Environment

Ian Langford obituary

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 8:11am

Ornithologist, conservationist and publisher with a special interest in wildlife art

Ian Langford, who has died of oesophageal cancer aged 61, was a conservationist and publisher with a special interest in wildlife art. He showcased the work of artists who were also passionate about conservation, such as John Threlfall and Carry Akroyd. The Langford Press art books he issued were sumptuous large-format volumes packed with pictures and sketches based on the patient observation of natural landscapes and animals.

Modest, generous, always brimming with ideas, Langford was a man of many parts. He was first and foremost an ornithologist, but served a long apprenticeship as a trainee craftsman, and also spent some time as a community tutor in Scotland. For several years, he and his wife, Angela, ran a specialist book shop in Wigtown, an experience that led to the establishment of Langford Press in 2001.

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Categories: Environment

UK energy cap could have been avoided, lobby group says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 7:58am

Body representing big six suppliers says price cap is not inevitable and could have been avoided if industry had acted more quickly on ‘rip-off’ tariffs

Energy suppliers could have avoided the government imposing a price cap if they had acted faster to shift customers off the tariffs branded a “rip-off” by Theresa May, according to an industry lobby group.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, also said he believed it was still possible the cap might not happen – if the sector can transform itself in time.

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Categories: Environment

Families 'heartbroken' after two men die in car swept away in Ireland

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 4:50am

Declan Davitt, 26, and Martin Needham, 27, were driving across Carrowniskey river when 4x4 became submerged

The families of two men who died after their Jeep was swept away in a river on Christmas Day have said they are heartbroken.

Declan Davitt, 26, and Martin Needham, 27, were in the 4x4 when it fell into the Carrowniskey river in County Mayo, west Ireland, in the early hours of the morning.

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Categories: Environment

Buzz off: hive thieves cashing in on thriving beekeeping market

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 4:23am

Hobby’s increasing popularity, and the rising cost of some queens, thought to be driving thefts of bees and hives

Thieves are cashing in on an increasingly lucrative beekeeping market by snatching entire hives, with 135 reported thefts over the past six years.

New figures show that hundreds of thousands of bees have been taken from apiaries across England and Wales since 2011.

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Categories: Environment

What Does A Newly Born Pacific Island Say About Life On Mars?

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 4:01am

Take five minutes of your day, watch this amazing video of the birth of a new island in Tonga, and let its story and science knock you to the floor, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.

(Image credit: sorincolac/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Categories: Environment

US government climate report looks at how the oceans are buffering climate change | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 4:00am

A key chapter of the US Global Change Research Program Report deals with how the oceans are being impacted by human carbon pollution

In the recently released US Global Change Research Program Report, one of the chapters I was most interested in was about the changes we’ve observed in the world’s oceans. The oceans are really the key to the climate change issue, whether that be in quantifying how fast it’s happening or how much will happen in the future. As humans emit greenhouse gases (particularly carbon dioxide), we see some major changes that cannot be explained naturally.

The oceans are important because they act as a buffer; that is, they absorb much of the effects of greenhouse gases. In fact, the oceans absorb a lot of human carbon pollution. This is a big help for us because without the oceans, the climate would change much faster.

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Categories: Environment

Annus mirabilis: all the things that went right in 2017

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 1:00am

It was a tale of two years – the best of times and the worst of times. But not everything went wrong – from Mata’s 1% to orangutans, we look at the good

How was it for you? A bit grim? Many people will be eager to see the back of 2017, the year of Trump, Twitter, terrorism, Yemen, Libya and the plight of the Rohingya, as well as environmental degradation and almost daily doomsday warnings about the multiplying threats to sustainable life on earth.

But the big, bold headlines tell only half the story – perhaps not even that much. Away from the hysteria of daily news, it is possible to discern progress, joy, breakthroughs and that rarest commodity of all: optimism.

