Delhi's smog-fighting helicopters can't fly – because of smog

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/14 - 6:38am

City administrators told they would be unable to help dissipate the smog until the smog itself cleared

An ambitious plan to use helicopters to fight Delhi’s air pollution has been grounded because the aircraft cannot operate in the thick smog, underscoring growing frustration at authorities’ inability to address the toxic haze engulfing the city.

Accusations that Narendra Modi’s government is failing to take the crisis seriously were further fuelled on Tuesday when the environment minister, Harsh Vardhan, urged residents to remain calm, saying only “routine precautions” were needed, even though air quality levels remain “severe”.

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Categories: Environment

Lunching ranger discovers species lost for 40 years

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/14 - 1:52am

In 1975 two conservationists discovered a gorgeous salamander in the rainforests of Guatemala. No one ever saw it again – and Jackson’s climbing salamander was feared extinct – until last month when local forest guard, Ramos León-Tomás, sat down in the forest for lunch.

The last time anyone saw Jackson’s climbing salamander – I didn’t yet exist. It was 1975: Margaret Thatcher took over leadership of the Tories, Saigon fell to Communist forces, the USSR was still a thing, and everyone was listening to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. And in Guatemala, reeling from over a decade of civil war, two American conservationists found a little treasure of black and gold: they named it Jackson’s climbing salamander. Then it vanished as if it had never been.

Forty-two years later a lot has changed. The world is hotter than it has been in over 100,000 years and species are vanishing at rates that portend mass extinction. Yet, miracles can still happen.

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Categories: Environment

Miniature robots could cut pesticide use on farms in future

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/14 - 1:30am

Robots could also reduce food waste and help harvest crops, but they may not be commercially available for some years to come, say experts

Miniature robot farmers may be the answer to concerns over chemical use on farms and cutting down on food waste, as well as easing labour shortages, academic farming experts have said.

The drawback is that the machines in question, while developed in laboratories to an advanced stage, are not yet commercially available in the UK. In an optimistic scenario, they could become available in as little as three years, but that would be likely to take large investment and a high degree of entrepreneurialism in the private sector, the experts said on Monday.

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Categories: Environment

Norway sued over Arctic oil exploration plans

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/14 - 1:00am

The case, led by Greenpeace, claims Norwegian government has violated constitutional right to a healthy environment and contravenes Paris agreement

The Norwegian government is being sued by climate activists over a decision to open up areas of the Arctic Ocean for oil exploration, a move they say endangers the lives of existing and future generations.

The plaintiffs, led by environmental organisations Greenpeace and Youth and Nature, will on Tuesday claim that the Norwegian government has violated a constitutional environmental law which guarantees citizens’ rights to a healthy environment.

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Categories: Environment

The public want more funds for UK cycling – what are politicians waiting for?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/14 - 12:15am

A new assessment of cycling in UK cities shows people are far more supportive of bold plans than political decision makers often think

It may not be clear from the persistent bikelash in many sections of the media, but in fact there is huge public support for increased government investment in cycling and especially for building segregated bike routes.

Of 7,700 people surveyed in seven major UK cities for a new study published on Tuesday, 78% of people support the creation of more protected bike routes on roads, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic, with the majority of people saying this would encourage them to cycle more.

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Categories: Environment

Oxbridge must end dirty investments – both offshore and oil | Elana Sulakshana, Eleanor Salter and Julia Peck

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 11:45pm

The Paradise Papers have exposed the hypocrisy of universities that teach sustainability while financing climate destruction offshore. We’re calling on them to come clean

Students at Oxford and Cambridge are taught about the dangers of economic inequality, climate change, and the limits of burnable carbon. But the Paradise Papers have revealed that behind the scenes, the universities are investing tens of millions in projects that systematically exacerbate inequality and climate disaster.

The scandal is not simply tax avoidance. It is the hypocrisy of universities that espouse their commitment to sustainability while financing environmental destruction offshore.

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Categories: Environment

Peruvian farmer sues German energy giant for contributing to climate change

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 7:55pm

Saul Luciano Lliuya wants damages from RWE to protect hometown of Huaraz from a swollen glacier lake at risk of overflowing from melting snow and ice

A Peruvian farmer won a small but significant legal victory on Monday when a German court said his appeal against energy giant RWE, which he accuses of contributing to climate change that is threatening his Andean home, had merit.

After hearing oral arguments from both sides, the higher regional court in the western city of Hamm said Saul Luciano Lliuya’s demand for damages from RWE was “admissible”, paving the way for the case to proceed.

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US will become a net oil exporter within 10 years, says IEA

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 5:01pm

International Energy Agency says US oil production between 2010 and 2025 will grow at a rate unparalleled in history

The shale revolution in north America means the US is destined to become a net oil exporter within 10 years, for the first time since the 1950s.

The International Energy Agency said it expected that American oil production between 2010 and 2025 would grow at a rate unparalleled by any country in history, with far-reaching consequences for the US and the world.

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Categories: Environment

Most UK supermarkets falling short in fight against antibiotics crisis

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 5:01pm

Overuse of antibiotics on farms is major cause of growing resistance in humans, as campaigners name Lidl as worst performer

Most of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains are falling short on measures to reduce the use of antibiotics in the production of the meat and animal products they sell, campaigners have warned, with potentially harmful impacts on human health.

Lidl performed worst of the nine supermarket chains examined by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, a pressure group made up of several NGOs.

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Categories: Environment

Labour vows to factor climate change risk into economic forecasts

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 3:29pm

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell to say ‘overwhelming challenge of climate change’ must be addressed from very centre of government

The risk posed by climate change would be factored into projections from the government’s independent economic forecaster if Labour took office, the shadow chancellor will announce on Tuesday.

John McDonnell will highlight the human and economic costs of manmade climate change, calling it the “greatest single public challenge” and say the government should include the fiscal risks posed by global warming in future forecasts.

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Categories: Environment

Air Pollution In New Delhi Forced Airlines To Ground Planes, Factories And Schools To Close

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 2:57pm

NPR's Elise Hu speaks with Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at the Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi. She talks about how the air pollution is so bad, United Airlines had to cancel flights over the weekend, factories had to be shut down and schools had to close at one point.

Categories: Environment

'Tobacco at a cancer summit': Trump coal push savaged at climate conference

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 2:40pm

The US administration’s attempt to portray fossil fuels as vital to reducing poverty and saving US jobs is ridiculed in Bonn

The Trump team was heckled and interrupted by a protest song at the UN’s climate change summit in Bonn on Monday after using its only official appearance to say fossil fuels were vital to reducing poverty around the world and to saving jobs in the US.

While Donald Trump’s special adviser on energy and environment, David Banks, said cutting emissions was a US priority, “energy security, economic prosperity are higher priorities”, he said. “The president has a responsibility to protect jobs and industry across the country.”

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Categories: Environment

Slow And Upbeat EPA Response To Hurricane Harvey Pollution Angers Residents

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 1:34pm

Hurricane Harvey caused industrial facilities to release an extra 5.98 million pounds of air pollution. Some people who live and work near the plants are frustrated with the federal response.

(Image credit: Frank Bajak/AP)

Categories: Environment

Pro-Brexit British billionaire buys Swiss football club Lausanne

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 10:35am

Jim Ratcliffe, founder of chemicals and fracking giant Ineos, recently tried to get government subsidies to build successor to Land Rover Defender

Ineos, the petrochemicals company founded by billionaire Brexit backer Jim Ratcliffe, has announced plans to buy a Swiss football club, the latest in a spree of seemingly unconnected acquisitions.

The privately owned firm said it was buying FC Lausanne-Sport, which plays in Switzerland’s top football league, to build on existing links it had forged with teams near its offices in Lausanne and the Swiss canton of Vaud.

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Categories: Environment

On climate and global leadership, it's America Last until 2020 | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 4:00am

America is deeply divided, but climate-denying Republicans are losing their grip on power

Five months ago, Trump quickly cemented his legacy as the country’s worst-ever president by inexplicably starting the process to withdraw from the Paris climate accords. With even war-torn Syria now signing the agreement, the leadership of every world country has announced its intent to tackle the existential threat posed by human-caused climate change, except the United States.

It's the US vs. the rest of the world, as Syria agrees to sign Paris climate accord https://t.co/Q1tkxuiHas pic.twitter.com/hnV2wHmLHL

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Categories: Environment

Michigan Pushes To Have Nation's Toughest Lead Water Rules

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 3:00am

After the Flint crisis, GOP Gov. Snyder wants to adopt stricter rules regarding lead in water. He's pushing state regulators to change the federal rule because Republican state lawmakers won't do it.

Categories: Environment

From the Everglades to Kilimanjaro, climate change is destroying world wonders

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 2:47am

Number of natural world heritage sites at serious risk from global warming has doubled in three years, says the IUCN, including the Great Barrier Reef and spectacular karst caves in Europe

From the Everglades in the US to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, climate change is destroying the many of the greatest wonders of the natural world.

A new report on Monday from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reveals that the number of natural world heritage sites being damaged and at risk from global warming has almost doubled to 62 in the past three years.

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Categories: Environment

Fossil fuel burning set to hit record high in 2017, scientists warn

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 1:30am

The rise would end three years of flat carbon emissions – a ‘huge leap backward’ say some scientists, while others say the longer term trend is more hopeful

The burning of fossil fuels around the world is set to hit a record high in 2017, climate scientists have warned, following three years of flat growth that raised hopes that a peak in global emissions had been reached.

The expected jump in the carbon emissions that drive global warming is a “giant leap backwards for humankind”, according to some scientists. However, other experts said they were not alarmed, saying fluctuations in emissions are to be expected and that big polluters such as China are acting to cut emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Why my council pension fund is divesting £1.2bn from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/13 - 12:23am

Local authorities invest £16bn in fossil fuel companies. In Southwark, we will no longer do this

Data released on 9 November shows that the UK’s local authorities invest more than £16bn into companies that extract oil, gas and coal. Collectively, the country’s local government pension funds have nearly £3,000 invested in fossil fuels for every pension fund member. Southwark has decided we will no longer do this.

In December 2016, Southwark council pension fund made a landmark commitment. Following more than a year of consultation, deliberation and work with community groups we announced a decision to divest the £1.2bn fund from fossil fuels.

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Categories: Environment

Medibank drops fossil-fuel investments worth tens of millions of dollars

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/12 - 6:26pm

Australia’s largest private health insurer says it ‘acknowledges the science of climate change and the impacts on human health’

Australia’s largest private health insurer, Medibank, will shed tens of millions of dollars in fossil-fuel investments because of the effects of climate change on human health.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange before its annual general meeting in Melbourne on Monday, its chair, Elizabeth Alexander, said the company would move to low-carbon investments “in line with our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our customers”.

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