Anti-Adani activists vow 'direct action' against mine contractor Downer

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 2:07pm

Campaigners will occupy work sites, chain themselves to machinery and clog phone lines, Galilee Blockade says

A group of activists say the mining contractor Downer Group is the “prime target” of a civil disruption campaign to force it to walk away from a $2bn deal to build and run Adani’s proposed Queensland coalmine.

Galilee Blockade organisers warn members of their network will occupy work sites, chain themselves to machinery and clog phone lines, among other actions that will cost Downer money until it exits a non-binding contract over the contentious Carmichael site .

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Categories: Environment

The EU is right to put bees before business | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 11:20am

Sarah Mukherjee accuses the EU proposal to ban neonicotinoids from fields of being “political” (Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides, March 24). Damn right. If she means supporting the long-term interests of people over the short-term blinkered interests of a few businesses, I can hardly think of a better definition of the word.

From DDT to lead in petrol, businesses have fought tooth and nail against legal restrictions, until they came and the predicted disasters never happened. But why stop at fields and neonics? Our parks and gardens have become vital havens for all kinds of wildlife and yet our garden centres are filled with wildlife-unfriendly herbicides and pesticides, ironically shelved alongside the “bee and butterfly friendly” plants. At least farmers can argue, whether or not you agree, that their livelihoods and our food is at stake. Little is at stake if we ban all poisons from our parks and gardens, beyond a few weeds on our paths and some greenfly. Future generations will be astounded that we took so long.
Charles Harris

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Categories: Environment

Murder in Malaysia: how protecting native forests cost an activist his life

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 8:08am

Malaysian activist Bill Kayong fought to save forest lands from logging and oil palm development. Like a troubling number of environmental campaigners around the world, he paid the highest price, reports Yale Environment 360

Environmentalists at risk: read part one in this series

It was 8.20am on 21 June 2016. Bill Kayong, an up-and-coming political activist in Miri, a coastal oil town in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, was 15 minutes into his morning commute, waiting in his pickup truck at a traffic light across from a shopping mall. Suddenly, two bullets shattered the side window and struck him in the head, killing him instantly.

Kayong was one of dozens of people killed while defending environmental and human rights causes in 2016. His life was taken just one day after a report from the human rights group Global Witness revealed that the previous year had been “the worst on record for killings of land and environmental defenders”, with 185 people around the world killed while taking a stand against development projects ranging from dams, to mines, to logging, to agricultural plantations.

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Bitten by the same bug: Octogenarian couple donate insect collection to university – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 8:02am

Octogenarian couple Charles and Lois O’Brien have this week announced they would donate their home collection of more than a million insects to Arizona State University. The collection was gathered over almost six decades and is worth an estimated $10m (£8m). It will help be a resource for scientists who study natural controls on the environment

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How Keystone XL, the pipeline rejected by Obama, went ahead under Trump

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 7:03am

The expansion, which was originally proposed in 2008 and faced strong protest from environmental advocates, secures permit to start building from Trump


TransCanada proposes expanding an existing pipeline to transport oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Port Arthur, Texas, to transfer Canadian tar sands oil to US refineries. It was scheduled to be completed by 2013.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 7:00am

Cactus flowers, a former circus bear and a baby elephant are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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US scientists launch world's biggest solar geoengineering study

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 5:39am

Research programme will send aerosol injections into the earth’s upper atmosphere to study the risks and benefits of a future solar tech-fix for climate change

US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming.

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Keystone XL: Trump issues permit to begin construction of pipeline

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 5:31am

President ushers in ‘new era of American energy policy’ Friday as environmental activists denounce revived oil pipeline as a ‘disaster for the planet’

Donald Trump announced a “new era of American energy policy” as he signed the presidential permit allowing TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It’s going to be an incredible pipeline. Greatest technology known to man. Or woman. And frankly, we’re very proud of it,” said Trump in the Oval Office on Friday morning.

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Pigs' teeth and hippo poo: behind the scenes at London zoo

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 4:30am

The Zoological Society of London zoo is home to more than 650 animal species. Photographer Linda Nylind was given exclusive access to spend time with the keepers and find out more about their daily routines

London zoo was established in 1828 and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. Created as a collection for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the animals from the Tower of London’s menagerie were transferred there in 1832 and it opened to the public in 1847. Today it houses more than 20,000 animals and almost 700 species.

ZSL is not funded by the state – it relies on memberships and fellowships, entrance fees and sponsorship to generate income.

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Categories: Environment

Couple donates bug collection worth $10m, a goldmine for researchers

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/24 - 3:00am

Collection will help scientists piece together a large branch of insects’ family tree and be a resource for scientists who study natural controls on the environment

In two rooms of Charles and Lois O’Brien’s modest home in Tucson, Arizona, more than a million insects – a collection worth an estimated $10m – rest in tombs of glass and homemade shelving. They come from every continent and corner of the world, gathered over almost six decades; a bug story that began as a love story.

