Barnaby Joyce says states should follow South Australia on coal seam gas

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 6:21pm

Deputy prime minister wants bans lifted on exploration and development, and royalties paid to landholders

The Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, has called for states to lift the bans on coal seam gas and has urged them to follow South Australia’s plan to pay royalties as compensation to landholders.

The deputy prime minister, who is also the minister for agriculture, said lifting the gas bans should not occur on a carte blanche basis because of the need to protect prime agricultural land and productive aquifers. However, he did not say how prime agricultural land should be defined.

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White House calls climate change funding 'a waste of your money' – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 5:46pm

The administration has unveiled President Donald Trump’s first budget, including a proposed 31% cut in funding to the Environmental Protection Agency. The cuts would remove funding for the Clean Power Plan and scrap all climate change research programs and partnerships. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney confirmed on Thursday that the new administration had no interest in funding to combat climate change, saying: ‘We’re not spending money on that any more. We consider that to be a waste of your money’

• Budget would gut EPA programs tackling climate change and pollution

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Haddock from UK waters removed from sustainable seafood list

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 5:01pm

MCS takes some haddock fisheries off green list – but Scottish fishermen accuse it of ‘dressing advocacy up as science’

It is among the most popular fish in the UK, but haddock may soon be off the menu in some fish and chip shops because of dwindling stocks.

Haddock from three North Sea and west of Scotland fisheries have been removed from the Marine Conservation Society recommended “green” list of fish to eat, after stocks fell below the acceptable levels in 2016.

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How an Indigenous renewable energy alliance aims to cut power costs and disadvantage

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 3:53pm

First Nations lobby group will support remote communities looking to make transition – and tackle climate change

Like so many of the Indigenous communities dotted across the Australian continent, the remote communities in north-west New South Wales are struggling. “These are not happy places,” says the Euahlayi elder Ghillar Michael Anderson.

Many of the 300 or so residents of Anderson’s hometown of Goodooga rely on welfare, he says. Exorbitant electricity bills – up to $3,000 a quarter for some households – further exacerbate the poverty. “We’re always at the end of the power line, so the service that is there is quite extraordinary in terms of cost.”

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Categories: Environment

A New Zealand River Now Has The Legal Rights Of A Human

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 3:09pm

Lawmakers granted the Whanganui River the rights of legal representation on Wednesday. The vote caps over a century of struggle by the local Maori people, who see the waterway as a sacred ancestor.

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Hazelwood transition deal gives my wife and me a future in our hometown | Mark Richards

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 2:54pm

It’s not only 150 workers and their families who will benefit from the transfer scheme in the Latrobe Valley – small businesses will also reap the benefits

I was thrown a lifeline last Friday. Along with at least 150 of my work colleagues, and hopefully many more, I will be given the opportunity to continue to work in the Latrobe Valley power industry, despite the closure of the Hazelwood power station, my workplace of the last 28 years.

The closure of Hazelwood was announced in early November for the end of March and my redundancy effective at 7am on April Fools Day (seriously). The 750 or so workers all knew that Hazelwood was one of the oldest and certainly the most emissions-intensive power station in Australia. We knew it was going to close. But in the last few years the owners had been employing new young people, and they had been told that the jobs would last until at least 2025 in their interviews.

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Categories: Environment

Europe's renewable energy revolution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 2:30pm

A tunnel under construction beneath a Norwegian mountain is just one link in a new grid that will cross national borders

More than 2km down a dark tunnel deep inside a Norwegian mountain, a drilling machine is boring out holes in the rock. It’s part of a major project that will connect Britain to Norway’s huge hydroelectric power supplies, passing power lines through the mountain near Kvilldal, southwest Norway, before laying the world’s longest undersea power cable, 450km long, to Blyth in Northumberland.

It will take years to build, but when it is completed, the UK could import 1,400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 750,000 homes. It will also allow Britain to export any surplus wind energy back to Norway.

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Categories: Environment

How To Make Farmers Love Cover Crops? Pay Them

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:55pm

New satellite images reveal that few Midwestern farmers are planting pollution-preventing "cover crops." In Maryland, though, farmers are doing it, thanks to hefty subsidies.

Categories: Environment

Study: 'Urgent' Action Against Global Warming Needed To Save Coral Reefs

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:52pm

After another major coral bleaching event, a new study has concluded that securing a future for coral reefs "ultimately requires urgent and rapid action to reduce global warming."

(Image credit: Greg Torda /ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)

Categories: Environment

Bald eagles: scientists decry overturn of ban that would save American symbol

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:01pm

The national bird is threatened by toxic bullets that wind up in the animals it eats, but the Trump administration overturned a rule to stop it

His head twisted almost upside down and his body all but paralyzed, the bald eagle sat on its haunches, talons clenching, while two humans neared to put him in a cage. They could not save the bird from lead.

