Environment

Shipping first as commercial tanker crosses Arctic sea route in winter

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/02/13 - 5:19am

The crossing, unassisted by an icebreaker vessel, marks a milestone as thawing polar ice opens up Russia’s northern coastline, reports Climate Home News

An LNG tanker designed for icy conditions has become the first commercial ship to travel the Arctic’s northern sea route in winter.

It marks a milestone in the opening up of Russia’s northern coastline, as thawing polar ice makes industrial development and maritime trade increasingly viable.

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Categories: Environment

Trump's infrastructure plan aims to sweep away 'inefficient' environmental reviews

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/02/13 - 5:00am

Trump’s plan would threaten endangered species or fragile habitats with limits for environmental reviews

The Trump administration is attempting to speed up or even sweep away various environmental reviews in its plan to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure and construct a wall along the border with Mexico.

The White House’s infrastructure plan targets what it calls “inefficiencies” in the approval of roads, bridges, airports and other projects. It proposes a 21-month limit for environmental reviews of projects that potentially threaten endangered species or fragile habitats, along with curbs on federal agencies’ ability to raise objections to new construction.

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Categories: Environment

Melting ice sheets are hastening sea level rise, satellite data confirms

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/02/13 - 1:57am

Research shows that pace of melting in Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite data shows.

At the current rate, the world’s oceans will be on average at least 60cm (2ft) higher by the end of the century, according to research published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

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Categories: Environment

Adani Australian CEO's record 'wouldn't have altered mine approval'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/02/13 - 1:06am

Department investigation finds failure to disclose ‘may have been negligent’ but would not have changed decision

A federal environment department investigation into Adani’s failure to disclose its CEO’s link to a mining company convicted of causing serious environmental harm says the failure to disclose “may have been negligent”. But knowledge of the link would not have altered the decision to grant Carmichael mine ministerial approval, an internal document says.

The document, released to the Australia Institute and published by the ABC following a freedom of information request to the federal environment department, is the summary of an investigation conducted by the department following the revelation that the chief executive of Adani Mining, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, had charge of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia when the company pleaded guilty to serious environmental offences, including polluting the major river.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife photographer of the year people's choice winner 2018 – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/02/13 - 12:01am

A heartwarming image of a gorilla in the arms of her rescuer won this year’s award, after 20,000 nature fans voted on a shortlist of 24 images

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Categories: Environment

States threaten to quit Murray-Darling Basin plan over water recovery target

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 9:50pm

NSW and Victoria say move to disallow 18% cut in northern basin target could ‘kill off’ plan

New South Wales and Victoria are threatening to pull out of the Murray-Darling Basin plan if the Senate votes to knock out changes that would reduce the environmental water recovery target for the northern basin, raising the stakes on tomorrow’s vote.

The 70GL cut to the environmental water recovery target, representing a 18% reduction, has been recommended by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority after an inquiry.

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Categories: Environment

NSW land-clearing prosecutions down 80% in three years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 8:49pm

Government says it has no information on extent of clearing under new, less-restrictive laws

Prosecutions in New South Wales for illegal land clearing have dropped by 80% in the past three years, according to data released under freedom of information laws.

The information, obtained by the NSW Labor opposition, shows the Berejiklian government claims not to have any information about how much clearing has occurred under new laws that came into force in August 2017 aimed at making land clearing easier.

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Categories: Environment

California Officials Set Up Invasive Swamp Rodent Hotline

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 6:36pm

Nutria can grow up to 2.5 feet, weigh 20 pounds and wreak destruction wherever they go. State authorities believed they were extinct, but recent sightings have led to a call for the public to help.

(Image credit: Michael Probst/AP)

Categories: Environment

Scottish engineering yards set to close once windfarm work ends

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 4:50pm

Shutdown of BiFab operations in two locations would mean loss of hundreds of jobs

Hundreds of workers at the BiFab marine engineering yards are to be made redundant, union leaders have said.

Management at the yards told trade unions on Monday they will be issuing redundancy notices to the core workforce on Tuesday, giving 45 days’ notice of the closure of the yards. Unions said 260 jobs at yards in Fife and Arnish on Lewis are to go by early summer, with the possible total closure of the yards by the end of June.

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Categories: Environment

Network Rail to install drinking fountains in majority of its train stations this year

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 10:30am

Company pledges to introduce free drinking water facilities in many of nation’s busiest stations

Network Rail has pledged to install water fountains in the majority of its 17 managed UK stations by the end of the year.

Related: Bottled water is a nonsense. Just ban it and fill our towns with drinking fountains | Sonia Sodha

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Categories: Environment

What Canola Can Tell Us About Crops And Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 10:01am

When canola seedpods shatter prematurely, farmers can lose a lot of their crop. Scientists have now figured out how this happens, and it has implications for similar crops facing global warming.

