Queensland land clearing could become 'tsunami', say conservation groups

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/12 - 10:00am

Notification of planned clearing is up 30% in the past year compared with the previous three-year average

A dramatic land-clearing surge in Queensland could turn into a “tsunami” in the coming year, say conservationists, the rate of notifications of planned clearing rising 30% in the past year compared with the previous three-year average.

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Categories: Environment

Instagram Crowds May Be Ruining Nature

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/11/12 - 5:31am

When a particularly scenic shot gains traction on Instagram, visitors flood in. Travel photographer Brent Knepper tells NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro that can lead to permanent changes in the landscape.

(Image credit: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Michael Gove: from 'shy green' to 'full-throated environmentalist'?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/12 - 1:00am

Many feared what the MP would do when he became environment secretary this year – but he has pleasantly surprised his critics

Michael Gove has transformed from a “shy green” into a “full-throated environmentalist”, according to close allies who have said the Conservative MP has been heavily affected by his latest ministerial brief.

Howls of protest made by green groups, commentators and political opponents when Theresa May decided, in June this year, to elevate the high-profile Brexiter to environment secretary were slowly being proven wrong, they claim.

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Categories: Environment

Pittsburgh's Microgrids Technology Could Lead The Way For Green Energy

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/11/11 - 11:11pm

Pittsburgh wants to become a model for cutting edge energy supply. Researchers in the city are planning a network of microgrids.

(Image credit: Daniella Cheslow/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Congo basin’s peaty swamps are new front in climate change battle

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/11 - 5:05pm
Ancient peatlands that store huge amounts of carbon are under threat from logging

Stumbling on submerged roots, attacked by bees and wading waist-deep through leech-infested water, the three researchers and their Pygmy guides progress at just 100 metres an hour through the largest and least-explored tropical bog in the world.

The group halt and unpack what looks like a spear, which is plunged over and over again into the waterlogged forest floor. Each time it brings up a metre-long core of rich, black peat made up of partly decomposed leaves and ancient plantlife. The deepest the steel blade reaches before meeting the underlying clay is 3.7 metres.

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Categories: Environment

Loving Blue Planet? Go one better and take a real submarine trip to the deep

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/11 - 5:04pm
The new must-have accessory for cruise liners and luxury yachts is a bubble-shaped submersible

The unknowable expanse of the oceans has become a little more familiar after Blue Planet II. Now it is set to become more familiar still to tourists with enough cash to spare.

The BBC series is the most-watched show of 2017, with 14.1 million viewers tuning in for unseen wonders like cannibalistic Humboldt squid, methane belching from the ocean floor and an underwater lake of brine. Scenes like these are beyond the view of anyone except TV crews, scientists and explorers – but not for much longer. Submarine tourism is riding a wave of interest that is likely to swell as the series continues.

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Categories: Environment

Alternative US group honouring Paris climate accord demands 'seat at the table'

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/11 - 8:55am

The America’s Pledge group claims to represent US majority opinion on carbon emissions, despite Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement

The United Nations should give a “seat at the table” to a powerful group of US states, cities, tribes and businesses that are committed to taking action on climate change, Michael Bloomberg has urged.

In an apparent bid to circumvent US president Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw from the Paris accord, the billionaire philanthropist also said the world body should accept an alternative set of US climate commitments alongside national pledges to reduce carbon emissions.

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Categories: Environment

US groups honouring Paris climate pledges despite Trump

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/11 - 3:30am

US states, cities and businesses signed up to ‘America’s pledge’ to combat global warning have a combined economic power equal to the world’s third-biggest economy

The US states, cities and businesses that have signed up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite president Donald Trump’s threats to withdraw from the Paris agreement would, if put together, have the clout of the world’s third biggest economy, after the US and China.

To date, 20 US states and more than 50 of its largest cities, along with more than 60 of the biggest businesses in the US, have committed to emissions reduction goals.

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Categories: Environment

Vietnam braced for second storm after devastating impact of Typhoon Damrey

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/11 - 12:00am

As 400,000 people in coastal communities await emergency assistance after first deadly cyclone, aid workers warn Typhoon Kaikui will inflict further misery

Almost 400,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance following a typhoon that has devastated some of the poorest communities in Vietnam, pummelling homes and destroying water supplies.

Typhoon Damrey made landfall on 4 November in the country’s south-central coastal region, with winds of 135km an hour. At least 100 people have died, according to Vietnam’s disaster management authority.

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Categories: Environment

It’s true, wind turbines are monstrous. But I have learned to love them | Alice O’Keeffe

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 11:00pm
At first I resented the way they blocked the view. But now the towers look like part of a brighter future

Over the last few months I have been watching with mixed feelings as the Rampion wind farm emerges like a great monster from the sea off Brighton beach. It has happened so quickly: one morning in the early summer a few small grey stumps appeared on the previously flat horizon. Only weeks later, the first turbines were up, instantly giving the familiar sea view a new, industrial edge. Since then more and more have appeared, row upon row of them. Though they are eight miles offshore, they dominate the view from the beach now, and create strange optical illusions; in some weathers they look close, and in others very far away. Occasionally, on a seemingly clear day, they inexplicably disappear from view.

