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Romania hits Canadian firm with $9m 'retaliatory' tax bill over gold mine

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 11:10pm

Move comes after Gabriel Resources sues government for $4.4bn over failed bid to establish goldmine in Apuseni mountains

Romania has served a Canadian mining company with a $8.6m back taxes bill days after the company filed a $4.4bn compensation claim over a stalled project in the country. Gabriel Resources tried for more than 18 years to get necessary permits for an opencast mine to extract Europe’s largest gold deposits from beneath the village of Roșia Montană in the Apuseni mountains.

Related: Romanian village blocks Canadian firm from mining for gold

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Categories: Environment

World’s largest butterfly survey aims to assess apparent spike in British numbers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 10:00pm

Annual Big Butterfly Count urges wildlife lovers to help assess whether the insects are really returning to gardens this summer

Clouds of butterflies have been sighted in southern Britain this summer but wildlife lovers are being urged to help scientifically assess whether our insects are really bouncing back by joining the world’s largest butterfly survey.

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Categories: Environment

Woolworths and Coles to phase out single-use plastic bags

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 9:46pm

Australia’s two largest supermarket chains say they will stop using lightweight plastic bags and will offer reusable bags instead

Single-use plastic bags will phased out from Woolworths and Coles stores across Australia.

Woolworth Group announced on Friday morning that stores Australia-wide would phased out the use of plastic bags by July 2018.

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Categories: Environment

Jewel-bright lizards look at home on one British isle

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 9:30pm

Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of Wight A balmy microclimate and a scrubland habitat support Britain’s oldest colony of wall lizards

In mainland Britain the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) is considered an alien species, and concerns have been raised that competition from this robust and agile continental reptile may be hastening the decline of our rare native sand lizard (Lacerta agilis).

The Isle of Wight colony is the longest established population of wall lizards in Britain and a celebrated part of the island’s fauna, though its origin is hotly debated. It is believed that in the 1920s there were deliberate releases of the reptile, though local legend has it that they are descendants of survivors from a shipwreck off Bonchurch.

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Categories: Environment

Clean energy target: how the states might make it work

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:39pm

Victoria and South Australia have suggested a states-led initiative if the federal government continues to stall on a clean energy target. Could it work?

Australian states exasperated by federal government inaction on the key Finkel review recommendation of a clean energy target have indicated they might band together and go it alone if the federal Coalition does not provide the required leadership.

Before Friday’s meeting of energy ministers, for which the federal government refused to put a CET on the agenda, Labor-led Victoria and South Australia called for consideration of a linked-up state-based scheme, and urged Coalition-led NSW to join up. Given recent comments by the NSW energy minister, Don Harwin, who indicated support for the CET, such a move seems plausible.

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Categories: Environment

the goggles have landed...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:04pm
A bit of touch and go this morning with the weather.  Was afraid I wouldn't get my deliveries due to rain.  Luckily the nearby storms passed this morning with only a brief sprinkle and it was clear sailing.  Headed out at 2 PM and caught a new FedEx driver headed my way with the goggles.  I told her I was sorry she didn't get a chance to meet Chupa.  She was more than happy to avoid the encounter since she had already heard all about him.  Ventured south and caught a substitute UPS driver on the road with another delivery.  I figured Manny must be on vacation because normally I am his first stop and he gets here by 1 PM.  Brought the new gear home and charged everything up.  Easily got through linking the goggles with the Mavic and luckily my poor eyesight is just right to be able to see an incredible image without any glasses (the view is truly amazing).  The fit of the goggles on my noggin was a little iffy and they tended to slip (as I have seen in some of the reviews).  Figured out that wearing a backwards baseball cap under the rig was just what I needed to keep them in place.  Lots of little things to still figure out.  Will do a full review of all the new gear eventually on YouTube.  82,88,75,0,B    
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Biofuels needed but some more polluting than fossil fuels, report warns

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:01pm

Royal Academy of Engineering report backs increased use of biofuels but says more should come from waste rather than food crops

Biofuel use needs to increase to help fight climate change as liquid fuels will be needed by aircraft and ships for many decades to come, finds a new report requested by the UK government.

The Royal Academy of Engineering report says, however, that some biofuels, such as diesel made from food crops, have led to more emissions than those produced by the fossil fuels they were meant to replace. Instead, the report says, rising biofuel production should make more use of waste, such as used cooking oil and timber.

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Categories: Environment

US approves oil drilling in Alaska waters, prompting fears for marine life

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 2:07pm

Italian company plans to drill four exploration wells in the Arctic, which some say will endanger polar bears, bowhead whales and other marine mammals

An Italian multinational oil and gas company has received permission to move ahead with drilling plans in federal waters off Alaska which environmental campaigners say will endanger polar bears, bowhead whales and other marine mammals.

Late on Wednesday, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced conditional approval of an exploratory drilling plan submitted by a US subsidiary of the company Eni.

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Categories: Environment

Evermore: ravens can plan for the future, scientists say

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 2:01pm

Swedish experiment shows the notoriously brilliant bird has capacity to think ahead, an ability previously documented only in humans and great apes

Scientists from Sweden say ravens are able to think about the future, showing a general planning ability previously documented only in people and great apes.

Researchers Can Kabadayi and Mathias Osvath, of Lund University, tested five captive ravens in two tasks they do not do in the wild: using tools and bartering with humans. The results were published on Thursday by the journal Science.

