As Ban On Plastic Straws Spreads, Demand For Paper Alternatives Increases

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 2:12pm

Orders for paper straws are skyrocketing as bans for the plastic ones multiply. David Rhodes of Aardvark Straws tells NPR's Ailsa Chang his paper straw business is booming.

Categories: Environment

California Allocates $3 Billion For New Water Storage Projects

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

California is putting almost $3 billion toward new water storage projects to help preserve its crops during droughts. Some say that money should go to dams and reservoirs, but others want a less environmentally problematic approach.

Categories: Environment

World's largest king penguin colony has declined by 90%

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 1:50pm

Number of king penguins on the remote Île aux Cochons has fallen from 2m to 200,000, warn scientists

The planet’s largest colony of king penguins has declined by nearly 90% in three decades, researchers have warned.

The last time scientists set foot on France’s remote Île aux Cochons – roughly half way between the tip of Africa and Antarctica – the island was blanketed by 2m of the penguins, which stand about a metre tall.

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Categories: Environment

Deadly Carr Wildfire Testing Resources Of Local Officials In Northern California

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 1:48pm

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Kristen Schreder, mayor of Redding, Calif., for the latest on the deadly Carr wildfire raging through Northern California.

Categories: Environment

Victoria's ‘major’ concerns may prevent it signing national energy guarantee

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 1:00pm

‘Turnbull is trying to get us to sign something that hasn’t gone to his own party room – a place full of climate sceptics,’ says Victoria’s energy minister

Victoria is continuing to express “major” concerns about the federal government’s national energy guarantee before make-or-break discussions on the proposal in August.

The state’s energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio argues it would be a leap of faith to sign up when the Coalition party room is yet to formally tick off on the emissions reduction component of the Neg, and when federal government MPs are acting like “coal ideologues”.

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Categories: Environment

Meet The Restaurateurs Fighting To Save The Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 5:02am

Hell's Backbone Grill is an acclaimed restaurant founded nearly 20 years ago at the edge of the Utah monument. Now, amid controversy, its owners are battling Trump's plans to downsize the land.

(Image credit: Ace Kvale)

Categories: Environment

Changing Climate Pushes Arid West Eastward, Impacting Farming

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 4:37am

The 100th meridian has long divided the U.S. into an arid West and more humid East. Research suggests a warming climate is pushing that boundary east, shaking up agricultural economies along the way.

Categories: Environment

America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/30 - 3:00am

While we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, America is giving the fossil fuel industry billions to extract more

Imagine that instead of taxing cigarettes, America subsidized the tobacco industry in order to make each pack of smokes cheaper.

A report from Oil Change International (OCI) investigated American energy industry subsidies and found that in 2015–2016, the federal government provided $14.7bn per year to the oil, gas, and coal industries, on top of $5.8bn of state-level incentives (globally, the figure is around $500bn). And the report only accounted for production subsidies, excluding consumption subsidies (support to consumers to lower the cost of fossil fuel use – another $14.5bn annually) as well as the costs of carbon and other fossil fuel pollutants.

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Categories: Environment

Dizzying array of recycling symbols 'is confusing consumers'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 4:01pm

Which? says people often don’t understand various symbols found on packaging

A confusing array of symbols on household packaging is leaving consumers in the dark about what can be recycled, research reveals.

Nearly half of respondents to a survey carried out in the UK by consumer group Which? thought that products stamped with the so-called green dot (a circle of two intertwined arrows) were recyclable, when in fact it means only that a manufacturer has paid into a scheme that supports recyclable packaging and systems.

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Categories: Environment

Donald Trump's golf resort wrecked special nature site, reports reveal

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 12:25pm

US president’s broken promises have ruined a fragile dune system in Aberdeenshire

The spectacular dunes system picked by Donald Trump for his golf resort in Aberdeenshire has been “partially destroyed” as a result of the course’s construction, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed.

Scottish Natural Heritage, which has been under pressure for years to speak out on the issue, now acknowledges that serious damage has been done to the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Foveran Links on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen, since the course opened in 2012, the documents show.

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Categories: Environment

Josh Frydenberg flags two-stage talks to get energy guarantee over the line

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 11:00am

Exclusive: Minister floats proposal to win states’ sign-off on Neg mechanism before a second meeting to discuss emissions targets

Josh Frydenberg has flagged a two-stage process with state and territory ministers in an attempt to maximise the government’s chances of achieving sign-off for the national energy guarantee in August.

State sources have told Guardian Australia the commonwealth has floated a proposal where ministers would sign off on the detailed design of the Neg mechanism, including the emissions reduction components, at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments energy council long scheduled for 10 August.

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Categories: Environment

Beware China’s role in UK nuclear industry | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 9:50am
Jeffrey Henderson warns against Chinese state-owned firms playing a decisive part in one of our most strategically important industries

While we need to be concerned about China’s growing presence in Britain’s electricity generation (Nuclear power: China’s move into UK hints at scale of its wider ambitions, July 27), we should be asking searching questions of our government. They seem not to understand (or don’t care about) the nature of the companies they are dealing with.

