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Fracking firm gets green light to test for oil at Balcombe … again

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 7:58am

Approval by West Sussex council comes as another shale company plans a legal challenge against Scotland’s fracking ban

Fracking firm Cuadrilla has been given the go-ahead to explore for oil near a West Sussex village that was the site of the UK’s biggest anti-fracking protests.

The approval came as another shale company said it was planning a legal challenge against Scotland’s fracking ban.

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Categories: Environment

Brexit bill may have broken international environment law, says UN

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 6:56am

Exclusive: compliance committee considers complaint alleging government breached Aarhus convention by not consulting public over withdrawal bill

The British government may have breached a major “environmental democracy” law by failing to consult the public when drawing up Brexit legislation.

A UN-backed committee has confirmed it is considering a complaint from Friends of the Earth that the government’s EU withdrawal bill breached the Aarhus convention, which requires public consultation on any new environmental law.

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Categories: Environment

After Devastating Cyclone, Fiji Farmers Plant For A Changed Climate

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 6:01am

As the Pacific island archipelago of Fiji faces a warming planet, the country's farmers are turning to more climate-resilient techniques that other storm-prone communities worldwide could model.

(Image credit: Sonia Narang)

Categories: Environment

Weather Hampers Efforts To Put Out Tanker Blaze In East China Sea

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 5:13am

The fire occurred after two vessels, an Iranian-owned oil tanker and a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, collided on Saturday about 160 miles east of Shanghai.

(Image credit: AP)

Categories: Environment

Hundreds of flying foxes die in searing Australian heat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 4:14am

More than 400 animals have died in one colony alone as temperatures soar above 47C, causing exhaustion and dehydration

A colony of flying foxes has been nearly wiped out by extreme heat in Campbelltown in south-west Sydney, according to environmentalists.

The Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown campaign posted a series of images to Facebook showing the corpses of the animals lying in the ground, apparently after they had died from dehydration in the soaring temperatures. The group say more than 400 of the animals were lost, many of them juveniles.

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Categories: Environment

The 'imminent mini ice age' myth is back, and it's still wrong | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 4:00am

We can’t accurately predict solar activity, and a quiet solar cycle would have a small impact on Earth’s climate anyway

Roughly every two years we’re treated to headlines repeating the myth that Earth is headed for an imminent “mini ice age.” It happened in 2013, 2015, and again just recently at the tail end of 2017.

This time around, the myth appears to have been sparked by a Sky News interview with Northumbria University mathematics professor Valentina Zharkova. The story was quickly echoed by the Daily Mail, International Business Times, Sputnik News, Metro, Tru News, and others. Zharkova was also behind the ‘mini ice age’ stories in 2015, based on her research predicting that the sun will soon enter a quiet phase.

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Categories: Environment

Weather hampers efforts to contain oil tanker fire off China coast

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/01/09 - 3:59am

Body of sailor from Sanchi found and 31 others missing amid fears of environmental catastrophe after crash with container ship

Bad weather has hindered efforts to contain a tanker fire and oil spill off the coast of China, as environmental groups warned of a potential catastrophe.

The body of one sailor had been found and 31 others were missing after an Iranian-owned tanker collided with a container ship about 160 nautical miles east of Shanghai on Saturday evening. The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil or about 1m barrels.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife photographer of the year people's choice award - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 11:01pm

The Natural History Museum has chosen 24 of the best images from its Wildlife photographer of the year competition shortlist. Members of the public can vote for their favourite by 5 February 2018

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Categories: Environment

Plastic microbeads ban enters force in UK

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 10:01pm

Manufacturing ban means the tiny beads which harm marine life can no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products

Plastic microbeads can no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products in the UK, after a long-promised ban came into effect on Tuesday. The ban initially bars the manufacture of such products and a ban on sales will follow in July.

Thousands of tonnes of plastic microbeads from products such as exfoliating face scrubs and toothpastes wash into the sea every year, where they harm wildlife and can ultimately be eaten by people. The UK government first pledged to ban plastic microbeads in September 2016, following a US ban in 2015.

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Categories: Environment

Daylight robbery: thieves steal chunk of China's new solar highway

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 9:21pm

Panels which lie under transparent concrete are dug up in what is believed to be a case of technology theft

Thieves in China have vandalised a newly opened solar highway, less than a week after the road was christened with much fanfare.

