Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 17 hours 7 min ago

It was an ideal place for our children to grow up – but the coalmine has silenced our schoolyard | Alison Smiles-Schmidt

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 7:39pm

The permanent closure of our school is imminent, yet some call this progress. I call it an emergency and a lesson to learn from the story of Wollar

In the New South Wales town of Wollar, you can’t hear children laughing in the school playground any more. Coal has silenced the schoolyard, coated the remaining houses in a layer of dust and cut off the future of our community, just as it is doing to our children’s future on a global scale.

When the world takes part in the climate strike on Friday, those with a remaining connection to Wollar will strike too, at the empty local school.

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Categories: Environment

Tiny penguin released back into wild after swimming from New Zealand to Australia

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 7:28pm

Fiordland penguin found 170km west of Melbourne recuperates for eight weeks after 2,500km swim

A New Zealand penguin that washed up on a beach in Victoria has been released back to the wild to complete a 2,500km swim home.

The emaciated Fiordland penguin was found struggling against rocks in the shallows at Kennett River, 170km west of Melbourne, on 10 July.

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Categories: Environment

'Wake up and face facts' : Greta Thunberg pleads with politicians to lead fight against climate crisis – as it happened

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 5:40pm
  • The Swedish teen activist made clear her disapproval of Trump leaving the Paris climate agreement
  • The Guardian is joining forces with more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate crisis ahead of the UN summit. Read more about Covering Climate Now.

1.28am BST

That’s it from the Liveblog for today.

1.14am BST

Writer (and occasional Guardian columnist) Roxane Gay has endorsed Massachusetts senator, democratic presidential candidate and selfie enthusiast Elizabeth Warren for president, joining the progressive group Working Families Party -- which endorsed Warren’s challenger Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Shoutout to our #WCW, @rgay. We’re grateful that you’re in this fight with #TeamWarren. ✨ pic.twitter.com/5YEkyrCn8X

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Categories: Environment

Wind power: crown estate opens new bids for seabed rights

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 4:55pm

Offshore leasing auction starts for 7GW capacity project that could supply 6m UK homes

The crown estate has opened the first leasing round for offshore windfarms in a decade to usher in a new generation of wind projects expected to eventually generate an investment of £20bn.

The business intends to auction off new seabed rights in the waters around England and Wales to wind power developers. The leasing scheme allows up to 7GW of electricity generation capacity – enough to meet the needs of more than 6m homes.

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Categories: Environment

‘Listen to the scientists’: Greta Thunberg urges Congress to take action

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 4:32pm

Teen climate activists attend a hearing to address the climate crisis and its traumatic effect on the younger generation

The climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has bluntly told members of Congress to heed scientists’ warnings over global heating on a day when the existential anguish of young activists was given a voice at the heart of Washington DC power.

Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who has ignited a global youth climate movement, said at a congressional hearing that she had no prepared remarks other than to submit the landmark IPCC report, published last year, that warned of the rapidly approaching catastrophe of global heating.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists set out how to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 4:00pm

Strong civil society movements are needed to ramp up pace of change, says study

Greenhouse gas emissions could be halved in the next decade if a small number of current technologies and behavioural trends are ramped up and adopted more widely, researchers have found, saying strong civil society movements are needed to drive such change.

Solar and wind power, now cheaper than fossil fuels in many regions, must be scaled up rapidly to replace coal-fired generation, and this alone could halve emissions from electricity generation by 2030, according to the Exponential Roadmap report from an international group of experts.

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Categories: Environment

Climate crisis seen as 'most important issue' by public, poll shows

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 3:00pm

Eight-country poll shows people view climate crisis as priority over migration and terrorism

A majority of the public recognise the climate crisis as an “emergency” and say politicians are failing to tackle the problem, backing the interests of big oil over the wellbeing of ordinary people, according to an eight-country poll.

The survey, which comes before what is expected to be the world’s biggest climate demonstrations on Friday, found that climate breakdown is viewed as the most important issue facing the world, ahead of migration, terrorism and the global economy, in seven out of the eight countries surveyed. In the US it comes third behind terrorism and affordable healthcare.

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Categories: Environment

Moderate Democrats' climate proposal highlights rift with progressives

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 10:15am

New Democrat Coalition worried that Green New Deal plays into Republican messaging, seek ‘secure durable climate legislation’

Moderate congressional Democrats worried about the infeasibility of passing the kind of sweeping climate legislation their progressive counterparts are proposing, such as the Green New Deal, are laying out their own policies.

The New Democrat Coalition released an 11-page outline of principles on Wednesday, along with a list of bills to back them up, advocating for incremental and “pro-market” steps to cut pollution.

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Categories: Environment

US moves to scrap speed limits on pig slaughter lines

Wed, 2019/09/18 - 9:57am

New rules will allow production lines at pork plants to run faster, despite concerns over safety and quality

The US government has given the go-ahead to new rules to eliminate production line speed limits at pig slaughterhouses, deeming restrictions “unnecessary” despite fears that lifting them will worsen the already high number of serious injuries suffered by US meat plant workers.

Amputations, fractured fingers, second-degree burns and head trauma are just some of the serious injuries suffered by US meat plant workers every week, according to an investigation last year by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

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Categories: Environment

'Greenwashing': fossil fuel execs to hold invite-only forum at UN climate summit

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 11:01pm

BP, Shell and Chevron representatives will be at event on sidelines of UN climate summit

Oil and gas executives are holding an exclusive invitation-only forum with environmentalists and government representatives on the sidelines of the UN climate summit, in what critics have condemned as an attempt to influence negotiations in favour of fossil fuel companies.

Senior executives from leading oil companies including BP, Shell and Chevron will be at the event in New York on 22 September, which they describe as a “closed high-level discussion” with key stakeholders.

