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BP faces shareholder challenge over carbon targets

Sun, 2018/12/09 - 5:01pm

Company is among energy firms being urged to set goals in line with Paris agreement

BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil face a shareholder challenge to set carbon targets in line with the Paris climate agreement, as a green group seeks to repeat its success in pressuring Shell to set environmental benchmarks.

When Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, laid out an ambitious long-term carbon target last year, he acknowledged the role played by a resolution on carbon targets submitted by Dutch activist shareholders Follow This.

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Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors

Sun, 2018/12/09 - 5:01pm

UN summit urged to end all coal burning and introduce substantial taxes on emissions

Global investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.

The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers and marks the largest such intervention to date. They say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced.

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Australia's silence during climate change debate shocks COP24 delegates

Sun, 2018/12/09 - 2:17pm

Country accused of tacitly supporting oil allies’ rejection of the latest science

As four of the world’s largest oil and gas producers blocked UN climate talks from “welcoming” a key scientific report on global warming, Australia’s silence during a key debate is being viewed as tacit support for the four oil allies: the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.

The end of the first week of the UN climate talks – known as COP24 – in Katowice, Poland, has been mired by protracted debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” a key report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Largest ever group of global investors call for more action to meet Paris targets

Sun, 2018/12/09 - 10:00am

The group of 414 institutional investors with $31 trillion under management say governments must take serious steps to cut emissions

The largest ever group of institutional investors has called on governments around the world to urgently increase their efforts to meet the Paris climate change agreement goals.

The 414 global investors - which represent US$31 trillion of assets-under-management - say they are deeply concerned about the “ambition gap” that exists between governments’ commitments and what is needed to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels.

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Man in serious condition after shark attack on NSW mid-north coast

Sat, 2018/12/08 - 4:33pm

Man surfing at Nambucca Heads receives five deep lacerations to his leg when he is bitten by a shark

A man in his 30s is in a serious condition after a shark attack on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

The man received five deep lacerations to one of his lower legs when he was bitten by a shark at Nambucca Heads after 7am on Sunday, an ambulance spokesman said.

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Categories: Environment

Next election test of leadership on climate and the environment

Sat, 2018/12/08 - 2:11pm

Centrist voters are increasingly placing a priority on these issues at a federal level, according to research

The next election could shape up as an important contest for centrist voters who consider climate and environmental concerns as a test of leadership according to leading social researcher Rebecca Huntley.

Huntley says her work increasingly shows voters broadly connect environmental issues such as climate change, energy, clean air and water, food security and waste with capacity for leadership.

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Airlines ignoring efficient planes in blow to carbon targets – study

Sat, 2018/12/08 - 4:00am

TUI Airways comes top of 2018 Atmosfair Airline Index while Virgin Atlantic ranks 83rd

Airlines are failing to take up the most efficient planes in sufficient numbers to make a significant dent in their carbon dioxide emissions, a new study has found.

The most efficient new aircraft models, such as the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 and A320neo, can achieve substantial carbon savings over older models, but no airlines have invested sufficiently in the new types to reach the top levels of energy efficiency, according to a ranking by Atmosfair, a German NGO.

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'We live in a lobstocracy': Maine town is feeling the effects of climate change

Sat, 2018/12/08 - 4:00am

When lobsters are life, environmental change affects livelihoods, and warming waters will ultimately bust the lobster industry

The American lobster is a symbol of Maine, central to the state’s ethos and economy.

Its image appears on license plates, restaurant signs and clothing. It is sold alive, with its claws banded shut, on docks, at highway rest stops and supermarkets. Cooked, it is served everywhere from seaside shacks to the finest restaurants.

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'It's a sad reality': a troubling trend sees a 97% decline in monarch butterflies

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 11:00pm

In the 1980s, roughly 4.5 million monarchs wintered in California, but at last count, there may be as few as 30,000

The hillside groves of eucalyptus trees that tower over the Santa Cruz shoreline would, not so long ago, be teeming with monarch butterflies at this time of year.

Boughs would be bent under the weight of black and orange clusters, as hundreds of thousands of the magical invertebrates nestled into the leaves, waiting out the frost on the California coast before returning north.

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Categories: Environment

Nobel laureates dismiss fears about genetically modified foods

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 10:46am

Winners of chemistry prize say excessive concerns could limit scientific progress

Winners of this year’s Nobel prize for chemistry say overblown fears about genetically modified foods risk preventing society benefiting from the technology.

Prof Frances Arnold, from the US, and Sir Gregory Winter, from Britain, made the comments on Friday ahead of Monday’s presentation of the prize.

