Environment

Ipswich axes kerbside recycling that would cost residents a 'few extra dollars per week'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 8:37pm

Queensland council’s mayor, Andrew Antoniolli, says every other council will feel brunt of China’s recycling crackdown
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The mayor of Ipswich city council, Andrew Antoniolli, has warned every council will feel the brunt of China’s recycling clampdown and ratepayers will eventually foot the bill.

The local government body has come under fire for dumping recyclable waste in landfill because it would have cost $2m a year to comply with China’s tighter imported recycling regulations.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers forced to sell chocolates to save Queensland 'punk' turtle from extinction

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 6:12pm

Recovery plan for threatened Mary river turtle and other species drafted in 2013 but never approved
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Conservationists trying to save the Mary river turtle have had to resort to selling turtle chocolates and soliciting donations from the United Arab Emirates to try to help save the endangered reptile from extinction.

And a Mary river catchment committee that developed a recovery plan for the turtle and four other Mary River species has been waiting years for the federal government to approve the finished plan, which is in draft form and awaiting official sign-off.

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Categories: Environment

Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day – equal to a pound per person

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 11:05am

Research shows people with healthy diets rich in fruit and vegetables are the most wasteful and calls for better education for consumers

Americans waste about a pound of food per person each day, with people who have healthier diets rich in fruit and vegetables the most wasteful, research has found.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: 30% of coral died in 'catastrophic' 2016 heatwave

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 11:00am

Report chronicles ‘mass mortality’, the extent and severity of which has shocked scientists
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Scientists have chronicled the “mass mortality” of corals on the Great Barrier Reef, in a new report that says 30% of the reef’s corals died in a catastrophic nine-month marine heatwave.

The study, published in Nature and led by Prof Terry Hughes, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, examined the link between the level of heat exposure, subsequent coral bleaching and ultimately coral death.

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Categories: Environment

Swarms Of Tiny Sea Creatures Are Powerful Enough To Mix Oceans, Study Finds

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 10:43am

Each night, the organisms gather in a "vertical stampede" to feed at the ocean's surface. Research suggests the columns of swimming animals can create large downward jets that help churn the waters.

(Image credit: Isabel Houghton / J.R. Strickler /courtesy of Stanford / University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Categories: Environment

A millennial’s guide to the great outdoors

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 7:35am

They may be duff at identifying birds and flowers, but some young people are at least showing an interest. So here are our tips for experiencing the best of British nature

If, like me, you are a fiftysomething trying to cope with the modern world, you will be pleased to hear that millennials are struggling, too. As well as being unable to do mental arithmetic, ironing and spelling, they are also – according to a recent Bupa survey – unable to identify birds and wild flowers.

Despite this, there has been a surge in interest among some millennials, with the organisation A Focus on Nature encouraging a new generation of young people to connect with the natural world.

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Categories: Environment

Clean energy projects stifled by Tory reforms, says Labour

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 7:14am

‘Outrageous financial demands will have serious repercussions across the renewables sector’

Labour has accused the government of holding back clean energy projects in the UK by allowing energy networks to impose “outrageous” charges on renewables developers.

This week, two of the six companies that run the country’s local electricity grids began making green energy firms pay for an estimate of how much it will cost to connect their solar and windfarms.

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Categories: Environment

Balkan dam projects could result in loss of one in 10 European fish species

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 6:07am

Exclusive: Plans for a network of hydropower plants in three countries would cause ‘chain reaction’ for endangered species, report warns

Nearly one in 10 of Europe’s fish species will be pushed to the brink of extinction by a constellation of hydropower plants planned in the western Balkans, new research has found.

Eleven endemic species would be wiped out, seven more would be critically endangered, four types of sturgeon would be devastated and the number of endangered species would double to 24, according to the University of Graz report.

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Categories: Environment

Iceland sets target of 191 kills as country resumes whaling

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 4:05am

Authorities grant whalers a quota to hunt the endangered fin whale this summer after a two-year pause

Icelandic fishermen will resume their hunt for the endangered fin whale this year after a two-year pause and have set a target of 191 kills for the season.

An apparent loosening of Japanese regulations on Icelandic exports had made the resumption of the hunting commercially viable again, the country’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur, announced.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists unveil 10,000 sq ft model of Mississippi delta to help save coastline

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 4:00am

At twice the size of a regulation basketball court, the enormous replica will be used to work out an ambitious water-diversion plan

Scientists working to stop rising seawater damaging the fragile ecosystems of the Louisiana coastline have unveiled a massive new weapon: an enormous replica of the lower Mississippi delta.

At some 10,800 sq ft, the model is more than twice the size of a regulation basketball court. Housed at Louisiana State University’s center for river studies, the “Lower Mississippi River Physical Model” will help experts work out how best to enact a state plan to fight coastal erosion.

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Categories: Environment

Glacier loss is accelerating because of global warming | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 3:00am

As climate scientists predicted, glaciers are vanishing due to rapidly warming temperatures.

With global warming, we can make predictions and then take measurements to test those predictions. One prediction (a pretty obvious one) is that a warmer world will have less snow and ice. In particular, areas that have year-round ice and snow will start to melt.

Alpine glaciers are large bodies of ice that can be formed high in mountains, typically in bowls called cirques. The ice slowly flows downwards, pulled by gravity, and is renewed in their upper regions. A sort of balance can occur where the loss of ice by melting or flowing at the bottom is equal to the gain of snow and ice by precipitation.

