Environment

Bittern numbers in UK at record high, says RSPB

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 5:01pm

Booming of male bitterns reveals presence of at least 164 of the heron-like waders living in British wetlands, says charity

Populations of the bittern, a wetland bird that was facing extinction in the UK in the late 1990s, are at a record high, conservationists report.

Resident numbers of “Britain’s loudest bird” increased in 2017, and experts – using the foghorn-like booming call of the males to survey the species – have counted at least 164 birds at 71 sites.

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Categories: Environment

Thames dolphin found dead in south London

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 1:08pm

Dolphin first spotted nine days ago was undernourished and probably relatively aged, tests show

A two-metre-long dolphin believed to have been spotted nine days ago in London after swimming its way up the river Thames has died.

The creature, christened the Thames dolphin, was first spotted on 30 October and had since been seen ranging up and down the stretch of river that winds through the capital.

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Categories: Environment

EPA Approval Of Bacteria To Fight Mosquitoes Caps Long Quest

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 12:30pm

Scientists have long sought a way to fight mosquito-borne viruses without pesticides. For researchers like Scott O'Neill, the Wolbachia bacteria offered that chance. But they had to prove it.

(Image credit: Colyn Huber)

Categories: Environment

Coal-fired plant shifted $1bn offshore while pocketing $117m from Australian taxpayers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 11:00am

Payment to owner of Loy Yang B – one of country’s dirtiest plants – was compensation for short-lived carbon tax

The owner of one of Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants quietly moved $1bn offshore within days of pocketing $117m from taxpayers in compensation for Labor’s now-defunct carbon tax.

The revelation, contained in the Paradise Papers, has prompted renewed criticism of the “chronic failure” of Australian climate policy and warnings against future cash handouts to multinational polluters.

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Categories: Environment

Paradise Papers: Oxford and Cambridge invested tens of millions offshore

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 11:00am

Funds invested in by the universities include a joint venture to develop oil exploration and deep-sea drilling

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and nearly half of all Oxbridge colleges, have secretly invested tens of millions of pounds in offshore funds, including in a joint venture to develop oil exploration and deep-sea drilling, leaked documents from the Paradise Papers reveal.

The files show that both universities have committed significant funds to multibillion-dollar private equity partnerships based in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven popular with American and British hedge funds.

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Categories: Environment

Europe's carmakers face 30% emission cuts target

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 10:32am

New proposals to limit CO2 from passenger cars and vans by 2030 would meet climate goals, but campaigners say regulations fall short

The European commission has unveiled new proposals for limits on carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars and vans, which would compel manufacturers to cut emissions from their vehicles by nearly a third from 2030.

But the proposals will not require manufacturers to make a fixed quota of their fleet run on electricity, as some campaigners had hoped.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland farmer raises $25,000 to run ad opposing Adani water licence

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 10:00am

Angus Emmott calls for Annastacia Palaszczuk to cancel the free water licence given to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine

A Queensland farmer has raised enough money to air an advertisement during prime-time television in the state’s regional areas calling on the government to cancel the free and unlimited water licence given to Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine for 60 years.

Angus Emmott, who previously attracted almost 100,000 signatures to a petition fighting the same cause, has raised just over $25,000, allowing his group Farmers for Climate Action to buy ad space on television.

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Categories: Environment

Politicians and activists gather for COP23 Bonn climate talks - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 8:01am

The world’s nations are meeting in Bonn, Germany, for the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to prevent dangerous global warming. This year, Fiji plays president and meeting the Paris climate goals are top of the agenda

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Categories: Environment

Don't dump your potatoes – use these easy recipes for your freezer

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 7:23am

We are binning nearly half of the fresh spuds we buy. But stashing some in the freezer can save time and make for extra-crunchy roasties

Proof, as if more proof were needed, that Britain is heading to hell in a handcart, comes with the news that we waste nearly half the potatoes we buy, throwing a shameful 5.8m potential roasties or jackets in the bin every day.

The blame could be laid at the door of supermarkets, who insist on selling spuds in vast, plastic-wrapped quantities; decant them into a cool, dark place unless using immediately. And don’t be put off if they start sprouting in the gloom; simply cut off any unnerving proboscises or green patches, before cooking.

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Categories: Environment

Germany's dirty coalmines become the focus for a new wave of direct action

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 6:47am

Not far from the UN climate talks taking place in Bonn, activists frustrated with slow progress by governments are turning up the heat at the Hambach opencast mine, highlighting Germany’s failure to live up to its green pledges

A giant black mark on Germany’s environmental record is scarred on the land an hour’s drive from the venue of this year’s UN climate talks in Bonn.

Stretching 85 kilometres wide and 400 metres deep, the opencast coalmine near Hambach forest is the biggest hole in Europe and one of the biggest single sources of carbon on the continent.

