Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 12 hours 31 min ago

Rogue beekeepers and dirty tricks blamed for rise in Belgian hive heists

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 9:26am

150,000 bees stolen near Tessenderlo in latest incident, as interest in hobby grows

Dirty tricks by rival beekeepers have been blamed for a rise in hive thefts in Belgium after huge growth in interest in the hobby.

Following the disappearance of 150,000 bees from hives near the Flemish town of Tessenderlo, keepers have been advised to keep a keen eye on their insects and alert the police to suspicious activity.

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Categories: Environment

Diversion tactics: how big pharma is muddying the waters on animal antibiotics

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 7:07am

Antibiotic use on farms is a major cause of human drug resistance. Yet slick social media campaigns – funded by the multi-billion-dollar industry – are confusing and complicating the issue

Slick industry PR campaigns about antibiotics in food are muddying the water around a serious public health risk, say critics.

Pharmaceutical and meat companies are using similar tactics to the cigarette industry, in an attempt to confuse consumers and hold off regulation, despite the fact that the rapidly growing risk of anti-microbial resistance is one of the biggest health risks of our time. It’s estimated that by 2050 10 million people might die a year because we have overused antibiotics.

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Categories: Environment

Can China kick its animal antibiotic habit?

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 7:07am

It could be a struggle, but the world’s largest consumer of antibiotics is trying to convince its farmers to change their ways

High in the hills of Fuzhou, surrounded by acres of rustling bamboo, is a small farm that is pioneering something genuinely unusual in China. Here in Fujian province, they have turned their backs on industrial farming in favour of natural methods.

After years of working in the industrial farming sector Mr Sun (not his real name – he asked to remain anonymous) wanted to create a space to raise animals with “respect for nature, respect for life”.

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Categories: Environment

How much does big pharma make from animal antibiotics?

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 7:07am

Animal antibiotics are far cheaper than the human equivalent but fears are growing over their real cost

How much money do pharmaceutical companies earn from animal antibiotics?

Pharmaceutical companies are earning about $5bn (£3.77bn) a year from producing antibiotics for farm animals, according to calculations by Animal Pharm, the agricultural business analysts. The European animal antibiotics market is worth about $1.25bn a year, and the US animal antibiotics industry about $2bn a year.

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Categories: Environment

UK solar power growth halves for second year running

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 4:47am

Labour says figures show government’s commitment to green energy is ‘nothing but an empty PR move’

New solar power installations halved in the UK last year for the second year in a row, as the fallout of government subsidy cuts continued to shake the sector.

Labour said the figures showed the government’s commitment to green energy was “nothing but an empty PR move”.

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Categories: Environment

Oil pipelines can be positive for indigenous people. Here's how | Greg McIvor

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 3:00am

Canadians haven’t heard enough about the positive influence that similar projects have had on many indigenous groups

Like many Canadians, and specifically First Nations, I have been following the news on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion pipeline with interest, and attended a protest in Vancouver back in January 2017. The pipeline expansion is on the ropes. Notwithstanding the government’s decision to nationalise it, its future is in serious doubt.

Related: The Squamish Nation are furious about the pipeline – and we aren't alone

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Categories: Environment

Justin Trudeau promised to protect indigenous rights. He lied, again | Khelsilem

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 3:00am

One oil spill from the Trans Mountain pipeline would destroy Squamish territory. So much for Trudeau’s promise

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is no ordinary pipeline. This project, which the government of Canada has just decided to nationalise, will travel more than 1,000km from northern Alberta through unspoiled wilderness to end at the port of Vancouver. The port is on the Salish Sea, part of the hereditary territory of the Squamish People. The Salish Sea is home to some of the world’s largest wild salmon runs. Majestic orcas swim in the waters and feed on the abundance.

Related: You may think all First Nations are against pipelines. Think again

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Categories: Environment

Tony Abbott tells party he was misled by advisers over Paris climate deal

Tue, 2018/06/19 - 12:24am

When the former PM signed in 2015, he said Australia made a ‘definite commitment’

Tony Abbott has claimed he was misled by bureaucrats before he signed Australia up to the Paris international climate agreement in 2015 during another sortie by government conservatives against the national energy guarantee.

Opponents of the government’s energy policy used the opportunity of the regular Coalition party room to resume their attacks on the policy that goes to a critical meeting of state and territory energy ministers in early August.

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Categories: Environment

Elephant calf born at Western Plains zoo – video

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 11:24pm

Taronga Western Plains zoo has welcomed a new member into its fold –a female Asian elephant.  The calf was born of Friday 14 June and is now bonding with her mother, Porntip

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Categories: Environment

‘Huge mistake’: Britain throwing away lead in tidal energy, say developers

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 11:00pm

Nation is a leader in capturing tidal and wave energy, but companies are starting to leave due to lack of government support

Britain is throwing away its opportunity to rule the global wave and tidal energy sector due to lack of government support, a series of leading developers have told the Guardian.

