Australia's healthcare system contributing to 7% of nation's carbon footprint

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 9:00pm

Study prompts calls for more energy-efficient hospitals and for doctors to use general anaesthetic alternatives to gases

Australia’s healthcare system is contributing more than 7% of the nation’s carbon footprint, with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies forming the bulk of health-related emissions, an analysis led by the University of Sydney has found.

The findings, published in the international medical journal the Lancet on Tuesday, have prompted the climate lobby group Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) to urge the federal government to fund states and territories to make hospitals more energy-efficient.

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Categories: Environment

Higher electricity bills if Snowy 2.0 hydro not built, says Frydenberg

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 7:25pm

Despite costing up to $4.5bn, the feasibility study for ‘Australia’s biggest battery’ finds it would still be economically viable

Australians would pay more for electricity and have more volatile supply if the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydropower project is not built, Josh Frydenberg has said.

The energy and environment minister has strongly argued for the necessity of the scheme in an opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review, despite the feasibility study revealing that its estimated cost had blown out by more than $2bn to between $3.8bn and $4.5bn.

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Categories: Environment

Energy agency rejects Trump plan to prop up coal and nuclear power plants

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 6:18pm

The unexpected decision by the Republican-controlled body is a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling US coal industry

An independent energy agency on Monday rejected a Trump administration plan to bolster coal-fired and nuclear power plants with subsidies, dealing a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling coal industry.

The decision by the Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was unexpected and comes amid repeated promises by Trump to rejuvenate coal as the nation’s top power source. The industry has been besieged by multiple bankruptcies and a steady loss of market share as natural gas and renewable energy have flourished.

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Categories: Environment

BBC considers whether to stop showing ivory on Antiques Roadshow

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 5:01pm

Programme accused of being out of touch after China bans all trade in ivory and UK looks to tightening existing legislation

The BBC is considering whether to stop showing ivory on the Antiques Roadshow as the government looks to a total ban on the material’s sale in the UK.

China has already outlawed all trade in ivory and the UK government is consulting on whether to follow suit as attempts to stop the poaching of elephants increase around the world.

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Categories: Environment

Stunning victory for Bundy family as all charges dismissed in 2014 standoff case

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 3:39pm

Cliven Bundy and sons cleared in case of 2014 armed standoff, a major defeat for the federal government that critics fear will empower far-right militia groups

A judge has dismissed conspiracy charges against rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons, marking an extraordinary failure by US prosecutors and a decisive victory for the Nevada family who ignited a land rights movement in the American west.

The Bundys, who led armed standoffs against the government in Nevada and Oregon, galvanizing far-right militia groups, saw all charges dismissed in Las Vegas on Monday. It was the second major court win for the ranchers in their decades-long battle to oppose federal land regulations.

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Categories: Environment

New Report Shows Weather Disasters In 2017 Cost More Than $300 Billion

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 2:26pm

Hurricanes, fires and even hail contributed to billions of dollars in damages. The government study also finds that it was among the warmest years on record.

(Image credit: Emily Kask/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

$306bn in one year: US bill for natural disasters smashes record

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 1:09pm

Major hurricanes, wildfires, drought and tornadoes have led to highest ever damage costs, as expert says extremes have ‘climate change fingerprints on them’

With three strong hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $306bn, according to a new government report released on Monday.

The US had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said. That ties 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost blew past the previous record of $215bn in 2005.

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Categories: Environment

Rhinoceros DNA database successful in aiding poaching prosecutions

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 10:00am

Statistical study shows how powerful RhODIS database is in linking forensic evidence to particular animals, say researchers

A large database of rhinoceros DNA is successfully being used to prosecute poachers and those trading rhino horns, new research has revealed.

While numbers of the southern white rhino – the only wild subspecies of white rhino in Africa – have grown to about 20,000, fewer than 5,500 black rhinos are thought to exist in the wild, and both species are affected by poaching.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: rising temperatures turning green sea turtles female

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 10:00am

‘Complete feminisation’ of northern population is possible in near future, researchers find

Rising temperatures are turning almost all green sea turtles in a Great Barrier Reef population female, new research has found.

The scientific paper warned the skewed ratio could threaten the population’s future.

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Categories: Environment

Calls for EU to reinstate ban on 'destructive' electric pulse fishing

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 5:31am

Campaigners say it causes unnecessary suffering but those in favour of method say it is less damaging than trawling

Groups representing small-scale fishing fleets across Europe have called on the European Union to reinstate a ban on fishing using electrical pulses, which they say is a destructive method.

However, others have called for the technique to continue, saying it causes less disturbance than methods such as trawling the bottom of the seabed.

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Categories: Environment

Confessions of a Deliveroo rider: get fit by delivering fast food

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 5:28am

Carlton Reid picks up burgers and pizzas, but he doesn’t eat them - he delivers them. In just a few months he has lost weight and saved cash for the Giro d’Italia

There’s a way to get healthy from fast food: the trick is to deliver it, not eat it. I’m 52, but am now fitter than I was at 22. As a gig-economy food delivery rider I’m getting paid to melt my middle-age spread. I started in November, but have lost 5kg. Although I only do a few evening hours per week, I have already banked enough cash to pay for a trip to see the Giro d’Italia in May.

I get paid £4.25 for every drop, and the faster I pedal, the more drops I can fit in. Students are the mainstay of the food delivery business, and on a good night – when the students are flush – I can pocket £20 an hour. Not bad for time I’d otherwise waste trawling Twitter.

