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US north-west dodges new ‘atmospheric river’ flooding but threat remains

Sun, 2021/11/28 - 2:18pm

Forecaster says some rivers could still cause moderate floods in area hit by extreme weather this month

Though flooding expected to threaten parts of the US north-west turned out not too bad on Sunday, officials urged residents to remain alert because more rain was on the way to an area subject to lingering effects from extreme weather earlier this month.

“There’s some good news and some pending news,” said Steve Reedy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

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Categories: Environment

Nobel-winning stock market theory used to help save coral reefs

Sun, 2021/11/28 - 8:00am

Portfolio selection rules on evaluating risk used to pick 50 reefs as ‘arks’ best able to survive climate crisis and revive coral elsewhere

A Nobel prize-winning economic theory used by investors is showing early signs of helping save threatened coral reefs, scientists say.

Researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland used modern portfolio theory (MPT), a mathematical framework developed by the economist Harry Markowitz in the 1950s to help risk-averse investors maximise returns, to identify the 50 reefs or coral sanctuaries around the world that are most likely to survive the climate crisis and be able to repopulate other reefs, if other threats are absent.

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Categories: Environment

Hope ‘rabbit hotels’ can help Britain’s decimated population bounce back

Sun, 2021/11/28 - 12:00am

Brash piles provide safety from predators and place to breed for animal now hailed as ‘ecosystem engineer’

Symbol of Easter and scourge of Mr McGregor, the rabbit may be the cute hero of children’s books but its rapid reproduction has traditionally made it a pest for farmers and gardeners.

Now, however, with British rabbit populations are being decimated by disease, the humble bunny is being hailed as an “ecosystem engineer” and landowners encouraged to create innovative “rabbit hotels” to revive its numbers.

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Categories: Environment

‘Atmospheric rivers’ threaten new floods in hard-hit Washington state

Sat, 2021/11/27 - 1:27pm

Western areas still assessing millions of dollars’ worth of damage from flooding earlier this month

Residents in Washington state were on Saturday preparing for possible flooding as “atmospheric rivers” once again threatened parts of the US north-west, which saw heavy damage from such extreme weather earlier this month.

Flood watches were issued for much of western and north-central Washington and the National Weather Service (NWS) warned that flooding was possible through Sunday in north-western Washington.

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Categories: Environment

Succession’s plot twist prompts surge of interest in leaving money in wills to Greenpeace

Sat, 2021/11/27 - 8:00am

When Cousin Greg was disinherited by his grandfather in favour of the environmental group, inquiries about such legacies soared

In one bewildering and painful scene in the hit TV drama Succession, Cousin Greg sees his future of ease and wealth turn to dust. His grandfather, Ewan, announces he is giving away his entire fortune to Greenpeace, depriving Greg of his inheritance.

Now Greenpeace is hoping to benefit in real life as well as in the fictional world of the media conglomerate Waystar Royco. Thousands of people have looked into leaving money to the environmental group since the darkly comic storyline about Cousin Greg losing his inheritance and then threatening to sue the organisation was broadcast. More than 22,000 people have accessed online advice about making donations in their wills to Greenpeace. The group’s legacy webpage has also seen a tenfold surge in traffic since the episode was first broadcast earlier this month.

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Categories: Environment

Bulb chief used government advisory role to ‘brief against’ rivals

Sat, 2021/11/27 - 1:00am

Collapsed supplier used access to ministers to criticise competitors’ green credentials and exaggerate its own

Collapsed energy supplier Bulb Energy appears to have used its role advising ministers on green business to exaggerate its own environmental credentials, while playing down rivals’ progress.

Bulb’s chief executive, Hayden Wood, used a meeting of the Council for Sustainable Business (CSB), attended by key government officials and MPs, to highlight its green progress ahead of the Cop26 climate talks and boast about £4.5m it has donated to organisations fighting climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Wentworth campaign: Allegra Spender says Dave Sharma needs to ‘get out of the way’ after climate failures

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 8:05pm

Daughter of late fashion designer Carla Zampatti points to low number of female Liberal MPs and asks ‘when is this going to change?’

