Uproar on chic Côte d’Amour as Brittany resort fears privatisation of golden sands

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/05/20 - 4:03pm
Beach businesses in La Baule, celebrated by F Scott Fitzgerald, say ‘absurd’ rules threaten its future

In the chic French seaside town of La Baule, the tourist season has not yet started. The Côte d’Amour resort known for its long beach, Anglo-Norman villas and palatial hotels is preparing for the invasion of French and foreign holidaymakers that will swell the 16,000 local population almost a hundredfold.

In his 1922 collection of short stories, Tales of the Jazz Age, F Scott Fitzgerald described La Baule, on France’s Atlantic coast in southern Brittany, as a haven of good taste and refinement. “At the Palace in La Baule we felt raucous amidst so much chic restraint. Children bronzed on the bare blue-white beach while the tide went out so far as to leave them crabs and starfish to dig for in the sands,” he wrote.

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Categories: Environment

Gannets, puffins, kittiwakes: birds at risk in Scottish windfarm surge

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/05/20 - 4:02pm
After a long legal battle, 335 turbines will now be built in Scottish waters

In the waters of the North Sea a few miles off Scotland’s east coast, a nine-year battle has been raging that threatens a fragile and unique environmental equilibrium. The struggle has made mortal enemies of two huge lobbies that share a passionate commitment to the environment.

On one side are the developers of four vast windfarms comprising 335 turbines, which are planned for the waters of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. The windfarms are backed by the Scottish government, which regards renewable wind energy as key to the economic future. Pitched against them is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which claims the scale of the developments threatens the existence of some of Scotland’s best-loved species of seabird.

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Categories: Environment

Experts reject Bjørn Lomborg's view on 2C warming target

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/05/20 - 3:02pm

Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Centre says investment in keeping temperature rises below 2C would return less than $1 for every $1 spent

Experts have challenged a claim by Bjørn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Centre that holding global temperature rises to 2C is a poor investment.

In 2015 the education department abandoned plans for Lomborg to set up an Australian Consensus Centre, but gave the Copenhagen centre $640,000 to support its Smarter UN Post-2015 Development Goals project.

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Categories: Environment

In Washington, D.C., A Program In Which Birds And People Lift Each Other Up

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/05/20 - 10:44am

For 25 years, the Earth Conservation Corps has been cleaning up the capital's polluted Anacostia River. Volunteers have turned their lives around and now work to help others do the same.

(Image credit: Claire Harbage/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Why Do Journalists Love Reporting On The Everglades?

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/05/20 - 5:02am

The Florida Everglades is known for its beauty, and recently for its pythons. Efforts are accelerating to rid the ecosystem of the pesky invasive species. It's a huge story ... for journalists.

Categories: Environment

Urban beasts: how wild animals have moved into cities

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/05/20 - 1:30am
Rome has a problem with wild boar; wolves mingle with surburban Germans; mountain lions frequent LA. All around the world, city life seems increasingly conducive to wildlife

In Aesop’s fable, the town mouse turns his nose up at his country cousin’s simple fare, preferring the haute cuisine to be scavenged in the city. It appears that the wild boar of Italy have taken note, and are venturing ever more boldly into Rome.

But they are not alone: all around the world, city life seems to be increasingly conducive to wildlife. Urban nature is no longer unglamorous feral pigeons or urban foxes. Wolves have taken up residence in parts of suburban Germany as densely populated as Cambridge or Newcastle. The highest density of peregrine falcons anywhere in the world is New York; the second highest is London, and these spectacular birds of prey now breed in almost every major British city. And all kinds of wild deer are rampaging through London, while also taking up residence everywhere from Nara in Japan to the Twin Cities of the US.

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Categories: Environment

First hay fever map of Britain offers some relief to sufferers

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 10:01pm

Scientists have produced detailed maps showing where plants known to trigger allergies grow

Sufferers could have relief from runny noses, sneezing and itchy eyes as scientists have developed the first ever hay fever map of Britain.

The new, highly-detailed maps of the UK contain the location of key plants and trees known to produce pollen that triggers allergies and asthma.

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Categories: Environment

Sap is rising on the shimmering heath

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 9:30pm

Mockbeggar, New Forest Tiny, parched, sorrels streak the ground with red but there is feverish activity in the ditch

From Moyles Court, a fine 17th-century house that is now a private school, we set off up the slope with paddocks on either side. Leaving the Avon Valley Path, we cut the corner of Newlands Plantation, and climb steadily uphill along the woodland edge. Rhododendron ponticum infests part of the margin, with the blooms of young plants announcing their colonisation of the adjacent open ground.

Related: For a beetle at risk, what better place to be?

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Categories: Environment

Government may fund South African mine that would compete with Adani

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 5:27pm

Report questions why taxpayers should finance the project, which would have an export edge over Australia’s coal ports

An Australian government agency is considering a multi-million dollar loan to a South African coal mine that would be in direct competition with the Adani Carmichael coal mine.

