Environment

Leading health experts call on Wellcome to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:40am

Open letter urges Wellcome Trust to divest, citing ‘extremely serious health effects’ that could be caused by climate change

• Read the letter, and if you’re a health practioner you can sign it, here

A group of high-profile health practitioners, including the editors of the Lancet and the British Medical Journal (BMJ), have called upon the Wellcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels in an open letter published on Thursday in the Guardian.

Among the signatories are Anthony Costello, director of the University College London (UCL) Institute for Public Health, Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health, Fiona Sim, chair of the Royal Society for Public Health, Richard Horton, editor of medical journal the Lancet and Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ.

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Categories: Environment

Do no harm: the Wellcome Trust should not profit from the fossil fuel industry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:40am

Are you a health professional? Scroll to the bottom to add your name to the letter or to tell us why you are concerned about climate change as a health issue

Dear members of the Wellcome Trust Executive Board,

We write as concerned health professionals and academics in relation to the Guardian’s Keep It In the Ground campaign calling on the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest from the world’s 200 largest fossil fuel companies over the next five years.

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Categories: Environment

The solidarity fridge: Spanish town's cool way to cut food waste

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:17am

Everyone from vulnerable families to peckish builders are taking leftover goods left dropped off by local people in Galdakao

The large white fridge sits prominently on a pavement in Galdakao, a small city on the outskirts of Bilbao.

A wooden fence has been built around it, in the hope of conveying the idea that this is not an abandoned appliance, but a pioneering project aimed at tackling food wastage.

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Categories: Environment

GM wheat no more pest-resistant than ordinary crops, trial shows

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 6:00am

GM wheat designed to repel aphids is no more effective at repelling the bugs than standard varieties a major field trial has revealed

A major field trial of GM wheat that is designed to repel aphids has found the crop is no better protected against the pests than conventional wheat.

The results come from two years of trials that compared aphid attacks on standard wheat plants with those suffered by a GM version modified to release a natural aphid repellant.

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Categories: Environment

Closed-road cycling in the Italian Dolomites that's free for all

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 5:50am

Twice a year a stunning 30-mile loop on some of Europe’s most scenic roads is closed to traffic for the Sellaronda Bike Day – and there’s no charge to take part. Trevor Ward joins cyclists of all ages for the event’s 10th anniversary ride

Yesterday (21 June) was the 10th anniversary Sellaronda Bike Day in the Italian Dolomites. The event is held twice a year and involves closing off a 33-mile loop of roads, including four mountain passes, to motorised traffic. Bus services are suspended and workers have to arrive early to beat the 8.30am road closure which affects the communities of Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Arabba and Canazei. And it’s all so that thousands of people can get on their bikes and have some of the most scenic roads in Europe exclusively to themselves.

I was one of an estimated 20,000 cyclists who took part in yesterday’s ride. It felt like being in a closed-road sportive with one big difference – it was entirely free.

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Categories: Environment

Land bought by Greenpeace to defy Heathrow expansion quietly sold for £1

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 5:05am

Greenpeace and its celebrity supporters sold the land in 2012, declining an option to retain it until 2014, but some people still visit believing it is theirs

It was, some believed, to be an orchard of perpetual, flourishing resistance, its trees adorned with plaques bearing the names of the great and the good and keeping Heathrow’s third runway at bay forever. In a defining moment of the last anti-Heathrow campaign, Greenpeace, backed by political leaders and celebrities, announced: “We’ve bought a piece of land slap bang in the middle of the proposed third runway site.”

Emma Thompson owned a bit. Alistair McGowan owned a bit. So did Zac Goldsmith, and during 2009 almost 100,000 Britons were persuaded to sign up as beneficial co-owners of the AirPlot to defy the planners. The words “Our climate, our land” were spelt out on the plot in great white letters, and then the planting began. David Cameron had a tree planted for him, Nick Clegg planted his own and the runway plans were shelved.

