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Renewable energy jobs in UK plunge by a third

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 6:31am

Exclusive: report reveals investment in the sector has halved in recent years

The number of jobs in renewable energy in the UK has plunged by nearly a third in recent years, and the amount of new green generating capacity by a similar amount, causing havoc among companies in the sector, a new report has found.

Prospect, the union which covers much of the sector, has found a 30% drop in renewable energy jobs between 2014 and 2017, as government cuts to incentives and support schemes started to bite. It also found investment in renewables in the UK more than halved between 2015 and 2017.

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Categories: Environment

Epic floods and trade wars – the US farmers battered by politics and climate

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 6:20am

The weather is wild, the tariffs are rising, and as frustration ripples through the Iowa corn fields, rural America is ready to confront its 2020 candidates

Aaron Heley Lehman listened to the rain tap his window pane in the machine shed for two weeks, wondering when he would ever finish planting corn on his central Iowa farm, and watched the markets tank as Donald Trump blustered on in his trade war with China.

Related: Robert Mueller breaks silence to insist he did not exonerate Trump

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Categories: Environment

Oregon's Cap On Greenhouse Gas Emissions Opposed By Groups On Both Sides

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 4:22am

Oregon wants to reduce carbon emissions by adopting a cap-and-trade system, which would raise the cost of fossil fuels. But critics complain that the idea is poorly conceived.

Categories: Environment

Safe Or Scary? The Shifting Reputation Of Glyphosate, AKA Roundup

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 2:00am

The world's most widely used weed killer was once seen as one of the safest pesticides. Now it is blamed for causing cancer. Yet the scientific evidence remains disputed.

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Categories: Environment

A Sea Of Sagebrush Disappears, Making Way For Fire-Prone Cheatgrass

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 2:00am

In the past two years, more than 800,000 acres in northern Nevada have burned. The traditional sagebrush rangeland is being replaced by cheatgrass that burns hotter and more frequently.

(Image credit: Ashley Ahearn for NPR)

Categories: Environment

A secretive marsh bird faces existential threat from rising seas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 11:00pm

Louisiana wetlands are eroding faster than almost anywhere in the world – and endangering the wildlife that call them home

Biologists crouched in the mud squint past their headlamps at the secretive marsh bird.

They have tramped through tall cordgrass for two hours, trying to stir the creature up by shaking cans of bolts and metal pellets. A few hundred feet away, the stretch of Louisiana marshland gives way to the Gulf of Mexico. Closer to their faces, mosquitoes swarm.

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Categories: Environment

The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 10:51pm

Without efforts to rebuild soil health, we could lose our ability to grow enough nutritious food to feed the planet’s population

The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system. But thanks to conventional farming practices, nearly half of the most productive soil has disappeared in the world in the last 150 years, threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution, dead zones and erosion. In the US alone, soil on cropland is eroding 10 times faster than it can be replenished.

If we continue to degrade the soil at the rate we are now, the world could run out of topsoil in about 60 years, according to Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Without topsoil, the earth’s ability to filter water, absorb carbon, and feed people plunges. Not only that, but the food we do grow will probably be lower in vital nutrients.

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Categories: Environment

I’m the gutter gourmet: how I spent a month eating other people's leftovers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 10:00pm

We don’t talk enough about the street food scandal – leftovers chucked away without a second thought

Every day for the past month complete strangers have bought me lunch. And breakfast. And dinner. And they don’t even know it.

I have been living high on the hog, and it hasn’t cost me a penny – because I have been dining out on the half-eaten fast food and takeaways thoughtfully abandoned by my fellow Britons on pavements and park benches and tube platforms all over the city. Sometimes they even leave them in bins.

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Categories: Environment

Aaron update...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 4:17pm

From Aaron's mother on Facebook:  Aaron was released from Cho Ray Hospital last Friday in Vietnam where he has spent over 8 weeks.  We just finished up our exit arrangements...taking care of visa and passport issues and are flying back to the states via Manila.  Aaron is heading to a nice beach town in Florida where he is going to continue his recovery.  People here have NO idea how lucky we are to have the type of healthcare we have in the states.  72,97,89,0,B

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

How Oklahoma Is Coping With Devastating Floods Across The State

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 1:28pm

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Col. Christopher Hussin, of Army Corps of Engineers in Oklahoma, about the state's levee system and the threat it faces from historic flooding.

Categories: Environment

Rain Keeps Falling In Oklahoma As State's Levees Are Tested

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 1:28pm

A surge of floodwater is moving from Oklahoma and into Arkansas. The rain has been relentless the past month and swollen rivers and tributaries are overwhelming some cities.

