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Billion-dollar US energy firm opposes Trump plan to roll back mercury rules

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/11/16 - 8:26am

Exelon lobbies against proposals and says weakening emissions rule would kill jobs and waste billions in investments

A leading US energy company is lobbying against the Trump administration’s move to roll back a major Obama-era environmental regulation, arguing that weakening a rule on mercury emissions would potentially kill jobs across the south and waste billions of dollars of investment.

Exelon, one of the largest producers of electricity in the US, has also argued to the Environmental Protection Agency that compliance with the existing mercury rule, a 2012 regulation that limits how much of the toxic pollutant can be emitted from coal-fired power plants, has had “substantial” health and environmental benefits and has cost a small fraction of what was originally anticipated.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/11/16 - 7:00am

Starlings over Rome and the ‘smiling angel’ of the Yangtze are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Green energy subsidies fuel rise of Northern Ireland mega-farms

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/11/16 - 5:46am

Huge expansion of agri-food industry is harming environment, say investigators

Green energy subsidies are fuelling the rise of poultry mega-farms across Northern Ireland, with owners accused of contaminating sensitive habitats with emissions from chicken faeces.

An alliance of agri-food companies enlisted the support of Northern Ireland politicians to unlock an estimated £800m in subsidies for contractors. This has paved the way for industry expansion at the expense of the environment, according to an investigation by the not-for-profit journalism group SourceMaterial.

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Categories: Environment

Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/11/16 - 3:00am

Ranking of countries’ goals shows even EU on course for more than double safe level of warming

China, Russia and Canada’s current climate policies would drive the world above a catastrophic 5C of warming by the end of the century, according to a study that ranks the climate goals of different countries.

The US and Australia are only slightly behind with both pushing the global temperature rise dangerously over 4C above pre-industrial levels says the paper, while even the EU, which is usually seen as a climate leader, is on course to more than double the 1.5C that scientists say is a moderately safe level of heating.

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Categories: Environment

Secret videos reveal workers beating sheep on English and Scottish farms

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/11/16 - 1:00am

Wool-shearing footage, filmed by campaigners on 49 farms, appears to show animals being kicked, slapped and beaten with metal clippers

Footage that appears to show sheep being kicked, beaten and abused during wool-shearing on English and Scottish farms has been released by animal rights activists.

Peta Asia carried out an undercover investigation over the summer in the British sheep shearing industry. The 18 minutes of footage released yesterday is part of a wider investigation, in which Peta documented alleged abuse on 25 farms in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Essex, and Northumberland counties. In Scotland they have collected evidence from 24 farms in West Lothian, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian and South Lanarkshire.

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Categories: Environment

UK medics call for government ban to cut antibiotic resistance

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 11:00pm

Exclusive: failure to enforce ban on preventive use on farms would ‘pose risk to human health’

The leaders of the UK’s main medical associations have taken the unprecedented step of writing to the government to call for changes in the way farm animals are medicated, out of fear that current practices are causing resistance to antibiotics used in human medicine.

Eleven of the UK’s most senior medics, including the presidents of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Faculty of Public Health, have signed the letter to the secretaries of state for health and environment.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's most polluting industries are almost all in poor areas – report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 8:57pm

Hunter and Latrobe valleys lead the list of polluted postcodes in survey by Australian Conservation Foundation

Almost all of Australia’s most polluting industries are located in low-income areas, according to new research by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The report looks at pollution from emitters including coal-fired power stations as well as mining, refineries and manufacturing and finds the country’s five most polluted areas are the Hunter Valley in NSW, the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Mount Isa in Queensland and Newman and Collie in WA.

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Categories: Environment

San Francisco: schools and cable cars to close over smoke from Camp fire

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 7:05pm

Thursday saw air pollution levels climb to unhealthy levels, making San Francisco’s air worst in the world

Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area have been cancelled for Friday and residents warned to stay inside as smoke descends from wildfires hundreds of miles away, producing air quality levels worse than notoriously polluted cities in India and China.

“The Camp fire in Butte county generated a tremendous amount of smoke,” said Kristine Roselius, a spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “That smoke is just pouring into the Bay Area right now.”

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Categories: Environment

Underwriting coal power exposes taxpayers to billions, industry group says

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 6:50pm

Ai Group expresses significant concern with the Morrison government’s controversial plan to underwrite new power generation

A leading business group has expressed significant concern with the Morrison government’s controversial plan to underwrite new power generation, noting it could leave taxpayers exposed to liabilities “with a net present value of billions of dollars”.

The Ai Group has used its submission to flag major problems with the proposal, ranging from its “extremely aggressive” administrative timetable, with projects being drummed up before the next federal election; a lack of obvious “strong independent governance” arrangements, and the lack of an overarching climate and energy policy.