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Categories: Environment

French banks say no to Bangladesh coal plant | Janaki Lenin

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 3:47am

Three French banks say they will not invest in Rampal power plant in Bangladesh. As the plant struggles for funding, a report says it is non-compliant with minimum environmental and social standards

Three French banks have said they will not invest in the Rampal power plant, Bangladesh. Six months earlier, two Norwegian pension funds pulled out their investments from India’s National Thermal Power Corporation that is building the project.

During his visit to Bangladesh on 6 June 2015, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi endorsed the 1,320 MW Rampal coal- based thermal power project. He said,

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Categories: Environment

Bjorn Lomborg university funding tied to 'rational conversation' lectures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 2:44am

$4.4m contract to establish Australia consensus centre at University of WA required Danish academic to do seminars across the country, documents reveal

The $4.4m contract to establish the “Australia consensus centre” at the University of Western Australia required Danish academic Bjørn Lomborg to conduct a series of seminars and speeches around the country titled “The Australian Rational Conversation”.

UWA eventually gave back the money, after a fierce backlash when Guardian Australia revealed the federal government grant in April. Lomborg is now searching for another Australian education institution that will take the federal money and host his research centre.

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Categories: Environment

The Dutch Ruling On Climate Change That Could Have A Global Impact

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 2:09am

A Dutch court hands environmentalists a big victory with potential global repercussions, ordering the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.

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Categories: Environment

Dutch Court Issues Landmark Climate Change Ruling

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 2:09am

A Dutch court hands environmentalists a sweeping victory with potential global repercussions, ordering the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.

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Categories: Environment

Oslo creates world's first 'highway' to protect endangered bees

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 1:46am

Norway’s capital is creating a route filled with flowers and ‘green roofs’ to protect endangered pollinators essential to food production

From flower-emblazoned cemeteries to rooftop gardens and balconies, Norway’s capital Oslo is creating a “bee highway” to protect endangered pollinators essential to food production.

“We are constantly reshaping our environment to meet our needs, forgetting that other species also live in it,” Agnes Lyche Melvaer, head of the Bybi, an environmental group supporting urban bees, which is leading the project.

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Categories: Environment

Amur tiger relishes new home in Russian wild – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 1:29am
An Amur tiger leaps to freedom after being given a new home in a mountainous region of east Russia. The tiger, named Uporny, was captured in November 2014 after being identified as a 'conflict' tiger. He was living in an area deplete of prey and had killed dogs to survive. Uporny's new home has a good supply of prey — and is home to a female Amur tiger Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Saving the dhole: The forgotten 'badass' Asian dog more endangered than tigers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 12:18am

Little-known by scientists and largely ignored by conservationists, the wild Asian dog – or dhole – faces widespread deforestation, poisonings, lack of prey and disease. Can a few dhole champions save this tough predator?

Let’s start at the beginning: what’s a dhole? It’s not a giant fruit corporation. It’s not Homer Simpson’s catch phrase. It’s not welfare payment by a government.

Dholes are actually wild canids, efficient predators and communal pack hunters. These rust-coloured carnivores roam the jungles and montane forests of Central and East Asia filling the humid air with whistles, howls and screeches that chill the heart of any sambar deer or wild boar. There have even been reports of dhole packs hounding – and, maybe even, killing – tigers.

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Categories: Environment

Good egg: rare specimen discovered after 100 years in a drawer

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 11:04pm

When museum curator Alan Knox came across a rare egg in a museum draw he just had to figure out its story

Name: ABDUZ: 70169
Species:
Rhinoptilus bitorquatus
Dates:
1917
Claim to fame: The only known egg of Jerdon’s courser
Where now:
Zoology Museum, University of Aberdeen

Alan Knox was checking museum’s store room for insects when he found the egg. There, in an uncatalogued drawer of oological specimens, was a label that caught his eye.

