EPA considers placing limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/07/14 - 2:00am

The agency places no limits on PFAS in drinking water, despite research suggesting the entire class of chemicals is toxic

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it’s considering drinking water limits for the entire class of PFAS compounds, which public health advocates say are categorically toxic.

The chemicals are used to make products resistant to water, stain and heat, and are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t fully break down or degrade. They are linked to a range of serious health problems such as cancer, liver disease, kidney problems, heart disease, decreased immunity and more.

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Categories: Environment

UK ministers resist calls to reduce VAT on green home improvements

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 11:00pm

MPs and builders want tax cut included in government strategy to cut emissions from home heating

Ministers are resisting calls to reduce VAT on green home improvements, despite pleas from MPs and builders, as they prepare to set out a national strategy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from home heating.

Heating Britain’s homes accounts for about 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that number has barely budged in the past decade. This year, ministers scrapped the green homes grant, a scheme to subsidise insulation and low-carbon heating systems, after only six months. This left the UK with no plan to bring homes into line with the government’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

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Categories: Environment

Siberia wildfires: Russia army planes and thousands of firefighters battle blazes

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 5:36pm

About 800,000 hectares of forest destroyed so far in region enveloped by smoke as Russia suffers through ‘abnormal heatwave’

Russia’s army has sent water-bombing planes to support thousands of firefighters battling huge wildfires in Siberia, a region known for its frozen tundra that is now sweltering under a heatwave.

Flames are tearing across 800,000 hectares of forest, and the hardest-hit region of Yakutia in the north has been in a state of emergency for weeks as climate scientists sound the alarm about the potential long-term impact.

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Categories: Environment

Ban on polluting lorries pledged in Tories’ transport greenprint

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 4:01pm

Delayed decarbonisation plan for achieving net zero emissions for transport by 2050 is published

New diesel and petrol lorries will be banned in Britain by 2040, under a “greenprint” to decarbonise all types of transport by 2050.

The British government’s long-awaited transport decarbonisation plan, finally published on 15 July, will include what is being billed as a “world-leading pledge” to end the sale of all new polluting vehicles and move towards net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040.

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Categories: Environment

Hoover And Glenn Canyon Dams Are Low On Water, Threatening Power Production

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 1:29pm

Two of America's biggest hydroelectric generators, Hoover and Glenn Canyon dams, are in danger of reducing output due to historically low water levels.

Categories: Environment

At Least 600 Tons Of Dead Fish Have Washed Up Along Tampa Bay's Shore

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 12:18pm

The hordes of fish were killed by a red tide, a large "bloom" of toxic algae that appears on Florida's Gulf Coast about once a year. Experts say the bloom shouldn't be happening right now.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Flying fish: video shows Utah wildlife agency restocking lake by plane

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 11:36am

Agency says plane drops are ‘less stressful’ way to refill remote ponds for fishing

The Utah division of wildlife resources has released video footage showing what looks like confetti coming out of the tail of a plane – but look closer and the stream actually contains live airborne fish cascading down into the lakes below.

The footage is from a drop in the state’s Boulder Mountain region earlier this month, and is part of the agency’s annual effort to restock about 200 high-elevation Utah lakes, which are popular fishing spots but aren’t easily accessible by other vehicles.

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Categories: Environment

Severe drought threatens Hoover dam reservoir – and water for US west

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 10:37am

The wellspring of Lake Mead created by the dam’s blocking of the Colorado River has plummeted to an historic low as states in the west face hefty cuts in their water supplies

Had the formidable white arc of the Hoover dam never held back the Colorado River, the US west would probably have no Los Angeles or Las Vegas as we know them today. No sprawling food bowl of wheat, alfalfa and corn. No dreams of relocating to live in a tamed desert. The river, and dam, made the west; now the climate crisis threatens to break it.

The situation here is emblematic of a planet slowly, inexorably overheating. And the catastrophic consequences of the extreme weather this brings.

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Categories: Environment

Angus Taylor appoints founding chair of major gas and oil producer to clean energy regulator

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 10:30am

Environment minister Angus Taylor names former Quadrant Energy boss Katherine Vidgen a member of the body supporting Australia’s emissions reduction goals

Energy minister Angus Taylor has appointed a founding chair of a major gas and oil producer to Australia’s clean energy regulator.

Katherine Vidgen’s extensive job history includes heading up Quadrant Energy, described as a “a large independent oil and gas producer and explorer in West Australia”, as well as serving as the global head of energy principle at Macquarie Capital.

