Environment

Bustards strut their stuff after return to the plain

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 9:30pm

Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire The breeding season has started late and male great bustards are still performing their elaborate courtship displays

We follow a pitted farm track over the brow of the hill and into the valley, then climb off-road to the hide. The 38,0000 hectare chalk plateau is a haven for wildlife with its patchwork of close-cropped grass, golden oilseed rape and small strips of soil ploughed bare to create stone curlew nesting plots.

In 1998 the Great Bustard Group began exploring the possibility of reintroducing this vulnerable species, which became extinct in the UK in 1832. Annual releases of imported bustards began in 2004 and the first eggs were laid by reintroduced birds in 2007, but the population is not yet self-sustaining. Although breeding has taken place every year, survival rates are low and not all surviving juveniles are recruited to the adult population. Lekking usually peaks in April, but this year the breeding season started later than usual and I’ve been told that there is still a chance of seeing the males perform their elaborate display.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution now major contributor to stroke, global study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 3:30pm

Scientists say finding is alarming, and shows that harm caused by air pollution to the lungs, heart and brain has been underestimated

Air pollution has become a major contributor to stroke for the first time, with unclean air now blamed for nearly one third of the years of healthy life lost to the condition worldwide.

In an unprecedented survey of global risk factors for stroke, air pollution in the form of fine particulate matter ranked seventh in terms of its impact on healthy lifespan, while household air pollution from burning solid fuels ranked eighth.

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Categories: Environment

Stick A Fork In It: Federal Meteorologists Say El Nino Is Done

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 1:58pm

This year's extra-large El Nino weather pattern is over, according to federal meteorologists. The pattern brought heavy rain to many parts of the country and was one of the strongest ever.

Categories: Environment

Australia's largest cockatoo threatened by bauxite mining

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 1:26pm

Exclusive: Proposed mines to produce aluminium are putting the habitat of vulnerable Cape York palm cockatoo at risk, sparking calls for stronger environmental laws

Australia’s spectacular palm cockatoo is being put at risk by proposed bauxite mines, conservationists have said.

The Cape York palm cockatoo, Australia’s largest cockatoo, is listed as vulnerable under Australia’s federal environment laws. About 3,000 mature birds are thought to exist, and their numbers are declining.

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Categories: Environment

CO2 turned into stone in Iceland in climate change breakthrough

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 11:00am

Radical new technique promises a cheaper and more secure method of burying CO2 emissions underground instead of storing it as a gas

Carbon dioxide has been pumped underground and turned rapidly into stone, demonstrating a radical new way to tackle climate change.

The unique project promises a cheaper and more secure way of burying CO2 from fossil fuel burning underground, where it cannot warm the planet. Such carbon capture and storage (CCS) is thought to be essential to halting global warming, but existing projects store the CO2 as a gas and concerns about costs and potential leakage have halted some plans.

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Categories: Environment

Welcome to Formentera, the island that wants all its cars electric

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 8:59am

Tiny Spanish island takes first delivery of electric vehicles as it sets out to become the first in Europe to banish petrol and diesel cars from its shores

The tiny Mediterranean island of Formentera has taken delivery of six electric cars as part of an ambitious plan to be the first island in Europe to banish traditional cars from its shores.

At 12 miles (19km) from end-to-end and with a population of about 12,000, Formentera is the smallest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. In summer, however, 15,000 cars are in circulation, arriving by ferry or rented on the island.

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Categories: Environment

Urgent action needed to stop terrifying rise in air pollution, warns OECD

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 8:56am

Toxic air set to cause as many as 9 million premature deaths a year around the world in the next four decades, with economic costs rising to trillions a year

Air pollution is becoming a “terrifying” problem around the globe, one of the world’s leading economic organisations has warned, and will get much worse in the coming decades if urgent steps are not taken to control the pollution.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday that pollution of our air from industry, agriculture and transport was set to cause as many as 9 million premature deaths a year around the world in the next four decades, and the economic costs are likely to rise to about $2.6 tn (£1.8tn) a year over the same period.

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Categories: Environment

Spice gull: seabird turns orange after falling into vat of curry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 7:01am

Wildlife hospital uses washing-up liquid to clean bird that was scavenging for food at factory

A seagull turned bright orange after it fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala.

The bird fell into the container while trying to scavenge meat from a food factory bin on Monday. It was rescued by workers at the site in Wales, and picked up by a volunteer for Vale wildlife hospital, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

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Categories: Environment

Windfarm owner Dong Energy floats for £10bn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 5:49am

Copenhagen-based company happy with IPO while in process of moving from fossil fuels to renewables

Dong Energy, a Danish company that owns offshore windfarms around the UK, was valued at Kr 98.2bn (£10bn) as it successfully pulled off Europe’s largest stock market flotation this year.

The Copenhagen-based group, which employs 700 people in Britain and is in the middle of a transition from a focus on fossil fuels to renewables, saw its shares soar a further 10% after they were sold to new investors at Kr235 each.

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Categories: Environment

Bristol mayor approves £5m low-carbon heating scheme

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 4:55am

New low-carbon heating network is first stage of a plan to transform Bristol into a carbon-neutral city by 2050, reports BusinessGreen

Bristol’s newly elected mayor, Marvin Rees, has approved the city’s first major step towards becoming carbon neutral by 2050, giving the go-ahead for £5m in capital funding to build a low-carbon district heating network to serve the city.

