Trump Administration Auctions Arctic National Wildlife Refuge To Oil Drillers

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 2:19pm

After a three-year push, the Trump administration has opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil leases. It's a scramble to lock in drilling before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Categories: Environment

Insect populations suffering death by 1,000 cuts, say scientists

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 1:00pm

‘Frightening’ global decline is ‘tearing apart tapestry of life’, with climate crisis a critical concern

Insect populations are suffering “death by a thousand cuts”, with many falling at “frightening” rates that are “tearing apart the tapestry of life”, according to scientists behind a new volume of studies.

The insects face multiple, overlapping threats including the destruction of wild habitats for farming, urbanisation, pesticides and light pollution. Population collapses have been recorded in places where human activities dominate, such as in Germany, but there is little data from outside Europe and North America and in particular from wild, tropical regions where most insects live.

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Categories: Environment

Chinese nuclear firm told it must resolve Bradwell safety issues

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 11:43am

Disposal of radioactive waste is one of six issues to be addressed before plant in Essex can go ahead

The Environment Agency has told the Chinese nuclear developer behind plans to build a new reactor in Essex that it must resolve at least six safety issues before it can move forward.

The issues identified by the environment watchdog in its early assessments of the plans for the site at Bradwell-on-Sea include concerns over how China General Nuclear Group (CGN) will dispose of radioactive waste.

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Categories: Environment

Case of manatee with 'Trump' etched into back under investigation

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 11:25am
  • Mutilated aquatic mammal spotted at spring in Florida
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service appeals for public’s help

Federal wildlife officials in Florida are reportedly seeking information on the perpetrators of an attack on a manatee, which apparently had the word “Trump” scraped into its back.

Related: Florida manatee deaths up 20% as Covid-19 threatens recovery

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Categories: Environment

More than 50 countries commit to protection of 30% of Earth's land and oceans

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 10:44am

Coalition says promise is key to preventing mass extinctions and ensuring clean air and water

A coalition of more than 50 countries has committed to protect almost a third of the planet by 2030 to halt the destruction of the natural world and slow extinctions of wildlife.

The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which includes the UK and countries from six continents, made the pledge to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans before the One Planet summit in Paris on Monday, hosted by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

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Categories: Environment

Harmful effects of wood burners need further study | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 9:32am

In response to articles on the risk of air pollution from wood-burning stoves, Simon Tate tested his own, but was surprised at the results

As an owner of a wood burner, your articles (Wood burners triple harmful indoor air pollution, study finds, 18 December; Avoid using wood burning stoves if possible, warn health experts, 1 January) caused great concern. We live in a rural area and would struggle without our stove. But according to a Sheffield University study, we are endangering our health by flooding our lounge with levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that may far exceed the World Health Organization’s safe limit of 25 micrograms per cubic metre. I purchased a £200 air quality monitor, convinced that it would confirm that there was a problem with PM2.5 levels. I was therefore astonished to discover that our wood burner had no effect on PM2.5 levels, even when the door was opened for refuelling. For reference, I lit a match and the PM2.5 level shot up to 165 micrograms per cubic metre.

We only burn wood and kindling that contain less than 20% moisture. We operate the stove at optimum temperature by using a stovepipe thermometer and spent as much on the flue as the stove. More in-depth research is needed before conclusions can be drawn about whether all wood burners cause indoor air pollution.
Simon Tate
Leyburn, North Yorkshire

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Categories: Environment

Macron tells Idris Elba he will invite young Africans to summit, not leaders

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 7:35am

French president vows to overhaul France-Africa event to help mobilise Africa’s young people

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has pledged to invite young Africans rather than their political leaders to a key France-Africa summit in a video call with the actor Idris Elba.

The Élysée Palace said Elba, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ international fund for agricultural development, had asked to speak to the French leader. The Guardian was the only newspaper invited to attend the discussion at the Élysée, which marked the start of the One Planet biodiversity summit in Paris.

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Categories: Environment

The curse of 'white oil': electric vehicles' dirty secret – podcast

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 5:00am

The race is on to find a steady source of lithium, a key component in rechargeable electric car batteries. But while the EU focuses on emissions, the lithium gold rush threatens environmental damage on an industrial scale. By Oliver Balch.

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Categories: Environment

Prince Charles urges businesses to sign Terra Carta pledge to put planet first

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 4:03am

Magna Carta-style project aims to ‘bring prosperity into harmony with nature’

Prince Charles is urging businesses to invest in the health of the planet and people at the launch of a sustainable finance charter backed by several international institutions.

Evoking the history of Magna Carta, the Prince of Wales is launching the Terra Carta – the Earth charter – that will ask signatories to agree to almost 100 actions to become more sustainable by 2030.

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Categories: Environment

Trump Regulator's Rule Would Force Banks To Lend To Gun-Makers And Oil Drillers

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2021/01/11 - 3:07am

The Trump administration is trying to force banks to make loans to gun-makers and to finance payday lenders. Critics call the move bizarre. It's opposed by watchdog groups and banks.

