Environment

The Guardian view on an energy price shock: a crisis in the making

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/09/20 - 10:56am

Rising gas prices in a climate emergency is not the time for the rigid application of free-market principles

There is a level of government complacency about energy price shocks. Ministers think the best course of action is to just accept them. Wholesale gas prices are now more than five times their level two years ago, raising the prospect that household bills will rise by 12% next month. Shoppers could also face empty supermarket shelves as it becomes unprofitable to produce the dry ice and carbon dioxide needed to store meat products. If the energy crunch continues, industry warns, a 1970s-style three-day week might have to be introduced.

The government response has been familiar: deny the problem, deflect responsibility for failure and delay taking action. This strategy is a reminder of the importance of perceptions in a crisis. If something feels like a crisis, it is effectively a crisis. That is why perhaps Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, says there is “no question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes”. But what if people cannot afford the energy costs to heat and light their homes? About 85% of the UK’s domestic heating comes from natural gas. Fuel poverty is a real issue, especially when millions of workers are facing cuts to universal credit and a hike in national insurance. Price caps help poorer people afford necessities of life such as gas – but there’s no sign that ministers think the hardship merits more generous help.

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Categories: Environment

Poland vows to keep coalmine open despite €500,000-a-day ECJ fine

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/09/20 - 9:08am

Warsaw argues suspension of operations at Turów on Czech border would put its energy security at risk

Poland’s rightwing government has said it will continue to mine coal on its border with the Czech Republic despite being ordered to pay €500,000 for every day that it defies a European court of justice order to stop.

The fine was issued by the EU’s highest court on Monday after four months of Warsaw ignoring an earlier order to suspend extraction of lignite, a low-quality brown coal, at the Turów opencast mine in south-west Poland.

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Categories: Environment

UK energy firms could get state-backed loans to take on customers

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/09/20 - 5:49am

Officials look at emergency funding to help large energy firms rescue customers of suppliers that have gone bust

Energy companies willing to rescue the customers of rival suppliers that go bust amid the gas and electricity market crisis could get state-backed loans in a scheme under government consideration.

The Guardian understands that officials are looking at the emergency funding to help the UK’s large suppliers pick up potentially millions of unprofitable customers this winter as record prices threaten to decimate the energy market.

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Categories: Environment

California wildfires: weather conditions worsen threat to giant sequoia trees

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/09/20 - 5:33am

Hot and dry weather extends threat of rapid spread as firefighters seek to protect celebrated trees

Hot and dry weather on Sunday added to the challenges facing California firefighters battling to keep flames from driving further into a grove of ancient sequoias, where the base of the world’s tallest tree has been wrapped in protective foil.

Related: World’s largest tree wrapped in fire-resistant blanket as California blaze creeps closer

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Categories: Environment

BP’s joint solar venture Lightsource BP to more than double expansion by 2025

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 11:00pm

Deal worth £1.3bn means operation will develop enough solar farms to power equivalent of 8.4m homes

BP’s joint solar venture, Lightsource BP, will more than double its global expansion by 2025 after clinching a financing deal worth $1.8bn (£1.3bn) to develop enough solar farms to power the equivalent of 8.4m homes.

The fast-growing operation had initially set a target to develop arrays of panels with a total capacity of 10 gigawatts by 2023, enough for almost 3.4m homes, but the fresh funds will be used to turbocharge its ambition to 25GW by 2025.

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Categories: Environment

‘The potential for solar is huge’: future looks bright for Lightsource BP

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 11:00pm

Founder Nick Boyle explains how Lightsource will help power one of the biggest corporate transformations ever attempted

Nick Boyle, the founder and chief executive of solar power giant Lightsource BP, is striding through its central London headquarters speaking as quickly as he walks. It takes a lot of energy for one man to make a sprawling office emptied by Covid-19 feel alive, but the Irishman has more than enough for the job.

It is less than a year since the oil corporation BP, the venture’s joint-owner, thrust it into the spotlight by unveiling plans to grow its renewable energy generation 20-fold within this decade. Now Boyle is poised to set out how Lightsource will help power one of the biggest corporate transformations ever attempted.

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Categories: Environment

How the US labor movement is getting to grips with the climate crisis

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 11:00pm

In Texas and West Virginia, unions are having tough conversations about the future of fossil fuels – and finding new ways to support workers transitioning from oil and coal to cleaner jobs

In the beginning of this summer, the US state of Connecticut passed legislation to guarantee prevailing wage and benefits are provided to workers on clean energy projects.

The law was a product of labor unions and environmental groups working together to educate workers about the climate crisis and develop solutions, with a focus on creating good-paying, unionized jobs and opportunities to combat economic inequities.

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Categories: Environment

California Firefighters Scramble To Protect Sequoia Groves

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 7:25pm

Flames have already scorched a grouping of sequoias that mark the entrance to the groves, where the base of the world's largest tree has been wrapped in protective foil.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

Categories: Environment

Bees kill 63 endangered penguins in South Africa

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 4:49pm

Postmortems showed the African penguins had multiple stings around their eyes

A swarm of bees has killed 63 endangered African penguins on a beach outside Cape Town, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds said.

The protected birds were found dead in Simon’s Town, a small town near Cape Town home to a colony of penguins, and taken for post-mortems.

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Categories: Environment

Rich countries not providing poor with pledged climate finance, analysis says

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 4:01pm

Developed country governments will reportedly fail to provide $100bn a year for the next four years

Rich countries will continue to miss a longstanding pledge to provide poor countries with $100bn a year in climate finance for the next four years, new analysis suggests on the eve of a crunch meeting of world leaders at the UN on Monday.

