John Large obituary

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 8:01am
Consulting engineer known for his work on nuclear safety who was never afraid to take on such a powerful industry

John Large’s working life was split into two halves, the first spent designing civil and military nuclear reactors and the second trying to make sure the industry was kept safe from accidents, nuclear waste and security threats. In this later role as a consulting engineer John was a dangerous opponent for the secretive nuclear establishment because his inside knowledge gave him the ability to ask difficult questions and expose weaknesses. He was never afraid to speak truth to power, although it took courage to take on such a powerful industry.

Despite his chosen role as an outsider, John’s abilities meant he had an astonishing list of clients ranging from the Russian Federation, the British government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Greenpeace International. He was invited by the IAEA to China, North Korea and Iran, and by others to the US and Japan, to give advice on their nuclear programmes and the risks they posed.

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Categories: Environment

Louisiana landowners sue Bayou Bridge pipeline for trespassing and damage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 6:59am

Latest legal skirmish in a long battle between activists and the company building the pipeline, which is also behind Keystone XL

Landowners in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin have filed suit against the company building the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline for trespassing and property damage, claiming that it did not obtain legal authority before running stretches of the nearly completed pipeline through their property.

It’s the latest legal skirmish in a long battle between Louisiana activists and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which is also behind the the more well-known Dakota Access pipeline, and one that advocates hope might shutter the nearly completed 160-mile stretch of pipe before it goes live.

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Categories: Environment

Social media influencer urges young people to protest over environment

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 6:01am

Jack Harries was at protest by Extinction Rebellion aiming to bring London to a standstill

The social media influencer Jack Harries has said young people have a duty to protest against environmental destruction, as he took part in a day of protest in London that led to at least 14 arrests.

The 25-year-old, whose YouTube channel has 4 million subscribers, spoke to the Guardian as he helped hold a 68-metre banner over the side of Westminster Bridge with the words: “Climate change: we’re fucked”.

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Categories: Environment

Closing nuclear plants risks rise in greenhouse gas emissions, report warns

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 4:00am

Fresh division among environmentalists over nuclear energy, the single largest source of low-carbon electricity

Looming climate breakdown is opening fresh divisions among environmentalists over nuclear energy, with a major advocacy group calling for struggling nuclear plants to be propped up to avoid losing their low-carbon power.

Nuclear is the single largest source of low-carbon electricity in the US. But a third of nuclear plants are unprofitable or scheduled to close, risking a rise in greenhouse gas emissions if they are replaced by coal or natural gas, a major Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report has found.

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Categories: Environment

The new green superpower? Oil giant Kazakhstan tries to wean itself off the black stuff – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 3:56am

Kazakhstan is rich with oil, gas and coal but Nursultan Nazarbayev, its president for life, has committed the country to a dramatic shift from fossil fuels to green energy. Is this huge nation, which is beset by rural poverty, major infrastructure challenges and environmental crises, able to realise his vision? Phoebe Greenwood travels to  the Kazakh capital, Astana, and the Aral Sea region

Many thanks to Kunzberg spatial communications for the use of music from the Future Astana Expo installation

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Categories: Environment

Paradise Fire Leaves Most Residents Homeless

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 3:25am

Most of the town of Paradise is now homeless. What happens to the town and what happens to the 27,000 without homes in northern California?

Categories: Environment

News Brief: Calif. Wildfires, Brexit And Chinese Muslim Repression

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 3:15am

The death toll climbs to 48 in Calif. wildfires. Britain's prime minister presents a Brexit plan to her Cabinet Wednesday. And a look at China's growing repression of mostly Muslim minorities.

Categories: Environment

How to survive wildfires: let’s do as nature does | Alistair Smith and Crystal Kolden

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/11/14 - 1:00am

Trees grow thicker bark and animals burrow for protection. We can use similar techniques to save human lives

California wildfires rarely killed civilians in the 20th century. The Griffith Park fire killed 29 in 1933, while 25 died in Oakland in 1991. Now, for the fourth time in just over a year, California wildfires have become deadly. Within the span of 13 months, nearly 100 civilians have died in wildfires in California, and that devastating number is likely to grow based on the missing persons tally from the town of Paradise.

The increasing number of fatalities is occurring globally in so-called Mediterranean climates – regions with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Portugal, Spain, Greece, Chile, Australia and South Africa have all seen civilian wildfire fatalities in recent years, and communities globally are asking themselves the same question: what can we do? How do we stem the soaring number of wildfire fatalities?

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Categories: Environment
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