Environment

Second appeal rejected in battle over Arnhem Land bauxite royalties

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/23 - 12:02am

Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation vows to continue fight against the Northern Land Council after another legal setback

A long-running court battle involving two powerful Indigenous clans and the Northern Land Council is set to continue after the federal court again rejected an appeal by one group seeking a better split of mining royalties.

The Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation, of north-east Arnhem Land, has vowed to continue its fight after the setback. It first launched legal action against the Northern Land Council (NLC) in 2014 after a dispute between RAC and the rival Gumatj clan over royalties from the Gove bauxite mine and refinery failed to reach a resolution.

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Categories: Environment

Two quit Australian climate authority blaming government 'extremists'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 11:30pm

John Quiggin and Danny Price resign over Coalition’s ‘rightwing anti-science activists’ and climate change political point-scoring

Two members of the Climate Change Authority have resigned, with one accusing the government of being beholden to rightwing, anti-science “extremists” in its own party and in the media.

John Quiggin told Guardian Australia he informed the federal minister for environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, of his resignation on Thursday. It follows the resignation of fellow climate change authority member, Danny Price, who quit on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

Night parrot sighting confirmed in Western Australia for first time in 100 years

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 10:46pm

Birdwatchers ‘elated’ after snapping photo of the endangered species in state’s arid interior in discovery that could significantly impact on mining developments

A night parrot has been photographed in Western Australia, adding another twist to the mysterious history of the species that was presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in Queensland four years ago.

It is the first verified sighting of the bird in WA for almost 100 years and follows a history of unverified sightings, disbelieved reports and futile ecological surveys that rivals the hunt for the (presumably still) extinct Thylacine in Tasmania.

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Categories: Environment

Prickly nettles made pliant for the pot

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 10:30pm

Sandy, Bedfordshire Tiny spears pierce my trousers and the skin of my knee, releasing toxins that tingle with fiery heat

Under a hawthorn hedge and all along the bank grows one of Britain’s most feared and reviled plants. I kneel down before it and feel its power. Its hairs, just a few millimetres long and looking like icicle spears, have pierced both my trousers and the skin of my knee, releasing toxins that tingle with fiery heat.

Even so, I reach out to grasp one of these plants between thumb and forefinger. I have come not to curse nettles, but to pick them, for their stinging hairs have no answer to gardening gloves, and their ferocious leaves can be tamed in a saucepan.

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Categories: Environment

More than half Australian snake bite deaths since 2000 occurred at victim’s home

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 5:41pm

Almost three-quarters of the 35 victims were male, and 20% were bitten while trying to pick up or kill snake

More than half of the deaths caused by snake bites in Australia since 2000 have occurred in or around the victim’s home, a nationwide review has found.

The coronial-based retrospective study of fatalities from January 2000 to December 2016 found that, of the 35 deaths recorded by the National Coronial Information Service, 16 were a direct result of the bite.

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Categories: Environment

Maine lawmaker seeks discrimination protection for climate change deniers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 4:24pm

State representative introduced a bill that would limit the state attorney general’s ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech

Maine laws protect people from discrimination based on factors such as race, disabilities and sexual orientation, and a Republican lawmaker wants to add a person’s beliefs about climate change to that list.

State representative Larry Lockman has introduced a bill that would limit the state attorney general’s ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change. It would also prohibit the state from making decisions on buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based on a person’s “climate change policy preferences”.

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Categories: Environment

Arctic ice falls to record winter low after polar 'heatwaves'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 11:00am

Extent of ice over North pole has fallen to a new wintertime low, for the third year in a row, as climate change drives freakish weather

The extent of Arctic ice has fallen to a new wintertime low, as climate change drives freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions.

The ice cap grows during the winter months and usually reaches its maximum in early March. But the 2017 maximum was 14.4m sq km, lower than any year in the 38-year satellite record, according to researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) and Nasa.

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Categories: Environment

Congress Rolls Back Obama-Era Rule On Hunting Bears And Wolves In Alaska

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 10:09am

The Senate voted Tuesday to lift a 2016 ban on certain hunting practices — like trapping and aerial shooting — on national wildlife refuges there. Now the bill heads to President Trump to be signed.

(Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Why More Farmers Are Making The Switch To Grass-Fed Meat And Dairy

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 7:11am

Advocates of grass-grazing cattle say it's better for the environment and the animals. But there's another upside: Grass-fed meat and dairy fetch a premium that can help small farms stay viable.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maple Hill Creamery)

Categories: Environment

Thames Water hit with record £20m fine for huge sewage leaks

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 6:37am

Massive fine reflects change in sentencing as previously low penalties failed to deter water firms from polluting England’s rivers and beaches

Thames Water has been hit with a record fine of £20.3m after huge leaks of untreated sewage into the Thames and its tributaries and on to land, including the popular Thames path. The prolonged leaks led to serious impacts on residents, farmers, and wildlife, killing birds and fish.

The fine imposed on Wednesday was for numerous offences in 2013 and 2014 at sewage treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a large sewage pumping station at Littlemore.

