Environment

Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Regulators' OK In Nebraska, Clearing Key Hurdle

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 10:55am

The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Monday to approve the controversial pipeline — albeit not on the route preferred by TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL.

(Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

On a roll: blue whales switch 'handedness' when rolling to scoop food

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 10:00am

Blue whales show ‘lateralisation’ – like handedness in humans – when rolling, choosing left or right depending on depth and type of roll

They are the largest animals on Earth, can live to around 90 years old and have a tongue that weighs as much as an elephant. Now scientists have revealed another insight into blue whales: how they roll.

A study has found that blue whales have a tendency to roll to one side or the other when lunging for prey, with the preference apparently down to the depth of the water and the type of roll they execute.

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Categories: Environment

France warned of Christmas foie gras shortage

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 7:58am

Stocks of controversial and seasonal goose and duck liver delicacy seriously hit for second year in a row by avian flu

Christmas would not be Noël in France without a fat goose liver on the festive table.

But farmers say stocks of foie gras – enjoyed over the festive period by an estimated 80% of France’s population – have been seriously hit by avian flu for the second year in a row.

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Categories: Environment

E-bikes: time to saddle up with low-cost energy and no sweat?

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 7:06am

E-bikes are well-established in some EU countries, but how about the UK? Old-school cyclist Peter Kimpton tries a new model to see if he’d be tempted to swap

“E-bikes are fantastic. I use them all the time. You can take the kids up mountains. You can arrive in your good clothes at a meeting. It’s so easy.” Who said this?

Surprisingly, it was none other than Fabian Cancellara, perhaps the greatest ever road time-trial rider. He made similar remarks during a Q&A at the recent Rouleur Classic, an event for road bike and race purists, causing good-humoured outrage. But if even the great Cancellara can ride an e-bike, so will I.

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Categories: Environment

A civil rights 'emergency': justice, clean air and water in the age of Trump

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 5:00am

The Trump administration is peeling away rules designed to protect clean air and water, fueling a growing urgency around the struggle for environmental justice, say political leaders, academics and activists

The Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations has intensified a growing civil rights battle over the deadly burden of pollution on minorities and low-income people.

Black, Latino and disadvantaged people have long been disproportionately afflicted by toxins from industrial plants, cars, hazardous housing conditions and other sources.

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Categories: Environment

Keystone XL pipeline decision: what's at stake and what comes next?

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 4:00am

Nebraska regulators will decide Monday on the last major regulatory hurdle facing the project. Here’s what you need to know

Nebraska regulators are expected to decide on Monday whether to approve or deny an in-state route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It’s the last major regulatory hurdle facing project operator TransCanada Corp.

The Nebraska public service commission’s ruling is on the Nebraska route TransCanada has proposed to complete the $8bn,179-mile pipeline to deliver oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas Gulf coast refineries. The proposed Keystone XL route would cross parts of Montana, South Dakota and most of Nebraska to Steele City, Nebraska.

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Categories: Environment

Battered by extreme weather, Americans are more worried about climate change | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 4:00am

After months of intense hurricanes, heat waves, and droughts, a survey finds a record number of Americans worried about climate change

The latest climate change survey from Yale and George Mason Universities is out, and it shows that Americans are still poorly-informed about the causes of global warming. Only 54% understand that it’s mostly human-caused, while 33% incorrectly believe global warming is due mainly to natural factors.

In fact, a new study published in Nature Scientific Reports developed a real-time global warming index. It shows that humans are responsible for 1°C global surface warming over the past 150 years – approximately 100% of the warming we’ve observed. Lead author Karsten Haustein explained their new index and study in a blog post.

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Categories: Environment

How Tulsa Became A Model For Preventing Floods

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/20 - 2:54am

For decades, Tulsa planned carefully and imposed regulations to prevent the kind of devastating floods that used to make national headlines. Now other cities are noticing.

(Image credit: Austin Hellwig Collection/Tulsa City-County Library)

Categories: Environment

Reduce, reuse, reboot: why electronic recycling must up its game

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/19 - 11:05pm

With global e-waste projected to hit 50m tonnes next year, consumers need to put pressure on technology firms to make their products more repairable

Tech powers many things, including cognitive dissonance. A few years ago I was travelling through Agbogbloshie, the commercial district in Accra, known as a graveyard for electronic waste, a hotspot for digital dumping. I tutted and shook my head in sorrow as I surveyed the charred keyboards and plumes of toxic computer smoke wafting across the landscape. My Ghanaian colleague looked with some amusement at the tech spilling out of my handbag. My laptop, phone, iPad – where did I think they might end up?

Despite my relatively puritanical approach to upgrades (I can remember ALL my phones), there’s a good chance that those items ended up back there or somewhere similar. According to 2011 figures from the B&FT (Business and Financial Times, Ghana’s biggest business newspaper), the country took in 17,765 tonnes of UK e-waste that year, nearly 50% of all of the waste electronics that were dumped there. For the UK’s discarded electronic goods, Ghana is still likely to be a major destination. Others include China, India and Nigeria. Out of all the electronic waste we send for recycling, 80% ends up being shipped (some legally, and some not) to emerging and developing countries. China is tightening up. A recent change in the law reclassified circuit boards as “hazardous” waste, putting some Chinese e-waste reprocessors out of business. It was a digital version of the butterfly effect: causing more e-waste to be dumped on developing countries to be processed illegally.

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Categories: Environment

We're so lucky to share Australia with a stunning array of birds | Sean Dooley

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/19 - 7:04pm

Australia has some of the most glorious birds on the planet. Our shortlist of 50 birds includes truly spectacular ones. Which one should be number one?

