Guardian Environment News

Syndicate content The Guardian
Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.
Updated: 5 hours 18 min ago

One in eight birds is threatened with extinction, global study finds

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 4:01pm

Report on the state of the world’s birds reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by intensive farming, with once-common species such as puffins and snowy owls now at risk

One in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, and once widespread creatures such as the puffin, snowy owl and turtle dove are plummeting towards oblivion, according to the definitive study of global bird populations.

The State of the World’s Birds, a five-year compendium of population data from the best-studied group of animals on the planet, reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by the expansion and intensification of agriculture.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5m to cover US Paris climate commitment

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 12:23pm

The former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will write a $4.5m cheque to cover this year’s US commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

Related: Macron begins Trump charm offensive with Fox News interview

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Killer whales seen in river Clyde

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 6:32am

Pod of orcas spotted between Dunoon and Gourock, thought to be hunting seals or porpoises

A pod of killer whales has been spotted in the river Clyde apparently hunting seals or porpoises.

Images and videos have been posted on social media over the weekend of about half a dozen killer whales, or orcas, between Dunoon and Gourock.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

EPA chief Scott Pruitt did meet lobbyist linked to condo lease, despite denials

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 5:24am
  • Pruitt and Steven Hart both denied any recent business
  • Two men met at EPA HQ in July 2017 to discuss Chesapeake Bay

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt met in his office last year with a veteran Washington lobbyist tied to the bargain-priced condo where Pruitt was living.

Both Pruitt and lobbyist Steven Hart had previously denied Hart had conducted any recent business with EPA.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

How to avoid clothes moths: live in the east Midlands

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 2:00am

Survey suggests pest problem is worst in south-east England, and in flats and pre-1950s housing

Got a lovely collection of cashmere sweaters you don’t want devoured by moths? Then maybe you should move to a new-build house in the east Midlands. That, you see, is the type of dwelling and region least likely to be tormented by the pesky insects, according to a new study by English Heritage at least.

English Heritage conservators have been monitoring the remorseless rise in moth numbers, blamed on a string of exceptionally mild winters – although the survey ended before the spectacularly bitter weather of last winter – and last year invited visitors to their properties to help by collecting free moth traps and reporting their haul.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Meet the anti-plastic warriors: the pioneers with bold solutions to waste

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 12:00am

The environmental scourge of plastic has shot to the top of the political agenda. We talk to the creatives and campaigners behind five imaginative new ventures

Among retailers and manufacturers, they talk of “the Blue Planet effect”. The BBC series, screened late last year, was the moment that many of us realised the catastrophic impact our use of plastics was having on the world’s oceans. Scenes such as a hawksbill turtle snagged in a plastic sack, the albatrosses feeding their chicks plastic or the mother pilot whale grieving for her dead calf, which may have been poisoned by her contaminated milk, are impossible to unsee.

It’s a crisis that affects us all, and the facts make for dispiriting reading. If nothing changes, one study suggests that by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic swimming around, by weight, than fish. It’s already estimated that one third of fish caught in the Channel contain plastic; another piece of research found that “top European shellfish consumers” could potentially consume up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic a year.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'Amazing but also concerning': weird wildlife ventures to northern Alaska

Sun, 2018/04/22 - 12:00am

Arctic Dispatches, part 2: As the Arctic heats up, residents of Utqiaġvik are experiencing first contact with unusual species that are making their way polewards

Last July, Nagruk Harcharek was savouring a bucolic visit to a cabin that sits on the lip of the Chipp river, deep in the Alaskan Arctic, when something caught his eye. Shimmering on a rack where he hangs his caught whitefish to dry was, astonishingly, a dragonfly.

“I’d been going to camp there for 30 years and I’d never seen one, I couldn’t freaking believe it,” said Harcharek. “I was amazed. I just thought, ‘Wow’.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mission to untangle female right whale highlights species' precarious plight

Sat, 2018/04/21 - 11:00pm

Removing a thick fishing rope from a highly fertile whale’s jaw was a priority for scientists who fear the species may be in terminal decline

A mission to disentangle a particularly important North Atlantic right whale from a thick rope wrapped around its jaw has proved a partial success, amid growing fears that the endangered species is approaching a terminal decline.

The individual female whale, known as Kleenex, is considered one of the most productive North Atlantic right whales left in existence, having given birth to eight calves. Its condition has deteriorated, however, since it was spotted off the coast of Delaware in 2014 with a thick fishing rope wrapped around its head and upper jaw.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mozambique prays for rain as water shortages hit country’s poor

Sat, 2018/04/21 - 4:05pm

Taps in capital city of Maputo being turned off every other day as climate change exacerbates southern African drought

In the township of Chamanculo, in Maputo, Mozambique, a network of household taps made the community water pump obsolete years ago, freeing residents from the daily burden of lugging massive jerrycans of water long distances.

But a water crisis, partly caused by an ongoing drought affecting much of southern Africa, is already reversing progress in this coastal city. An emergency “orange alert”, declared last February by the country’s disaster management council after failed rains, has triggered such strict water rationing across the capital city that the taps are turned off every other day and irrigation is banned.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Frydenberg stalls on woodlands protection after pressure from states and farmers

Sat, 2018/04/21 - 3:15pm

Decision on Tasmanian, NSW and Queensland woodlands’ on hold despite advice from expert committee

Sign up to receive the top stories in Australia every day at noon

Farmers’ associations, the Tasmanian deputy premier and a Tasmanian Liberal senator lobbied the environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, not to grant critically endangered status to woodlands eligible for protection under Australia’s national environment laws.

