Environment

New Orleans launches resilience roadmap to tackle climate and social challenges

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/26 - 2:26am

As well as focusing on climate-related catastrophes, the 41-step resilience strategy addresses social issues such as poverty, racial inequality and crime

In the week that marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans officials have launched a comprehensive “resilience strategy” aiming to secure the city’s future.

As well as seeking ways for the city to both prevent and survive more climate-related catastrophes, it treats social challenges such as poverty, racial inequality and crime as disasters that must be addressed if New Orleans is to become truly “resilient”. In the strategy’s parlance, it tackles both “shocks” and “stresses”.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Lord Stern hits out at claims about cost of climate cuts

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/26 - 2:00am

There is no conflict between economic growth and action on climate change, ambassadors told in Paris

The eminent climate economist Nicholas Stern has condemned the counterposing of economic growth with climate action as a false and diversionary tactic that could damage prospects for agreement at the Paris climate talks in December.

Several business groups have complained about the costs of climate mitigation and Andrzej Duda, the Polish prime minister, recently said that EU plans for ambitious emissions cuts would be costly and “bad for Poland”.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Tutu, Klein and Chomsky call for mass climate action ahead of Paris conference

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/26 - 1:00am

Artists, journalists, scientists and academics among 100 signatories calling for mobilisation on scale of slavery abolition and anti-apartheid movements

Desmond Tutu, Vivienne Westwood, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky are among a group of high-profile figures who will issue a mass call to action on Thursday ahead of the UN’s crunch climate change conference in Paris in December.

They call for mass mobilisation on the scale of the slavery abolition and anti-apartheid movements to trigger “a great historical shift”.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Cronking ravens and flower oracles – our natural barometers?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 9:29pm

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire As I peer into the yarrow and gentians, thinking about changes in this strange season, a raven flies low over the trees - then the raindrops fall

The curious and alluring autumn gentians are flowering. At the top of the bank where the rabbits have nibbled turf down to the quick and people have broadened the path along the fence, in the wood where the last fragments of wild meadow have been heavily grazed, little clumps of lilac coloured flowers are blooming. I have rarely seen autumn gentian in any of these places until now.

This plant is biennial, growing reddish stems less than a foot high. The plants I saw last year had pointy leaves and this year are producing upright tubular flowers that open into lilac stars at the top and reveal inner “ribbons”. They are easy to miss but when they’re spotted they have a strange allure.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Scotty the orphaned baby wallaby enjoys lunch on Kangaroo Island – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 9:27pm

Scotty, the baby wallaby, has lunch: 11ml of a specially formulated mix. The tammar wallaby was rescued on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, after his mother was killed on the road. Those looking after Scotty created a Facebook page to chart his progress and to source expert advice on raising an orphaned macropod, the marsupial family to which wallabies and kangaroos belong

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

US environmental agency advising Australia on impact of fracking on water

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 8:07pm

The US’s Environmental Protection Agency has given Australia’s Department of the Environment details of recent fracking study and is peer reviewing papers

The Australian government has obtained information from US environmental regulators on the impact of fracking upon water supplies to help inform a new set of guidelines it is preparing on the controversial activity.

The US’s Environmental Protection Agency has supplied the Australian Department of the Environment with the details of a recent study on fracking. The EPA has also helped the department peer review a number of its own documents.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Panda worries US zookeepers by playing favourites with newborn twins – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 5:41pm

Giant panda Mei Xiang is worrying zookeepers at Washington DC’s National zoo by focusing her care on the larger of her newborn twins. This behaviour is normal in panda mothers, so the keepers have a system. Every few hours they swap out the cubs, giving each one time to nurse and bond with its mother, while the other is kept warm in an incubator

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

World must face up to cost of carbon reductions, says European climate expert

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 4:01pm

Former European commissioner Connie Hedegaard agrees with Tony Abbott that wind turbines are not ‘beautiful’, but calls power plants ‘visually awful’

The former European commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard has urged countries to acknowledge the cost of reducing emissions to fight climate change, and called on politicians to shift away from short-term thinking.