The eagle was the third this year to die from lead poisoning at the Blue Mountain Wildlife center, in north-east Oregon, where Lynn Tompkins has helped rehabilitate sick and injured birds for 30 years. “They eat things that have been shot,” Tompkins said, “whether it’s big game like deer or elk or coyotes or ground squirrels.”

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Man found guilty of killing one of Britain’s rarest butterflies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 11:18am

Magistrates told that Phillip Cullen was spotted chasing large blues with a net at Gloucestershire reserve

A man has been found guilty of unlawfully collecting and killing specimens of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies, the large blue.

Phillip Cullen, 57, was spotted armed with a child’s shrimping net chasing the insects at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire and was seen the next day at another prime location for the butterfly in Somerset.

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Categories: Environment

Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 9:32am

The White House's proposed federal budget cuts everything from research to regulation, and makes clear that the administration doesn't view climate change as a priority.

(Image credit: NASA)

Categories: Environment

Trump budget would gut EPA programs tackling climate change and pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 9:11am

Proposal would cut Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by nearly a third, as budget director calls money spent to combat climate change a ‘waste’

Dozens of programs that deal with climate change, pollution clean-ups and energy efficiency would be wiped out by by the Trump administration’s budget, which seeks to demolish parts of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The regulator’s funding would be cut by nearly a third under Trump’s “America first” budget proposal (the name borrows from a phrase denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for its links to 1940s Nazi sympathisers), which requests $5.7bn for the EPA in 2018 – a $2.6bn cut, or 31%, on its existing budget. Around one in five EPA employees would lose their jobs.

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Populism can be stopped, says jubilant Dutch GreenLeft leader

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 8:44am

Jesse ‘the Jessiah’ Klaver celebrates Netherlands poll wins with pro-refugee message before possible coalition deal

It is far too early to say whether Jesse Klaver’s GreenLeft will be a party of government for the first time in its history. But for the 30-year-old leader of a political party, the Netherlands’ youngest ever, it was not a bad election.

GreenLeft was the big winner in Wednesday’s poll, leaping from four MPs to 14 in the 150-seat parliament, topping the bill in Amsterdam and overtaking the stricken social democratic PvdA to become the largest party of the left nationally.

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BBC crew and tourists injured in lava explosion on Mount Etna

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 8:17am

Group pelted with boiling rocks and steam in incident triggered when lava came into contact with snow

BBC crew members were among 10 people injured when lava flow triggered an explosion as it came into contact with snow on Mount Etna in Sicily on Thursday.

Six of the crew were taken to hospitals in Catania and nearby Acireale. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.

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Categories: Environment

GreenLeft proves to be big winner in Dutch election

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 3:46am

Party forecast to boost its MPs from four to 14 after storming campaign by young leader Jesse Klaver

The big winner of Wednesday’s election – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – was GreenLeft, headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, hailed by his enthusiastic supporters as the “Jessiah”.

With more than 95% of votes counted, the party – formed 25 years ago by a merger of communists, pacifists, evangelicals and self-styled radicals – boosted its MPs from four to 14 after a storming campaign by Klaver.

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Categories: Environment

Study Finds High Temperatures Killing Large Parts Of Great Barrier Reef

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:49am

A new study looks at coral bleaching in 2015-2016. Mia Hoogenboom was a co-author, who says warming ocean temperatures are killing sections of the Great Barrier Reef faster than researchers expected.

Categories: Environment

Paichit – the baby elephant saved from a palm oil plantation in Indonesia

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 12:19am

Orphaned at a few months old and nursed back to health by a local wildlife centre, Paichit’s story has serious implications for critically endangered Sumatran elephants

Pushing on 400 kilograms, baby Paichit knows when it’s feeding time.

He lets out an appreciative bellow, a rumbling baby elephant purr from his patch in the Sumatran jungle, as soon as his mahout (keeper) Julkarnaini approaches bucket in hand.

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Categories: Environment

India fast-tracks Kashmir hydro projects that could affect Pakistan water supplies

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:55pm

The schemes could prove a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbours at a time when relations are tense

India has fast-tracked hydropower projects worth $15bn in Kashmir in recent months, three federal and state officials said, ignoring warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.

The swift approval of projects that had languished for years came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India militants that New Delhi says it shelters.

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Malcolm Turnbull says Snowy Hydro plan will outdo South Australian battery storage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:22pm

PM says plan would turn Snowy Hydro into energy storage system but Labor says proposal leaves unanswered questions

Malcolm Turnbull has used his expansion plans for the Snowy Hydro to try to outdo South Australia on battery storage, saying it would provide 20 times the capacity of the battery system proposed by the premier, Jay Weatherill.

The prime minister visited the Snowy Hydro power station on Thursday to spruik the benefits of the expansion plan on the same day his energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, had an onscreen altercation with Weatherill at the launch of a virtual power station.

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