Environment

Sticky solution: aphids' honeydew suits the bees

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 9:30pm

Langstone, Hampshire Bees scouting the hawthorn unrolled their tongues to mop up the sticky fluid excreted by the greenfly

Since mid May the hawthorn next to my kitchen window has been covered with greenfly. The leaves and stems are plastered with clusters of the sap-sucking insects and a dandruff of white cast skins, which the sub-adults moult as they mature.

Reproducing asexually by parthenogenesis, these aphids give birth to live offspring born with the embryos of the next generation inside their bodies. Nymphs reach sexual maturity in as little as five days, and a reproductively active adult can produce up to 12 genetic copies of itself a day.

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Categories: Environment

Finkel review anticipates lower power prices, but weak electricity emissions target

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 9:09pm

Report by the chief scientist, Alan Finkel, models a clean energy target that would reduce electricity emissions by 28% on 2005 levels

Australia’s chief scientist says a new clean energy target will deliver lower power prices to consumers than the status quo, but his report also models a scheme with a low target for emissions reduction from the electricity sector.

In his much anticipated review of the national electricity market, Alan Finkel has examined a scheme with an emissions reduction target of 28% on 2005 levels by 2030, rather than the reductions of 60% that some experts say would be necessary for Australia to meet its whole-of-economy pollution reduction target under the Paris climate accord.

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Categories: Environment

Leading Indigenous lawyer hits back at Marcia Langton over Adani

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 6:24pm

Tony McAvoy says traditional owners are ‘proud and independent’ and are not being used by anti-mining activists to block the $16bn mine

One of Australia’s leading native title lawyers has spoken publicly for the first time as a traditional owner fighting to stop the Adani mine, a campaign he said was driven by “proud and independent people” who were among the best-informed Indigenous litigants in the country.

Tony McAvoy SC, who became Australia’s first Indigenous silk in 2015, said the Wangan and Jagalingou people were keenly aware of how their priorities differed from environmentalist allies in a battle to preserve their Queensland country from one of the world’s largest proposed coalmines.

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Categories: Environment

CDC Reveals Sharper Numbers Of Zika Birth Defects From U.S. Territories

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 1:24pm

About 5 percent of pregnant women infected with Zika in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories last year had babies with birth defects, says the federal health agency. And the risk isn't over.

(Image credit: Carlos Giusti/AP)

Categories: Environment

The Paris climate agreement, Nicaragua and Donald Trump | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 10:57am
Nicaragua wants a tougher deal, writes Helen Yuill; and Dorothy Starr wants her president’s state visit to the UK called off

We welcome your excellent coverage of President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement (Anger at US as Trump rejects climate accord, 2 June). However, there are references to the US joining Syria and Nicaragua in rejecting the agreement. Presented out of context, this comparison is flawed. Syria didn’t sign because of the catastrophic civil war. Nicaragua refused to sign because it believes the agreement is too weak to address the enormity of the consequences of climate change, particularly in vulnerable developing countries.

Paul Oquist, Nicaraguan representative to the Paris talks, pointed out that the Paris carbon reduction targets are non-binding and even if fully met would lead to a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise. Oquist also highlighted the lack of political will and ambition on the part of the largest polluters, their failure to accept historical responsibility for global warming, and the lack of financial resources for technological transfer, adaptation, and compensation for losses and damages. He went on to say: “The Paris Agreement will not solve global warming problems but merely postpone them.”

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Categories: Environment

A promise on Paris agreement emerges as world 'wavers' on climate action

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 8:36am

EU’s new consensus sets out vision for European development policy, reinforcing the global goals, but critics say commitments do not go far enough

Major European countries have pledged to keep the Paris climate agreement on track amid “wavering” world commitment in a new development consensus agreed between the EU’s member states and signed in Brussels on Wednesday.

“These are challenging times,” said Neven Mimica, European commissioner for international cooperation and development. “The global commitment to the sustainable development goals – to climate action, to solidarity – this seems to be wavering globally. The significance of this new European consensus on development becomes much bigger than the sum of its parts because of this global questioning of climate action and even the sustainable development goals.”

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Categories: Environment

Brazilian tribal leader tours Europe to plead for help to stop killings and land grabs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 8:33am

Guarani-Kaiowá leader Ladio Veron is seeking international support to end violence against indigenous people and environmental destruction under the Temer administration, reports Mongabay

Ladio Veron, leader of Brazil’s indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá people, is touring Europe and making a desperate international appeal to halt attacks and killings, land theft and environmental destruction that his people say have become a hallmark of Brazil’s Temer administration.

The Guarani-Kaiowá is fighting for recognition of their indigenous land rights in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in southwest Brazil, bordering Paraguay. After decades of violent territorial disputes with cattle ranchers, soy and sugar cane farmers, Veron hopes to galvanize support and build an international network of allies that will put pressure on Temer and the agribusiness lobby-dominated National Congress back home.

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Categories: Environment

Americans 'under siege' from climate disinformation – former Nasa chief scientist

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 7:15am

Fake news spread by those with a profit motive is leaving many people oblivious to the threat of climate change, says former head of US space agency

Americans are “under siege” from disinformation designed to confuse the public about the threat of climate change, Nasa’s former chief scientist has said.

Speaking to the Guardian, Ellen Stofan, who left the US space agency in December, said that a constant barrage of half-truths had left many Americans oblivious to the potentially dire consequences of continued carbon emissions, despite the science being unequivocal.

