UK electric vehicle boom drives new car sales to 12-year high

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/02/06 - 2:42am

Sales confound motor trade group predictions that surge in new car registrations would cool amid rise in import prices

The number of new cars registered in the UK hit a 12-year high in January, with electric vehicles taking a record share of the market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body had warned of a slowdown in the motor trade in 2017 because of the impact of the weak pound, but there was no sign of deceleration in the first monthly numbers of the year.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's chief scientist compares Trump to Stalin over climate censorship

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/02/06 - 1:48am

Alan Finkel warns that forcing EPA data to undergo political review before publication will ‘cause long-term harm’

Australia’s chief scientist has slammed Donald Trump’s attempt to censor environmental data, saying the US president’s behaviour was comparable to the manipulation of science by the Soviet Union.

Speaking at a scientific roundtable in Canberra on Monday, Alan Finkel warned science was “literally under attack” in the United States and urged his colleagues to keep giving “frank and fearless” advice despite the political opposition.

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Categories: Environment

Shell begins huge task of decommissioning Brent oil rigs

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/02/06 - 12:01am

After a decade of planning and consultation, removal of Brent field rigs built in 1970s could take up to 10 years to complete

Shell will this week unveil a plan to dismantle four enormous oil rigs in the North Sea, kicking off a vast and controversial decommissioning project.

The Brent field rigs were built in the 1970s and produced around a tenth of the UK’s North Sea oil. But three of the four – Alpha, Bravo and Delta – have now shut down, and this summer the company will embark on a multibillion-pound eight- to 10-year project to remove the vast drilling and accommodation structures.

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Categories: Environment

Sydney heatwave: city uses more water in a day than any time in past 14 years

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 11:53pm

Sweltering weather drives demand for water to 2.215bn litres, or about 8.8bn glasses of water

Sydney residents have soaked up more water in one day than they have on any other day in more than a decade after enduring sweltering conditions.

With temperatures hovering around 35C in the city and 40C in the west, demand for water on Sunday topped the peak of the past 14 years at 2.215bn litres – about 8.8bn glasses of water.

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Categories: Environment

Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 11:01pm

More than half of people surveyed had never seen a hedgehog, once common in UK gardens

The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings.

The spiky creature was once a common sight, with the population estimated at 30 million in the 1950s. But that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade.

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Categories: Environment

Waxwings and spruce are Kinder trespassers

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 10:30pm

Kinder Scout, Peak District Walking along the western escarpment, it feels like the land has been brushed by Arctic exoticism

Driving out of Sheffield, I pass half a dozen men hurrying up and down Manchester Road, pointing long lenses into the glacier-blue sky, like paparazzi, and pull over to see what the fuss is about.

The cause is a flock of exquisite, starling-sized birds, their silky-smooth, dusky-pale plumage flushed with cloudberry amber, their heads topped with a punky crest, and their eyes dark with a warlike black mask. They are ransacking the ornamental rowans lining the road, much to the annoyance of a mistle thrush, which sallies angrily from its berry-laden perch to rebuff the raiders.

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Categories: Environment

Tackling food waste around the world: our top 10 apps

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 10:00pm

From helping farmers avoid roadblocks in Ghana to advertising discounted dinners in Singapore, these apps are doing their bit for the war on waste

Supermarket chain Asda has become the latest retailer to attempt to use technology to tackle food waste with the launch of an app that allows suppliers to buy and sell excess produce.

Around the world, dozens of apps are diverting perfectly good food away from bins and into rumbling stomachs.

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Categories: Environment

Is Malcolm Turnbull's priority really just keeping the lights on? | Kristina Keneally

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 6:30pm

It seems Turnbull is basing his core political agenda for 2017 on a rare weather event. It’s a textbook definition of being buffeted by events rather than shaping them

Imagine a severe thunderstorm had not hit South Australia last September and caused a state-wide blackout. What on earth would the Turnbull government have to talk about?

The day after the South Australian storm, the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, nominated “energy security” as the government’s number one priority.

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Categories: Environment

100 years ago: Otter braves the snow in search of breakfast

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 3:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 9 February 1917

An alder, its roots undermined by the current just below a bend, fell some years ago and formed a dam across the stream; below the obstacle the silt collected until a long, narrow, sandy islet was formed. On this the snow now lies, a white patch in midstream, and across its narrowest neck is a line of footprints – the “seals” of an otter. I noticed them first last Sunday, immediately after the fall; the otter had been out hunting for its breakfast. These otter footmarks are peculiarly broad; they cannot be confused with the prints left by a dog; indeed, no rat-hunting dog had been there since the snow fell, for there were no marks on either bank. The otter had come down stream, landed and crossed the islet, and entered the water again. From the size of the prints it was only a small animal, but it was pleasing to find that there are some about; as I have no wish for otter hounds to come or for traps to be put down I do not mention the name of the stream, but it is not far from Manchester.

A Congleton correspondent was astonished to see a gull feeding in his garden a week ago. The black-headed gull is now so widely distributed over Cheshire that I should have thought it occurred near, Congleton, though doubtless usually avoiding gardens.

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Categories: Environment

Rare 'cave squeaker' frog seen in Zimbabwe for first time in 55 years

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 11:30am

Team of researchers discover three of the frogs once listed as possibly extinct in first reported sighting since 1962

A rare frog that had not been seen in decades has been found in Zimbabwe, researchers have said.

The Arthroleptis troglodytes, also known as the “cave squeaker” because of its preferred habitat, was discovered in 1962, but there were no reported sightings since then. An international red list of threatened species tagged the frog as critically endangered and possibly extinct.

