BHP bosses defend company's decision to stay in gas and oil 'for the medium term'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/14 - 9:30am

Chairman Ken MacKenzie tells AGM that fossil fuels will be part of the energy mix for decades

BHP management has batted away shareholder criticism of the miner’s intention to continue investing in gas despite claiming it will dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.

Speaking at BHP’s Australian annual meeting on Wednesday evening, chairman Ken MacKenzie also addressed the fallout from rival Rio Tinto’s decision to blow up 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara.

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Categories: Environment

‘It’s a silent killer’: fears of legionella grow amid pandemic

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/14 - 7:30am

Legionella in water is sickening and sometimes killing Americans, with the current reopening of buildings prompting fresh concerns

  • This story is co-published with Ensia

Before her 73-year-old mom contracted legionnaires’ disease at a nursing home earlier this year, Monique Barlow knew little about the deadly pneumonia and the waterborne pathogen that causes it.

“Until then, I didn’t give it much thought,” says Barlow. “I didn’t even really know what it was.”

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Categories: Environment

The Devil Has a Name review - fire-breathing thriller about a farmer taking on Big Oil

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/14 - 6:00am

Kate Bosworth shines in a juicy role as a cigar-smoking oil matriarch in this drama directed by veteran actor Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos is an actor-film-maker with a long history of advocating for Latino screen representation, and he has cast himself as something of what you might call a “magical Latino” stock character in this environmental courtroom drama. He plays Santiago, the right-hand man of Fred Stern (David Strathairn), a recently widowed California almond farmer, who is locked in a legal battle with a big bad oil firm. Santi always has some old-west wisdom to offer his old pal, such as “Don’t confuse fightin’ with livin’”; or “Who knows the true meaning of ‘covfefe’?”

It’s a forgivable indulgence, since The Devil Has a Name is also providing juicy roles for several other character actors who have long been underserved and unappreciated. Former child star Haley Joel Osment and Pablo Schreiber (“Pornstache” from Orange Is the New Black) are both having a high old time as scenery-chewing grifters with nefarious motives, while Martin Sheen recycles some of that President Bartlet twinkle as Stern’s dragon-slaying lawyer. The real revelation, though, is Kate Bosworth, a rising star of the early noughties (Blue Crush, Superman Returns) who never quite rose. As Gigi Cutler, however, she’s a new woman; a swaggering, cigarillo-chomping, femme-fatale version of cinema’s great rapacious oil men, who’ll drink your milkshake and probably your whiskey, too.

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Categories: Environment

Trump and Biden offer starkly different visions of US role in world

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/14 - 2:00am

The world is anxiously watching the election, with the candidates far apart on issues such as the climate crisis and nuclear weapons

Foreign policy barely gets a mention in this US election, but for the rest of the world the outcome on 3 November will arguably be the most consequential in history.

All US elections have a global impact, but this time there are two issues of existential importance to the planet – the climate crisis and nuclear proliferation – on which the two presidential candidates could hardly be further apart.

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Categories: Environment

Canada's last intact ice shelf broke off. It took our research station with it

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/14 - 12:00am

Researchers studying the area in the Arctic for years describe the day of the calving event – and where they go from here

In August, Adrienne White – an ice analyst at the Canadian Ice Service who monitors the Canadian Arctic for changes in sea ice – was reviewing satellite imagery when she spotted something remarkable. The enormous Milne ice shelf, which was the last intact ice shelf in Canada and which White had studied closely before as a PhD student, was dissolving.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland transition to renewables would generate almost 10,000 jobs, analysis shows

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 8:51pm

Exclusive: Sunshine and available land offer a ‘world-class’ opportunity, expert says

Queensland has the potential to draw all of its electricity from renewable sources in a 15-year transition away from fossil fuels that would generate almost 10,000 jobs, according to analysis commissioned by the Queensland Conservation Council.

Almost 11,000 ongoing jobs would then operate and maintain a suite of energy sources either existing or proposed in the state, including wind and solar and farms, hydro plants and battery projects.

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Categories: Environment

Yellow crazy ant infestation could spread to Queensland's wet tropics, conservationists warn

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 7:56pm

Calls for urgent funding from state and federal governments to deal with one of the world’s worst invasive species

One of the world’s worst invasive species could spread into Queensland’s wet tropics world heritage area unless there is urgent intervention from the state and federal governments, conservationists have warned.

Yellow crazy ants, which spit formic acid and can form supercolonies that overwhelm native species, have long been an issue in the country’s north, including in Cairns where they have encroached on the world heritage area.

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Categories: Environment

Image of tiger hugging tree wins 2020 wildlife photographer award

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 2:00pm

Sergey Gorshkov left a hidden camera in a Russian forest for 11 months to capture the big cat

An image of a clearly ecstatic tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree in a remote Siberian forest has won one of the world’s most prestigious photography prizes.

It took Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov 11 months to capture the moment using hidden cameras. His patience led to him being named 2020 wildlife photographer of the year by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony at London’s Natural History Museum.

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Categories: Environment

Birdwatch: the curlew sandpiper – a visit from a restless global traveller

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 1:30pm

It was a treat to see this busy bird in Somerset, but then they do venture far from their Siberian breeding grounds

Of the thousand-plus waders at the high tide roost, all but a handful were either asleep or standing still, patiently waiting for the waters to recede. But one bird was feeding as if its life depended on it: methodically making its way across the muddy banks of the River Brue, picking up morsels of food with its long, decurved bill.

The bird’s frantic activity and elegant appearance identified it as a scarce visitor to the Somerset coast: a juvenile curlew sandpiper – named because its bill resembles that of its much larger relative.