Over the summer I mourned the glorious, uninterrupted horizons that used to beckon

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Categories: Environment

Al Gore: 'I tried my best' but Trump can't be educated on climate change

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 12:18pm

At UN climate talks in Bonn, Gore is heading an unofficial group trying to stop climate change – in the face of scepticism from Trump administration officials

Al Gore has accused Donald Trump of surrounding himself “with the absolute worst of climate deniers” and said he has given up attempting to persuade the president to reverse his dismantling of policies combatting global warming.

However, both Gore, the former US vice-president, and Jerry Brown, governor of California, told the Guardian they were confident the US will regain its leadership position on climate change if Trump is defeated in the next presidential election.

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Categories: Environment

Trump environment nominee struggles to answer basic climate questions – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 12:01pm

Kathleen Hartnett White struggles to answer basic questions posed by the Senate committee on environment and public works on Thursday. Hartnett White, Trump’s nominee for the environmental quality council chair, had difficulty answering questions from Senators Ben Cardin and Sheldon Whitehouse on green house emissions and climate science 

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Categories: Environment

Emissions trading and refrigerated truck engines under scrutiny | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 11:05am
Emissions trading benefits big polluters, say Maxime Combes et al. And the UK Treasury continues to subsidise certain highly polluting diesel engines, say Matthew Farrow et al

While the EU is extolling its “climate leadership” at the UN climate talks in Bonn, in Brussels it has just agreed to prolong its emissions trading system – providing big polluters with billions of euros in subsidies.

Some EU member states could use a sizable chunk of these funds to carry on burning fossil fuels, with Poland, for instance, looking to prolong the lifespan of its ageing coal infrastructure. Using emissions trading revenues to extend the life of coal-fired power plants is extremely irresponsible and works directly against efforts to halt catastrophic climate change.

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Categories: Environment

US switches focus of its Bonn event from clean energy to fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 9:41am

One of US’s only public events, originally billed as promoting clean energy, has since been changed to favour coal and nuclear power

The US has changed the focus of one of its few public events at the Bonn climate talks to emphasise coal and nuclear power, in a sign of the Trump administration’s goals at the talks.

An event next Monday, opening the second week of the ongoing UN negotiations, was originally billed as promoting clean energy. However, it has since been changed to emphasise coal and nuclear power.

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Categories: Environment

Certain And Confident: Predicting The Future In A Climate-Changing World

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 7:39am

The Climate Science Special Report, released by the White House last week, is a valuable read — it's a primer on how science works when it overlaps with the need to make informed bets on our future.

(Image credit: Andrew Harnik/AP)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 7:00am

Pintail ducks, an elephant seal pup and an osprey in action are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Man jailed after rhino horns and elephant tusks are found in attic

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 5:39am

Abbas Allawi is sentenced to 14 months for trying to sell on Instagram endangered animal parts worth up to £2m

A would-be trader in endangered animal parts has been jailed after rhino horns, elephant tusks and hippo teeth worth up to £2m were discovered by specially trained search dogs in a police raid.

Abbas Allawi, 52, was arrested when officers from the Metropolitan police’s wildlife crime unit searched his home in Gisburne Way, Watford, on 19 October last year.

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Categories: Environment

Nuclear accident sends 'harmless' radioactive cloud over Europe

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 4:07am

French institute says pollution suggests release of nuclear material in Russia or Kazakhstan in September

A cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe in recent weeks indicates that an accident happened in a nuclear facility in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September, the French nuclear safety institute IRSN has said.

The IRSN on Thursday ruled out an accident in a nuclear reactor, saying it was likely to be in a nuclear fuel treatment site or centre for radioactive medicine. There has been no impact on human health or the environment in Europe, it said.

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Categories: Environment

Donald Trump cannot halt US climate progress, former Obama adviser says

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 2:12am

Paul Bodnar believes US president has ability to hamper progress towards a lower carbon economy – but that market forces will ultimately stop him

Donald Trump could slow down US progress towards a lower carbon economy, but he will be unable to halt it because businesses and local governments have committed to a low-carbon path, a former climate negotiator for the US has said.

Through measures such as slapping import tariffs on solar products, scrapping incentives to renewable energy and promoting coal power, the US president could try to alter the economics of pursuing low-carbon energy.

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Categories: Environment

‘Pretty gruesome’: giant coconut crab seen hunting birds

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/11/10 - 1:12am

Researcher in remote Chagos Islands says he saw crabs, previously thought to be scavengers, hunting and killing seabird

A large, land-dwelling crustacean known as a coconut or robber crab has been seen hunting and killing a seabird, the first time such behaviour has been observed in the species.

The phenomenon was witnessed by a researcher, Mark Laidre of Dartmouth College, while he was studying the giant crabs in the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, New Scientist reported.

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Categories: Environment
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