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Categories: Environment

Any Trump infrastructure deal must tackle climate change, Democrats warn

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 9:55am
  • Trump seeking $1bn package to upgrade road, rail and bridges
  • Senator Chuck Schumer issues condition for Democrat support

Democrats will only support an infrastructure deal with Donald Trump if it includes measures to combat climate change, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, has warned.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post and a letter to Trump, the New York Democrat said that his party “will have an extraordinary opportunity to force action on climate change” after taking control of the House of Representatives in the recent midterm elections.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 8:33am

An African wild dog preparing for a hunt and a male mimic poison frog transporting a tadpole are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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UK children face winter health crisis due to pollution, say doctors

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 8:09am

Toxic air and cold weather could create deadly conditions and stretch NHS, medics say

Thousands of children are facing hospital this winter as cold weather and the UK’s air pollution crisis combine to create potentially deadly conditions for young people, doctors have warned.

The Royal College of Paediatricians, the Royal College of Physicians and children’s charity Unicef say that the UK’s toxic air and cold weather will leave a huge number of children extremely vulnerable this winter, creating an “overlooked” emergency for an already stretched NHS.

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Categories: Environment

Deadly pig virus could hit US in a year, warn experts

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 4:30am

African swine fever has been spreading rapidly in China and has also travelled from Russia and Eastern Europe to Belgium. Experts fear it is only a matter of time before it reaches the US.

A global outbreak of African swine fever will reach the US within a year unless border protections are tightened and imports of high-risk pork products banned, warn biosecurity experts. It would cost the US economy $16.5bn (£12.9bn) in the first year alone, it has been estimated.

An ongoing epidemic of the virus, which is deadly for pigs but cannot yet be transmitted to humans, has prompted the US Department of Agriculture to review and strengthen its border protections. After outbreaks in Belgium and China this year, the USDA has increased the use of sniffer dogs at major ports, airports, land borders crossings, and has also built quarantine stations and increased passenger and cargo inspections on flights from China and Russia, the worst hit countries.

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World's oldest known wild bird to become a mother for the 37th time

Fri, 2018/12/07 - 4:00am

Wisdom, a 68-year-old Laysan albatross, has laid another egg with her longtime lover at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge

In sea mariner lore, an albatross is considered a good omen, and for almost seven decades, one bird has spread generations of blessings across the Pacific Ocean.

Wisdom, a 68-year-old Laysan albatross believed to be the world’s oldest known wild bird, has returned to her home at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge for yet another winter – and laid yet another egg to add to the already impressive brood that she has built up over an impressive lifetime.

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Categories: Environment

Endangered Hawaiian monk seals face new challenge: eels stuck up their noses

Thu, 2018/12/06 - 4:34pm

Picture of monk seal with eel up its nose shared by Noaa was only latest episode to occur in the past two years, baffling researchers

The Hawaiian monk seal has become endangered due to a range of threats, from fishing net entanglements to disease. Now the beleaguered species is facing an unexpected new challenge – eels getting stuck up their noses.

Related: Axolotls in crisis: the fight to save the 'water monster' of Mexico City

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Categories: Environment

Trump rolls back climate change rule that restricted new coal plants

Thu, 2018/12/06 - 12:49pm

EPA says change to require efficiency efforts instead of carbon capture will encourage ‘clean coal’ in the US and worldwide

The Trump administration is rolling back a climate change regulation that restricted new coal plants.

The change is mostly symbolic – but nevertheless sends a strong signal. Companies in the US are not building plants that burn coal because burning natural gas is cheaper and creates less pollution. Renewable power has also eaten into coal’s market share.

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Trump administration plans to weaken protections for sage grouse

Thu, 2018/12/06 - 12:18pm

Under the new plan, the sage grouse’s protected area would shrink by about 9m acres to span just 1.8m acres

The Trump administration has unveiled plans to weaken environmental protections for sprawling areas of the western US considered important habitat for the sage grouse, a chicken-like bird known for its flamboyant courtship displays.

The proposals, put forward by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), essentially dismantle much of a landmark 2015 compromise struck between states, oil drilling companies and environmentalists to create a network of protected areas for the sage grouse across 11 western states.

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The 'great dying': rapid warming caused largest extinction event ever, report says

Thu, 2018/12/06 - 12:00pm

Up to 96% of all marine species and more than two-thirds of terrestrial species perished 252m years ago

Rapid global warming caused the largest extinction event in the Earth’s history, which wiped out the vast majority of marine and terrestrial animals on the planet, scientists have found.

Related: Save millions of lives by tackling climate change, says WHO

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What you know about the American south and climate change is wrong

Thu, 2018/12/06 - 5:32am

Southern states are not a uniform swath of white, populist, anti-science zealots. As climate is changing, so is the south – in this new column, Megan Mayhew Bergman goes back home to find out more

There’s a Welsh word – hiraeth – which refers to a “homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, or a home which maybe never was”.

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