(Image credit: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Categories: Environment

Green economy plans fuel new metals and energy 'supercycle'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/01/10 - 10:50am

Chinese growth and plans for post-Covid recovery powering commodities boom, say analysts

The global economy could be on the brink of a new commodity “supercycle” as governments prepare to use a green industrial revolution to kickstart growth following the coronavirus pandemic.

The price of commodities, such as energy and metals, have reached record highs in recent weeks despite the ongoing spread of Covid-19 and are expected to climb further as countries embark on plans for a green economic recovery.

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Categories: Environment

Shareholders push HSBC to cut exposure to fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/01/10 - 6:43am

Europe’s second-largest financier of fossil fuels faces a vote to ramp up its climate commitments

HSBC could be forced to slash its exposure to fossil fuels – starting with coal – from next year, after an influential group of investors filed a shareholder vote urging the bank to ramp up its climate commitments.

Fifteen pension and investment funds are pushing HSBC to reduce the loans and underwriting services offered to clients which rely heavily on fossil fuels within a timeline consistent with Paris climate goals.

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Categories: Environment

Wild deer set to wreak havoc in UK woodlands as venison demand plunges

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/01/10 - 2:15am

Unmanaged animals from Britain’s largest herds for 1,000 years are no longer needed with restaurants in lockdown

Unmanaged wild deer herds could soon pose a threat to woodlands and important wildlife habitats in Britain because the commercial market for venison has collapsed during the pandemic.

Many in the game industry as well as conservationists fear too few deer are being culled to keep the estimated two-million-strong wild herd, the largest for 1,000 years, at a sustainable size.

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Categories: Environment

‘There’s a red flag here’: how an ethanol plant is dangerously polluting a US village

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/01/10 - 2:00am

Situation in Mead, Nebraska, where AltEn has been processing seed coated with fungicides and insecticides, is a warning sign, experts say

For the residents of Mead, Nebraska, the first sign of something amiss was the stench, the smell of something rotting. People reported eye and throat irritation and nosebleeds. Then colonies of bees started dying, birds and butterflies appeared disoriented and pet dogs grew ill, staggering about with dilated pupils.

There is no mystery as to the cause of the concerns in Mead, a farming community so small that its 500 residents refer to it as a village and not a town.

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Categories: Environment

Government breaks promise to maintain ban on bee-harming pesticide

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/01/09 - 5:31am

Farmers ‘relieved’ as chemical sanctioned for emergency use, despite EU-wide ban backed by UK

A pesticide believed to kill bees has been authorised for use in England despite an EU-wide ban two years ago and an explicit government pledge to keep the restrictions.

Following lobbying from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and British Sugar, a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam was sanctioned for emergency use on sugar beet seeds this year because of the threat posed by a virus.

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Categories: Environment

Capitol attackers have long threatened violence in rural American west

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/01/09 - 3:30am

Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers have threatened federal employees and institutions that steward public lands

When the full story of the 6 January storming of the US Capitol building is told, historians will have to make sense of what might seem an odd footnote. The two most prominent rightwing militia groups that participated in the mob onslaught on Congress – the Three Percenters, based in Idaho, and the Oath Keepers, based in Nevada – cut their teeth in obscure corners of the American west, where for close to a decade they have threatened violence against federal employees and institutions that steward the nation’s public lands.

Related: 'It was just a free-for-all': my day photographing the Capitol attack

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Categories: Environment

Norway's electric car drive belies national reliance on fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/01/09 - 1:00am

Two-thirds of sales at end of 2020 were battery electric vehicles despite dependence on oil and gas drilling

Norway became the first country to sell more electric cars than petrol, hybrid and diesel engines put together last year, new data shows, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounting for two-thirds of sales in the final months of 2020.

Norway has one of the world’s most ambitious green targets, planning to phase out sales of all new fossil-fuel vehicles by 2025, five years earlier than the UK.

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Categories: Environment

Bill Gates joins Blackstone in bid to buy British private jet firm

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/01/09 - 1:00am

Gates’ Cascade Investment fund teams up with US private equity firm on offer for Signature Aviation

Bill Gates has joined a £3bn bidding war to buy the world’s largest private jet operator just as he prepares to publish his new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.

Cascade Investment, the fund that manages much of Gates’s $134bn personal fortune, announced on Friday it had teamed up with US private equity firm Blackstone in a bid for British private jet operator Signature Aviation.

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Categories: Environment

Remembering Nature Writer Barry Lopez

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2021/01/08 - 11:40am

Lopez, who died Dec. 25, won the 1986 National Book Award for Arctic Dreams, an account of his travels in the far north over a period of four years. Originally broadcast in 1989 and 2013.

Categories: Environment

22 disasters, 262 dead, $95bn in damages: US saw record year for climate-driven catastrophes

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/01/08 - 11:11am

Report shows US was battered by punishing extreme weather on both the east and west coasts in 2020

The US was battered by a record number of weather and climate-driven disasters in 2020 as extensive wildfires scorched the west, hurricanes in quick succession pummeled the east and extreme heat swept across the heart of the country, a new federal government report has shown.

A total of 22 major disasters, defined as each causing at least $1bn in damage, swept the US last year, six more than the previous record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

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