The independent candidate for the seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s east, Allegra Spender, has launched her campaign to take the blue ribbon Liberal seat with a message that action on the climate crisis is an economic as well as an environmental imperative.

Speaking to to a crowd of more than 450 at Paddington RSL on a wet Saturday, Spender said she had been motivated to run to be a voice that truly represented the concerns of Wentworth voters.

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Categories: Environment

Electric cars averaged more travel than petrol vehicles in Australia in past year

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 12:00pm

Expert says claims that EVs will ‘end the weekend can be put to bed’ by new figures

Australian electric vehicle drivers are on average driving further than people with petrol vehicles as infrastructure improves, new statistics show.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics for the first time looked at how electric vehicle drivers use their cars and found that in the 12 months to 30 June 2020 they had travelled 69 million km.

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Categories: Environment

Don’t add to e-waste mountain, campaign urges UK shoppers

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 10:16am

Material Focus says tech superseded by purchases on Black Friday and beyond can be donated or recycled

Black Friday and pre-Christmas spending sprees will create an e-waste mountain as 5m unwanted electrical items are binned or put in storage in Britain, a campaign group has warned.

The end-of-November sales event triggers the commercial run-up to Christmas and is followed days later by the Cyber Monday e-commerce frenzy, with retailers offering cut-price deals on a range of goods from mobile phones to laptops and smart speakers.

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Categories: Environment

Some climate campaigners praise Biden for releasing emergency oil reserves

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 7:00am

Move appears to contradict president’s climate crisis goals but some say it defends the economy ‘against disruption’

In a surprising move, some climate crisis campaigners have praised Joe Biden for ordering the release of emergency oil reserves in an attempt to reduce energy prices across the country.

On Tuesday, the president announced the release of a record 50m barrels of oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in coordination with other countries including China, India and the UK.

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Categories: Environment

What happens when America’s coal plants die?

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 6:00am

Facing economic and environmental pressures, coal plants are closing across the US, leaving communities to work out how to keep afloat

When the coal-fired power plant just outside the tiny town of Nucla, Colorado, closed in 2019, it had the makings of a disaster.

The plant, which opened in 1959, shut down three years ahead of schedule when it ran out of coal, leaving the town shocked and facing the loss of its largest employer. The facility provided nearly half the tax revenue to the region, said Deana Sheriff, executive director of the West End Economic Development Corp, which serves Nucla and the surrounding area between Telluride and Grand Junction in western Colorado.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 5:00am

The best of this week’s wildlife pictures, including sparring polar bears, hungry hedgehogs and a green cat

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Categories: Environment

The need to trespass: let people in to protect nature, says guerrilla botanist

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 5:00am

Naturalist and campaigner Dave Bangs says limiting access to the countryside makes it harder to save our ancient landscapes

In a prehistoric bog where iguanodons once roamed and the early Britons first smelted ore into iron, what looks like a tiny orange candle peeps through the mire. It sends my companion into a paroxysm of joy.

“That’s good! That’s new!”

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Categories: Environment

Battery power: five innovations for cleaner, greener electric vehicles

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 2:00am

EVs are seen as key in transition to low-carbon economy, but as their human and environmental costs become clearer, can new tech help?

While the journey to a low-carbon economy is well under way, the best route to get there remains up for debate. But, amid the slew of “pathways” and “roadmaps”, one broad consensus exists: “clean” technology will play a vital role.

Nowhere is this truer than for transport. To cut vehicle emissions, an alternative to the combustion engine is required.

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Categories: Environment

‘Reaching back to the horse and cart’: Morrison government’s gas plan panned

Fri, 2021/11/26 - 1:00am

Plan to ‘unlock basins’ for domestic and export criticised as ‘out of sync’ with global trends and climate action

The Morrison government’s latest plan to spark a “gas-led recovery” from the Covid pandemic and bolster gas supplies has been panned as out of step with market trends and at odds with a net zero 2050 goal.