Speaking at the City of Sydney’s CityTalks 2015 on Tuesday, Hedegaard urged action to reduce emissions in the lead-up to the Paris climate conference in December.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

White sky at night not a city bird's delight | @GrrlScientist

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 4:01pm

Free-living songbirds show increased stress hormone levels when nesting under white street lights. But different light spectra may have different physiological effects as this study finds, suggesting that using street lights with specific colour spectra may mitigate effects of light pollution on wildlife

A study published today in the journal Biology Letters reports that free-living urban songbirds have increased levels of the stress hormone, corticosterone, in their bloodstream when they nest under street lights. Higher corticosterone concentrations raises the likelihood that birds will prematurely abandon their nests, eggs and chicks. The study, which also investigated the effects of other colours of artificial lighting on wild birds, found that corticosterone levels decrease as nest distance increases from a lamppost with red lighting. This research suggests it may be possible to reduce the disturbing effects of night lighting on wildlife by using street lights with specific colour spectra.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Bushfires, heatwaves and early deaths: the climate is changing before our eyes | Tim Flannery

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 1:22pm

In an exclusive extract from his new book, Atmosphere of Hope, Tim Flannery argues that recent events in Australia and around the world show how global warming is much more than a debate about scientific projections

When I wrote The Weather Makers, I laid out the state of climate science as it was understood in 2005. The book received much acclaim, but it was also criticised by climate-change sceptics as extremist and alarmist.

Since the book was published, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has completed two major summaries, in the form of its fourth and fifth assessment reports, and thousands of scientific publications have added to our understanding of how Earth’s climate system responds to carbon pollution.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Gold King mine spill threatens crops of Navajo Nation farmers – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 10:37am

In August, the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally unleashed 3m gallons of contaminated wastewater while inspecting the idled Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado. In Shiprock, New Mexico, Earl and Cheryle Yazzie, members of the Navajo Nation, explain how the spill affected the lives of farmers in their community.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Last Sumatran rhino in the US to be sent to Indonesia to mate

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 9:33am

Harapan, who resides at the Cincinnati Zoo, will fly to south-east Asia where most of the estimated 100 remaining rhinos live

An Ohio zoo that has the last Sumatran rhino in the US on Tuesday announced plans to send the endangered species to south-east Asia on a mission to mate.

Conservation experts at the Cincinnati Zoo say eight-year-old Harapan will soon be on his way to Indonesia, where nearly all of the estimated 100 remaining Sumatran rhinos live. Numbers of the two-horned descendants of Ice Age wooly rhinos have fallen by some 90% since the mid-1980s as development of their south-east Asia forest habitat and poachers seeking their prized horns took their toll.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

H&M's $1m recycling prize is clever but no solution to fast fashion

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 9:04am

The retail giant’s foundation is calling for innovative solutions to waste and pollution but critics say it’s just a way to keep the wheels of fast fashion spinning

H&M, one of the world’s largest fast fashion brands, has launched a €1m ($1.16m) recycling prize in an effort to engage innovators, technologists, scientists and entrepreneurs to find a solution to a growing problem in the clothing industry: waste and pollution.

The Swedish brand’s foundation, the H&M Conscious Foundation, announced the Global Challenge Award to “catalyse green, truly groundbreaking ideas” that will “protect the earth’s natural resources by closing the loop for fashion”.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Claims that uranium mining near the Grand Canyon is safe don't hold water | David Kreamer

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 6:30am

Science shows we can’t assume that uranium deposits, when disturbed by mining, can’t leak into groundwater. We should be wary of claims to the contrary

It only takes a few Grand Canyon hikes to realize the importance of its springs and other water sources. When refilling a water bottle in the cool depths below multi-colored rock walls, listening to a summer frog symphony at sunset or maybe snapping an icicle from a weeping ledge in winter, it’s clear that the living desert depends on its pockets of water.

