Tackle climate crisis and poverty with zeal of Covid-19 fight, scientists urge

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/03/28 - 1:00am

Actions taken to suppress coronavirus reveal what measures are possible in an emergency, say experts

Government responses to climate breakdown and to the challenges of poverty and inequality must be changed permanently after the coronavirus has been dealt with, leading scientists have urged, as the actions taken to suppress the spread of the virus have revealed what measures are possible in an emergency.

The Covid-19 crisis has revealed what governments are capable of doing and shone a new light on the motivation for past policies and their outcomes, said Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, and chair of the commission of the social determinants of health at the World Health Organisation.

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Categories: Environment

Snowy Hydro 2.0 will cost more and deliver less than promised, 30 experts say

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 12:00pm

Group calls for independent review of project it says would permanently damage Kosciuszko national park

Engineers, economists, energy specialists and environmentalists are calling for a final decision on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project to be delayed to allow an independent review, claiming it will cost far more and deliver far less than has been promised.

The group of 30 said the 2,000-megawatt pumped hydro storage project in the Snowy Mountains would permanently damage the Kosciuszko national park.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 11:19am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a puma on the streets of Santiago, Chile

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Categories: Environment

Chris Packham begins legal case to halt HS2 amid coronavirus crisis

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 10:49am

Rail contractors accused of using pandemic as cover to hasten ancient woodland destruction

Chris Packham is seeking an urgent injunction to immediately halt HS2’s destruction of ancient woodlands as campaigners criticise construction teams for allegedly ignoring the government’s physical distancing rules for coronavirus and endangering local people.

The naturalist and broadcaster’s £100,000 crowd-funded legal challenge includes requesting a judicial review of the government’s decision-making behind the £106bn high-speed railway and an interim injunction to stop “enabling” works scheduled to destroy swaths of five ancient woodland areas in April.

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Categories: Environment

Brazil scales back environmental enforcement amid coronavirus outbreak

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 10:37am

Experts fear efforts to protect field agents from virus could lead to surge in deforestation

Brazil will reduce efforts to fight environmental crimes during the coronavirus outbreak, despite concerns that reduced protection could lead to a surge in deforestation.

The director of environmental protection at Ibama environmental agency said the outbreak had left little choice but to send fewer enforcement personnel into the field.

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Categories: Environment

Trump administration allows companies to break pollution laws during coronavirus pandemic

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 7:53am

Extraordinary move signals to US companies that they will not face any sanctions for polluting the air or water

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suspended its enforcement of environmental laws during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, signaling to companies they will not face any sanction for polluting the air or water of Americans.

In an extraordinary move that has stunned former EPA officials, the Trump administration said it will not expect compliance with the routine monitoring and reporting of pollution and won’t pursue penalties for breaking these rules.

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Categories: Environment

Utrecht rooftops to be ‘greened’ with plants and mosses in new plan

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 7:02am

‘Vertical forest’ tower will have 10,000 plants on its facade in bid to reinvigorate biodiversity

Every roof in the city district of Utrecht is to be “greened” with plants and mosses or have solar panels installed under plans driven by the success of a similar scheme for the municipality’s bus stops.

The “no roofs unused” policy is part of an attempt to reinvigorate biodiversity in the city and create a less stressful and happier environment, of which the construction of a so-called “vertical forest tower with 10,000 plants on its facade is set to become a leading example.

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Categories: Environment

Canada mourns Takaya – the lone sea wolf whose spirit captured the world

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 4:19am

The life – and this week’s sudden death – of the legendary wolf shone a light on the often-strained bond between humans and wild animals

When Doug Paton burst from his trailer on a warm spring afternoon, he expected to confront yet another stray dog agitating the livestock on his sister’s farm outside Victoria, a city on Canada’s west coast. Instead, standing barefoot in the grass, he found himself face to face with a wolf.

“It stopped dead in its tracks and it stared me down,” he says. Then, as quickly as it appeared, the wolf trotted away, pausing once to stare back at Paton before clearing a five-foot metal gate and vanishing.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife charity plans to buy UK land to give it back to nature

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/03/27 - 3:59am

Heal Rewilding will find lower-grade land and let it recover naturally, rather than planting

A new national wildlife charity called Heal Rewilding is planning to buy ecologically depleted land across Britain and give it back to nature.

The charity, which launches on Monday, is crowdfunding and will seek former farms, green belt or lower-grade land where wildlife can recover. The sites will be within easy reach of large towns and cities to benefit more people.

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Categories: Environment

$2tn US coronavirus relief comes without climate stipulations

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/03/26 - 12:17pm

Airlines get $60bn bailout, but Pelosi’s proposal on halving of emissions by 2050 not included

A $2tn US coronavirus relief package will dole out billions to struggling airlines and offer low-interest loans that fossil fuel companies could compete for – without requiring any action to stem the climate crisis.

