Environment

Electric cars, mass extinction, and a swimming elephant – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 7:44am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Have you spotted a butterfly in the UK? Share your photographs

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 6:39am

If you’ve spotted a butterfly in the UK, and have been lucky enough to take a photograph of it, we’d like you to share your experience with us

More than three quarters of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the last 40 years, but some reports say this is an unusually good year for butterflies.

Related: World’s largest butterfly survey aims to assess apparent spike in British numbers

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 6:00am

Eurasian wolf cubs, a wreathed hornbill and an elephant crossing the road are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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'Truly unique': lioness adopts and nurses leopard cub

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 4:22am

No wild cat has ever been observed nursing a cub from another species – the event may be the result of the Tanzanian lioness having lost her own litter

A lioness has been spotted nursing a tiny leopard cub in Tanzania, the first time a wild cat is known to have adopted a cub from another species.

The five-year old lioness, called Nosikitok is closely monitored by conservationists in the Ngorongoro conservation area and is known to have had a litter of her own in mid to late June.

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Categories: Environment

Exclusiva: investigaciones revelan que, en todo el mundo, están asesinando más que nunca a los defensores del medio ambiente

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 3:15am

Cada semana muere por causas violentas una media de cuatro ecologistas, guardas forestales y dirigentes indígenas, y en todo el mundo crece la sensación de que “cualquiera puede matar a los defensores del medio ambiente sin sufrir las consecuencias”

Lean esta historia en inglés

El año pasado fue el más peligroso de la historia para las personas que defienden las tierras de su comunidad, los recursos naturales y la fauna; las últimas investigaciones revelan que cada semana mueren asesinados casi cuatro defensores del medio ambiente en todo el mundo.

En 2016 murieron 200 ecologistas, guardas forestales y dirigentes indígenas que intentaban defender sus tierras, según el grupo de vigilancia Global Witness, más del doble de los asesinados hace cinco años.

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Categories: Environment

Circular economy isn't a magical fix for our environmental woes

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 2:04am

Solving our ecological crises means diluting the power of global corporations – not propping them up

The circular economy’s June jamboree in Finland, attended by around 1,500 experts and policymakers, showed just how much momentum the concept has gained in recent years.

Little wonder. The circular economy model – which aims to use closed-loop production to keep resources in play for as long as possible – is presented as a pragmatic, win-win solution; an almost magical fix for our environmental woes.

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Categories: Environment

States move towards clean energy, but Frydenberg says Coalition won't be rushed

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/14 - 1:37am

Three states and ACT to ask Australian Energy Markets Commission to do further work on implementing central plank of Finkel review

Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have taken the first step towards proceeding unilaterally with a new clean energy target, but the federal energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, insists the federal government will not be rushed.

The Labor states will ask the Australian Energy Markets Commission to do further work on how the central recommendation of the Finkel review can be implemented following deliberations between energy ministers in Brisbane on Friday.

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Romania hits Canadian firm with $9m 'retaliatory' tax bill over gold mine

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 11:10pm

Move comes after Gabriel Resources sues government for $4.4bn over failed bid to establish goldmine in Apuseni mountains

Romania has served a Canadian mining company with a $8.6m back taxes bill days after the company filed a $4.4bn compensation claim over a stalled project in the country. Gabriel Resources tried for more than 18 years to get necessary permits for an opencast mine to extract Europe’s largest gold deposits from beneath the village of Roșia Montană in the Apuseni mountains.

Related: Romanian village blocks Canadian firm from mining for gold

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Categories: Environment

World’s largest butterfly survey aims to assess apparent spike in British numbers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 10:00pm

Annual Big Butterfly Count urges wildlife lovers to help assess whether the insects are really returning to gardens this summer

Clouds of butterflies have been sighted in southern Britain this summer but wildlife lovers are being urged to help scientifically assess whether our insects are really bouncing back by joining the world’s largest butterfly survey.

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Woolworths and Coles to phase out single-use plastic bags

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 9:46pm

Australia’s two largest supermarket chains say they will stop using lightweight plastic bags and will offer reusable bags instead

Single-use plastic bags will phased out from Woolworths and Coles stores across Australia.

Woolworth Group announced on Friday morning that stores Australia-wide would phased out the use of plastic bags by July 2018.

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Jewel-bright lizards look at home on one British isle

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 9:30pm

Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of Wight A balmy microclimate and a scrubland habitat support Britain’s oldest colony of wall lizards

In mainland Britain the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) is considered an alien species, and concerns have been raised that competition from this robust and agile continental reptile may be hastening the decline of our rare native sand lizard (Lacerta agilis).

The Isle of Wight colony is the longest established population of wall lizards in Britain and a celebrated part of the island’s fauna, though its origin is hotly debated. It is believed that in the 1920s there were deliberate releases of the reptile, though local legend has it that they are descendants of survivors from a shipwreck off Bonchurch.

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Categories: Environment

Clean energy target: how the states might make it work

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:39pm

Victoria and South Australia have suggested a states-led initiative if the federal government continues to stall on a clean energy target. Could it work?

