Guardian Environment News

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What oil companies knew: the great climate cover-up - podcast

Tue, 2019/06/18 - 7:00pm

Oil firms are said to have known for decades of the link between burning fossil fuels and climate breakdown. Author Bill McKibben describes how industry lobbying created a 30-year barrier to tackling the crisis. Plus: John Stewart on his campaign to stop the third runway at Heathrow

Before 1988, climate change was a subject confined to the realm of academic journals. That all changed when the scientist James Hansen told Congress that global heating was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels.

That moment caught the imagination of the journalist Bill McKibben, who has written and campaigned on climate breakdown ever since. And it has been reported that fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil, were making links between the burning of oil and rising sea levels as early as the 1970s. But instead of making their findings public, the industry colluded to cast doubt over the science.

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Categories: Environment

Climbers land plane near summit of Mont Blanc with police in pursuit

Tue, 2019/06/18 - 5:34pm

Pair attempt to reach top of 4,450m mountain but are intercepted by police and told to turn back

Two Swiss mountaineers have landed a small plane less than 400 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc before heading for the top of Europe’s tallest peak with police in pursuit.

The pair landed the aircraft 4,450 metres (14,600ft) up the mountain in the French Alps on Tuesday in an incident described as an unprecedented “provocation” by Eric Fournier, the mayor of the nearby Chamonix resort.

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Categories: Environment

Stricken polar bear turns up in Siberian city, hundreds of miles from home

Tue, 2019/06/18 - 1:09pm
  • Visibly weak female bear spotted in Norilsk in northern Siberia
  • Climate emergency has damaged polar bears’ sea-ice habitats

A starving polar bear has strayed hundreds of kilometres from its natural Arctic habitat and wandered, exhausted, into the major Russian industrial city of Norilsk in northern Siberia.

Related: Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted

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Categories: Environment

Britain to host critical UN climate crisis summit at end of 2020

Tue, 2019/06/18 - 10:55am

Gathering aimed at keeping global heating close to 1.5C will be most significant since Paris

The UK is to host a critical global summit on the climate crisis at the end of 2020, at which the world’s 190 nations must commit to deep cuts in emissions.

It will be the most significant UN climate summit since the Paris deal was struck in 2015, when countries made pledges to curb emissions. But these pledges would only keep global heating to a 3C rise, which would bring devastating heatwaves and extreme weather.

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Categories: Environment

Greece and Cyprus call on EU to punish Turkey in drilling dispute

Tue, 2019/06/18 - 8:55am

War of words as Turkish vessel begins offshore operations in eastern Mediterranean

Greece and Cyprus have urged the European Union to take punitive measures against Turkey amid escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over offshore energy reserves.

As Ankara upped the ante by announcing it would expand exploration for potentially lucrative gas resources in the region, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, appealed to the EU “to unreservedly condemn the illegal actions of Turkey”.

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Categories: Environment

Echoes of Jaws as Cape Cod learns to live with rise of the great white shark

Mon, 2019/06/17 - 10:00pm

A booming seal population is drawing the apex predator to the Massachusetts peninsula where contact with humans follows

When beachgoers arrive at Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod peninsula, the first thing they see is a large sign displaying a photo of a great white shark.

“WARNING” it reads. “Great white sharks hunt seals in the shallow water at this beach. People have been seriously injured or killed by sharks along this coastline.”

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Categories: Environment

Photograph lays bare reality of melting Greenland sea ice

Mon, 2019/06/17 - 4:56pm

Research teams traversing partially melted fjord to retrieve weather equipment release startling picture

Rapidly melting sea ice in Greenland has presented an unusual hazard for research teams retrieving their oceanographic moorings and weather station equipment.

A photo, taken by Steffen Olsen from the Centre for Ocean and Ice at the Danish Meteorological Institute on 13 June, showed sled dogs wading through water ankle-deep on top of a melting ice sheet in the country’s north-west. In the startling image, it seems as though the dogs are walking on water.

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Categories: Environment

Australians' support for nuclear plants rising – but most don't want to live near one

Mon, 2019/06/17 - 11:00am

Essential poll finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants and 40% oppose them

Australians are slightly more inclined to support nuclear power plants than oppose them, but a clear majority of voters do not want to live near one, according to new polling.

With nuclear power making a return to the national political agenda, a new survey from Essential finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants, up four points since the question was last asked in November 2015, and 40% oppose them.

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Categories: Environment

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds

Mon, 2019/06/17 - 9:00am

Tally of deaths makes it one of most dangerous fields for journalists after war reporting

Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which produced the tally, is investigating a further 16 deaths over the last decade. It says the number of murders may be as high as 29, making this field of journalism one of the most dangerous after war reporting.

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Categories: Environment

Scotland urged to invest in nuclear to hit climate goals

Mon, 2019/06/17 - 8:02am

Massive increase in low-carbon energy needed to hit goal of net zero by 2045, inquiry says

Scotland should consider new nuclear power stations, investing in hydrogen and installing many more windfarms to meet its climate goals, an expert inquiry has concluded.

