Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 7:00am

A sloth crossing the road, a hippo chasing cheetahs and a giant Malagasy chameleon are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Whale mania in Skegness: 'the car park was full and the beach was packed'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 6:19am

Stranding of three sperm whales drew crowds to the resort this week, but mourning locals were reluctant to talk of a boost to economy

Whale mania washed over Skegness and then it washed away again, as sure as the tide. On a bright sunny Thursday after the largest sperm whale stranding since records began, Impulse Tattoo was buzzing with business. Whale tattoos? “Nah,” laughed the tattooist. “Haven’t done any of those.”

The Factory Rock Shop has purchased 30,000 sugar dummies hanging from lanyards reading “Angel” and “The Boss” for the summer season. Any whale-themed sweeties? “You don’t want to be buying stuff just for today, you want to think ahead,” said Hilary Fox.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Bears get a handle on opening car doors – but could it be their downfall?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 6:17am

‘Food-conditioning’ and other adaptive behaviors have become common among bear populations – and could lead them into dangerous contact with humans

William Hefner was on his honeymoon with his new wife Sara, driving back to their rented condo in the mountains above Gatlinberg, Tennessee, when he first saw the bear. At first, he said, he thought it was a huge dog nosing around. They followed it in the car; Hefner started videoing.

As he watched in amazement, the bear reared onto its hind legs, niftily pulled the handle of a parked car, and opened the door. “He walked up to the car and opened it like he owned it – hopped right in,” Hefner said. “He seemed like he knew what he was doing … It was a shock, it was hard to believe. But after your nerves calm down and you realise the animal isn’t gonna maul you, it was kinda neat, kinda cool to see that.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Norwegian industry plans to up fossil fuel production despite Paris pledge

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 5:59am

Norway has pushed for coal and oil to stay in the ground but industry head argues burning Norwegian gas will help lower Europe’s emissions as it is cleaner than coal

Norway wants other countries to leave their coal and oil in the ground to meet new global climate change targets, but its industry is planning to increase production of its own fossil fuels.

“We know that if we burn all the coal, oil and gas available, the Paris agreement cannot be fulfilled. Significant parts of the total fossil resources must remain, untouched,” said Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen, director of the Norwegian oil and gas association and a former minister of finance.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Shark eats shark in South Korean aquarium – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 4:03am

A shark surprises visitors to a South Korean aquarium on Thursday by eating another smaller shark. The footage shows a large sand tiger shark slowly swallowing a smaller banded hound shark over the course of a day, leaving only the tip of the tail visible on Friday

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Tories halve councils' cash to fight air pollution in England

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 4:00am

Local authorities will get just £500,000 - down from £1m last year and £3m in 2011-12 - despite manifesto pledge to increase efforts to tackle dirty air

The government has halved the amount of money it gives English local authorities to fight air pollution, despite a manifesto pledge to do more to tackle the UK’s dirty air.

Just £500,000 will be distributed to councils including Leeds, Manchester, and Southampton for 2015-2016 under the air quality grant programme, the environment department has confirmed. That is down from £1m the year before and £3m in 2011-2012.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'If the world ends in 2100, we’re probably OK' | Howard Lee

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 4:00am

Two scientists take the long view on climate change.

There’s a myopia in the climate discourse today.

“Everyone is focused on what happens by 2100. But that’s only 2 generations from today. It’s like: If the world ends in 2100 we’re probably OK!” says Professor Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawai’i. “But It’s very clear that over a longer timescale there will be much bigger changes.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Copenhagen set to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 2:54am

The mayor of Denmark’s capital launches a push to withdraw the city’s £700m investment fund out of coal, oil and gas holdings

Copenhagen’s mayor has announced plans to divest the city’s 6.9bn kroner (£700m) investment fund of all holdings in coal, oil and gas.

If his proposal is approved at a finance committee meeting next Tuesday, as expected, the Danish capital will become the country’s first investment fund to sell its stocks and bonds in fossil fuels.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mild winter means lower numbers for annual garden bird count, RSPB warns

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 1:01am

Members of the British public taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend can expect to see lower numbers and fewer exotic species after the wettest, warmest December on record

People counting Britain’s garden birds as part of an annual RSPB survey can expect to see lower numbers and fewer exotic species as a result of the milder weather this winter, the charity says.

Members of the British public are being urged to spend one hour counting the birds in their gardens and local parks this weekend as part of the 37th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (BGBW), which has become the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. Last year more than 8.5 million birds were counted by 585,000 people.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Celebrity chef urges MPs to support food waste bill

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 12:00am

Kerry McCarthy takes her food waste (reduction) bill for its second reading in the House of Commons

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has urged MPs to support a Labour bill designed to reduce supermarket food waste.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Kerry McCarthy, will on Friday take her food waste (reduction) bill for its second reading in the House of Commons.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

UAE banks on 'rainmakers' to secure future water supply

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 12:00am

As climate change makes the desert nation hotter and drier, and a growing economy uses more water, the United Arab Emirates is giving $5m to researchers finding ways to wring more moisture out of clouds

On a winter morning in one of the world’s driest and most water-stressed countries, meteorologist Sufian Khaled Farrah watched on the Doppler radar screen as a cold, wet front scudded across the Gulf – and quickly called air traffic controllers.

