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How Trump is dismantling a pillar of the American state | Jon Michaels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 6:36am

Donald Trump is presiding over the most withering, devastating, and trenchant attack on the American administrative state this nation has ever known

There is no shortage of adjectives to describe the Trump presidency. Venal. Shameless. Bigoted. Impulsive. Feckless. Amid the never-ending stream of scandals and outrages, it is easy to lose sight of just what this administration is doing well – and where it is proving to be spectacularly disciplined, calculating and effective.

Donald Trump is presiding over the most withering, devastating, and trenchant attack on the American administrative state this nation has ever known.

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Categories: Environment

Delhi doctors declare pollution emergency as smog chokes city

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 6:25am

Levels of airborne pollutants are off the scale in parts of India’s capital with effects likened to smoking 50 cigarettes a day

A public health emergency has been declared by doctors in Delhi as air quality in the world’s most polluted capital city plunged to levels likened to smoking at least 50 cigarettes in a single day.

Slow winds and colder temperatures have been blamed for a surge in airborne pollutants beyond what instruments in the city could measure with some recording an Air Quality Index (AQI) maximum of 999.

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Categories: Environment

Banning bikes from Oxford Street is a disaster for London cycling

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 4:37am

Plans to pedestrianise one of the capital’s busiest cycling roads send the troubling message that cyclists and pedestrians can’t co-exist in an 80ft-wide street

Sadiq Khan’s proposal to ban cyclists from Oxford Street, published on Monday, is an unqualified disaster for cycling in London, perhaps the single biggest blow it has suffered in years. And he’s sending an even more dangerous signal to the rest of the country.

More than 2,000 cyclists a day, according to Department for Transport figures, use the first section proposed for pedestrianisation next year, between Selfridges and Oxford Circus. More than 5,000 a day use the section between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road, which is proposed to be pedestrianised in 2019.

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Categories: Environment

The British Wildlife Photography awards 2017 - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 3:55am

Daniel Trim’s airport-roosting pied wagtail has won the 2017 competition, which celebrates the work of amateur and professional photographers and the beauty and diversity of British wildlife. Winning images are chosen from thousands of entries, including film and junior categories.

More than 100 images are on show at the Mall Galleries in London, before touring nationally, and a book of the images is also available

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Categories: Environment

Church of England should lead on climate change by divesting from ExxonMobil | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 12:00am
Anglican clergy, including five bishops, broadcaster Richard Coles and Olivia Graham, call on the church to support the aims of the Paris climate agreement by divesting from fossil fuel companies

As Church of England clergy, we have a strong interest in the ethics of investments made by the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board on our behalf.

This week, governments from around the world will meet in Bonn for the next round of UN climate talks. The Paris climate change agreement, which was signed by 195 countries in December 2015, included a commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.

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Categories: Environment

Bishops urge Church of England to divest from ExxonMobil over climate change

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/07 - 12:00am

Group says church should show ‘moral leadership’ in light of claims that the oil giant misled the public over the risks of global warming

The Church of England should “show moral leadership” and immediately sell its investments in the oil giant ExxonMobil, according to a group of bishops and other clergy.

ExxonMobil is accused of misleading the public for decades over the dangers of climate change – the oil company denies the allegations – and has funded climate change denial, making its presence in the church’s £7.9bn investment fund of particular concern, the group argues. Investment funds worth more than $5tn have already committed to divest from fossil fuels.

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Categories: Environment

Natural gas emissions will blow Europe's carbon budget at current levels

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 11:30pm

Governments have been underestimating methane emissions from gas and must phase out the fossil fuel, along with coal and oil, by 2035 to keep within Paris climate targets, a major study shows

Governments have drastically underestimated methane emissions from natural gas and will miss the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2C unless they urgently scale down its use, a major new study has found.

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Categories: Environment

a monday matinee...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 11:03am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Bonn climate talks will aim to meet goals laid out in Paris, says UN

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 10:34am

Delegates ‘do not have the luxury of lots of philosophical discussions’ but must focus on advancing the pledges set out in the Paris agreement

The UN hopes to create an “operating manual” for implementing the Paris agreement on climate change, with talks in the next two weeks in Bonn.

“We want to advance further, faster, together to meet the goals set out in the Paris agreement,” said Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s chief official on the climate, at the opening of the talks. “We need an operating manual for the Paris agreement. This has to be the launchpad for the next level of ambition on climate change action, because we know the pledges [to cut emissions] made so far are not enough to take us to [meeting the Paris goals].”

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Categories: Environment

How Cities Are Trying To Prepare, So They Don't Have To Repair

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 8:18am

What makes a city resilient? And can embracing these techniques lessen the damage from environmental disasters?

(Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Fracking firm to give first households £2,000 payouts

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 6:56am

Shale gas firm Cuadrilla says 29 Lancashire households will get payments – but one says they will refuse ‘blood money’

A group of residents in Lancashire will soon receive £2,070 each for living near a fracking site, in the first payments made direct to British householders by a shale gas company.

Cuadrilla said that 29 households within a 1km radius of the site would get the payment as part of a £100,000 community benefit fund for the second well it is drilling at a site between Blackpool and Preston that has attracted ongoing anti-fracking protests.

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Categories: Environment

Oxford Street could become 'traffic-free boulevard' next year

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 5:48am

Radical proposal to pedestrianise area west of Oxford Circus is aimed at improving air quality and tackling congestion

A large section of London’s Oxford Street could be traffic-free by next December under a proposal unveiled by the mayor on Monday to improve the area for shoppers.

