Environment

Chernobyl writer urges Instagram tourists to 'respect' nuclear disaster site

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 6:55pm

Spike in visitors, including some who pose in little more than a g-string, prompts writer of HBO hit to speak out

The writer of the acclaimed HBO drama series Chernobyl has spoken out about the proliferation of lewd and inappropriate selfies taken by tourists visiting the nuclear disaster site in Ukraine.

Since the five-part miniseries about the 1986 catastrophe at the former Soviet Union power plant began airing in May, tourism at the site has reportedly increased by 30–40%. Social media influencers visiting the site have been subject to criticism in recent days for using renewed interest in the disaster to stage glamour shots for their Instagram accounts.

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Categories: Environment

Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 6:00pm

Sick and elderly left to fend for themselves with no end in sight to water crisis

Hundreds of Indian villages have been evacuated as a historic drought forces families to abandon their homes in search of water.

The country has seen extremely high temperatures in recent weeks. On Monday the capital, Delhi, saw its highest ever June temperature of 48C. In Rajasthan, the city of Churu recently experienced highs of 50.8C, making it the hottest place on the planet.

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Categories: Environment

Darwin’s finches sing out-of-tune call after parasites deform beaks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 4:01pm

Concern over mating as malformed beaks and nostrils lead to ‘subpar songs’ - study

Tree finches made famous by Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galápagos islands in the 19th century have gone out of tune because of parasitic infections that damage the birds’ beaks and nostrils.

Researchers found that male finches that picked up the fly parasite had malformed beaks and enlarged nostrils that led to “subpar songs”, making it harder for the birds to find mates and reproduce.

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Categories: Environment

Atmospheric carbon levels are leaping. We can't afford more years like this

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 9:11am

Each year of high emissions adds to the stock of carbon in the air, bringing us closer to catastrophe

One of the many ironies of the climate crisis is that as temperatures change and extreme weather becomes more common, we need more energy to maintain comfort. Hotter summers have driven an increase in power-hungry air conditioning and cooler temperatures in some places – which may be driven by the melting Arctic – raise demand for heating.

BP’s report that carbon emissions from energy use have risen at the fastest rate in nearly a decade reflects those forces, as well as continuing demand from a rising global population and expanding industries.

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Categories: Environment

Villagers say gas well application is 'a joke', as inquiry opens

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 8:59am

Ineos, owned by UK’s richest man, wants to overturn ban on well next to sheltered housing

Villagers have accused Britain’s richest man of making “a joke of local democracy” after his petrochemical firm applied to overturn a council’s decision to stop it from drilling a shale gas well in the Yorkshire countryside.

Residents in the village of Woodsetts, in South Yorkshire, said the plans by Ineos to carry out test drilling would “ruin so many people’s lives” and “devastate” the local community.

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Categories: Environment

Greenpeace North Sea oil rig protest prompts injunction

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 7:05am

Group says it will continue protest at company’s continued drilling despite climate crisis

Greenpeace has been served with an injunction to prevent its climate protesters continuing their occupation of an oil rig just offshore in Scotland.

Two Greenpeace activists boarded the platform in the Cromarty Firth north of Inverness on Sunday night in protest at BP’s continued drilling in the North Sea despite the climate crisis.

Two other activists replaced them on Monday night, taking possession of a derrick below the main deck of the platform.

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Categories: Environment

Carbon emissions from energy industry rise at fastest rate since 2011

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 6:42am

BP report reveals swings in global temperatures are increasing use of fossil fuels

Carbon emissions from the global energy industry last year rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade after extreme weather and surprise swings in global temperatures stoked extra demand for fossil fuels.

BP’s annual global energy report, an influential review of the market, revealed for the first time that temperature fluctuations are increasing the world’s use of fossil fuels, in spite of efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Yorkshire village faces petrochemical giant in anti-fracking fight

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/11 - 1:40am

Ineos, owned by UK’s richest man, wants to overturn ban on well next to sheltered housing

A petrochemical company owned by Britain’s richest man is attempting to overrule a Yorkshire council to drill a shale gas well next to a sheltered housing development.

Residents in Woodsetts, Rotherham, have crowdfunded £10,000 to pay a lawyer to help them oppose the application by Ineos to carry out test core drilling on a field just outside the village.

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Categories: Environment

Could the Cycle to Work scheme start an ebike revolution?

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 11:00pm

New guidance on £1,000 ‘cap’ means more expensive ebikes are available as part of scheme

Over the weekend, new guidance on the Cycle to Work scheme was announced by the Department for Transport (DfT), making it clear that ebikes are eligible for it. This clarification could encourage a new demographic on to two wheels, and provide huge benefits to disabled and elderly people.

The scheme is a complicated but well-used salary sacrifice scheme in which employees can get bikes, tax-free, via their employers. It starts with a year-long loan, which most people extend until the bike is worth so little they can “buy” it for a nominal sum or extend the hire for a percentage of the bike’s value. (After five or six years, HMRC considers a bike to have a negligible value).

