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Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump 'can't bring mining jobs back'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 12:00am

The founder and chief executive of Murray Energy supports Donald Trump’s move to roll back Obama’s clean power plan but cautions the president to go easy on talk of a jobs revival

America’s biggest coal boss is hopeful that his industry will soon be freed of “fraudulent” green legislation that has hampered his industry, but warned Donald Trump to “temper” expectations about a boom in mining jobs.

Related: Donald Trump blames everyone but himself for healthcare legislation failure

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Categories: Environment

Sunshine state shuns solar as overcast New York basks in clean energy boom

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/27 - 12:00am

Despite its natural advantages, disincentives mean Florida has few solar panels but the Empire state’s policies have boosted installed solar capacity by 800%

If you were to fly a camera-laden drone several hundred feet above Pani Herath’s house in south Miami, Florida, it would become clear his rooftop is an oddity compared with virtually all of his neighbors. Despite living in a part of the world that bakes in the sun throughout the year, just a few thousand people across Florida, such as Herath, have installed solar panels.

“Unfortunately, not many people know about solar. That’s why nobody around here has solar at all,” said Herath. He has become an object of curiosity in his tidy neighborhood, where watering the manicured lawn and scooping debris from the pool is of greater concern.

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Categories: Environment

Trump presidency 'opens door' to planet-hacking geoengineer experiments

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 10:05pm

As geoengineer advocates enter Trump administration, plans advance to spray sun-reflecting chemicals into atmosphere

Harvard engineers who launched the world’s biggest solar geoengineering research program may get a dangerous boost from Donald Trump, environmental organizations are warning.

Under the Trump administration, enthusiasm appears to be growing for the controversial technology of solar geo-engineering, which aims to spray sulphate particles into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s radiation back to space and decrease the temperature of Earth.

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Categories: Environment

Nick Xenophon signals support for tax cuts in exchange for emissions intensity scheme

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 9:55pm

Senator criticises Coalition for abandoning intensity scheme for electricity once championed by Malcolm Turnbull

The key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon has signalled publicly to the Turnbull government he will look at cutting tax for big companies if the government guarantees it will implement a bipartisan emissions intensity trading scheme in the electricity sector.

The NXT leader has been saying for months he is not inclined to support tax cuts for business with annual turnover of more than $10m but, on Monday, suggested he would come to the table if the government made a concrete offer on energy policy.

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Categories: Environment

The blackbird hour, when the hedgerows thrill with song

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 9:30pm

Marshwood Vale, Dorset It’s gentle at first, a fine drizzle of notes, and then the volume swells and they warble full-throatedly

Mid-afternoon on a still, overcast day that feels as if the air will thicken into rain. Clusters of slim, pale, wild daffodils light the under-storey of the roadside hedge, still bare and broken from its winter flailing. In the Victorian language of flowers, they represented hope, folly and unrequited love. Lower down, the bank is patched with early dog violets, their tiny, scentless blooms scrunched into frowns of concentration. Both sides of the lane are splashed yellow with primroses and shiny celandines.

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Categories: Environment

Barnaby Joyce wants Australia's Leadbeater's possum off endangered list to boost logging

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 8:27pm

Deputy prime minister calls for critically endangered status to be downgraded to try to save Victorian logging jobs

Barnaby Joyce is pushing for the conservation status of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum to be downgraded to open up areas of protected forests in Victoria for logging, in an effort to save 250 jobs at the Heyfield sawmill.

Joyce wrote to Victorian premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday criticising the decision to reduce the sawlog quota offered to Heyfield mill operators Australian Sustainable Hardwood from 155,000 cubic metres a year to 80,000 cubic metres in 2017-18 and 60,000 cubic metres in 2018-19 and 2019-20, in order to protect habitat used by the possum.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand anger as pristine lakes tapped for bottled water market

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 6:06pm

Residents and greens groups demand action to stop plan to plunder natural resources by companies that pay next to nothing to remove water

A plan to extract millions of litres of water out of a Unesco world heritage site, send it by pipe to the coast and ship it to foreign markets for bottling has ignited a campaign over water resources in New Zealand.

An export company is proposing to collect 800m litres a month of the “untapped” glacial waters of Lake Greaney and Lake Minim Mere, mountainous dams that are fed by rainfall on the Southern Alps.

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Categories: Environment

There is no gas crisis in Australia, but there is an attack on our natural assets

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 5:54pm

Governments are using the confected gas crisis to push destructive projects like the Pilliga gas project on communities that don’t want them

It’s ludicrous to say there is a gas crisis in Australia when we are set to overtake Qatar to become the world’s biggest gas producer. Australia has plenty of gas to meet our needs and the world has three times as much fossil fuel reserves that can be used to keep global temperature rises below 2C.

We have so much gas that we export most of it. The gas companies are shipping off huge amounts of it because they can reap greater profits overseas, leaving Australian households and businesses to squabble over what’s left at inflated prices.

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Categories: Environment

New cars much less fuel efficient than manufacturers claim, research finds

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 3:31pm

Australian Automobile Association finds fuel use on average 25% higher than claimed on consumption label displayed on new cars

New cars are using vastly more fuel on the road than in laboratory tests, raising further questions about the veracity of car manufacturers’ claims in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The Australian Automobile Association-commissioned research found fuel use was on average 25% higher than claimed on the government-mandated fuel consumption label displayed on all new cars.