(Image credit: Andrew Davies/courtesy John Innes Centre)

Categories: Environment

'A national disgrace': Australia's extinction crisis is unfolding in plain sight

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 10:00am

More than 1,800 plant and animal species and ecological communities are at risk of extinction right now
• Interactive: Wombats, sharks, possums, frogs: Australia’s animals at risk of extinction

Global warming wiped out the Bramble Cay melomys – the first mammalian extinction in the world to be caused by climate change – but a straightforward plan that could have rescued the little rodent was thwarted by red tape and political indifference.

“It could have been saved. That’s the most important part,” says John Woinarski, a professor of conservation biology who was on the threatened species scientific committee that approved a 2008 national recovery plan for the species, endemic to a tiny island in the Torres Strait.

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Categories: Environment

Wombats, sharks, possums, frogs: Australia's animals at risk of extinction – interactive

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 10:00am

Hundreds of Australian animals are endangered, and while they could be saved, government intervention is urgently needed
‘A national disgrace’: Australia’s extinction crisis is unfolding in plain sight

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Categories: Environment

The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 4:00am

Until Pruitt deleted the EPA climate webpages.

Last week, a Las Vegas news station interviewed Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The interviewer brought up the topic of climate change, and virtually everything Pruitt said in response was wrong, and was often refuted on his own agency’s website, until he started deleting it.

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Categories: Environment

Microplastics pollute most remote and uncharted areas of the ocean

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/02/12 - 12:00am

First data ever gathered from extremely remote area of the South Indian Ocean has a surprisingly high volume of plastic particles, say scientists

Microplastics have been found in some of the most remote and uncharted regions of the oceans raising more concerns over the global scale of plastic pollution.

Samples taken from the middle of the South Indian Ocean – at latitude 45.5 degrees south – show microplastic particles detected at relatively high volumes. Sören Gutekunst, from the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, who analysed the samples, said the data showed 42 particles per cubic metre, which was surprising given the remoteness of the area.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's solar power boom could almost double capacity in a year, analysts say

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/02/11 - 10:00am

Solar farm approvals and record rooftop installations expected to ‘turbo-boost’ production

A record-breaking month of rooftop installations and a flood of large-scale solar farms could almost double Australia’s solar power capacity in a single year, industry analysts say.

A massive solar energy boom is being predicted for 2018, after an unprecedented number of industrial solar farms were approved by the New South Wales and Queensland governments last year.

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Categories: Environment

From earplugs to bedroom swaps: how to protect against noise pollution

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/02/11 - 10:00am

Everyday hubbub can increase your chance of cardiovascular problems, new research claims. Here are four ways to mitigate the effects of background sounds

If you find it vexing that a loud bang can trigger a heart attack, bad news: it turns out a low rumble can, too. Several studies have identified links between noise pollution from railways, airports or roads and cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure. According to new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, this is probably because sound can cause a spike in stress hormones, which damages the heart over time.

The researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany who compiled the research said one of the main ways noise pollution affects heart health is by disrupting sleep. Thankfully, there are simple way to mitigating those effects.

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Categories: Environment

How do you build a healthy city? Copenhagen reveals its secrets

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/02/11 - 9:10am

The Danish capital ranks high on the list of the world’s healthiest and happiest cities. With obesity and depression on the rise worldwide, here are its lessons for how to combat them culturally

Maybe it’s the Viking heritage. There is an icy open-air pool in the waters of Copenhagen’s harbour, and although it is mid-winter Danes still jump in every day. On the front cover of the city’s health plan, a lean older man is pictured climbing out, dripping, his mouth open in a shout that could be horror or pleasure. “Enjoy life, Copenhageners,” urges the caption.

It’s not every Copenhagener who wants to take strenuous exercise in cold water either for fun or to get fit. But the packed bike lanes of the Danish capital, even at this sometimes subzero time of year, are testimony to the success of a city that is aspiring to be one of the healthiest in the world. Copenhagen consistently sits at the very top of the UN’s happiness index and is one of the star performers in the Healthy Cities initiative of the World Health Organisation, which, almost unknown and unsung, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The initiative was the idea of a group of individuals inspired by the Alma Ata Declaration of 1978, which was about elevating the status of primary care and public health in a world where everybody equated healthcare with hospital treatment after you got ill.

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Categories: Environment

Lack of women in energy ‘holding back fight against climate change’

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/02/11 - 5:01am

Gender imbalance at energy firms and industry events is slowing transition to greener power, claims expert

The lack of women in energy companies is holding back the sector’s efforts to tackle climate change, a leading industry watcher has warned.

Catherine Mitchell, a professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said poor gender diversity meant the industry was less open to new ideas, in particular the move to a lower-carbon energy system.

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Categories: Environment

Brazil carnival revellers warned that all that glitters is not good for the planet

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/02/11 - 1:00am

Rio’s vast annual street celebration features copious amounts of sparkling microplastics that find their way into the marine food chain

With Rio’s enormous carnival in full swing, the streets are full of revellers in colourful fancy dress, thronging the city’s many samba street parties. And among the looks, there is one carnival constant: multicoloured glitter smeared over bare skin.

But now worries over glitter’s damaging environmental impact are dampening the mood at the world’s biggest party.

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Categories: Environment
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