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Scientific models saved lives from Harvey and Irma. They can from climate change too | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 3:00am

Climate models have an even better track record than the weather models that saved lives in Texas and Florida

The impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma were blunted because we saw them coming. Weather models accurately predicted the hurricane paths and anticipated their extreme intensities days in advance. This allowed millions of Floridians to evacuate the state, sparing countless lives.

Some contrarians have tried to downplay the rising costs of landfalling hurricanes by claiming they’re only more expensive because there are now more people living along the coasts with more expensive stuff vulnerable to hurricane damages. However, those arguments fail to account for our ability to predict hurricane tracks earlier and more accurately by using better and better scientific models. We’re able to prepare for hurricanes much better today than in the past because we have more warning.

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Categories: Environment

Alan Finkel urges Turnbull to adopt clean energy target before states act

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 12:20am

Chief scientist says conflicting targets at different levels of government could strangle investment and worsen power supply problems

Alan Finkel has urged the Australian government to swiftly commit to the final recommendation of his energy review, warning the longer that commitment takes, the more likely states and territories are to set up conflicting emissions reduction schemes.

Speaking at the Melbourne economic forum at Victoria university on Monday, Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, said that a failure to establish a clean energy target would create more uncertainty for investors, who would have to navigate various state policies.

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Categories: Environment

Most Britons 'dislike prospect of living near mini nuclear station'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 11:50pm

Survey finds 62% would not be happy living near the small modular reactors backed by government and industry

Most Britons would not be happy living near the mini nuclear power stations that Rolls-Royce and several other international companies want to build in the UK, a survey has found.

The government has promised the developers of small modular reactors a slice of a £250m funding pot in a race to position the UK as the place where the first generation of the power stations should be built.

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Categories: Environment

Scotland’s Sphinx snow patch is in its throes – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 11:15pm

The Sphinx is the closest Britain comes to having a glacier. It has disappeared just six times in the last 300 years, but this year it is almost gone. Murdo MacLeod joins snow expert Iain Cameron to study the state of Scotland’s permanent snow

“It’s a very sorry sight,” says Iain Cameron. It is late August and we are standing in front of Scotland’s very own Sphinx. It never had claws, paws, nor a mysterious countenance, but if it once had they would have melted away, just as the rest is about to do. “Grim,” says Cameron with gravel in his tone. “It’s pretty much in its death throes.”

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Categories: Environment

CSIRO breeds spotted handfish to save species from extinction

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 7:19pm

Fish, which is endemic to Tasmania, was the first Australian marine animal to be listed as critically endangered

Scientists have begun a captive breeding program for the spotted handfish, 11 years after it became the first Australian marine animal to be listed as critically endangered.

Endemic to Tasmania, the spotted handfish or Brachionichthys hirsutus looks like a tadpole in the late stages of development, with a fin atop its head to lure unsuspecting prey and the sour expression of a British bulldog.

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Categories: Environment

Doctor Who Discovered Children Had Elevated Lead Levels Talks About What's Changed

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 2:54pm

In 2015, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha discovered the lead contamination after Flint, Mich., switched its drinking water source. She talks with NPR's Michel Martin about helping reverse the problem.

Categories: Environment

Top Trump officials signal US could stay in Paris climate agreement

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 2:31pm

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster both indicated the US is open to negotiations on staying in the accord

Senior Trump administration officials on Sunday signalled a further softening of America’s resolve to leave the Paris climate accord, amid signs that the issue will be discussed at the United Nations general assembly in New York this week.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster both indicated that the US is open to negotiations on staying in the landmark international agreement to limit mankind’s role in global warming.

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Categories: Environment

be careful for nothing

The Field Lab - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 1:39pm
Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.  6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

How palm trees stand tall in the face of a hurricane

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 1:30pm

As Hurricane Irma battered the Caribbean, trees aerodynamically adapted to strong winds stood firm

When Storm Aileen ripped across the UK last week the worst of the winds brought down trees, snapped off branches and shredded leaves, made worse because the trees were in full leaf and caught the wind like a sail. Compare that with the palm trees that stood up to Hurricane Irma’s immensely stronger winds, which would have torn British trees to shreds. The palm trees simply bent over at crazy angles and then bounced back again.

Related: Scaling up our response to super-hurricanes

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Categories: Environment

Enough tiptoeing around. Let’s make this clear: coal kills people | Tim Hollo

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 11:00am

Burning more coal, knowing what we know, is a deliberate act of arson. We must urgently come to grips with this fact and reconnect with nature and our communities

Coal kills people. This isn’t even slightly scientifically controversial.
From the mines to the trains to the climate disruption; from black lung to asthma, heat stress to hunger, fires to floods: coal is killing people in Australia and around the world right now.

