UK legal claims grow over exposure at work to toxic diesel fumes

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 11:30pm

Unions warn effects of exposure to diesel pollution is ticking time bomb for business, likening situation to ‘early days of asbestos’

Legal claims over exposure to diesel exhaust fumes at work are growing as unions warn toxic air in the workplace is a ticking time bomb on a par with asbestos.

Royal Mail and at least one local authority are among major employers who are being sued over their alleged failure to protect staff from the damaging health effects of diesel pollution from vehicles. More cases are lined up, according to lawyers and unions involved in supporting workers.

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Categories: Environment

Ride in style: our pick of women's cycling fashion – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 3:50pm

Increasingly, cycle brands are speeding beyond traditional performance wear into clothes that look everyday but have technical tweaks for riding. Tops are sweat wicking, jeans have extra stretch and shorts are reinforced around the inner thigh, and they look good too

See our pick of men’s clothes and accessories

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Categories: Environment

Flint water crisis: expert says lead levels normal but warns against celebration

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 11:33am

Virginia Tech researcher who has tested city’s water supply says people should continue using water filters – and ‘crisis of confidence’ in government remains

An expert who has warned about dangerous lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water declared on Friday a qualified end to the crisis.

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards made the announcement at a news conference two years to the day after he stood in front of Flint’s city hall with residents and other researchers to highlight a serious lead contamination problem in the financially struggling industrial city’s water supply.

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UK's largest 'disco soup' attracts 1,000 people to London market

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 9:50am

Hundreds of volunteers gather to prepare soup and dance as part of global movement to inspire action against food waste

Visitors to a community food market and bar in south London on Friday were presented with an unusual combination of pleasures: a soup disco.

Volunteers and customers at Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle gathered to chop vegetables and tear basil leaves while professional chefs directed them and DJs from the nightclub Ministry of Sound spun records in the background.

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Categories: Environment

Green groups claim 'important victory' in challenge to legal costs rules

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 9:19am

Environmental campaigners say rules now favour those who want to hold government to account – not the other way round

Conservation and environmental groups have claimed an “important victory” in their high court challenge to new legal costs rules which they say make it much harder to bring cases to protect the environment.

In February, the government scrapped fixed-cost caps that limited how much people and charities had to pay if they lost a case against a public body.

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Charities condemn rejection of changes to Lobbying Act

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 8:53am

Campaign groups fear most vulnerable will be left without a voice and say act has chilling effect on freedom of speech

Charities have condemned ministers for rejecting changes to the Lobbying Act which were made by a government-commissioned review body. Campaign groups say they will be left unable to speak out for vulnerable and marginalised people in society because the law has a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

The Lobbying Act restricts what non-governmental organisations can say in the year before a general election.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 7:58am

Rescued Sumatran orangutans, a stranded manatee, and brown bears near Ljubljana, Slovenia, are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Overfishing of North Sea may reduce after MEPs vote on fishing quotas

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 3:26am

Defra welcomes European vote which aims to secure long-term sustainability of North Sea fish stocks

The European parliament has voted on a series of measures likely to reduce overfishing in the North Sea which will affect the UK’s fishing fleet until Brexit takes effect and potentially beyond.

The vote ensures that there will be limits to fishing quotas so that they cannot exceed levels regarded as sustainable by scientists. The outcome had been in doubt as MEPs voted on Thursday, but several amendments aimed at watering down the proposals were rejected.

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Categories: Environment

Half of Canada's monitored wildlife is in decline, major study finds

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 3:00am

New report paints a bleak picture for wildlife in a country that is home to a quarter of the Earth’s wetlands, 8,500 rivers and more than 2m lakes

A new analysis looking at the long-term trends of more than 900 species of wildlife in Canada has found that half of them have seen their populations decline, including several species already listed as threatened or endangered.

The Living Planet Report Canada, released on Thursday by World Wildlife Fund Canada, paints a bleak picture for wildlife in a country that is home to a quarter of the earth’s wetlands, 8,500 rivers and more than 2m freshwater lakes.

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Categories: Environment

The idea that climate scientists are in it for the cash has deep ideological roots

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 1:43am

Author and academic Nancy MacLean says cynicism about the motives of public servants, including government-backed climate scientists, can be traced to a group of neoliberals and their ‘toxic’ ideas

You’ll have heard that line of argument about cancer scientists, right?

The one where they’re just in it for the government grant money and that they don’t really want to find a cure, because if they did they’d be out of a job?

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California’s big battery experiment: a turning point for energy storage?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 11:00pm

The world’s largest lithium-ion battery installed after the Aliso Canyon gas blowout has become a test case for the grid storage industry

On a paved expanse next to an electrical substation in Escondido, 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, sits a row of huge silver boxes. The site resembles a barracks, but instead of soldiers, the 24 containers house racks of battery packs.

