Why is Latin America so obsessed with mega dams?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/23 - 3:14am

Protests against Latin America’s pursuit of hydropower are increasing as the environmental costs mount up. Is the end of the region’s mega dams in sight?

The rains had been monumental throughout April 2014. By early May, the operators of the 219 MW Cachoeira Caldeirão dam being built in Brazil’s remote Amapá state knew that levels on the Araguari river were dangerously high. If some water was not released fast, the whole thing might collapse. There would be no danger to people because any run-off would be absorbed by two other dams downstream, the hydropower company thought.

But communications failed and no one warned the small town of Ferreira Gomes, nestled on the banks of the Araguari nearly 50km away.

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Categories: Environment

UK bathing water ranks next from last in EU beach table

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/23 - 3:00am

20 sites fail safe bathing criteria stoking fears UK will once more be ‘dirty man of Europe’ after Brexit

The UK is second bottom in a league table ranking EU countries on the quality of their bathing water, stoking fears that the “dirty man of Europe” could be on his way home after Brexit.

96.4% of British beaches were found safe to swim in last year, but 20 sites failed the assessment in the annual survey by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) released on Tuesday. Only Ireland had a higher percentage of poor quality bathing waters at 4%.

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Categories: Environment

The Great British Bee Count – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/23 - 2:58am

Up to 15,000 people took part in the 2016 Great British Bee Count, recording 383,759 bees, some of which are pictured here. This year’s annual count has begun and will run until 30 June 2017

  • Download the free app to monitor and learn about our endangered bee population and get tips for bee-friendly planting
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Categories: Environment

Australian Conservation Foundation vows to pursue all avenues to stop Adani loan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/23 - 1:00am

Environmental group warns it will take legal action against Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility directors if funding granted for rail line

The Australian Conservation Foundation has warned it will pursue all avenues, including possible legal action, to stop a concessional loan being granted to a rail line associated with the controversial Adani coalmine.

The ACF’s president, prominent businessman Geoff Cousins, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday the environmental group would “pursue [directors of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif)] through whatever means possible” in the event the Naif granted the rail project a loan.

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Categories: Environment

Snowy Hydro expansion could cost $1bn more than Turnbull said, senators told

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/23 - 12:33am

Company managers tell Senate estimates the $2bn project announced by the PM has not counted a large cost factor

The expansion of the Snowy Hydro Scheme, touted by the prime minister as costing $2bn, will likely blow out to more than $3bn, Senate estimates was told on Tuesday.

The idea of expanding the Snowy Hydro Scheme, adding 2,000MW of capacity and storage, was announced by Malcolm Turnbull in March.

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Categories: Environment

Tourmalet to tarte aux pommes: savouring the French Pyrenees by bike

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/23 - 12:00am

If Tour De France climbs without time pressure or panniers sounds appealing, investigate this bespoke cycling holiday in the French Pyrenees

What kind of cyclist are you? A superfit obsessive with high-end equipment, up for the toughest races? Or a potterer along county lanes, limiting yourself to 20 miles a day, treating cycling as a gentle route to the next pub? If you’re somewhere in between – but fitness can vary considerably, because you are time-poor – then this trip could be for you.

Perhaps you also want to taste Europe’s finest cycling, tackle the Tourmalet, or other classic cols, but don’t want to carry panniers, or worry about bike repairs, agonise over routes or scour websites for the best-value restaurants and hotels. You want to enjoy cycling as a pure, challenging experience, but go at your own pace, stop for lunch, take photographs, and feel that you can have that extra glass of wine at the end of the day.

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Categories: Environment

Trump treading water over climate change deal, says deputy UN chief

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 10:30pm

Amina Mohammed says president seems to be avoiding making decision on whether US will renege on historic agreement

The UN’s deputy secretary general has accused President Donald Trump of “treading water” over a decision on the future of the Paris climate change agreement, on which the fate of millions of people depend.

Amina Mohammed told the Guardian she was hopeful the US would not renege on the deal signed last year, but that Trump appeared to be avoiding a public declaration after taking such a hard line during his campaign for the White House.

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Categories: Environment

Hunting for moths in the night garden

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 9:30pm

Allendale, Northumberland I linger, hoping to see a flicker of wings before leaving the trap to work its magic

The night garden is brilliantly lit by the full moon of the moth trap’s bulb. Shadows are thrown deep into the drystone walls and the hawthorn branches show bright against the dark fields. Shading my eyes against the UV light, I linger, hoping to see a flicker of wings before shutting the door and leaving the trap to work its magic.

Once a week I record which species are drawn to the light, my first year of contributing data to the Garden Moth Scheme. This became a national project in 2007 and the fluctuations it shows are a valuable indicator of environmental change. The colour-coded Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Waring, Townsend and Lewington, covers 896 species, illustrated in their natural resting positions. These are the macro moths – there are a further 1,550 or so micro moths, which sometimes makes identification a challenge.

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Categories: Environment

Labor senator breaks ranks and says Adani coalmine would be a 'huge mistake'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 9:28pm

Lisa Singh departs from official Labor position that the mine can proceed on its own merits with no federal funding

The federal Labor senator Lisa Singh has said the Adani coalmine would be “a huge mistake for this country” in a departure from the official Labor position. The opposition maintains the controversial project can proceed on its merits, but without any government support.

