Environment

Huge marine parks off Christmas and Cocos islands target illegal foreign fishing

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 10:30am

Coalition will spend $5.4m creating havens in area more than twice size of Great Barrier Reef marine park

Australia is adding an area of the Indian Ocean bigger than France to its network of marine parks in an attempt to keep out international fishing boats and promote scientific discovery in two biodiversity hotspots.

The Morrison government announced $5.4m would be spent to create two marine parks around Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands covering 740,000 sq km – a huge expanse of ocean almost as large as the state of New South Wales.

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Categories: Environment

Climate emissions shrinking the stratosphere, scientists reveal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 7:00am

Exclusive: Thinning indicates profound impact of humans and could affect satellites and GPS

Humanity’s enormous emissions of greenhouse gases are shrinking the stratosphere, a new study has revealed.

The thickness of the atmospheric layer has contracted by 400 metres since the 1980s, the researchers found, and will thin by about another kilometre by 2080 without major cuts in emissions. The changes have the potential to affect satellite operations, the GPS navigation system and radio communications.

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Categories: Environment

Chemical giants hid dangers of ‘forever chemicals’ in food packaging

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 4:00am

DuPont and Daikin, manufacturers of ‘short chain’ PFAS, did not inform regulator about the FDA negative results of tests on animals

Chemical giants DuPont and Daikin knew the dangers of a PFAS compound widely used in food packaging since 2010, but hid them from the public and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), company studies obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The chemicals, called 6:2 FTOH, are now linked to a range of serious health issues, and Americans are still being exposed to them in greaseproof pizza boxes, carryout containers, fast-food wrappers, and paperboard packaging.

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Categories: Environment

Joe Biden’s 50% emissions goal is ambitious. But it’s still not enough | William J Ripple

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 3:15am

Addressing the climate crisis will be the greatest undertaking in the history of humankind. We have to give it all we have

Joe Biden wants to cut US emissions in half from their 2005 levels. However, since emissions have been slowly declining since then, this amounts to only a 37% drop from 2020 levels.

That, in a nutshell, is the issue. Our leaders are adhering to a template that doesn’t meet the urgency of the moment. The US is not even the world’s largest emitter any more, and China – the biggest polluter – seeks to build more coal-fired power plants, failing to reach carbon neutrality until 2060. Unfortunately, that is a perfect illustration of just how disconnected we are from the gravity of the situation.

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Categories: Environment

Idaho is going to kill 90% of the state’s wolves. That’s a tragedy – and bad policy | Kim Heacox

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 3:14am

Fed by myths, fairytales and Disney, America’s demonization of wolves has been going on for centuries, and continues full throttle

Nothing embodies wildness like wolves, our four-legged shadow, the dogs that long ago refused our campfire and today prefer freedom and risk over the soft sofa and short leash. The dogs that howl more than bark, add music to the land, and – if left alone to work their magic – make entire ecosystems healthy and whole.

Related: Idaho bill seeks to kill more than 1,000 wolves

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Categories: Environment

America has a new national park but not all the locals are happy about it

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 2:30am

The New River Gorge in West Virginia offers stunning views, rock climbing and rafting but some worry it is unprepared for an influx of visitors

The New River has spent millions of years carving a bucolic gorge in West Virginia. It is now home to one of the most biodiverse forests on the continent. And while humans have tracked prey along its jagged cliffs for thousands of years, now most people come to the gorge to find adventure.

Related: How to plan your 2021 trip to a US national park

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Categories: Environment

UK’s deep-sea mining permits could be unlawful – Greenpeace

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 10:01pm

Licences given to arms firm Lockheed Martin said to go against government’s stance on exploiting seabed

Deep-sea mining exploration licences granted by the British government are “riddled with inaccuracies”, and could even be unlawful, according to Greenpeace and Blue Marine Foundation, a conservation charity.

The licences, granted a decade ago to UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of the US arms multinational Lockheed Martin, have only recently been disclosed by the company.

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Categories: Environment

Fangs and tentacles: rarely seen deep sea fish washes up on California beach

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 10:00pm

The Pacific footballfish, which was featured in Pixar’s Finding Nemo, was found in perfectly preserved condition

With its mouth agape – revealing a set of pointy black teeth – and a large protruding appendage surrounded by a series of tentacles, the sea creature resembled something out of a horror film. But, the 18in-wide fish, which somehow found its way from the depths of the Pacific to the shores of Newport Beach last Friday, is very real. It’s just a rare find.

One of the roughly 300 species of anglerfish found around the world (perhaps best known as the one with fangs and the lightbulb-like antennae dangling from its head that appeared in Pixar’s Finding Nemo) the Pacific footballfish was spotted at Crystal Cove state park by a beachgoer, Ben Estes. The specimen was all the more surprising because of its perfectly preserved condition.

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Categories: Environment

‘Love our bogs’: UK should harness all its landscapes in fight for climate – report

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 4:01pm

First complete assessment of how UK nature-based solutions can combat the climate and biodiversity crises released ahead of crucial environment summits

Regenerating native woodland, restoring grassland and rewetting peatland must be priorities when tackling the “two defining crises of our age”, according to the first complete assessment of how UK nature-based solutions can combat the climate and biodiversity crises.

More than 100 ecologists examined how all kinds of landscapes – from urban to agricultural to coastal – could be enhanced to maximise carbon retention, biodiversity and human wellbeing. These nature-based solutions (NbS) must be implemented at scale to reap benefits, according to the 190-page peer-reviewed report, published by the British Ecological Society.

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Categories: Environment

Biden Administration Approves 1st Major Offshore Wind Energy Project

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 11:57am

A wind farm off Martha's Vineyard will produce enough power for 400,000 homes. It's the first of a dozen such projects in the works that are set to shift the clean energy landscape dramatically.

