Environment

New Fed chair Jerome Powell was the best choice … for Trump

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 4:41am

The lawyer’s main qualification for leading the world’s most powerful central bank seems to be his lack of strong views

Jerome Powell was Wall Street’s choice to run the Federal Reserve. Given Donald Trump’s record on doing the unexpected, there was always the chance the president would pick another candidate, but for once he did not make waves.

Powell was the business-as-usual candidate. Nothing he has said or done since he first joined the Fed’s board five years ago suggests he intends to make life difficult for Trump or rattle the financial markets. Well, not deliberately at least, for while Powell is the boring choice, he may not necessarily prove to be the safe choice.

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Categories: Environment

2017 set to be one of top three hottest years on record

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 4:32am

Data so far this year points to 2017 continuing a long-term trend of record breaking temperatures around the world, says World Meteorological Organization

2017 is set to be one of the hottest three years on record, provisional data suggests, confirming yet again a warming trend that scientists say bears the fingerprints of human actions.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said temperatures in the first nine months of this year were unlikely to have been higher than 2016, when there was a strong El Niño weather system, but higher than anything before 2015.

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Categories: Environment

We have every reason to fear Trump’s pick to head Nasa | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 4:00am

Republican climate science denial reared its ugly head at Bridenstine’s congressional hearing

Unlike past Nasa administrators, Trump nominee Jim Bridenstine doesn’t have a scientific background. He’s a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma and former Navy pilot. He also has a history of denying basic climate science. That’s concerning because Nasa does some of the world’s best climate science research, and Bridenstine previously introduced legislation that would eliminate Earth science from Nasa’s mission statement.

At his Senate hearing last week, Bridenstine tried to remake his image. He said that his previous science-denying, politically polarizing comments came with the job of being a Republican congressman, and that as Nasa administrator he would be apolitical. A kinder, gentler Bridenstine. But while he softened his climate science denial, his proclaimed new views remain in line with the rest of the harshly anti-science Trump administration. That’s very troubling.

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Categories: Environment

Slump in UK car sales deepens as industry records 12% fall

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 2:53am

Drop for seventh month in a row driven by 30% plunge in diesel vehicle sales amid growing confusion over government’s road fuel policy

New car sales have declined for the seventh month in a row, falling more than 12% in October as worsening confidence among consumers and businesses continues to dampen the market.

The figures show that the car market is on course for its first annual decline since 2011 and will continue to fall next year before stabilising in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

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Categories: Environment

How India’s battle with climate change could determine all of our fates

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 1:36am

India’s population and emissions are rising fast, and its ability to tackle poverty without massive fossil fuel use will decide the fate of the planet

“It’s a lucky charm,” says Rajesh, pointing to the solar-powered battery in his window that he has smeared with turmeric as a blessing. “It has changed our life.”

He lives in Rajghat, a village on the border of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states, and until very recently was one of the 240 million Indians who live without electricity. In the poverty that results, Rajghat has become a village of bachelors, with just two weddings in 20 years.

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Categories: Environment

'Absolutely shocking': Niger Delta oil spills linked with infant deaths

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 12:00am

Babies in Nigeria at double the risk of dying before they reach a month old if mothers lived near the scene of an oil spill before conceiving, study shows

Babies in Nigeria are twice as likely to die in the first month of life if their mothers were living near an oil spill before falling pregnant, researchers have found.

A new study, the first to link environmental pollution with newborn and child mortality rates in the Niger Delta, shows that oil spills occurring within 10km of a mother’s place of residence doubled neonatal mortality rates and impaired the health of her surviving children.

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Categories: Environment

Bonn climate talks must go further than Paris pledges to succeed

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 11:00pm

Hosts Fiji will be aiming to build transparency and constructive dialogue – and this will be crucial to successfully ratcheting up the tough climate targets sidestepped at Paris

Talanoa is a Fijian term for discussions aimed at building consensus, airing differences constructively, and finding ways to overcome difficulties or embark on new projects. It is one of the building blocks of Fijian society, used for centuries to foster greater understanding among a people distributed over many small islands, and carry them through a tough existence.

This week, talanoa comes to Europe, and the rest of the world. Fiji is hosting the UN’s climate talks, following on from the landmark Paris agreement of 2015, and will hold the conference in Bonn, Germany. Talanoa will be the founding principle of the conference, the means by which Fiji hopes to break through some of the seemingly intractable problems that have made these 20-plus years of negotiations a source of bitter conflict.

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Categories: Environment

It's time to put children's health before pesticides | Baskut Tuncak

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 11:00pm

A pending decision on Monsanto’s ubiquitous weedkiller is a crucial opportunity to protect our children from the toxic cocktail of pesticides polluting their food, water and play areas

Our children are growing up exposed to a toxic cocktail of weedkillers, insecticides, and fungicides. It’s on their food and in their water, and it’s even doused over their parks and playgrounds. Many governments insist that our standards of protection from these pesticides are strong enough. But as a scientist and a lawyer who specialises in chemicals and their potential impact on people’s fundamental rights, I beg to differ.

Last month it was revealed that in recommending that glyphosate – the world’s most widely-used pesticide – was safe, the EU’s food safety watchdog copied and pasted pages of a report directly from Monsanto, the pesticide’s manufacturer. Revelations like these are simply shocking.