This week, the O’Briens, both octogenarians, announced that they would donate their collection, one of the world’s largest private holdings, to Arizona State University.

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Turnbull leaves open idea of carbon credits to meet emissions target

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 9:04pm

‘High quality units’ could lower cost of obligations, discussion paper says, despite previous opposition from Tony Abbott

The Turnbull government has left open the prospect of using international carbon credits to help meet Australia’s emissions reduction targets at lowest cost, a practice Tony Abbott ruled out when he was prime minister.

While Abbott used to characterise the trade of international credits as “money that shouldn’t be going offshore into dodgy carbon farms in Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan” – a new discussion paper, released on Friday, notes that “high quality international units could contribute to lowering the costs of meeting [Australia’s] 2030 target”.

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Categories: Environment

Breitbart's James Delingpole says reef bleaching is 'fake news', hits peak denial | Graham Readfearn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 6:50pm

A claim like this takes lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at

It takes a very special person to label the photographed, documented, filmed and studied phenomenon of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef “fake news”.

You need lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Donald Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at.

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Categories: Environment

The CommBank contradiction: support for cricket and fossil fuels | David Ritter

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 6:20pm

Extreme heat endangers cricketers yet the bank is Australia’s most significant private investor in climate-change-inducing fossil fuels

Contrary to most expectations, the Australia-India Test series is proving to be an absolute cracker, with the teams locked together 1-1 going into the decider that begins on Saturday in Dharamsala.

Australian commercial sponsors of sport must always be delighted when the results are close, wherever they are played. Excitement means more viewers, leading to greater brand recognition for the “proud sponsor”. One of only two “platinum partners” of Cricket Australia, the Commonwealth Banksponsors the national game at all levels.

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Categories: Environment

Science-Loving Teens From Ghana And D.C. Geek Out Together

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 11:35am

They competed in the first World Smarts STEM Challenge. We got to know the team that worked on a water purifier using neem leaves and ... cilantro.

(Image credit: Ryan Eskalis/NPR)

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‘Moore’s law’ for carbon would defeat global warming

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 11:00am

A plan to halve carbon emissions every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years, provides a simple but rigorous roadmap to tackle climate change, scientists say

A new “carbon law”, modelled on Moore’s law in computing, has been proposed as a roadmap for beating climate change. It sees carbon emissions halving every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years.

The carbon law’s proponents are senior climate-change scientists and they argue it provides a simple, broad but quantitative plan that could drive governments and businesses to make urgently needed carbon cuts, particularly at a time when global warming is falling off the global political agenda.

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Categories: Environment

Tony Abbott backs calls to keep Hazelwood power plant open

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 10:30am

Former prime minister joins debate as Australian Industry Group says it is not confident the risks to the country’s energy grid are being managed

Tony Abbott has supported calls to keep the Hazelwood power plant open to avoid power shortages.

“If we are serious about tackling Australia’s looming energy crisis, the last thing we should be doing is closing 20% plus of Victoria’s (and 5% of Australia’s) base load power supply,” the former prime minister wrote in the Herald Sun on Friday.

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Categories: Environment

Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 9:20am

Exclusive: Draft regulations seen by the Guardian reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’

The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.

The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite “high acute risks to bees”. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states.

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Categories: Environment

Rick Perry ‘deeply troubled’ by election of gay Texas A&M student president

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 9:12am

The energy secretary weighed in on the election at his alma mater in an opinion piece this week, implying voters were intimidated by ‘quest for diversity’

During his time as Texas governor, Rick Perry sought to crack down on electoral misconduct despite scant evidence it was a problem.

Now in Washington as Donald Trump’s energy secretary, the former Republican presidential candidate is keeping up his interest in the topic. He has written an article casting doubt on the process that saw Texas A&M University elect its first openly gay student body president amid a controversy over glow sticks.

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Categories: Environment

Share your photos of these newly recognised cloud formations

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 5:36am

As the International Cloud Atlas adds 11 “new” formations, including wave-like clouds known as asperitas, we’d like to see your pictures from around the world

Wave-like clouds long seen but never officially categorised in English-language meteorological circles now have their place in the International Cloud Atlas.

Related: Stunning 'new' cloud formations captured in updated atlas – in pictures

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Categories: Environment

Let there be light: Germans switch on 'largest artificial sun'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 5:19am

Scientists hope experiment, which can generate temperatures of around 3,500C, will help to develop carbon-neutral fuel

German scientists are switching on “the world’s largest artificial sun” in the hope that intense light sources can be used to generate climate-friendly fuel.

The Synlight experiment in Jülich, about 19 miles west of Cologne, consists 149 souped-up film projector spotlights and produces light about 10,000 times the intensity of natural sunlight on Earth.

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