Environment

Boris Johnson rejects London motion on fossil fuel divestment

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 7:38am

Mayor dismisses call to divest £4.8bn pension fund from oil, coal and gas saying UK needs fracking to avoid relying on energy imports

Boris Johnson has rejected a motion by the London assembly calling on City Hall’s pension fund to divest from fossil fuels, arguing the UK needs to press ahead with fracking to avoid being reliant on the Middle East and Russia for gas.

The mayor of London, who will attend cabinet from this week, said that a more realistic approach was needed than divestment, which he called a “sudden cliff edge”.

Related: Join the Guardian's climate change campaign

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Kenya opens $100m wildlife forensic lab to help prosecute poachers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 6:16am

New facility in Nairobi, first of its kind in east Africa, will collect and analyse DNA samples to help investigators identify the animal species killed by poachers

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Categories: Environment

Lukewarmers – the third stage of climate denial, gambling on snake eyes

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 6:00am

Lukewarmers are trying to make climate science denial more acceptable and mainstream

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Blooms around the world: readers' cherry blossom pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 5:30am

The trees have bloomed and we asked you for your most striking images from this year’s cherry blossom season. Here are some of our favourites

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Dead whale found on Spanish beach – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 5:10am
A dead six-tonne whale is seen washed up on a beach in Cullera in Valencia. The whale was first spotted, while still alive, in shallow waters on Monday morning by a Spanish coastguard patrol. But the body of 10-metre-long whale was found washed up on Pollo beach. The body of the whale is due to undergo a post-mortem Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Nuclear waste stored in 'shocking' way 120 miles from Ukrainian front line

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 4:41am

Experts raise concerns over waste stored in the open air at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, as the conflict increases Ukraine’s reliance on power from its ageing plants

Concerns have been raised by environmentalists and atomic power experts over the way waste is being stored at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, in crisis-ridden Ukraine.

More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are kept inside metal casks within towering concrete containers in an open-air yard close to a perimeter fence at Zaporizhia, the Guardian discovered on a recent visit to the plant, which is 124 miles (200km) from the current front line.

Given the current state of warfare, I cannot say what could be done to completely protect installations from attack

We know about the weak links in the plant [security]... But I doubt that that these should be disclosed

Nuclear fuel is the only sphere in which cooperation remains friendly because Ukraine is one of Russia’s biggest clients

Related: Chernobyl arch faces €265m funding gap ahead of disaster's 29th anniversary

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Categories: Environment

Canadian mining company spied on opponents and activists in Brazil

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 3:39am

Mining company Kinross’s ambitions to create most productive gold mine in Brazil plagued by health risks and threats to activists and opponents

Despite her advanced age, Juliana Morais da Costa still retains enough strength in her hands to hold the heavy bateia. “I began to pan gold when I was five. We started at 5am until 4pm. It was tough work, but I did it because it was the only way to be economically independent,” remembers Morais, 86.

Her home city of Paracatu is the epicentre of Brazil’s mining production, in the north of the state of Minas Gerais, which generates almost one-third of Brazil’s total mining production.

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Drought tightens grip on Queensland as record 80% of state succumbs

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/05/13 - 2:28am

Total area drought declared is 80.35% of state, eclipsing the previous record of 79.01% in March 2014 – during the same drought

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Could this be the world's most efficient solar electricity system?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 11:00pm

Using military technology and a zero-emission engine invented by a 19th-century Scot, Swedish firm seeks to revolutionise solar energy production

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A climate change poem for today: The Solace of Artemis by Paula Meehan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 10:30pm

UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy curates a series of 20 original poems by various authors on the theme of climate change

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Song thrush bursts with soul

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 9:29pm
Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: Interpretations of what he’s doing seem inadequate, he fills the place with the sound of his entire being Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rio surfing event under way despite worries about sewage pollution

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 6:32pm

The world’s top surfers are competing at the Oi Rio Pro event at Barra da Tijuca beach, which is near a spot where raw effluent empties into the sea

Many of the world’s top surfers are in Rio de Janeiro for a major surfing competition that kicked off on Tuesday amid persistent worries about the city’s polluted waters.

Kelly Slater of the United States and Brazilian star Gabriel Medina were among those competing at the Oi Rio Pro event, which runs through to May 22 on Rio’s Barra da Tijuca beach. The Barra neighbourhood is one of the main sites for competition at next year’s Olympics.

Related: Polluted Rio de Janeiro beach ruled out for pro surfing competition

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef funding only a fraction of what is needed, WWF says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 5:46pm

WWF-Australia says there is a $400m shortfall in budget in the amount needed to protect the reef from chemical runoff

Government programs have yet to have any positive effect on the Great Barrier Reef, conservationists say, with federal funding only a fraction of what is needed to tackle chemical pollution, conservationists say.

WWF-Australia said the federal budget, the last before Unesco decides next month whether to list the reef as in danger, set aside only $100m to fight runoff into the reef where $500m was needed.

Related: Australian budget hands emissions reduction fund another year of funding

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Thinning Antarctic ice shelf could contribute to sea level rise, says study

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 4:01pm

Warming oceans are main driver of ice loss from Larsen C, which is more than twice the size of Wales and could unlock huge amount of ice if it collapses

The largest ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula is thinning because of warmer ocean and air temperatures that are driving it towards a collapse that could contribute significantly to sea level rise, a new study has found.

The study by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) analysed the Larsen C ice shelf, which is two and a half times the size of Wales. The team looked at satellite radar imagery taken between 1998 and 2012 to find that Larsen C lost 4 metres of thickness.

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Defra 'breaking law' by not restoring hacked air-quality website, say users

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 11:26am

Environment department accused of violating European law for not getting UK Air site, which provides live data on air quality, online since Islamist cyber-attack

The UK government has been accused of breaking European law after failing to get its air-quality website back online more than a month after a cyber-attack by Islamist hackers.

The UK Air site, part of the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), is supposed to provide live estimates of air quality across the country, including levels of particulate matter and other pollutants, as well as health advice.

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Letting Shell drill in Arctic could lead to catastrophic oil spill, experts warn

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 11:12am

Lack of local infrastructure to undertake oil exploration will prove devastating, environmentalists say – there is one road, no rail system and limited air facilities

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Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 10:10am

Genes linked to inflammation are more active in winter, a study hints. That might partly explain why some diseases, including Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to start then.

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Categories: Environment

Why the University of Edinburgh will not divest from all fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 9:03am

We will not withdraw investment without prior engagement but will seek to help tackle climate change through research and development with companies in the fossil fuel sector and beyond

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Should we drop protections for birds of prey?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 8:30am

Daily Mail article by Robin Page claims birds of prey are damaging wild bird populations, but wildlife experts say his ‘naive’ proposal is not backed by science and predators regulate populations

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Will Colombia stop fighting coca by spraying glyphosate?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/05/12 - 7:05am

Research by the World Health Organisation sparks recommendations to suspend aerial fumigations of coca plants

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