Chinese state-owned enterprises are not like EDF or the German, Dutch and French state-owned firms that run our railways. They are dramatically different because China is governed by a Leninist state. Consequently, Chinese state firms are ultimately controlled not by the State Council’s State Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, but by the Communist party.

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Categories: Environment

Fate of new Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria in doubt

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 5:41am

Delay in sale of consortium behind plant leads Toshiba to lay off 100 UK project staff

Doubts have been raised over the fate of a new nuclear power station planned for Cumbria after it emerged that most of the project’s 100 UK staff had been laid off.

Toshiba has been trying to sell the NuGeneration consortium behind the Moorside plant since it had to write off billions of dollars because of problems with its US nuclear business last year.

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Categories: Environment

When The Weather Is Extreme, Is Climate Change To Blame?

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 5:02am

While it's difficult to attribute individual events to climate change, scientists say global warming makes extreme weather more common.

(Image credit: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Our scorched Earth needs voters to put more heat on their politicians | Andrew Rawnsley

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/07/29 - 12:00am

Britain won’t be unscathed by global warming. You can’t run from climate change and you can’t hide

Over the course of Britain’s sweltering summer, the landlord of the building inhabited by the Observer periodically informs us that our air conditioning is undergoing an “automated controlled shutdown” because the weather has become so hot and humid that the system is at risk of damaging itself. So just when you really need cooling air, you can’t have it. One to be filed under: you couldn’t make it up.

This is not uncommon. The offices, factories, homes, roads and railways of Britain were designed on the assumption that it is a country of blessedly temperate conditions, immune to extremes of heat and cold. When people say that Britain is not built to withstand a sizzling summer, this is more literally true than they may know.

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Categories: Environment

Facebook’s results suggest it is short of new users and goodwill

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/07/28 - 11:00pm
As more of the world logs on, the company is nearing saturation: so now it is spending on rebuilding its reputation

What’s bad for Facebook’s market cap might be good for society. That, at least, is what the company would like investors to take away from its disastrous second-quarter results, which triggered a fall in its stock-market valuation of almost $120bn (£92bn), the largest single loss of value in Wall Street history.

At its core, the collapse is due to three negative trends: a stagnant user base, shrinking revenues and growing costs. The first, Facebook argues, has been visible for years; the second is a blip as advertisers get used to new formats; and the third is a reflection of the significant sums the company is spending to fix the problems that have plagued it in the press over the past year.

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Categories: Environment

Death Toll In Northern California's Carr Fire Rises To 6

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/07/28 - 4:12pm

The massive wildfire in Shasta County that's forced the evacuations of at least 38,000 people is only 5 percent contained. In Yosemite, the Ferguson Fire has killed a second firefighter.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

Categories: Environment

Santos response on endangered species not good enough, conservationists say

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/07/28 - 1:00pm

Oil company criticised for its findings on animals and plants at planned Narrabri coal seam gas project

Conservationists have said the oil company Santos has not addressed questions about how its proposed 850-well Narrabri coal seam gas project in New South Wales would affect threatened species.

Two new reports, including one by a former ecologist for the NSW environment and heritage office, say the company had not adequately responded to submissions which raise concerns about animal and plant surveys Santos conducted for its environmental impact statement.

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Categories: Environment

Farmers in drought summit amid fears of food supply crisis

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/07/28 - 1:00pm
Farmers’ representatives and government officials meet to tackle impact of the prolonged dry weather

Farmers are to meet with Whitehall officials this week for an emergency drought summit amid fears that the heatwave could have a serious impact on the UK’s food supply.

What the National Farmers Union describes as “tinderbox conditions” have severely reduced grass growth and depleted yields for many crops, leading to concerns that there will be a shortage of feed for livestock and dairy farmers later in the year. Concerns about the fragility of the UK’s food chain come at a sensitive time after the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, admitted last week that the government was taking steps to ensure that there were “adequate” supplies for Britain in the event of a no-deal departure from the European Union. The revelation led to speculation that the UK might be forced to start stockpiling food.

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Categories: Environment

Your old plastic bottle … reborn as a towel, bag or swimsuit

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/07/28 - 8:00am
As technology finds innovative ways to recycle, waste products are being used in an unlikely range of goods in high street stores

First it was “bags for life”, chunky doormats and, more recently, clothing such as fleeces, swimwear and pack-away macs. Now towels made from recycled plastic bottles are to go on sale in the UK for the first time in August – the latest initiative in the war against single-use plastics and the result of a technological breakthrough that has produced a fabric deemed soft and fluffy enough to use on human skin.

The new range of eco-friendly bath towels will go on sale online and at 18 branches of John Lewis in the last week of August, after nearly two years of extensive testing and work with suppliers. The polyester from the recycled plastic bottles accounts for 35% of their content, while the rest is regenerated cotton.

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Categories: Environment
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