'Pieces of human society': deep ocean may be riddled with microplastics

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/06/06 - 3:00am

Quantity of particles hundreds of meters underwater off California is on par with Great Pacific Garbage Patch, study finds

Anela Choy, a biological oceanographer, had been noticing something odd while studying the diets of tuna and other deep-diving fish. Though they lived at average depths of 1,000ft, their stomachs routinely contained bottle caps, trash bags, and light sticks. “It was so strange,” says Choy, who works at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. “We were seeing recognizable pieces of human society.”

Her concerns about plastic pollution inspired a study of waters off the coast of northern California, conducted by Choy and a team of other scientists. The findings, released today in Nature Scientific Reports, reveal a proliferation of microplastic particles, the tiny fragments left over when larger plastics break down. Most remarkably, the highest concentrations of microplastics were found about 200-300 meters (650-1,000ft) down – four times more plastic than was found in samples at the surface. That’s on par, or higher, with quantities found at the surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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Categories: Environment

Contentious Oregon Climate Plan Takes Lessons From California's Mistakes

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/06/06 - 2:00am

Oregon will be the second state to pass an economywide system to regulate carbon emissions. Critics say a similar program in California has not had much impact.

(Image credit: Bradley W. Parks)

Categories: Environment

Australia's emissions still rising, says report withheld in defiance of Senate order

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 8:48pm

Data showing 0.7% rise in 2018 published a week late and only after minister discloses it to the Australian

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing, according to a government report that was withheld for a week in defiance of a Senate order.

The environment department published its emissions data for the December 2018 quarter on Thursday morning, but only after the energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, first disclosed information from the report in an interview with the Australian.

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Categories: Environment

Sydney's Inner West council fully divests from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 8:14pm

Council wants NSW government to work with banks on financial products to make divestment easier

Sydney’s Inner West council says it has 100% divested from fossil fuels after a three-year process that began before the amalgamation of Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils.

The council is now calling on the New South Wales government to work with the big four banks “to develop financial products that will allow more organisations to follow our lead”.

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Categories: Environment

'No way to stop it': millions of pigs culled across Asia as swine fever spreads

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 5:59pm

Experts say region is losing the battle to stop the biggest animal disease outbreak the planet has ever faced

South-east Asia is battling to contain the spread of highly contagious African swine fever, known as “pig Ebola”, which has already led to the culling of millions of pigs in China and Vietnam.

African swine fever, which is harmless to humans but fatal to pigs, was discovered in China in August, where it has caused havoc, leading to more than 1.2m pigs being culled. China is home to almost half of the world’s pigs and the news sent the global price of pork soaring.

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Categories: Environment

'The Summit Is Never The Goal': Why Climbers Pursue The 7 Summits

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 2:38pm

Members of the Seven Summits Club reflect on the recent deaths on Mount Everest and explain how drive and risk analysis coexist in extreme mountaineering.

(Image credit: Jake Norton/Courtesy of Alison Levine)

Categories: Environment

US to label nuclear waste as less dangerous to quicken cleanup

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 2:33pm

Energy department says labeling some waste as low-level at sites in Washington state, Idaho and South Carolina will save $40bn

The US government plans to reclassify some of the nation’s most dangerous radioactive waste to lower its threat level, outraging critics who say the move would make it cheaper and easier to walk away from cleaning up nuclear weapons production sites in Washington state, Idaho and South Carolina.

The Department of Energy said on Wednesday that labeling some high-level waste as low level will save $40bn in cleanup costs across the nation’s entire nuclear weapons complex. The material that has languished for decades in the three states would be taken to low-level disposal facilities in Utah or Texas, the agency said.

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Categories: Environment

Boris Johnson challenged by Labour over climate science

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 12:25pm

Rebecca Long-Bailey questions how much authority the government has on issue

Boris Johnson has been challenged by Labour to clearly disavow his previous denial of climate science, after several other Conservative leadership hopefuls said they accepted the reality of the climate emergency.

A dividing line between the candidates opened up on the issue after Andrea Leadsom, a Brexit-supporting former cabinet minister, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, and Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, told a One Nation group hustings on Tuesday night they would tackle the climate emergency as a global crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Thousands could perish annually in US if global heating not curbed, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 11:00am

Every year nearly 5,800 people are expected to die in New York, 2,500 in Los Angeles and more than 2,300 in Miami

Thousands of heat-related deaths in major US cities could be avoided if rising global temperatures are curbed, new research has found.

On current global heating trends, thousands of people are set to perish due to the heat every year across 15 major US cities, in an analysis by a team of British and American researchers.