• Vote for your favourite Australian bird

The recently released The Australian Bird Guide (CSIRO Publishing) chronicles a whopping 927 species seen in Australia since 1940. About 160 are considered vagrants – birds that have accidentally arrived here, blown off course or, in the case of North American migratory shorebirds, literally taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque – and vast numbers of the rest are rare, difficult to see or only occur in remote areas, so that only the most dedicated of bird nerds ever gets to delight in their magnificence.

Related: Australian bird of the year 2017: vote for your favourite

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Categories: Environment

What is Australia's favourite bird? Have your say in the Guardian's 2017 poll

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/19 - 6:53pm

In a new poll, run in conjunction with BirdLife Australia, we want you to tell us your best-loved native bird

• Vote here for Australia’s bird of the year 2017

Birds. From the glorious king parrot to the much-maligned white ibis, Australians are passionate about them.

But is there one bird that reigns supreme in the hearts and minds of the public?

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Categories: Environment

Australian bird of the year 2017: vote for your favourite

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/19 - 6:53pm

From the promiscuous willy wagtail to the magnificent but slightly terrifying cassowary, Australia has an abundance of wonderful native birds. Vote here to determine the bird of the year 2017. A shortlist of 51 finalists has been selected – if your favourite is not included, you can add it. The poll is open until 9 December. You only get one vote – use it wisely.

Update: the vote tally has been turned off for the final week of voting. Polling closes at midnight tonight

• Photographs and descriptions courtesy Sean Dooley and BirdLife Australia.

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Categories: Environment

Replacing Liddell coal plant with clean energy $1.3bn cheaper – analysis

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/19 - 3:53pm

A clean energy package will have a zero pollution outcome compared with 40m tonnes under Coalition’s plan to extend the NSW plant, UTS modelling reveals

Renewables could reliably contribute 50% to power grid, Finkel report finds

Replacing the Liddell coal power station with clean energy technologies would slash pollution and be at least $1.3bn cheaper than the Turnbull government’s plan to extend the life of the New South Wales plant by five years, a new analysis has found.

A second report released on Monday also found Australia has the potential to lead the world in developing large and home-scale energy storage systems if public uncertainty can be overcome.

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Categories: Environment

UK trade minister lobbied Brazil on behalf of oil giants

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/19 - 9:38am

A telegram obtained by Greenpeace shows that Greg Hands met a Brazilian minister to discuss relaxation of tax and environmental regulation

Britain successfully lobbied Brazil on behalf of BP and Shell to address the oil giants’ concerns over Brazilian taxation, environmental regulation and rules on using local firms, government documents reveal.

The UK’s trade minister travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo in March for a visit with a “heavy focus” on hydrocarbons, to help British energy, mining and water companies win business in Brazil.

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Categories: Environment

'My eyes are burning': Delhi holds half marathon despite pollution warning

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/18 - 11:25pm

Around 35,000 brave runners registered for the race after more than a week of hazardous pollution levels

Tens of thousands of runners Sunday choked through smog for the Delhi half marathon, ignoring dire health warnings from doctors who fought for the controversial race in the heavily polluted capital to be postponed.

More than 30,000 people, some sporting pollution masks, braved a hazy morning to run through the Indian capital despite almost two weeks of hazardous smog that forced schools shut for several days.

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Categories: Environment

‘Eight, nine, ten …’ Why people are counting sheep in Cheddar Gorge

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/18 - 5:04pm
The audit of a feral flock at the Somerset beauty spot is significant

There is a shaggy creation myth surrounding the feral sheep of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. The story goes that during a poker game in the village in 1992 one of the gamblers, running out of money, put his seven sheep up as his stake. He lost, so the winner took the animals home and put them in his garden. The next morning the winner’s wife looked out of her window to see the new arrivals eating the garden ... and the sheep had to go.

Where they went is what draws 35 people to a layby in the chilly morning shadow of Cheddar Gorge. The winner of the two rams and five ewes deposited them on the craggy hillside there a quarter of a century ago, where they have been ever since – the seven becoming 10, becoming 50, then within five years 100 and now, well, who knows?

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Categories: Environment

To Save Their Water Supply, Colorado Farmers Taxed Themselves

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/11/18 - 3:43pm

The recent drought in the West forced people to take a hard look at how they use water. In Colorado, some farmers tried an experiment: make their water more expensive without hurting business.

(Image credit: Luke Runyon/KUNC)

Categories: Environment

Senate May Approve Drilling In Alaskan Wilderness With Tax Bill

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/11/18 - 5:01am

The Republican push to pass a major tax overhaul may also include another long-held GOP goal — opening up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

(Image credit: Getty Images/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Polluting UK coal plants export power to France as cold weather bites

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/18 - 1:39am

UK’s last eight coal stations are working to exploit falling temperatures and absence of offline reactors in France to export power across the Channel

Polluting coal power stations in Britain have been profiting from the woes of the low-carbon French nuclear industry this month, according to analysis of energy generation data for the Guardian.

Tricastin, one of France’s biggest nuclear power stations, was closed by the French regulator in September so that works could be undertaken to address a flood risk.

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Categories: Environment

Nasa map of Earth's seasons over 20 years highlights climate change

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/17 - 8:12pm

The visualization shows spring coming earlier and the Arctic ice caps receding over time

Nasa has captured 20 years of changing seasons in a striking new global map of planet Earth​.

The data visualization, released this week, shows Earth’s fluctuations as seen from space.

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Categories: Environment
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