Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/06/30 - 6:00am

A drumming cockatoo, basking sharks and flamingos are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Fukushima nuclear disaster: former Tepco executives go on trial

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/06/30 - 3:35am

Three men plead not guilty to professional negligence in the only criminal action targeting officials since the triple meltdown

Three former executives with the operator of the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have pleaded not guilty to charges of professional negligence, in the only criminal action targeting officials since the triple meltdown more than six years ago.

In the first hearing of the trial at Tokyo district court on Friday, Tsunehisa Katsumata, who was chairman of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) at the time of the disaster, and two other former executives argued they could not have foreseen a tsunami of the size that knocked out the plant’s backup cooling system, triggering a meltdown in three reactors.

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The house that Tateh built ... out of sand-filled plastic bottles

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 11:00pm

In the Sahrawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert, Tateh Lehbib Braica – aka ‘the crazy bottle guy’ – has built circular houses from waste plastic that protect from wind and sun

A group of women drink tea under the shade of a tent and cast an eye over the construction of an odd, circular house. The half-built dwelling is the brainchild of Tateh Lehbib Braica, 27, an engineer who wanders among the workers.

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Fine motorists idling outside schools to cut air pollution, say health watchdogs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 10:30pm

New official guidance also backs planting trees, supporting cycling and encouraging take-up of electric vehicles to tackle crisis that causes 40,000 early deaths a year

Parents who leave their car engines running at the school gate should be fined in order to help tackle the air pollution crisis, according to England’s official health watchdogs.

New guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) sets out a wide range of measures to cut air pollution, which is at illegal levels in almost 90% of urban areas.

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Categories: Environment

No more business as usual: the corporates stepping up to save the planet

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 5:42pm

As Trump reneges on climate change commitments, progressive businesses are implementing the measures themselves

When the US president, Donald Trump, announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, one might have anticipated a hearty cheer from industry around the world relieved that business as usual could continue.

Instead the opposite has happened. Across the United States, the business community is taking it upon itself to implement the measures needed to address climate change. And in Australia an increasing number of major companies are publicly stating their commitment to addressing climate change, even as the federal government drags its heels on implementing policies to address the crisis. Companies around the world – from small family-run enterprises to Fortune 500 firms – are not only calling for action on climate change but also putting their money where their mouth is.

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Categories: Environment

Pesticides Are Harming Bees — But Not Everywhere, Major New Study Shows

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 3:13pm

A huge new study conducted in 33 sites across Europe finds that seeds coated with neonicotinoid pesticides harm bees living nearby. The damage, though, depends on local conditions.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

Categories: Environment

Silver savers: how car colour cuts pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 1:30pm

White and silver cars are cooler than dark ones and need less air conditioning, so fuel is saved and air pollution reduced

Driving a silver or white car is good for the climate. A study a few years ago showed that the interiors of silver and white cars were cooler than black cars. That’s because light colours reflect about 60% of sunlight and make the car’s interior cooler. That in turn means it’s less likely the car’s air conditioner will be turned on, saving fuel and pollution.

Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory experimented by leaving two Honda Civic cars, one silver and one black, in the sun, facing the same direction, for an hour, in Sacramento, California.

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Categories: Environment

Maryland Farmer Fights To Keep Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Alive

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 1:29pm

The Chesapeake Bay cleanup depends heavily on farmers taking steps to keep runoff from entering the bay. But the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to help them do it has been controversial. NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to one Maryland farmer who changed his mind about the EPA efforts to clean up the bay.

Categories: Environment

Researchers Analyze Economic Impact Of Climate Change In The U.S.

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 1:29pm

A team of scientists and economists claims they've come up with the most thorough analysis of the cost of climate change in the U.S. Most of the country will suffer economic loss in addition to higher mortality from heat waves and loss of agriculture productivity by 2100. But like all predictions far into the future, this one has a wide range of outcomes and could be overshadowed by new technology still to be invented.

Categories: Environment

Alive Since The 1600s, An Oak Tree Is Taken Down In Washington, D.C.

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 12:03pm

When the tree started growing around 1692, the Salem witch trials were being held in the American Colonies and Spanish colonists were retaking control of Santa Fe.

(Image credit: Dana Ju/via WAMU)

Categories: Environment

Mapping The Potential Economic Effects Of Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 11:43am

Scientists and economists predict what parts of the U.S. may get hit hardest by climate change. A new study goes county by county to gauge the potential cost of global warming.

