Coal-fired power stations: Senate committee to examine how best to close them

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 12:50pm

Greens and Labor to combine forces to push for inquiry looking at ways to meet Australia’s climate change targets

A Senate committee will examine how best to close coal power stations to meet Australia’s climate change targets when the Greens and Labor combine to set up an inquiry on Wednesday.

The Greens and Labor will move a motion to ask the Senate environment and communications references committee to report on mass closures of electricity generators, and expect sufficient crossbench support to set up the inquiry.

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Categories: Environment

Elon Musk hits back at coal baron who called him a 'fraud' over green subsidies

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 12:28pm
  • Trump backer Robert Murray claimed Tesla had received $2bn from taxpayer
  • Musk tweets that the real fraud is ‘denial of climate science’

Tesla founder Elon Musk has hit back against the CEO of a coal power company who accused him of fraud.

Robert Murray, an outspoken Donald Trump supporter and the CEO of the Murray Energy Corporation – America’s largest coalmining company – went after Musk on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday and called Tesla “a fraud”.

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Categories: Environment

Drones monitor 'dramatic' weight loss of southern right whales during calving season

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 12:00pm

The changing size of mother whales is being tracked after the southern white whale came back from the brink of extinction

After being hunted to near extinction and threatened with climate change, drones are giving southern right whales in the Great Australian Bight a much-needed health check.

Sponsored by WWF-Australia, researchers at Murdoch University are measuring the size of individual whales and monitoring how that changes during the calving season, with plans to track their weight each year.

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Categories: Environment

It’s OK for museums to take oil firms’ cash | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 11:10am

Only a group of academics with exalted titles could compose such a convoluted letter bereft of intellectual rigour (Science Museum must drop oil sponsorship, 11 October). The points they raise are important, but largely unrelated. Should entrance to all areas of the Science Museum be free for all? Absolutely. Should the museum have an exhibit sponsored by an oil company? Yes. Oil companies provide critical products to our society and the Science Museum has every right to try and gain income from them. The actions of companies that impact society and the environment negatively need to be questioned and challenged. But to damn all oil companies from pursuing their core activities is completely misplaced. Climate change is an important issue that must urgently be addressed. However, this is most effectively achieved by providing globally accessible, clean, low-cost alternatives. It is the world’s leaders and politicians that need to be criticised for the lack of progress in this area, not the Science Museum or our current energy suppliers.
Dr David Williams
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Categories: Environment

As long as we have Citizens United, the polluters are going to be in charge of our country

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 10:55am

Big polluters make themselves rich by making everyone else poor. They raise standards of living for themselves by lowering quality of life for everyone else

This week, Waterkeeper Alliance passed an important milestone. We licensed our 300th Waterkeeper organization. I just came back from a week in Peru, where we have three Waterkeeper organizations fighting dam projects on three of the most important rivers in Latin America. A week before that, I was in the Himalayas and India, where we have seven Waterkeeper organizations protecting the major waterways that supply water to 40% of the planet.

The first Waterkeeper organization was founded on the Hudson River in 1966 by a blue collar coalition of commercial and recreational fishermen who mobilized to reclaim the river from its polluters. Many of the people I represent come from families that have been fishing the river continuously since Dutch colonial times. These were people who had little expectation that they’d ever see Yosemite or Yellowstone or the Everglades. They didn’t have the resources to take those kinds of vacations. For them, like for most Americans, the environment was their backyard.

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Categories: Environment

Jacques Cousteau sails again in new film

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 9:57am

L’Odyssée recreates French ocean explorer’s adventures aboard the Calypso and reveals the man behind the icon

Jacques Cousteau, the French ocean explorer who enchanted generations in France and Britain 60 years ago, will find a younger audience this week with the release of a new film of his life.

L’Odyssée, a €20m spectacular that took five months to film, including shooting in the frozen wastes of Antarctica and with sharks in the Bahamas, opens in French cinemas on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Is using less water the secret to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 9:25am

California, which uses 20% of its electricity in supplying water, just passed a law to collect emissions data from water utilities

When most of us think of slowing global warming, we think of reducing car exhaust and power plant emissions – limiting activities that involve combusting fossil fuels. But we rarely draw the connection between the production of energy and another important resource: water.

Yet in California, 20% of the state’s electricity and 30% of the natural gas that isn’t used by power plants goes to the water system – from pumping it for delivery to disposing of wastewater. Could saving water play a significant role in addressing climate change? And, if so, could we achieve these savings without incurring significant costs?

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Categories: Environment

UK minister dismisses threat of climate court battle

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 8:48am

Climate Home: Nick Hurd waved away suggestions the government could be taken to court over a shortfall in policy to meet binding emissions targets

The UK’s world-leading Climate Change Act has been “dangerously neglected”, leaving the government open to lawsuits.

That is the view of environmental lawyers at Client Earth, in a report published on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

Christine Howson obituary

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 7:36am

My sister Christine Howson, who has died of ovarian cancer aged 61, was a highly respected marine biologist and diver who undertook survey work in the UK and around the world.

Christine was well known in the sports diving world; she was one of the first female divers to attain the First Class grade. She trained divers and other instructors, and organised national events and conferences. Committed to developing swimming for young people, she worked tirelessly at her local swimming club in Tranent, East Lothian, where she was a committee member and coach.

