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Updated: 12 hours 36 min ago

Rising ocean waters from global warming could cost trillions of dollars | John Abraham

Thu, 2018/07/12 - 3:00am

We’ll need to mitigate and adapt to global warming to avoid massive costs from sea level rise

Ocean waters are rising because of global warming. They are rising for two reasons. First, and perhaps most obvious, ice is melting. There is a tremendous amount of ice locked away in Greenland, Antarctica, and in glaciers. As the world warms, that ice melts and the liquid water flows to the oceans.

The other reason why water is rising is that warmer water is less dense – it expands. This expansion causes the surface of the water to rise.

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Categories: Environment

UK accused of 'green Brexit hypocrisy' over regulation of suspected carcinogen

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 3:01pm

Exclusive: UK attempted to weaken new EU regulations of a lucrative whitening chemical, Ti02, found in cosmetics and sunscreens

Michael Gove has been accused of “green Brexit hypocrisy” for trying to weaken regulation of a suspected carcinogen found in sun creams, paints and toothpastes, in a proposal seen by the Guardian.

The European commission had proposed mandatory labelling and a cosmetics ban for titanium dioxide (TiO2) – a whitening chemical – after the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) declared it a “suspected carcinogen” last year.

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Categories: Environment

Whitehall’s ‘potty’ plan to keep NI lights on if no Brexit deal

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 12:06pm

Flotilla of barges with energy generators would be sent to Northern Ireland if UK crashes out of the EU

A flotilla of barges would be sent to the coast of Northern Ireland with energy generators after Brexit to keep the region’s lights on in the event of no deal, according to reports on Wednesday.

The scheme, which has been described as “potty” by business leaders in Northern Ireland, is said to be part of contingency planning by Whitehall mandarins in case the UK crashes out of the EU, smashing Ireland’s all-island electricity supply in its wake.

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Categories: Environment

National energy guarantee: Queensland warned it risks 'writing a blank cheque'

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 11:00am

Smart Energy Council says state should reject Neg or make support for guarantee conditional

The Smart Energy Council is urging the Queensland government to make any support for the Turnbull government’s national energy guarantee conditional, or it will risk dealing itself out of leading the effort on emissions reduction.

With the fate of the Neg to be determined at a definitive meeting of state and federal energy ministers in early August, the Queensland government has called in stakeholders for a meeting on Thursday to help determine its position on the policy.

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Categories: Environment

Coal seam gas: NSW licences effectively extended indefinitely due to legal loophole

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 11:00am

Gladys Berejiklian’s government accused of allowing companies to conduct ‘production by stealth’

Licences needed for coal seam gas exploration in New South Wales have been effectively extended indefinitely past their expiry date, due to a legal loophole.

Gas exploration – both conventional and coal seam gas – in the state requires a petroleum exploration tenement. Analysis of the NSW government’s tenements database shows 14 titles listed under “current titles” that are past their expiry date.

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Categories: Environment

Heatwave seems to make manmade climate change real for Americans

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 10:08am

The record-breaking high temperatures across much of North America appear to be shaping people’s thinking, a survey finds

The warm temperatures that have scorched much of the US appear to be influencing Americans’ acceptance of climate science, with a new poll finding a record level of public confidence that the world is warming due to human activity.

Related: Planet at its hottest in 115,000 years thanks to climate change, experts say

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Categories: Environment

Charles Gimingham obituary

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 9:52am
Leading expert on heather and moorland landscapes who was a dedicated environmentalist

Travel north through the uplands of Britain in August and you enter the world heartland of the purple, heather-quilted landscape known as moorland. Its principal plant, ling heather, known scientifically as Calluna vulgaris, and the fire and grazing management that governs its growth and distinctive appeal, was the subject of Charles Gimingham’s pioneering research and quiet advocacy.

Based at the University of Aberdeen from 1946, first as research assistant, then lecturer, and promoted on to be professor of botany from 1969 until 1988, Charles, who has died aged 95, became the foremost expert on heather and moorland landscapes, and a considerable force for scholarly environmentalism.

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Categories: Environment

UK must adapt to climate change now | Letters

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 9:09am
Alastair Chisholm urges the UK government to strengthen its national adaptation policy; Robert McCartney writes that China produces twice the CO2 as the US

Your editorial warning that extreme events are likely to become a new and dangerous normal (The heatwave in Britain is part of a large and dangerous pattern, 10 July) highlights that what the UK can most effectively do in response is to plan to adapt. While decarbonisation across our economy and society is vital and the UK must improve its commitments on a range of fronts, we are also a highly populated island exposed to diverse and complex weather and climate risks from storms and floods to heatwaves and drought.

