Guardian Environment News

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Adani Carmichael mine to get six-year holiday on royalties, report says

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 8:08pm

Activist groups warn that swathes of farmland are at risk since the holiday would cover the Galilee basin and two other undeveloped mining regions

The Adani Carmichael project will reportedly receive a reduced royalty “holiday” offer from the Queensland government under a policy that activists say would subsidise other vast new coal projects that imperil swathes of farmland.

The state treasurer, Curtis Pitt, declined on Friday to confirm a report by the Australian that the Palaszczuk government had settled on a plan to give Adani a pause in royalties for up to six years.

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Categories: Environment

Public lands offer the best place for recreation. Speak up and protect them | Land Tawney

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 3:27pm

Land Tawney, president of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, explains why the fight for national monuments is a battle sportsmen and women must win

Signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents – eight Republicans and eight Democrats – to safeguard millions of acres of exceptional public lands and waters, including outstanding fish and wildlife habitat that provides some of the best hiking, camping, floating, hunting and fishing in the nation.

On 26 April, however, President Donald Trump signed an executive order mandating the review of 27 national monuments nationwide, launching an unprecedented reassessment by the Interior Department.

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Categories: Environment

Manifesto guide: which party will do the most for cycling?

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 9:43am

We compare the manifesto pledges of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Ukip and the Greens to see who comes top on cycling policy

Amid fevered discussions of Brexit, the NHS and social care, not to mention the suddenly renewed importance of security and tackling terrorism, it might seem a bit niche – almost frivolous – to ask what the party manifestos are saying about cycling.

But I’d argue it’s interesting and worthwhile for a couple of reasons. To begin with, as I’ve endlessly argued on this blog, getting significantly more people on to two wheels can bring enormous benefits to the nation.

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Categories: Environment

Sticks and stones above Ullswater

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 8:56am

Martindale Hause A tug-of-war occurs as a rook grabs one end of a crooked stick and a jackdaw just half its size seizes the other

Bump. A stick bounces off my scalp. I touch it with a finger. Blood! More sticks rain down. On goes the beanie hat. A cacophony of harsh cawing ensues. Rooks are robbing their decrepit old nests of twigs to add to more recent homes they are refurbishing on adjacent treetops.

Related: Feathered blades and feathered wings

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Categories: Environment

Firm behind Dakota Access pipeline faces intense scrutiny for series of leaks

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 5:00am

Documents suggest that a major spill from the Rover pipeline in Ohio described as 2m gallons of ‘drilling fluids’ might now be more than twice as large

The oil company behind the Dakota Access pipeline is facing intense scrutiny from regulators and activists over a series of recent leaks across the country, including a major spill now believed to be significantly bigger than initially reported.

Documents obtained by the Guardian suggest that a spill from the Rover pipeline that Ohio regulators originally described as 2m gallons might now be more than twice as large. The revelation was included in a legal challenge activists filed on Wednesday to block the natural gas pipeline run by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the corporation that operates the controversial Dakota Access pipeline and is now facing numerous government fines and violations.

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Categories: Environment

Global climate projections help civil engineers plan | John Abraham

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 3:00am

A new study helps civil engineers account for ongoing climate change in infrastructure design

People who work on building infrastructure understand the risks of climate change. As the Earth warms, new stresses are applied to our buildings, bridges, roads, houses, and other structures. Some of the obvious threats to infrastructure are from extreme weather including heat waves, storms, and intense rainfalls. There are some other less obvious threats, and many of the threats vary by location.

Regardless, the planning for infrastructure relies upon a reasonable estimation of future climate changes. To help quantify such an estimate for the civil engineering community, a recent paper was published by the Institution of Civil Engineering Journal of Forensic Engineering (I was fortunate to be a coauthor). The article was prepared with the collaboration of Dr. Michael Mann from Penn State University and Dr. Lijing Cheng from the Chinese Institute of Atmospheric Physics.

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Categories: Environment

Most Queensland voters oppose taxpayer support for Adani coalmine – poll

Thu, 2017/05/25 - 2:12am

59% give thumbs down to state or federal assistance for Carmichael mine as state government faces factional fight over whether to give project a royalties holiday

Queensland voters have given the thumbs down to taxpayer support for the controversial Adani coalmine, with 59% saying they were opposed to state or federal assistance.

