Environment

2016 could be worst year on record for British butterflies, experts warn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 10:01pm

Public asked to take part in annual count to assess the impact of a sunless summer, cool spring and mild winter on butterfly numbers

A deadly combination of a sunless summer, cool spring and mild winter may make 2016 the worst year for butterflies since records began, experts warn.

Sir David Attenborough is urging the public to take part in the Big Butterfly Count so that scientists can discover just how disastrous the unsettled weather is proving for Britain’s 59 butterfly species.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Matt Ridley accused of lobbying UK government on behalf of coal industry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 10:00pm

Emails show the journalist and businessman wrote to UK energy minister to tell him about a US company with ‘fascinating new technology’

An influential Conservative member of the House of Lords has been accused of lobbying the government for the benefit of the coal industry, despite previously saying he does not argue for the industry’s interests.

Viscount Matt Ridley, a journalist and businessman, benefits financially from coalmines on his estate and has used his column in the Times newspaper to downplay the seriousness of climate change.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Crowds of birds make an uplifting sight in an era of long-term decline

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 9:30pm

Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire Abundance is, however, an opportunity for egg-collecting ‘climmers’ or birds of prey

Abundance can seem a dry notion in ecology textbooks; the reality is mesmerising. The sky in front of me is thick with thousands of birds, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes; the sea, 100 metres below my feet, is smothered in them, the air filled with their cries.

Where the sheer chalk cliffs angle back a little to form broader ledges, northern gannets have made their home and I feast on the sight of them, the sky-blue ring around the steel-blue eye, the bill and head defined in black, like art deco, against the dusky mustard-yellow of the crown and neck.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The organic farm generating five-star electricity from cow dung and food waste

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 9:00pm

Turning leftovers into renewable power makes ecological and financial sense, says farmer, but is it the best way to recycle Britain’s huge amount of wasted food?

If electricity could be star-rated for quality, the 150 kilowatt hours going daily into the grid from Lodge Farm in north Wales would probably score five. Generated from the slurry of 300 brown Swiss and Norwegian red cattle, and topped up by chicken litter that cannot go to animal feed and by waste from the local Kellogg’s food factory, it is as good as it gets, says farmer Richard Tomlinson.

Since 2011, the gas from the organic farm’s £750,000 anaerobic co-digester (AD) has generated more than 4.5m kWh of electricity and heat for the farmhouse, an on-site engineering works and for 80-100 homes.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

North Korean diplomats implicated in illegal rhino horn trade – report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 9:00pm

Investigation finds DPRK embassies have been involve in 16 illegal smuggling cases in southern Africa

Mozambique has become a major trading point for illegal rhino horn, much of which is being smuggled out by North Korean “dodgy diplomats”, a new report claims.

Released by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, the report found that the corruption permeating every level of the Mozambican state – including the country’s ports, airports and borders – has made it a smuggler’s paradise.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

From the Euros to the Olympics: six ways to tackle sport's waste problem

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 9:00pm

Measures include cutting food waste, designing out waste and avoiding lecturing fans. Here’s what we learned in this week’s debate on sports and sustainability

It is a year of huge sporting events – Euro 2016, the Rio Olympics, Wimbledon and the 2016 Open Championships, to name a few.

Along with the excitement and anticipation surrounding these events comes a serious waste issue. This week we brought together nine experts to debate how to improve sport’s environmental footprint. Here’s what we learned.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Government is letting VW off the hook over emissions scandal, say MPs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 4:01pm

Although 1.2m UK diesel cars were affected by Volkswagen’s defeat devices, ‘little action’ has been taken by regulators, report finds

A lack of determination by the government to hold Volkswagen to account may allow the car manufacturer get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe, MPs have warned.

In a scathing report, the transport select committee said the Department for Transport had been far too slow and ambivalent over taking any action in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, while industry regulators had “shown little interest” in whether the law had been broken.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Biodiversity is below safe levels across more than half of world's land – study

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 12:08pm

Habitat destruction has reduced the variety of plants and animals to the point that ecological systems could become unable to function properly, with risks for agriculture and human health, say scientists

The variety of animals and plants has fallen to dangerous levels across more than half of the world’s landmass due to humanity destroying habitats to use as farmland, scientists have estimated.

The unchecked loss of biodiversity is akin to playing ecological roulette and will set back efforts to bring people out of poverty in the long term, they warned.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Andrea Leadsom's pledge to repeal foxhunting ban causes alarm

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 11:51am

New environment secretary has also previously admitted being confused about whether climate change is a reality

Andrea Leadsom, the new environment secretary, supports foxhunting and once said she wanted to end farming subsidies.

The pro-Brexit cabinet minister, who was Theresa May’s leadership rival before pulling out on Monday, was a surprise appointment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

A Marine Ecologist On Swimming With Sharks And What 'Jaws' Got Wrong

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 11:36am

Neil Hammerschlag has looked inside the mouth of a wild tiger shark and lived to tell the tale. He says that sharks pose only a very small risk to people: "Humans are not on the shark's menu."

Categories: Environment

BP faces further $2.5bn charge over Deepwater Horizon spill

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 10:54am

Oil company has paid out more than $60bn in liabilities over environmental disaster that still threatens wildlife and ecology around Gulf of Mexico

BP is to take a further $2.5bn (£1.87bn) hit as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident, bringing the total cost of the environmental disaster to almost $62bn.