Yet we are once again having what passes for political debate about extending the life of coal-fired power stations and, extraordinarily, building new ones. The conversation is completely disconnected from the fact that two thirds of Bangladesh was reported to be under water, record-breaking hurricanes were battering the US, and wildfires were roaring in both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time.

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Categories: Environment

How regulators could kill off Australia's water recycling industry

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 11:00am

A world-leading system in Sydney’s Central Park precinct helps residents reuse up to 97% of their water. But a pricing change threatens future schemes

In the basement of a Sydney housing development is the world’s largest water recycling plant in a residential building.

Normal apartments put more than 90% of the water they consume back into the sewer. But thanks to the recycling plant, units in Central Park, built on the site of the old Carlton brewery close to the CBD, return just 3%.

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Categories: Environment

Beware nuclear industry’s fake news on being emissions free | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 10:52am
David Blackburn says we need decentralised energy sources; David Lowry on nuclear not being zero-carbon technology; plus letters from David Hayes and Fred Starr

I wholeheartedly agree with much of your editorial (14 September), as the economics of new nuclear is weaker than ever at a time when renewables are coming in cheaper year on year. You point out the crisis in the funding of renewables and we could not agree more. The UK desperately needs to reboot financial support for decentralised energy in order to maximise long-term benefits for all. Councils, in particular, are calling for the restoration of feed-in tariffs and other support that has been instrumental in the creation of innovative, local, low-carbon energy schemes, Passivhaus-accredited buildings, and energy efficiency programmes for dealing with the scourge of fuel poverty.

While the dramatic cost reductions in offshore wind are to be welcomed, it has to be joined with renewed support for decentralised energy projects, approval for tidal energy schemes and the resumption of support for solar and onshore wind. The government must see that the energy landscape has changed dramatically. An energy review and reboot is urgently required.
Cllr David Blackburn
Vice-chair, UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Authorities

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Categories: Environment

Agriculture holds the key to unlocking Africa’s vast economic potential | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 10:51am
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation

Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution.

Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties – governments, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), private sector agribusiness like Syngenta, Bayer and OCP, Rabobank and the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are united in one firm belief: that agriculture holds the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential – 41 million smallholders on a fertile continent that grows every crop imaginable.

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Categories: Environment

Press regulator censures Mail on Sunday for global warming claims

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 7:37am

Mail on Sunday criticised by Ipso for article claiming global warming data had been exaggerated to win Paris climate change agreement

Claims in the Mail on Sunday that global warming data had been exaggerated in order to secure the Paris climate change agreement have been criticised by the UK’s press regulator.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation censured the newspaper for publishing a story in early February that was flawed in key aspects. The news story suggested that data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the world’s gold-standard sources of weather and climate research, had been treated in such a way as to suggest greater warming than had really occurred.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers Look To Improve Weather Forecasting After Irma

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 4:59am

In coastal Georgia, Hurricane Irma caused far more flooding than expected. Researchers are looking at ways their mistakes there could improve future predictions elsewhere.

Categories: Environment

The Call-In: Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 4:59am

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Richard Chasm of Olalla, Ore. about living near wildfires. Author Michael Kodas explains why these disasters are growing more severe.

Categories: Environment

The 'miracle pill': how cycling could save the NHS

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 11:00pm

Cycling can make people healthy and live longer, and cut public health costs, so why can’t it be prescribed to the nation?

Imagine if a team of scientists devised a drug which massively reduced people’s chances of developing cancer or heart disease, cutting their overall likelihood of dying early by 40%. This would be front page news worldwide, a Nobel prize as good as in the post.

That drug is already here, albeit administered in a slightly different way: it’s called cycling to work. One of the more puzzling political questions is why it is so rarely prescribed on a population-wide level.

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Categories: Environment

Confusion Continues: The United States' Position On The Paris Climate Agreement

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 5:07pm

The White House has reaffirmed its position on the climate pact "unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country," after reports from AFP and the WSJ that the U.S. would stay.

Categories: Environment

passive income...

The Field Lab - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 5:05pm
Another big day ($7.00) out of nowhere on YouTube...mostly thanks to the bucket.  85,87,73,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

White House denies US is planning to remain in Paris climate accord

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 3:23pm

Trump administration dismisses claim by EU official that US has offered to re-engage with the deal

The White House has denied reports that it planned to stay in the Paris climate agreement, saying its position on leaving was unchanged, and that it would only stay in if it got more “favourable” terms.

The Trump administration was forced to make a statement on Saturday after reports emerged as ministers from more than 30 countries held talks in Montreal this weekend preparing for the upcoming United Nations climate summit in November.

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Categories: Environment
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