Thousands of social tenants will lose out if solar subsidies cuts go ahead

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 5:32am

Proposed cuts will halt solar panel schemes on up to 45,000 UK social homes, that could save households £200 a year on energy bills, say renewable energy firms

Plans to put solar panels on up to 45,000 social houses in the UK will be shelved if government subsidy cuts go ahead in January as promised, renewable energy companies have told the Guardian.

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Categories: Environment

OECD countries agree to restrict financing for overseas coal power plants

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 4:55am

Opposition from Japan overcome in compromise agreement hailed as ‘major step forward’ by US officials, although not all export financing for coal will be eliminated

A compromise struck by the United States, Japan and several other major nations will restrict export financing to build coal power plants overseas, but not eliminate it completely.

The agreement reached on Tuesday is an important step forward that sends a strong political message ahead of upcoming international climate change negotiations in Paris, an American official and environmentalists said. Japan and the United States were long at odds on this issue.

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Categories: Environment

UK to close all coal power plants in switch to gas and nuclear

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 4:34am

Amber Rudd vows to close coal-fired stations by 2025 but says balance has swung too far in favour of green policies

The UK will close all coal-fired power plants by 2025, the first major country to do so, but will fill the capacity gap largely with new gas and nuclear plants rather than cleaner alternatives.

The announcement came in a speech by the energy secretary, Amber Rudd, which she described as a “reset” of Britain’s energy policy on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Can farms be good for nature without being organic?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 4:31am

The organic-or-not debate ignores a crucial further option. Setting aside tracts of land for wildlife habitat can benefit bees, butterflies and plants without harming crop yields

Non-organic farmers can do much more to foster wild plants, butterflies and bugs without giving up on pesticides, according to new research, but organic farms still bring the largest benefits for wildlife.

In the UK, 80 non-organic farms have signed up to the conservation grade (CG) scheme. This requires them to turn 10% of their land over to habitat specifically targeted at supporting their local ecology. In return, farmers brand their products with a “Fair to Nature” accreditation and can charge a premium for them.

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Categories: Environment

2015 shatters the temperature record as global warming speeds back up | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 4:00am

Thanks to human-caused global warming and an assist from El Niño, 2015 will easily be the hottest year in millennia

With just a month and a half left in 2015, it’s clear this year will be by far the hottest on record, easily beating the previous record set just last year. The temporary slowdown in the warming of global surface temperatures (also misnamed the “pause”) has ended, as each of the past four years has been hotter than the one before.

El Niño is one reason 2015 has been such an incredibly hot year. During El Niño events, hot water is transported from the deep ocean layers to the surface. Over the past 15 years, we’ve experienced more La Niñas than El Niños, which helped temporarily slow the warming of global surface temperatures.

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Categories: Environment

Calif. Drought Adds To The Perils Of Endangered Chinook Salmon

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 3:32am

For the second year, there's a diminishing count of juvenile salmon migrating downstream away from their spawning grounds in northern California. The drought isn't the only problem the salmon face.

Categories: Environment

How scientific miscalculations could crash the climate | Andrew Simms

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 2:32am

In the last month, experts have questioned the accuracy of current targets for both emissions reductions and the resources needed for climate action. So what does this mean for the planet?

Measurement can be simply a matter of getting things to fit– or a matter of life and death. By confusing different scales and units, a friend once nearly ordered a Venetian blind that would have been three metres wide and only three inches deep.

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Categories: Environment

Outraged by CEO salaries? It was your shares that approved them

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 12:00am

There is little recognition of the pressure that we, the citizen investors, can put on companies to act more socially responsibly

People often talk of capitalism, and of plans to reform or replace it. But we seldom ask who are the capitalists, on whose behalf the system is supposedly run.

If we did, the answer might surprise us. I would bet that most of the people reading this article who are over 30 also ultimately own shares in the giant transnational companies that sit at the heart of the capitalist system.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition unexpectedly pushes on with 'green lawfare' legislation plan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 9:23pm

Labor says Turnbull government cancelled public hearings and brought forward a Senate committee report supporting laws proposed under Tony Abbott

The Turnbull government is pushing ahead with Tony Abbott’s controversial “lawfare’ changes to remove the legal standing of conservation groups to mount environmental court cases, with a Senate committee dominated by Coalition members recommending they proceed without holding any public hearings.

Related: Farm groups furious at Coalition move to restrict environmental challenges

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Categories: Environment

Australian court fines Japanese whaling company $1m for 'intentional' breaches

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 8:08pm

Kyodo Senpaku has been found guilty in a case brought by Humane Society International – the first verdict of contempt of the environment act

An Australian court has found a Japanese whaling company guilty of “wilful contempt” of court for breaching an order to stop killing whales, and has fined it $1m.

On Wednesday, the Australian federal court heard an application by Humane Society International (HSI) as part of a decade-long legal battle against the company Kyodo Senpaku to stop Japan killing whales within Australia’s Antarctic whale sanctuary.

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Categories: Environment

Paris Climate Conference Represents 'Best Chance' For World To Act

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 2:59pm

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, ahead of the Paris Climate Conference. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries will discuss how to slow climate change.