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Categories: Environment

Red squirrels successfully reintroduced to north-west Scottish Highlands

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 5:01pm

New population naturally expanded since reintroduction to north-west Scotland in 2016

Red squirrels, a species previously lost from their native woodlands, have been successfully returned to the north-west Highlands, early results of a reintroduction project show.

The new population has naturally expanded since they were reintroduced to north-west Scotland last year. The species had disappeared due to the reduction of forests to just isolated remnants, as well as disease and competition from the introduced non-native grey squirrel.

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Categories: Environment

Joining in the fungi: black truffle grown in UK for first time

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 5:01pm

Dog unearths Périgord black truffle successfully grown in Wales, the furthest north the delicacy has ever been found

An expensive Mediterranean black truffle has been cultivated in the UK for the first time, the farthest north that the species has been found.

Researchers believe the truffle, mostly found in northern Spain, southern France and northern Italy, was able to grow in Wales due to climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Glencore's Australian arm moved billions through Bermuda

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 11:00am

Paradise Papers reveal use of cross-currency interest rate swaps, which are under investigation by the tax office

The Australian arm of the global mining giant Glencore has been involved in cross-currency swaps of up to $25bn of a type under specific investigation by the Australian tax office, the Paradise Papers reveal.

Glencore, the world’s largest mining company by revenue, has attracted significant controversy since its entry into the Australian market in the mid-1990s over its tax strategies, degradation of sacred Indigenous lands, and black lung and lead blood poisoning among its workforce and their families.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking protester warns: 'Yorkshire's gorgeous, but that can be taken away’

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 7:49am

Testing by Third Energy expected to get go-ahead soon at Kirby Misperton, the first in UK since 2011

For the past year, Leigh Coghill has devoted her life to one thing – trying to stop the gas exploration company Third Energy from fracking on the outskirts of a tiny village in North Yorkshire. The 26-year-old from Wolverhampton, who “married into Yorkshire”, quit her job working for York council in November last year, deciding to devote herself to the cause.

Since September, when Third Energy started preparing the site at Kirby Misperton for fracking, she has been one of a group of around forty Ryedale locals to have spent almost every day protesting next to the gates to the well, holding banners and placards, and watching in dismay as lorries trundle in.

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Categories: Environment

Big Oil Has A Diversity Problem

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 3:00am

The business wants to attract more women and minorities, but a history of racism and sexism makes that difficult.

(Image credit: J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Big Oil Has A Diversity Problem

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 3:00am

The business wants to attract more women and minorities, but a history of racism and sexism makes that difficult.

(Image credit: J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The COP23 climate change summit in Bonn and why it matters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 2:00am

Halting dangerous global warming means putting the landmark Paris agreement into practice – without the US – and tackling the divisive issue of compensation

The world’s nations are meeting for the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which aims to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”, ie halt global warming. It is taking place in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to big ethics

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/04 - 11:00pm

Is it good news or bad when environment-friendly brands are bought out by major industry players?

At a recent event held by the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia I detected a sheepish air. Nothing to do with eco wool, but rumours that the company was about to surpass a $1bn turnover.

I'd rather market share went to Patagonia than to brands without discernible values

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Categories: Environment

One step beyond organic or free-range: Dutch farmer’s chickens lay carbon-neutral eggs

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/04 - 5:05pm

Poultry owner claims his new approach has the highest welfare standards and lowest cost to environment

There’s the much-criticised battery hen egg, and then the pricier organic and free-range varieties. But for the truly ethically committed, how about the carbon-neutral egg, laid in what has been billed as the world’s most environmentally friendly farm?

Dutch stores are now selling so-called “Kipster eggs” laid at a shiny new farm near the south-eastern city of Venray. “Kip” means chicken in Dutch, “ster” means star, and it’s no coincidence the name rhymes with hipster. The intention is to rethink the place of animals in the food chain, according to Ruud Zanders, the poultry farmer and university lecturer behind the farm, which includes a visitor centre, corporate meeting room and even a free cappuccino machine.

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Categories: Environment

‘For us, the land is sacred’: on the road with the defenders of the world’s forests

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/11/04 - 5:25am
A busload of indigenous leaders have been crossing Europe to highlight their cause before the start of UN climate talks in Bonn

Of the many thousands of participants at the Bonn climate conference which begins on 6 November, there will arguably be none who come with as much hope, courage and anger as the busload of indigenous leaders who have been criss-crossing Europe over the past two weeks, on their way to the former German capital.

The 20 activists on the tour represent forest communities that have been marginalised over centuries but are now increasingly recognised as important actors against climate change through their protection of carbon sinks.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists Alarmed By Pruitt's Changes To EPA Advisory Boards

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/11/04 - 5:13am

EPA head Scott Pruitt announced new rules this week barring researchers who've received agency grants from serving on key advisory boards. NPR's Scott Simon talks with professor Peter Thorne.

Categories: Environment

Scientists Alarmed By Pruitt's Changes To EPA Advisory Boards

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/11/04 - 5:13am

EPA head Scott Pruitt announced new rules this week barring researchers who've received agency grants from serving on key advisory boards. NPR's Scott Simon talks with professor Peter Thorne.

Categories: Environment
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