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Categories: Environment

Mine craft: why BHP's strategic overhaul could help repel a hedge fund predator

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 3:19pm

BHP’s new image could appeal to the patriotism of its Australian shareholders and help rebuff Elliott Advisors’ advances

It’s been a big week for BHP Billiton. For one thing, it’s not even called that any more. As part of its “Think Big” rebranding theme, the world’s biggest mining company opted to shed the Billiton moniker it acquired in a 2001 merger with a Dutch-South African company and revert to its previous true-blue Aussie name.

BHP says the rebranding – complete with TV ads about how seven ordinary blokes in the outback founded what is now a global business worth $A94bn (£54bn) – is part of a long-term plan started 18 months ago to reconnect with communities. “The timing now is good but we don’t look at it as an event,” the company’s chief external affairs officer, Geoff Healy, says. “This is a clean brand change for the company.”

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Categories: Environment

'Doomsday' seed vault, new plants and a plague of plastic – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 9:39am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 8:39am

No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

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Categories: Environment

Live Q&A: What impact is human development having on the world’s elephant populations?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 8:37am

The conflict between humans and elephants for space and resources is driving the rapid decline of elephant populations. Join us on Wednesday 24 May from 1-2.30pm BST to discuss how elephants and humans can live together

This week an elderly man was killed by a wild elephant in central India as he picked tendu leaves in the Surajpur forest. A few days earlier, a father and his son were injured after two elephants wandered into their house in Tamil Nadu. As human populations grow and communities live in closer proximity to elephants, one of the world’s most unique and beautiful animals can become the most dangerous.

But human development is also contributing to the severe decline in elephant populations. Across Asia and Africa, elephants’ natural habitats are being destroyed by rapid urbanisation and industrial and agricultural expansion.

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Categories: Environment

Obese Thai monkey who got big on tourists' junk food placed on strict diet

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 8:14am
  • Monkey nicknamed ‘Uncle Fat’ weighs 26kg – three times more than he should
  • ‘He had minions and other monkeys bringing food for him,’ veterinarian says

A morbidly obese wild monkey who gorged himself on junk food and soda left behind by tourists has been rescued and placed on a strict diet of lean protein, fruits and vegetables.

Wildlife officials caught the chunky monkey – nicknamed “Uncle Fat” by locals – after photos of the animal started circulating on social media last month.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 6:00am

Tasmanian devils, a Saimaa ringed seal and a white wolf are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Study: inspiring action on climate change is more complex than you might think | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 3:00am

People have to grasp how climate change impacts them, and we need to value environmentally sound behavior

We know humans are causing climate change. That is a fact that has been known for well over 100 years. We also know that there will be significant social and economic costs from the effects. In fact, the effects are already appearing in the form of more extreme weather, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and so on.

So why haven’t humans done much about the problem? Answering that question may be more challenging than the basic science of a changing climate. Fortunately, a new review just out in Science helps us with this question. Lead author, Dr. Elise Amel, a colleague of mine, completed the review with colleagues Drs. Christie Manning, Britain Scott, and Susan Koger. Rather than focusing solely on the problems with communicating the science of climate change, this work takes a wider view on the hurdles that get in the way of meaningful action.

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Categories: Environment

Anti-smog bikes: could pedal power clean China's polluted air?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 2:37am

The bikes designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde would suck in polluted air, using positive ionisation to purify it, before releasing it back into the atmosphere

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has announced the next phase of his Smog Free Project: a bike that sucks in polluted air and releases purified air in a cloud around the cyclist.

According to Roosegaarde, whose design firm Studio Roosegaarde has offices in both Rotterdam and Beijing, the idea for his Smog Free Project came just over three years ago, as he gazed out of his Beijing apartment’s window. On a Saturday, the city skyline is visible; on weekdays, it’s shrouded in smog.

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Categories: Environment

Public To EPA On Cutting Regulations: 'No!'

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 1:38am

The Environmental Protection Agency asked for public input on "job-killing regulations" and has received more than 28,000 comments, many of which urge the agency not to roll back protections.

(Image credit: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc.)

Categories: Environment

Woodside says it was behind oil spill that regulator kept secret

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/19 - 12:01am

The company reported a leak from a well off the coast of Western Australia to Nopsema last year, and says there was no lasting impact on the environment

Woodside Petroleum has confirmed it was behind an oil spill off the coast of Western Australia that was kept secret by the regulator for more than a year.

The company said on Friday that it reported a leak from a well in the Cossack field on the North West Shelf to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) in April 2016.

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Categories: Environment

Great white shark study could be used to drop protected status, Greens warn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/18 - 11:18pm

Government may justify delisting the threatened species or order a cull despite its treaty obligations, senator says

A scientific study of great white shark numbers could be used by the government to justify delisting the species as threatened or ordering a cull despite international treaty obligations, the Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson has warned.

Whish-Wilson, who is chairing a committee inquiring into shark mitigation and deterrence, has accused the Liberals of politicising recent deaths in Western Australia, including that of 17-year old Laeticia Brouwer through their calls to end protection of great whites.

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Categories: Environment
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