Environment

Obama will use veto to defend climate change plan if necessary

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:07am

President will use all powers available to push through Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power stations, says White House

Barack Obama will use all of his powers – including his veto – to defend his plan to fight climate change, the White House said, on the eve of new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants.

Obama is expected to unveil the new rules as early as Monday, according to those familiar with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan.

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Categories: Environment

David Cameron promises to protect wildlife after Cecil the lion killing

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:04am

Prime minister discusses ‘issue of tiger bones, and rhino horn’ on visit to Vietnam, as Tory minister Grant Shapps writes to Zimbabwean government

David Cameron has promised to step up government efforts to protect wildlife from poachers following the outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion.

He said he wanted to do more to help countries such as Vietnam stop the illegal trade in rhino horn after talks with the Vietnamese prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.

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Categories: Environment

Do Fish Names Encourage Fishy Business?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:03am

Legally, a single fish species can go by many names from sea to plate, and different fish can go by the same name. An environmental group says that hampers efforts to combat illegal fishing and fraud.

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Europe's offshore wind hits record yearly high with six months still to go

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 2:10am

Germany drives bumper year for European offshore wind in 2015, installing three times more capacity than current leader, the UK

Europe’s offshore wind power industry has set a record for its biggest ever year just six months into 2015.

The biggest factor was a huge jump in turbines in German waters connecting to the grid, with Germany installing three times more electricity-generating capacity than the continent’s current leader, the UK.

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Categories: Environment

Close Listening: How Sound Reveals The Invisible

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 1:47am

The stethoscope seems so simple — a 19th century tool for listening more closely to the human heart or lungs. It also sparked a culture of listening that is transforming the way scientists learn.

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Categories: Environment

Cecil the lion mural painted outside dental practice in Minnesota – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 1:45am
Artist Mark Balma discusses why he is painting a huge mural of Cecil the lion outside Walter Palmer's dental practice in Minnesota. Palmer received widespread condemnation for hunting and killing the lion in Zimbabwe. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Palmer's office on Wednesday demanding the dentist be extradited to face charges in Zimbabwe. Palmer has said he believed the hunt was legal and didn't know about the lion's status

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Categories: Environment

Kiruna: the arctic city being knocked down and relocated two miles away

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 11:30pm

To avoid falling into the mine it grew up around, Sweden’s northernmost city is knocking down 3,000 homes, schools and a hospital, and starting a redesigned centre a safe distance away. How do citizens feel about the transformation?

A remote arctic settlement, with a centre dominated by a car park, Kiruna feels like the sort of city that might be forgotten about. The place is eerily, unnervingly quiet; the streets so empty I half expect a tumbleweed to pass by as a punchline. At one point, the gentle silence is broken by a procession of Harley-Davidsons roaring through the town. They don’t seem to stop.

This is Sweden’s northernmost city, situated 90 miles into the Arctic Circle and a 75-mile drive away from the nearest town, Gällivare. Home to about 23,000 people and 11,000 snowmobiles, Kiruna has gained an unlikely fame over the past year, as the world hears of its plans. This remote and rather unprepossessing place is to become the city that gets moved: two miles to the east, to be precise.

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Categories: Environment

ABC corrects Alan Jones's Q&A claim that boosted cost of wind power tenfold

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 10:09pm

The Conversation media outlet checked the figures Jones quoted on Q&A and found claim for cost of wind power was grossly overstated

The ABC has had to correct two statements made by Alan Jones on Q&A last week, including one that put the cost of wind power 10 times higher than it actually is.

“Eighty per cent of Australian energy comes from coal, coal-fired power, and it’s about $79 a kilowatt hour,” Jones said on Q&A on 20 July. “Wind power is about $1,502 a kilowatt hour. That is unaffordable. If you take that power and feed it into the grid, then every person watching this program has electricity bills going through the roof.”

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Categories: Environment

To save lions like Cecil, turn poachers into gamekeepers | Simon Jenkins

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 10:00pm
Big game hunts outrage the west, but South Africa shows that sustainable ranching is more effective than bans

A dentist from Wisconsin goes hunting in Zimbabwe and bags its most famous lion, Cecil. In response, Cecil’s friends have gone hunting in Minnesota in the hope of bagging its most infamous dentist, Walter Palmer. Welcome to the world of charismatic mega-species, their predators and protectors. One thing only is for sure, the predators are winning.

Last month the Dallas Safari Club announced that one of its number had killed a black rhino in Namibia, one of four allotted for culling each year. The permit to do so had been auctioned for $350,000, which goes to the Namibian wildlife conservation service. Palmer paid $50,000 to kill Cecil, but who knows where that went.

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Categories: Environment

Creatures great and small beneath the sturdy oak

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 9:29pm
Sloley, Norfolk: Hundreds of red ants have pressed shoulder to shoulder in their desire to feed upon the intoxicating manna

A row of stately trees guards the meadow’s fence line beneath a sultry summer sky. One tree is a small-leaved lime, a diminutive name for a colossal plant. The ground beneath its wide boughs is bathed with the soporific perfume of linden blossom, and the pale stars of its flowers are laden with nectar-devouring insects.