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Categories: Environment

Soaring Popularity Of Grass-Fed Beef May Hit Roadblock: Less Nutritious Grass

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 5:00am

Since the mid-'90s, levels of crude protein in the plants, which cattle need to grow, have dropped nearly 20 percent, and it may just be a matter of time before prairie grasses can't support grazing.

(Image credit: Alex Smith/Harvest Public Media)

Categories: Environment

As Cracks Widen In Washington State, Government Prepares For A Landslide

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 2:55am

Dozens of people have agreed to move temporarily to hotels in case a landslide destroys their homes.

(Image credit: Anna King/Northwest News Network)

Categories: Environment

Dozens Evacuate In Washington State, Fearing Landslide

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 4:51pm

A massive crack on top of Rattlesnake Ridge in south-central Washington state has nearby residents evacuating, as geologists and government officials predict a potentially devastating landslide.

Categories: Environment

Country diary 1968: a meeting with the bracken-red fox

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 3:30pm

8 January 1968 The fox was completely absorbed in its own affairs and very catlike in its stance, it stood motionless and its sharp nose pointed at a tuft of winter-pale grass

KESWICK: The first week of the new year often brings strange weather as if it is undecided as to which season it belongs to and one milder morning lately, with soft clouds resting on the snowy fells, there was a smell of growing things in the air. It was an indefinable smell – not the flowering witch hazel, the swelling daphne, or even the balsam poplar whose buds, though furled, can send out sweetness. It was, rather, the exhalation of the earth itself and a promise of growth to come. There were a few wintry daisies in the grass but they are as scentless as snow.

Related: 21st-century fox: how nature's favourite outsider seduced the suburbs

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Categories: Environment

Pollutionwatch: reducing sulphur emissions saves lives – and forests

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 2:30pm

We used to worry more about acid rain than about climate change. It took years but the agreements made in the Gothenburg Protocol have made a difference

Today we focus our concern on climate change, but 40 years ago it was acid rain and forest die-back that dominated our air and environment debate. In 1977, a new measurement programme showed that the sulphur landing in Scandinavia was far greater than the countries were producing. Industrial coal burning and westerly winds meant that the UK was Europe’s largest exporter of sulphur air pollution. Moving power generation to the countryside and building tall chimneys had reduced local air pollution but did not prevent sulphur being transported over thousands of kilometres.

This was at the height of the cold war. Warsaw Pact countries offered 30% reductions in their sulphur emissions and watched as the western allies were split. The UK was isolated and Canadian provinces were pitched against upwind industrial states in the US.

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Categories: Environment

Agricultural policy under Michael Gove | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 12:17pm
Allan Buckwell says British farmers are not ‘subsidised’, Jane Mardell and Richard Middleton fear that only the rich will be able to buy British-grown food, and Vanessa Griffiths and Kate Ashbrook see hope in public access to land

Please don’t use the word “subsidy” for payments to farmers who manage land for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides (Report, 3 January). A subsidy is generally considered a temporary assistance and often comes with an undertone that is negative and undeserved. There is now a large body of analysis and evidence to support paying for services that the market cannot supply. We don’t talk about subsidising nurses for health services, or teachers for educational services. So let’s pay for environmental services on a similar basis.

It is good that Michael Gove is supportive of this approach, but there is no need to leave the EU to do it. With strong UK leadership, the common agricultural policy has been adapted for over 20 years to enable governments to pay farmers for environmental services, and to do this under their own locally devised schemes. The resources allocated for this purpose have been decided domestically, and we could have done much more of this had we chosen. Let’s hope Mr Gove now delivers on his rhetoric.
Allan Buckwell
Professor emeritus of agricultural policy, Imperial College, London

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Categories: Environment

Mesmerised by the mole that dug up my garden | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 12:15pm
A blackbird would stand beside it, taking the worms and insects dislodged, recalls Sallie Bedford

We had a mole a few years ago that made 17 molehills on our back lawn in as many days (Country diary, 4 January). I watched from the kitchen window each morning as the new hill was being excavated, the earth moving with clumps falling away. A blackbird would stand beside it, watching carefully and taking the worms and insects dislodged – fascinating! This was another wild creature to add to our garden list of frogs, grass snakes, lizards, slowworms and so on and we loved having it, though I must confess to trying to catch it by standing over it when the earth was moving one day and grabbing at the soil, without success. How did it move so quickly? Instead of collecting the soil we raked it back into the grass and eventually the mole departed (to the flower beds) and the area returned to its meadow-like state.
Sallie Bedford
Henfield, West Sussex

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Categories: Environment

Ineos 'misled' public over fracking in Sherwood Forest

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 8:55am

Company got permission for seismic surveys in sensitive areas despite claiming it would exclude them

One of Britain’s top fracking firms has been accused of misleading the public over its intent to explore for shale gas in a protected area of ancient woodland in Sherwood Forest.

Ineos, a UK-based petrochemicals firm, has said publicly it would exclude sensitive areas of the legendary home of Robin Hood from its seismic surveys.

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Categories: Environment

What Happened To Mexico's Earthquake Warning System?

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2018/01/07 - 6:06am

Mexico has an earthquake early warning system that gives people time to take cover. But that system didn't work when a 7.1 magnitude quake struck Mexico City, killing hundreds of people.

Categories: Environment
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