Environment

We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or face more floods | Nicholas Stern

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/10/07 - 6:00pm

The world heating up by even 1.5C would have a brutal impact on future generations

The authoritative new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sets the world a clear target: we must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by the middle of this century to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C.

Every government should read this report and recognise the clear choice we now have.

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Categories: Environment

Energy sector's carbon emissions to grow for second year running

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/10/07 - 6:00pm

IEA head says growth in renewables needs to be paired with coal plant closures

Carbon emissions from the energy sector are on track to grow for the second year running, in a major blow to hopes the world might have turned the corner on tackling climate change.

Preliminary analysis by the world’s energy watchdog shows the industry’s emissions have continued to rise in 2018, suggesting that an increase last year was not a one-off.

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Categories: Environment

How the UN climate panel got to 1.5C threshold – timeline

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/10/07 - 6:00pm

Five reports and an agreement: the IPCC has been raising the climate alarm for 30 years

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set up by the UN and the World Meteorological Organisation, bringing together the world’s leading climate scientists to assess knowledge of climate change and provide scientific advice to policymakers.

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Categories: Environment

World leaders told they must act over climate change 'cliff-edge'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/10/07 - 6:00pm

Christiana Figueres, who led the 2015 Paris accord, stresses urgency of meeting 1.5C target

Political leaders have been urged to act on the landmark special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has warned that strong efforts would be required to prevent disastrous consequences from dangerous levels of climate change.

Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who led the historic Paris agreement of 2015, said: “There is nothing opaque about this new data. The illustrations of mounting impacts, the fast-approaching and irreversible tipping points are visceral versions of a future that no policy-maker could wish to usher in or be responsible for.”

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Categories: Environment

'Ick': rats, roaches and rank smells dampen New York's compost program

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/10/07 - 1:03pm

Plans to expand program are on hold as bad smells and vermin are holding back New Yorkers from saving food scraps

It was meant to be an ambitious environmental program, but efforts at composting in New York are breaking down amid rats, roaches and rank smells.

Related: We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN

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Categories: Environment

The Observer view on fracking fissures obscuring the need to embrace green technologies | Observer editorial

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/10/06 - 10:00pm
Even as we argue about the controversial drilling, we risk overlooking the urgent need for new sources of energy

Within a few days, the UK shale industry’s long-delayed bid to frack for gas beneath the English countryside is set to begin in earnest. Cuadrilla, the company that is currently leading the charge to use fracking technology in Britain, has confirmed that it plans to start working on a well in Lancashire later this week. The response of anti-fracking protesters – some having already been given lengthy prison sentences for their protests against the company’s operations – can be expected to be intense, vociferous and prolonged. One local businessman has already filed an injunction to try to further delay drilling, though it is unclear how long this manoeuvre will slow down Cuadrilla’s plans.

Opponents of fracking point out that Britain is committed to halting the combustion of all fossil fuels as a means of generating electricity by the 2030s. After that, we will have to rely on only carbon-free technologies, such as solar, wind and nuclear plants, in order to provide power for our homes and factories. So why, ask green protesters, are we creating a new industry that will only make it easier for us to obtain gas and oil? Why bring these fossil fuels to the surface now? Why not invest more in green technologies, such as tide and wave power?

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Categories: Environment

Thousands of anti-coal protesters celebrate German forest's reprieve

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/10/06 - 10:41am

Court victory halts utility firm RWE’s plan to raze Hambach woodland and expand an opencast mine

Thousands of anti-coal demonstrators descended on Germany’s Hambach forest on Saturday to celebrate an unexpected court victory that suspended an energy company’s planned razing of the woodland to expand a giant opencast mine.

The ancient forest near Cologne has been occupied by activists for the past six years and has become a symbol of resistance against coal energy in Germany, a country that despite its green reputation remains heavily reliant on this dirty fossil fuel.

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Categories: Environment

The frackers are back: but will there ever be a British shale gas boom?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/10/06 - 8:00am
Pending a legal challenge, Cuadrilla will start work on a well this week – and answer key questions about the industry’s viability

Fracking is due to return to the UK this week, as the shale gas company Cuadrilla prepares to start operations at a well in Lancashire – provided it can see off a last-minute legal challenge.

It will be the first horizontal shale well to be fracked in the UK. The drills have penetrated two kilometres deep and later this week Cuadrilla will pump in water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to fracture the rock and release the gas.

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Categories: Environment

Protesters march in Preston for jailed anti-fracking activists

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/10/06 - 7:57am

Supporters demonstrate against ‘outrage and scandal’ of three men’s imprisonment

Hundreds of supporters of the three environmental activists who became the first people to be jailed for an anti-fracking protest have demonstrated outside the prison where they are being held after an appeal against their imprisonment was lodged.

Protesters marched across Preston chanting “Free the three”, “Protest is not a crime”, and “We said no”, in reference to the local council’s decision to ban fracking in the county that was later overturned by Sajid Javid.

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Categories: Environment

China Reshapes The Vital Mekong River To Power Its Expansion

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/10/06 - 4:57am

Chinese companies are building infrastructure and dams along the vast river that runs through five Southeast Asian countries before emptying into the South China Sea.

