River Dee's pearl mussels get a helping hand – or gill

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/08/13 - 2:48pm

They were hunted to near-extinction. Now a £3.5m project aims to let the Scottish molluscs flourish again

The sun shines on clear river water running through a valley in the Cairngorms, bringing the stones on the river bed into colourful focus. Here and there are dark shadows, half-buried clusters of dull black shells, lined and gouged by decades of shifting water and gravel: the pearl mussels of the river Dee.

Related: Fundraising drive aims to save seabird paradise off Scotland

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Categories: Environment

Philip Hammond told to extend UK guarantees on EU grants

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/08/13 - 3:51am

Treasury is expected to continue funding for all investment fund projects if they are agreed before autumn statement

The chancellor has been told to go further after promising to invest billions of pounds in projects currently funded by the EU after the UK leaves the union.

Philip Hammond announced on Saturday that taxpayers would contribute about £4.5bn a year to projects to support scientists and farmers and build infrastructure.

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Categories: Environment

Large cruise ship voyage through Arctic ice rekindles rows

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 11:00pm

Campaigners say Crystal Serenity trip puts at risk very environment tourists are travelling to see in Northwest Passage

A decision to proceed with plans to sail the first huge cruise liner through the Northwest Passage on Tuesday with 1,000 passengers on board has rekindled rows with environmentalists about the Arctic.

The wildlife charity WWF has accused Crystal Cruises of putting at risk “the very thing that tourists would come to see” – a pristine wilderness and home to endangered species such as polar bears and walrus.

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Categories: Environment

White waterlilies combine purity with a hint of danger

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 9:30pm

South Uist They exist in two worlds, coming to flower in the sunshine and open air while rooted in the murky waters of the loch

It’s a scene worthy of the grounds around the most cultured of stately homes. An expanse of tranquil water faithfully reflecting back the glorious blue of a cloudless summer sky while a spread of white waterlilies rests serenely on its surface. Yet this is no planned garden but just one of the many lochs and lochans on the moorland and rough grazing which, for a short period each year, becomes something almost magical.

The contrast with the wiry grasses and the stands of scratchy, leggy heather itself soon to come into bloom only emphasises the waxy perfection of the waterlilies. Each layered ruff of white petals curves gently upward, cradling the mass of yellow anthers in the centre of the flower. There is a touch of the purity of the lotus about them, yet also somehow a hint of danger and mystery, existing as they do in two worlds, coming to flower in the sunshine and open air while rooted in the murky waters of the loch.

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Categories: Environment

From the rich black soil of the Liverpool Plains springs hope for coalmine-free future

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 5:44pm

New South Wales government couches its words carefully, but community hopes the end of BHP mine also spells the end of the Shenhua Watermark mine

One of Australia’s biggest mining battles could be drawing to a close, with the enormous Shenhua Watermark coalmine looking set to be stopped by the state government after relentless community pressure.

In a major victory for the uneasy coalition of environmentalists, farmers and conservative politicians and commentators, the New South Wales government said it was moving to stop mining in the fertile farming soils of the Liverpool Plains.

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Categories: Environment

German Chestnut Tree Accepts Letters, Answers Queries, Promotes Environmentalism

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 4:39pm

The tree in Duesseldorf has gotten more than 5,000 letters and cards. People send it greetings, pour out their hearts, and ask for advice. The project encourages protection of old trees.

Categories: Environment

Axing clean energy supplement has barely caused a ripple, but it should | Lenore Taylor

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 4:33pm

Although the amounts appear insignificant, the cuts in payments to new welfare recipients will hit hard for the most disadvantaged Australians

For many people, $4.40 a week is a small sum – trivial even. A cup of coffee on the way to work, the parking change in the car console.

But for those Australians set to lose between $4.40 and $7.05 a week in one of the 45th parliament’s first legislative acts, many of them living below the poverty line, those small sums will make the dire choices of subsistence budgeting even more desperate.

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Categories: Environment

In The Pacific Northwest, Oil Train Derailment Highlights Potential Dangers

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 1:31pm

The number of trains carrying oil along the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington could dramatically increase. There's a plan to ship more oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota to a proposed oil terminal in southwest Washington state. An oil train derailment earlier this year has shown the potential danger faced by the region.

Categories: Environment

The fictional, extraordinary life of the Greenland shark – 392 years and counting

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 12:43pm

The enormous predator is one of the oldest and largest creatures on planet Earth. Writer Thomas Batten imagines a shark’s tale

Researchers in Arctic waters have used new techniques to set the age of a female Greenland shark at a staggering 392 years. The enormous predator – one of the world’s largest at about five meters in length – actually isn’t the oldest creature in the sea, as that honor belongs to a 507-year-old Icelandic clam, but the shark has definitely lived an extraordinary life.

