Environment

Christopher Pyne on Q&A: Direct Action no emissions trading scheme – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 5:05pm

Speaking on Q&A, Christopher Pyne rejects a suggestion that the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy could operate as a de facto emissions trading scheme, while responding to a question from the audience, Pyne claims the scheme was not intended to work that way. The industry minister and his regular sparring partner, opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese, were the only two panellists on Monday’s election special, which fell in week three of the eight-week campaign

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife shows not reflecting reality of natural world – Springwatch presenters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 4:01pm

BBC’s Chris Packham says nature reserves are becoming ‘a bit like art galleries’ while Martin Hughes-Games raises concerns about conservation

The presenters of BBC2’s Springwatch have warned that wildlife programmes are failing to reflect the reality of the natural world.

Chris Packham said there was a danger that nature reserves such as the RSPB’s Minsmere in Suffolk, where the new series of Springwatch is based, “become a bit like art galleries or museums where we go to get our fix” when much of the countryside is “largely sterile, too intensively farmed and with very poor biodiversity”.

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Genetic engineering of humans has great potential, says Nobel winner

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 4:01pm

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan says risks and benefits of germline therapy, which is banned in Britain, should be debated

The genetic engineering of humans has great potential to help those destined to inherit serious, incurable diseases, according to one of Britain’s most prominent scientists, who says the risks and benefits should be debated by society.

The invention of powerful new genome editing tools means researchers can now make precise changes to genetic material, and so consider correcting faulty DNA in human sperm, eggs and embryos.

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Categories: Environment

Summer of content before a Dickensian storm

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 1:30pm

In Barnaby Rudge, his novel of the Gordon Riots, Charles Dickens gives us a vision of sunlit bliss before the murderous climax

Barnaby and his mother have almost nothing, and Barnaby wants nothing, because he has his pet raven, Grip.

“A crust of bread and scrap of meat, with water from the brook or spring, sufficed for their repast. Barnaby’s enjoyments were, to walk, and run, and leap, till he was tired; then to lie down in the long grass or by the growing corn, or in the shade of some tall tree, looking upwards at the light clouds as they floated over the blue surface of the sky, and listening to the lark as she poured out her brilliant song,” wrote Charles Dickens in Barnaby Rudge, his 1841 novel of the Gordon Riots and the burning of Newgate in 1780.

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Categories: Environment

Climate groups join forces for election campaign blitz

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 1:03pm

A coalition of organisations have entered into unprecedented joint action to ensure climate change is in the minds of voters on 2 July

An unprecedented level of coordination between climate activists and conservation groups is aiming to raise the profile of climate change in this year’s election.

A coalition of groups has been organising tactics aimed at engaging both politicians and voters with climate change for the 2 July election.

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Categories: Environment

The Vanishing Islands Of India's Sundarbans

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 1:03pm

Climate change has forced tens of thousands out. "I know I have a beautiful home," one islander says, "but ultimately it will go into the womb of the river. All we can do is try to delay the process."

Categories: Environment

North Yorkshire council backs first UK fracking tests for five years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 11:32am

Council approves shale gas tests in village of Kirby Misperton despite receiving 4,375 objections to the plans

Fracking is set to take place in Britain for the first time in five years after councillors approved tests in North Yorkshire, sweeping aside thousands of objections from residents and campaigners.

Related: How does the fracking debate affect you? Share your experiences

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Categories: Environment

Squids and octopuses thrive as 'weeds of the sea' warm to hotter oceans

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 11:09am

Squid, cuttlefish and their relatives appear to benefit from ‘live fast, die young’ mentality as study shows cephalopods have thrived over past 60 years

Octopuses, cuttlefish and squid have thrived in the world’s oceans over the last 60 years despite – or because of – human activity that has warmed oceans and reduced fish populations.

Related: Giant squid that swam into Japanese bay guided back out to sea by diver

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Categories: Environment

A sweeter choice: synthetic perfumes, while unpopular, are better for the planet

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 10:17am

While today’s consumers demand all natural products, in the case of perfume, synthetics might prove to be the greener choice

In a coastal jungle in northern Madagascar, biologist Fanny Rakotoarivelo places a plastic bubble over a branch of papaya flowers. Inside, air currents run through the flowers, sucking out essential oils. The scented air that remains is funneled into another bag, which Rakotoarivelo places inside a metal briefcase. It will be flown and delivered to the German headquarters of Symrise, the second largest flavors and fragrances company in the world, where scientists will attempt to recreate the scent.

The mechanism Rakotoarivelo uses is, rather poetically, called a headspace. For the last thirty years, it has allowed scientists to recreate nature in a bottle, often in a far more environmentally friendly manner than tapping the real thing, according to a 2013 study by watchdog conservation organization ETC Group.

Related: Madagascar: the country that's poor but not poor enough for aid

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Categories: Environment

Going There: The Future Of Water

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 9:15am

Western states like Colorado are balancing competing demands for waterways. When recreation, agriculture and civic interests find themselves at odds, how can water resources be divided fairly?

Categories: Environment

World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 8:00am

Arctic would warm by as much as 20C by 2300 with disastrous impacts if action is not taken on climate change, warns new study

The planet would warm by searing 10C if all fossil fuels are burned, according to a new study, leaving some regions uninhabitable and wreaking profound damage on human health, food supplies and the global economy.

The Arctic, already warming fast today, would heat up even more – 20C by 2300 – the new research into the extreme scenario found.