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Categories: Environment

Donald Trump offers hand of friendship to Emmanuel Macron on Paris visit

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 12:58pm

US and French presidents appear to want to put aside differences on climate change and cooperate on Syria and terrorism

Donald Trump has made a gushing show of friendship to the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, saying the two countries had an “unbreakable bond” , pledging to draw up a road map for post-conflict Syria, and asserting that the two leaders could work together despite clear differences on climate change.

But when he appeared alongside Macron under the golden chandeliers of the Élysée Palace after two hours of talks about Syria, Iraq and counter-terrorism, Trump immediately faced fresh questions over allegations that his family sought to collude with Russia to win the 2016 US election.

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Categories: Environment

5,665 gates, 4,862 stiles, 1,054 bridges: but who maintains the Yorkshire dales?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 10:19am

‘I’ll still be doing this on a mobility scooter,’ says one of 100 volunteers who survey national park’s 1,628 miles of paths

One of the many reasons Sally Williams loves the Yorkshire dales national park is because its dramatic landscape has been marked by centuries of human activity. “It’s not like you get in America – a huge area of undiscovered land that nobody has ever trodden on,” she says, standing near the entrance to an old limestone quarry. “It’s an area where people have lived and worked for centuries, and you can see the evidence of that all over the countryside.”

The 67-year-old former librarian is one of an army of nearly 100 volunteers who, every summer, undertake a survey of the park’s 1,628 miles (2,620km) of public rights of way. The volunteers, mainly local retirees, walk every single path and bridleway, ensuring that the park’s “infrastructure” – including its 5,665 gates, 4,862 stiles, 4,399 signposts and 1,054 bridges – is accessible, undamaged and safe.

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Categories: Environment

No Offense, American Bees, But Your Sperm Isn't Cutting It

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 6:00am

U.S. bees are in trouble, and one of the major threats is a deadly parasite called varroa mite. So researchers are importing sperm from European bees resistant to mites to toughen up America's stock.

(Image credit: Megan Asche/Courtesy of Washington State University)

Categories: Environment

Heathrow night flights to continue until third runway is built

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:54am

Transport secretary says new rules on noise show government is tackling issue, but campaigners lament ‘business as usual’

Night flights from Heathrow will continue until the airport is expanded, the government has confirmed, as it published new rules to encourage quieter aircraft across London’s three biggest airports.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said efforts to reduce the total noise permitted from flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted showed the government was taking the issue very seriously, but residents’ groups said the proposals were “business as usual”.

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Categories: Environment

EU calls for immediate ban on logging in Poland's Białowieża forest

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 5:36am

EU asks court to protect one of Europe’s last primeval woodlands after the Polish government tripled logging operations at the Unesco world heritage site last year

Europe’s last major parcel of primeval woodland could be set for a reprieve after the EU asked the European court to authorise an immediate ban on logging in Poland’s Białowieża forest.

Around 80,000 cubic metres of forest have been cleared since the Polish government tripled logging operations around the Unesco world heritage site last year.

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Categories: Environment

Electric cars to account for all new vehicle sales in Europe by 2035

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:33am

Falling battery costs to drive sales but European carmakers will lose out to rivals in the US and Asia, forecasts Dutch bank

All new cars sold in Europe will be electric within less than two decades, driven by government support, falling battery costs and economies of scale, a Dutch bank has predicted.

However, ING warned that with battery-powered vehicles accounting for 100% of registrations in 2035 across the continent, European carmakers would lose out to their rivals in the US and Asia who already lead on battery production.

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Categories: Environment

Brexit department lays out nuclear and justice stance for negotiations

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:17am

Department for Exiting the EU publishes position papers on Euratom treaty and European court of justice

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) has published position papers on the UK’s stance in the Brexit negotiations on the European atomic energy community (Euratom) and the role of the European court of justice (ECJ).

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Categories: Environment

Environmental defenders: who are they and how do we decide if they have died in defence of their environment?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:00am

Global Witness uses an extensive network of local contacts and other techniques to gather evidence every time a defender is reported as killed. Because so few killings happen in populous places, very few make the official list

• Read more from the environmental defenders project here. You can see the names of those who have died so far this year here


Who are land and environmental defenders?

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Categories: Environment

Environmental and land defenders killed in 2015: the full list

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:00am

185 people were killed while defending the environment or land in 2015, with Brazil, Nicaragua and the Philippines among the countries with most deaths

  • Read more from the environmental defenders project here. You can see the names of those who have died so far this year here

José Antônio Dória dos Santos (Zé Minhenga)

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Categories: Environment

Environmental defenders being killed in record numbers globally, new research reveals

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:00am

Exclusive Activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders are dying violently at the rate of about four a week, with a growing sense around the world that ‘anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions’

• See the names of all defenders who have died so far this year here. Read more from the project here.

• Read this article in Spanish

Last year was the most perilous ever for people defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife, with new research showing that environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world.

Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016, according to the watchdog group Global Witness – more than double the number killed five years ago.

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Categories: Environment

The Canadian company mining hills of silver – and the people dying to stop it

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/07/13 - 4:00am

In Guatemala, one of the world’s largest silver deposits reaps millions for its Canadian owners but for local farmers the price is their land and even their lives

Deep underground, buried in the lush hills of southern Guatemala, lies a veritable treasure trove: silver, tonnes of it, one of the largest deposits in the world.

But it’s above ground where the really dangerous activity goes on. On a dusty highway, about 50 peasant farmers stand praying in a circle, a makeshift roadblock intended to stop trucks reaching the mine. They have already been violently dispersed by police teargas. Now they fear the army might move in.

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Categories: Environment
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