Environment

Legal battle to unearth Commonwealth Bank's fossil fuel interests fails

Guardian Environment News - 2 hours 24 min ago

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a Commonwealth Bank shareholder, tried to put a resolution on greenhouse gasses to the bank’s AGM

A push to get Commonwealth Bank to reveal details of its fossil fuel interests has failed after the federal court ruled shareholders do not have the right to ask other shareholders to vote on such issues.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a Commonwealth Bank shareholder, attempted to put an ordinary shareholder resolution to the bank’s annual general meeting, asking it to report on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it finances.

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Categories: Environment

Green groups express 'major concern' over Tory policies in letter to Cameron

Guardian Environment News - 4 hours 16 min ago

Heads of 10 groups, including National Trust, Greenpeace and RSPB, call the cutting or watering-down of 10 key environmental policies woeful and shocking

Environment and conservation groups representing millions of people have written to David Cameron to register their “major concern” at the cancellation or weakening of 10 green polices since he was re-elected.

This list of recent policy reversals is shocking, and shows disregard ... for the environment we all depend on.

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Categories: Environment

Sun, sand, slack tide and a hungry beachcomber

Guardian Environment News - 4 hours 47 min ago

North Uist An oystercatcher is feeding, unhurriedly probing the wet sand and withdrawing its prey with a wriggle of its long orange-red bill

My planned lunch stop looking out over the sea to distant St Kilda had proved just a little too chilly for comfort, but on the other side of the headland, out of the breeze, it’s positively balmy.

In one of the small coves a line of sun-warmed rocks makes an inviting place to sit, and the view across the summer-bright waters of the bay to the scatter of white houses opposite is tranquil. It’s pure pleasure just to lean back and soak up the sunshine while enjoying a drink and a sandwich and at the same time keeping half an eye on the wildlife.

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Categories: Environment

First sighting for 150 years of fly thought to be extinct

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:58pm

Expert naturalist finds metallic-green coloured Rhaphium pectinatum in Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve

A fly that is thought to have been extinct for almost 150 years has been found alive in Devon.

The last known recording of the Rhaphium pectinatum fly was on 19 July 1868 when the renowned Victorian entomologist George Verrall caught a male and female in Richmond, Surrey.

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Categories: Environment

Shooting industry must stop putting strain on countryside, says RSPB chief

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:01pm

Among other practices, 50m game birds released annually for shooting negatively impact existing wildlife and ecology, Dr Mike Clarke tells landowners

More than 50 million game birds a year are being released for shooting, putting increasing strain on native wild birds and the ecology of the UK’s countryside, landowners will be warned on Friday.

As management of driven grouse moors intensifies, the shooting industry must take responsibility for the impact their industry has on biodiversity and the natural environment, RSPB chief executive Dr Mike Clarke will say.

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Categories: Environment

Shark attack at Evans Head on NSW north coast leaves surfer seriously hurt

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 3:01pm

The 52-year-old surfer undergoes surgery on arm and leg injuries after punching the great white when it attacked him from behind

A surfer has suffered serious injuries after fighting off a great white shark which attacked him off a beach in northern NSW.

The 52-year-old man from Evans Head, named in media reports as Craig Ison, punched the shark when it attacked from behind during his regular early morning surf on Friday.

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Categories: Environment

Amid Political Dysfunction, Beirut Residents Suffer The Stench Of Garbage

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 2:56pm

Beirut's streets are piled with two weeks' worth of uncollected trash. To many Lebanese, it's no surprise. The country has been without a president for more than a year.

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Categories: Environment

Shell Announces Plans To Eliminate 6,500 Jobs

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 1:31pm

Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to eliminate 6,500 jobs as slumping oil prices force the industry to make adjustments. Shell's profits fell by more than 30 percent in the second quarter.

