Environment

New York City just declared war on the oil industry | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 5:24am

The home of Wall Street announced on Wednesday that it will be divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels. That hits fossil fuel giants where it hurts


Over the years, the capital of the fight against climate change has been Kyoto, or Paris – that’s where the symbolic political agreements to try and curb the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions have been negotiated and signed. But now, New York City vaulted to leadership in the battle.

On Wednesday, its leaders, at a press conference in a neighborhood damaged over five years ago by Hurricane Sandy, announced that the city was divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels, and added for good measure that they were suing the five biggest oil companies for damages. Our planet’s most important city was now at war with its richest industry. And overnight, the battle to save the planet shifted from largely political to largely financial.

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Categories: Environment

Theresa May proposes plastic-free supermarket aisles in green strategy

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 5:07am

PM declares war on scourge of plastic waste as she unveils much-heralded 25-year environmental plan

Theresa May has announced a war on plastic waste, with proposed policies including plastics-free aisles in supermarkets and a tax on takeaway containers.

The prime minister set out her ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years in a speech on Thursday in which she promised the UK would lead internationally on environmental issues. But campaign groups said the aspirations would need to be backed up by legislation.

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Categories: Environment

Florida Receives Offshore Drilling Exemption; Others Want It, Too

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 3:01am

In Florida, some are calling the Trump administration's announcement that the state is exempt from a plan to expand offshore drilling a political stunt to help Gov. Rick Scott.

Categories: Environment

California in revolt: how the progressive state plans to foil the Trump agenda

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 3:00am

From immigration to the environment and recreational cannabis, state leaders and activists are finding paths to circumvent the administration. Will it work?

California prides itself on being first with progressive laws on climate change, labor rights and marijuana. In 2018, the Golden State’s “firsts” are defensive – bold proposals and legal maneuvers to protect citizens from Donald Trump.

State leaders have pushed legislation and lawsuits to circumvent and undo Trump’s agenda on immigration, the environment, internet freedom and other liberal causes. One of the most consequential victories came Tuesday when a judge in San Francisco blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end a program that allows 800,000 undocumented people to study and work in the US.

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Categories: Environment

Insect declines: new alarm over mayfly is ‘tip of iceberg’, warn experts

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 11:30pm

Modest pollution in many English rivers is enough to kill 80% of eggs, increasing concerns over insects which are vital to all ecosystems

Modest levels of pollution found in many English rivers are having a devastating impact on mayflies, new research suggests, killing about 80% of all eggs.

Clouds of emerging mayflies were once a regular sight on English summer evenings and they are a key part of the food chain that supports fish, birds and mammals. The finding that even pollution well below guidelines can cause serious harm adds to concerns about plummeting insect numbers.

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Categories: Environment

Big new renewable projects planned across Australia as Tesla effect hits

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 11:20pm

Following the success of Elon Musk’s 100-megawatt battery in South Australia, another battery and renewable power plant are in the works

Australia’s renewable energy sector responds to the success of South Australia’s Tesla lithium ion battery. South Australia will build the world’s largest solar thermal plant, and a Queensland wind farm may be the site of a new record-breaking battery.

The Aurora solar plant in Port Augusta, SA, will begin construction this year, and is slated to provide 100% of the state government’s electricity needs by 2020, the state’s acting energy minister, Chris Picton, announced on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Beak fitness: New Zealand develops roadside gym for endangered keas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 7:05pm

Conservationists want to stop the birds – dubbed the world’s smartest parrot – from wandering onto roads and begging humans for food

Bird experts in New Zealand have designed a special gym for the country’s playful alpine parrot to keep them away from some of the nation’s most dangerous roads.

For the last couple of years contractors working on the road to Milford Sound in the South Island have captured footage of keas moving their road cones and equipment into the middle of the road when the workers knocked off overnight.

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Categories: Environment

Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before boiling

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 6:35pm

Government bans the practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water amid fears the animals can feel pain

The Swiss government has ordered an end to the common culinary practice of throwing lobsters into boiling water while they are still alive, ruling that they must be knocked out before they are killed.

As part of a wider overhaul of Swiss animal protection laws, Bern said that as of 1 March, “the practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water, which is common in restaurants, is no longer permitted”.

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Categories: Environment

BBC follows Blue Planet II with hard-hitting nature documentaries

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 5:01pm

David Attenborough’s landmark series inspires programmes exploring the impact of plastics and textiles on environment

The BBC is to show two major documentaries about challenges facing the environment, and a landmark series in which animals are followed for more than two years, as it looks to build on the extraordinary success of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II.

