only plastic bags to wrap them. A very simple and immediate change that could be made, long before the introduction of biodegradable packaging becomes available, would for all sellers of loose fruit and vegetables to supply only paper bags from now. I for one will be buying my greengrocery at the first supermarket and market stall that does that, and I expect many feel the same way.
Maggie Sutton
Wells, Somerset

• It is infuriating to find my local Waitrose wrapping more and more vegetables in plastic. Since the supermarket teamed up with Prince Charles’s Duchy brand, it has been almost impossible to buy less than six of most fruit, and every green vegetable is plastic-wrapped. Duchy is meant to be organic and interested in saving the planet; a pity Harry didn’t question Pa about that, but then of course, they don’t shop! I have emailed both Waitrose and Duchy, to no avail. Good for Iceland taking the lead: I now only buy fresh veg and fruit at my local greengrocer, who uses time-honoured brown paper bags.
Kate Lammin
Twickenham

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

VW condemned for testing diesel fumes on humans and monkeys

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 8:21am

Experiments involved monkeys and humans breathing in exhaust fumes for hours at a time

Volkswagen, the world’s biggest carmaker, is under fire globally from politicians and environmentalists following revelations it helped to fund experiments in which monkeys and humans breathed in car fumes for hours at a time.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said there was an urgent need for the company to reveal the true extent of the experiments, which were commissioned by the European Research Group of Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), a body funded by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The Bargaining Chip At The Border

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 8:06am

The president's promise to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. is moving forward.

(Image credit: HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

America's public lands belong to all of us. We owe it to ourselves to save them | Theodore Roosevelt IV

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 7:40am

We Americans can do better in the fight to protect our threatened heritage, writes Theodore Roosevelt IV, a descendant of the ‘conservation president’

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Gas-fired plants to reap huge subsidies despite uncertain future

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 5:59am

Fossil fuel faces stiff competition from nuclear, renewables and European imports

Gas power plant operators will scoop millions of pounds in state subsidies in coming days to go on standby next winter, but the owner of the UK’s largest gas fleet has warned the fossil fuel faces an uncertain future as a cornerstone of UK energy.

Auctions starting on Tuesday for contracts in the capacity market, the government’s insurance policy for ensuring reliable electricity supplies, are crucial to the survival of gas plants.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rotting cabins, closed trails: why we're shining a light on US national parks

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 4:00am

Amid dangers from the Trump administration and climate change, sites including the Grand Canyon and Zion national park are facing yet another threat: ‘massive disrepair’

At Zion national park, a popular trail has been closed since 2010. At the Grand Canyon, a rusting pipeline that supplies drinking water to the busiest part of the park breaks at least a half-dozen times a year. At Voyageurs, a historic cabin collapsed.

The National Park Service is the protector of some of America’s greatest environmental and cultural treasures. Yet a huge funding shortfall means that the strain of America’s passion for its parks is showing. Trails are crumbling and buildings are rotting. In all there is an $11bn backlog of maintenance work that repair crews have been unable to perform, a number that has mostly increased every year in the past decade.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Natural gas killed coal – now renewables and batteries are taking over | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 4:00am

To avoid dangerous climate change, we can’t rely on natural gas replacing coal

Over the past decade, coal has been increasingly replaced by cheaper, cleaner energy sources. US coal power production has dropped by 44% (866 terawatt-hours [TWh]). It’s been replaced by natural gas (up 45%, or 400 TWh), renewables (up 260%, or 200 TWh), and increased efficiency (the US uses 9%, or 371 TWh less electricity than a decade ago).

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The threat to America's public lands is increasing – and so is our coverage

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 4:00am

This Land Is Your Land is our series on an American birthright at risk amid privatization, energy extraction and climate change

Public lands are an American birthright like no other. Managed by the government and held in trust for the people, they range from celebrated national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Everglades to vast western forests and deserts, Pacific coral reefs and Atlantic seamounts. Yet now their future hangs in the balance.

This is why we are delighted to announce a major expansion of our series This Land is Your Land, which will provide coverage of these unique and threatened places.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Orange cave crocodiles may be 'mutating' into new species

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 1:50am

In 2008 an archaeologist discovered crocodiles living in remote caves in Gabon. Now, genetics hint that these weird cave crocodilians may be in the process of evolving into a new species.

It sounds like something out of a children’s book: it’s orange, it dwells in a cave and it lives on bats and crickets. But this isn’t some fairy story about a lonely troll – it’s the much weirder tale of a group of African dwarf crocodiles that are adapting to life in pitch-darkness.

“We could say that we have a mutating species, because [the cave crocodile] already has a different [genetic] haplotype,” said Richard Oslisly, who first discovered the cave crocs in 2008. “Its diet is different and it is a species that has adapted to the underground world.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Sign up for This Land is Your Land, our monthly email on public lands

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/29 - 12:00am

Get monthly email updates from our series covering the threat to America’s public lands

America’s public lands are under threat. Sign up for monthly updates from our two-year series, This Land is Your Land, as we cover the challenges facing national parks, forests, deserts, coral reefs and seamounts. We’ll send you the latest stories from the Guardian and our partner publications.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content