Government hopes cut in red tape will triple UK's battery capacity

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/07/13 - 4:01pm

New rules will allow large energy storage projects to bypass national planning system

Government ministers hope to triple Britain’s energy storage capacity by relaxing the planning rules which threatened to stifle a nationwide battery boom.

The government will pass secondary legislation on Tuesday to allow large-scale energy storage projects to move ahead without the red tape and higher costs of navigating the national planning system.

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Categories: Environment

Outcry from environmentalists as Brazil fires official monitoring deforestation

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/07/13 - 3:52pm

Dismissal came days after release of new data showing increasing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Brazil’s government has fired an official at the national space agency Inpe whose department is responsible for satellite monitoring of the Amazon rainforest, just three days after June deforestation data reflected a continued increase in degradation.

Lubia Vinhas was the general-coordinator of Brazilian space agency Inpe’s Earth Observation Institute, which is an umbrella for divisions that monitor the Amazon and panels to debate climate change with civil society organizations.

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Categories: Environment

Oceans panel presses coastal states to invest in 'blue recovery'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/07/13 - 3:00pm

Report says there are substantial economic benefits to be had from ocean conservation

Investing in the marine environment offers many coastal states the possibility of a “blue recovery” from the coronavirus crisis, according to a report setting out substantial economic benefits from ocean conservation.

Ending overfishing and allowing stocks to recover while ensuring fish farms operate on a sustainable basis would generate benefits of about $6.7tn (£5.3tn) over the next 30 years, according to an assessment of ocean economics by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

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Categories: Environment

Andean condor can fly for 100 miles without flapping wings

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/07/13 - 1:13pm

World’s largest soaring bird flaps wings only 1% of time in flight, study shows

A study sheds light on just how efficiently the world’s largest soaring bird rides air currents to stay aloft for hours without flapping its wings.

The Andean condor has a 3-metre (10ft) wingspan and weighs up to 15kg (33lbs), making it the world’s heaviest soaring bird.

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Categories: Environment

Offshore wind energy investment quadruples despite Covid-19 slump

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/07/13 - 9:35am

Investors give greenlight to $35bn worth of projects worldwide in first half of 2020

Global offshore wind investment more than quadrupled in the first half of the year even as the coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented economic shock.

A report has found that investors gave the greenlight to 28 new offshore windfarms worth a total of $35bn (£28bn) this year, four times more than in the first half of 2019 and well above the total for last year as a whole.

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Work begins in Lincolnshire on world's longest subsea power cable

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/07/13 - 5:31am

€2bn, 475-mile Viking Link cable will share renewable energy between UK and Denmark

Construction work has begun in Lincolnshire on the world’s longest subsea power cable, which will run between Britain and Denmark to share renewable energy between the two countries.

The 475-mile (765km) cable is a joint-venture between National Grid in the UK and Denmark’s Energinet. By 2023, the high-voltage, direct-current link will transmit the equivalent of enough electricity to power 1.5m British homes between Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire and the South Jutland region in Denmark.

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Categories: Environment

Team Lioness: the Kenyan women rangers risking their lives for wildlife

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/07/12 - 11:30pm

The coronavirus lockdown adds to challenges for those on the frontline of the war against poaching

  • Words and photographs by Georgina Smith

Her black boots brushing through swathes of yellow-brown bush, 24-year-old Purity Amleset is feeling tense. But fear is just part of the job, she says, as she patrols her section of the 147,000-hectare (363,000-acre) community land around Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, a Unesco-designated biosphere reserve.

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Categories: Environment

Toondah harbour wetlands: federal government faces legal action over secret details of donor meetings

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/07/12 - 10:30am

Exclusive: Australian Conservation Foundation escalates FOI battle over development at protected wetlands site near Brisbane

The Australian Conservation Foundation has launched a legal bid to access documents – kept secret by the federal government – related to meetings between a major political party donor and authorities assessing plans for a development on protected wetlands near Brisbane.

Walker Corporation plans to build a marina, hotel, shops and more than 3,000 apartments at Toondah Harbour.

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Categories: Environment

Making a beeline: wildflower paths across UK could save species

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/07/11 - 11:17pm

Conservation charity aims to help restore 150,000 hectares of bee-friendly corridors to save the insects from extinction

Andrew Whitehouse has been on the cliffs at Prawle Point, south Devon, searching on his hands and knees for a rare bee. He saw only one last year, and so far this summer there has been no sign of the six-banded nomad bee with its striking yellow markings.

Whitehouse fears it is on the brink of extinction because, as a parasitic bee, it depends on a host – the long-horned bee – in whose nest it lays its eggs, and the host is now also scarce.

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Categories: Environment

From Covid-19 to climate: what's next after the global oil and gas industry crash?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/07/11 - 1:00pm

While oil and gas are not alone in struggling in the economic slump, the reality of the climate crisis is starting to bite, analysts say

The global oil and gas industry has crashed. In mid-June, BP – formerly British Petroleum – slashed the value of its assets by US$17.5bn and revealed plans to cut its workforce by 15%. It forecast the price of oil would be a third lower than expected for decades to come and said it may be forced to leave new fossil fuel discoveries in the ground.