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Categories: Environment

AP Study Finds Viruses Linked To Raw Sewage In Rio De Janeiro Olympic Waters

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 1:31pm

NPR's Melissa Block speaks with the AP's Brazil bureau chief Brad Brooks about the investigation, which found high levels of dangerous viruses in water venues for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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Experts: Flight MH370 Debris Could Have Reached Western Indian Ocean

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 12:05pm

A scientist who studies ocean circulation patterns tells NPR that it's "highly likely" that floating wreckage from the airliner could have reached the island of Reunion near Madagascar.

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Categories: Environment

Readers recommend: songs about farming | Peter Kimpton

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 12:00pm

Ranches of cows, horses or sheep? Fields of rice, tea or wheat? Organise your orchard and pick an agricultural crop of songs to make a mass musical harvest

Why Brownlee left, and where he went,
Is a mystery even now.
For if a man should have been content
It was him; two acres of barley,
One of potatoes, four bullocks,
A milker, a slated farmhouse.
He was last seen going out to plough
On a March morning, bright and early.

By noon Brownlee was famous;
They had found all abandoned, with
The last rig unbroken, his pair of black
Horses, like man and wife,
Shifting their weight from foot to
Foot, and gazing into the future.

Paul Muldoon’s short, beautiful poem touches on many things – a secret life, a hint of tragedy, but as much as anything else it captures what can be double-edged about farming. We don’t know what happened to Brownlee, but from the outside the view is that he “should have been content” with his barley, potatoes, bullocks, milker and farmhouse. But all was not as it seemed, and farming - what may seem like the bountiful joy of growing, of producing and living of the land and culminating in harvest, might seem idyllic in theory, but clearly it is often not. Farming’s hard won rewards are fragile, and in the sudden, cold wind of an indifferent universe, they can all suddenly be gone, snuffed out like a life, blown away like straw in the breeze. And perhaps only Brownlee’s two black horses, in that poetic image, shifting their weight from foot to foot, and “gazing in to the future”, really know the truth.

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Categories: Environment

The Guardian view on Cecil the lion: the immorality is in the pleasure of the kill | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 11:55am
This 13-year-old lion had a good life, but the manner of his death was abhorrent

The death of so handsome a creature as Cecil the lion has rightly ignited global outrage. But why do we seem to care so much more about how an animal dies than how it lives? After all, Cecil had 13 free and happy years roaming Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park. In terms of suffering, the last few hours of his life, while undoubtedly painful, can hardly be compared to the miserable factory-farmed existence of so many of the creatures that end up on our plates. Cecil’s free-range existence was circumscribed by the limitations of the park – about 14,650 sq km. The average factory chicken is afforded the living space roughly equivalent to a piece of A4 paper. And they live for about six weeks, in vast filthy sheds full of their own excrement, and without any experience of sun or fresh air. From this perspective, it may seem peculiar that we focus so much of our outrage on a small-town dentist from Bloomington, Minnesota, and hand out a CBE to Bernard Matthews.

Furthermore, what is the difference between exploiting cattle for money and exploiting lions? In theory, at least, the income from licensed hunting – redistributing cash from Bloomington to Bulawayo – is redirecting money towards the greater need. So is the Cecil furore just a bit of western sentimentality from those who can hum The Circle of Life, but who have no real appreciation of what it means? Indeed, those who left fluffy toy animals outside Dr Palmer’s dentist surgery as a protest certainly contribute towards this reading of events. After all, if Cecil had died after a fight with a fellow lion, his death may well have been no less painful.

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Categories: Environment

Nous sommes Cecil | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 11:44am

Can all those who are justifiably outraged at the killing of Cecil the lion (Report, 29 July) now join the protests against the “canned hunting” of lions in South Africa. These are lions bred in captivity for the sole purpose of being shot, inside fenced-off enclosures, by wealthy trophy hunters. It seems the so-called Rainbow State cannot recognise the beauty of a lion’s skin, or see the rivers of blood that run from the ranches where these magnificent creatures are killed.
Mark Stewart
Tolworth, Surrey

