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The Guardian view of offshore wind: cheaper and greener | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 11:47am
Electricity generated from whirling fans among the waves means that nuclear is rightly vanishing as the answer to meet our energy needs and our climate goals

The precipitous drop in the price of electricity from offshore wind turbines should be a tipping point for green technology. In 2014 the current generated by a forest of giant whirling fans out at sea was priced at around £150 per megawatt hour. In the latest auction this week the comparable cost dropped as low as £57.50/MWh. Even when the cost of providing back-up capacity for still days is added, the cost of producing energy from offshore wind is little more than £70/MWh. Compared to the new Hinkley C nuclear plant which produces electricity at a cost of £92.50/MWh, one has to wonder whether as a nation we should persist with nuclear energy as an option to reduce our greenhouse gas output.

Hinkley looks like a dinosaur even before it arrives on earth. It’s unclear whether the unproven design will ever get built. If it does, the cost of complying with safety and anti-terrorism standards may well be prohibitive. Hinkley was conceived when the conventional wisdom was that we would start to run out of hydrocarbons. Fears of a runaway price for oil and gas now look overheated. The government has however supported plans to install a nuclear power plant, backed by French and Chinese state operators, costing £18bn. Nuclear power has a trump card: it is a zero-carbon technology which delivers a continuous, uninterrupted supply. This may be a consideration in the years ahead if the UK banned petrol engines and only allowed electric cars. Imagine, say nuclear fans, the surge of demand when everyone got home and plugged in their motors. But we are not there yet.

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Categories: Environment

New 'real world' diesel tests fail to prevent rush hour pollution peak

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 11:00am

Exclusive: new tests are intended to close loopholes but cars can still emit excess fumes in slow traffic, data shows

New “real world” emissions tests fail to prevent high levels of pollution from diesel cars during rush hour, according to new data.

Diesel vehicles are the main cause of the UK’s widespread levels of illegal air pollution, with the VW cheating scandal exposing the fact that virtually all diesel cars emitted far more toxic fumes than in official laboratory based tests. Since 1 September, new models must now be tested on real roads, but the new data shows even this does not prevent high levels of fumes in slow traffic, when pollution is at its worst for drivers and other road users.

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Categories: Environment

Montanans Pitch In To Bring Clean Air To Smoky Classrooms

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 10:54am

Montana has recently pushed all their young students indoors because of the unprecedented level of smoke from wildfires. Some community groups are now collaborating to clean up that indoor air.

(Image credit: Eric Whitney/MTPR)

Categories: Environment

Flannels not fatbergs! The eco-friendly alternatives to wet wipes

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 10:25am
A ‘monster’ blockage has been discovered in London sewers and wet wipes are a major contributor. But from makeup removal to household cleaning, what should we be using instead?

Images of melting icebergs have long proved inspirational to environmentalists and politicians seeking to mitigate the threat of man-made climate change. So why is it that images of giant fatbergs clogging our sewers can’t seem to stop people flushing wet wipes down the loo?

These fatty underground tumours, comprised largely of wipes, nappies and cooking grease, have proliferated, backing up plumbing systems as far afield as New York City, San Francisco and Sydney. This month, a 130-tonne fatberg stretching the length of two football pitches was revealed during a routine inspection of the ageing sewage pipes beneath Whitechapel, in east London. Weighing about the same as a medium-sized jetliner, the fatberg is among the largest ever found and, left unchecked, could have sent a deluge of raw sewage on to the streets of London. Thames Water’s sewer chief Matt Rimmer described it as “a total monster” that would take three weeks to clear with shovels and high-powered water jets.

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Categories: Environment

Lessons From The Stars: How To Live On A Climate-Changed World

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 7:55am

Classification of planets offers a way to see how Anthropocenes — and a successful route through them — might be part of a continuum of planetary evolution, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.

(Image credit: Michael Osadciw/Courtesy of University of Rochester)

Categories: Environment

The Islands After Irma

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 7:06am

Many places in the Caribbean will have to rebuild from scratch after the deadly, devastating storm.

(Image credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

London's most polluted schools to be given air-quality audits

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 6:42am

Mayor Sadiq Khan announces first 50 schools to undergo audits to help identify measures to minimise the impact of pollution on children

The most polluted schools in London are to be audited as part of the mayor’s drive to clean up toxic air across the capital.

Earlier this year a Guardian investigation revealed that hundreds of thousands of children are being exposed to illegal levels of damaging air pollution from diesel vehicles at schools and nurseries.

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Categories: Environment

Chocolate industry drives rainforest disaster in Ivory Coast

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 5:30am

Exclusive: As global demand for chocolate booms, ‘dirty’ beans from deforested national parks have entered big business supply chains

The world’s chocolate industry is driving deforestation on a devastating scale in West Africa, the Guardian can reveal.

Cocoa traders who sell to Mars, Nestlé, Mondelez and other big brands buy beans grown illegally inside protected areas in the Ivory Coast, where rainforest cover has been reduced by more than 80% since 1960.

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Categories: Environment

Recent Natural Disasters Revive Political Discussions On Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 4:40am

Following Irma, some Republican officials in Florida are calling on the Trump administration to address climate change. Will stronger storms and record flooding change this political debate?

