'Maybe the smog can bring us together': toxic air chokes Pakistan and India

Guardian Environment News - 18 hours 4 min ago

With Lahore suffering from air pollution almost equal to that enveloping Delhi, joint action to tackle the problem is urgently needed, say environmentalists

Parts of Pakistan have been enveloped by deadly smog in recent weeks, with the city of Lahore suffering almost as badly as the Indian capital Delhi.

Pictures and video that show Lahore looking like an apocalyptic landscape have left people in shock. Some residents have said they can’t see beyond their outstretched arm.

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Categories: Environment

Keystone pipeline leaks estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 4:46pm

Officials do not believe the leak in TransCanada Corp’s pipeline, which carries oil from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, affected drinking water

TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in north-eastern South Dakota, the company and state regulators reported on Thursday.

Crews shut down the pipeline on Thursday morning and activated emergency response procedures after a drop in pressure was detected resulting from the leak south of a pump station in Marshall County, TransCanada said in a statement. The cause was being investigated.

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Categories: Environment

Keystone Pipeline Oil Spill Reported In South Dakota

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 4:29pm

The oil leak occurs just a few days before Nebraska state regulators will decide on the fate of TransCanada's controversial sister project, the Keystone XL Pipeline.

(Image credit: Nati Harnik/AP)

Categories: Environment

EPA Moves To Shield Older Semi Truck Engines In 'Gliders' From Emissions Rules

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 1:37pm

A new rule would cover "glider vehicles" — made by combining a new truck body with a salvaged diesel engine. The EPA says it sees them differently now than it did under the Obama administration.

Categories: Environment

Lions next in line of fire as US rolls back curbs on African hunting trophies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 12:19pm

The Trump administration’s lifting of restrictions on importing elephant body parts from Zimbabwe and Zambia is not the last gift to hunting interests

Hunting interests have scored a major victory with the Trump administration’s decision to allow Americans to bring home body parts of elephants shot for sport in Africa. Another totemic species now looks set to follow suit – lions.

As the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was announcing it was lifting a ban on the import of elephant “trophies” from Zimbabwe and Zambia, it also quietly published new guidelines that showed lions shot in the two African countries will also be eligible to adorn American homes.

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Categories: Environment

Trump sons' hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 11:46am
  • Obama administration imposed ban because of conservation concerns
  • Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are enthusiastic big game hunters

The Trump administration’s decision to loosen restrictions around the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia has turned attention back to the president’s family’s own connection to the controversial sport.

Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are prolific big-game hunters and during the 2016 campaign, images re-emerged of the pair on a 2011 hunting trip posing with animals they had killed on safari, including an elephant, a buffalo and a leopard.

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Categories: Environment

World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 10:52am

Energy industry jolted by advice to Norwegian government from its central bank, which runs $1tn fund

The Norwegian central bank, which runs the country’s sovereign wealth fund – the world’s biggest – has told its government it should dump its shares in oil and gas companies, in a move that could have significant consequences for the sector.

Norges Bank, which manages Norway’s $1tn fund, said ministers should take the step to avoid the fund’s value being hit by a permanent fall in the oil price.

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Categories: Environment

Fears for Great Barrier Reef as deforestation surges in catchments

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 10:00am

Calls grow for the federal government to step in as erosion from intensified land clearing in Queensland threatens coral

A deforestation surge in Queensland, which the latest government data suggests is about to accelerate dramatically, is heavily concentrated in catchments for the Great Barrier Reef, further undermining plans to improve reef water quality.

The finding has renewed calls for the federal government to use its powers to assess the impact of clearing there until the Queensland government is able to pass legislation to halt it itself.

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Categories: Environment

UK government '10 years late' on air quality targets

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 9:29am

Report from the National Audit Office finds overall improvement in air quality but does not expect to meet EU targets until 2021

The government will be more than a decade late in meeting EU targets on air quality, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

The cost of health impacts from air pollution, including fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, is estimated at £20bn. Nearly 30,000 deaths were thought to be caused in 2008 by fine particulate matter pollution, some of it caused by diesel cars, according to the report. About 13% of fine particulate matter pollution is thought to come from diesel engines. This is in spite of improving air quality overall.

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Categories: Environment

'Modern air is too clean': the rise of air pollution denial

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 8:41am

US sceptics are questioning the science behind air pollution and mortality, a trend that is starting to appear in countries where the air is much more toxic

Despite report after report linking air pollution to deterioration of the lungs, heart and brain, Prof Robert Phalen believes the air is “too clean” for children.

After all, everybody needs a bit of immune-system-boosting dirt in their lungs.

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Categories: Environment

'Political watershed' as 19 countries pledge to phase out coal

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 7:53am

New alliance launched at Bonn climate talks hopes to signal the end of the dirtiest fossil fuel that kills 800,000 people a year with air pollution

A new alliance of 19 nations committed to quickly phasing out coal has been launched at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany. It was greeted as a “political watershed”, signalling the end of the dirtiest fossil fuel that currently provides 40% of global electricity.

New pledges were made on Thursday by Mexico, New Zealand, Denmark and Angola for the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is led by the UK and Canada.