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Categories: Environment

The problem with billionaires fighting climate change is the billionaires | Kate Aronoff

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 11:00pm

It’s great that philanthropists are pouring money into environmental causes. But it would be better for the planet if billionaires didn’t exist at all

During a commencement address this week, Michael Bloomberg announced that he’s spending $500m to help the United States move closer to a carbon-neutral future. We should be very grateful that Bloomberg isn’t running for president: the money he’s pouring into Beyond Carbon will fund some great and necessary work, like his injection into the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign several years back. But it would be much better for the planet if billionaires like him didn’t exist at all.

As Axios recently reported, the 1% and the world’s biggest companies have more money than they know what to do with, and they’re either hoarding it or pouring it into things like stock buybacks to make the wealthy even wealthier. Hedge funds and private equity funds are snapping up privatized public goods like water and electricity, while rich households are spending their extra cash on asset managers who’ll help them place bets on the next Theranos. Corporate profits have grown as wages have stagnated, all while some of the most useless and destructive parts of our economy balloon.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife Biologists Disagree On The Most Effective Way To Control Coyotes

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 1:35pm

The federal government kills thousands of coyotes every year to keep them from preying on livestock and big game. But some wildlife biologists say killing coyotes isn't the best way to control them.

Categories: Environment

Charlie Schaffer wins 2019 BP portrait award

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 12:00pm

Award comes amid criticism of BP’s funding and sponsorship of National Portrait Gallery

A portrait of an English literature student posing in a fake fur coat has won one of the UK’s most prestigious art prizes, which has been overshadowed by criticism of the oil company BP’s sponsorship of the award.

The Brighton-based artist Charlie Schaffer was announced as the winner of the 2019 BP portrait award, with the judges saying the composition had a strong sense of a living presence and managed to be traditional and contemporary at the same time.

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Categories: Environment

We Drink Basically The Same Wine Varietals As Ancient Romans, And That's Not So Great

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 11:51am

Many of today's most popular wine varietals are extremely genetically similar to wines that may have existed for thousands of years, a new study finds. In the face of climate change, that's risky.

(Image credit: Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Too soon to ditch Neil Woodford but Patient Capital's board needs a shake-up

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 11:26am

Investors ought to tell the directors: move aside and get some independent faces in the boardroom

The five directors of Woodford Patient Capital Trust would like to remind the world that they exist. It’s been hard to tell the past week.

The board of the investment trust employs Neil Woodford to manage £800m of assets but, as crisis engulfed their top man at his separate Equity Income fund, nothing was heard from Patient Capital, a FTSE 250 company in its own right. But then we get a four-paragraph update for shareholders.

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Categories: Environment

'Big stick' energy bill: Coalition MP wants economy-wide power to break up big companies

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 11:00am

Keith Pitt says laws that target price-gouging energy companies should be extended to all big businesses

The Nationals MP Keith Pitt has broken ranks to endorse a push by the Centre Alliance to legislate an economy-wide power to break up big companies when the Morrison government’s controversial “big stick” energy package returns to parliament in July.

The Queensland National, who has been one of the most vocal advocates of the “big stick” legislation, which allows energy companies to be broken up if they engage in price gouging, says a power to break up big companies should apply right across the economy, not just in the energy sector.

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Categories: Environment

Ocado invests in 'vertical farms' to grow produce near distributors

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 10:18am

£17m investment includes formation of venture to develop systems to sell to other retailers

Ocado is investing £17m in high-tech farming with the aim of growing herbs and other produce alongside its robot-run distribution centres around the world.

The online grocery specialist has bought a 58% stake in Jones Food, a “vertical farm” that grows 420 tonnes of basil, parsley and coriander a year in stacked trays under 12km (7.5 miles) of LED lights in a warehouse in Scunthorpe. The grower currently supplies businesses such as sandwich maker Greencore.

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Categories: Environment

Police begin dialogue with Greenpeace BP oil rig protesters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 9:56am

Energy firm expected to launch court proceedings to remove activists who boarded vessel on Sunday

Scottish police have begun talks with climate protesters from Greenpeace after its activists boarded an oil rig heading out to the North Sea.

Two protesters climbed on to the 27,000-tonne platform as it was being towed out of the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness, after Greenpeace used boats to intercept it at about 6.30pm on Sunday.

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Categories: Environment

Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/06/10 - 4:54am

Energy firm says project will be big step towards continuous renewable power for UK

Scottish Power is to undertake the most ambitious battery power project in Europe in an attempt to unlock the potential of the UK’s wind and solar farms.

The company will connect an industrial-scale battery, the size of half a football pitch, to the Whitelee onshore windfarm early next year to capture more power from its 215 turbines.

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Categories: Environment

Gatwick hosts UK's first airport reusable coffee cup trial

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/06/09 - 4:01pm

Customers buying coffee from South Terminal Starbucks will be able to borrow free refillable cup

The UK’s first airport reusable coffee cup trial gets under way this week at Gatwick, offering passengers the opportunity to borrow and return refillable cups in a bid to help cut waste and tackle “throwaway” culture.

Customers buying hot takeaway drinks from Starbucks will have the option to borrow a free reusable cup instead of using a paper cup, which they can then drop off at a designated point before boarding their flight.

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Categories: Environment

Midwest Flooding Harms Farmer's Yields

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2019/06/09 - 2:24pm

Rain and flooding have made growing conditions difficult for crops like corn. NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Matt Boucher, a farmer in Dwight, Ill., about how the weather has affected his crops.

Categories: Environment
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