Australian states exasperated by federal government inaction on the key Finkel review recommendation of a clean energy target have indicated they might band together and go it alone if the federal Coalition does not provide the required leadership.

Before Friday’s meeting of energy ministers, for which the federal government refused to put a CET on the agenda, Labor-led Victoria and South Australia called for consideration of a linked-up state-based scheme, and urged Coalition-led NSW to join up. Given recent comments by the NSW energy minister, Don Harwin, who indicated support for the CET, such a move seems plausible.

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Biofuels needed but some more polluting than fossil fuels, report warns

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:01pm

Royal Academy of Engineering report backs increased use of biofuels but says more should come from waste rather than food crops

Biofuel use needs to increase to help fight climate change as liquid fuels will be needed by aircraft and ships for many decades to come, finds a new report requested by the UK government.

The Royal Academy of Engineering report says, however, that some biofuels, such as diesel made from food crops, have led to more emissions than those produced by the fossil fuels they were meant to replace. Instead, the report says, rising biofuel production should make more use of waste, such as used cooking oil and timber.

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US approves oil drilling in Alaska waters, prompting fears for marine life

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 2:07pm

Italian company plans to drill four exploration wells in the Arctic, which some say will endanger polar bears, bowhead whales and other marine mammals

An Italian multinational oil and gas company has received permission to move ahead with drilling plans in federal waters off Alaska which environmental campaigners say will endanger polar bears, bowhead whales and other marine mammals.

Late on Wednesday, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced conditional approval of an exploratory drilling plan submitted by a US subsidiary of the company Eni.

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Evermore: ravens can plan for the future, scientists say

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 2:01pm

Swedish experiment shows the notoriously brilliant bird has capacity to think ahead, an ability previously documented only in humans and great apes

Scientists from Sweden say ravens are able to think about the future, showing a general planning ability previously documented only in people and great apes.

Researchers Can Kabadayi and Mathias Osvath, of Lund University, tested five captive ravens in two tasks they do not do in the wild: using tools and bartering with humans. The results were published on Thursday by the journal Science.

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Donald Trump offers hand of friendship to Emmanuel Macron on Paris visit

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 12:58pm

US and French presidents appear to want to put aside differences on climate change and cooperate on Syria and terrorism

Donald Trump has made a gushing show of friendship to the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, saying the two countries had an “unbreakable bond” , pledging to draw up a road map for post-conflict Syria, and asserting that the two leaders could work together despite clear differences on climate change.

But when he appeared alongside Macron under the golden chandeliers of the Élysée Palace after two hours of talks about Syria, Iraq and counter-terrorism, Trump immediately faced fresh questions over allegations that his family sought to collude with Russia to win the 2016 US election.

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5,665 gates, 4,862 stiles, 1,054 bridges: but who maintains the Yorkshire dales?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 10:19am

‘I’ll still be doing this on a mobility scooter,’ says one of 100 volunteers who survey national park’s 1,628 miles of paths

One of the many reasons Sally Williams loves the Yorkshire dales national park is because its dramatic landscape has been marked by centuries of human activity. “It’s not like you get in America – a huge area of undiscovered land that nobody has ever trodden on,” she says, standing near the entrance to an old limestone quarry. “It’s an area where people have lived and worked for centuries, and you can see the evidence of that all over the countryside.”

The 67-year-old former librarian is one of an army of nearly 100 volunteers who, every summer, undertake a survey of the park’s 1,628 miles (2,620km) of public rights of way. The volunteers, mainly local retirees, walk every single path and bridleway, ensuring that the park’s “infrastructure” – including its 5,665 gates, 4,862 stiles, 4,399 signposts and 1,054 bridges – is accessible, undamaged and safe.

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Categories: Environment

No Offense, American Bees, But Your Sperm Isn't Cutting It

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 6:00am

U.S. bees are in trouble, and one of the major threats is a deadly parasite called varroa mite. So researchers are importing sperm from European bees resistant to mites to toughen up America's stock.

(Image credit: Megan Asche/Courtesy of Washington State University)

Categories: Environment

Heathrow night flights to continue until third runway is built

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:54am

Transport secretary says new rules on noise show government is tackling issue, but campaigners lament ‘business as usual’

Night flights from Heathrow will continue until the airport is expanded, the government has confirmed, as it published new rules to encourage quieter aircraft across London’s three biggest airports.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said efforts to reduce the total noise permitted from flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted showed the government was taking the issue very seriously, but residents’ groups said the proposals were “business as usual”.

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EU calls for immediate ban on logging in Poland's Białowieża forest

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:36am

EU asks court to protect one of Europe’s last primeval woodlands after the Polish government tripled logging operations at the Unesco world heritage site last year

Europe’s last major parcel of primeval woodland could be set for a reprieve after the EU asked the European court to authorise an immediate ban on logging in Poland’s Białowieża forest.

Around 80,000 cubic metres of forest have been cleared since the Polish government tripled logging operations around the Unesco world heritage site last year.

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