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Categories: Environment

Australia to fly ambassadors to Great Barrier Reef ahead of ‘in danger’ list vote

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 10:30am

Representatives from nine voting nations among guests on snorkelling trip as Morrison government lobbies against Unesco recommendation

Ambassadors from more than a dozen countries will be flown to the Great Barrier Reef for a snorkelling trip on Thursday as part of the Morrison government’s lobbying campaign to keep the ocean jewel off the world heritage in danger list.

The government’s official reef ambassador Warren Entsch will host the Canberra-based diplomatic group which, he said, included nine countries with voting rights at the upcoming world heritage committee meeting.

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Categories: Environment

Why Clearing Brazil's Forests For Farming Can Make It Harder To Grow Crops

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 8:02am

Clearing natural forests in Brazil in order to grow crops like soybeans has actually made it harder to grow those crops. That's because deforestation makes the weather hotter and drier.

(Image credit: Florian Plaucheur/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Biden Promised To End New Drilling On Federal Land, But Approvals Are Up

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 6:19am

New permits for companies to extract oil and gas from U.S. public lands are on pace to hit their highest level since George W. Bush was in office, undermining the president's ambitious climate goals.

(Image credit: Charlie Riedel/AP)

Categories: Environment

Rising oil price may speed shift to electric vehicles, says energy watchdog

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 5:21am

IEA analysis offers hope for climate action but says inflated oil price may slow global economic recovery from Covid-19

Rising oil prices could help speed climate action by accelerating the shift to electric vehicles, but would come at the expense of the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the global energy watchdog.

The world’s demand for crude surged by an average of 3.2m barrels a day (b/d) in June compared with the previous month but the return of oil production has failed to keep pace, triggering a steady rise in market prices.

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Categories: Environment

Amid A Megadrought, Federal Water Shortage Limits Loom For The Colorado River

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 2:07am

The government is expected to issue its first water shortage declaration for the river, which supplies more than 40 million people. That will mean hardships for farms, recreation and Indian tribes.

(Image credit: Luke Runyon /KUNC)

Categories: Environment

It's Summer, And That Means The Mysterious Return Of Glacier Ice Worms

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 2:07am

On mountaintop glaciers of Alaska, Washington and Oregon, billions of tiny black worms are tunneling upward to the barren, icy surface. What lures them, and how do they survive the frozen depths?

(Image credit: Peter Wimberger)

Categories: Environment

Oversize Goldfish Are Taking Over One Minnesota Lake, Causing Issues For Local Fish

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/07/13 - 1:36am

Burnsville, Minn., officials have urged residents and owners of pet goldfish not to dispose of them in local lakes, warning that doing so causes major environmental impacts.

(Image credit: City of Burnsville, Minn.)

Categories: Environment

American west stuck in cycle of ‘heat, drought and fire’, experts warn

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/07/12 - 10:00pm

Wildfires in several states are burning with worrying ferocity across a tinder-dry landscape

As fires propagate throughout the US west on the heels of record heatwaves, experts are warning that the region is caught in a vicious feedback cycle of extreme heat, drought and fire, all amplified by the climate crisis.

Firefighters are battling blazes from Arizona to Washington state that are burning with a worrying ferocity, while officials say California is already set to outpace last year’s record-breaking fire season.

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Categories: Environment

Baby beaver born on Exmoor for first time in 400 years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/07/12 - 4:01pm

Six-week-old kit seen on National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset after pair of adults were reintroduced

A baby beaver has been born on Exmoor for the first time in 400 years after two adults were successfully reintroduced by the National Trust in January 2020.

Camera footage shows the six-week-old kit swimming to the family lodge with its mother in a large enclosure on the Holnicote Estate in Somerset, where two Eurasian beavers were released for the first time in the trust’s 125-year history.

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Categories: Environment

Health warnings as Death Valley scorches in 54.4C heat

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/07/12 - 11:53am

Severity of hot spell in western US underlines dangerous impact of human-caused climate disruption

Excessive heat warnings remained in place across swathes of the western US on Monday after Death Valley in California registered what could prove to be the highest reliably recorded temperature on Earth.

After a cascade of record heatwaves in Canada, north-west US, northern Europe and Siberia, the severity of the hot spell has underlined the dangerous impact of human-caused climate disruption and prompted scientists to consider whether computer models may have underestimated the impacts.

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Categories: Environment

Elon Musk defends SolarCity deal against shareholder lawsuit

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/07/12 - 10:57am

Shareholders want Musk to refund Tesla the $2.6bn the company paid for the ailing solar energy company

Elon Musk took the stand on Monday to defend Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity against a lawsuit by shareholders seeking to recoup the $2.6bn the company paid for the ailing solar panel maker.

Related: Elon Musk leads Tesla effort to build house roofs entirely out of solar panels

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Categories: Environment
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