Drowning in Plastic will air on BBC1 and explore the damage that plastic is doing to the environment – an issue raised by Blue Planet II – while The Truth About What You Wear will investigate the impact of the clothing industry on the environment and wildlife.

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Categories: Environment

Deadly California mudslide 'like Niagara falls' as hills turn to rivers of debris

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 2:30pm

At least 17 people have been killed, with the death toll expected to rise, after heavy rains caused a violent mudslide exacerbated by recent wildfire damage

The mud cascaded down scorched, blackened slopes still blanketed with ash. With no trees or vegetation to slow the surge it swept rocks and boulders from the Verdugo mountains into a thunderous river.

Jeannette Abney, 88, watched in horror not believing slopes could so quickly turn to sludge and so quickly surround her home in La Tuna canyon.

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Categories: Environment

Florida Officials Struggling To Find Affordable Housing For Locals Months After Hurricane Irma

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 2:27pm

With trailer parks destroyed and hundreds of homes ruined by Hurricane Irma, rents have skyrocketed and housing has become unaffordable for many in the Florida Keys. Local officials are scrambling to find ways to provide low-cost rentals affordable for waitresses, fishing guides and others vital to the area's tourist economy.

Categories: Environment

Search Continues For Hundreds After Mudslides In Southern California

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 2:27pm

Emergency responders in Southern California are working to rescue hundreds of people who have been cut off by mud and debris, following a powerful winter storm.

Categories: Environment

'Butterfly Tongues' Are More Ancient Than Flowers, Fossil Study Finds

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 12:33pm

Scientists have discovered the proboscis butterflies use to suck nectar from flowers existed before flowers did. So: What were ancient butterflies using their long, tongue-like suckers for?

(Image credit: Hossein Rajaei/Science Advances)

Categories: Environment

New York City plans to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue oil companies

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 11:35am

Mayor Bill de Blasio: ‘It’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient’

New York City is seeking to lead the assault on climate change and the Trump administration with a plan to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue the world’s most powerful oil companies over their contribution to dangerous global warming.

Related: Hurricanes and heatwaves: stark signs of climate change 'new normal'

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Categories: Environment

Coastal states to Trump: why is Florida exempt from drilling and not us?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 11:17am

Ryan Zinke confirmed Florida would be exempt from massive offshore plan – which other states claim is simply a favor for Republican governor Rick Scott

Governors of coastal states have urged the Trump administration to scrap its plan to usher oil and gas drilling into almost all US waters, in an unusual bipartisan backlash against the surprise proposal itself – and the controversial twist that suddenly saw Florida, alone, excused from going along with it.

Related: Trump administration won't allow oil drilling off Florida coast

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Categories: Environment

New round of oil drilling goes deeper into Ecuador's Yasuní national park

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 10:30am

State oil company starts second phase of drilling in one of the world’s most biodiverse hotspots

Ecuador’s state oil company has begun drilling the first of 97 planned wells inside a new field of the Yasuní national park, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

The opening of the Tambococha-2 well has triggered fierce criticism from conservationists, who say President Lenín Moreno is backtracking on a promise to protect the Amazon and pay greater heed to the opinion of indigenous groups.

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Categories: Environment

Minerals Council of Australia kicks off coal power campaign despite BHP ​threat

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 10:00am

Lobby group aims to curb ‘misinformation from urban activists’ to show ‘potential of Australian minerals sector’

The Minerals Council of Australia will continue hawking the benefits of coal-fired technologies, despite resources giant BHP threatening to pull out of the organisation over previous campaigns.

The lobby group says it is hoping to counteract “misinformation from urban activists”.

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Categories: Environment

China on track to lead in renewables as US retreats, report says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 8:08pm

IEEFA report says China will dominate international investment in renewable technology over the next several decades

China is moving towards becoming a global leader in renewable technology as the US pulls away, a new report has said.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and still invests in coal but in recent years it has become the largest investor in domestic renewable energy. The country is now on track to lead international investment in the sector, according to the report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

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Categories: Environment

Interior Secretary Zinke: Florida Offshore Oil Drilling Is 'Off The Table'

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 7:06pm

Zinke cites a request from Gov. Rick Scott and his argument that the state relies on tourism. Critics note the state is rich in electoral votes and other states also rely on tourism.

(Image credit: Lynne Sladky/AP)

Categories: Environment

Trump administration won't allow oil drilling off Florida coast

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 5:50pm

In an abrupt reversal after announcing plans to expand offshore oil drilling, administration bows to opposition from Republican Florida governor

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would not allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida, abruptly reversing course under pressure from the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott.

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke said after a brief meeting with Scott that drilling would be “off the table” when it comes to waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean off Florida.

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Categories: Environment
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