One in three cars in VW emissions scandal yet to be fixed, figures show

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 5:29pm

Monthly rate of fixes of vehicles with defeat devices has fallen to 2% from a previous high of 10% earlier in the year

A third of cars manufactured by Volkswagen with devices to cheat emissions tests remain unfixed, two years after the scandal erupted.

In what was coined the “diesel dupe”, VW equipped their vehicles with defeat devices designed to realise when they were being tested so they could appear to be much less polluting than in reality.

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Categories: Environment

Shark Fin Trade Faces Troubled Waters As Global Pressure Mounts

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 3:15pm

Congress is once again considering a federal ban on shark fins, used in soup. But scientists are divided about whether a ban is the best way to protect the creatures, which are imperiled worldwide.

(Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Weatherwatch: climate change and overfishing bring explosion of jellyfish

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 2:30pm

Warmer and more acid seas cause huge blooms of jellyfish, but scientists are working on ways to convert them into something useful

The combination of climate change and overfishing is causing a population explosion in jellyfish. Since there are fewer fish to eat them, they appear off the British coast in vast swarms. This is a threat to nuclear power stations – because they can block the intake of cooling water – and to fish farms, where thousands get caught in the netting, sometimes killing hundreds of salmon by depriving them of oxygen.

Some species are poisonous, and so caution is required when jellyfish float next to you in the sea or are stranded on beaches. Their sting can be powerful.

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Categories: Environment

WHO To Farmers: Stop Giving Your Animals So Many Antibiotics

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 12:06pm

The World Health Organization is calling for strict limits on antibiotic use in animals raised for food. The guidelines could push many countries, including the U.S., to restrict drug use on farms.

(Image credit: Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

UK government sued for third time over deadly air pollution

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 11:30am

Ministers accused of ‘stubborn failure’ to tackle widespread and illegal levels of air pollution, which cause 40,000 early deaths every year

The UK government is being sued for a third time over the widespread illegal levels of air pollution, which cause 40,000 early deaths every year.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have already defeated ministers twice in court, forcing a new pollution plan to be drawn up in July. But ClientEarth believes even the latest strategy does not meet the legal requirement of banishing toxic air in the “shortest possible time”, as EU law requires.

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Categories: Environment

Syria signs Paris climate agreement and leaves US isolated

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 11:06am

Syria’s decision means America will be the only country outside the landmark deal if it follows through with Donald Trump’s vow to leave

Syria has decided to sign the Paris agreement on climate change, the world’s final functioning state to do so. The surprise decision, taken amid a brutal civil war in the country, will leave the US as the only country outside the agreement if it follows through on President Donald Trump’s vow to leave.

Syria’s decision brings to 197 the number of nations signed up to the landmark 2015 pact on global warming, the first in more than 20 years of UN negotiations to bind both developed and developing countries to a clear limit on temperature rises.

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Categories: Environment

Photo of elephant and calf fleeing fire-throwing mob wins top prize

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 10:21am

Photograph taken in eastern India, titled ‘Hell is here’, shows crowd hurling flaming tar balls at animals

An arresting image showing an adult elephant and its calf fleeing a mob attack has won a top Asian wildlife photography prize.

It shows the two animals running among a crowd that has hurled flaming tar balls and crackers at them, reportedly to ward the elephants away from human settlements.

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Categories: Environment

BHP opposes Minerals Council of Australia's war on activist rights

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

Exclusive: Miner separates itself from call for environmental groups to be restricted to using 10% of funding for advocacy

BHP has said it will not support the Minerals Council’s bid to strip environmental groups of their ability to advocate for policy change.

The surprising move comes amid increasing pressure on Australia’s biggest miner to distance itself from the Minerals Council, which has taken a hardline position against any form of credible action on climate change. The government will soon table a bill aimed at limiting the ability of any charity to use donations raised from overseas on advocacy in Australia.

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Farmers must stop antibiotics use in animals due to human health risk, warns WHO

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 9:26am

Overuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to growing drug resistance in humans with serious health implications, says global health body

Farmers must be prevented from using powerful antibiotics on animals reared for food, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned, because of the serious risks to human health that result.

New guidelines from the global body suggest farmers should stop using any antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in animals that are otherwise healthy, a common practice in some parts of the world, including Asia and the US. Such routine use is banned in Europe, though campaigners fear the rules are sometimes flouted.

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Categories: Environment

How Trump is dismantling a pillar of the American state | Jon Michaels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 6:36am

Donald Trump is presiding over the most withering, devastating, and trenchant attack on the American administrative state this nation has ever known

There is no shortage of adjectives to describe the Trump presidency. Venal. Shameless. Bigoted. Impulsive. Feckless. Amid the never-ending stream of scandals and outrages, it is easy to lose sight of just what this administration is doing well – and where it is proving to be spectacularly disciplined, calculating and effective.

Donald Trump is presiding over the most withering, devastating, and trenchant attack on the American administrative state this nation has ever known.