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Categories: Environment

The Interdependence Of Humanity And Earth

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 6:27am

We owe our existence to little photosynthetic bacteria — but there is much more to this story, as life can only mutate and adapt when the planet offers the right conditions, says Marcelo Gleiser.

(Image credit: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

'As close as the US gets to Egypt’s pyramids': how Chaco Canyon is endangered by drilling

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 4:00am

Irreplaceable cultural resources in New Mexico are among those areas targeted for expedited drilling – and conservationists say it’s ‘like losing pages and chapters of that history book’

In Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, it is still possible to wander the maze of rooms of an ancestral Puebloan village erected roughly 1,000 years ago.

Visitors use the same staircases and duck through the same T-shaped doorways as residents did at the time. A jigsaw puzzle of rocks form walls that stand several feet thick and multiple stories tall. Where rooftops are gone, windows now let in glimpses of sky. It’s a simultaneous experience of vast space and marvelous connection.

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Categories: Environment

Snake charmer: man held in Germany found with python in his pants

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 3:36am

Darmstadt police detained 19-year-old after a drunken row with another man and said they saw ‘significant bulge in his trousers’

A man detained by police during a drunken argument in Germany may have violated animal welfare laws after being found to be carrying a baby python in his pants.

Police in Darmstadt, in the west of the country, said he was held on Tuesday night after a loud row with another man disturbed residents. They said he was searched and officers noticed “a significant bulge in his trousers”.

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Categories: Environment

Potential Trump Adviser Suggests Climate Change Regulations Are Communist Conspiracy

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 3:03am

President Trump has tapped a former Texas regulator to be his senior adviser on environmental policy. Like a string of other controversial picks, she questions the science behind climate change.

Categories: Environment

The Past And Future Of Coal In China

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 3:03am

In China's Shanxi province, farmers grew very rich prospecting for coal. Now, China has consolidated the mines and is aggressively cutting back production, for environmental reasons.

Categories: Environment

German Greens drop car and coal policies in coalition talks with Merkel

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 2:23am

Decision to drop key issues welcomed by other negotiating parties but criticised by some supporters

Germany’s Green party has agreed to compromise on key environmental issues in talks between parties hoping to form a coalition government by the end of the year.

The party’s decision to back down on its insistence over a ban on combustion engines and the closing down of coal-fired power plants was welcomed by the other negotiating parties as paving the way for official negotiations to begin.

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Categories: Environment

The seven megatrends that could beat global warming: 'There is reason for hope'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/08 - 12:00am

Until recently the battle to avert catastrophic climate change – floods, droughts, famine, mass migrations – seemed to be lost. But with the tipping point just years away, the tide is finally turning, thanks to innovations ranging from cheap renewables to lab-grown meat and electric airplanes

‘Everybody gets paralysed by bad news because they feel helpless,” says Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who delivered the landmark Paris climate change agreement. “It is so in our personal lives, in our national lives and in our planetary life.”

But it is becoming increasingly clear that it does not need to be all bad news: a series of fast-moving global megatrends, spurred by trillion-dollar investments, indicates that humanity might be able to avert the worst impacts of global warming. From trends already at full steam, including renewable energy, to those just now hitting the big time, such as mass-market electric cars, to those just emerging, such as plant-based alternatives to meat, these trends show that greenhouse gas emissions can be halted.

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Categories: Environment

South Australia experiences dramatic fall in energy costs after gas deal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 11:49pm

Expert says analysis shows need for more orderly transition from fossil fuels, with more notice of closure of coal plants

South Australia’s renewables-heavy electricity market has been turned upside down, moving from importing power to exporting it, and from having some the most expensive wholesale prices in the country to having some of the cheapest.

And all that appears to be a result of one gas deal secured by a generator that was blamed by many as a major cause of a blackout in South Australia in February.

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Categories: Environment

Nearly half of all fresh potatoes thrown away daily by UK households

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 11:01pm

Figures show nearly 3 million potatoes a day are wasted, at a cost of £230m a year

Nearly half of the edible fresh potatoes bought by UK householders each day are thrown away - nearly 2.7 million of them per day, and at a “staggering” annual cost of £230m, figures show.

The humble spud is the second most wasted food in the UK, behind bread, according to new official figures released on Wednesday. The new research was offered in support of a government campaign to encourage consumers to reduce their domestic food waste.

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Categories: Environment

Rare victory for rainforests as nations vow to stop 'death by chocolate'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 10:00pm

Plans by the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast drawn up after Guardian investigation revealed links between the cocoa industry and rainforest loss

The governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast are formulating plans to immediately put a stop to all new deforestation after a Guardian investigation found that the cocoa industry was destroying their rainforests.

The west African neighbours have been drafting new measures to rescue their remaining forests and replant degraded ones.

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Categories: Environment
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