The legislation, passed by the Senate late on Wednesday, includes a $60bn bailout for airlines. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrat-controlled House, had proposed a requirement for airlines to cut their planet-warming emissions in half by 2050, but that provision is not in the bill.

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Categories: Environment

UK greenhouse gas emissions fall for seventh year in a row

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/03/26 - 6:45am

More than a third of British electricity was generated by renewables in 2019

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell for a seventh consecutive year in 2019 after a record year for renewable energy, according to government figures.

The provisional data, published by the government on Thursday, revealed a 3.6% fall in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 2018 and almost 28% from 2010.

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Categories: Environment

UK landowners told to stop burning moorland after Yorkshire blaze

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/03/26 - 5:43am

Firefighters call for halt after fire set in readiness for grouse shooting spread out of control

Landowners have been told to stop burning moorland for grouse shooting after firefighters condemned them for using up valuable emergency resources at a time when the the UK is fighting the coronavirus crisis.

The Moorland Association, an industry body for landowners, said this week landowners must stop any controlled burning. The instruction came after a managed fire in West Yorkshire got out of control and spread into a mile-long fire front.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef’s latest bleaching confirmed by marine park authority

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/03/26 - 12:39am

Severity of damage has increased, with areas spared in previous years experiencing moderate or severe bleaching

The government agency responsible for the Great Barrier Reef has confirmed the natural landmark has suffered a third mass coral bleaching episode in five years, describing the damage as “very widespread”.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said the assessment was based on information from in-water and aerial observations, and built on the best available science and technology to understand current conditions.

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Categories: Environment

Call for isolated Britons to help digitise historical rainfall data

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/03/26 - 12:00am

Climate change scientists planning to transcribe paper records from 1820s to 1950s

Weather is a perennial British obsession, with some of the country’s rainfall and temperature records going back centuries. Some of this data has been invaluable in drawing up detailed pictures of the British climate, which have been influential in computer models used to forecast climate change.

But some of it is still effectively unusable because it is marooned in reams of old-fashioned paper records. Now scientists at the University of Reading are planning to rescue these obscure rain gauge records, using citizen scientists to do the work. They hope that hundreds of people currently stuck indoors with little else to do will be inspired to join up to help digitise rainfall data for use by meteorologists and climate experts.

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Categories: Environment

Commercial Fishermen Struggle To Survive In The Face Of Coronavirus

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/03/25 - 8:51pm

Commercial fishermen are fighting to stay afloat while restaurants and global markets are shutting down to contain the spread of the virus.

(Image credit: Gregory Bull/AP)

Categories: Environment

Dakota access pipeline: court strikes down permits in victory for Standing Rock Sioux

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/03/25 - 5:02pm

Army corps of engineers ordered to conduct full environmental review, which could take years

The future of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline has been thrown into question after a federal court on Wednesday struck down its permits and ordered a comprehensive environmental review.

Related: Our fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over

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Categories: Environment

Judge Orders Environmental Review Of Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/03/25 - 4:00pm

It is a major victory for the Native American tribes and environmental groups fighting against the project. The judge has not decided whether oil can still flow in the meantime.

(Image credit: Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Categories: Environment

UK farmers fear huge labour shortfall despite interest in 'land army'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/03/25 - 10:01am

At least 10,000 people have signed up, but more than 90,000 jobs need filling

The farming industry says it faces a huge shortfall of workers to harvest fruit and vegetables even though many thousands of people have expressed an interest in joining a new “land army”.

The campaign to recruit as many as 90,000 is being backed by environment secretary George Eustice who said: “We need to mobilise the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people’s plates over the summer months … I would encourage as many people as possible to sign up.”

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Categories: Environment

Global efforts on ozone help reverse southern jet stream damage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/03/25 - 9:00am

Jet stream appears to have stopped moving south and may be moving back towards normal

International cooperation on ozone-depleting chemicals is helping to return the southern jet stream to a normal state after decades of human-caused disruption, a study shows.

Scientists say the findings prove there is the capacity to heal damaged climate systems if governments act promptly and in coordination to deal with the causes.

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Categories: Environment

World's wind power capacity up by fifth after record year

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/03/25 - 3:48am

Offshore windfarms and onshore projects in US and China fuel one of strongest years on record

The world’s wind power capacity grew by almost a fifth in 2019 after a year of record growth for offshore windfarms and a boom in onshore projects in the US and China.

The Global Wind Energy Council found that wind power capacity grew by 60.4 gigawatts, or 19%, compared with 2018, in one of the strongest years on record for the global wind power industry.

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