The one-kilometre stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan consists of solar panels under a layer of transparent concrete, allowing cars to drive over the photovoltaic cells.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's healthcare system contributing to 7% of nation's carbon footprint

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 9:00pm

Study prompts calls for more energy-efficient hospitals and for doctors to use general anaesthetic alternatives to gases

Australia’s healthcare system is contributing more than 7% of the nation’s carbon footprint, with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies forming the bulk of health-related emissions, an analysis led by the University of Sydney has found.

The findings, published in the international medical journal the Lancet on Tuesday, have prompted the climate lobby group Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) to urge the federal government to fund states and territories to make hospitals more energy-efficient.

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Categories: Environment

Higher electricity bills if Snowy 2.0 hydro not built, says Frydenberg

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 7:25pm

Despite costing up to $4.5bn, the feasibility study for ‘Australia’s biggest battery’ finds it would still be economically viable

Australians would pay more for electricity and have more volatile supply if the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydropower project is not built, Josh Frydenberg has said.

The energy and environment minister has strongly argued for the necessity of the scheme in an opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review, despite the feasibility study revealing that its estimated cost had blown out by more than $2bn to between $3.8bn and $4.5bn.

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Categories: Environment

Energy agency rejects Trump plan to prop up coal and nuclear power plants

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 6:18pm

The unexpected decision by the Republican-controlled body is a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling US coal industry

An independent energy agency on Monday rejected a Trump administration plan to bolster coal-fired and nuclear power plants with subsidies, dealing a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling coal industry.

The decision by the Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was unexpected and comes amid repeated promises by Trump to rejuvenate coal as the nation’s top power source. The industry has been besieged by multiple bankruptcies and a steady loss of market share as natural gas and renewable energy have flourished.

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Categories: Environment

BBC considers whether to stop showing ivory on Antiques Roadshow

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 5:01pm

Programme accused of being out of touch after China bans all trade in ivory and UK looks to tightening existing legislation

The BBC is considering whether to stop showing ivory on the Antiques Roadshow as the government looks to a total ban on the material’s sale in the UK.

China has already outlawed all trade in ivory and the UK government is consulting on whether to follow suit as attempts to stop the poaching of elephants increase around the world.

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Categories: Environment

Stunning victory for Bundy family as all charges dismissed in 2014 standoff case

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 3:39pm

Cliven Bundy and sons cleared in case of 2014 armed standoff, a major defeat for the federal government that critics fear will empower far-right militia groups

A judge has dismissed conspiracy charges against rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons, marking an extraordinary failure by US prosecutors and a decisive victory for the Nevada family who ignited a land rights movement in the American west.

The Bundys, who led armed standoffs against the government in Nevada and Oregon, galvanizing far-right militia groups, saw all charges dismissed in Las Vegas on Monday. It was the second major court win for the ranchers in their decades-long battle to oppose federal land regulations.

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Categories: Environment

New Report Shows Weather Disasters In 2017 Cost More Than $300 Billion

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 2:26pm

Hurricanes, fires and even hail contributed to billions of dollars in damages. The government study also finds that it was among the warmest years on record.

(Image credit: Emily Kask/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

$306bn in one year: US bill for natural disasters smashes record

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 1:09pm

Major hurricanes, wildfires, drought and tornadoes have led to highest ever damage costs, as expert says extremes have ‘climate change fingerprints on them’

With three strong hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $306bn, according to a new government report released on Monday.

The US had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said. That ties 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost blew past the previous record of $215bn in 2005.

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Categories: Environment

a monday matinee...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 11:01am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Rhinoceros DNA database successful in aiding poaching prosecutions

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 10:00am

Statistical study shows how powerful RhODIS database is in linking forensic evidence to particular animals, say researchers

A large database of rhinoceros DNA is successfully being used to prosecute poachers and those trading rhino horns, new research has revealed.

While numbers of the southern white rhino – the only wild subspecies of white rhino in Africa – have grown to about 20,000, fewer than 5,500 black rhinos are thought to exist in the wild, and both species are affected by poaching.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: rising temperatures turning green sea turtles female

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/01/08 - 10:00am

‘Complete feminisation’ of northern population is possible in near future, researchers find

Rising temperatures are turning almost all green sea turtles in a Great Barrier Reef population female, new research has found.

The scientific paper warned the skewed ratio could threaten the population’s future.

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Categories: Environment
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