A public consultation has opened into banning all forms of transport between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street to coincide with the launch of the new Elizabeth line at the end of 2018.

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Categories: Environment

New Fed chair Jerome Powell was the best choice … for Trump

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 4:41am

The lawyer’s main qualification for leading the world’s most powerful central bank seems to be his lack of strong views

Jerome Powell was Wall Street’s choice to run the Federal Reserve. Given Donald Trump’s record on doing the unexpected, there was always the chance the president would pick another candidate, but for once he did not make waves.

Powell was the business-as-usual candidate. Nothing he has said or done since he first joined the Fed’s board five years ago suggests he intends to make life difficult for Trump or rattle the financial markets. Well, not deliberately at least, for while Powell is the boring choice, he may not necessarily prove to be the safe choice.

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Categories: Environment

2017 set to be one of top three hottest years on record

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 4:32am

Data so far this year points to 2017 continuing a long-term trend of record breaking temperatures around the world, says World Meteorological Organization

2017 is set to be one of the hottest three years on record, provisional data suggests, confirming yet again a warming trend that scientists say bears the fingerprints of human actions.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said temperatures in the first nine months of this year were unlikely to have been higher than 2016, when there was a strong El Niño weather system, but higher than anything before 2015.

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Categories: Environment

We have every reason to fear Trump’s pick to head Nasa | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 4:00am

Republican climate science denial reared its ugly head at Bridenstine’s congressional hearing

Unlike past Nasa administrators, Trump nominee Jim Bridenstine doesn’t have a scientific background. He’s a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma and former Navy pilot. He also has a history of denying basic climate science. That’s concerning because Nasa does some of the world’s best climate science research, and Bridenstine previously introduced legislation that would eliminate Earth science from Nasa’s mission statement.

At his Senate hearing last week, Bridenstine tried to remake his image. He said that his previous science-denying, politically polarizing comments came with the job of being a Republican congressman, and that as Nasa administrator he would be apolitical. A kinder, gentler Bridenstine. But while he softened his climate science denial, his proclaimed new views remain in line with the rest of the harshly anti-science Trump administration. That’s very troubling.

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Categories: Environment

Slump in UK car sales deepens as industry records 12% fall

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 2:53am

Drop for seventh month in a row driven by 30% plunge in diesel vehicle sales amid growing confusion over government’s road fuel policy

New car sales have declined for the seventh month in a row, falling more than 12% in October as worsening confidence among consumers and businesses continues to dampen the market.

The figures show that the car market is on course for its first annual decline since 2011 and will continue to fall next year before stabilising in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

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Categories: Environment

How India’s battle with climate change could determine all of our fates

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 1:36am

India’s population and emissions are rising fast, and its ability to tackle poverty without massive fossil fuel use will decide the fate of the planet

“It’s a lucky charm,” says Rajesh, pointing to the solar-powered battery in his window that he has smeared with turmeric as a blessing. “It has changed our life.”

He lives in Rajghat, a village on the border of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states, and until very recently was one of the 240 million Indians who live without electricity. In the poverty that results, Rajghat has become a village of bachelors, with just two weddings in 20 years.

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Categories: Environment

'Absolutely shocking': Niger Delta oil spills linked with infant deaths

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/11/06 - 12:00am

Babies in Nigeria at double the risk of dying before they reach a month old if mothers lived near the scene of an oil spill before conceiving, study shows

Babies in Nigeria are twice as likely to die in the first month of life if their mothers were living near an oil spill before falling pregnant, researchers have found.

A new study, the first to link environmental pollution with newborn and child mortality rates in the Niger Delta, shows that oil spills occurring within 10km of a mother’s place of residence doubled neonatal mortality rates and impaired the health of her surviving children.

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Categories: Environment

Bonn climate talks must go further than Paris pledges to succeed

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 11:00pm

Hosts Fiji will be aiming to build transparency and constructive dialogue – and this will be crucial to successfully ratcheting up the tough climate targets sidestepped at Paris

Talanoa is a Fijian term for discussions aimed at building consensus, airing differences constructively, and finding ways to overcome difficulties or embark on new projects. It is one of the building blocks of Fijian society, used for centuries to foster greater understanding among a people distributed over many small islands, and carry them through a tough existence.

This week, talanoa comes to Europe, and the rest of the world. Fiji is hosting the UN’s climate talks, following on from the landmark Paris agreement of 2015, and will hold the conference in Bonn, Germany. Talanoa will be the founding principle of the conference, the means by which Fiji hopes to break through some of the seemingly intractable problems that have made these 20-plus years of negotiations a source of bitter conflict.

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Categories: Environment

It's time to put children's health before pesticides | Baskut Tuncak

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/11/05 - 11:00pm

A pending decision on Monsanto’s ubiquitous weedkiller is a crucial opportunity to protect our children from the toxic cocktail of pesticides polluting their food, water and play areas

Our children are growing up exposed to a toxic cocktail of weedkillers, insecticides, and fungicides. It’s on their food and in their water, and it’s even doused over their parks and playgrounds. Many governments insist that our standards of protection from these pesticides are strong enough. But as a scientist and a lawyer who specialises in chemicals and their potential impact on people’s fundamental rights, I beg to differ.

Last month it was revealed that in recommending that glyphosate – the world’s most widely-used pesticide – was safe, the EU’s food safety watchdog copied and pasted pages of a report directly from Monsanto, the pesticide’s manufacturer. Revelations like these are simply shocking.

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Categories: Environment
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