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Categories: Environment

Joe Biden's team alters climate policy plan after plagiarism allegations

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 6:45am
  • Some passages appeared to borrow from others without citation
  • Biden campaign says citations were ‘inadvertently’ left out

Joe Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign has amended his climate policy plan hours after it was released on Tuesday because a handful of passages did not credit some of the sources in the proposal, prompting allegations of plagiarism.

Related: Trump faces growing Republican revolt over Mexico tariffs – live updates

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Categories: Environment

1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 5:28am

Chief Vicki Christiansen says the danger is now year-round, thanks to hazardous conditions in forests, rampant home development and the changing climate.

(Image credit: Shuran Huang/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Home solar panel installations fall by 94% as subsidies cut

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/06/05 - 4:41am

Labour accuses UK government of ‘actively dismantling’ solar power industry

The Labour party has accused the government of “actively dismantling” the UK’s solar power industry after new installations by households collapsed by 94% last month.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, used prime minister’s questions to challenge the government’s record on climate action after scrapping subsidies for domestic solar panels from April.

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Categories: Environment

Britain will fail without coal – archive, 5 June 1956

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 9:30pm

5 June 1956: Investment in coal mining should be carried out on a massive scale argues the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation

The OEEC has delighted Mr Aubrey Jones, the Minister of Fuel and Power, with its report on the future of fuel supplies in Europe (summarised on page 4). The main conclusion of the report is that nuclear energy is only going to make a small contribution to the increased supply of energy that will be needed in the next twenty years.

Related: The demise of UK deep coal mining: decades of decline

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Categories: Environment

Teen activists face US government in crucial hearing over climate trial

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 3:12pm

The suit accuses the federal government of violating young people’s constitutional rights by contributing to the climate crisis

Twenty-one youth activists faced off with the US government in an Oregon courthouse on Tuesday, where their attorneys petitioned a panel of judges to let their climate case go to trial. Until it does, their attorneys argued, fossil fuel development should be halted on public lands.

The case of Juliana v the US charges the federal government with violating the constitutional rights of youth by perpetuating systems that contribute to climate breakdown. Those young people – who range in age from 11 to 23 and hail from all corners of the nation – argue that the constitution gives them and future generations a right to an environment free of climate catastrophe.

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Categories: Environment

How Extreme Weather Is Affecting People's Opinions Of Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 3:03pm

An increasing body of research finds people's beliefs about climate change can be changed by big disasters, like the current flooding across America's heartland.

Categories: Environment

The 'Great Dying' Nearly Erased Life On Earth. Scientists See Similarities To Today

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 1:36pm

It was the biggest extinction in Earth's history. A new Smithsonian exhibit notes that some of the same things that killed over 90% of ocean species 250 million years ago are happening now.

(Image credit: Lynette Cook/Science Source)

Categories: Environment

Carnival Cruise Lines Hit With $20 Million Penalty For Environmental Crimes

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 11:22am

The company has a long history of dumping plastic trash and oily waste from its ships, with violations dating back to 1993. In 2016, its Princess subsidiary agreed to pay $40 million for pollution.

(Image credit: Casey Rodgers/AP)

Categories: Environment

'Crackpot stuff': Coalition MPs' call for nuclear power inquiry rejected by Greens

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 11:00am

Sarah Hanson-Young says the Nationals who have raised nuclear energy are ‘lunatic cowboys’

The Greens have labelled Coalition MPs pushing for an inquiry into nuclear power as “lunatic cowboys”, pledging to block any move to overturn Australia’s nuclear ban in the Senate.

As conservative MPs move to establish a Senate inquiry into nuclear power when parliament returns next month, the Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has invited the former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce to debate her in the “town he thinks it should be built”.

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Categories: Environment

$3 Million Settlement Revealed In High-Profile Fracking Case

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 9:50am

The settlement is now public because of computer error. Pennsylvania families, whose ordeal was detailed in a Pulitzer-winning book, claimed air, groundwater and soil contamination.

(Image credit: Reid R. Frazier/The Allegheny Front/StateImpact Pennsylvania)

Categories: Environment

France to ban destruction of unsold consumer products

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/06/04 - 9:31am

More than €650m worth of new goods destroyed or thrown away each year, says PM

France’s prime minister has announced a crackdown on the destruction of unsold or returned consumer products, a move that will affect luxury goods brands and online retailers such as Amazon.

Edouard Philippe said a ban on destroying non-food goods – including clothes, electrical items, hygiene products and cosmetics – would come into force within the next four years.

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