(Image credit: Michael Sullivan for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Earth's climate monsters could be unleashed as temperatures rise | Graham Readfearn

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 3:07pm

As a UN panel prepares a report on 1.5C global warming, researchers warn of the risks of ignoring ‘feedback’ effects

This week, hundreds of scientists and government officials from more than 190 countries have been buzzing around a convention centre in the South Korean city of Incheon.

They are trying to agree on the first official release of a report – the bit called the Summary for Policymakers – that pulls together all of what’s known about how the world might be affected once global warming gets to 1.5C.

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Categories: Environment

How do NHS hospitals dispose of clinical waste?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 10:23am

Waste is split into four categories – infectious, sharp, anatomical and medical – and transportation rules are stringent

The Environment Agency has launched a criminal investigation into how a major NHS supplier failed to dispose of body parts, including amputated limbs and waste from cancer treatment. What rules must UK hospitals follow to remain within the law?

What sort of waste comes out of hospitals?

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Categories: Environment

Walkers answers critics with launch of UK crisp packet recycling plan

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 8:59am

Manufacturer to collect and repurpose packaging after campaign against firm’s waste

Walkers has agreed to offer a free national recycling scheme to stop millions of empty crisp packets ending up in landfill in the UK every year after consumers heaped pressure on it to change its plastic packaging.

A social media campaign asking crisp manufacturers to make their packaging recyclable led to Royal Mail issuing a plea to members of the public last week to put empty crisp packets in an envelope before posting them back to the company.

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Categories: Environment

NHS in outsourcing talks with Mitie after body parts fiasco

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 8:23am

Waste management firm is first choice to replace supplier that allowed body parts to pile up

The NHS is in talks with Mitie about the outsourcing company taking over the disposal of body parts and hazardous waste after the existing contractor allowed huge stockpiles to build up, triggering health concerns.

NHS chiefs fear the current contractor Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) could collapse and are urgently trying to find a replacement firm to undertake some or all of the work done by the company.

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Categories: Environment

Florida red tide sweeps away Republican Rick Scott's Senate poll lead

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 6:13am
  • Governor blamed for weakening environmental protections
  • Red tide spreads to Atlantic waters off Miami and Palm Beach

Barely a month ago, Republican Rick Scott held a clear lead in the race to become Florida’s next US senator. Now a tidal wave of toxic algae threatens to engulf the campaign of the outgoing state governor, whom critics have dubbed ‘Red Tide Rick’.

Wildlife officials confirmed on Thursday that the same deadly algae bloom that overran Florida’s south-west coastline this summer, killing dolphins, fish, manatees and turtles and devastating the area’s tourism industry, had washed ashore on several Atlantic coast beaches.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 6:00am

A Malaysian sun bear, lion cubs and a fruit bat in flight are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Fracking activists to appeal against prison sentences

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 5:03am

Three activists were first people to receive jail terms for anti-fracking protests in UK

Three environmental activists who became the first people to be jailed for an anti-fracking protest in the UK are to appeal against their sentences amid growing anger over their “excessive and extraordinary” punishments.

Last week, Simon Roscoe Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, were sentenced to 16 months in prison, and Richard Loizou, 31, was given 15 months after a jury at Preston crown court convicted them of causing a public nuisance.

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Categories: Environment

'A prisoner of environment': is it time to leave the American west?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 3:00am

The western US has long been characterized by balmy weather and fresh starts, but some are weary of the unhealthy air and worry about a water shortage

Maricela Ruelas is a manager at a vineyard in Medford, Oregon. She trims, harvests – whatever needs doing. This year, she has done much of that work in a face mask.

Wildfire smoke has plagued her and her fellow workers nearly continuously for “a couple of months”, she said through a translator, leading to pounding headaches. “It was horrible, horrible this year.”

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Categories: Environment

Cuadrilla to revive UK fracking drive within days at Lancashire well

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/10/05 - 2:29am

Shale gas giant to restart controversial drilling after years of delays and protests

The UK shale industry’s long-delayed fracking drive will begin again next week, after the leading company Cuadrilla confirmed it will start working on a well in Lancashire within days.

The well at Preston New Road, between Blackpool and Preston, will be the first to be fracked in the UK since 2011, after years of hold-ups due to a moratorium, regulatory changes and planning battles.

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Categories: Environment

Charge €30 a tonne for CO2 to avoid catastrophic 4C warming | Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/10/04 - 11:00pm

New global policies such as carbon pricing are needed if we are to avoid an apocalyptic increase in temperature

We are following a path that will ultimately take us to a 4C-warmer world. A hot state where it is unlikely that we can generate food, water and shelter for all citizens, where sea level rise will ultimately exceed 10 metres, and where social insecurity and widespread disease will very likely be universal.

Along the way we will reach several critical tipping points. One such is at 2C – a scenario that may prompt the Earth system to shift from self-cooling by means of buffering emissions to self-warming, thereby putting us on a path to a “hothouse Earth”. At 3C we reach a point where extreme floods and droughts will force people to leave their homes; more powerful hurricanes will destroy urban infrastructure.

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Categories: Environment
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