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Categories: Environment

We're losing species at shocking rates – so why is conservation failing? | John Vidal

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 11:00pm

One million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, yet governments are failing to stem the tide

The number of mammals, insects, amphibians, fish and birds is in steep decline, the world’s forests are on fire and the abundance of life is diminishing at rates unprecedented in human history. The TV screens are full of images of gorgeous wildlife but one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction and governments appear paralysed.

Faced with stark and mounting evidence of nature’s precipitous decline, leading natural and social science researchers, philosophers, anthropologists and conservationists have come together to ask why conservation is failing, and to call for an urgent re-think of how the natural world should be protected.

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Categories: Environment

Laid off and owed pay: the Kentucky miners blocking coal trains

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 11:00pm

The protest has endured for more than six weeks, gaining national attention and support from Bernie Sanders

Harlan county, Kentucky, earned the nickname “Bloody Harlan” from a series of labor strikes and violent confrontations in the 1930s led by coalminers and union organizers against coal corporations and law enforcement. In 1973, Harlan’s coalminers went on strike for 13 months when contract negotiations with Duke Power Company broke down after miners voted to form a union.

There are no longer any unionized mines in Kentucky, but Harlan’s miners are currently continuing the region’s legacy of labor struggles against wealthy and powerful coal corporations: they are blocking the coal trains from leaving a mine that laid them off.

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Categories: Environment

If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil | Bill McKibben

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 10:01pm

The climate crisis isn’t the only reason to kick fossil fuels – the prospect of a war to protect Saudi crude reminds us of that

We are sadly accustomed by now to the idea that our reliance on oil and gas causes random but predictable outbreaks of flood, firestorm and drought. The weekend’s news from the Gulf is a grim reminder that depending on oil leads inevitably to war too.

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Categories: Environment

Massive Bylong valley coalmine in NSW blocked on environmental grounds

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 9:20pm

Independent planning commission refuses South Korean company Kepco’s $290m proposal

The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission has rejected the development of a coalmine near Mudgee because of significant concerns about environmental impacts, including on climate change, and the costs to future generations.

On Wednesday the commission said it had refused development approval for Kepco’s proposal for an open-cut and underground coalmine in the Bylong valley that would extract up to 120m tonnes of coal over 25 years for export.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking plans near Adani coalmine raise new environmental fears

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 7:51pm

Environmentalists are concerned gas extraction near the Carmichael site will compound the impacts of coalmining on the Galilee Basin

A Queensland gas company plans to begin fracking at two exploratory wells close to the Adani Carmichael mine site later this year, and hopes production can begin “early” to service nearby mining projects.

Gas explorers appear to have increased the pace of their planning and activities in the Galilee Basin during the past year as the Carmichael mine has passed key milestones – in contrast to companies behind other thermal coal proposals.

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Categories: Environment

Josh Frydenberg overruled department to block Lord Howe Island wind turbines

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 4:43pm

Exclusive: FOI documents reveal former environment minister took action despite support from islanders

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The former environment minister Josh Frydenberg went against the advice of his departmental experts when he blocked two wind turbines on Lord Howe Island in 2017, consigning the world heritage-listed island to relying on diesel fuel for the bulk of its electricity.

A freedom of information request by the Guardian has uncovered that the minister took the unusual action of blocking the project under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, deeming it “unacceptable”.

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Categories: Environment

Trump to block California from setting vehicle emissions rules

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 3:23pm

Administration will declare that states are pre-empted from setting their own standards in a move that will spark challenge

The Trump administration is poised to end California’s authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards and bar states from establishing their own regulations.

Conservative and free-market groups have been invited to attend an announcement of the rollback on Wednesday afternoon at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington. The widely reported announcement is sure to spark a furious legal challenge.

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Categories: Environment

Greta Thunberg to Congress: ‘You’re not trying hard enough. Sorry’

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 1:51pm

The Swedish environmentalist was one of several who spoke at a Senate climate crisis taskforce

At a meeting of the Senate climate crisis task force on Tuesday, lawmakers praised a group of young activists for their leadership, their gumption and their display of wisdom far beyond their years. They then asked the teens for advice on how Congress might combat one of the most urgent and politically contentious threats confronting world leaders: climate change.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has galvanized young people across the world to strike for more action to combat the impact of global warming, politely reminded them that she was a student, not a scientist – or a senator.

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Categories: Environment

Extinction Rebellion stage funeral at London fashion week finale

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 11:54am

The activist group focused on fast fashion as a major factor in the climate crisis and called for drastic reform

The end of London fashion week was somewhat sombre on Tuesday evening. It culminated in Extinction Rebellion’s funeral march calling for the event to end in its current form, with the group criticising the clothing industry as a major offender in the climate crisis.

Extinction Rebellion kept to the drama of which fashion is so fond. Starting at Trafalgar Square, a group of about 200 people – some in funereal outfits complete with black veils – gathered around two black coffins. “RIP LFW 1983-2019” read one, while the other simply said “Our Future”. They were accompanied by a live band as they made their way up to 180 The Strand, a venue that hosted fashion week shows.

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Categories: Environment

Leading burger supplier sourced from Amazon farmer using deforested land

Tue, 2019/09/17 - 9:00am

Brazilian meat company which has supplied McDonald’s and Burger King bought cattle from farm using deforested land earlier this year, investigation shows

The world’s biggest supplier of burgers sourced meat from a farmer in the Amazon who had been found guilty of using deforested land, say reports, even as new figures reveal the beef industry’s deforestation risks.

Marfrig, a Brazilian meat company that has supplied McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food chains around the world, bought cattle from a farm that had been using deforested land earlier this year, according to a joint investigation by Repórter Brasil and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

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Categories: Environment