This is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, according to its developers. When the local grid needs more power, these batteries deliver, almost instantaneously. They can discharge up to 30 megawatts – roughly equivalent to powering 20,000 homes – and can sustain that level for up to four hours.

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Categories: Environment

Miner supplying Mt Piper power station seeks urgent hearing over invalid licence

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 7:46pm

Centennial Coal, whose licence was ruled invalid after its Springvale mine was found to be polluting Sydney’s water, wants matter resolved in two weeks

The miner that supplies Energy Australia’s Mount Piper coal power station with coal has sought an urgently expedited court hearing to establish how it can continue to operate without a valid licence.

But Centennial Coal did so without making a formal application for an early hearing and without evidence supporting the need for it, leaving the judge appearing sceptical of the claim.

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EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 4:01pm

Exclusive: EU’s food safety watchdog recommended that glyphosate was safe but pages of report were identical to application from pesticide maker

The European food safety authority (Efsa) based a recommendation that a chemical linked to cancer was safe for public use on an EU report that copied and pasted analyses from a Monsanto study, the Guardian can reveal.

Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s $4.75bn (£3.5bn) a year RoundUp weedkiller brand and a battle over its relicensing has split EU countries, with a final decision on its authorisation expected in early November.

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Categories: Environment

California Lawmakers Debate 100 Percent Clean Energy Mandate

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 1:15pm

To some, it's a chance for the state to cement its environmental leadership as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era climate change programs.

(Image credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Categories: Environment

Radiohead and Hans Zimmer collaborate for Blue Planet II teaser

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 11:12am

A prequel to the blockbuster nature documentary series will feature (ocean) Bloom, an orchestral reworking of Radiohead’s song Bloom

Radiohead have teamed with Hans Zimmer, the Oscar-winning composer for The Dark Knight, The Lion King and Gladiator, on a new piece of music – called ocean (Bloom) – that will appear on a prequel to the BBC’s flagship nature documentary series Blue Planet II.

Related: The must-watch TV of autumn 2017, from Blue Planet to Stranger Things

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US people of color still more likely to be exposed to pollution than white people

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 11:01am

New federal government-funded study finds exposure to a key air pollutant is significantly influenced by race, far more than by income, age or education

People of color are still far more likely to suffer from harmful air pollution than white people across the US and this disparity has barely improved in recent years, despite overall improvements in air quality, a new federal government-funded study has found.

Related: London’s black communities disproportionately exposed to air pollution – study

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Categories: Environment

Warriors Against Waste: These Restaurants And Bars Are Aiming For Zero

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 10:11am

Restaurateurs are challenging themselves to reduce the staggering amount of food waste that the industry generates. But can any viable business generate zero waste?

(Image credit: Xavier Buendia/Courtesy of Doug McMaster)

Categories: Environment

The role of renewables in the UK energy mix | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 9:54am
The case for new nuclear power stations is fatuous now offshore wind power has come down in cost so much, says Ian Hill. Yes, writes Will Taylor, but don’t forget the potential of tidal energy. Hold on a minute before rejecting nuclear, argue Tim Chittenden and Jim Waterton

Your excellent editorial on the reducing cost of offshore wind power (13 September) is timely in identifying the increasingly futile case for new nuclear build. It does, however, repeat the fallacy that nuclear power “is a zero-carbon technology”. The carbon emissions involved in building such immense structures, in mining and transporting uranium, and in the transport, reprocessing and storage of waste, contribute to a considerable carbon burden. Estimates vary considerably, but studies suggest that the emissions from nuclear generation could be one-10th of those of fossil fuels, but twice those of wind power.

Furthermore, the need for a continuous supply is of only limited use when consumption patterns become distorted by, for example, the increased need to charge electric vehicles overnight, as your leader identifies. What is needed now, alongside continued investment in the latest generation of renewable production, is increased investment into a wide range of storage technologies, and further research and investment into the production of renewable heat.

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MPs to reopen inquiry into plastic bottle use

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 8:33am

New inquiry will look into the viability of deposit schemes and taxes as ways to reduce impact of plastic waste on the environment

MPs are to mount a new inquiry into plastic bottles amid growing calls for a deposit scheme to reduce the impact of plastic waste in the ocean.

The investigation will also examine whether charges or taxes should be put on single-use plastic bottles and takeaway coffee cups to reduce their contribution to litter.

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Strange eel: mystery of the Texas eyeless sea beast solved

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/09/14 - 8:13am

Scary-looking fish found on a Texas beach after Hurricane Harvey is identified as a fangtooth snake-eel with the help of social media

The mystery of an eyeless fanged sea monster washed ashore by Hurricane Harvey has been solved by social media.

Preeti Desai, a science communicator, found the sinister-looking fish on a beach in Texas City after the storm, and asked Twitter users to help identify it.

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