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Climate campaigners take South Africa to court over coal policy

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 6:26am

Civil society organisations’ lawsuit argues the country’s energy policy is incompatible with the constitution

South Africa’s plan to build new coal-fired power stations during the climate crisis is being challenged in court for breaching the rights of current and future generations.

Three civil society organisations have launched a constitutional lawsuit in the North Gauteng high court against the South African government, arguing that its energy policy is incompatible with the national constitution.

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Categories: Environment

Scorpion plagues, sharks on the move: has Cop26 done enough for nature?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 5:00am

The summit did not go far enough to avoid ‘big changes’ in the natural world, scientists warn, with animals already changing their behaviour

If the natural world was trying to have its say on the Glasgow climate pact, the arrival of a plague of scorpions in Egypt as Cop26 came to an end was not a subtle message. Around the time a tearful Alok Sharma lowered the gavel on the summit, rare thunderstorms were sweeping through Aswan province along the south of the Nile, forcing thousands of the creatures to seek shelter in people’s homes. Scorpion stings left more than 500 people needing hospital treatment in the host nation for Cop27. Nobody died from the effects of the venom and, as is often the case, it is too early to say whether the climate crisis caused or intensified the flooding. But many experts warn we are at the beginning of a period of potentially biblical instability.

“Cop26 was bad for nature because we are nowhere near limiting warming to 1.5 degrees,” said Simon Lewis, a professor of global change science at University College London who was supporting Congo basin countries in Glasgow. “Double the number of species will lose more than half of their climatically defined area at 2C than they would have at 1.5. So big changes are coming.”

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 5:00am

The best of this week’s wildlife pictures, including rescued cheetahs, a waving seal pup and migrating red crabs

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Categories: Environment

The disposable US workforce: life as an ‘essential’ meatpacking plant worker

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 4:05am

Workers are still waiting for reforms to an industry in which 60,000 got Covid and nearly 300 died

Jose Tovar believes he can pinpoint the day he got Covid-19: it was 8 April 2020 and he was cutting chuck bone at a meatpacking plant in Cactus, a little town in the Texas panhandle.

Cactus might be a small place, but if you regularly eat beef in the US, at one time or another, it very likely came from the JBS meatpacking plant here, where Tovar was one of its 3,000 workers.

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Categories: Environment

As a sea of lava destroys livelihoods on La Palma, it also offers a lifeline

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 4:00am

The lava and ash the Cumbre Vieja volcano has spewed for two months have consumed homes and forced thousands to flee. However, the rock formed by the lava will ultimately save the island from the sea.

(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

US cities working to reduce emissions in the absence of bold action in Washington

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 3:00am

But fewer than half of the 100 largest cities have plans to tackle climate chaos

After the Cop26 conference ended in Glasgow, many activists and climate scientists felt the agreement didn’t go far enough and that the US government was among those who had not backed strong words with enough actual deeds.

But action on a smaller level in the US – in cities and states – is gaining traction and beginning to make a significant difference. Smaller-scale initiatives to cut emissions have been the significant way that America has made climate progress in the last few years, in the absence of stronger federal leadership.

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Categories: Environment

Wanted: 100,000 pioneers for a green jobs Klondike in the Arctic

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/11/19 - 12:00am

Europe’s newest industrial megaprojects are relocating to the far north of Sweden. But are curling, wild reindeer and the northern lights enough to convince workers to follow?

One by one, the 20 engineers and technicians step up to receive their equipment before the briefing. They have come to the far north of Sweden from as far away as Mexico, the US, Saudi Arabia, China, Germany and Russia.

“Welcome!” bellows Håkan Pålsson, their instructor. “We’re here to show you how to do curling, and then you’re going to go out on the ice and show us.”

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Categories: Environment

Canada storm: floods could lead to country-wide shortages as air force deployed to British Columbia – as it happened

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 8:36pm

Latest updates: Canadian Armed Forces deployed to help residents after massive disruption around Vancouver and rest of province

It might seem trivial compared to the devastation caused, but Reuters is reporting that the floods could mean the US might suffer a Christmas tree shortage this year.

Canada is the world’s top exporter of natural Christmas trees, exporting about 2.3 million trees per year, with some 97% going to the US.

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Categories: Environment

‘Drowning’ in waste: Australia recycled just 16% of plastic packaging last year

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 8:21pm

Report described as ‘sharp wake-up call’ finds recycling has flatlined since voluntary plan was introduced in 2017

Australia is failing to meet its own plastic reduction targets, with just 16% of plastic recovered last year despite more than half of packaging found to be easily recyclable, a new report shows.

The latest progress report released by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (Apco) found plastic recycling has flatlined since a voluntary plan was implemented in 2017.

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Categories: Environment

from the art archives...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 3:51pm


Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

‘A farce’: experts dismiss government claims a controversial and unproven technology will cut emissions by 15%

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 9:30am

Burning vegetation and injecting emissions underground ‘ecologically risky’ and ‘should be avoided’

Experts have questioned how a controversial energy technology that doesn’t currently exist in Australia could be earmarked as a major source of cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in the Morrison government’s plan to reach net zero by 2050.

