Environment

A New Zealand River Now Has The Legal Rights Of A Human

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 3:09pm

Lawmakers granted the Whanganui River the rights of legal representation on Wednesday. The vote caps over a century of struggle by the local Maori people, who see the waterway as a sacred ancestor.

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Hazelwood transition deal gives my wife and me a future in our hometown | Mark Richards

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 2:54pm

It’s not only 150 workers and their families who will benefit from the transfer scheme in the Latrobe Valley – small businesses will also reap the benefits

I was thrown a lifeline last Friday. Along with at least 150 of my work colleagues, and hopefully many more, I will be given the opportunity to continue to work in the Latrobe Valley power industry, despite the closure of the Hazelwood power station, my workplace of the last 28 years.

The closure of Hazelwood was announced in early November for the end of March and my redundancy effective at 7am on April Fools Day (seriously). The 750 or so workers all knew that Hazelwood was one of the oldest and certainly the most emissions-intensive power station in Australia. We knew it was going to close. But in the last few years the owners had been employing new young people, and they had been told that the jobs would last until at least 2025 in their interviews.

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Categories: Environment

Europe's renewable energy revolution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 2:30pm

A tunnel under construction beneath a Norwegian mountain is just one link in a new grid that will cross national borders

More than 2km down a dark tunnel deep inside a Norwegian mountain, a drilling machine is boring out holes in the rock. It’s part of a major project that will connect Britain to Norway’s huge hydroelectric power supplies, passing power lines through the mountain near Kvilldal, southwest Norway, before laying the world’s longest undersea power cable, 450km long, to Blyth in Northumberland.

It will take years to build, but when it is completed, the UK could import 1,400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 750,000 homes. It will also allow Britain to export any surplus wind energy back to Norway.

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Categories: Environment

How To Make Farmers Love Cover Crops? Pay Them

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:55pm

New satellite images reveal that few Midwestern farmers are planting pollution-preventing "cover crops." In Maryland, though, farmers are doing it, thanks to hefty subsidies.

Categories: Environment

Study: 'Urgent' Action Against Global Warming Needed To Save Coral Reefs

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:52pm

After another major coral bleaching event, a new study has concluded that securing a future for coral reefs "ultimately requires urgent and rapid action to reduce global warming."

(Image credit: Greg Torda /ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)

Categories: Environment

Bald eagles: scientists decry overturn of ban that would save American symbol

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:01pm

The national bird is threatened by toxic bullets that wind up in the animals it eats, but the Trump administration overturned a rule to stop it

His head twisted almost upside down and his body all but paralyzed, the bald eagle sat on its haunches, talons clenching, while two humans neared to put him in a cage. They could not save the bird from lead.

The eagle was the third this year to die from lead poisoning at the Blue Mountain Wildlife center, in north-east Oregon, where Lynn Tompkins has helped rehabilitate sick and injured birds for 30 years. “They eat things that have been shot,” Tompkins said, “whether it’s big game like deer or elk or coyotes or ground squirrels.”

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Categories: Environment

Man found guilty of killing one of Britain’s rarest butterflies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 11:18am

Magistrates told that Phillip Cullen was spotted chasing large blues with a net at Gloucestershire reserve

A man has been found guilty of unlawfully collecting and killing specimens of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies, the large blue.

Phillip Cullen, 57, was spotted armed with a child’s shrimping net chasing the insects at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire and was seen the next day at another prime location for the butterfly in Somerset.

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Categories: Environment

Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 9:32am

The White House's proposed federal budget cuts everything from research to regulation, and makes clear that the administration doesn't view climate change as a priority.

(Image credit: NASA)

Categories: Environment

Trump budget would gut EPA programs tackling climate change and pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 9:11am

Proposal would cut Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by nearly a third, as budget director calls money spent to combat climate change a ‘waste’

Dozens of programs that deal with climate change, pollution clean-ups and energy efficiency would be wiped out by by the Trump administration’s budget, which seeks to demolish parts of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The regulator’s funding would be cut by nearly a third under Trump’s “America first” budget proposal (the name borrows from a phrase denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for its links to 1940s Nazi sympathisers), which requests $5.7bn for the EPA in 2018 – a $2.6bn cut, or 31%, on its existing budget. Around one in five EPA employees would lose their jobs.

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Categories: Environment

Populism can be stopped, says jubilant Dutch GreenLeft leader

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 8:44am

Jesse ‘the Jessiah’ Klaver celebrates Netherlands poll wins with pro-refugee message before possible coalition deal

It is far too early to say whether Jesse Klaver’s GreenLeft will be a party of government for the first time in its history. But for the 30-year-old leader of a political party, the Netherlands’ youngest ever, it was not a bad election.

GreenLeft was the big winner in Wednesday’s poll, leaping from four MPs to 14 in the 150-seat parliament, topping the bill in Amsterdam and overtaking the stricken social democratic PvdA to become the largest party of the left nationally.