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Categories: Environment

Honduras, where defending nature is a deadly business

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 4:00am

In the first in a series, Yale Environment 360 reports from Honduras where Berta Cáceres fought to protect native lands and paid for it with her life – one of hundreds of victims in this disturbing global trend

They came for her late one evening last March, as Berta Cáceres prepared for bed. A heavy boot broke the back door of the safe house she had just moved into. Her colleague and family friend, Gustavo Castro, heard her shout, “Who’s there?” Then came a series of shots. He survived. But the most famous and fearless social and environmental activist in Honduras died instantly. She was 44 years old. It was a cold-blooded political assassination.

Berta Cáceres knew she was likely to be killed. Everybody knew. She had told her daughter Laura to prepare for life without her. The citation for her prestigious Goldman Environmental prize, awarded in the US less than a year before, noted the continued death threats, before adding: “Her murder would not surprise her colleagues, who keep a eulogy – but hope to never have to use it.”

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Categories: Environment

Will China's children solve its crippling water shortage problem?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 3:35am

China is home to 21% of the world’s population but just 7% of its freshwater. One NGO teaches young people to make tackling water scarcity a priority

In Beijing’s Tongzhou Number Six school, around 100 impeccably-behaved middle school students are being lectured about water.

The visiting teacher tells them that, among other things, they should take shorter showers, buy less clothes, eat less meat and drink tea rather than coffee, to help alleviate China’s water scarcity problems.

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Categories: Environment

Sheffield tree protesters to take legal action against police

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 3:19am

Protesters detained for trying to stop contractors from chopping down trees to challenge legality of their arrest

Fourteen campaigners arrested in a dispute over tree-felling in Sheffield are to take legal action against South Yorkshire police.

The protesters, who include a Green party councillor and university academics, were detained under trade union legislation for preventing council contractors from chopping down roadside trees.

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Categories: Environment

Global warming is increasing rainfall rates | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 3:00am

A new study looks at the complex relationship between global warming and increased precipitation

The world is warming because humans are emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases. We know this for certain; the science on this question is settled. Humans emit greenhouse gases, those gases should warm the planet, and we know the planet is warming. All of those statements are settled science.

Okay so what? Well, we would like to know what the implications are. Should we do something about it or not? How should we respond? How fast will changes occur? What are the costs of action compared to inaction? These are all areas of active research.

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Categories: Environment

Coal in 'freefall' as new power plants dive by two-thirds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/22 - 1:25am

Green groups’ report says move to cleaner energy in China and India is discouraging the building of coal-fired units

The amount of new coal power being built around the world fell by nearly two-thirds last year, prompting campaigners to claim the polluting fossil fuel was in freefall.

The dramatic decline in new coal-fired units was overwhelmingly due to policy shifts in China and India and subsequent declining investment prospects, according to a report by Greenpeace, the US-based Sierra Club and research network CoalSwarm.

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Categories: Environment

Princess Anne backs GM crops and livestock – unlike Prince Charles

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 11:03pm

Anne says she would farm GM food and GM livestock a ‘bonus’, while Charles says GM crops will cause ‘biggest disaster environmentally of all time’

Princess Anne has strongly backed genetically modified crops, saying she would grow them on her own land and that GM livestock would be a “bonus”.

Her stance puts her sharply at odds with her brother Prince Charles, who has long opposed GM food and has said it will cause the “biggest disaster environmentally of all time”.

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Categories: Environment

Water spins into a million bubbles filled with light

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 10:30pm

The Long Mynd, Shropshire The sound of Light Spout waterfall seems, at first, to be all roar and splash

To stand in the stream under the Light Spout is to be drenched in sound and mesmerised by light. Through a narrow cleft, water gathered from bogs on the plateau of the Long Mynd plunges 20ft over the rock face into a shallow pool before roiling down the stream of Carding Mill valley.

The sky is grey, there is bite left in the season and a fine drizzle lowers between hills. Shale ledges break the flow of water; it spins into a million bubbles filled with light so that, on a day like this, it looks like the ghostly Lady in White, a shimmering apparition.

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Categories: Environment

Carbon fibre: the wonder material with a dirty secret

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 10:00pm

Researchers are scrambling for ways to get the strong, light material out of landfill and make it ready for recycling and reuse

Carbon fibre is increasingly celebrated as a wonder material for the clean economy. Its unique combination of high strength and low weight has helped drive the wind power revolution and make planes more fuel efficient.

Carbon fibre turbine blades can be longer and more rigid than traditional fibreglass models, making them more resilient at sea and more efficient in less breezy conditions.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 8:50pm

The Flame Refluxer is essentially a big copper blanket: think Brillo pad of wool sandwiched between mesh. Using it while burning off oil yields less air pollution and residue that harms marine life.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Categories: Environment

Cane toad that may have 'hitchhiked' to Mount Kosciuszko prompts disease fears

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/03/21 - 7:39pm

National Parks and Wildlife Service says amphibian chytrid fungus could affect endangered frog species

The discovery of a cane toad that may have “hitchhiked” to Mount Kosciuszko has prompted concerns about the spread of dangerous diseases to native frog species.

The dead cane toad was found by the side of the road at Charlotte Pass earlier this month, near a popular viewing platform that looks out to Australia’s highest mountain and the surrounding alpine high country.

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Categories: Environment
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