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If you were an elephant …

Guardian Environment News - 18 hours 44 min ago

… the world would be a brighter, smellier, noisier place – and you would be a better, wiser, kinder person. The author of Being a Beast explains all

If you were an elephant living wild in a western city, you’d be confused and disgusted.

You’d have one two-fingered hand swinging from your face – a hand as sensitive as tumescent genitals, but which could smash a wall or pick a cherry. With that hand you’d explore your best friends’ mouths, just for the sake of friendship. With that hand you’d smell water miles away and the flowers at your feet. You’d sift it all, triaging. Category 1: immediate danger. Category 2: potential threat. Category 3: food and water. Category 4: weather forecasts – short and long range. Category 5: pleasure.

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Categories: Environment

China's Xi Jinping says Paris climate deal must not be allowed to fail

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 8:11pm

President says ‘we only have one homeland’ in a coded warning to Donald Trump not to dismantle the agreement

The world must not allow the Paris climate deal to be “derailed” or continue to inflict irreparable damage on the environment, Chinese president Xi Jinping has said, amid fears the rise of Donald Trump could strike a body blow to the fight against global warming.

Trump, who will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, has threatened to pull out of the historic Paris agreement and dismissed climate change as a Chinese “hoax” and “expensive… bullshit”.

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Categories: Environment

Nominee To Lead EPA Testifies He'll Enforce Environmental Laws

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 6:07pm

Scott Pruitt also told a Senate committee on Wednesday it's not clear how to measure humanity's effect on the climate. As attorney general of Oklahoma, he has filed many lawsuits against the agency.

(Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Categories: Environment

Dozens Of False Killer Whales Mysteriously Strand Themselves In Florida

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 3:46pm

At least 82 of the animals have died during the mysterious event on a remote coast in Florida's Everglades National Park. The species is part of the dolphin family and forms strong social bonds.

(Image credit: AP)

Categories: Environment

Church of England groups praise fracking as a way to cut carbon emissions

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 3:13pm

The stance is outraging Christian environmentalists, but the church says there are caveats to its support

The fracking industry has praised the Church of England (CoE) after two groups at the church tentatively backed the controversial technology as a way to help the UK cut carbon emissions.

Shale gas was a “potentially useful element” in switching to a low-carbon economy as it was cleaner than coal, so long as it did not harm renewable energy’s expansion, a church briefing paper said.

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Categories: Environment

U.S. Report Confirms 2016 Was The Hottest Year On Record

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 2:32pm

2016 was the warmest year on record, according to a new report by the U.S. government. This is the third year in a row that global temperatures have soared above the 20th century average. The report comes ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump, who has at times, referred to global warming as a "hoax."

Categories: Environment

States Could Take Lead On Environmental Regulation Under Trump

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 2:32pm

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Dallas Burtraw, senior fellow with the nonpartisan think tank Resources for the Future, about what role states have traditionally played in environmental regulation, and what a decentralized approach under the Trump administration would look like.

Categories: Environment

EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Acknowledges Existence Of Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 2:32pm

Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that human activity plays "some" role in the changing climate. In his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Scott Pruitt said he wants to work with states to protect the environment while also encouraging economic growth.

Categories: Environment

Trump EPA pick: still 'some debate' over human role in climate change

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 1:15pm

At Senate confirmation hearing to lead Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt defends his relationship with fossil fuel industry

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency, has claimed there is still “some debate” over the role of human activity in climate change and has defended his relationship with the fossil fuel industry during a combative Senate confirmation hearing.

Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, has sued the agency he is now set to lead 14 times over the EPA’s smog, mercury and other pollution regulations. Several of these cases are still ongoing and Pruitt said he would recuse himself in dealing with these cases if instructed to do so by the EPA’s ethics board.

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Categories: Environment

The Guardian view on Trump and global warming: the right fight | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 1:10pm
The president-elect should understand that America needs to shoulder global responsibilities, and that in doing so America will benefit by owning the technologies of the future

On climate change, like so many other things, the world is going one way and Donald Trump is going the other. On Twitter the president-elect has claimed manmade global warming was a hoax invented by China to increase its trade surplus with the US. However, for most Americans, like most other people on the globe, daily life is increasingly impacted by extreme weather. In 2016, for the third year running, the world exceeded the previous record temperature. A remarkable 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century, which scientists attribute to human activities.

President Obama did much to roll back the pre-enlightenment approach to climate science that had polluted political discourse in America – giving global warming top billing during his second term, and even calling it an immediate threat to national security. His parting shot was to send $500m to prop up the Paris international accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Trump vowed to renege on the Paris agreement and said he would cancel further payments.