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Categories: Environment

In Conflict With Trump Agenda, California Sets Stricter Auto Emissions Standards

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 3:26pm

California put itself on a collision course with the Trump Administration as the state's clean air agency moved forward with stricter emissions requirements for trucks and cars.

Categories: Environment

Landcare funding boost to include $15m for new Indigenous protected areas

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 1:51pm

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says funding will mean ‘healthier communities’ and ‘more Indigenous ranger jobs for families to stay on country’

A $100m funding package to Landcare will include $15m for new Indigenous protected areas, raising hopes of further federal support for the environmental policy and its related Indigenous ranger program.

The funding, secured by the Greens last year in a deal with the government over the backpacker tax, has been undetailed until now, and will also support Landcare projects, the work of Landcare Australia and the National Landcare Network, and a small grants program for sustainable agriculture.

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Categories: Environment

Trump to sign executive order undoing Obama's clean power plan

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 12:59pm

EPA head Scott Pruitt, who sued to halt plan as Oklahoma’s AG, claims ending restrictions on coal power plants will be ‘pro-growth and pro-environment’

Donald Trump will on Tuesday sign an executive order to unravel Barack Obama’s plan to curb global warming, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Sunday, claiming the move would be “pro-growth and pro-environment”.

Related: The climate change battle dividing Trump’s America

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Categories: Environment

UK energy firms including big six miss smart meter deadline

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 10:48am

Ofgem considering further steps to protect billpayers as a result of suppliers’ failure to cut back-bills’ limit from 12 to six months

Britain’s leading energy providers are under fire again after missing a deadline to help households with smart meters avoid being hit with unexpected bills.

Electricity and gas suppliers, including the big six and smaller providers, had pledged that by the end of 2016 they would cut back on sending backdated or catchup bills to customers whose smart meters inaccurately measured their energy usage. However, not one of the big six or dozens of smaller suppliers have met the self-imposed target of cutting the limit for back-bills from 12 months to six months.

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Categories: Environment

Prince Rupert's Drop

The Field Lab - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 9:55am
smarter every dayPsalm 111:2 The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

In Chile, Landowner Makes The Largest Private Donation Of Land To A Government

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/26 - 5:14am

Kristine Tompkins, whose husband founded The North Face clothing company, tells Lulu Garcia-Navarro about her decision to donate a million acres of land she owns in Patagonia to Chile's government.

Categories: Environment

Shrinking Arctic sea ice threatens the majestic Beluga whale

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/25 - 11:59pm
The Arctic sea ice hosts algae, which sustain a food chain up to the beluga whale. But the ice is decreasing – and in summers, it may be gone entirely by 2050

The beluga whale is one of the most extraordinary species of marine creature known to science. It is a gregarious, pure white Arctic dweller that emits strange, high-pitched twitters that have given it its nickname: the sea canary. Belugas are on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “near threatened” list, because of past whaling and the impact of water contamination.

Now scientists have discovered that Delphinapterus leucas is facing a new global threat. Like many other species that live in the far north, their lives are being disrupted by global warming, according to Thomas Brown of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams), who has been studying belugas for several years.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to keeping your recycling muscles fit

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/25 - 10:00pm

It’s desperately important that we redouble our efforts to combat pollution and waste

Recycling is a bit like fitness. The moment you stop putting in the effort, you lose your muscle.

This was on my mind as I watched microwavable black plastic containers whizzing up a conveyer belt at a recycling depot in Kent. This is progress. Innovation in plastic chemistry means these trays can now be recycled.

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Categories: Environment

this might just work...

The Field Lab - Sat, 2017/03/25 - 2:49pm
Had to re-jig the mechanism that holds the hot plate level (as the dish tilts) with the bigger solar fryer today.  Once I got the new parts situated, I did a preliminary test while I wait on my extra mirrors to arrive next week.  Maxed out at 678° after sitting in the sun for an hour.  Pretty windy today which really sucks the heat off the gizmo.  I reckon on a calm day I will be able to top the 700° mark.  Note: with the smaller dish I was only able to get the hot plate up to 275°.  79,83,45,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

‘Who knows what we’ll find next?’ Journey to the heart of Mozambique’s hidden forest

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/25 - 2:00pm
Since it was identified on Google Earth in 2005, the forest of Mount Mabu has amazed scientists with its unique wildlife. Jeffrey Barbee joins explorer Professor Julian Bayliss on the first trip to its green heart

The soggy boots of the team slide backwards in the black mud as they struggle up towards the ridge line separating the forest edge from one of the last unexplored places on Earth.

The rain is an incessant barrage of watery bullets firing down through the tree canopy. Thunder crashes. Tangles of vines and spider webs make for a Hollywood movie scene of truly impenetrable jungle.

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Categories: Environment

The hidden treasures of Mount Mabu – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/25 - 2:00pm

In the mid-2000s, in a room at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Professor Julian Bayliss used Google Earth to discover a hidden rainforest in Northern Mozambique which is home to dozens of new species of flora and fauna. Professor Bayliss and Alliance Earth Director Jeffrey Barbee ventured with a team into the heart of the forest.

To find out more about the expedition click here

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Categories: Environment
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