The first phase of the heat network, which was approved earlier this week, will supply low-carbon heat to buildings throughout Bristol via a network of underground pipes connected to a number of energy centres, including biomass boilers and gas combined heat and power plants. Over time the city plans to phase out the use of natural gas in favour of renewable alternatives.

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Categories: Environment

EU accused of exporting problem of overfishing with Mauritania deal

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 4:46am

EU vessels to catch shrimp, tuna and other fish in return for funds, but critics say there is little evidence that EU cash is helping Mauritanian fishing communities

The EU has renewed a four-year fishing agreement with Mauritania that will allow more than 100 EU vessels into Mauritania’s waters in return for funding that will support local fishing communities. But the deal has its critics.

The agreement, which has just been greenlit by the European parliament, is an avenue for member states to help meet a burgeoning demand for fish that the bloc is unable to satisfy. Since 2009, EU fish imports have risen by 6% each year. In 2014 alone, the bloc imported €21bn (£16bn) – quadruple that of meat imports.

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Categories: Environment

What was it like before the Clean Air Act of 1956? Share your memories

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 3:38am

Sixty years on since the introduction of measures to reduce air pollution we’d like to hear your smog recollections

In 1952 the great smog of London saw a week-long pea-souper take over the capital which contributed to the deaths of at least 4,000 people. In response to the disaster, the government passed the Clean Air Act of 1956 aimed at reducing air pollutants.

Recently, the new mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveiled plans to substantially increase the size of London’s clean air charging zone to tackle the capital’s illegal air pollution levels.

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Categories: Environment

Philadelphia proposals could put city at forefront of water safety efforts

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 3:30am

Bills introduced by city council members would require landlords to warn renters about lead piping and require testing by daycares and schools

As the Philadelphia water department faces continued scrutiny over how it tests for lead, bills introduced by city council members could push the city to the fore in warning residents about the dangers of lead in water.

Related: Philadelphia water department faces class action lawsuit over water testing

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Categories: Environment

Nasa to map coral reefs from the air to show impact of climate change

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 2:31am

Scientists hope large-scale maps will offer new insight into effects of warming and pollution as previous studies have almost always been done up close in the water

Coral reefs have almost always been studied up close, by scientists in the water looking at small portions of larger reefs to gather data and knowledge about the larger ecosystems. But Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is taking a step back and getting a wider view, from about 23,000 ft above.

Nasa and top scientists from around the world are launching a three-year campaign on Thursday to gather new data on coral reefs like never before.

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Categories: Environment

Alaska on track for hottest year since records began

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 1:59am

Warmest spring on record helps push states’s year-to-date temperature more than 10°F (5.5°C) above average, reports Climate Central

Alaska just can’t seem to shake the fever it has been running. This spring was easily the hottest the state has ever recorded and it contributed to a year-to-date temperature that is more than 10°F (5.5°C) above average, according to data released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

The Lower 48, meanwhile, had its warmest spring since the record-breaking scorcher of 2012.

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Categories: Environment

Satellite eye on Earth: May 2016 – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/09 - 1:00am

Rolling sand dunes of Arabia, thinning glaciers of Greenland and wildfires of Fort McMurray in Canada were among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month

Nasa astronaut Jeff Williams captured this image of the ancient Potidea canal in Greece from the International Space Station. For 2,000 years this canal has connected the Thermaikos and Toronaios Gulfs. Williams posted the photograph on Twitter, saying: ‘Coastal currents and erosion over 2,000 years appear to have displaced the two sides of this isthmus, which may explain the coastline’s misalignment.’

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Categories: Environment

Nestlé, if you care about the environment what's with your disposable coffee cups?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 9:00pm

Nescafé’s one-use cups are aimed at busy commuters who want cheap on-the-go coffee, but we already have reusable cups for that

Nestlé has made it possible to skip the queues and make coffee-to-go in the comfort of your own kitchen. For £4.30 you can buy a box of four disposable coffee cups, pre-filled with a mix of instant coffee and ground coffee sealed under some tin foil.

It’s an invention surely up there with the equally necessary egg cube (because oval eggs are so 2010) and the banana slicer (because knives just don’t cut it anymore.)

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Categories: Environment

Ellen DeGeneres bombarded by Great Barrier Reef tweets from Australian minister

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 7:59pm

Greg Hunt defends conservative government’s actions in torrent of posts to the Finding Dory star

The Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, has bombarded Ellen DeGeneres with tweets after she appealed to Australia to do more to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Following news of the death of almost a quarter of the coral on the reef this year, DeGeneres, who plays the fish Dory in the 2003 film Finding Nemo and its upcoming sequel, Finding Dory, released a video message as part of a campaign called Remember the Reef.

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Categories: Environment

How the Great Barrier Reef got polluted – from farms and fossil fuels to filthy propaganda | Graham Readfearn

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 3:40pm

Policies and rhetoric around the Great Barrier Reef have rarely matched reality as the natural wonder suffers under the stress of pollution

In late November 2015, as corals across the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef started to bleach white, the game was finally up.

For years, Australians had been told the country’s jewel in the ocean’s crown was on the mend. Only months earlier the Coalition government had won a two-year fight to keep the reef off a United Nations list of world heritage sites in danger.

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Categories: Environment

Congress Passes Largest Chemical Safety Legislation In 40 Years

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 1:31pm

Congress has passed the biggest chemical safety legislation in 40 years. NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Richard Denison of the Environmental Defense Fund about what this means for consumers.

Categories: Environment
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