Related: 400-year-old Greenland shark is oldest vertebrate animal

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Categories: Environment

The Colony-Killing Mistake Backyard Beekeepers Are Making

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 11:50am

Bee experts warn that novices may be inadvertently putting their hives in danger by not keeping the mite population in check.

Categories: Environment

Veganism’s place in the climate change debate | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 10:39am

It is very commendable that George Monbiot has converted to veganism (Opinion, 10 August), but perhaps he is deluding himself into thinking that this will alter our output of CO2 into the atmosphere. We can practise all the accepted methods of reducing carbon emissions, but nothing is more effective than choosing to have no more than two children. As we hurtle towards the point of no return with regards to global warming, choosing not to eat meat is quite low down the scale of things we need to do.

Which are: 1 Stabilise world population. 2 Eradicate poverty. 3 Stop using fossil fuels and change to renewables. 4 Use our land to produce crops more effectively. 5 Reduce excessive meat consumption.

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Categories: Environment

Rare island fox taken off endangered list after record-breaking recovery

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 10:09am

US delisted three subspecies of the fox endemic to California islands just 12 years after they were granted endangered status due to 90% population loss

A species of island fox unique to California has been removed from endangered species protection after a rapid recovery that the federal government says is the fastest of any mammal that has been placed on the in-danger list.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has delisted three subspecies of island fox – endemic to the San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands – just 12 years after they were granted endangered species protections due to a catastrophic 90% population loss.

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Categories: Environment

Pigeon fancier receives lifetime ban for cheating in race

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 10:08am

Eamon Kelly, 52, from Didcot, disqualified for cheating in Tarbes Grand National race after sending decoy birds

A pigeon-racing champion has received a lifetime ban from the sport after allegations that he cheated to win one of the most prestigious competitions in the sport’s calendar.

Eamon Kelly, 52, from Didcot, was accused of cheating by registering 14 birds for the Tarbes Grand National race but keeping them at home and sending decoys instead.

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Categories: Environment

A 400-year-old shark, fracking 'bribes' and Hinkley C – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 7:52am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Flint Mayor: 'Everybody Played A Role In This Disaster'

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 6:15am

As a federal state of emergency ends for Flint, Mich., Mayor Karen Weaver says residents don't trust that government officials have fully addressed the lead contamination of their water.

Categories: Environment

Greenland shark is longest-living vertebrate animal – video report

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 6:13am

Scientists say the Greenland shark has the longest lifespan of any vertebrate on the planet. Julius Nielsen, who has been studying the sharks, says record goes to a female thought to be between 272 and 512 years old and is five metres in length

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Categories: Environment

Why the Guardian is spending a year reporting on the plight of elephants

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 6:03am

Elephant herds face an uncertain future – over the next year we’ll be taking a closer look at what can be done to help

Welcome to the elephant conservation hub. Over the next year, with the support of Vulcan, Guardian journalists will be taking a closer look at the situation of elephant herds around the world.

Elephant conservation has been a particular focus for Vulcan, a private company set up by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to look for solutions to problems like endangered species, climate change and ocean health. The future of this particular species is precariously balanced. Although in some areas (a very few) elephant herds are expanding and thriving, the overall picture is one of decline, with falls of as much as 60% in elephant population in countries such as Tanzania.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 6:00am

A basking shark, panda cub and Finland’s bears and wolves are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Grouse shooting's rich, influential backers join forces to fire on critics

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 5:49am

Supporters are trying to improve sport’s reputation through a campaign group with no members that is funded anonymously

With the Glorious Twelfth, the 2016 grouse season is under way – and the first birds will be served up in many a country house on Friday night. But after raising a glass to the late Duke of Westminster, who owned a vast acreage of grouse moorland, the shooters may also toast a colourful and remarkably influential group of people trying to improve the tarnished reputation of their sport.

They include the retired cricketer Sir Ian Botham, a billionaire hedge fund owner who houses his chickens in a coop that supposedly cost £150,000, and a lobbyist who boasts of his role advising a Russian oligarch.

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Categories: Environment

Club owned by Shell blocks small Thames hydropower scheme

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/08/12 - 4:51am

Club succeeds with an appeal to stop planning permission for the west London project that would power 600 homes

A proposed small hydropower project in west London has received a further setback, as court judges allowed an appeal by a club owned by Shell against the granting of planning permission to the site.

The project, at Teddington lock and weirs, would deliver enough electricity to power about 600 homes. It is proposed by a local cooperative group, run by volunteers, who have raised a potential £700,000 to build the plant, which the proponents say would not have any damaging effect on fish in the Thames or other local wildlife.

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