The nation is currently seen as a world leader in capturing renewable energy from the oceans but some companies are already heading for new shores. This is putting other countries, such as France and Canada, in prime position to capitalise on the jobs being created by the emerging industry, the companies say.

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Categories: Environment

Ex-Nasa scientist: 30 years on, world is failing 'miserably’ to address climate change

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 10:00pm

James Hansen, who gave a climate warning in 1988 Senate testimony, says real hoax is by leaders claiming to take action

Thirty years after a former Nasa scientist sounded the alarm for the general public about climate change and human activity, the expert issued a fresh warning that the world is failing “miserably” to deal with the worsening dangers.

While Donald Trump and many conservatives like to argue that climate change is a hoax, James Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.

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Categories: Environment

Foreign donations prop up Australia's endangered parrot response

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 3:19pm

Western ground parrot needs millions spent on it, but volunteers say Coalition is trying to shift costs to not-for-profits

The Turnbull government helped broker a $200,000 agreement for a German not-for-profit to fund conservation work for a critically endangered Australian parrot, bolstering criticism it is shifting the cost of protecting threatened species to community and philanthropic organisations.

The western ground parrot is one of only three ground nesting parrots found in Australia and is one of 20 birds the government has committed to helping as part of its threatened species strategy.

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Categories: Environment

Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise? | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 3:00am

Short answer: maybe

There’s recently been a spate of sea level rise denial in the conservative media, but in reality, sea level rise is accelerating and melting ice is playing an increasingly large role. In the first half of the 20th Century, average global sea level rose by about 1.4 millimeters per year (mm/yr). Since 1993, that rate has more than doubled to 3.2 mm/yr. And since 2012, it’s jumped to 4.5 mm/yr.

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Categories: Environment

UK pension funds get green light to dump fossil fuel investments

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 11:26pm

Government directive means trustees will be able to push harder for green investments

Managers of the £1.5tn invested in Britain’sworkplace pension schemes are to be given new powers to dump shares in oil, gas and coal companies in favour of long-term investment in green and “social impact” opportunities.

Government proposals published on Monday are designed to give pension fund trustees more confidence to divest from environmentally damaging fossil fuels and put their cash in green alternatives if it meets their members’ wishes. Until now many pension trustees have been hamstrung by fiduciary duties that they feel requires them to seek the best returns irrespective of the threat of climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 10:00pm

Climate change study predicts ‘staggering impact’ of swelling oceans on coastal communities within next 30 years

Sea level rise driven by climate change is set to pose an existential crisis to many US coastal communities, with new research finding that as many as 311,000 homes face being flooded every two weeks within the next 30 years.

The swelling oceans are forecast repeatedly to soak coastal residences collectively worth $120bn by 2045 if greenhouse gas emissions are not severely curtailed, experts warn. This will potentially inflict a huge financial and emotional toll on the half a million Americans who live in the properties at risk of having their basements, backyards, garages or living rooms inundated every other week.

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Categories: Environment

Money for old socks: John Lewis to buy back clothes to cut waste

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 10:00pm

Retailer offers incentive to send back worn and unwanted items instead of binning them

John Lewis is to buy back worn and unwanted clothing from its customers – including underwear and old socks – in a UK industry first that aims to reduce the 300,000 tonnes of fashion waste going into landfill each year.

Customers can arrange through an app to have any unwanted clothing that they bought from John Lewis collected from their home, and they will be paid for each item regardless of its condition.

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Categories: Environment

Country diary: bottlenose dolphin attack shatters Flipper illusions

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 9:30pm

Chanonry Point, Moray Firth: These cetaceans kill their porpoise cousins. Do they see them as competition for food? Or are they just killing for sport?

There are occasions when nature shatters our cosy assumptions. Last week we were watching the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) on the Moray Firth, much loved by tourists because they come so close to shore. They flip and leap, roll and dive, singly or in pods of a dozen or more, only a few yards from camera-clicking visitors thronging the shingle spit.

The dolphins gather in the Chanonry narrows to feast on salmon migrating upstream to spawn. We often see salmon being flung high in the air and swallowed whole. A feeding spectacle. We know dolphins eat fish and we are comfortable with it. But what we witnessed in front of our lenses that day spun us into shock. Forget film-star Flipper, forget frolicking Fungie in Dingle Bay, forget chummy Sebastian in Disney’s Shark Tale – these Moray Firth dolphins are killers.

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Categories: Environment