A new poll of 1,618 Queenslanders taken by ReachTel indicates 57% of the sample objected to a loan for a rail link between the mine and Abbot point, which is championed by the federal resources minister Matt Canavan.

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Categories: Environment

Ineos buys Dong Energy's oil and gas business in £1bn deal

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 11:29pm

Anglo-Swiss chemicals firm hails acquisition as ‘very logical’ as Danish firm makes progress in switch to renewables

Anglo-Swiss chemicals firm Ineos has bought the oil and gas business of Dong Energy for £1bn, a major milestone in the Danish company’s switch from hydrocarbons to renewable energy.

The acquisition is the latest in a buying spree by Ineos, which recently bought a significant North Sea oil pipeline for £200m from BP, and takes it from 28th biggest oil and gas producer in the region to the top 10.

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Categories: Environment

Satellite Eye on Earth: April 2017 – in pictures

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 11:00pm

Europe by night, Canada’s vanishing river and the Netherland’s tulip fields are among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month

From space, the strait of Gibraltar appears tiny compared to the continents it separates. At the strait’s narrowest point, Africa stands just 14km (nine miles) from Europe. But the narrow waterway is a complex environment that gives rise to striking phytoplankton blooms when conditions are right. The intricate swirls of phytoplankton trace the patterns of water flow, which in this region can become quite turbulent. For example, water moving east from the North Atlantic into the Mediterranean has created turbulence in the form of internal waves. These waves – sometimes with heights up to 100 metres – occur primarily deep within the ocean, with just a mere crest poking through the surface. At the same time, water flowing west helps stir up water in the North Atlantic, including the Gulf of Cádiz. While most of the swirls of colour are phytoplankton, the ocean scientist Norman Kuring of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center notes that some of the colour near coastal areas could be due to sediment suspended in the water, particularly near the mouths of rivers.

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Categories: Environment

Let's hear it for the fat bird of the barley

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 9:30pm

Sandy, Bedfordshire The jingle-jangle of a corn bunting rings out as skylarks criss-cross the path, chasing each other

The car door opened in a farm layby and the fat bird sang. Described in ornithology books as sounding like the jangling of keys, the two-second salvo always seems higher and looser to my ears, and is more of a jingle than song. I find I can reproduce it best with four 10p coins shaken in a half-closed fist.

The jingle-jangle rang again and I spied the corn bunting – the “fat bird of the barley” – near the crown of a blossoming hawthorn bush, perched between two thorny sprays. Its slack-jawed beak moved, the lower mandible oddly placed as if it had been unhinged then badly refitted.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef 2050 plan no longer achievable due to climate change, experts say

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 1:00pm

Environmental lawyers say advice means reef might finally be listed as a ‘world heritage site in danger’

The central aim of the government’s plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is no longer achievable due to the dramatic impacts of climate change, experts have told the government’s advisory committees for the plan.

Environmental lawyers said the revelation could mean the Great Barrier Reef might finally be listed as a “world heritage site in danger”, a move the federal and Queensland governments have strenuously fought.

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Categories: Environment

Tesco to trial a phase-out of single-use 5p plastic bags

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 8:20am

Select Tesco stores will sell only reusable bags in a 10-week trial that could lead to the single-use bags being phased out in all of its stores

Shoppers at a handful of Tesco stores in the UK will no longer be able to buy 5p “single-use” plastic carrier bags, in the first such trial by a supermarket.

If successful, it could lead to the bags being phased out completely, less than two years after the law was changed in England to force larger stores to charge for them.

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Categories: Environment

Doggers, drugs and sheep attacks – why Britain’s naughtiest wood is closed

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 5:16am

If you go down to Uffmoor Wood today, you’re sure of a big surprise – you won’t be able to get in. Has the Woodland Trust made the right decision to temporarily padlock the Worcestershire woodland?

It’s Britain’s baddest woodland. Two hundred acres of bluebell-infested forest so naughty that the Woodland Trust has taken the rare step of shutting it down until it improves.

Uffmoor Wood, near Halesowen in the West Midlands, is padlocked as of today, after becoming a focal point for sheep-worrying, dirt bike scrambling, dog fouling, drug peddling and sex dogging.

