Environment

Pumped hydro projects unveiled as Tasmania bids to be 'battery of the nation'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 3:22pm

State and federal governments to confirm that 14 lake sites have been earmarked

Pumped hydro projects generating energy at twice the scale of the much-vaunted Snowy 2.0 scheme will be identified across Tasmania on Wednesday, with modelling suggesting the proposal could deliver thousands of jobs between now and 2028.

The Turnbull and Hodgman governments will confirm that 14 pumped hydro sites have been earmarked across the state with a combined potential generation capacity of up to 4,800 megawatts.

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Categories: Environment

Kakadu uranium mine closure planning ignores impact on Jabiru township

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 3:00pm

Ranger mine, which ceases operations in 2021, releases plan for rehabilitation, but fails to mention town of 1,000

Operators of a controversial uranium mine inside Kakadu national park have released their plans to close it, but make no mention of how the shutdown will affect the nearby town that has relied on the mine for its survival.

The Ranger mine, which in its more than 30-year existence has had a number contamination and fire incidents, including one that prompted a six-month shutdown, will stop operations by January 2021 and close by January 2026.

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Categories: Environment

Iran launches plan to bolster uranium enrichment

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 12:12pm

Move piles pressure on European states scrambling to salvage nuclear deal

Iran has launched a plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity with new centrifuges, raising the pressure on European diplomats scrambling to rescue the crumbling nuclear deal after the US pulled out.

“If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz [plant], we can announce the opening of the centre for production of new centrifuges,” said the vice-president, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, according to conservative news agency Fars on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow's third runway gets go-ahead from Chris Grayling

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 12:06pm

Tory splits mean government may have to rely on Labour and SNP to win parliamentary vote

The government has finally given the green light to the plan to build a third runway at Heathrow after years of delays and opposition from campaigners.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, told MPs the announcement represented a “historic moment” that showed ministers had a clear vision to build “a Britain fit for the future”. Critics claim it will damage the environment and could end up costing the taxpayer billions.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow's third runway: the crucial battlegrounds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 10:19am

The plan to expand Heathrow still faces hurdles, including environmental impacts and whether the sums add up

Heathrow has long argued it is in effect full, with the number of flights capped on its two runways. Its contention is that only a major hub airport, with connecting flights adding passengers from around Britain, can sustain the long-haul route network that an island nation requires, particularly in regards to trade with emerging markets and the post-Brexit environment. It is a point of view shared by many business leaders and the Department for Transport. Most international airlines want to fly to Heathrow rather than other London airports, and most cargo goes the same way.

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Categories: Environment

The Guardian view on Heathrow expansion: better never than so late | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 10:07am
A third runway at Heathrow airport is ultimately indefensible on environmental grounds

The decision to go ahead with the third runway at Heathrow was taken two years ago; Chris Grayling’s confirmation yesterday marked the point when it seemed to its promoters that enough of the opposition on the ground had been defeated, so it was safe to proceed with a final vote in three weeks’ time. If that is won, and all goes according to plan, the bulldozers will go in around 2021, when the inevitable cycle of cost overruns and slipping deadlines can begin, 31 years after the project was first mooted. By then the UK may be two years into a lengthy “transitional” post-Brexit period, and the bright economic forecasts which are used to justify the plan may be no more use than hot air balloons.

There is a case that air travel has made life better for many people and that more of it would continue to do so. Nearly two-thirds of Heathrow’s present traffic is leisure flying. Mass tourism has boosted the economy of many countries and greatly enlarged our experience of the world, and perhaps our sympathies as well. However unpleasant the experience of a modern airport can be, through which we are run like rats in a maze of shopping malls and security checks, it still seems better to many of us than being trapped in our own countries all year round. Heathrow as it stands today is an unimposing portal to Britain. Failing to expand it is simply sabotaging the country. Beyond that, the country is dependent, like all others, on air freight. So the plans for expansion are in some ways well motivated. We can even overlook the fact that they are promoted by Mr Grayling, a man notoriously unable to make even trains run on time.

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Categories: Environment

India will abolish all single-use plastic by 2022, vows Narendra Modi

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 9:57am

Country will also introduce a campaign against marine litter and a pledge to make 100 national monuments litter-free

India will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, has announced.

The pledge is the most ambitious yet of the global actions to combat plastic pollution that are taking place in 60 nations around the world. Modi’s move aims to drastically stem the flow of plastic from the 1.3 billion people living in the fastest growing economy in the world.

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Categories: Environment

Can't Stand The Heat? Tell Us How You're Coping With Rising Temperatures

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 8:51am

Have hotter days (and nights) changed your daily routines or long-term plans? Has your business had to adapt to higher temperatures?

(Image credit: Matt York/AP)

Categories: Environment

Is Heathrow's third runway really going to happen?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 5:55am

Government has given the green light, but there are still many more potential obstacles

The cabinet has endorsed as official policy a revised national policy statement on aviation, whose key point is to enable Heathrow expansion, specifically a third runway to the north-west of the existing airport. A wider vote will now take place within 21 sitting days in parliament, or by 10 July.

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Categories: Environment

Day Zero: how Cape Town stopped the taps running dry – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 5:28am

Early this year, the South African government announced that Day Zero was looming – a moment, after three years of unprecedented drought, when dam levels would be so low that taps would be turned off and people would have to fetch water at communal collection points.