Singh, a left-leaning Tasmanian senator, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday the coal project had absolutely no merit.

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Categories: Environment

Family, air quality and a strong business case: the coal executives defecting to green energy

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 4:30pm

They were the masters of the fossil fuels industry. Now three former top executives are building the clean energy economy

Australian clean energy activists might have recognised some strangely familiar faces joining their ranks of late – those of their greatest adversaries in the coal industry.

Coal sector executives have been quietly switching sides to chase the lucrative profits up for grabs in green energy and – welcome or not – the experience they bring could prove vital to the increasingly desperate race to avert cataclysmic climate change. From a fifth-generation coalminer applying his hereditary knowledge to harvesting the building blocks of a clean energy economy to a fierce opponent of a price on carbon launching an energy-efficiency start-up, here are a few examples:

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Categories: Environment

Dakota Access pipeline and a feeder line leaked more than 100 gallons in March

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 3:28pm

There were two leaks – one because of a leaky part, the other after an above-ground valve failed – as crews prepared disputed $3.8bn pipeline for operation

The Dakota Access pipeline and a feeder line leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in North Dakota in separate incidents in March as crews prepared the disputed $3.8bn pipeline for operation.

Related: Dakota Access pipeline has first leak before it's fully operational

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Categories: Environment

International Eel Smuggling Scheme Centers On Maine

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 1:35pm

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Bill Trotter, a fishery and environmental reporter for the Bangor Daily News, about the illegal eel fishing scheme in Maine.

Categories: Environment

Will coal seam gas save Narrabri, or destroy it? – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 1:17pm

In the first of a series of videos on critical issues confronting regional Australia, Gabrielle Chan investigates the proposed Narrabri gas project in New South Wales. The oil and gas company Santos proposes 850 wells in the Pilliga and some locals see the opportunity for jobs. But others warn of the potential damage to the land and water supply. Now it’s up the NSW government to decide

In Narrabri, everyone has a stake in the farming v mining fight

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Categories: Environment

CSG's last stand? In Narrabri everyone has a stake in the farming v mining fight

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 1:16pm

In the first of a series of investigations into issues facing regional Australia, we report on how locals in a north-western New South Wales town are bracing to learn the fate of the state’s last coal seam gas project

Country towns are, by their nature, conservative. Change happens slowly and traditions are not discarded easily.

The conservative thinker Edmund Burke wrote that we must act as trustees of the world – what he called “temporary possessors and life renters”, rather than its “entire masters”.

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Categories: Environment

White House proposes slashing funds to clean up toxic sites despite EPA's pleas

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 11:23am

EPA plan to focus on hazardous areas that pollute air and water, often near low-income communities and minorities, was dashed by president’s budget proposal

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s vow to shift the agency back towards the “vital” work of dealing with toxic sites that pollute air and water has been dashed by a White House budget plan that would slash funding for the clean-ups.

Donald Trump’s 2018 budget plan proposes severe cuts to clean-up programs targeting some of the most toxic sites in the US, which are invariably situated near low-income communities and minorities, despite a push by the EPA to prioritize these hazardous areas.

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Categories: Environment

Al Gore at Cannes: 'Trump cannot stop the solutions to the climate crisis'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 11:10am

The former US vice-president and environmental activist said there was hope in the fight against climate change – but the world and the US had to act

Al Gore believes that Donald Trump will not halt the momentum of the climate movement even if he withdraws the US from the Paris agreement.

Speaking at a press engagement for his new documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the former US vice-president and environmental activist said that he was confident Trump would commit to the historic climate change agreement, but that even if he did not, it would still not be enough to reverse the move towards renewable energy in many American cities.

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Categories: Environment


Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 8:59am




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Categories: Environment

Australian City Of Melbourne Finds Novel Way To Protect Its Trees

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 3:15am

The city assigned every tree — tens of thousands of them — individual email addresses. If a tree is vandalized, or diseased, you report it with that email.

Categories: Environment

Trump's Fox News deputy national security advisor fooled him with climate fake news | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 3:00am

What does it say about the Trump administration that the president was fooled by a dumb, long-debunked climate myth?

As Politico reported, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, KT McFarland, gave him a fake 1970s Time magazine cover warning of a coming ice age. The Photoshopped magazine cover circulated around the internet several years ago, but was debunked in 2013. Four years later, McFarland put the fake document in Trump’s hands, and he reportedly “quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy … Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it”.

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Categories: Environment

My month with chemtrails conspiracy theorists

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/22 - 2:00am

Tammi Riedl and her partner believe ‘chemtrails’ are damaging our health. They prove conspiracies have gone mainstream – and aren’t just for the right wing

Standing between beds of golden beets and elephant garlic in the garden of Lincoln Hills, a small organic farm in Placer County, California, Tammi Riedl looks up and points to a stripe of white haze running across a cloudless blue sky.

“See that?” she asks, raising her eyebrows. “What do you think that is?”

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Categories: Environment
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