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Categories: Environment

Destroying the world's natural heritage: 'Komodo is reaching a tipping point'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 9:00pm

The Indonesian national park boasts some of the world’s best dive sites and spectacular marine life, but illegal fishing and unsustainable tourism is threatening its Unesco status

It was the unusual thrashing on the water that caught their attention. As those onboard the dive boat in Indonesia’s Komodo national park drew closer, it became clear it was a green turtle entangled in rubbish and thick fishing net.

The divers managed to lift it out of the water, cut the blue bind from its shell and then set the turtle free, but dive operator Ed Statham says it is just one of the increasing and alarming signs the Unesco heritage site is fast being destroyed.

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Categories: Environment

Deep-sea mining possibly as damaging as land mining, lawyers say

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 8:02pm

Environmental and legal groups warn of potential huge effects on Indigenous people and the environment

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The “new global gold rush” over deep-sea mining holds the same potential pitfalls as previous resource scrambles, with environmental and social impacts ignored and the rights of Indigenous people marginalised, a paper in the Harvard Law Review has warned.

A framework for deep-sea mining – where polymetallic nodules or hydrothermal vents are mined by machine – was first articulated in the 1960s, on an idea that the seabed floor beyond national jurisdiction was a “common heritage of mankind”.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists explain how plastic-eating enzyme can help fight pollution – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 7:27pm

Scientists in Britain and the US say they have engineered an enzyme that eats plastic, a breakthrough that could help in the fight against pollution. The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. The team from the University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory hope to one day produce the enzyme on an industrial scale

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Categories: Environment

As Climate Costs Grow, Some See A Moneymaking Opportunity

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 1:25pm

Extreme weather cost Americans over $300 billion last year. Scientists say climate change will bring more of that. Entrepreneurs and businesses see a new market in gauging risk.

(Image credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The great Australian garbage map: 75% of beach rubbish made of plastic

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 11:00am

Data compiled from rubbish collected by volunteers aims to encourage industry to control plastic pollution at the source

Australians are battling against a tide of millions of pieces of discarded plastic debris at beach clean-up events all across the continent, according to two years of data analysed by Guardian Australia.

Some 2,651,613 pieces of debris were collected from beaches and recorded in a database during 2016 and 2017, with about three-quarters of items made from plastics.

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Categories: Environment

Amazon coral reef would be ruined by planned oil drilling, scientists say

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 10:29am

The 56,000 sq km reef is thought to contain dozens of undiscovered species, in an area where a French company intents to drill for oil

Scientists aboard a Greenpeace ship have discovered a massive and unique coral reef near the mouth of the Amazon, in an area where the French company Total intends to drill for oil.

The 1,000km long and 56,000 sq km Amazon coral reef is a biome thought to contain dozens of undiscovered species that environmentalists say would be irreparably damaged if drilling for oil began – a vision at odds with the wish of oil companies hoping to explore the area’s vast estimated reserves.

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Categories: Environment

​C​ould eating rare-breed animals save them from extinction?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 9:31am

Tucking in to less popular meats could help preserve those breeds, according to a farming charity. Here are six varieties it thinks might benefit

When you think about Britain’s endangered animals, hedgehogs, small tortoiseshell butterflies and puffins may spring to mind. But rare breeds of farm animals and horses face extinction, too.

The Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) published a list of endangered breeds this week. At a critical point are vaynol cattle, with only 12 breeding females remaining. The suffolk horse is similarly threatened, with 80 breeding females left. Many breeds of cow, sheep and pig make the list. The solution? According to the RBST, we should eat them.

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Categories: Environment

I kept all my plastic for a year – the 4,490 items forced me to rethink

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 8:39am

Daniel Webb accrued a mountain of plastic – including many packets of Hula Hoops – and made it into a mural, now on display at Dreamland in Margate. We are overproducing and overconsuming, he says, and recycling is not the answer

We all know, in theory, that we ought to use less plastic. We’ve all been distressed by the sight of Blue Planet II’s hawksbill turtle entangled in a plastic sack, and felt chastened as we’ve totted up our weekly tally of disposable coffee cups. But still, UK annual plastic waste is now close to 5m tonnes, including enough single-use plastic to fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls; the government’s planned elimination of “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042 seems a quite dazzling task. It was reported this week that scientists at the University of Portsmouth have accidentally developed a plastic-eating mutant enzyme, and while we wait to see if that will save us all, for one individual the realisation of just how much plastic we use has become an intensely personal matter.

One early evening in mid-2016, Daniel Webb, 36, took a run along the coast near his home in Margate. “It was one of those evenings where the current had brought in lots of debris,” he recalls, because as Webb looked down at the beach from his route along the promenade he noticed a mass of seaweed, tangled with many pieces of plastic. “Old toys, probably 20 years old, bottles that must have been from overseas because they had all kinds of different languages on them, bread tags, which I don’t think had been used for years …” he says. “It was very nostalgic, almost archaeological. And it made me think, as a mid-30s guy, is any of my plastic out there? Had I once dropped a toy in a stream near Wolverhampton, where I’m from, and now it was out in the sea?”

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Categories: Environment

Warming climate to nearly double demand for cooling appliances

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/17 - 7:04am

Researchers predict energy use for air conditioners and refrigeration to jump 90% on 2017 levels

A burgeoning middle class and a warming world will result in energy demand for cooling overtaking that for heating by the middle of the century, researchers have predicted.

Energy use for air conditioning, refrigeration and other cooling appliances will jump 90% on 2017 levels, experts estimated, posing a challenge for energy grids and efforts to curb climate change.

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Categories: Environment
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