Productivity Commission says Coalition should adopt price on carbon

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 11:00pm

Commission says carbon price would benefit consumers and help deliver best possible market reforms

The Productivity Commission has called on the Turnbull government to adopt a “proper vehicle” for reducing carbon emissions that puts a single price on carbon, saying it would benefit consumers.

It says a price on carbon must eventually form part of Australia’s energy markets and would help to deliver the greatest possible market regulation reform benefits over the next five years.

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Categories: Environment

Tourism award winner in Queensland rejects Adani-sponsored prize

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 5:03pm

Second winner threatens to quit Whitsundays Tourism amid criticism of sponsor ‘who is singlehandedly destroying everything that we stand for’

The winner of a Queensland tourism award has rejected its prize because it was sponsored by the mining giant Adani.

Another winner in the 2017 Whitsundays Tourism awards, held last month at Hamilton Island with Adani as a silver sponsor, threatened to quit the organisation unless it cut ties with the miner.

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Categories: Environment

Kea voted bird of the year in New Zealand – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 4:12pm

New Zealanders were urged to 'vote kea' in a video campaign for the world's only alpine parrot, resulting in thousands more votes cast for the species than ​actual birds in existence. The nation's annual bird of the year competition hit new heights this year with more than 50,000 votes cast from around New Zealand and the world. Despite their protected status, keas have divided Kiwis between those who enjoy the cheeky parrot’s animated nature and those who curse its destructive habits 

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Categories: Environment

Nicaragua to join Paris climate accord, leaving US and Syria isolated

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 4:08pm

Vice-president Rosario Murillo calls global pact ‘the only instrument we have’ to address climate change as number of outsiders shrinks to two

Nicaragua is set to join the Paris climate agreement, according to an official statement and comments from the vice-president, Rosario Murillo, on Monday, in a move that leaves the United States and Syria as the only countries outside the global pact.

Nicaragua has already presented the relevant documents at the United Nations, Murillo, who is also first lady, said on local radio on Monday.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand bird of the year: playful alpine parrot kea soars to victory

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 3:56pm

The world’s only mountain parrot whose cheeky antics divide Kiwis, beats kererū and kākāpō to coveted crown

• New Zealand bird of the year leaderboard: check the pecking order

The kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, has been crowned New Zealand bird of the year, with thousands more votes cast for the species than there are surviving individuals.

New Zealand’s annual bird of the year competition hit new heights this year with more than 50,000 votes cast from around the country and the world. The competition is in its 13th year, and pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another. No bird has won twice.

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Categories: Environment

Men photographed in crocodile trap dubbed 'idiots of the century'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 2:59pm

Group shown swimming into a baited trap at the scene of a recent fatal attack in Queensland have been criticised

A group of men photographed swimming into a baited croc trap near the scene of a fatal attack in Queensland appear to be vying for the “idiots of the century award”, a local mayor has said.

Photos of the men swimming around and even climbing into the trap at the Port Douglas Marina have surfaced online, leaving the mayor of Douglas Shire, Julia Leu, stunned.

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Categories: Environment

Sixty per cent of postal survey voters have said yes to marriage equality – Guardian Essential poll

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 10:00am

Three-quarters of those surveyed report that they have voted in the ballot, with a further 8% saying they definitely will

More than half of people who have returned their ballot in the same-sex marriage postal survey say they have voted in favour of marriage equality, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

The new survey of 1,859 voters records 60% saying they have voted yes, which is down 4% from the last time the question was asked three weeks ago, and 34% saying they have voted no, which is up 4% in the same timeframe.

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Categories: Environment

Tim Flach's endangered species – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 9:58am

Photographer Tim Flach’s latest book Endangered, with text by zoologist Jonathan Baillie, offers a powerful visual record of threatened animals and ecosystems facing the harshest of challenges

Tim Flach sees his Hasselblad H4D-60 camera as a means to its end: capturing the character and emotions of an animal. Until now his interest has been in the way humans shape animals, but in his new book, Endangered, he poses the question of what these animals, and their potential disappearance, mean to us.

Twenty months of shooting and six months of assembling has resulted in a collection of more than 180 pictures. “In some cases we put up a black background in a zoo or a natural reserve, in others it meant being underwater with hippos or great white sharks.”

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Categories: Environment

EPA kept scientists from speaking about climate change at Rhode Island event

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 9:10am

Scientists were expected to report that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish in New England’s largest estuary

The Environmental Protection Agency kept three scientists from speaking at a Rhode Island event about a report that deals in part with climate change.

The scientists were expected to discuss in Providence on Monday a report on the health of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary. The EPA did not explain exactly why the scientists were told not to.

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Categories: Environment

Who will protect the workers cleaning up Houston? | Jose Garza

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 8:05am

Texas construction workers already endure dire conditions. We must fight to ensure that those rebuilding post-Harvey are properly protected and paid

On a damp, early Monday morning last month, five community organizers crammed into a car heading to downtown Houston.

They didn’t have a particular destination, other than street corners and parking lots. They were looking for day laborers and construction workers, a workforce often seen in Houston but rarely felt. They were driving to places where these workers gathered each morning in search of work to rebuild the city after Hurricane Harvey.