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Categories: Environment

Brazil's gamble on deep water oil

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 11:00pm

The discovery of billions of barrels of oil off the coast of Rio de Janeiro was billed as one of the biggest finds of this century. But with the country’s biggest energy company, Petrobras, mired in debt and scandal, the low price of oil and dangers of a second Deepwater Horizon, the viability of this massive undertaking has never been under more scrutiny

The discovery of tens of billions of barrels of oil in fields far off the coast of Rio de Janeiro was billed as one of the biggest finds of this century when it was announced in 2006.

Many hoped it would deliver a bonanza for education and health and make Brazil one of world’s major economies.

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Categories: Environment

'My children are suffering but what can I do?' Delhi's polluted air, by the people who live there

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 11:00pm

A family living in the middle of an eight-lane motorway, an autorickshaw driver struggling to breathe, a young woman who can’t wait to leave ... the foul air of India’s capital affects all sections of society

For three years Mohammad Yunus, his wife Babli, five children and a handful of relatives have made their home on a patch of concrete in the middle of an eight-lane motorway, near a stretch of road named after Mahatma Gandhi. As lorries, buses and motorcycles roar past on either side of the family’s cramped bit of south Delhi pavement, and a modern, concrete flyover carries several more lanes of traffic overhead, their evening routine unfolds.

A young woman in a pink dress squats to kindle a fire from wooden sticks and plastic bottles, then breaks a lump of dough into pieces to bake into chapatti bread. A three-month-old baby and a toddler sleep on a dirty mat just a few feet from the curb. The incessant blaring of horns makes conversation difficult, but does not rouse the children.

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Categories: Environment

A woodpecker takes lunch on the patio

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 9:30pm
Sandy, Bedfordshire: The bird crouched on the paving slabs with its head bowed, beak slightly open, its long tongue sliding down into an ant tunnel

One of nature’s miners had come down to land on the garden patio, right in front of the kitchen window. Head cocked, the green woodpecker appraised the world as if to say: “Surely some mistake?”

Our sense of a bird out of place was reinforced by its stance, or rather its squat, for it seemed to be suffering from a collapsed suspension. Its rump sagged on the ground, tail feathers braced hard against the hard standing, pressed back just a little. Its toes appeared clamped to the concrete as if to a horizontal tree trunk. They were splayed out flat, two to the front, two to the back.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand Greenpeace protesters scale parliament roof

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 5:56pm

Four environmental activists on roof of the parliament building in Wellington hold Reddit AMA calling for government action on climate change

Four environmental protesters have breached security at New Zealand’s parliament by scaling the roof and perching themselves on a ledge above the main entrance.

The Greenpeace protesters on Thursday hauled up eight solar panels and unfurled a banner to protest what they say is the government’s lack of action in promoting renewal energy and dealing with climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Tories plan to sell £1.4bn stake in Green Investment Bank to pay off debt

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 4:06pm

Critics including the Greens’ Caroline Lucas and Lib Dem Tim Farron question government’s ‘commitment to low-carbon economy’

The government’s commitment to low-carbon technology has been called into question as it prepares to raise more than £1bn by selling a majority stake in the Green Investment Bank, the project that was a central promise in the Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto.

Sajid Javid, the business secretary, will announce the plan at the bank’s annual review meeting on Thursday. The government is likely to keep a stake in the bank but could sell off as much as 70%.

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Categories: Environment

Green Investment Bank sell-off raises several red flags

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/06/24 - 4:05pm

Taking the government’s own low-carbon lender out of the state sector is only likely to make it more risk-averse and less effective

David Cameron likes to boast that his coalition government was the first in the world to create a green investment bank to accelerate investment in new energy infrastructure. Now the new Conservative government is a seller. A plan to start to move the Green Investment Bank (GIB) into private ownership will be announced on Thursday.

This policy will be pitched as a way to liberate the GIB to lend even more. Look, we will be told, our creation is so successful that it can make its own way in the world while staying true to the original ambitions.

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Categories: Environment
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