Environment

CSIRO breeds spotted handfish to save species from extinction

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 7:19pm

Fish, which is endemic to Tasmania, was the first Australian marine animal to be listed as critically endangered

Scientists have begun a captive breeding program for the spotted handfish, 11 years after it became the first Australian marine animal to be listed as critically endangered.

Endemic to Tasmania, the spotted handfish or Brachionichthys hirsutus looks like a tadpole in the late stages of development, with a fin atop its head to lure unsuspecting prey and the sour expression of a British bulldog.

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Categories: Environment

Doctor Who Discovered Children Had Elevated Lead Levels Talks About What's Changed

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 2:54pm

In 2015, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha discovered the lead contamination after Flint, Mich., switched its drinking water source. She talks with NPR's Michel Martin about helping reverse the problem.

Categories: Environment

Top Trump officials signal US could stay in Paris climate agreement

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 2:31pm

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster both indicated the US is open to negotiations on staying in the accord

Senior Trump administration officials on Sunday signalled a further softening of America’s resolve to leave the Paris climate accord, amid signs that the issue will be discussed at the United Nations general assembly in New York this week.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster both indicated that the US is open to negotiations on staying in the landmark international agreement to limit mankind’s role in global warming.

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Categories: Environment

How palm trees stand tall in the face of a hurricane

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 1:30pm

As Hurricane Irma battered the Caribbean, trees aerodynamically adapted to strong winds stood firm

When Storm Aileen ripped across the UK last week the worst of the winds brought down trees, snapped off branches and shredded leaves, made worse because the trees were in full leaf and caught the wind like a sail. Compare that with the palm trees that stood up to Hurricane Irma’s immensely stronger winds, which would have torn British trees to shreds. The palm trees simply bent over at crazy angles and then bounced back again.

Related: Scaling up our response to super-hurricanes

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Categories: Environment

Enough tiptoeing around. Let’s make this clear: coal kills people | Tim Hollo

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 11:00am

Burning more coal, knowing what we know, is a deliberate act of arson. We must urgently come to grips with this fact and reconnect with nature and our communities

Coal kills people. This isn’t even slightly scientifically controversial.
From the mines to the trains to the climate disruption; from black lung to asthma, heat stress to hunger, fires to floods: coal is killing people in Australia and around the world right now.

Yet we are once again having what passes for political debate about extending the life of coal-fired power stations and, extraordinarily, building new ones. The conversation is completely disconnected from the fact that two thirds of Bangladesh was reported to be under water, record-breaking hurricanes were battering the US, and wildfires were roaring in both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time.

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How regulators could kill off Australia's water recycling industry

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 11:00am

A world-leading system in Sydney’s Central Park precinct helps residents reuse up to 97% of their water. But a pricing change threatens future schemes

In the basement of a Sydney housing development is the world’s largest water recycling plant in a residential building.

Normal apartments put more than 90% of the water they consume back into the sewer. But thanks to the recycling plant, units in Central Park, built on the site of the old Carlton brewery close to the CBD, return just 3%.

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Categories: Environment

Beware nuclear industry’s fake news on being emissions free | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 10:52am
David Blackburn says we need decentralised energy sources; David Lowry on nuclear not being zero-carbon technology; plus letters from David Hayes and Fred Starr

I wholeheartedly agree with much of your editorial (14 September), as the economics of new nuclear is weaker than ever at a time when renewables are coming in cheaper year on year. You point out the crisis in the funding of renewables and we could not agree more. The UK desperately needs to reboot financial support for decentralised energy in order to maximise long-term benefits for all. Councils, in particular, are calling for the restoration of feed-in tariffs and other support that has been instrumental in the creation of innovative, local, low-carbon energy schemes, Passivhaus-accredited buildings, and energy efficiency programmes for dealing with the scourge of fuel poverty.

While the dramatic cost reductions in offshore wind are to be welcomed, it has to be joined with renewed support for decentralised energy projects, approval for tidal energy schemes and the resumption of support for solar and onshore wind. The government must see that the energy landscape has changed dramatically. An energy review and reboot is urgently required.
Cllr David Blackburn
Vice-chair, UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Authorities

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Categories: Environment

Agriculture holds the key to unlocking Africa’s vast economic potential | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 10:51am
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation

Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution.

Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties – governments, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), private sector agribusiness like Syngenta, Bayer and OCP, Rabobank and the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are united in one firm belief: that agriculture holds the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential – 41 million smallholders on a fertile continent that grows every crop imaginable.