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Categories: Environment

Ocean acidification is deadly threat to marine life, finds eight-year study

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 8:02am

Plastic pollution, overfishing, global warming and increased acidification from burning fossil fuels means oceans are increasingly hostile to marine life

If the outlook for marine life was already looking bleak – torrents of plastic that can suffocate and starve fish, overfishing, diverse forms of human pollution that create dead zones, the effects of global warming which is bleaching coral reefs and threatening coldwater species – another threat is quietly adding to the toxic soup.

Ocean acidification is progressing rapidly around the world, new research has found, and its combination with the other threats to marine life is proving deadly. Many organisms that could withstand a certain amount of acidification are at risk of losing this adaptive ability owing to pollution from plastics, and the extra stress from global warming.

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Categories: Environment

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a giant trevally, Blue Planet’s next box-office monster

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 6:32am

David Attenborough’s ocean wildlife series returns to our screen next week – and a gravity-defying, bird-munching superfish could be its biggest star

Name: Giant trevally.

Appearance: Like a bluefin trevally, but larger and without blue fins.

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Categories: Environment

Revealed: government spent £370,000 losing air pollution legal battles

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 4:39am

Exclusive: Freedom of information request reveals ‘disgraceful’ amount of taxpayers’ money used to battle ClientEarth over illegally poor air pollution plans

The government spent £370,000 of taxpayers’ money unsuccessfully fighting court claims that its plans to tackle air pollution were illegally poor, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The money was spent battling two actions brought by environmental lawyers ClientEarth and included more than £90,000 in costs paid to the group after it won on both occasions. Critics said the government’s expenditure was “disgraceful” and should have been spent on cutting pollution.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution is killing us. As a GP I welcome this new charge on drivers | Chris Griffiths

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 4:19am
From today the most polluting vehicles on London roads will face a ‘toxicity’ fee. It’s a vital first step towards cleaning up the UK’s dangerously dirty air

A report released last week by international experts shows pollution to have caused more deaths in the UK than in many other countries in western Europe. Air pollution is largely invisible, so it is hard to grasp how much damage it is doing to our health. But studies like the Lancet commission on pollution make it clear that poor air quality increases not only the likelihood of developing a range of respiratory illnesses, but also the frequency and severity of bouts of those illnesses.

Like many GPs, I see this “double hit” in the children and adolescents who come to surgery every day. Preschool children who live near main roads have an increased risk of developing wheeze triggered by viral colds – a condition we call “preschool wheeze”. Exposure to traffic pollution also increases the chance of a child developing asthma. For preschool wheezers and children with asthma, high pollution days can then trigger episodes of severe wheezing, especially when pollution has not been dispersed by the wind.

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Categories: Environment

'Steady decline' in honey crop raises concern for honeybees' future

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 3:55am

British Beekeepers Association survey reveals worrying drop in honey yield, with 62% of beekeepers saying neonicotinoids are to blame

Beekeepers have raised concerns over the future of honeybees as an annual survey showed a “steady decline” in the honey crop.

The survey by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) revealed beekeepers in England produced an average of 11.8kg (26 lb) of honey per hive this year, down 1kg on last year.

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Categories: Environment

London's £10 T-charge comes into effect in fight against toxic car fumes

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 3:04am

Drivers of older, more polluting petrol and diesel cars in centre of capital now liable for fee on top of congestion charge

Drivers of the most polluting vehicles must from now on pay a daily charge of up to £21.50 to drive in to central London.

From Monday, people driving older, more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles will be liable for the £10 T-charge, on top of the congestion charge of £11.50, which has been in place since 2003.

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Categories: Environment

Americans want a tax on carbon pollution, but how to get one? | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 3:00am

A new study finds that Americans are willing to pay an extra $15 per month on energy bills to tackle climate change.

According to a new study published by Yale scientists in Environmental Research Letters, Americans are willing to pay a carbon tax that would increase their household energy bills by $15 per month, or about 15%, on average. This result is consistent with a survey from last year that also found Americans are willing to pay an average of $15 to $20 per month to combat climate change. Another recent Yale survey found that overall, 78% of registered American voters support taxing and/or regulating carbon pollution, including 67% of Republicans and 60% of conservative Republicans.

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Categories: Environment

Digging In The Mud To See What Toxic Substances Were Spread By Hurricane Harvey

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 1:53am

Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain on parts of Houston. Scientists are now trying to identify contaminants spread by the storm, including those in mud at the bottom of the Houston Ship Channel.

(Image credit: Rebecca Hersher/NPR)

Categories: Environment

China Shuts Down Tens Of Thousands Of Factories In Unprecedented Pollution Crackdown

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/10/23 - 1:52am

After decades of doing little about the pollution that has plagued much of the country, China's government is temporarily shutting down entire industrial regions to inspect for violations.

(Image credit: Andy Wong/AP)

Categories: Environment

Blue Planet 2: Attenborough defends shots filmed in studio

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 11:19pm

Most filming done in the wild – including armoured octopuses and hypnotic cuttlefish – but some crucial behaviour had to be captured in lab conditions

Footage of captive wildlife inserted into the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series remains “totally true to nature”, according to the makers of the flagship show that reveals new insights into life in the oceans.

An octopus that armours itself with shells and rocks, fish that use sign language and tools and dazzling cuttlefish that appear to hypnotise their prey are among the new spectacles uncovered by the series, which starts later this week.

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