The latest after-tax non-operating charge will be taken in the company’s second quarter financial results to be formally announced on 26 July.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

A climate report that we ignore at our peril | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 10:37am

Though it does not actually say so, the report of the Committee on Climate Change (Report, 12 July) is a salutary reminder that a capitalist economy based on infinite economic growth, as expressed in terms of consumption-led GDP, is unsustainable and, if allowed to continue in its present form, will ultimately devastate the entire planet. Moreover, unless we cease using fossil fuels for energy and replace them with renewables at the earliest possible opportunity, the voluntary agreement reached at last year’s COP 21 climate summit to limit increases in global temperatures to less than 2C will be little more than hot air.

For an energy union like the GMB with thousands of members in the gas industry, the priority must be to establish a viable, UK-based, publicly owned renewable energy industry, thus enabling a just transition for those whose jobs will cease to exist in the coming decades. For this to happen, the vested interests of the privately owned energy monopolies have to be challenged, a point eloquently made by climate activist Naomi Klein at a packed meeting during COP 21 in Paris, organised by the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy network, which GMB supports.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Scientists call for better plastics design to protect marine life

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 7:25am

Improved materials would encourage recycling and prevent single-use containers from entering the oceans and breaking into small pieces

Plastics should be better designed to encourage recycling and prevent wasteful single-use containers finding their way into our oceans, where they break up into small pieces and are swallowed by marine animals, scientists said on Thursday.

This could be as effective as a ban on microbeads, proposed by green campaigners as a way of dealing with the rising levels of microplastic waste - tiny pieces of near-indestructible plastic materials - that are harming marine life.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The Keartons: inventing nature photography – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 4:48am

Richard and Cherry Kearton, working in the 1890s, were possibly the world’s first professional wildlife photographers. The brothers’ pioneering photos include the first shot of a bird’s nest with eggs and the first Masai lion hunt.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Hinkley Point: new UK chancellor determined to start building

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 1:50am

Philip Hammond says nuclear power project must go ahead but admits elements of uncertainty over spiralling cost and ministerial reshuffle

The new chancellor of the exchequer has expressed his determination to see construction begin on the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, amid mounting concerns over the cost of the project.

“We have to make sure the project goes ahead,” Philip Hammond told BBC’s Today programme. However, he admitted there was “obviously an atmosphere of uncertainty” around the £18bn scheme due to the change of ministers following the referendum.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Brexit will force EU countries 'to make deeper, costlier carbon cuts'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 1:00am

Bloc will have to draw up new plan with higher cuts for remaining 27 states in order to meet its carbon reduction target, which could cost billions of euros

Brexit will force the European Union’s remaining 27 countries to spend billions of euros on cutting carbon emissions more deeply to compensate for the UK leaving, according to experts.

The UK will be included in a Brussels communique on 20 July, setting out individual targets for EU signatory states to meet a bloc goal of a 40% emissions cut by 2030, as pledged in Paris last year.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

London's Oxford Street to be pedestrianised by 2020

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 12:39am

Mayor of London announces plan to ban vehicles from major shopping street as part of his commitment to tackle air pollution

Oxford Street will be pedestrianised by 2020, the mayor of London’s office has announced.

The central London shopping hub is one of the busiest in the capital and is visited by more than 4 million people each week.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Pacific ​​islands nations consider world's first treaty to ban fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/14 - 12:03am

Treaty under consideration by 14 countries would ban new coalmines and embraces 1.5C target set at Paris climate talks

The world’s first international treaty that bans or phases out fossil fuels is being considered by leaders of developing Pacific islands nations after a summit in the Solomon Islands this week.

The leaders of 14 countries agreed to consider a proposed Pacific climate treaty, which would bind signatories to targets for renewable energy and ban new or the expansion of coalmines, at the annual leaders’ summit of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

From field to fork: the six stages of wasting food

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/07/13 - 11:00pm

Americans chuck out two tonnes of food a second – be it at the farm for being ‘ugly’ or at the table because we’re too finicky

Every second, an amount of food equal to the weight of a sedan car is thrown away in the US – about 60m tonnes a year. It starts at the farm. The potato that grew to the size of a brick. The watermelon with the brown slasher marks on the rind. The cauliflower stained yellow in the sun. The peach that lost its blush before harvest. Any of those minor imperfections - none of which affect taste or quality or shelf life - can doom a crop right there. If the grower decides the supermarkets - or ultimately the consumer - will reject it, those fruits and vegetables never make it off the farm.

Then there are the packing warehouses, where a specific count must be maintained for each plastic clamshell or box - and any strawberry or plum that does not make it is junked, if it can’t immediately be sold for juice or jam.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Post-Brexit farming subsidies must protect nature, 84 groups say

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/07/13 - 10:01pm

Protection for birds, wildlife and waterways should come top of the list when any new payments for farmers are considered, NGOs tell new government

New subsidies paid to farmers under a post-Brexit government must be linked closely to environmental responsibilities, a large group of political and civil society organisations has urged.

Protection for birds, wildlife, waterways and other natural goods should come top of the list when any new payments are considered, wrote 84 food, farming and conservation specialists in a letter to Oliver Letwin and Theresa May on Thursday.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content