(Image credit: Hsiang, Kopp, Jina, Rising, et al./Science)

Categories: Environment

Climate change set to worsen inequality in US if greenhouse gases aren't reduced

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 11:00am

New research shows that by 2100 the economic loss from warming temperatures will be on par with the Great Recession, with states in the south most affected

Climate change is likely to worsen existing inequalities in the US, with the poorest areas of the country poised to lose as much as 20% of their income by the end of the century if greenhouse gases are not significantly reduced.

Related: A third of the world now faces deadly heatwaves as result of climate change

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Categories: Environment

Farmers join fight against Adani coalmine over environmental concerns

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 11:00am

More than 2,000 farmers and agriculture leaders express concern proposed Carmichael coalmine could affect groundwater, biodiversity and climate change

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A group of Australian farmers have joined the large coalition of groups fighting against Adani’s giant Carmichael coalmine, after they became concerned about the affects the mine would have on groundwater, biodiversity, rural communities and climate change.

Farmers for Climate Action – a group of more than 2,000 farmers and agriculture leaders concerned about climate change – became the newest group to join the Stop Adani alliance last week, at the same time as one of its members attracted more than 30,000 signatures to a petition calling on the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to rescind her commitment to give Adani unlimited free access to groundwater used by farmers in the region.

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Tasmania trials artificial shy albatross nests to help seabird fight extinction

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 11:00am

Conservationists say threatened seabird is vulnerable to the environmental effects of rising air temperatures and warming oceans caused by climate change

Tasmanian scientists will trial a new tactic this spring to help the shy albatross fight extinction: constructing artificial nests.

Conservationists hope the nests will boost the population of the threatened seabird, which they believe is vulnerable to the environmental effects of climate change.

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Pesticides damage survival of bee colonies, landmark study shows

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 11:00am

The world’s largest ever field trial demonstrates widely used insecticides harm both honeybees and wild bees, increasing calls for a ban

Widely used insecticides damage the survival of honeybee colonies, the world’s largest ever field trial has shown for the first time, as well as harming wild bees.

The farm-based research, along with a second new study, also suggests widespread contamination of entire landscapes and a toxic “cocktail effect” from multiple pesticides.

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Categories: Environment

Winter's not coming: Game of Thrones' Jon Snow worried over lack of it

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 10:10am

Kit Harington describes a ‘very sad irony’ as the HBO show films in locations where ice is shrinking, even as his character fears the approaching winter

His character Jon Snow may fret about the arrival of winter, but Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington has said he was instead confronted by “terrifying” evidence of global warming while filming the HBO show.

Harington said it was a “very sad irony” to film in locations with diminishing ice for scenes where the arrival of winter, and the frosty undead from beyond the Wall, is feared by his character.

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Categories: Environment

Stop exporting plastic waste to China to boost recycling at home, say experts

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 10:00am

Governments must end incentives that see plastic waste shipped abroad, where it is often buried or burned, rather than being turned back into bottles at home, say industry leaders

Governments must stop exporting so much plastic waste to countries such as China and keep more in-country to be recycled into bottles to tackle the waste crisis, industry insiders say.

A day after the Guardian revealed that a million plastic bottles are bought every minute across the world, experts aiming to provide a closed loop in which each bottle is used to make a new one, say their industry faces multiple hurdles.

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Meet the new US entrepreneurs farming seaweed for food and fuel

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 9:53am

As the world grows and the climate changes, there’s been fresh interest in seaweed – and a new breed of farmers are exploring how best to harness the humble plant’s benefits

Michael Graham reaches into a bright blue tub of bubbling water and pulls out a handful of a dark brown curly substance. It’s slippery to the touch, smells like the sea, and tastes a bit like salty kale.

It’s live seaweed, and Graham – a kelp biologist and the creator of Monterey Bay Seaweeds – has been farming the stuff on a small scale in these big tanks in Moss Landing on the central coast of California for close to two years. Using more than a dozen of these big tubs and a couple of larger tanks, he produces between 50 and 100lbs of seaweed per week.

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A Conversation With Governor John Hickenlooper

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 8:30am

A former geologist and beer brewer, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is now a leading voice on reviving local economies. We'll talk to him about the pros and cons of Colorado's strong economic growth and why he's teaming up with Republic Governor John Kasich of Ohio to fight against the GOP's health care plan.

(Image credit: (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images))

Categories: Environment

Grow Heathrow runway protest community given 14 days to leave site

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/29 - 8:12am

Court orders 20 residents to leave the community garden set up on derelict site to protest against airport expansion

A community project set up to protest against a third runway at Heathrow has been given 14 days to leave its home by the high court.

Grow Heathrow took over a derelict garden centre in Sipson in 2010 and turned it into a community garden as part of action in protest against the plans for the runway. About 20 people live at the site and from their base they have become an integral part of the community activity against the building of a third runway at the airport.

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