It was later joined by Royal Dutch Shell, which announced its own US$22bn writedown, with its vast gas business – including major liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments in Australia – expected to take the heaviest toll.

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Categories: Environment

Climate activists slam Norman Foster over Saudi airport

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/07/11 - 11:02am

Architect is ignoring his own environment pledge, say critics

One of Britain’s most famous architects is under fire for agreeing to design an airport and terminal in Saudi Arabia despite signing a climate emergency manifesto that called for an “urgent need for action” on climate change.

Norman Foster’s design firm, Foster and Partners, was one of the founding signatories of the profession’s Architects Declare manifesto last year. However, The Architects’ Journal last week revealed that several new Foster and Partners projects in Saudi Arabia have caused controversy in the profession over their links to the aviation industry.

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Categories: Environment

Australian shark attack: boy, 17, dies from injuries after being bitten on NSW north coast

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 11:13pm

Emergency crews responded to the incident near Grafton but were unable to save teenage boy’s life

A shark attack on New South Wales’s north coast has claimed the life of a 17-year-old boy.

Witnesses have told police a shark attacked the teenager while he was surfing at Wilsons Headland at Wooli Beach, near Grafton, just before 2.30pm.

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Categories: Environment

How Australia's state energy ministers are turning the tables on Angus Taylor | Simon Holmes à Court

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 5:12pm

The state energy ministers still need to deliver on their promises, but imagine if any of them held the federal portfolio

Sometimes it just takes a bit of leadership.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull likes to say that we must choose “engineering and economics” over “idiocy and ideology”. The New South Wales energy minister, Matt Kean, has been making the right choices.

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Categories: Environment

‘A mockery’: Great Barrier Reef Foundation raises just $21m of $357m target

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 1:00pm

Labor calls for greater transparency into fundraising of foundation, which was awarded $443m by Coalition

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has raised only $21.7m out of a target of $357m in donations more than two years after it was awarded the largest single environmental grant in Australian history.

It has prompted Labor to call for greater transparency from the foundation about its fundraising, while the Greens have said the figure “makes a mockery of the government’s logic” for awarding the grant.

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Categories: Environment

Coronavirus pandemic prompts record drop in global emissions, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 12:47pm
  • Lockdowns, travel bans and factory closures drive reduction
  • Dramatic decline falls short of necessary global heating cuts

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the largest drop in heat-trapping emissions in human history, according to a new study.

Lockdowns, travel bans and closed manufacturing sites have caused global emissions to drop by 4.6%, or 2.5 gigatonnes, according to a University of Sydney review of 38 regions and 26 sectors published in the journal Plos One. Fine particle pollution decreased by 3.8% and two other types of air pollution declined 2.9%: sulfur dioxide – which is linked to a number of respiratory issues, and nitrogen oxide, which leads to smog.

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Categories: Environment

Coronavirus Pandemic Halts Climate Data Collection

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 12:45pm

The pandemic has hindered climate data collection from ships and buoys in the oceans. The U.N. warns it could negatively affect climate models' accuracy unless scientists find new ways to gather data.

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 8:46am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a ring-tailed lemur and a spiky sea cucumber

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Categories: Environment

Iran denies latest blast reports and accuses west of disinformation

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 8:42am

Tehran says incident in early hours in garrison town of Gamdareh was a power outage

Iran has denied reports that fresh mysterious explosions have rocked two towns close to Tehran, accusing the west of waging psychological warfare by spreading false messages on social media.

Reports suggested that the blasts had occurred in the early hours of Friday in Gamdareh, a residential town that houses a number of military garrisons, including bases of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and in Shahr-e Qods. Officials insisted the reports were false but accepted there had been a power outage.

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Categories: Environment

Venice's much-delayed flood defence system fully tested for first time

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 7:50am

Designed in 1984 and expected to be in service a decade ago, the project is still incomplete

Italy has successfully conducted the first full test of Venice’s flood defence system, a much-delayed project designed in 1984 but still incomplete a decade after it was due to come into service.

Amid much fanfare, the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, activated the 78 mobile barriers of the Mose dam on Friday. “We’re here for a test, not a parade,” Conte, who was greeted in Venice by activists who have long protested against the project, told reporters. “The government wants to check the progress of the work.”

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Categories: Environment

Boris Johnson says newts are a drag on the UK’s economy. Here’s why he’s wrong

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/07/10 - 7:00am

Last week the PM claimed conservation causes construction delays – but newts are not the pantomime villains developers would have us believe

Lingering in the shallows of a south Norfolk pond, voracious amphibians are resting ahead of a night gorging on slugs, worms and insects. The pool network, long grasses and shrubs in Silfield newt reserve are a perfect habitat for the great crested newt – the pantomime villain for housing developers.

The UK’s largest newt, which takes its name from the striking, jagged crest that males display in the spring breeding season, is a protected species under British law, thanks to the the EU habitats directive, which the prime minister’s father, Stanley Johnson, had a key role in creating. Despite that, its numbers have declined rapidly over the past 60 years.

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