In 2017 the independent threatened species scientific committee, which provides scientific advice to the government about conserving threatened species, recommended two new woodlands be listed as critically endangered ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

What happened to winter? Vanishing ice convulses Alaskans' way of life

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 11:00pm

Arctic Dispatches, part 1: The past winter was the warmest on record in the Arctic, putting a lifestyle that has endured for millennia at risk: ‘The magnitude of change is utterly unprecedented’

A few days before Christmas last year, Harry Brower, mayor of Alaska’s North Slope Borough, was at home when he heard a stunning noise – the sound of waves lapping at the shore.

The sound was as wrenching and misplaced as hearing hailstones thud into the Sahara. Until fairly recently, the Arctic ocean regularly froze up hard up against the far north coast of Alaska by October. In 2017, it wasn’t until the final few days of the year that the ice encased the waves.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

People using fly-tipping firms face crackdown

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 3:55pm

Measures would demand ‘all reasonable measures’ are taken to ensure handlers are licensed

People who have their rubbish dumped illegally could face fines of up to £400, even if they do not personally engage in fly-tipping, under proposals being considered by ministers.

The measures are aimed at tackling people who charge householders to take away their rubbish and then dump it illegally. They build on existing powers to issue on-the-spot fines to save the hefty court costs often involved in pursuing offenders.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

What steps can the UK take to reach net zero emissions by 2050?

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 9:24am

The government has pledged to review its long-term climate targets. Renewable energy, housing and and transport are just some areas where new policies could cut emissions fast

More wind farms, solar power and electric cars: these are likely to be the future of the UK, under government plans announced this week to seek a zero-carbon economy in the next 30 years.

Some of the less obvious effects could be just as transformative, however, involving innovations such as smart houses and smart roads, widespread changes to the countryside wrought by new tree-planting and new farming practices designed to conserve soils.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 6:00am

A newly hatched turtle, a roaming peacock and egrets in China are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Sainsbury's accused of breaking pledge on chicken welfare

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 3:51am

Supermarket clashes with Compassion in World Farming over award given in 2010

Sainsbury’s has been accused of breaking promises on improving welfare conditions for chickens after it handed back a good practice award.

The animal rights pressure group Compassion in World Farming said Sainsbury’s applied for the group’s “good chicken” award in 2010 and committed to upgrade within five years all its fresh own-label chicken to the RSPCA welfare mark, which involved giving birds more living space and light.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mallorca's scenic roads, designed for early motorists, are a cyclist's dream

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 3:46am

Former pro-cyclist Doug Petty has been bringing cyclists to the Balearic island for more than 50 years to ride the famous hairpin bends on its spectacular mountain roads

Mallorca attracts more than 200,000 roadies a year. Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome are usually credited for popularising winter riding on this Spanish Balearic island, but it’s two others who really put the island on the cycling map, one of them quite literally.

1950s pro cyclist Doug Petty has been bringing cyclists to Mallorca every year for 51 years, and he’s been able to keep them coming because of the lure of two twisting roads built in the late-1920s by local engineer Antoni Parietti, who built the snaking carreteres to attract motor tourists. Sports car drivers still head to the Coll dels Reis and the Cap de Formentor mountain road, but the majority of those now skimming Parietti’s curves are pedal powered.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Exclusive: US official appeared to delay protections for endangered species at behest of oil group

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 3:00am

The energy friendly agenda inside Trump’s interior department is revealed in records obtained by the Guardian and the watchdog groups Documented and the Western Values Project

The Texas hornshell is a sleek green-grey mussel that once thrived in the Rio Grande watershed, its habitat stretching from southern New Mexico down into the arid Texas borderlands. Some of its habitat happens to overlap with rich deposits of oil and gas.

Amid a long-term decline in its range, the Obama administration in 2016 proposed to declare the mussel an endangered species. Upon taking office, however, the Trump administration changed tack.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Growing pains: how Oregon wound up with way more pot than it can smoke

Fri, 2018/04/20 - 12:01am

The state’s glut of marijuana – over 1m lb of unsold pot – is in many ways the result of an industry still finding its feet

Trey Willison, a cannabis farmer in Eugene, first started worrying last May about there being too much marijuana in Oregon. He had sold all his “clone” plants to other growers, who were using them to cultivate yet more marijuana.

“You start doing the math on that and it just didn’t make sense how people could be growing that many plants,” Willison said.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

London 'pollution pods' let you sample the smog in Beijing and Delhi

Thu, 2018/04/19 - 11:00pm

New installation at Somerset House in London lets visitors experience the air of some pollution hotspots – plus a pristine Norwegian island

New Delhi: the suffocating smell of old cars and industry. São Paulo: enough ethanol to make your eyes water. And in London, a scent called Living Diesel.

Those are the dominant notes of those cities’ contaminated air, according to an “artist’s approximation” that aims to raise awareness of the problem of pollution around the world.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

‘Magical' mushroom mix to boost regrowth of lost Scottish forests

Thu, 2018/04/19 - 10:30pm

Return of Great Caledonian forest speeded up with fungi spores to help saplings flourish

The return of the Great Caledonian forest that once covered much of Scotland’s highlands is being boosted with a special mix of mushroom spores that should help saplings survive better on the hills.

Fungi living on the roots of trees play a vital role in the ecology, helping to break down nutrients in the soil. But trees were lost in much of the Highlands many years ago so the fungi vanished too.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment