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University of Texas: eco-conscious campus and major fracking landlord

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/10/10 - 2:00am

While the Austin campus has a sustainability plan and promotes recycling, the university is also a major fracking landlord that leases millions of acres to oil and gas companies

The dusty oilfields of west Texas can feel a world away from the bustling heart of Austin, the state’s eco-conscious capital.

A common thread is the University of Texas: one of America’s biggest academic institutions and one of its largest landowners. University land managers control 2.1m acres in Texas, much of it leased to oil and gas companies who have installed 9,000 wells on its property.

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Categories: Environment

Hellfire: this is what our future looks like under climate change

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/10/10 - 12:00am

Forest fires and air that seems to combust: thanks to climate change, more parts of the world will soon be ablaze. California shows us what will happen when it does

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Categories: Environment

High chance of El Niño in Australia, worsening heat, bushfires and drought

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 7:48pm

‘This is not good news,’ Bureau of Meteorology says, warning drought conditions could get worse

Heatwaves and bushfires are predicted in southern Australia thanks to a 70% chance of El Niño weather conditions, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned. Although cyclones may ease up in the north by the end of the year, the outlook for drought-hit areas is not good, according to the bureau.

“Between the [above average] temperature and the lack of rainfall, this is not good news,” climatologist Robyn Duell said. “This outlook on the back of such little rainfall and dry conditions makes it such a worry for people.”

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Categories: Environment

Charges dropped against climate activists who tried to shut down pipelines

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 6:54pm

Seattle residents had hoped to use ‘necessity defense’ in Minnesota court, arguing threat to planet was so great they had no choice

A Minnesota judge abruptly dismissed charges against three climate change activists during their trial on Tuesday, saying prosecutors had failed to prove that the protesters’ attempt to shut down two Enbridge Energy oil pipelines caused any damage.

The Clearwater county district judge Robert Tiffany threw the case out after prosecutors rested their case and before the protesters could use their defense: that the threat of climate change from using crude oil drilled from Canadian tar sands was so imminent that the activists’ actions were not only morally right, but necessary.

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Categories: Environment

Darling and Howard back call for post-Brexit carbon tax

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 4:01pm

Policy Exchange report calls for steadily rising levy to help tackle climate change

Companies selling fossil fuels in Britain should face a steadily rising carbon tax to tackle climate change after Brexit, according to the former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling and the Conservative party grandee Michael Howard.

In a cross-party campaign to ensure the government sticks to its commitment to cut carbon emissions after Britain leaves the EU, the two politicians said a tax should be introduced as soon as reasonably possible.

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Categories: Environment

New Silver

The Field Lab - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:47pm
Working on some new rounds.  Crosses will be available to purchase again by the end of the week.  72,78,53,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Air pollution linked to greater risk of mouth cancer, finds study

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:30pm

Research in Taiwan has show a link between very high levels of air pollution and oral cancer

High levels of air pollution are linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer, new research has revealed.

Scientists have previously linked high air pollution to a host of health problems, from an increased risk of dementia to asthma and even changes in the structure of the heart, with recent research suggesting there is no “safe level” of air pollution.

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Categories: Environment

There Is Good News In The Universe, You Just Have To Look At Some Dirt To Find It

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:38pm

Astrophysicist Adam Frank says you don't have to look to the stars to be impressed with the cosmic matter that binds us together. Pick up some dirt!

Categories: Environment

Hurricane Michael Heading Up Gulf Coast Toward Florida Panhandle

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:38pm

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for hundreds of thousands of people living near the coast on Florida's panhandle as Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.

Categories: Environment

Inside The EPA: How Employees Are Reacting To The U.N. Climate Report

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:38pm

The United Nations released a climate report on Monday, but how does it fit with EPA policies? NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Washington Post reporter Brady Dennis about how EPA employees are responding.

Categories: Environment

Trump quiet as the UN warns of climate change catastrophe

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 11:04am

President says he ‘will be looking at’ report warning ‘unprecedented’ changes needed to avoid extreme heat, floods and poverty

Faced with a major UN report that warns of floods, drought, extreme heat and increased poverty should the world not take radical action to address climate change, Donald Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet.

The US president was visiting Florida, a state particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and currently in the path of Hurricane Michael, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned on Monday that “unprecedented” changes were needed to stave off dire impacts if the world warms 1.5C beyond the pre-industrial period.

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Categories: Environment

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

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:35am

Ben van Beurden says ‘another Brazil in terms of rainforest’ will help achieve UN target

The boss of Shell has said a huge tree-planting project the size of the Amazon rainforest would be needed to meet a tougher global warming target, as he argued more renewable energy alone would not be enough.

Ben van Beurden said it would be a major challenge to limit temperature rises to 1.5C (equivalent to a rise of 2.7F), which a landmark report from the UN’s climate science panel has said will be necessary to avoid dangerous warming.

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Categories: Environment

We must win the battle to limit global warming | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:28am
Readers including Fawzi Ibrahim and Caroline Lucas MP discuss ways to combat greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change

The “final tick box” to limit global warming is not just political (Global warming must not exceed 1.5C, landmark UN report warns, 8 October), it is also economic. Capitalism, the cause of global warming, cannot be its remedy. Industrial production came about when commodity production became dominant – an economic system in which commodities are produced for the sole purpose of being sold, upon which they return more money to the investors than their original outlay.