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Drone footage captures 70 sharks feasting on whale in Australia –  video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 5:43am

Drone footage shows around 70 tiger sharks eating a whale in the aptly named Shark Bay, around 500 miles north of Perth, Western Australia. The video was posted to the Eco Abrolhos Facebook page, which operates cruises to nearby islands.

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Tens of countries sign up to shut pirate fishers out of their ports

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 4:19am

The first of its kind, a new international treaty obliges signatories to intercept pirate fishers before they can sell their catch

In March, the Argentinian coast guard shot at and sank a Chinese vessel that was alleged to be fishing illegally in Argentinian waters (the crew were all rescued). While it’s unclear whether the boat was committing crime, the incident showed that the tension surrounding pirate fishing is reaching a peak, marked elsewhere by increasing conflict, and the detainment and scuttling of illegal fishing fleets. But for pirate fishers, the financial gains appear to be worth these risks.

Illegal fishing vessels siphon off up to 26 million tons of illegally caught fish each year, which amounts to over $23bn (£16bn) in profit. This not only deprives legitimate fishers of their catch, but as it’s an unregulated practice, it also undermines the stability of fisheries stocks around the world. Illegal fishing also has a hand in driving already threatened species closer to extinction—like the critically-endangered vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise, whose fate is rapidly being worsened by illegal fishers in Mexico who tangle and drown the small, protected mammals in their gill nets.

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Protesters urge North Yorkshire councillors to vote against fracking

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 4:15am

A vote allowing Third Energy to frack for shale gas could pave way for technique to be used across England, critics say

North Yorkshire councillors have been urged not to turn the region into “the fracking capital of the UK” before a crucial vote that could pave the way for the technique to be used across England.

The UK firm Third Energy wants to frack for shale gas at its existing drilling site near the village of Kirby Misperton, between Malton and Pickering.

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Biodegradable plastic 'false solution' for ocean waste problem

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 3:47am

UN’s top environmental scientist warns bottles and bags do not break down easily and sink, as report highlights the ubiquity of plastic debris in oceans

Biodegradable plastic water bottles and shopping bags are a false solution to the ubiquitous problem of litter in the oceans, the UN’s top environmental scientist has warned.

Most plastic is extremely durable, leading to large plastic debris and “microplastics” to spread via currents to oceans from the Arctic to the Antarctic, a UN report published on Monday found.

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Categories: Environment

Bayer bids $62bn for GM seed giant Monsanto

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 3:40am

Takeover would create world’s largest agricultural supplier in the biggest deal ever by a German firm

German drug and chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy the American GM seed pioneer Monsanto for $62bn (£43bn) in a deal that would create the world’s biggest agricultural supplier.

The offer of $122 a share in cash values the Monsanto group at 37% more than its closing share price on 9 May, before rumours of a bid emerged.

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Categories: Environment

Climate denial arguments fail a blind test | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 3:00am

In a ‘Pepsi challenge’ test, economist and statisticians find mainstream climate arguments accurate and contrarian arguments wrong and misleading

As we saw in the recent legal ruling against Peabody coal, arguments and myths that are based in denial of the reality of human-caused global warming rarely withstand scientific scrutiny.

In a new study published in Global Environmental Change, a team led by Stephen Lewandowsky tested the accuracy of some popular myths and contrarian talking points sampled from climate denial blogs and other media outlets. The scientists searched the blogs for key words related to Arctic sea ice, glaciers, sea level rise, and temperature to identify the most popular arguments. Not surprisingly, they found some common myths:

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Categories: Environment

Revealed: the dangerous wild animals kept on UK private property

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/23 - 12:27am

Councils have issued licences for thousands of animals, research shows, including lions, wolves and crocodiles

Lions, wolves and deadly venomous snakes are among thousands of dangerous animals being kept on private properties across the UK, figures have revealed.

Big cats including 13 tigers, two lions, eight leopards, seven cheetahs and nine pumas are prowling behind the fences of addresses up and down the land, an investigation by the Press Association has found.

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Blossom and bulls on a walk to Bucknell Wood

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/22 - 9:30pm

Abthorpe, Northamptonshire Blue-purple columns of bugle and the crimped leaves of betony abound

“Do you ever get over to the Silverstone area?” queried John in his first email to me. I don’t, but when he then enthused that the rustic parish of Abthorpe “seemed to be a relic of a long disappeared countryside”, he had my attention.

South of Abthorpe a network of footpaths traverse straight lines across clayey fields of blossoming yellow oilseed rape and blue-green sprays of wheat. A visually unexceptional landscape perhaps, but an encounter soon hints at more. An unfamiliar voice from the apex of a small hedgerow tree: “Cheeese pleeese” it calls shrilly. And there it is, a neat little lemon-yellow bird with a fine acute bill – a male yellow wagtail. This red-listed insectivore was three times more common in 1970s Britain than it is today.

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Australia’s worst invasive plant species available for import on Amazon and eBay

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/22 - 7:28pm

Internet trading sites host ads for prohibited weeds, with Invasive Species Council warning postal system a ‘big gap’ in quarantine system

Amazon and eBay have been exposed as weak points in Australia’s quarantine system, with the internet trading sites hosting dozens of offers to import the nation’s most dangerous weeds.

Any Australian with a credit card can order home delivery of thousands of seeds of gorse, blackberry or cactus. Also available is the Mimosa pigra tree, which the Northern Territory government spends $500,000 each year trying to eradicate from Kakadu national park.

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