That’s why, as a hydrologist and longtime Grand Canyon hiker, boatman and scientist, I am profoundly concerned about continued uranium mining in or near it. It has great potential to irreparably harm Grand Canyon springs and the plants and animals that depend on them.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rajendra Singh: Clean flowing rivers must be a human right

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 6:17am

The winner of the Stockholm Water Prize says communities and traditional techniques are the solutions to drought, not corporations

The “waterman of India” will walk across five continents to raise awareness for his campaign to have the human rights to river water and access to nature recognised by the UN.

“Nature cannot fulfil greed,” Rajendra Singh said on Monday at World Water Week, where he will accept the Stockholm Water Prize on Wednesday. Singh argued that communities facing water crises should resist the money and technological solutions offered by corporations. Instead, he told the Guardian, they must find ways to help themselves.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Our strategy to rebuild New Orleans for the threats it will face in 50 years' time

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 4:32am

Jeff Hebert was moved to return home to New Orleans by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, he has been at the heart of efforts to rebuild a stronger city, culminating in today’s launch of a future masterplan

I’m from the New Orleans area, but in 2005 was living in New York doing neighbourhood redevelopment work. I watched Katrina unfold on television, and after seeing those shocking images, I felt passionately that I needed to come home and use my training to help rebuild the city.

I didn’t get to New Orleans until about a month later. My brother picked me up and we drove around the city – we saw awful devastation. His house on Jena Street in Uptown, near the Baptist hospital, was flooded. The entire first floor was ruined; mould had begun to eat the walls. The wooden floors were buckled and the smell was putrid. There was debris all over the streets, and there had been many fires in that neighbourhood.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Government permission to use banned pesticides face legal challenge

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 4:02am

Temporary approval for two of the three neonicotinoid pesticides linked to decline in bees and banned by the EU is to be challenged in the high court

A government decision to permit the use of banned pesticides linked to declining bee populations is to be challenged in the high court by the environmental charity Friends of the Earth (FOE).

The use of three neonicotinoid pesticides is currently illegal under a European Union law, which is due to be reviewed at the end of the year.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 3:00am

A new paper finds common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus

Those who reject the 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming often invoke Galileo as an example of when the scientific minority overturned the majority view. In reality, climate contrarians have almost nothing in common with Galileo, whose conclusions were based on empirical scientific evidence, supported by many scientific contemporaries, and persecuted by the religious-political establishment. Nevertheless, there’s a slim chance that the 2–3% minority is correct and the 97% climate consensus is wrong.

To evaluate that possibility, a new paper published in the journal of Theoretical and Applied Climatology examines a selection of contrarian climate science research and attempts to replicate their results. The idea is that accurate scientific research should be replicable, and through replication we can also identify any methodological flaws in that research. The study also seeks to answer the question, why do these contrarian papers come to a different conclusion than 97% of the climate science literature?

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Lion kills guide in Zimbabwe safari park where Cecil lived

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 2:39am

Quinn Swales charged by male lion during walking safari in Hwange national park, where American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil

A safari guide has been mauled to death by a lion in the same Zimbabwean national park where Cecil the lion was killed by hunters.

Quinn Swales was taking guests on a photographic walking safari in Hwange national park at dawn on Monday when he was charged by the male, according to the Camp Hwange lodge. The 40-year-old Zimbabwean saved his guests but died of his injuries.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

International court rules in favour of Greenpeace activist Colin Russell

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/08/25 - 1:57am

Tasmanian man held prisoner for two months after Russian commandos stormed Arctic Sunrise in 2013 says ‘I’m vindicated’

A Tasmanian man held prisoner for two months after Russian commandos stormed a Greenpeace ship is feeling vindicated after an international court ruled in his favour.

Colin Russell was held in a Russian prison after the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise was boarded in September 2013 and the 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists were detained.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content