Sweden's highest point set to lose title as glacier melts

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/01 - 10:32am

Glacier on the southern tip of Kebnekaise mountain shrinks due to record Arctic temperatures

Sweden’s highest peak, a glacier on the southern tip of the Kebnekaise mountain, is melting due to record hot Arctic temperatures and is no longer the nation’s tallest point, scientists said on Wednesday. “I’ve never seen this much melted snow on the southern peak as I did this summer,” said Gunhild Rosqvist, a Stockholm University geography professor.

Related: Extreme global weather is 'the face of climate change' says leading scientist

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Categories: Environment

Pets displaced by California fires find a 'little bit of home' at strip mall

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/01 - 10:27am

Shasta Gateway mall outside Redding, California, is hosting about 463 animals and an army of 400 volunteers

At first glance, the Shasta Gateway mall outside Redding, California looks like any other American strip mall: a cracked, sun-beaten parking lot; a pizza place; a cell phone store. Except every time a door opens, the sound of yips and yelps leaks out.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as the Carr fire has swept across the far north of California, resulting in at least six deaths. While humans had designated places to go during the evacuation, many of their animals did not; several shelters did not accept pets.

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Categories: Environment

Last year was warmest ever that didn't feature an El Niño, report finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/01 - 9:08am

State of the climate report found 2017 was the third warmest with a record high sea level and destructive coral bleaching

Last year was the warmest ever recorded on Earth that didn’t feature an El Niño, a periodic climatic event that warms the Pacific Ocean, according to the annual state of the climate report by 500 climate scientists from around the world, overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and released by the American Meteorological Society.

Related: Rising temperatures linked to increased suicide rates

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Categories: Environment

Surrounded by fire, California politicians question links to climate change

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 10:00pm

As Carr fire claims lives and homes in pro-Trump area, local residents reject science: ‘It’s bull’

At a public meeting not far from the California town of Redding last year, the US congressman Doug LaMalfa said that he “didn’t buy” human-made climate change.

“I think there’s a lot of bad science behind what people are calling global warming,” he said on another occasion.

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Categories: Environment

Coles backs down on banning free plastic bags

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 7:13pm

Greenpeace say supermarket’s decision to continue providing reusable plastic bags is irresponsible and disappointing

Coles has reversed its decision to stop providing free plastic bags to shoppers, saying some need more time to adjust to the switch to reusable bags.

The supermarket banned single-use plastic bags on 1 July and told customers they would have to pay 15c for thicker, reusable bags. But then it began handing out the thicker bags for free in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia as it gave customers time to adjust.

It was meant to stop providing its reusable Better Bags for free on 1 August but has now gone back on that decision and appears set to provide them indefinitely. The thinner, single-use bags at Coles remain unavailable.

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Categories: Environment

After Calf's Death, Orca Mother Carries It For Days In 'Tragic Tour Of Grief'

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 2:54pm

What began as a moment of joy ended in tragedy when the infant died last week. Since then its mother has refused to let go, holding her child tightly in what experts call a moving expression of grief.

(Image credit: Michael Weiss/Center for Whale Research via AP)

Categories: Environment

To Combat Rhino Poaching, Dogs Are Giving South African Park Rangers A Crucial Assist

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 2:53pm

Anti-poaching rangers have sophisticated resources at their command. But one of the most effective is strikingly low-tech. "Since we use dogs, the guys can't hide from us anymore," says a trainer.

(Image credit: David Fuchs )

Categories: Environment

Wildfires More Common in Western U.S.

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 1:40pm

A century's worth of fire suppression in forests, drought and heat from climate change, and the "suburbanization" of the woods mean that fires like the Carr Fire in Redding, Calif., are the new norm.

Categories: Environment

Grieving Mother Orca Carries Dead Calf For More Than A Week, Over Hundreds Of Miles

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 1:19pm

The calf was the first to be born in the endangered pod of Pacific Northwest killer whales in three years.

(Image credit: Taylor Shedd/Soundwatch, taken under NMFS MMPA permit #21114)

Categories: Environment

Eight of 18 water firms fail to meet targets on tackling leaks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 12:38pm

UK’s driest start to summer and freeze-thaw after cold snap in February and March blamed for problems

Water companies have been urged to “raise the bar” on tackling leaks during talks with Michael Gove, the environment secretary, after once again failing to meet targets.

The firms insisted they would do more and are planning “ambitious” new goals to reduce leakage by at least a further 15%.

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Categories: Environment

Adani lodges slimmed-down plan to expand Abbot Point coal terminal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 11:00am

Company says revamped plans would still allow Carmichael coalmine to go ahead but delay ‘significant capital expense’

Adani has applied to increase the export capacity at its Abbot Point coal terminal, allowing it to expand the port relatively quickly without the “significant capital expense” of its long-term expansion plans.

Plans lodged with the Queensland state development department on Tuesday show Adani wants to build a conveyor and transfer tower at Abbot Point “terminal one” to expand throughput by 10m tonnes a year.