Related: Environmental warnings should stop drivers taking the road to ruin | Letters

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Categories: Environment

Environmental warnings should stop drivers taking the road to ruin | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:28am
Matt Wheeler, Chris Osman, Pam Laurance and Bill White on the changes that need to be made to road regulations and driver habits in order to avoid climate catastrophe

Following the UN’s report concluding carbon emissions need to be reduced massively and rapidly to prevent an average increase in global temperatures of more than 1.5C (Global warming must not exceed 1.5C, landmark UN report warns, 8 October), one quick and simple way in which the UK could make a start is by cutting the top speed vehicles can travel on motorways from 70 to 60mph. All cars operate most efficiently at a speed between 50 and 60mph. At the stroke of a pen we could ensure all vehicles on motorways are running far closer to their most efficient levels. It won’t save the world on its own, but it’s a cost-free and easy step to take that gets us moving in the right direction.
Matt Wheeler
Bushey, Hertforshire

• It is increasingly evident how difficult it will be to stop global warming; the need is pressing, obvious and requires strong leadership from governments. But, incredibly, our government is planning to build a major road (the so-called expressway) between Oxford and Cambridge. Painful as it might appear, the time has come when we have to stop building new major roads altogether, anywhere. We have to slash use of roads and fossil fuels, not encourage them.

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Categories: Environment

The time is now for a global pact for the environment | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:25am

We are calling for the adoption of a third pact, enshrining a new generation of fundamental commitments, write Yann Aguila, Antonio Herman Benjamin, Laurent Fabius and 128 others

On 10 April 2018, the United Nations general assembly adopted a resolution that paved the way for negotiations on a global pact for the environment. This international treaty would combine the guiding legal principles for environmental action into one single and far-reaching text. In 2015, the adoption of the sustainable development goals and the Paris climate agreement represented major progress. However, environmental damage persists and is more serious than ever before. The years 2017 and 2018 have seen record-breaking temperatures. Biodiversity continues to decline at a rapid pace.

With the global pact for the environment, the international community would be equipped for the first time with a treaty of a general nature that covers all environmental areas. It would be the cornerstone of international environmental law, therefore overseeing the different existing sectoral agreements (climate, biodiversity, waste, pollution, etc), filling the gaps and facilitating their implementation.

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Categories: Environment

The need to invest in renewables | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:24am

Feed-in tariff subsidies must not be abandoned, writes Sandra Walmsley, while Gaynor Adey says the UK government should look again at the Swansea Bay tidal project

Nicholas Stern suggests that strong political will is needed if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change (All leaders must recognise the choice: act decisively now or suffer the consequences later, Analysis, 8 October). Unfortunately, there no evidence of such will, and the rollercoaster of policy for renewables means that potentially thriving industries have faced uncertainty.

82% of UK citizens support renewables, yet the management of subsidies has already reduced the number of registered PV installers by more than 60%. Current proposals on abandoning feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidies will cause even more job and skills losses. Maintaining the current export tariff on FiTs is essential. Proposals for all suitable new buildings to have renewable energy systems would have a major effect on carbon emissions for a very small proportion of the costs.

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Categories: Environment

France offers lessons on plastic bags | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:21am
Ecosystems | Fossil-fuel adverts | Brexit | Fracking | Compostable bags

It is good to see that an appalling future awaiting the planet is being recognised (Huge risk if global warming exceeds 1.5C, warns landmark UN report, 8 October) and brought to light by the IPCC. Is there now any hope that the Convention on Biological Diversity can be jolted into comparable action that promotes the possibly more important and urgent demise facing biodiversity and ecosystems on our planet?
Dr Geoff Meaden
Canterbury, Kent

• Important coverage of the IPCC’s landmark report on pages 1, 12 and 13 of the Guardian (8 October). On page 14? A full-page advert offering 25% off on 100,000 seats for easyJet. Time to ditch the fossil-fuel advertising, surely?
Ian Sinclair
London

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Categories: Environment

UK fracking rules on earthquakes could be relaxed, says minister

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 5:57am

Exclusive: Claire Perry says level at which operations must be halted could be raised

Rules designed to halt fracking operations if they trigger minor earthquakes could be relaxed as the shale industry begins to expand, the UK energy minister, Claire Perry, has said.

A series of small tremors seven years ago prompted tough regulations that mean even very low levels of seismic activity now require companies to suspend fracking.

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Categories: Environment

Amazon at risk from Bolsonaro's grim attack on the environment | Fabiano Maisonnave

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:32am

Threats to the rainforest and its people and an end to the Paris agreement are among the promises of Brazil’s presidential hopeful, reports Climate Home

No more Paris agreement. No more ministry of environment. A paved highway cutting through the Amazon.

Not only that. Indigenous territories opened to mining. Relaxed environmental law enforcement and licensing. International NGOs, such as Greenpeace and WWF, banned from the country. A strong alliance with the beef lobby.

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Categories: Environment

Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:23am

The storm is forecast to be the most destructive to hit the Panhandle in decades and expected to send life-threatening surges of ocean water into coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.

(Image credit: NOAA/NWS, Esri, HERE, Garmin, Earthstar Geographics)

Categories: Environment
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