The national gas infrastructure plan, released on Friday, calls for the development of at least one major new gas basin before 2030 to meet projected domestic and export needs. Opening up new gas fields, though, will also require additional pipelines.

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Categories: Environment

Activists take court action against Boris Johnson over climate crisis

Thu, 2021/11/25 - 1:21pm

Three people claim government is breaching right to life and family life by not doing what is needed to prevent disaster

Three young people are taking legal action against the prime minister, accusing him of breaching his legal obligations to take “practical and effective measures” to tackle the climate crisis.

In a high court hearing in London on Thursday, Adetola Onamade, 24, Jerry Amokwandoh, 22, and Marina Tricks, 20, claimed the government was breaching their rights under the Human Rights Act to life and to family life by failing to do what was necessary to avert environmental disaster.

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Categories: Environment

In defence of Science Museum’s sponsors | Letter

Thu, 2021/11/25 - 10:48am

Bob Ward, an adviser on two of the museum’s energy exhibitions, responds to a campaign letter expressing concern over its fossil fuel ties

As an independent and unpaid adviser on two of the Science Museum’s energy exhibitions, I was disappointed to see your report about the campaign letter against it (Dozens of academics shun Science Museum over fossil fuel ties, 19 November), which risks delaying the rollout of clean energy. The well-meaning signatories state that they are severing links with the museum until each sponsor from the energy industry “demonstrates a credible plan to phasing out fossil fuels in line with the Paris 1.5C target”.

The museum’s Our Future Planet exhibition has two major sponsors, Shell and UK Research and Innovation, the government funding body that has provided support for many of the signatories on the letter. Shell has set a target of cutting all sources of its emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, like many countries that have pledged to keep in reach the 1.5°C target. The company undoubtedly needs to do much more, but its plan so far has persuaded ethical investors, such as the Church of England pensions board, to remain engaged. Cries of “greenwash” every time the company invests in the pursuit of, or information about, net zero are unlikely to accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels.

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Categories: Environment

Artworks to highlight air pollution’s role in death of London girl

Thu, 2021/11/25 - 10:02am

Breathe: 2022 by Dryden Goodwin will pay tribute to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah of Lewisham

Public artwork that pays homage to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, whose exposure to air pollution contributed to her death at the age of nine, will go on display close to her south London home next year.

Breathe: 2022 by Dryden Goodwin will appear at sites close to the South Circular road, which runs within 25 metres of the house where Ella lived. The artwork – a centrepiece of events marking Lewisham’s year as London borough of culture – revisits Goodwin’s 2012 creation Breathe, which depicted his five-year-old son inhaling and exhaling.

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Categories: Environment

‘Keep the bastards honest’: former Australian Democrats leader joins high-profile group backing independents

Thu, 2021/11/25 - 9:30am

Exclusive: Meg Lees joins former Liberal leader John Hewson and Labor veteran Barry Jones on Climate 200 advisory council

As Scott Morrison comes to the end of a ragged parliamentary week, the organisation bankrolling independents challenging Liberal incumbents in their urban heartland has amassed an election war chest of more than $4m, and bolstered its advisory body.

The former leader of the Australian Democrats, Meg Lees, has joined the advisory council of Climate 200, as has the former Liberal party leader John Hewson, and the Labor veteran Barry Jones.

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Categories: Environment

Carl, Kenosha’s ‘outlaw’ turkey, raises spirits in Wisconsin

Thu, 2021/11/25 - 1:00am

The rambunctious bird has inspired charity events, Halloween outfits and even been awarded a local celebrity prize

A Wisconsin city has been buoyed by a “rebel” wild turkey, residents say, with the bird inspiring charity events and Halloween outfits and even being awarded a local celebrity prize.

The turkey, named Carl, has charmed locals in Kenosha ever since his arrival more than two years ago, and has since garnered a huge following. A Facebook group dedicated to the turkey, who stands at 2ft tall and is covered in rich brown plumage, has more than 5,000 members and is flooded by reports of sightings.

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Categories: Environment