According to the government’s modelling report of its “technology not taxes” plan, a technique known as BECCS – bioenergy with carbon capture and storage – would be removing about 15% from the nation’s gross greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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Categories: Environment

Revealed: the places humanity must not destroy to avoid climate chaos

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 9:00am

Tiny proportion of world’s land surface hosts carbon-rich forests and peatlands that would not recover before 2050 if lost

Detailed new mapping has pinpointed the carbon-rich forests and peatlands that humanity cannot afford to destroy if climate catastrophe is to be avoided.

The vast forests and peatlands of Russia, Canada and the US are vital, researchers found, as are tropical forests in the Amazon, Congo and south-east Asia. Peat bogs in the UK and mangrove swamps and eucalyptus forests in Australia are also on the list.

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Categories: Environment

Sturgeon urged to commit to end oil and gas production in Scotland

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 8:49am

First minister says country could join Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance at lowest ‘friend’ tier of support

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to take a tougher stance on phasing out oil and gas by signing up to a new global alliance that calls for an end date for oil drilling.

Scotland’s first minister signalled earlier this week that her government was hardening its position on oil and gas production by confirming she did not believe the new Cambo oilfield off Shetland should be licensed.

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Categories: Environment

The moral case for destroying fossil fuel infrastructure | Andreas Malm

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 4:10am

If someone has planted a time bomb in your home, you are entitled to dismantle it. The same applies to our planet

The climate struggle has entered a new phase. It is marked by a search for different tactics: something that cannot be so easily ignored, a mode of action that disrupts business-as-usual for real, some way to pull the emergency brake. This search has only just begun, but the signs are there.

In Berlin, half a dozen young climate activists calling themselves ‘The Last Generation’ recently went on a hunger strike, eventually refusing liquids and becoming quite frail before calling the action off. But there are other things than our own bodies that can be shut down. In conjunction with this summer’s Ende Gelände camp against fossil gas, a group calling itself ‘Fridays for sabotage’ claimed responsibility for rupturing a piece of gas infrastructure and urged the movement to embrace this tactic: ‘There are many places of destruction, but just as many places of possible resistance.’ This followed the development of a veritable archipelago of forest occupations in Germany, some of which have damaged equipment for coal extraction.

Andreas Malm is a scholar of human ecology at Lund University

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Categories: Environment

The forgotten oil ads that told us climate change was nothing

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 3:00am

Since the 1980s, fossil fuel firms have run ads touting climate denial messages – many of which they’d now like us to forget. Here’s our visual guide

Why is meaningful action to avert the climate crisis proving so difficult? It is, at least in part, because of ads.

The fossil fuel industry has perpetrated a multi-decade, multibillion dollar disinformation, propaganda and lobbying campaign to delay climate action by confusing the public and policymakers about the climate crisis and its solutions. This has involved a remarkable array of advertisements – with headlines ranging from “Lies they tell our children” to “Oil pumps life” – seeking to convince the public that the climate crisis is not real, not human-made, not serious and not solvable. The campaign continues to this day.

Life Magazine, 1962

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Categories: Environment

Military deployed as Pacific north-west grapples with devastating floods

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/11/18 - 12:14am

Province’s premier issues state of emergency and warns death toll expected to rise as one fatality confirmed

Troops have been deployed in British Columbia to help stranded residents and search areas hit by landslides and floods after a powerful storm dumped a month’s worth of rain in two days across a swath of western Canada and the US Pacific north-west.

The Canadian government approved a request for federal assistance from the embattled province on Wednesday, the minister of emergency preparedness, Bill Blair, confirmed.

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Categories: Environment

Thieves uproot hundreds of trees of new citrus variety from South Australian orchard

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/11/17 - 8:21pm

Grower Jeff Knispel of Nippy’s Group says the robbers will not know what they have stolen, which ‘won’t help their cause’

This is not your common or garden variety burglary. Thieves have uprooted more than 200 citrus trees from an orchard in South Australia’s Riverland.

Grower Jeff Knispel, the joint managing director of Nippy’s Group, said sometime after dark on the Friday before last someone snuck in and stole the trees.

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Categories: Environment

The Biden administration sold oil and gas leases days after the climate summit

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2021/11/17 - 5:53pm

Despite pledging to take action on climate change at the international event, the Biden administration says its hands were tied after a federal judge stopped its attempt to pause the leasing program.

(Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

part thirteen

The Field Lab - Wed, 2021/11/17 - 5:12pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Residents of Louisiana’s Cancer Alley hopeful for action after EPA head’s visit

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/11/17 - 12:02pm

Michael Regan says he aims to ‘hold everyone accountable’ on his ‘journey to justice’ through toxic sites across the south

Outside the Tchoupitoulas chapel in the community of Reserve, Robert Taylor waited in the morning sun for a meeting he never thought would happen.

After years of campaigning for clean air in his south Louisiana community, a battle profiled by the Guardian for the past two years, Taylor was scheduled to meet with the federal official who holds the power to change his life: the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Categories: Environment
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