• Nearly 20 years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Galápagos Islands. I have supported the Galápagos Conservation Trust ever since. If I told people that the reason for that was that I wanted to go back to the islands, stamp on a finch, behead a tortoise and garotte an iguana, they would assume I was a psychopath. If you want to preserve species, how about paying huge amounts of dosh to kill them and then, you know, not doing it?
Judith Mackinlay
Manchester

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Categories: Environment

Dentist killer of Cecil the lion apologises as US wildlife service launches inquiry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 10:51am

Walter Palmer repeats his claim that he had no idea that the lion was ‘a known local favourite’ and says he would assist the Zimbabwean authorities

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the illegal killing of a beloved Zimbabwean lion by a Minnesota dentist, who has since found himself at the centre of an international storm.

Walter Palmer, a keen big game hunter who posts pictures of his kills on social media, is said to have paid around $50,000 (£32,000) for the chance to kill Cecil, a protected 13-year-old lion famous for his majestic black-fringed mane, in Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park earlier this month.

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Categories: Environment

Justice for Cecil

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 6:44am

Hunting for pleasure is a barbaric, uncivilized practice that is well past its sell-by date

Like people across the world, I am extremely angry and deeply saddened about the killing of the great lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe.

Cecil was a spectacularly beautiful lion. He was lured out of the protection of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park so that he could be shot by the American trophy hunter Walter J. Palmer.

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Categories: Environment

Athletes at Rio Olympics to compete in 'basically raw sewage', study reveals

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 6:31am
  • Analysis of Rio waters reveals dangerous contamination levels
  • Marine biologist: ‘What you have there is basically raw sewage’
  • None of three Olympic water venues tested were deemed safe

Athletes in next year’s Summer Olympics will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games, an Associated Press investigation has found.

An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues – results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.

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Categories: Environment

In Cecil the lion fallout, hunters defend Walter Palmer and fear big game bans

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 5:32am

After the Minnesota dentist killed a protected lion, the global outcry has quickly spread – but some hunters argue the practice ‘brings us back to our roots’

For many it would be a horrifying sight, but when Dan Tichenor draws his bow and aims an arrow at an animal in the wild he feels an affinity with humanity’s ancestors and the age-old contest between hunter and hunted.

Humans evolved to be predators and there is no shame in perpetuating that instinct, he said. “It’s not just about observing the natural environment but being part of it. It brings us back to our roots as homo sapiens. This is how we survived through all our history.”

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Categories: Environment

Lancashire fracking: appeal against refusal may take 16 months

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 5:00am

Long wait will further delay government energy plans following councillors’ rejection of Cuadrilla scheme to frack at two sites in Fylde

Ministers have been told they may have to wait at least 16 months before learning whether fracking will be allowed in Lancashire, in a severe blow to the government’s energy plans.

Civil servants are concerned that the appeal process against a decision to reject applications at two sites in the county will not conclude until November 2016 at the earliest.

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Categories: Environment

UK solar growth stalls following government subsidy cuts

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:57am

Large solar power farm development largely stopped following April cuts, new figures show, and smaller farms will be hit next

The amount of solar power being installed in the UK has largely flatlined since the closure by the government of a subsidy scheme in April, even before a new round of subsidy cuts has taken effect.

Official figures released on Thursday show that large-scale solar farm developers rushed to connect to the grid in March to get in before the government excluded farms larger than 5MW, enough to power 2,500 homes, from its renewable obligation (RO) scheme.

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Categories: Environment

The most polluted US national parks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:14am

Air pollution in many national parks, from Yosemite to Joshua Tree and Kings Canyon, means a hike in the ‘fresh air’ is not as healthy as it seems, reports Mother Jones

It’s late summer, and Americans are flocking to the country’s national parks for some recreation and fresh air.

But a study released this week by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) found that air in some of the country’s most popular parks is not so fresh – and it’s potentially hazardous. The report rated the country’s 48 parks in three categories: levels of ozone (a pollutant that can irritate or damage lungs), haziness, and the impacts of climate change on the park. Here are the 12 worst contenders (full list available here):

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