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Categories: Environment

Delhi doctors declare pollution emergency as smog chokes city

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 6:25am

Levels of airborne pollutants are off the scale in parts of India’s capital with effects likened to smoking 50 cigarettes a day

A public health emergency has been declared by doctors in Delhi as air quality in the world’s most polluted capital city plunged to levels likened to smoking at least 50 cigarettes in a single day.

Slow winds and colder temperatures have been blamed for a surge in airborne pollutants beyond what instruments in the city could measure with some recording an Air Quality Index (AQI) maximum of 999.

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Categories: Environment

Banning bikes from Oxford Street is a disaster for London cycling

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 4:37am

Plans to pedestrianise one of the capital’s busiest cycling roads send the troubling message that cyclists and pedestrians can’t co-exist in an 80ft-wide street

Sadiq Khan’s proposal to ban cyclists from Oxford Street, published on Monday, is an unqualified disaster for cycling in London, perhaps the single biggest blow it has suffered in years. And he’s sending an even more dangerous signal to the rest of the country.

More than 2,000 cyclists a day, according to Department for Transport figures, use the first section proposed for pedestrianisation next year, between Selfridges and Oxford Circus. More than 5,000 a day use the section between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road, which is proposed to be pedestrianised in 2019.

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Categories: Environment

The British Wildlife Photography awards 2017 - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 3:55am

Daniel Trim’s airport-roosting pied wagtail has won the 2017 competition, which celebrates the work of amateur and professional photographers and the beauty and diversity of British wildlife. Winning images are chosen from thousands of entries, including film and junior categories.

More than 100 images are on show at the Mall Galleries in London, before touring nationally, and a book of the images is also available

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Categories: Environment

Church of England should lead on climate change by divesting from ExxonMobil | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 12:00am
Anglican clergy, including five bishops, broadcaster Richard Coles and Olivia Graham, call on the church to support the aims of the Paris climate agreement by divesting from fossil fuel companies

As Church of England clergy, we have a strong interest in the ethics of investments made by the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board on our behalf.

This week, governments from around the world will meet in Bonn for the next round of UN climate talks. The Paris climate change agreement, which was signed by 195 countries in December 2015, included a commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.

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Categories: Environment

Bishops urge Church of England to divest from ExxonMobil over climate change

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 12:00am

Group says church should show ‘moral leadership’ in light of claims that the oil giant misled the public over the risks of global warming

The Church of England should “show moral leadership” and immediately sell its investments in the oil giant ExxonMobil, according to a group of bishops and other clergy.

ExxonMobil is accused of misleading the public for decades over the dangers of climate change – the oil company denies the allegations – and has funded climate change denial, making its presence in the church’s £7.9bn investment fund of particular concern, the group argues. Investment funds worth more than $5tn have already committed to divest from fossil fuels.

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Categories: Environment

Natural gas emissions will blow Europe's carbon budget at current levels

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 11:30pm

Governments have been underestimating methane emissions from gas and must phase out the fossil fuel, along with coal and oil, by 2035 to keep within Paris climate targets, a major study shows

Governments have drastically underestimated methane emissions from natural gas and will miss the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2C unless they urgently scale down its use, a major new study has found.

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Categories: Environment

Bonn climate talks will aim to meet goals laid out in Paris, says UN

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 10:34am

Delegates ‘do not have the luxury of lots of philosophical discussions’ but must focus on advancing the pledges set out in the Paris agreement

The UN hopes to create an “operating manual” for implementing the Paris agreement on climate change, with talks in the next two weeks in Bonn.

“We want to advance further, faster, together to meet the goals set out in the Paris agreement,” said Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s chief official on the climate, at the opening of the talks. “We need an operating manual for the Paris agreement. This has to be the launchpad for the next level of ambition on climate change action, because we know the pledges [to cut emissions] made so far are not enough to take us to [meeting the Paris goals].”

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Categories: Environment

How Cities Are Trying To Prepare, So They Don't Have To Repair

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 8:18am

What makes a city resilient? And can embracing these techniques lessen the damage from environmental disasters?

(Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Fracking firm to give first households £2,000 payouts

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 6:56am

Shale gas firm Cuadrilla says 29 Lancashire households will get payments – but one says they will refuse ‘blood money’

A group of residents in Lancashire will soon receive £2,070 each for living near a fracking site, in the first payments made direct to British householders by a shale gas company.

Cuadrilla said that 29 households within a 1km radius of the site would get the payment as part of a £100,000 community benefit fund for the second well it is drilling at a site between Blackpool and Preston that has attracted ongoing anti-fracking protests.

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Categories: Environment

Oxford Street could become 'traffic-free boulevard' next year

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 5:48am

Radical proposal to pedestrianise area west of Oxford Circus is aimed at improving air quality and tackling congestion

A large section of London’s Oxford Street could be traffic-free by next December under a proposal unveiled by the mayor on Monday to improve the area for shoppers.

A public consultation has opened into banning all forms of transport between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street to coincide with the launch of the new Elizabeth line at the end of 2018.

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