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Categories: Environment

Press regulator censures Mail on Sunday for global warming claims

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 7:37am

Mail on Sunday criticised by Ipso for article claiming global warming data had been exaggerated to win Paris climate change agreement

Claims in the Mail on Sunday that global warming data had been exaggerated in order to secure the Paris climate change agreement have been criticised by the UK’s press regulator.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation censured the newspaper for publishing a story in early February that was flawed in key aspects. The news story suggested that data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the world’s gold-standard sources of weather and climate research, had been treated in such a way as to suggest greater warming than had really occurred.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers Look To Improve Weather Forecasting After Irma

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 4:59am

In coastal Georgia, Hurricane Irma caused far more flooding than expected. Researchers are looking at ways their mistakes there could improve future predictions elsewhere.

Categories: Environment

The Call-In: Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/09/17 - 4:59am

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Richard Chasm of Olalla, Ore. about living near wildfires. Author Michael Kodas explains why these disasters are growing more severe.

Categories: Environment

The 'miracle pill': how cycling could save the NHS

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 11:00pm

Cycling can make people healthy and live longer, and cut public health costs, so why can’t it be prescribed to the nation?

Imagine if a team of scientists devised a drug which massively reduced people’s chances of developing cancer or heart disease, cutting their overall likelihood of dying early by 40%. This would be front page news worldwide, a Nobel prize as good as in the post.

That drug is already here, albeit administered in a slightly different way: it’s called cycling to work. One of the more puzzling political questions is why it is so rarely prescribed on a population-wide level.

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Categories: Environment

Confusion Continues: The United States' Position On The Paris Climate Agreement

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 5:07pm

The White House has reaffirmed its position on the climate pact "unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country," after reports from AFP and the WSJ that the U.S. would stay.

Categories: Environment

White House denies US is planning to remain in Paris climate accord

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 3:23pm

Trump administration dismisses claim by EU official that US has offered to re-engage with the deal

The White House has denied reports that it planned to stay in the Paris climate agreement, saying its position on leaving was unchanged, and that it would only stay in if it got more “favourable” terms.

The Trump administration was forced to make a statement on Saturday after reports emerged as ministers from more than 30 countries held talks in Montreal this weekend preparing for the upcoming United Nations climate summit in November.

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Meet the latest recruit to the UK flood defence team: the beaver

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 2:00pm
Villagers in the Forest of Dean back plans to release a beaver family to protect their homes by damming waterways

Beavers could be put to work building dams to stop a village from flooding in the Forest of Dean, in what would be the first such scheme on government land.

The Forestry Commission has been an enthusiastic advocate for the release of a family of beavers into a large fenced area surrounding Greathough brook above the village of Lydbrook, on land owned by the commission.

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Categories: Environment

Paws for thought: drivers warned to look out for animal stowaways

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 8:04am

Warning comes after koala found clinging to axle of vehicle in Australia and three kittens survive 311-mile trip from Netherlands to UK under car bonnet

Motorists are being urged to be vigilant after two reports of animals becoming trapped under vehicles on opposite sides of the world.

In Australia, a koala survived a 16km (10 mile) trip clinging to the axle of a four-wheel drive vehicle before the driver stopped and heard the cries of the traumatised animal.

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Chris Boardman: 'Energy gel? I'd rather have a sandwich'

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 3:00am

The former cycling world champion and Manchester’s first walking and cycling commissioner on riding safely, favourite rides and why he won’t use Strava

So, you’re the first cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester. How come?

Because Andy Burnham [the mayor of Greater Manchester] phoned and asked me. I was quite taken aback, because do I have any qualifications? No. But I was taken with his enthusiasm. From the first few seconds it was pretty scary because I have been on the other side of the fence campaigning and lobbying [as British Cycling’s policy advisor] and saying what should be done, and then someone else says “go on, then” – you’re in a difficult position if you don’t want to be a hypocrite.

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Categories: Environment

Nine of the best bikes for all budgets

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 3:00am

Whether you’re commuting, touring or competing we’ve sourced the perfect bikes, from entry-level through mid-range to high spec

6KU Detroit, £325

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Nuclear power plants may not keep Britain's lights on, say Lib Dems

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/09/16 - 12:00am

Party raises concerns over nuclear costs as Vince Cable says record low wind power prices should lead to ‘radical reappraisal’

New nuclear power stations may not be the best option for keeping Britain’s lights on and meeting the country’s carbon targets, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The party said there were legitimate concerns over nuclear’s cost and the risks it would not be delivered on time, just days after windfarms secured state support far more cheaply than the Hinkley Point C atomic power station.

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UK legal claims grow over exposure at work to toxic diesel fumes

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/09/15 - 11:30pm

Unions warn effects of exposure to diesel pollution is ticking time bomb for business, likening situation to ‘early days of asbestos’

Legal claims over exposure to diesel exhaust fumes at work are growing as unions warn toxic air in the workplace is a ticking time bomb on a par with asbestos.

Royal Mail and at least one local authority are among major employers who are being sued over their alleged failure to protect staff from the damaging health effects of diesel pollution from vehicles. More cases are lined up, according to lawyers and unions involved in supporting workers.

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