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Categories: Environment

John Kerry: Europe must tackle climate change or face migration chaos

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 5:17pm

The ex-US secretary of state, speaking at a Guardian Live event, predicts mass movement from Africa

Europe faces even deeper political turmoil and the possibility of mass migration from Africa unless the world urgently addresses the threat of climate change, the former US secretary of state John Kerry said on Thursday.

Speaking at a Guardian Live event, at Central Hall in London, he said he was deeply disturbed at how issues such as climate change, cyber wars and the future of the oceans were not ballot box issues, admitting it was hard to translate these issues into an acceptable set of choices for voters.

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Categories: Environment

the building site...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 3:48pm
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Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Housing Crisis Concerns Grow As Camp Fire Continues To Burn

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 3:26pm

Butte County is among the poorest in California. Residents whose homes were destroyed are now in a tough spot as the county doesn't have enough existing housing for the thousands who are displaced.

Categories: Environment

How Santa Rosa, Calif., Is Rebuilding A Year After The Destructive Tubbs Fire

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 2:58pm

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with David Guhin, assistant city manager for Santa Rosa, Calif., about how the city is rebuilding after the 2017 Tubbs Fire, which destroyed 5,636 buildings.

Categories: Environment

Extreme heat and drought could cause summer blackouts, energy market operator says

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 10:00am

Heatwaves can limit generator capacity and lead to equipment failures, Aemo warns

Extreme weather over summer could reduce the output of coal, gas and hydro power generators and cause problems with the reliability of electricity supply, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator.

While there has been extensive political debate in Australia about the reliability of various forms of energy supply, the market operator will make the point on Friday that extreme weather imposes significant stress on the supposed ramparts of the system – thermal generators and transmission infrastructure.

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Categories: Environment

'Nothing to hide?' Oil and gas lobby pushes to limit data on its emissions

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 10:00am

Booming LNG sector is driving Australia’s carbon output, but industry claims revealing the details would damage international competitiveness

The Australian oil and gas lobby is pushing to limit public information about greenhouse gas emissions from liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, a move that contradicts the global industry’s pledge to increase transparency about their impact on the climate.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has called for LNG plants to be able to apply for emissions data to be withheld from the public on the grounds that releasing it could help its competitors overseas. It has been backed by Chevron, which operates the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG developments in Western Australia.

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Categories: Environment

UK's backup power subsidies are illegal, European court rules

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 5:59am

Surprise judgment means government must halt capacity market scheme

The UK’s scheme for ensuring power supplies during the winter months has been suspended after a ruling by the European court of justice that it constitutes illegal state aid.

Payments to energy firms under the £1bn capacity market scheme will be halted until the government can win permission from the European commission to restart it.

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Categories: Environment

Camp Fire Missing-Persons List Grows To More Than 300 Names

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 5:38am

At least 56 people have died in the Northern California blaze, which has destroyed entire neighborhoods and continues to burn. Meanwhile, Butte County says about 300 people are missing.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

Categories: Environment

Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side | David Sirota

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 4:00am

The industry has political supremacy even in left-leaning states, but immediate action can hold off an environmental state of emergency

The world’s leading scientists issued a report warning of total planetary dystopia unless we take immediate steps to seriously reduce carbon emissions. Then, oil and gas corporations dumped millions of dollars into the 2018 elections to defeat the major initiatives that could have slightly reduced fossil fuel use.

Though you may not know it from the cable TV coverage, this was one of the most significant – and the most terrifying – stories of the midterms. For those who actually care about the survival of the human race, the key questions now should be obvious: is there any reason to hope that we will retreat from “drill baby drill” and enact a sane set of climate policies? Or is our country – and, by extension, our species – just going to give up?

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Categories: Environment

'It was a gem': idyllic mobile home community scorched by wildfire

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 12:00am

Neighbors in tiny Seminole Springs are banding together in the aftermath of California’s deadly wildfires

Roger Kelly had been up through the night, watching the orange glow emanating from the hillside above his home of 30 years.

The Seminole Springs mobile home park, a co-op of 215 small lakeside homes tucked into the canyon between Malibu and Agoura Hills, was on the warpath of the most destructive fire to ever hit Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

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Categories: Environment

'Team Oil': ex-oil worker seeks to educate legislators on climate change

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/11/15 - 12:00am

Retired engineer and manager Bill Bray volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby, which aims to meet with all legislators twice a year

Bill Bray makes sure to wear his ExxonMobil baseball cap to the farmers’ markets and Rotary clubs he visits in Texas to talk about climate change.

Related: Shell boss says mass reforestation needed to limit temperature rises to 1.5C

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Categories: Environment
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