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Categories: Environment

#WorldOceansDay: vaquita porpoises are fast dying out - can a radical rescue plan save them?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 5:39am

It’s World Ocean Day, so spare a thought for the vaquita – by the end of 2017, there could be just 15 of these small porpoises left

In a few months, conservationists will converge on the Gulf of California in a last-ditch effort to save the vaquita from extinction, a species of tiny porpoise. The scientists face an unprecedented challenge: to bring as many vaquita into captivity as possible.

When the Vaquita CPR rescue plan was announced back in April, I interviewed several scientists for Nature News. At that point, the best estimate was that there were just 30 vaquita left. It now looks like there are fewer than this.

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Categories: Environment

Trump's pitch for making the Mexico border wall 'beautiful': add solar panels

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 5:13am

The president’s ‘put a solar panel on it’ policy to fund the wall may be expensive, impossible to build – and it’s unclear what the energy would be used for

The president this week proposed a radical way to fund his proposed Mexican border wall: covering it in solar panels.

The same Donald Trump who has spent years criticizing renewable energy as uneconomical and who has pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement has now floated the idea of adding solar panels to his proposed barrier along the the US–Mexico border.

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Categories: Environment

Pittsburgh and Paris join over 200 cities and states rejecting Trump on climate | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 3:00am

Local and international efforts might be enough to limit the damage Trump’s scorched Earth approach

I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris

So said Donald Trump in a speech justifying his irrational, historically irresponsible decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris international climate treaty. Of course, 75% of Pittsburgh residents voted for Hillary Clinton, and many city residents have since written about the outdatedness and absurdity of Trump’s invocation of Pittsburgh, which aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2035. In fact, Pittsburgh joined 210 other “climate cities” representing 54 million Americans (17% of the national population), pledging:

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Categories: Environment

Shark bites teacher in Devon surfing incident

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 2:58am

Rich Thomson was surfing off Bantham beach in south Devon when a metre-long shark bit his hand

It won’t go down as a great tale of derring-do on the high seas and it is very unlikely that a film or book deal will follow. But a teacher from Devon has a salty story to tell after an episode in which a “small shark” drew blood while he was surfing in south-west England.

Rich Thomson, 30, a chemistry teacher at Kingsbridge community college, was off Bantham beach in south Devon when he said he felt something grab him by the leg.

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Categories: Environment

Kenya Announces Ban On Plastic Bags

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 2:09am

Kenya is the latest African country to combat the environmental problems caused by plastic bags. They litter the landscape, but many Kenyans find them indispensable for daily life.

Categories: Environment

Finkel review: renewable energy to face new security and reliability regulations

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 1:44am

Sector will have to ensure around the clock supply as chief scientist also demands three years’ notice over station closures

New security and reliability obligations will be imposed on power generators, and ageing plants will have to provide regulators with three years’ notice before they close, according to sweeping reforms proposed by Australia’s chief scientist.

In a briefing for state energy ministers on Thursday afternoon, ahead of the release of his final report to the Council of Australian Governments on Friday, Alan Finkel outlined the new regulatory regime and signalled he would recommend a new emissions reduction mechanism, to be called the clean energy target.

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Categories: Environment

New Danish triennial looks at nature throughout history – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/08 - 12:00am

Large-scale installations across Aarhus city depict nature, and man’s relationship with it, in three categories: the past, present and future – from a structure highlighting bee decline to a reflection on light pollution

ARoS Art Museum’s triennial The Garden – End of Times, Beginning of Times runs until 30 July; The Past section runs until 10 Sept

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Categories: Environment

‘There is so much out there’: Kenya’s plastic bag battle – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/06/07 - 11:00pm

Plastic bags are an infamous problem in Nairobi. They clog its waterways and litter its streets. The Kenyan government is attempting to ban their use from August – with implications for businesses from supermarkets to recyclers.

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Categories: Environment

Barefoot among the barrel-rolling damselflies

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/06/07 - 9:30pm

Sandy Bedfordshire As the damsels flew upstream I began to wade with the fishes. It felt like a release, liberation even

Walking barefoot through a field of long grass, I poked into a molehill with my big toe. Its summit was like toasted breadcrumbs and the dislodged granules rolled down the slopes as loose scree.

My rotating foot waggled deeper, finding darker, damp, earth that held firm. The moisture suggested that this molehill was an eruption from the night before; the toes told what the eyes could only surmise.

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Categories: Environment

Japan nuclear workers inhale plutonium after bag breaks

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/06/07 - 7:16pm

Safety and security concerns raised after equipment inspection at research facility just north of Tokyo goes wrong

Five workers at a Japanese nuclear facility have been exposed to high levels of radiation after a bag containing plutonium apparently broke during an equipment inspection.

Contamination was found inside the nostrils of three of the five men, a sign they had inhaled radioactive dust, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) said on Wednesday. All five also had radioactive material on their limbs after removing protective gear and taking a shower.

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Categories: Environment

If You See Dirty Water, Don't Just Gripe. Talk To The Cloud!

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/06/07 - 2:32pm

Scientists and activists in India are training citizens to collect information on water issues like contamination — and upload it so it can be used to push for change.

(Image credit: Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

U.S. Pays Farmers Billions To Save The Soil. But It's Blowing Away

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/06/07 - 2:32pm

Right now, the government rents farmland to help protect soil and water. But once the land is farmed again, the benefits disappear. Environmentalists want to change that.

(Image credit: United States Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia)

Categories: Environment
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