Tuesday’s report by the National Infrastructure Commission makes the economic case for early, planned adaptation clear: it is way cheaper than responding to emergencies. This summer the government publishes its latest national adaptation programme. The first programme was spread too thinly and progress against it was hard to quantify. The latest version must establish an ambitious, targeted and measurable plan of action which ensures society is resilient to the worst the weather can throw at us in coming decades.
Alastair Chisholm
Director of policy, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management

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Categories: Environment

Russian mining firm puts Trump's face on its asbestos products

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 3:00am

As US officials decide against banning product, producer Uralasbest puts Trump ‘seal of approval’ on pallets

Donald Trump’s environmental policies may have caused controversy in the US but the president’s stance has managed to get him a literal stamp of approval from a Russian mining company.

Uralasbest, one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of asbestos, has taken to adorning pallets of its product with a seal of Trump’s face, along with the words “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States”.

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Categories: Environment

End coal mining in the UK, environmentalists urge government

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 1:37am

Environmentalists have written to ministers, asking them to reform the planning system so that all future coal mines are automatically refused

Environmentalists have urged the government to kill off new coal mines in the UK, by reforming the planning system to block their development.

Friends of the Earth, along with the RSPB, WWF and a group of academics, said ministers should build on their international climate change leadership against coal by taking stronger action at home.

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Categories: Environment

Romans had whaling industry, archaeological excavation suggests

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 4:01pm

Ancient whale bones have been found on three Roman fish processing sites close to the Strait of Gibraltar

Ancient bones found around the Strait of Gibraltar suggest that the Romans might have had a thriving whaling industry, researchers have claimed.

The bones, dating to the first few centuries AD or earlier, belong to grey whales and North Atlantic right whales – coastal migratory species that are no longer found in European waters.

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Categories: Environment

Threatened species: nine mammals and mountain mistfrog could join extinction list

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 11:00am

Number of extinct species on EPBC fauna list will rise by almost 20% if species added to list

Ten species could soon be added to Australia’s list of extinct fauna, including a Queensland frog that was last seen in 1990.

The federal government’s scientific advisory body is assessing whether to add nine mammals and the mountain mistfrog to its list of native animal species considered extinct under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla to open Shanghai electric car factory, doubling its production

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 9:51am

Elon Musk says first facility outside the US will build 500,000 cars a year

Tesla is to open a new electric car production plant in Shanghai, its first outside the US, chief executive Elon Musk said from the city on Tuesday.

The new auto plant is slated to produce 500,000 cars a year, taking Tesla’s total global manufacturing capacity to 1m vehicles a year. Most automotive factories are tooled to produce 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles a year.

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Categories: Environment

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers whose case sparked 2016 militia standoff

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 8:28am

Dwight and Steven Hammond convicted of arson, which led ranchers and militia groups to occupy federal wildlife refuge in protest

Donald Trump on Tuesday issued full pardons to two Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment prompted a militia standoff with the federal government.

Related: 'I still don’t believe it': Hammond family feels forgotten in Oregon standoff

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 6:41am

Study shows poor air quality leads to health problems and ‘should serve as a warning’

Air pollution leads to spikes in health problems and drives up hospital admissions and visits to the GP, according to a new study.

The report proves an “absolutely clear” link between poor air quality and health problems and researchers said it should serve as a warning to politicians about the serious impacts of toxic air on public health.

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Categories: Environment

Illegal ivory found on sale in 10 European countries

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 10:30pm

Europe must increase efforts to investigate and control the ivory trade, say campaigners

Illegal ivory has been found on sale in 10 European countries, contravening international efforts to cut down on the trade which campaigners say encourages the poaching of elephants.

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Categories: Environment

Nestlé products removed from Melbourne zoos over palm oil

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 7:17pm

Zoos Victoria made the decision after Nestlé lost its sustainable certification

Products from the food and drink giant Nestlé will no longer be stocked at the stores and food carts at Melbourne and Werribee zoos.

Zoos Victoria made the decision after the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspended Nestlé’s membership when the company failed to submit a 2016 progress report, and its 2017 report lacked a timetable for producing or buying certified sustainable palm oil.

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Categories: Environment

Cool down nuclear plan because renewables are better bet, ministers told

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 4:01pm

Government advisers say UK should back just one more new nuclear power station in the next few years

Government advisers have told ministers to back only a single new nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove a safer investment.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the government should cool down plans for a nuclear new build programme that envisage as many as six plants being built.

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Categories: Environment

Government needs U-turn over mania for nuclear plants

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 4:01pm

Its own infrastructure adviser says more renewables is the low-cost option

Here’s a report that must not be lost in the noise of Brexit. The National Infrastructure Assessment is a once-a-parliament affair from a body that was created to save us from the deadly combination of politicians’ machismo and the electoral cycle.

More prosaically, the National Infrastructure Commission’s job is to inject long-term strategic thinking into the critical business of building important stuff. Its first report contains a devastating conclusion: the government should drop its obsession with building more and more nuclear power stations.

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Categories: Environment

Japan: death toll climbs to 122 after 'historic' rain and landslides

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 3:32pm

Rescue workers search for survivors and 2 million people are subject to evacuation orders

The number of people who have died in floods and landslides triggered by “historic” levels of torrential rain in Japan has climbed to 122, with dozens of others still missing.

Almost 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders on Monday, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.

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Categories: Environment