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Categories: Environment

US to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 7:06am

Campaigners fear move by Trump administration will damage global efforts to end the ivory trade

Donald Trump’s administration plans to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe into the US – a move campaigners fear could damage global momentum on ending the ivory trade.

In 2014, US big game hunters killing elephants in Zimbabwe were banned from bringing their trophies home, on the basis that the country had failed to show that it was taking elephant management seriously.

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Categories: Environment

As Climate Negotiators Debate Nations' Pledges, Scientists Worry It's Not Enough

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 3:00am

Delegates to the annual international climate meeting held by the U.N. are struggling to forge a unified approach to slowing climate change. Meanwhile, emissions of greenhouse gases keep rising.

(Image credit: Ulrich Baumgarten/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Nicholas Stern: ministers must pass 'Trump test' at Bonn climate talks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/11/16 - 1:00am

Leading climate economist says world leaders must move forward without the US on crucial issues in the closing days of the UN summit

Ministers from governments around the world meeting in Bonn for the final days of the UN climate talks must prove they can pass “the Trump test” by moving on without the US on issues crucial to combating global warming, a leading climate economist has said.

“It’s about getting on with it,” Lord Nicholas Stern told the Guardian. “They have to get on with it. But there are good signs.”

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Categories: Environment

Queenslanders support Labor promise to veto loan to Adani, poll says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/15 - 11:12pm

More than 61% say they think the LNP should follow Labor and also promise to stop Adani getting government loan

A majority of Queenslanders support premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s promise to veto a potential federal government loan for the Adani coal project, according to polling by the Australia Institute ahead of the state election.

The finding supports evidence from interviews with voters with some who are strongly in favour of the mine itself opposed to it being subsidised by the government.

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Categories: Environment

Commonwealth Bank says its lending for coal will continue to decline

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/15 - 6:39pm

Analysts say a test of the bank’s withdrawal from coal will come when Adani’s Abbot Point terminal comes up for refinancing

The Commonwealth Bank has told its shareholders to expect its support of the coal industry to decline as it helps finance the transition to a low-carbon economy, indicating the bank is unlikely to lend to new large coal projects.

Ahead of its AGM on Thursday, the bank posted the speech of its chairwoman, Catherine Livingstone, to the ASX. In it she said climate change poses both a business risk and a responsibility for the bank.

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Categories: Environment

Dead whale washes up on Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema beach

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/15 - 6:31pm

Beachgoers have been warned to stay away from 25-tonne humpback

A dead humpback whale has washed up on the shores of Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema beach.

A biologist, Rafael Carvalho, said on Wednesday the whale appeared to have been dead for a few days. Its body was decomposing and giving off a strong smell.

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Categories: Environment

Morrisons to sell 'wonky' pomegranates to meet rising demand

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/15 - 5:01pm

Fruit will come in different sizes and have blemishes but will cost 30p, compared to average 74p in UK supermarkets

A UK supermarket is to be the first to sell misshapen or “wonky” pomegranates, in order to keep prices down in the face of surging demand from consumers.

Packs of four will be sold in Morrisons for £1.20 – equivalent to 30p per fruit – when the average price of a pomegranate in UK supermarkets is 74p.

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Categories: Environment

Banning bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides should be just the start | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/15 - 12:18pm
Peter Melchett of the Soil Association bemoans the power held by the chemical industry; Huw Jones writes that agricultural policy needs expert understanding, not just political opportunism; plus letters from Deb Nicholson, Graeme Taylor and Bruce Friedrich

It’s great that Michael Gove has accepted the overwhelming scientific evidence that neonicotinoids are killing bees, other insects and birds, although it is a sad commentary on how safety decisions on pesticides have been taken up to now (Plan bee – Britain to reverse opposition to ban on colony-killing pesticide, says Gove, 9 November). The fact is that the political and economic power of the chemical industry have had far more influence than the results of independent scientific research.

Michael Gove says that there “may be a case for going further” than the current temporary ban on three neonicotinoid sprays and their use on only some crops (The evidence points in one direction – we must ban neonicotinoids, 9 November). He is right – all neonicotinoids should be banned because research shows they are getting into wild flowers, turning what should be safe havens for bees and butterflies into potential killing fields. Research led by Professor David Goulson of Sussex University, part funded by the Soil Association, found that some wild flowers in the margins of crops on the edge of fields actually contained more neonicotinoids than the sprayed crop.
Peter Melchett
Policy director, Soil Association

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Categories: Environment

Climate change will determine humanity's destiny, says Angela Merkel

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/15 - 11:12am

German chancellor, UN secretary general, Emmanuel Macron and others urge world’s leaders to succeed in their negotiations in Bonn

“Climate change is an issue determining our destiny as mankind – it will determine the wellbeing of all of us,” the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has told the world’s nations gathered at a climate summit.

The delegates heard a series of strong political messages on Wednesday, urging them to use the final two days of the summit to complete important work on putting the landmark 2015 Paris deal into action. Without this, the world faces a devastating 3C or more of global warming.

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