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Categories: Environment

Make America great again by embracing green tech, Trump urged

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 1:00pm

Fulfilling pledge to boost fossil fuels will mean US misses out on huge market for clean energy, experts say

Leading climate change experts have urged Donald Trump not to turn his back on the biggest global challenge facing mankind, arguing that he can make America great again – and the world safer – by standing up to global warming and embracing the trillion-dollar green tech revolution.

As new data showed that 2016 was the hottest year on record, scientists, government advisers and people closely involved with global climate talks said it would be self-defeating for Trump to pull the US out of the global Paris climate change deal as he has threatened.

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Categories: Environment

Decline in EU workers hits UK agriculture, Lords inquiry told

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 12:57pm

National Farmers Union labour survey highlights sharp decline in availability of seasonal EU workers following Brexit vote

British agriculture has already been hit by a sharp decline in EU migrants willing to undertake seasonal work since the Brexit vote, a House of Lords inquiry has been told.

The evidence of “a dramatic change in the availability of EU labour” in the last six months comes as the government’s chief adviser on migration warned that post-Brexit curbs on low-skilled EU migration to Britain would only provide a “modest” boost to wages and employment for British workers.

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Categories: Environment

Victoria moves to give its environment watchdog teeth with $45m overhaul

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 12:21pm

Proposed reforms to Environmental Protection Agency a bid to make regulator more proactive in prosecuting companies for environmental breaches

The Victorian government has announced a $45m overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency in a bid to make the regulator more proactive in prosecuting companies for environmental breaches.

The new model would see the Andrews government adopt 40 of the 48 recommendations made in 10-month-long review into the EPA, which found it was too slow to respond to reported breaches and lacked the resources to effectively enforce conditions imposed on industry and developers.

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Categories: Environment

Over half of world's wild primate species face extinction, report reveals

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 12:00pm

Researchers warn of approaching ‘major extinction event’ if action is not taken to protect around 300 species, including gorillas, chimps, lemurs and lorises

More than half of the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and lorises are now threatened with extinction as agriculture and industrial activities destroy forest habitats and the animals’ populations are hit by hunting and trade.

In the most bleak assessment of primates to date, conservationists found that 60% of the wild species are on course to die out, with three quarters already in steady decline. The report casts doubt on the future of about 300 primate species, including gorillas, chimps, gibbons, marmosets, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises.

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Categories: Environment

Dakota Access pipeline activists say police have used 'excessive' force

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 11:57am

Firsthand accounts from Native Americans along with live footage suggest that police deployed ‘less than lethal’ weapons against unarmed people

North Dakota law enforcement and the national guard have responded to the latest Standing Rock demonstrations with an aggressive show of force, according to indigenous activists who fear that police violence will escalate after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Related: Standing Rock activists eye pipeline finances to cement Dakota Access win

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Categories: Environment

Standing Rock activists clash with police – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 11:55am

Amateur footage shot on Monday shows Standing Rock activists clashing with police and the National Guard, as demonstrations continue over the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Activists live streamed some of their encounters with police, which at times turned violent

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Categories: Environment

Scientology's UK HQ angers residents by felling trees in conservation area

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 11:35am

People in St Hill Green, West Sussex brand church ‘selfish and arrogant’ after 22 trees were cut down, but spokesman says more trees have been planted

The church of Scientology has angered neighbours at its UK headquarters by expanding its facilities without planning consent and felling trees in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.

Residents close to the sprawling HQ near East Grinstead in West Sussex have accused the church of “selfishly and arrogantly” carrying out “destructive development plans before authorisation” by building a coach and minibus park before securing planning permission.

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Categories: Environment

Second winner of environmental prize killed months after Berta Cáceres death

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 11:14am

Goldman prize winner Isidro Baldenegro López, who was known for his activism against illegal logging, was shot dead months after Berta Cáceres was murdered

A Indigenous Mexican activist who received the prestigious Goldman environmental prize for his crusade against illegal logging has been shot dead, the second award-winner to have been murdered in less than 12 months.

Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer and leader of the Tarahumara community in the country’s northern Sierra Madre mountain region, was shot at a relative’s home on Sunday.

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Categories: Environment

The secret of Namibia's 'fairy circles' may be explained at last

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 11:07am

Using computer models, ecologists think they have finally hit upon the reason for the strange polka dot patches scattered across the Namib desert

The marks on the ground in the Namib desert resemble a vast sheet of polka dots, or to the less romantic observer, perhaps a bad case of chickenpox.

In local myths, the bare, red circles fringed with grass are footprints of the gods, or patches of land once poisoned by the breath of a subterranean dragon. But even among scientists, who strive for more convincing theories, the curious, repetitive patterns have proved hard to explain.

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Categories: Environment

2016 Was The Hottest Year Yet, Scientists Declare

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/01/18 - 8:31am

Global temperatures soared above the 20th century average last year, as the climate continues to change. It's the hottest it has been since scientists started tracking global temperatures in 1880.

(Image credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR)

Categories: Environment
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