Environment

The Fight Over Federal Land In The West

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 8:06am

When the federal government says some publicly owned lands should be used "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people," who do they mean?

(Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 3:00am

Enbridge wants to build a new tar sands pipeline

Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuels. These are low-quality heavy tar-like oils that are mined from sand or rock. Much of the mining occurs in Alberta Canada, but it is also mined elsewhere, in lesser quantities.

Tar sands are the worst. Not only are they really hard to get out of the ground, requiring enormous amounts of energy; not only are they difficult to transport and to refine; not only are they more polluting than regular oils; they even have a by-product called “petcoke” that’s used in power plants, but is dirtier than regular coal.

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Categories: Environment

EU raises renewable energy targets to 32% by 2030

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 2:31am

UK called for 30% as green groups say increase does not go far enough

The EU is raising its target for the amount of energy it consumes from renewable sources, in a deal lauded by the bloc’s climate chief as a hard-won victory for the switch to clean energy.

Energy ministers agreed a binding renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, up from the previous goal of 27%, but fell short of the hopes of some countries and green groups for a more ambitious share.

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Categories: Environment

Looking To History To Combat Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 2:00am

After decades of modern fire prevention some forests are much thicker than they've been historically. New research offers a guide to thinning that could keep wildfires smaller and shorter.

(Image credit: Denver Water Department archives and Paula Fornwalt/U.S. Forest Service)

Categories: Environment

Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The Pope delivered | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 1:00am

At a gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke much-needed common sense about climate change

You kind of expect popes to talk about spiritual stuff, kind of the way you expect chefs to discuss spices or tree surgeons to make small talk about overhanging limbs.

Which is why it was so interesting this week to hear Pope Francis break down the climate debate in very practical and very canny terms, displaying far more mathematical insight than your average world leader and far more strategic canniness than your average journalist. In fact, with a few deft sentences, he laid bare the hypocrisy that dominates much of the climate debate.

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Categories: Environment

People in Manchester 'exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 4:01pm

Report finds life expectancy in region reduced by average of six months due to pollution

Dangerous levels of air pollution are having a devastating impact on the health of people living in Greater Manchester and costing the regional economy £1bn every year, according to a new study.

The report found that toxic air is reducing life expectancy in the region by an average six months and, over the next century, estimates “1.6 million life years” will be lost unless action is taken.

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Categories: Environment

Weatherwatch: Mauvoisin disaster triggered scientific interest in glaciers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 1:30pm

A ‘glacial lake outburst flood’ killed 44 people and many animals in 1818 in Switzerland

In June 1818, ice falling from the tongue of the Giétro glacier had in effect blocked the valley of Mauvoisin in Switzerland. Water was building up behind this ice dam to dangerous levels, and engineers were called in to release it gradually. They drilled a hole through the ice, but it did not relieve the water pressure quickly enough. On 16 June at 4.30pm the ice dam burst, disintegrating and releasing all the water at once.

The result was a catastrophic “glacial lake outburst flood”, a phenomenon characterised by extremely high rates of water flow. Warnings did not travel as fast as the sudden rush of 20m cubic metres (4.4bn gallons) of water, which swept away bridges and buildings in its path, killing 44 people and many animals.

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Categories: Environment

Antarctica Has Lost More Than 3 Trillion Tons Of Ice In 25 Years

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 11:52am

Antarctica's ice is melting faster than was thought, say scientists who recently completed the most exhaustive assessment of the ice sheet to date.

(Image credit: Ian Joughin, University of Washington )

Categories: Environment

Antarctic ice melting faster than ever, studies show

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 10:00am

Rate of melt has accelerated threefold in last five years and could contribute 25cm to sea-level rises without urgent action

Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies.

A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.

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Categories: Environment

Let’s go with the grain of tidal power | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 9:43am
Fictional Leros | Tidal power in the 18th century | Feast | AA salute | Interpreters v translators

Further to your travel feature on the Greek island of Leros (9 June), may I recommend to your readers Four’s Destiny: A Wartime Greek Tragedy by Michael Powell, a fictionalised account centring on Leros. Powell weaves a clever, powerful story around some fascinating wartime history. We follow four young men, one each from England, Germany, Italy and Greece, as the second world war changes their lives and destinies.
Ruth Samuels
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

• Re the proposed Swansea Bay tidal power lagoon (Letters, 11 June), the tidal-powered grain mill on the River Lea at Bromley-by-Bow in London was economic from the 1700s to the 1930s – and without the super-efficient bearings common in today’s machinery. Such small-scale hydro-powered generators (tidal and river) should be all over the country – they’d provide work and be far less expensive than nuclear. But some city slickers won’t be so able to extract their rent from localised generation so it won’t be approved by UK’s present government.
Robin Le Mare
Allithwaite, Cumbria

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Categories: Environment

Doug Ford’s disastrous agenda can be derailed by a massive grassroots movement | Martin Lukacs

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 8:45am

The right-wing triumph in Ontario shows the left needs a new populism – backed by street protest and a bold NDP

The guardians of respectable opinion forecast that Doug Ford would never become Ontario’s Premier. Now that he has, they are suggesting his reign might be orderly and painless.