Categories: Environment

US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as 'molecules of freedom'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 1:21pm

Press release from department said increasing export capacity is ‘critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world’

America is the land of freedom, as any politician will be happy to tell you. What you don’t hear quite so often is that the stuff under the land is also apparently made of freedom as well. That is, at least according to a news release this week from the Department of Energy (DoE).

Mark W Menezes, the US undersecretary of energy, bestowed a peculiar honorific on our continent’s natural resources, dubbing it “freedom gas” in a release touting the DoE’s approval of increased exports of natural gas produced by a Freeport LNG terminal off the coast of Texas.

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Categories: Environment

Cities Are Making Big Climate Promises. Keeping Them Can Be Tough

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 11:21am

Dozens of cities have ambitious plans to get their electricity from clean or renewable sources. But those goals can clash with power providers, whose priority remains economics, not climate change.

(Image credit: Jaime Henry-White/AP)

Categories: Environment

Climate crisis may be a factor in tufted puffins die-off, study says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 11:00am

Researchers believe 3,150 to 8,500 birds starved in Bering Sea due to loss of prey species

The death of thousands of tufted puffins in the Bering Sea may have been partly caused by the climate breakdown, according to a study.

Between 3,150 and 8,500 seabirds died over a four-month period from October 2016, with hundreds of severely emaciated carcasses washed up on the beaches of the Pribilofs Islands in the southern Bering Sea, 300 miles (480km) west of the Alaskan mainland.

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Categories: Environment

US-China trade: what are rare-earth metals and what's the dispute?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 5:37am

The metals are used to produce a number of goods, including mobile phones and cameras

What are rare-earth metals?
Rare earths refer to a group of 17 elements that are prized for their unique magnetic and electrochemical properties.

They include elements such as gadolinium, lanthanum, cerium and promethium, and are vital in the production of cancer treatment drugs, smartphones and renewable energy technologies.

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Categories: Environment

There's a climate crisis – but Trump's cabinet continues to backtrack on science | Kate Aronoff

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 5:00am

Conservative donors and fossil fuel companies have the most to lose from large-scale decarbonization – and they know it

In an effort to suppress federal climate research, the Trump administration will direct state agencies to no longer consider worst-case scenarios of global warming. Climate modelers working for federal agencies will only be permitted to forecast to 2040, decades before the as-much-as 8C degrees of global warming that could take place by 2100 if we continue on our current path.

William Happer – most recently famous for complaining that the “demonization” of carbon dioxide “really differs little from the Nazi persecution of the Jews” – will lead a team charged with reviewing the science produced by government researchers, no doubt hunting for references to the disastrous sea-level rise, crop failures and health impacts continued warming stands to create.

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Categories: Environment

Cyprus begins lionfish cull to tackle threat to Mediterranean ecosystem

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 4:25am

Voracious fish are bleeding into ocean ‘like a cut artery’, says top marine biologist

Cyprus has held its first organised cull of lionfish after numbers of the invasive species have proliferated in recent years, threatening the Mediterranean ecosystem and posing a venomous danger to humans.

“They’re actually very placid,” said Prof Jason Hall-Spencer, a marine biologist, after spearing 16 of the exotic specimens in the space of 40 minutes in the inaugural “lionfish removal derby” off the island’s southern coast. He added: “The problem is they are not part of the natural ecosystem and we are seeing them in plague proportions.”

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Categories: Environment

After Paradise, Living With Fire Means Redefining Resilience

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 2:00am

Across the West, hundreds of communities are vulnerable to wildfires. But wildfire and recovery experts warn that the impulse to re-create what was there before disaster is misguided and dangerous.

(Image credit: Meredith Rizzo/NPR)

Categories: Environment

'I wash all my food like crazy': scientists voice concern about nanoparticles

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/28 - 11:00pm

US foods are increasingly full of nano-scale additives, even as researchers raise alarm bells about their safety

France is clamping down on a common food additive that has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies. The ban of titanium dioxide, announced by the French government last month, follows a review that could not rule out human cancer risks.

The ban is just the latest chapter in a long-running debate on the safety of widespread food additives known as nanoparticles, which are largely unregulated in the US. This suite of ingredients, engineered to almost atomic scale, may have unintended effects on cells and organs, particularly the digestive tract. There are also indications that nanoparticles may get into the bloodstream and accumulate elsewhere in the body. They have been linked to inflammation, liver and kidney damage and even heart and brain damage.

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Categories: Environment

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increased for fourth year in a row in 2018

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/28 - 7:32pm

UN estimates indicate net greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 were 537 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise in 2018, according to a government report to the United Nations.

The submission shows again that Australia faces a huge task in meeting its obligations under the Paris agreement despite the government’s insistence it has laid out “to the last tonne” how it will do this.

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Categories: Environment
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