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Categories: Environment

EU declared Monsanto weedkiller safe after intervention from controversial US official

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 5:03am

Exclusive: European Food Safety Authority dismissed a study linking glyphosate to cancer following counsel with an EPA official allegedly linked to the company and who figures in more than 20 lawsuits

The European Food Safety Authority dismissed a study linking a Monsanto weedkiller to cancer after counsel from a US Environmental Protection Agency officer allegedly linked to the company.

Jess Rowlands, the former head of the EPA’s cancer assessment review committee (CARC), who figures in more than 20 lawsuits and had previously told Monsanto he would try to block a US government inquiry into the issue, according to court documents.

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Categories: Environment

London's Bank junction closed to most traffic as part of new safety scheme

Wed, 2017/05/24 - 4:17am

Cyclists hail experimental scheme – that sees the dangerous intersection closed to all but buses, cyclists and pedestrians – as a turning point

Bank junction, one of London’s most dangerous intersections, was closed this week to all but buses, and people on bikes and foot, from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, in an 18-month experimental scheme that could be as ground breaking as New York’s Times Square or Paris’s Left Bank.

In 2015 Ying Tao was hit from behind by a lorry and killed as she cycled across the six-armed crossroads. Cyclists make up to 50% of Bank traffic during peak times, and from 2010-14, 46 cyclists were injured at the junction, six seriously. There were also eight serious pedestrian casualties in that time.

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Categories: Environment

Calls to reform food system: 'Factory farming belongs in a museum'

Tue, 2017/05/23 - 11:30pm

Stop the Machine aims to put an end to methods of farming that are endangering biodiversity and wildlife the world over

We can feed an extra 4 billion people a year if we reject the bloated and wasteful factory farming systems that are endangering our planet’s biodiversity and wildlife, said farming campaigner Philip Lymbery on Monday night, launching a global campaign to Stop the Machine.

At present, 35% of the world’s cereal harvest and most of its soya meal is fed to industrially reared animals rather than directly to humans. This is a “wasteful and inefficient practice” because the grain-fed animals contribute much less back in the form of milk, eggs and meat than they consume, according to Lymbery, the chief executive of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). “The food industry seems to have been hijacked by the animal feed industry,” he said.

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Categories: Environment

How did whales become so large? Scientists dive into marine mystery

Tue, 2017/05/23 - 10:30pm

Changes in food distribution, rather than falling ocean temperatures, could hold key to shift towards giant lengths

The blue whale has a body the length of a jet airliner, a heart the size of a car, and a tongue the same weight as an elephant.

Now researchers say they might have solved the mystery of why baleen whales – a group that includes these blue beasts, the largest animals on the planet – became so large.

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Categories: Environment

Salad days soon over: consumers throw away 40% of bagged leaves

Tue, 2017/05/23 - 10:04pm

Exclusive: Britons fail to eat 178m bags of salad every year, say Tesco and government waste body Wrap, in study highlighting food waste

Britons throw away 40% of the bagged salad they buy every year, according to the latest data, with 37,000 tonnes – the equivalent of 178m bags – going uneaten every year.

The figures from the government’s waste advisory body Wrap are being published on Wednesday by the supermarket giant Tesco to highlight that prepared salads are still among the UK’s most wasted household foods. Past studies have shown that the average UK family throws away £700 of food each year.

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Categories: Environment

Meet 'Big Don', the 90kg rescue turtle released on World Turtle Day – video

Tue, 2017/05/23 - 9:49pm

Crowds cheer as ‘Big Don’, a massive sea turtle, is released off the Florida Keys on World Turtle Day after being rehabilitated from injuries from an encounter with a fishing line. The 200-pound (91 kilogram) loggerhead turtle was nursed back to health with antibiotics, vitamins and a healthy diet of squid and fish

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Categories: Environment

The white pulse of May illuminates the lanes

Tue, 2017/05/23 - 9:30pm

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire This is the cow parsley moment, its blossom making foamy bow waves against hawthorn hedges along the road

The lanes are luminous with the white pulse of May: cow parsley, hawthorn, hogweed, garlic, stitchwort. In fields there are pale lambs and dandelion clocks and stands of horse chestnut in candle. White on green. Green on white.

It is evening and the birds are fractious. I am listening to an old story so nearly forgotten that its retelling sounds strange and new.

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Categories: Environment