Over the next 15 hours, six twin-engine planes took off from an airfield in Al Ain, on the eastern edge of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and flew repeatedly into the clouds, firing off 162 flares loaded with tiny particles of potassium chloride and sodium chloride – table salt. By the end of Farrah’s shift at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, a light drizzle was falling across much of the UAE. Farrah had made it rain.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Modern European summers are warmest since Roman times, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 10:01pm

Average summer temperatures in Europe are about 1.3C hotter than two millennia ago due to manmade climate change, scientists say

Europe has almost certainly experienced warmer summers in the last three decades than at any other time since the Roman empire, according to a study published on Friday in the Environmental Research Letters journal.

Since 1986, mean summer temperatures have been about 1.3C hotter than they were two millennia ago, while heatwaves have been longer, more frequent and more persistent, the study says.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Snake bites and tail whips: all in a day's work for reptile catchers - video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 7:43pm

After receiving a call from a distressed homeowner about a large lace monitor lizard that has been menacing her chickens, professional snake catcher Ross, from the Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers in south-east Queensland, tracks down the goanna. He struggles to avoid the very sharp claws of the creature that the late eco-warrior Steve Irwin referred to as a ‘land crocodile’, but luckily, a few scratches later, it is safely relocated

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

E-bikes are reliable and healthy, so why aren't more people riding them?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 6:39pm

Cheaper than electric cars and easier to charge, the latest electric or pedal-assist bikes are a practical solution to commuting in the city

They say there is nothing as zealous as a convert. As someone who last year joined the growing numbers of commuters who zoom into work by electric bike, I could not be more zealous.

Related: Australia's biggest bike-lane sceptic 'wants to destroy cycling in Sydney'

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'It's like Jaws': New Zealand town fears attack by great white sharks lured by cage divers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 6:39pm

Residents of the far southern settlement of Oban, on Stewart Island, claim sharks are being attracted by tour operators who offer the ultimate in thrillseeking

At the South Seas hotel on Oban waterfront, the conversation, as it so often does, hovers over a subject that swims just a few kilometres from the town’s shores: the great white shark.

“I love the sharks, they are magnificent creatures, but Jesus Christ we don’t know enough about them to be out there feeding them – it’s like fucking with a T-Rex with fins,” says Richard “Squizzy” Squires, a 62-year-old who runs La Loma fishing charters.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The secret, colourful and dramatic lives of octopuses uncovered – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 6:35pm

Researchers reviewing more than 50 hours of footage of octopuses in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, discover a hitherto unknown complex social life. Among the discoveries published in Current Biology is the use of colour to display aggression. In this underwater footage three octopuses can be seen interacting, fighting and changing colours. Changing colour had been primarily considered a means to hide from predators – but here octopuses assume a darker colour before fighting. After one fight the loser can be seen turning a paler colour and camoflaging himself as he retreats

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Octopuses' colourful and violent relationships revealed in underwater footage

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 6:23pm

Researchers find octopuses, which are known for being solitary, are not above a little spat with the neighbours and have a complex social life when they coexist

They’re more closely related to oysters than they are to mammals but it turns out octopuses are surprisingly similar to us when it comes to fighting with their neighbours.

Octopuses, renowned for surprising intelligence, were usually pretty solitary beings, said Peter Godfrey-Smith from the University of Sydney. “You do tend to see them on their own. And if you put two octopuses in a tank together you often end up with one octopus,” he told Guardian Australia.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rare falcon egg seized from smuggler hatches and is returned to wild in Chile

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 3:16pm

Four albino peregrine eggs were seized from a convicted wildlife trafficker at an airport in Brazil. One survived to be returned to a nest on a Patagonian cliff face

Related: 'Wildlife criminal' goes to jail for smuggling falcon eggs

A rare falcon egg stolen from its nest in Chile to be trafficked to Dubai for tens of thousands of dollars survived and hatched a chick, but three others failed to make it.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mali's desert elephants face extinction within three years

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 2:49pm

Conservationists urge government to tackle ivory trafficking as 16 elephants killed in this year, with over 80 killed in 2015

Mali’s elephants, one of just two remaining desert herds in the world, will be gone in three years unless the government does more to protect them, a conservation group has warned.

Poachers have taken advantage of the chaos from a growing Islamist insurgency and other unrest in the lawless north to step up ivory trafficking – a trade that the United Nations says funds militants.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

‘His fore-paws were spread out and he lashed the ground with his tail’

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/01/28 - 2:30pm

During a tornado, that formidable Victorian Mary Kingsley encountered a leopard. “The massive, mighty trees were waving like a wheat-field in an autumn gale in England,” she reports in Travels in West Africa (1897).

“The tornado shrieked like ten thousand vengeful demons. The great trees creaked and groaned and strained against it and their bush-rope cables groaned and smacked like whips, and ever and anon a thundering crash with snaps like pistol shots told that they and their mighty tree had strained and struggled in vain. The fierce rain came in a roar, tearing to shreds the leaves and the blossoms and deluging everything.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content