The promised cash is seen as essential to gaining support from developing countries for a global climate deal to fulfil the 2015 Paris agreement, with only six weeks go before vital UN climate talks, called Cop26, to be hosted in Glasgow this November.

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Categories: Environment

Volcano Erupts On Spanish Island Near Morocco

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 10:18am

A volcano on Spain's Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma erupted Sunday after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity. Lava flows destroyed isolated homes on the nearby mountainside.

(Image credit: Jonathan Rodriguez/AP)

Categories: Environment

Outcry over National Trust plan to fence off acres of Wiltshire park for tenant

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 6:06am

Critics say loss of public access to section of Dinton Park goes against charity’s core values

For years, the rolling landscape of Dinton Park has been a favourite haunt of dog walkers, runners and seekers of tranquillity. When it snows children sledge down Toboggan Hill, and during the Covid lockdowns it became a place of solace and reflection. There is a beloved view of Salisbury Cathedral’s spire, which seems to float above the trees nine miles away.

But a decision by the National Trust to lease out the Neo-Grecian Philipps House at the heart of the estate and, more importantly for lovers of the landscape, fence off a large chunk of the parkland to give the new tenant privacy has caused uproar.

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Categories: Environment

Maine's Next Generation Of Lobstermen Brace For Unprecedented Change

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 4:00am

Maine's vital lobster industry is facing big challenges: new regulations; fewer young people entering the business; and threats to its thriving lobster population, including climate change.

(Image credit: Shannon Mullen for NPR)

Categories: Environment

‘They screwed up our lake’: tar sands pipeline is sucking water from Minnesota watersheds

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/09/19 - 1:00am

The Anishinaabe people are rallying to save their lakes and their traditional wild rice harvests

Along the eastern boundary of the White Earth Indian Reservation in north-western Minnesota, Indigenous Anishinaabe wild rice harvesters Jerry and Jim Libby set down a row of wooden pallets into the mud just beyond the dock of Upper Wild Rice Lake. It was a clear day, and tight, lush clumps of green rice heads were visible across the lake’s horizon.

In a typical year, the entrance to this – one of a long necklace of wild rice lakes in northern Minnesota to which the region’s Indigenous people flock every year in the late summer – would be covered in at least two feet of water. But now it is composed of suspended sediment as solid as chocolate pudding, through which the Libbys need to create a makeshift ramp simply to carry their canoe out to the waterline.

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Categories: Environment

California Wildfires Make A Run Toward A Giant Sequoia Grove

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2021/09/18 - 7:31pm

A shift in the weather accelerated the fires in the Sequoia National Park on Friday. The flames scorched a grouping of sequoias that mark the entrance to a grove of 2,000 sequoias.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

Categories: Environment

California wildfires reach edge of sequoia grove containing world’s largest tree

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/09/18 - 6:00pm

Firefighters were temporarily driven away as two blazes merged and made a run to the edge of the Giant Forest in Sequoia national park

Two lightning-sparked wildfires in California have merged and made a run to the edge of a grove of ancient sequoias, briefly driving away firefighters as they tried to protect the world’s largest tree by wrapping its base in protective foil.

A shift in the weather fanned flames in the Sequoia national park in the Sierra Nevada on Friday, the National Park Service said. The flames reached the westernmost tip of the Giant Forest, where it scorched a grouping of sequoias known as the Four Guardsmen, which mark the entrance to the grove of 2,000 sequoias.

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Categories: Environment

Celebrate The End Of Summer With Monday's Harvest Moon

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2021/09/18 - 5:57pm

The harvest moon is the last full moon of the summer. This year it will appear to be full for three days with peak illumination occurring at 7:54 p.m. ET Monday.

(Image credit: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Ed Miliband: honour promises on jabs to poor countries to save Cop26 deal

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/09/18 - 8:00am

Labour’s shadow business secretary says the government must ‘rebuild trust’ after a series of missteps on way to climate summit

Boris Johnson should set out plans to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to all developing countries to achieve a global climate deal, Labour’s shadow business secretary, Ed Miliband, has urged.

Only 2% of the population of developing countries have been inoculated, despite promises by rich nations. Ensuring the rest have access to vaccines would build trust with the poor world which is lacking, Miliband said, ahead of the vital UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow in November.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists investigate hundreds of guillemot deaths on UK coastline

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/09/18 - 7:56am

Seabird carcasses discovered along Northumberland, North Yorkshire and Scottish shores, with many more found emaciated

Several hundred seabirds have been found dead along the coasts of north-east England and Scotland, while many have been discovered emaciated.

The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), which is investigating the cause of the deaths, said the majority of the birds were guillemots.

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Categories: Environment

Wanderlust and stolen land: how to mindfully explore the American outdoors

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/09/18 - 5:25am

Tips for the socially and environmentally responsible traveler

In her book An Indigenous History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz argues the US romanticizes outdoor travel to hide its colonial roots. Many Americans were raised on the belief that our heritage was wanderlust. Chasing “wilderness” was our right. But lost in this lore is the acknowledgment that our national park system was built upon stolen land.

As a travel writer, I believe deeply in our human nature to explore. But historically, the way we take advantage of our national parks has often caused harm: the genocide of Indigenous communities to make “space” for outdoor recreation, the unmanageable waste that accumulates from large crowds of tourists, the scarcity of resources for people living near parks.

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Categories: Environment
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