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Categories: Environment

BBC crew and tourists injured in lava explosion on Mount Etna

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 8:17am

Group pelted with boiling rocks and steam in incident triggered when lava came into contact with snow

BBC crew members were among 10 people injured when lava flow triggered an explosion as it came into contact with snow on Mount Etna in Sicily on Thursday.

Six of the crew were taken to hospitals in Catania and nearby Acireale. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.

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Categories: Environment

GreenLeft proves to be big winner in Dutch election

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 3:46am

Party forecast to boost its MPs from four to 14 after storming campaign by young leader Jesse Klaver

The big winner of Wednesday’s election – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – was GreenLeft, headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, hailed by his enthusiastic supporters as the “Jessiah”.

With more than 95% of votes counted, the party – formed 25 years ago by a merger of communists, pacifists, evangelicals and self-styled radicals – boosted its MPs from four to 14 after a storming campaign by Klaver.

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Categories: Environment

Study Finds High Temperatures Killing Large Parts Of Great Barrier Reef

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:49am

A new study looks at coral bleaching in 2015-2016. Mia Hoogenboom was a co-author, who says warming ocean temperatures are killing sections of the Great Barrier Reef faster than researchers expected.

Categories: Environment

Paichit – the baby elephant saved from a palm oil plantation in Indonesia

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 12:19am

Orphaned at a few months old and nursed back to health by a local wildlife centre, Paichit’s story has serious implications for critically endangered Sumatran elephants

Pushing on 400 kilograms, baby Paichit knows when it’s feeding time.

He lets out an appreciative bellow, a rumbling baby elephant purr from his patch in the Sumatran jungle, as soon as his mahout (keeper) Julkarnaini approaches bucket in hand.

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Categories: Environment

India fast-tracks Kashmir hydro projects that could affect Pakistan water supplies

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:55pm

The schemes could prove a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbours at a time when relations are tense

India has fast-tracked hydropower projects worth $15bn in Kashmir in recent months, three federal and state officials said, ignoring warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.

The swift approval of projects that had languished for years came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India militants that New Delhi says it shelters.

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Categories: Environment

Malcolm Turnbull says Snowy Hydro plan will outdo South Australian battery storage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:22pm

PM says plan would turn Snowy Hydro into energy storage system but Labor says proposal leaves unanswered questions

Malcolm Turnbull has used his expansion plans for the Snowy Hydro to try to outdo South Australia on battery storage, saying it would provide 20 times the capacity of the battery system proposed by the premier, Jay Weatherill.

The prime minister visited the Snowy Hydro power station on Thursday to spruik the benefits of the expansion plan on the same day his energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, had an onscreen altercation with Weatherill at the launch of a virtual power station.

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Categories: Environment

UK climate targets 'will raise household energy bills by £100 in a decade'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:01pm

But cost of green policies will be more than offset by savings in energy efficiency, say climate advisers

The cost of supporting new windfarms and nuclear power stations to meet the UK’s carbon targets will add nearly £100 to the average household energy bill by the end of the next decade, according to a government adviser.

But the Committee on Climate Change said it expected the increase to be more than offset by savings as people switched to more efficient fridge freezers, LED bulbs and better boilers.

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Categories: Environment

Record number of birds illegally killed on British military base, says RSPB

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:01pm

More than 800,000 songbirds were killed last autumn say charities calling for UK government to help embattled military police at the Cyprus base

More than 800,000 songbirds, including blackcaps, robins and garden warblers, are estimated to have been illegally killed last autumn on a British military base in Cyprus.

New research by the RSPB and BirdLife Cyprus identified a record number of illegal and virtually invisible “mist” nets set to trap migrating birds on British territory in the Mediterranean. The number of nets discovered on Ministry of Defence (MoD) land in Cyprus has increased by 183% since monitoring began in 2002.

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Categories: Environment

On the shore, casualties of a winter storm

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 10:30pm

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire Dead man’s fingers and a lumpsucker are marooned in seaweed along the strandline

At the bottom of the cliff, a two-minute walk from the high tide line, there is a small stone-built mortuary, constructed in 1881 and formerly the temporary resting place for the bodies of shipwrecked sailors washed up on the sands.

Today, by morbid coincidence, the strandline was littered with dead man’s fingers, Alcyonium digitatum. These soft corals live in deep water and are usually only seen by divers, but late winter storms had cast some ashore amid heaps of kelp.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's peak business lobby calls for emissions intensity scheme

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 7:24pm

Business Council of Australia joins growing push for ‘signal that will support the investment needed for the electricity system’

The nation’s peak business body has joined the growing calls for an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) and argued coal-fired power stations should give three years notice for closure in its submission to the chief scientist’s electricity review.

Jennifer Westacott, the chief executive of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) also called for no further changes to the renewable energy target (RET), given it was the foundation significant investments. She also said there was no need for state-based targets.

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Categories: Environment
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