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Categories: Environment

Small investors pile in to crowdfunder to mine lithium in Cornwall

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 12:03pm

Ex Investec banker raises additional £4m to tap ‘globally significant’ reserves of metal used in electric car batteries

A former banker has raised almost £4m from thousands of individual investors to fund plans to tap Cornwall’s rich reserves of lithium needed to make electric vehicle batteries.

Cornish Lithium, the mining startup founded by the former Investec banker Jeremy Wrathall, more than doubled the £1.5m it hoped to raise through crowdfunding after more than 2,000 investors backed the plans. The Cornwall-based company set the target on Crowdcube on Monday, but by late Tuesday morning the oversubscribed fundraising had collected £3.8m from investors.

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Categories: Environment

Put the planet before GDP growth | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 9:37am

It is imperative to curb the use of fossil fuels, whatever the economic cost, writes Michael Bassey, while Christopher Tanner wonders what it will take for leaders to act

The question asked in your editorial (11 October), “whether the growth of real GDP is too destabilising for global ecosystems”, is answered by Nemonte Nenquimo in the heading to her letter addressed to world leaders (This is my message to the western world – your civilisation is killing life on Earth, 12 October).

It is atmospheric carbon dioxide, liberated by burning fossil fuels, in industry, in our homes and by travel, that is the major cause of the destabilisation of global ecosystems.

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Categories: Environment

Tory peer apologises for ministerial rule breach in Uganda deals

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 9:28am

Former energy minister Lady Verma had previously denied she broke the rules

A former minister who denied breaching the ministerial code after her family firm signed multimillion pound deals with Uganda’s government has apologised for breaking the rules to a parliamentary watchdog, it has emerged.

Lady Verma, the former energy minister, told the Guardian last month she did not have to inform the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) after Nexus Green Ltd signed solar deals worth more than £88m with the sub-Saharan country.

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Categories: Environment

Airborne radioactivity increases downwind of fracking, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 8:00am

Particles released by drilling could damage the health of nearby residents, say scientists

The radioactivity of airborne particles increases significantly downwind of fracking sites in the US, a study has found.

The Harvard scientists said this could damage the health of people living in nearby communities and that further research was needed to understand how to stop the release of the radioactive elements from under the ground.

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Categories: Environment

The Arctic is in a death spiral. How much longer will it exist?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 2:00am

The region is unravelling faster than anyone could once have predicted. But there may still be time to act

At the end of July, 40% of the 4,000-year-old Milne Ice Shelf, located on the north-western edge of Ellesmere Island, calved into the sea. Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf was no more.

On the other side of the island, the most northerly in Canada, the St Patrick’s Bay ice caps completely disappeared.

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Categories: Environment

Top asset owners commit to big carbon emissions cuts

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 1:24am

Group with total portfolio of $5tn seek cuts of 29% from companies they invest in

Thirty of the world’s largest asset owners, with portfolios worth a combined $5tn (£3.8tn), have committed to cutting the carbon emissions linked to companies they invest in by up to 29% within the next four years.

Members of the UN-backed Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance – which includes Aviva, the Church of England and the $400bn US fund CalPERS – will each set decarbonisation targets for 2025 as part of wider efforts to align their portfolios with the Paris climate goals and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

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Categories: Environment

Bridge over troubled forests: how Java's slow lorises are creeping back

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 12:30am

A pioneering project uses water pipes suspended in the trees to allow the endangered primates to gather food in safety

Photographs by Andrew Walmsley

Largely solitary, nocturnal, venomous and pint-sized, slow lorises are strong contenders for the primates that least resemble humans. Which may be why they are among the least studied, least protected and most poorly understood primates, according to Anna Nekaris, professor of primate conservation and biological anthropology at Oxford Brookes University.

“Out of over 600 primate species, we have five great apes, and everybody wants to study them,” she says.

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Categories: Environment

The great thaw: global heating upends life on Arctic permafrost – photo essay

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/13 - 12:00am

Arctic permafrost is melting at an increasing rate, impacting lives and jeopardizing the planet’s future. Photographer Katie Orlinsky has documented this drastic shift in Siberia and Alaska

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Categories: Environment

Stop CO2 emissions bouncing back after Covid plunge, says IEA

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/12 - 9:00pm

Governments are not doing enough to prevent rapid rebound, says agency’s report

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause a record 7% decline in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, but governments are not doing enough to prevent a rapid rebound, according to an influential report.

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are expected to fall to 33.4 gigatonnes in 2020, the lowest level since 2011 and the biggest year on year fall since 1900 when records began, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its annual world energy outlook.

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Categories: Environment

Reuters Reporter On The Rise Of Single-Use Plastic During The Pandemic

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2020/10/12 - 1:03pm

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Joe Brock of Reuters about an investigation into the rise of single-use plastic in the pandemic and the oil companies' massive investments into global plastic production.

Categories: Environment

Anthony Albanese on Q+A: Labor will go to next election with interim emissions targets 'or a pathway'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/12 - 12:46pm

Party leader confirms he will consider dumping Coalition’s third round of tax cuts

Anthony Albanese has attempted to leave himself breathing room as the Labor party debates setting emission reduction targets for the 2030s, saying he will go to the next federal election with “interim targets or a pathway”.

During an appearance on the ABC’s Q+A program on Monday evening, the Labor leader also confirmed he would consider dumping the government’s third round of income tax cuts – which are scheduled to occur after the election – because the measures favour higher income earners.

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Categories: Environment
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