(Image credit: Michael Dwyer/AP)

Categories: Environment

A Scottish Highland Cow: ‘On yonder hill there stood a coo’ | Helen Sullivan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 10:30am

They are benevolent vegetarian gods. They watch over, through shielded eyes, the very few animals that have a fringe.

William Topaz McGonagall, the “worst poet in the history of the English language”, is responsible for some of my mother’s favourite words in the world to say. She delivers them in a decent-enough Scottish accent, and she does so whenever the opportunity presents itself: “On yonder hill there stood a coo / It’s no’ there noo / It must’a shif’ted”. When I hear this rhyme I picture a Scottish highland cow, its coat waving in the icy flaff.

McGonagall, who has a certain genius for coos, unfortunately also felt moved to capture in rhyme disasters, “calamities” and freak accidents. He chose to pay tribute to the people who died in the 1879 Tay Bridge disaster thus:

Beautiful railway bridge of the silv’ry Tay
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last sabbath day of 1879
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.”

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Categories: Environment

Biden administration approves first major US offshore windfarm

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 10:18am

The 84-turbine site off Massachusetts will be capable of generating power for 400,000 homes and businesses

Joe Biden’s administration has approved the construction of the US’s first large-scale offshore windfarm, with 84 turbines to be erected off the coast of Massachusetts.

The approval of the project, which will generate about 800 megawatts of energy, enough to power around 400,000 homes and businesses, is a boost to Biden’s agenda of ramping up renewable energy production across the US in order to confront the climate crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Renewable Energy Capacity Jumped 45% Worldwide In 2020; IEA Sees 'New Normal'

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 8:51am

In 2020, renewable power was "the only energy source for which demand increased ... while consumption of all other fuels declined," the International Energy Agency says.

(Image credit: Hector Retamal / AFP)

Categories: Environment

Trillions of brood X cicadas move closer to emergence as soil temperatures rise

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 8:20am

Great Eastern Brood set to emerge in the last two weeks of May and into early June, with hordes of bugs to push up from underground

Brood X, otherwise known as the great cicada hatching of 2021, is drawing closer as soil temperatures in some parts of America move closer to 64F (18C) – the trigger, according to scientists, for trillions of the insects to push up to the surface and into the trees to mate.

Related: If we want to save the planet, the future of food is insects

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Categories: Environment

Forest the size of France regrown worldwide over 20 years, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 8:13am

Nearly 59m hectares of forests have regrown since 2000, showing that regeneration in some places is paying off

An area of forest the size of France has regrown around the world over the past 20 years, showing that regeneration in some places is paying off, a new analysis has found.

Nearly 59m hectares of forests have regrown since 2000, the research found, providing the potential to soak up and store 5.9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – more than the annual emissions of the entire US.

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Categories: Environment

‘It’s terrifying’: the English village overwhelmed by landfill stink

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 7:09am

For miles around Walleys Quarry in Silverdale, people have reported waking up in the night struggling to breathe

It may have been labelled the country’s smelliest village but it is much more than a bad stench from the local landfill making life miserable for the residents of Silverdale in Staffordshire, who have now started crowdfunding for potential legal action against the site.

For miles around Walleys Quarry landfill near Newcastle-under-Lyme, people have reported waking up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe, with itchy eyes and sore throats. Those with asthma have had their medication increased, and some have reported nosebleeds.

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Categories: Environment

Activists target Liverpool FC sponsor Standard Chartered over fossil fuel links

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 6:01am

Posters demand ‘red card’ for football club’s sponsor as hoax website ‘announces’ end of UK bank’s support for coal

More than 50 billboards and bus stop adverts drawing attention to the Liverpool FC sponsor Standard Chartered’s links to the fossil fuel industry have appeared across the city, as a number of activist groups targeted the bank ahead of its annual general meeting on Wednesday.

One poster design installed outside Anfield, featuring the Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and player Mohamed Salah, reads: “Give Standard Chartered the red card.”

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Categories: Environment

Eden Project to turn site of landslip into a waterfall

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 5:11am

Cornwall attraction unveils plan for new feature close to rainforest biome as it prepares to reopen

Back in the gloomy days of December, persistent rain led to three landslips at the Eden Project and forced the Cornish visitor attraction to close before the national lockdown.

Almost five months on, Eden is preparing to reopen on Monday and has revealed that it plans to turn one of the landslips into a spectacular new waterfall close to the rainforest biome.

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Categories: Environment

Officials suspect Goiat the bear of Catalan livestock attacks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 5:05am

Val d’Aran regional government in Spain believes there are ‘several indications’ animal is responsible

Experts are analysing samples taken from the scenes of four recent attacks on livestock in northern Catalonia to determine whether they herald the return of a brown bear called Goiat who has become notorious for his depredations.

Goiat, who was brought to the region from his native Slovenia in June 2016 as part of an EU project to consolidate the bear population in the Pyrenees, is loathed by many farmers in and around the Val d’Aran because of his taste for sheep, goats and horses.

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Categories: Environment

The right’s new bogeyman: that Biden will take America’s hamburgers away | Art Cullen

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/05/11 - 3:13am

The real threat to our way of life – and Saturday night steak – is an oligopoly food system that teetered close to collapse last spring when its workers were overcome by Covid

First President Obama was coming for your guns. Didn’t happen. Then President Trump said the socialists were going to take away our energy. The lights are on after 100 days, although it got dicey in Texas for awhile (and no, wind turbines didn’t cause the ice storm).

But whoa, Nellie! We hear a Hamburglar will steal your right to beef before you can say “pass the ketchup”.

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Categories: Environment
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