After taking remedial measures, Capetonians managed to push back the date of Day Zero until next year. We visited the city to find out how the threat of an apocalyptic disaster has changed lives

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Categories: Environment

Families around the world join war on plastic - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 3:24am

To celebrate World Environment day, Reuters photographers met people from Athens to Singapore trying to play their part as the war on plastics becomes a key political topic

Eight million tonnes of plastic - bottles, packaging and other waste - are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the United Nations Environment Program said in December.

While governments and retailers started clamping down on plastic bags through bans and small fees more than a decade ago, the focus has now increasingly turned to eradicating throwaway items such as straws and takeaway food and drink packaging.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's large fish species declined 30% in past decade, study says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 12:26am

Call for fisheries changes after study says excessive fishing mostly to blame

The number of large fish species in Australian waters has declined by 30% in the past decade, mostly due to excessive fishing, a new study says.

Marine ecology experts are calling for changes to fisheries management after publication of the study by scientists from the University of Tasmania and the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney.

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Categories: Environment

Coral decline in Great Barrier Reef 'unprecedented'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 11:08pm

Reef monitoring program shows northern section has lost half of its coral cover

A steep decline in coral cover right across the Great Barrier Reef is a phenomenon that “has not been observed in the historical record”, a new report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science says.

The institute, Australia’s government-backed marine research agency, periodically releases results of a long-term reef monitoring program. Each reef along the Queensland coast is visited by researchers every two years to assess its condition and coral cover.

The latest results, released on Tuesday, detail how major bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 have impacted on different sections of the reef. AIMS said it had no previous record of bleaching events occurring in successive years.

“Over the 30-plus years of monitoring by AIMS, Great Barrier Reef reefs have shown their ability to recover after disturbances, but such ‘resilience’ clearly has limits,” the report says.

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Categories: Environment

From Brentford to Brooklyn, cycling improvements are clear votewinners | Andrew Gilligan

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 11:00pm

Sadiq Khan should take heed of the evidence and push on with the changes needed to keep cyclists safe on London’s roads

The decay of London’s cycling programme is starting to cost lives. In the last three and a half weeks, three cyclists have been killed at locations where schemes to make the road safe, or provide a safe alternative route, have been watered down or stopped under the mayoralty of Sadiq Khan.

On 11 May, Oliver Speke died after a collision two days earlier with a lorry at Romney Road, Greenwich. On 18 May, Edgaras Cepura was killed by a lorry on the same road, a mile or so to the east. There was supposed to have been a new cycle superhighway avoiding Romney Road by now, and a safe, segregated junction at the roundabout where Cepura was killed. Both schemes were postponed indefinitely after Khan came to office.

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Categories: Environment

The planet is on edge of a global plastic calamity | Erik Solheim

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 10:00pm

We urgently need consumers, business and governments to cut consumption of single-use, throwaway plastics, writes the UN Environment chief

Plastic pollution has grabbed the world’s attention, and with good cause.

More than 100 years after its invention, we’re addicted. To pass a day without encountering some form of plastic is nearly impossible. We’ve always been eager to embrace the promise of a product that could make life cheaper, faster, easier. Now, after a century of unchecked production and consumption, convenience has turned to crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Pioneering 'liquid air' project can help store excess electricity

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 10:00pm

Scheme in north-west England could aid grids as wind and solar power grows

A pioneering project in north-west England will turn air into liquid for energy storage to help electricity grids cope with a growing amount of wind and solar power.

The world’s first full-scale “liquid air” plant is based on a technology that advocates say is cheaper and able to provide power for longer periods than lithium-ion batteries.

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Categories: Environment

Man begins six-month swim through 'Great Pacific garbage patch'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 9:45pm

Ben Lecomte plans to swim from Japan to US to raise awareness of plastic pollution

A French anti-plastic campaigner has begun a six-month journey to swim through the giant floating rubbish mass known as the Great Pacific garbage patch.

Ben Lecomte, who has previously swum across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998, left the shores of Choshi in Japan on Tuesday morning, heading east.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's largest windfarm wins planning approval

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 7:07pm

$1bn project in Queensland’s Bowen basin to consist of almost 200 turbines

The Queensland government has approved the country’s largest windfarm, a $1bn project to build almost 200 turbines in the shadow of the Bowen basin’s coalmines.

The 800-megawatt Clarke Creek project, in cattle country north-west of Rockhampton, received planning approval on Tuesday morning. The company behind the project, Lacour Energy, says it will create about 350 jobs during three years of construction and has the capacity to provide 3% of the generation required to power the entire state. It also includes a solar component.

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Categories: Environment

Water bosses' £58m pay over last five years a 'national scandal'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 4:01pm

GMB chief launches campaign to return England’s nine water firms to national ownership

The bosses of England’s privatised water companies have been criticised for banking £58m in pay and benefits over the last five years while customers have been faced with above-inflation rises in their water bills.

The GMB union said the chief executives of England’s nine water and sewage companies were “fat cats” earning “staggering sums” from the management of a natural resource.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow: Grayling to confirm final plan for third runway

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/04 - 4:01pm

Transport secretary will set out proposals amid growing rift over expansion scheme

Chris Grayling is to confirm the government’s final plans for a third runway at Heathrow as the Tories prepare to impose a three-line whip in favour and Labour considers whether to remove its backing for the project.

The transport secretary will set out his proposals for the expansion to senior colleagues on the cabinet’s economic subcommittee on Tuesday morning, before the decision goes to the full cabinet for approval.

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