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Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike heart of China by end of century

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 8:28am

The most populous region of the biggest polluter on Earth – China’s northern plain – will become uninhabitable in places if climate change is not curbed

The deadliest place on the planet for extreme future heatwaves will be the north China plain, one of the most densely populated regions in the world and the most important food-producing area in the huge nation.

New scientific research shows that humid heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike the area repeatedly towards the end of the century thanks to climate change, unless there are heavy cuts in carbon emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Gulf Of Alaska Cod Are Disappearing. Blame 'The Blob'

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 7:24am

The cod population in the Gulf of Alaska is at its lowest level on record. Scientists say the culprit is a warm-water mass known as "the blob."

(Image credit: Annie Feidt for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon | Phil McDuff

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 1:00am
The damage caused by our addiction to burning fossil fuels will be so widespread that nobody stands to gain

The year 2018 is on track to be the fourth warmest on record, beaten only by 2016, 2015 and 2017. In other words, we have had the warmest four-year run since we started measuring. According to data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), June 2018 is the 402nd consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average. The UK’s Environmental Audit Committee has warned that we could see summer temperatures reaching 38C by the 2040s, leading to a potential 7,000 heat-related deaths a year.

One hot summer does not a changing climate make, but the trend in the global data is now irrefutable. When Michael Mann published the “hockey stick” graph back in 1998, there was vociferous public pushback, yet the observed temperature rises match what Mann had predicted. Today’s hockey stick graph isn’t a forward projection but a historical record. The world has been getting hotter, and it will continue to do so. The only question now is how much hotter it gets.

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Categories: Environment

A piece of Alaskan paradise is at risk. Here's why we must save it | Kim Heacox

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/31 - 12:57am

The Tongass national forest is America’s premier temperate rainforest, but Sonny Perdue wants it open for business

Over the years, I’ve walked many visitors into the Tongass national forest in Alaska, and watched the city tinsel drop from their eyes. They often sit quietly and look around, and for the first time in a long time breathe from the bottom of their lungs.

I live here, I tell them.

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Categories: Environment

Allow nuclear waste disposal under national parks, say MPs

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 10:01pm

Safest site should be chosen regardless of location, committee says – but opponents call idea ‘outrageous’

Highly radioactive nuclear waste could be permanently buried under national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs), under government plans backed by a committee of MPs.

Deep geological burial is seen as the only permanent solution for nuclear waste that will remain radioactive for many thousands of years and is currently stored at surface sites across the UK. Ministers’ attempts to choose a site in Cumbria for the £12bn facility were foiled in 2013 when the county council rejected the proposal.

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Categories: Environment

As California burns, many fear the future of extreme fire has arrived

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 10:00pm

Experts say the state’s increasingly ferocious wildfires are not an aberration – they are the new reality

Roger Gray has lived in his suburban subdivision in a quiet California city for 30 years. On Thursday, it was struck by a jaw-dropping geophysical phenomenon.

Gray had defied orders to evacuate Redding, in the far north of the state, which was threatened by the fast-growing Carr fire outside town. He and his neighbors wanted to defend their homes. A navy veteran, Gray worked 10 hours preparing his house and was already exhausted when he saw plumes of smoke in the distance. “Then they started to swirl together, and I’m going, ‘Oh, we’re in trouble,’” he said.

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Categories: Environment

Timor-Leste a mecca for whales, but they face threats | Johnny Langenheim

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 9:00pm

One third of all cetacean species are found in the waters off Timor-Leste, but measures are needed to protect them

Olive Andrews believes Timor Leste could be one of the best destinations in the world for whale watching. The research scientist with a particular interest in cetaceans drew this conclusion when she joined a survey team assessing the coastal waters north of Timor-Leste in October 2016. “I’ve never seen such a biomass of cetaceans in such a small geography,” she says. “We encountered 2287 cetaceans from 11 species, including superpods of up to 600 individuals.”

There are 90 distinct species of cetacean – and at least 30 of them occur in Timor-Leste. These include both local populations like melon-headed whales and spinner dolphins, and migratory species such as humpbacks and pygmy blue whales. Managed properly, whale tourism could generate significant income for Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest – and poorest – nations.

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Livestock treatment may offer solution to antibiotics crisis, say scientists

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 5:01pm

Dosing animals with antibodies from their own immune systems could prevent illness and reduce the need for antibiotics

Using animals’ own immune systems may provide a way to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in farming, replacing the drugs with cheap farm byproducts and cutting the growing risk of resistance to common medicines, new research has suggested.

Natural antibodies, produced by the immune system without previous infection, in animals and humans, can protect the body against harmful bacteria. They are present in some usually unconsidered farm byproducts, such as the whey left over from milk production, and they could be administered to animals easily in feed.

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Categories: Environment

San Francisco Is Poised To Ban Plastic Straws. That's Got Bubble Tea Shops Worried

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 2:41pm

Over 200 city shops sell the drink, also known as boba tea, which features large tapioca balls meant to be sucked through a straw. Boba shops say paper straws are much pricier and don't work as well.

(Image credit: Samantha Shanahan/KQED)

Categories: Environment
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