Next to the lime is a shaggy yew, bluish green, decorated with the scaly brown seeds of the female flower.

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Categories: Environment

Some Google Street View Cars Now Track Pollution Levels

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 6:28pm

Google's already tested three of the pollution-sensor equipped cars in Denver, and is currently trying them out in the Bay Area.

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Europe's Taste For Caviar Is Putting Pressure On A Great Lakes Fish

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 2:12pm

Scientists say lake herring, a key fish in Lake Superior's food web, is suffering because of mild winters and Europe's appetite for roe. Some say the species may be at risk of "collapse."

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Categories: Environment

Greenpeace Activists Protest Shell Oil's Plan To Drill In The Arctic Ocean

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 2:10pm

NPR's Melissa Block speaks with KUCB reporter John Ryan about how protesters are trying to block Shell's plan to drill in the Arctic by keeping a Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland, Ore.

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Categories: Environment

California's Drought Spurs Unexpected Effect: Eco-Friendly Development

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 1:38pm

In the state's agricultural Central Valley, planning is under way to transform peach and plum fields into Kings River Village, a solar-powered community that will send wastewater back into an aquifer.

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Categories: Environment

Hillary Clinton's climate change plan 'just plain silly', says leading expert

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 12:50pm

The Democratic frontrunner’s solar proposal has major holes if she hopes to halt global warming. What would a real climate-change candidate look like?

Hillary Clinton’s pledge on Sunday to support renewable energy and boost subsidies for solar panels was set up as a great unveiling – the Democratic frontrunner’s first public remarks on how her presidency would tackle climate change.

Related: Is Hillary Clinton's ambitious solar energy goal for the US workable? | Karl Mathiesen

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Categories: Environment

How the big smoke was cleaned up | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 12:10pm

The most effective proxy that the western coalition has against Isis is the Kurdish YPG militia operating in northern Syria (Report, 28 July). Given that the territory the YPG controls is now under threat from Turkey, its fighters will engage this new enemy and turn away from fighting Isis. Isis will be free to consolidate its gains in Syria and to continue its regime of terror. How did the US and its allies allow this situation to come to pass?
Dr Rod Thornton
Defence studies department, King’s College London

• London fogs, which were tackled by the Clean Air Act 1956, did not mean we were “groping about in airborne industrial waste” (Notebook, 28 July). The cause was overwhelmingly the discharge from domestic fireplaces burning bituminous coal, dealt with by a rolling programme of smoke control areas, replacing bituminous coal with coke, low-volatile steam coal, gas, electricity and other “smokeless” fuel.
Bill Gabbett
London

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Categories: Environment

World Bank rejects energy industry notion that coal can cure poverty

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 12:01pm
  • World Bank’s climate change envoy: ‘We need to wean ourselves off coal’
  • Bank has stopped funding new coal projects except in ‘rare circumstances’

The World Bank said coal was no cure for global poverty on Wednesday, rejecting a main industry argument for building new fossil fuel projects in developing countries.

In a rebuff to coal, oil and gas companies, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank climate change envoy, said continued use of coal was exacting a heavy cost on some of the world’s poorest countries, in local health impacts as well as climate change, which is imposing even graver consequences on the developing world.

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Categories: Environment

Cecil the lion hunter Walter Palmer faces calls for prosecution

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 11:59am

US uproar over death of protected animal forces Walter Palmer’s practice to close, as two others attend Zimbabwean court to face poaching charges

There are mounting calls for the prosecution of an American dentist who shot dead one of Africa’s most famous lions, as two other men involved in the hunt appeared in court in Zimbabwe to face poaching charges.

Walter Palmer, who runs a dental practice in Minnesota and hunts big game in his spare time, is accused of illegally killing Cecil, a protected lion, in Zimbabwe on a $50,000 (£32,000) hunt.

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Categories: Environment

Cecil the lion's killer joins long list of big game hunters skewered on social media

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 11:55am

From the King of Spain to America’s most famous hockey mom, proud displays of animal trophies haven’t always been met with congratulations online

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, poor Cecil the lion no longer sleeps tonight. After news broke that the beloved big cat was killed by a dentist from Minnesota, the hunter, Walter Palmer, quickly became “the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-O pudding on television”, according to Jimmy Kimmel.

Palmer is reportedly receiving death threats and a deluge of horrible Yelp reviews, and it probably goes without saying that his patients are likely hunting themselves – for a new dentist. But Palmer is by no means the first big game trophy hunter to get skewered online for their exploits.

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Categories: Environment

Trophy hunting just part of the story behind declining lion numbers in Africa

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 9:14am

Lion hunting quotas in Zimbabwe, where Cecil was killed, are unsustainable but across Africa hunting helps prevent habitat loss that is a main driver in the animals’ decline, say conservationists

Lion numbers are in steep decline across Africa, but trophy hunting is only partly responsible for the long-term losses, say conservationists.

According to UK-based charity Lion Aid, trophy hunters in Zimbabwe killed around 800 lions in the 10 years to 2009, out of a population in the country of up to 1,680.

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