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Categories: Environment

Mail on Sunday launches the first salvo in the latest war against climate scientists | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 9:54am

David Rose penned an attack described by expert as “so wrong it’s hard to know where to start”

In this new political era, climate scientists and their science are under attack. The attack is from multiple fronts, from threats to pull funding of the important instruments they use to measure climate change, to slashing their salaries and jobs. But there is a real fear of renewed personal attacks, and it appears those fears are now being realized. What the attackers do is identify and isolate scientists – a process termed the “Serengeti Strategy” by well-known and respected scientist Michael Mann who suffered these types of attacks for years.

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Categories: Environment

After the Women's March: six mass US demonstrations to join this spring

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 8:33am

Organizers across the US are riding the momentum of the post-inauguration march to mobilize in solidarity with scientists, immigrants, LGBT people and more

Hope your feet aren’t sore yet, because come spring, there are major nationwide marches planned for nearly every weekend.

After the success of the Women’s March on Washington, activists are preparing for mass mobilizations throughout the year.

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Categories: Environment

Is America's most common pesticide responsible for killing our bees?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 7:00am

A growing body of evidence suggests neonics threaten the health of honey bees. But some argue there’s not enough evidence to justify an outright ban

The most widely used class of insecticides in the world is facing a slow death. Called neonicotinoids, or neonics, these bug killers have long been used to treat millions of acres of farmland in the US.

But research showing that they sicken or kill bees and other pollinators means neonics could soon lose their grip in North America. The European Union has already temporarily banned several varieties of the insecticide and now, local and national governments in the US and Canada are moving to phase out some versions too.

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Categories: Environment

Utah Representative Wants Bears Ears Gone And He Wants Trump To Do It

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 6:10am

Republicans are trying to eliminate Bears Ears National Monument in Utah — one of the new ones created by President Obama in the days before he left office. The effort is creating a legal battle.

(Image credit: Rick Bowmer/AP)

Categories: Environment

PM to reaffirm green belt pledge despite plans to ramp up housebuilding

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 5:34am

Minister tries to allay fears within Tory party that May is to roll back on manifesto promise with housing crisis white paper

Theresa May will this week reaffirm a Conservative commitment to protecting the green belt, despite unveiling a government strategy that aims to ramp up the pace of housebuilding to ensure 1m new homes are built by 2020.

The prime minister will seek to reassure Tory MPs and grassroots activists who have expressed concerns about the plans that she will not be rolling back on a pledge made by her predecessor, David Cameron, during the last general election.

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Categories: Environment

Energy customers locked into a costly scheme who have no right to switch

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/02/05 - 12:00am
District Heating is heralded as the way to a greener future. But, Anna Tims reports, it’s been rolled out without any regulation

Energy customers who find themselves paying over the odds for their heating can simply switch to a cheaper deal. But there’s a hidden, but rapidly growing, number who estimate they’re paying up to three times more than the expected price… but don’t have the right to switch. In most cases, they are stuck with the same supplier for 25 years or more.

They are among the 220,000 households signed up to District Heating networks which power entire estates by sending hot water and steam via insulated pipes from a central generator, instead of having a boiler in each home.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to good plastic

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/02/04 - 11:00pm

Ellen MacArthur and the New Plastic Economy initiative are determined to make a real difference in tackling the terrible problem of our plastic-polluted oceans

Last summer Adidas released a good-looking trainer with uppers made using plastic recovered from the ocean. Everyone was very excited, but my response was: “That’s not the most efficient way of cleaning up the ocean.”

Small bits of plastic packaging such as lids, sachets and films pose the biggest nightmare

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Categories: Environment

Is the Swedish deputy PM trolling Trump with this all-female photo?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/02/04 - 12:34am

Isabella Lovin signs bill surrounded by women colleagues, apparently a reference photos of Trump signing bills surrounded by men

Sweden’s deputy prime minister, Isabella Lövin, has published a photograph of herself signing a climate bill surrounded by her closest female colleagues, apparently mocking a photo of US president Donald Trump.

Lövin, who also serves as environment and development aid minister, is seated in the photo at a desk as she signs the bill under the watchful eye of seven female colleagues, including one who is visibly pregnant.

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Categories: Environment

Riding the storm, two birds of marvellous otherness

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/02/03 - 10:30pm

Borth y Gest, Snowdonia I’ve seen glaucous gulls squabbling around rubbish-tips on Baffin Island, but never before in Wales

Recent winter storm-surges from the cold north brought with them surprising visitors. Walking the coast path westwards I looked up and studied a clamorous swarm of gulls, vivid against a gunmetal sky. One, singled out in my glass, was bulkier than its companions, translucent somehow in the subdued light, its long wings white-fringed – a glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus.

I’ve seen these fine seabirds before, squabbling around rubbish-tips at Iqpiarjuk and Pangnirtung on Baffin Island; or bathing in turquoise pools atop icebergs in the Davis Strait; or following the boat in which I crossed Admiralty Inlet when bound for the Brodeur Peninsula in quest of narwhal. Until now I’d never had a clear sighting of one in Wales, though it’s merely uncommon rather than rare as a visitor here.

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Categories: Environment

Plan to return the lynx splits friends and families in Kielder Forest community

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/02/03 - 11:12am

Northumberland nature reserve community at odds over application to import six of the mammals from Sweden

It is the idyllic nature reserve where walkers roam among roe deer and red squirrel while star-gazers enjoy the biggest expanse of dark sky in the whole of Europe.

But there’s a blot on the horizon over Kielder Forest, in Northumberland, thanks to highly contentious plans to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx.

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Categories: Environment
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