Categories: Environment

Rod Sims contradicts Coalition MPs' claims AGL is abusing market power

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/09/13 - 2:53am

Head of ACCC shoots down talk AGL is breaching act, but says lack of energy competition is pushing up bills

The head of Australia’s competition watchdog has quashed accusations from government MPs that AGL is misusing its market power by refusing to sell the Liddell power station to a rival – but says a lack of competition in the energy sector is inflating power prices for consumers.

Ahead of a major speech next week to the National Press Club on energy, the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, said AGL refusing to sell Liddell was not a breach of competition laws.

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Categories: Environment

UK cities expected to get millions of pounds for green energy projects

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 10:00pm

Ministers are thought to be planning to offer £3m for initiatives such as solar panels on social housing

Green energy projects run by cities and local authorities around the UK stand to receive millions of pounds of government support, providing another fillip for renewable power just a day after the subsidised price of windfarms hit a record low.

The Guardian understands that ministers this autumn will offer more than £3m to help local leaders build low carbon initiatives, such as installing solar panels on social housing.

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Categories: Environment

UK apple growers' labour shortage 'pushing them towards cliff edge'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 4:01pm

Industry body warns over need for seasonal workers after Brexit as growers face 20% shortfall in supply of labour

UK apple growers are in the grip of a 20% shortfall in the supply of seasonal labour, pushing them towards “a cliff edge” as Brexit nears, the industry has warned.

At the start of the annual British apple harvesting season with more than 20 indigenous varieties going on sale in supermarkets, the main trade body for both apples and pears says worries about future labour availability are at the top of its lobbying agenda.

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Categories: Environment

the harsh reality...

The Field Lab - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 3:59pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Florida tourist industry counts the cost of Irma's devastation

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 11:54am

The state’s $90bn industry is taking a beating in the wake of the hurricane, and it’s small businesses that could be hardest hit

Barely a month ago, Florida proudly announced a record-setting number of visitors to the Sunshine State – more than 60 million tourists coming to enjoy its theme parks, beaches and other attractions since January.

Now, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, tourism is facing a major challenge. The devastation caused by one of history’s largest storms, especially in the popular Florida Keys, is a direct strike at the $90bn industry that fuels the state’s economic engine, with the harm caused incalculable, experts say, at least in the short term.

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Categories: Environment

Campaigners challenge injunction against anti-fracking protesters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 10:50am

Lawyers for two anti-fracking campaigners argue in high court that injunction obtained by Ineos curtails protester rights

The legality of a wide-ranging injunction obtained against anti-fracking protesters by a multinational firm is to be examined in a three-day court hearing.

Two campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the injunction obtained by Ineos, the petrochemicals giant. Joe Corré, the son of the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Joe Boyd, say it is draconian, oppressive and dramatically curtails protesters’ rights.

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Categories: Environment

Third of Earth's soil is acutely degraded due to agriculture

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 10:18am

Fertile soil is being lost at rate of 24bn tonnes a year through intensive farming as demand for food increases, says UN-backed study

A third of the planet’s land is severely degraded and fertile soil is being lost at the rate of 24bn tonnes a year, according to a new United Nations-backed study that calls for a shift away from destructively intensive agriculture.

The alarming decline, which is forecast to continue as demand for food and productive land increases, will add to the risks of conflicts such as those seen in Sudan and Chad unless remedial actions are implemented, warns the institution behind the report.

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Categories: Environment

Portuguese men o' war wash up on Cornish coast in large numbers

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 10:07am

Creatures, which can deliver a painful and occasionally fatal sting, have been blown in from the open ocean by strong winds

An “unprecedented” number of Portuguese men o’ war have washed up on the Cornish coastline in recent days, causing lifeguards to close a beach on Monday and issue safety advice.

More than 140 of the floating tentacled organisms, which can deliver a painful sting that can be fatal in rare circumstances, have been spotted off the Cornish coast in the last three days, according to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. They are reported to have been blown in by strong south-westerly winds.

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Categories: Environment

Vast fatberg blocks London sewage system – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 9:07am

CCTV footage from under Whitechapel in east London shows a fatberg that weighs as much as 11 double decker buses and is the length of two football pitches blocking the sewer. It is mostly made up of fat, wet wipes and nappies, and is expected to take three weeks to clear

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Categories: Environment

'Total monster': fatberg blocks London sewage system

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 7:06am

Thames Water must break up congealed mass of fat, wet wipes and nappies to prevent raw sewage flooding streets

A fatberg weighing the same as 11 double decker buses and stretching the length of two football pitches is blocking a section of London’s ageing sewage network.

The congealed mass of fat, wet wipes and nappies is one of the biggest ever found and would have risked raw sewage flooding on to the streets in Whitechapel, east London, had it not been discovered during a routine inspection earlier this month.

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane Irma Blasts Into The Record Books With Lasting Intensity

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/09/12 - 3:59am

Hurricane Irma was the longest-lasting powerful hurricane or typhoon ever recorded, worldwide. It kept 185-mph winds for 37 hours — longer than any storm on record.

(Image credit: CIRA/CSU and NOAA/NESDIS/RAMMB)

Categories: Environment
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