Categories: Environment

El Niño rains for dry California but scientists fear for coral reefs

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 1:54pm

Data suggests giant climatic event could be the strongest on record, meaning rains for drought-stricken California and a worsening of the coral die-off

The giant El Niño climatic event is set to bring rain to drought-stricken California by January, but is likely to exacerbate a widespread die-off of corals in the ocean, new data suggests.

The relentless warming trend highlighted by the new data also shows the world has just experienced its warmest October on record.

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Categories: Environment

Fossil-fuel divestment is not the only option for ethical investors | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 1:26pm

Thomas Piketty is right to draw attention to the importance of investors taking action on climate change (Piketty urges investors to divest stakes in fossil fuels, 14 November). My foundation has divested. But divest/invest are not the only options for investors, many of whom cannot quickly divest from all fossil fuels.

We need concerned investors to use their stakes in fossil-fuel companies, and also in companies at risk of diminishing value due to climate change, to change company behaviour. They can do this by requiring them to develop and share their plans for transition to a low-carbon economy. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has given a lead on this and thoughtful companies will already be working on such plans. Investors can and must give the process the momentum it badly needs to ensure that companies across the board reduce their emissions in the five to 10 years we have left before irreversible climate change takes hold.
Carolyn Hayman
Chair, Preventable Surprises

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Categories: Environment

Conservation groups allege US has failed to protect endangered red wolf

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 11:52am

US Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed one of world’s rarest wolves to be killed, as an estimated 50 to 75 are left in North Carolina wilderness, lawsuit alleges

The US government has failed to properly protect the red wolf, one of the world’s rarest wolves, by allowing a member of the species’ small wild population to be killed, conservationists have claimed.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been taken to court by a coalition of environmental groups that argues it has not properly protected the endangered red wolf, with estimates of just 50 to 75 of the animals left in the wild in North Carolina.

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Categories: Environment

Entrepreneurs Pitch Sustainable Seafood Ideas; Investors Take The Bait

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 10:35am

At Fish 2.0, entrepreneurs get the chance to sell their ideas for modernizing the industry to a roomful of investors and venture capitalists. It's kind of like TV's Shark Tank — for the fish world.

Categories: Environment

How a bottle of Russian salad dressing inspired corporate social responsibility

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 9:57am

Timberland’s former chief operating officer sheds light on the company’s lofty sustainability practices, but argues more needs to be done to develop an industry standard for emissions reporting

The first decade of the 21st century was a boom time for corporate sustainability. Iconic US companies, including GE, IBM, Walmart and Google, embraced the movement. Fortune 500 firms published their first corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. Conferences, consultants and awards proliferated.

Timberland – where I worked for 15 years through 2007 – won more than its share of plaudits. One personal highlight was attending the 2002 ceremony at the White House, where Timberland received the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership, joining the ranks of other US exemplars of corporate citizenship such as UPS, General Mills, HP, Alcoa, Johnson & Johnson, SC Johnson, Procter & Gamble and many more.

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Categories: Environment

Olafur Eliasson: why I'm sailing Arctic icebergs into Paris

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 9:54am

It was meant to be a comment on climate change. But now, by sailing 12 pieces of ice from Greenland and placing them in the Place de la République, the artist is hoping to restore the numbed feelings of a city in shock

It was planned as a wake-up call to one crisis, but it is sailing towards the heart of another. A mass of ice harvested from Greenland is currently on its way to Paris, where it is due to be installed on Place de la République on 29 November to mark the UN climate change conference COP 21. “The blocks are in freezer containers normally used to ship shrimps from Greenland,” says Olafur Eliasson, the Danish-Icelandic artist behind Ice Watch Paris.

He imagined the work as a way of making the fragility and decay of the Arctic visible, not to mention tangible: “You stand in front of the ice, and then you can touch it.” Now, it also feels like a strange and unexpected homage to Paris itself.

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Categories: Environment

Stanford president pressed on fossil fuel divestment during haircut – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 8:45am

Stanford University president John Hennessy was asked about his current policies on fossil fuel divestment while getting his hair cut at a local barber. In a video posted online by the Fountain Hopper, Hennessey is told there are more than 100 students protesting outside his office and asked if he will meet with them. He says he cannot see them right away, but that they can make an appointment

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Categories: Environment

Paris climate summit march in doubt after talks deadlock

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 7:31am

Activists object to French government proposals to scale down protest on 29 November amid security fears following terrorist attacks

Talks between the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and campaigners over the fate of a huge march before the forthcoming Paris climate summit have ended without agreement.

In the wake of attacks in Paris last Friday, the French government proposed scaling down the protest from a march on 29 November – which organisers had hoped would draw hundreds of thousands of people – to a stationary rally.

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Categories: Environment

Design Museum's bike exhibition is a dream for all who love two wheels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/17 - 6:18am

Machines on which Eddy Merckx, Bradley Wiggins and others broke world records are shown alongside BMX, urban and cargo bikes at Cycle Revolution in London

The first wall of the Design Museum’s exhibition on the art of the bicycle is something of a waking dream for fans of all things shiny and two-wheeled: there hangs the machine on which Eddy Merckx took the world hour record in 1972, just down from Chris Boardman’s 1992 Olympics Lotus bike, alongside Chris Froome’s Tour de France-winning Pinarello.

But the organisers of what is the final attraction at the London museum’s Thames-side base before it moves to bigger premises in west London, stress that the exhibition, called Cycle Revolution, is about the bicycle in all its forms.

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