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Categories: Environment

Clinton’s little-known crusade to save Africa’s elephants

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 6:35am

Relentless poaching is decimating Africa’s elephants. But the world’s largest land mammal could have a powerful, new champion if Hillary Clinton becomes president of the U.S.

When asked by Ellen DeGeneres what her spirit animal is, Hillary Clinton had a surprising answer: the elephant.

Although the symbol of the GOP, Clinton spoke on the Ellen DeGeneres Show this May with rare passion about the need to protect real elephants from a poaching crisis that has killed at least 110,000 of them over the past decade, pushing the world’s largest land animals – especially forest elephants – closer to extinction.

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Categories: Environment

UK loses top 10 spot in global energy ranking for the first time

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 4:07am

World Energy Council warns of potential gap in energy supply due to government’s lack of clarity and myriad changes

The UK has fallen out of the top 10 of a respected international league table of countries’ energy sectors for the first time.

The World Energy Council blamed the government’s lack of clarity and myriad changes which it said have left the country facing a potential gap in energy supply.

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane Sandy-level flooding is rising so sharply that it could become normal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 2:00am

Findings of research into hurricanes, the spread of wildfires and the early arrival of spring show an America that is already in the grip of climate change

The frequency of floods of the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of New York City in 2012, is rising so sharply that they could become relatively normal, with a raft of new research laying bare the enormous upheavals already under way in the US due to climate change.

These findings and two other fresh pieces of research have highlighted how the US is already in the grip of significant environmental changes driven by warming temperatures, albeit in different ways to the processes that are fueling hurricanes.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition urged to regulate Indigenous hunting of endangered animals

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/11 - 1:36am

Warren Entsch tells party room dugongs and sea turtles are being subjected to cruelty and being hunted commercially

The Turnbull government is considering greater regulation of Indigenous Australians’ hunting of dugongs and sea turtles.

Malcolm Turnbull has asked the environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, to investigate serious complaints that vulnerable and endangered animals are being subjected to great cruelty by some Indigenous families and killed merely for commercial purposes, not cultural purposes.

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Categories: Environment

Plans for an electric car charging point in every new home in Europe

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 11:00pm

Car manufacturers welcome plans by the EU to boost the convenience of electric cars by increasing recharging facilities

Every new or refurbished house in Europe will need to be equipped with an electric vehicle recharging point, under a draft EU directive expected to come into effect by 2019.

In a further boost to prospects for the electric car market in Europe, the regulations due to be published before the end of the year state that by 2023, 10% of parking spaces in new buildings in the EU zone will also need recharging facilities.

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Categories: Environment

An energy first as UK successfully transmits data via national electricity grid

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 10:00pm

New technology is a significant step towards the creation of virtual power stations that would enable smarter electricity use by homes and businesses

Data has been transmitted across a national electricity grid for the first time, in what could be a significant step towards the creation of virtual power stations, where many thousands of homes and businesses combine to manage electricity use more smartly.

The new technology could lead to lower energy bills for consumers who allow small variations in the energy consumption of their appliances, such as water heaters or freezers.

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Categories: Environment

A clean energy transition is already happening, but it is at risk | Alexander White

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 8:18pm

The transition to a low carbon economy is already happening, but is at risk when residents of Australia’s capital go to the polls in local elections

The transition to a low carbon economy is already happening … in the Australian Capital Territory, where the local Labor government has legislated for a 100% renewable energy target by the year 2020.

But this major achievement is at risk on Saturday when residents of Canberra go to the polls for territory elections.

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Categories: Environment

BP ditches plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 6:57pm

Decision follows outcry by environmentalists over risk to delicate marine ecosystem, safety concerns and a corporate review within the company

BP has decided not to go ahead with its controversial plans to drill for oil in the commonwealth marine reserve in the Great Australian Bight.

It had boasted that the Great Australian Bight had the potential to be as big an oil field as the Gulf of Mexico, where there are now more than 4,000 oil rigs.

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Categories: Environment

China's 'extinct' dolphin may have returned to Yangtze river, say conservationists

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 6:08pm

Amateur expedition team claims it spotted the baiji – known as the ‘goddess of the Yangtze’ – in a stretch of Asia’s longest river

Chinese conservationists believe they may have caught a rare glimpse of a freshwater dolphin that was declared functionally extinct a decade ago having graced the Yangtze river for 20 million years.

Scientists and environmentalists had appeared to abandon hope that China’s baiji, or white dolphin, could survive as a species after they failed to find a single animal during a fruitless six-week hunt along the 6,300-km (3,915-mile) waterway in 2006.

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Categories: Environment

Coral violently spews out algae in response to heat stress – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 5:23pm

For the first time, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology studying bleaching have captured footage of coral from the Great Barrier Reef spewing out the algae that lives within it in response to heat stress. Using a microscope and digital camera to record time-lapse videos, the researchers demonstrate precisely how coral reacts to rising water temperatures

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane Matthew kills 22 in US as flooding endangers North Carolina

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/10/10 - 2:29pm

The storm left behind a water-logged landscape where flooding was expected to persist for the rest of the week and at least three rivers could reach record levels

With floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew on the rise, at least one North Carolina city appeared near chaos Monday, its police station shuttered and sporadic gunfire in the air, and authorities worried that more communities could end up the same way.

Related: Weakening Hurricane Matthew brings flooding to south-eastern US

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Categories: Environment
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