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Categories: Environment

The best of the wildlife photography awards 2017 – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 1:00am

Winning images from national and international wildlife photography competitions of the year

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Categories: Environment

World’s largest plastics plant rings alarm bells on Texas coast

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 12:00am

Communities fear impact on environment, as fossil fuel companies target region in multi-billion dollar push to increase global plastic production

Donald Trump’s state visit to Saudi Arabia in May will perhaps be best remembered by his participation in an all-male sword dance where he awkwardly waved a ceremonial blade in step with his cabinet and their Saudi counterparts.

But a little-noted deal signed prior to the ceremony is set to worsen a vast problem the world has yet to fully confront – plastic pollution.

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Categories: Environment

$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/26 - 12:00am

Colossal funding in manufacturing plants by fossil fuel companies will increase plastic production by 40%, risking permanent pollution of the earth

The global plastic binge which is already causing widespread damage to oceans, habitats and food chains, is set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years after multibillion dollar investments in a new generation of plastics plants in the US.

Fossil fuel companies are among those who have ploughed more than $180bn since 2010 into new “cracking” facilities that will produce the raw material for everyday plastics from packaging to bottles, trays and cartons.

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Categories: Environment

Norway leads way on electric cars: 'it’s part of a green taxation shift'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/12/25 - 7:42am

Nearly a third of all new cars sold in the country this year will be plug-in models and experts expect that share to skyrocket

While tourists explore Oslo’s history in the grounds of the centuries-old Akershus fortress, below their feet is a harbinger of the city’s future.

Here in the catacombs sit scores of Teslas, Nissan Leafs and BMW i3s, plugged into the charging points of the world’s largest public garage for electric cars.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking to begin in earnest in 2018 after tough year for industry

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/12/25 - 7:00am

Firms leading UK push for shale gas say ‘we will see results next year’ after 12 months of opposition, protests and a ban in Scotland

British shale gas companies have said domestic fracking will finally begin in earnest in 2018, after another year passed without serious progress amid strong opposition.

Industry figures said next year would be crucial for the sector, as companies start the process of hydraulic fracturing to extract gas trapped underground in shale rock.

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Categories: Environment

UK frackers are running out of time

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/12/25 - 7:00am

Binding carbon commitments and the falling cost of renewables could prove a perfect storm for investors

The UK’s shale gas industry is in a race against time to establish itself before climate change regulations shut it down. As its stands, the frackers are off the pace.

With no wells yet tested for gas flow, the industry does not yet know if large-scale production is possible or what the cost of the gas will be, and it won’t know until 2020 at best. Protests and planning problems have delayed exploration, but the real difficulty is the UK’s legally binding carbon targets.

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Categories: Environment

Electric and plug-in hybrid cars whiz past 3m mark worldwide

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/12/25 - 6:29am

Rapid growth is due to falling battery costs, government incentives and car makers competing to build new models

The number of fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the world’s roads has passed the 3m mark, as manufacturers ramp up their plans for mass production of battery-powered vehicles.

Related: Norway leads way on electric cars: 'it’s part of a green taxation shift'

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Categories: Environment

Country diary 1917: forest in the grip of a black frost

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/24 - 3:30pm

28 December 1917 In the sombre foliage of the forest firs we heard the short, high-pitched notes of the goldcrest, and saw two or three of the tiny birds hunting for insects

Iron-hard roads rang beneath our feet and cat-ice between the ruts scrunched and crackled; a black frost had the forest in its grip. Under the firs was a litter of stripped cones and scattered flakes; the squirrels, in spite of the frost, had been busy, and over and over again we disturbed them from their hunt amongst the fallen needles and sent them scurrying up the straight boles. It was in the sombre foliage of these forest firs that we heard the short, high-pitched notes of the goldcrest, and saw two or three of the tiny birds hunting for insects – hibernating insects too insignificant for larger birds to worry with.

Related: Walking in the winter woods: Country diary 100 years ago

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Categories: Environment

Laughing parrots, backflipping robots and saviour viruses: science stories of 2017

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/24 - 2:15am
Leading scientists pick the dozen most significant discoveries and developments of 2017 – from a steep decline in flying insects to a virus that can kill bacteria

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Categories: Environment
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