Environment

UK energy firms call on chancellor to boost carbon tax

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 10:01pm

SSE and Drax tell Philip Hammond they need longer-term clarity on price floor if they are to replace coal power plants

Two of Britain’s biggest energy companies have called on Philip Hammond to strengthen a carbon tax that has driven a dramatic collapse in coal power generation, arguing it is essential for the shift to cleaner energy.

SSE, the UK’s second largest energy supplier, and Drax, which runs the country’s biggest power station in North Yorkshire, urged the chancellor to use his autumn budget to shed light on the tax’s fate into the 2020s.

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Categories: Environment

World Pollutionwatch: evidence grows of lifelong harm from polluted air

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 1:30pm

Historical data from studies on museum bird specimens, combined with current research, gives us a picture of the long-term harm from air pollution

There is growing evidence about the lifelong harm from air pollution. The air that we breathe as children can stunt our lung growth, potentially causing problems later in adult life. Air pollution breathed decades ago has been shown to shorten lives in the UK today. However, investigating these lifelong impacts is hampered by a lack of historic measurements.

Can the natural environment help us? Starting with lichens in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris in 1886, biomonitoring has helped to track air pollution. In a new twist, researchers in the US have constructed a 135-year history of pollution in America’s rust belt by studying soot in the feathers of museum bird specimens. Tests on 1,347 birds showed that air pollution between 1880 and 1920 was worse than we thought. The birds also revealed useful data for climate modellers. It appears that soot pollution started to decrease around 1910, earlier than thought; with dips in the great depression and a rise for the second world war.

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Categories: Environment

Call for vehicle testing overhaul as Australia's emissions fight moves to roads

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 10:00am

AAA says motorists are being misled by lab tests of emissions and fuel efficiency but green groups accuse it of delaying tactic

Australia’s motoring lobby is launching a campaign for “real-world” vehicle emissions testing, arguing the current system needs an overhaul because it is misleading consumers and regulators.

The Australian Automobile Association will on Monday release results from emissions and fuel consumption tests on 30 passenger and light commercial vehicles showing discrepancies between real world and official fuel consumption established in laboratory testing.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking protesters vow to 'put their lives on line' after scaling rig

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 7:39am

Invasion of site in North Yorkshire comes as campaigners say they have seen letter stating exploration is due to start

Protesters in a tiny North Yorkshire village have vowed to put their lives on the line to prevent the first fracking operation in six years from taking place this week.

Two campaigners had to be rescued from an 18-metre (60ft) rig on Sunday after scaling the structure and waving flares – leading police to warn them of “the serious risk created by open flames and sparks on a live gas site”.

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Categories: Environment

Turnbull, Frydenberg and Abbott's electorates back 50% renewables target

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 11:09pm

ReachTel poll finds majority in three Liberal-held seats support carbon pricing, and more ambitious renewable policy

Voters in the electorates held by Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and Tony Abbott would be more likely to support the government’s new energy policy if it ensured Australia had at least 50% renewable energy by 2030, according to a new opinion poll.

The ReachTel poll, commissioned by progressive thinktank the Australia Institute, shows a majority of voters in those Liberal-held seats support carbon pricing, and would support more policy ambition in driving renewable energy into the power grid.

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Categories: Environment
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