While agreeing with his basic agenda, the Globe & Mail is crossing its fingers that Ford “moves slowly on the public-service layoffs and program cuts…to avoid strikes and social discord.”

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Categories: Environment

My daughter and I paddled 22 miles, picking up plastic. Here’s what we found

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 7:49am

In a weekend scouring the Salcombe estuary, we found everything from bottles to a toy dolphin. The pollution in our waters is ubiquitous – and devastating

One My Little Pony, two crabbing buckets, five balloons, six balls, seven straws, nine shoes, a dozen coffee cups, 20 carrier bags, 205 plastic bottles and lids, polystyrene and a huge amount of rope. That is just a fraction of what my six-year-old daughter, Ella, and I collected over the course of two days last weekend, as we paddleboarded around the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary in south Devon, scouring the foreshores of every creek and cove for 22 miles.

Within seconds of setting off from South Sands beach by the mouth of the estuary, we spotted a clear plastic carrier bag floating in the shallows. Marine wildlife could easily have mistaken it for a jellyfish. Ella grabbed it with a litter picker as we paddled past.

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Categories: Environment

Rise in global carbon emissions a 'big step backwards', says BP

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 6:30am

Coal rebound and slowing efficiency gains in 2017 suggest Paris goals may be missed, says oil firm

The renewed upward march of global carbon emissions is worrying and a big step backwards in the fight against climate change, according to BP.

Emissions rose 1.6% in 2017 after flatlining for the previous three years, which the British oil firm said was a reminder the world was not on track to hit the goals of the Paris climate deal.

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Categories: Environment

Michael Gove appoints UK 'tree champion'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 2:50am

Sir William Worsley is tasked with stopping the unnecessary felling of trees and support plans to plant 11 million trees

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has appointed a “tree champion” to stop the unnecessary felling of trees and boost planting rates.

Sir William Worsley, chairman of the National Forest Company which oversees the National Forest, has been appointed to support government promises to plant 11 million trees, plus a further 1 million in towns and cities. The move, part of the pledges in the government’s 25-year environment plan, comes after a controversial tree-felling programme in Sheffield.

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Categories: Environment

Fifth of Britain’s wild mammals ‘at high risk of extinction’

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 10:01pm

Species including the wildcat and black rat may be lost within a decade while others such as deer are thriving, analysis shows

The wildcat and mouse-eared bat are on the brink, but deer are spreading and otters bouncing back, according to a comprehensive analysis.

At least one in five wild mammals in Britain faces a high risk of extinction within a decade and overall populations are falling, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date.

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Categories: Environment

Birdwatch: garden warblers are losing their scrub habitat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 1:30pm

Garden warblers in fact prefer thick scrub, which is dying out in our tidy countryside

Some birds are very well named: such as the cuckoo, treecreeper and song thrush. Others, including Kentish plover, grey wagtail and garden warbler, are almost wilfully misleading.

Garden warblers are, unlike their cousin the blackcap, hardly ever found in gardens. They prefer thick scrub, a transitory habitat that is becoming harder and harder to find in our increasingly tidy countryside.

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Categories: Environment

New Research On Sound Could Make Tornado Warnings More Accurate

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 1:26pm

Forecasters have gotten better giving advance notice of when tornadoes might strike. Now, there's a new technology that may help researchers even more: listening for the sounds of a tornado that humans can't hear.

Categories: Environment

Philanthropists' $1m pledge aims to double largest cat-free zone

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 11:00am

Andrew and Jane Clifford promise to match donations in bid to stop feral cats

A $1m donation to the fight against feral cats could help to double the size of the world’s largest cat-free sanctuary or help genetically neuter cats, conservationists say.

Sydney philanthropists Andrew and Jane Clifford have pledged to match every donation made to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy up to $1m before the end of the financial year, hoping to create a $2m fund to eradicate Australia’s cat plague.

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Categories: Environment

Cut out meat, pets and kids to save the Earth | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 10:13am
Readers react to George Monbiot’s article on dropping meat and dairy, news about Sainsbury’s selling vegan ‘fake meats’ , and a report on meat being found in vegan and vegetarian meals

Alongside George Monbiot’s suggestion (Want to save the planet? Drop meat and dairy, 8 June), another way to reduce greenhouse gases is to stop keeping pets. It’s been calculated that an average dog has an ecological footprint twice as large as that of a large car.

Like meat-eating, pet ownership is nowadays encouraged by a vast industry; the pet insurance sector alone is said to generate more of Britain’s GDP than fishing does. The production of pet food, provision of veterinary services and breeding the creatures are big businesses, all with an interest in promoting the alleged benefits of owning a furry friend.

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Categories: Environment

Ben & Jerry's joins the campaign to support onshore windfarms

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 8:17am

With names like Strawberry Breezecake and Cherry Gale-cia, ice-cream maker pushes for government re-think

Tubs of Strawberry Breeze-cake, Cherry Gale-cia and other wind-themed ice-creams will feature in a campaign by Ben & Jerry’s to persuade the government to rethink its opposition to onshore windfarms.

The renamed flavours will be sold at half price on “windy Wednesdays” to support a pro-renewables push by the Unilever-owned firm, which has a history of campaigning on climate change and environmental issues.

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