The inquiry by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy, said a massive increase in low-carbon electricity production would be needed in order to reach the country’s new goal of net zero emissions by 2045.

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Categories: Environment

Ireland to unveil bold plan to tackle climate emergency

Mon, 2019/06/17 - 7:20am

Varadkar reveals ideas to curb greenhouse gases and move towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

Ireland has unveiled an ambitious plan to tackle the climate emergency by weaning the state, businesses, farms and households off fossil fuels.

The government published a long-awaited report on Monday outlining more than 180 measures to curb the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and set a path for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Categories: Environment

The depressing lesson of west London's lost cycle route

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 11:00pm

Kensington and Chelsea council has blocked a flagship plan after a campaign based largely on myths

More or less every time a city orders a report into how expanding populations can be moved around in efficient ways that also improve liveability and sustainability, the same answer comes back: active travel – that is, more walking and cycling.

And yet in many of those same cities, when specific plans are introduced to make walking and cycling safer and more pleasant, they face a fierce backlash, which can be sufficiently noisy and disruptive to scupper the schemes.

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Categories: Environment

Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America's dirty secret

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 10:00pm

A Guardian report from 11 countries tracks how US waste makes its way across the world – and overwhelms the poorest nations

What happens to your plastic after you drop it in a recycling bin?

According to promotional materials from America’s plastics industry, it is whisked off to a factory where it is seamlessly transformed into something new.

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Categories: Environment

Why the Guardian is taking on America's plastic waste crisis

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 10:00pm

United States of Plastic, a new series that will run for the rest of 2019, will reveal global inequality and the environmental consequences of our dependence on a miracle material

What happens to your plastic after you drop it in a recycling bin?

According to promotional materials from America’s plastics industry, it is whisked off to a factory where it is seamlessly transformed into something new.

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Categories: Environment

Pumping begins to reduce flood waters in Lincolnshire town

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 11:01am

Environment Agency brings in high-volume pumps in a bid to lower water levels in Wainfleet

High-volume pumps are being used to reduce flood waters in a Lincolnshire town where nearly 600 homes have been evacuated.

Police have advised residents in around 590 properties in Wainfleet and neighbouring areas to evacuate amid concerns about flood defences along the river Steeping.

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Categories: Environment

Major global firms accused of concealing their environmental impact

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 10:13am

More than 700 companies, including Amazon, Tesco and ExxonMobil, lack transparency, campaign group claims

A $10tn (£7.9tn) investor alliance has accused more than 700 companies, including Amazon, Tesco and ExxonMobil, of failing to reveal the full extent of their impact on the climate crisis, water shortages and deforestation.

The major global companies, with a combined worth ofmore than $15tn, lack transparency over their effect on the environment, according to the intervention by some of the world’s biggest financial names.

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Categories: Environment

Radical action needed to hit UK’s zero-carbon target | Letters

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 9:47am
Michael Stone on the reality of Britain’s consumption, Celia Forsyth on support for fossil fuel projects, Gemma Cantelo on making cities greener and Stephen Martin on the sustainable development goals

Theresa May is deceiving us, either deliberately or through ignorance, with regard to the goal of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 (May puts 2050 zero emission target into law, 12 June). This is impossible for any economy based on mass consumption.

Over decades, most British manufacturing has shifted abroad, in particular to Asia where labour is cheap. These items are usually produced with high carbon outputs, with electricity supplied through coal. For an accurate figure of Britain’s emissions, our consumption of goods produced overseas must be included. As Britain’s consumption has increased enormously over the past 30 years, this carbon addition will be substantial.

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Categories: Environment

France to declare natural disaster after storms rip through crops

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 9:08am

‘Orchard of France’ is badly hit by extreme weather that has killed two people

France will declare a state of natural disaster after rain and hail storms lashed a swathe of the south-east on Saturday, devastating crops.

The flash storms, which brought hailstones as big as pingpong balls to some areas, killed two people in France and Switzerland, and injured at least 10 others.

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Categories: Environment

Global heating to inflict more droughts on Africa as well as floods

Sun, 2019/06/16 - 12:00am
New UK research predicts extremes of weather will hit food production

Global heating could bring many more bouts of severe drought as well as increased flooding to Africa than previously forecast, scientists have warned.

New research says the continent will experience many extreme outbreaks of intense rainfall over the next 80 years. These could trigger devastating floods, storms and disruption of farming. In addition, these events are likely to be interspersed with more crippling droughts during the growing season and these could also damage crop and food production.

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Categories: Environment

Lincolnshire flooding: hundreds of homes evacuated

Sat, 2019/06/15 - 2:58pm

Military helicopters are drafted in to repair broken bank of River Steeping in Wainfleet

Hundreds of homes have been evacuated in a Lincolnshire town following severe flooding as the local MP warned that residents are “by no means out of the woods yet”.

Residents in at least 590 homes in Wainfleet and Thorpe Culvert were told to leave as waters continued to surge on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment