Environment

US dentist accused of killing Cecil the lion 'upset' as hunter becomes hunted

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 1:38pm

As Zimbabwean police say he faces poaching charges, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer faces furious criticism on social media

Who shot Cecil? First it was thought that a mystery Spaniard had the blood of one of Africa’s most famous lions on his hands. Then came a fresh twist. The Cecil slayer, Zimbabwean conservations said on Tuesday, was in fact a dentist from Minnesota.

American Walter Palmer was said to be “quite upset” as the hunter became hunted. Zimbabwean police warned that he faced poaching charges, while there was a furious backlash on social media, with Facebook users variously calling for him to be publicly shamed, have his teeth pulled out without anaesthetic or be hunted and killed.

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Categories: Environment

Solar power – an array of misconceptions | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 12:25pm

Geoff Moore (Letters, 28 July) seems very poorly informed as to how the payments for rooftop solar arrays are calculated. If nothing is generated and therefore there is no export to the grid, the payment would be nil.

We have a solar array and in four years have generated over 13,500 kilowatt-hours. In summer we could generate up to 350 kilowatt-hours a month, in winter maybe a tenth of that, and payments reflect this.

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Categories: Environment

Earth could get just 12 hours' warning of damaging solar storm

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 11:10am

UK Cabinet Office report sets out risks of coronal mass ejections from the sun causing power outages, and disruption of GPS and communications

Humanity would only have a 12-hour warning about the arrival of a “coronal mass ejection” that could damage the National Grid, pipelines and railway signals, according to a newly released document from the UK Cabinet Office.

In a report worthy of a Bruce Willis film, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has set out the nature of the risk to the UK from “severe space weather”, which it says results from various types of solar activity.

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Categories: Environment

From glam macs to Mission: Impossible, America loves London fog | Catherine Shoard

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 10:28am
The apparently unquenchable American appetite for English pollution started with a Baltimore raincoat company in 1923. Now Tom Cruise is joining in

In 1923 a 16-year-old called Israel Myers set up a raincoat company in Baltimore. He called it Londontown. The firm jogged along profitably enough, supplying the US navy and becoming popular in Philadelphia on account of its special patented liners.

In 1954, they had a rethink. Myers changed the name to London Fog. Suddenly, the anoraks flew off the hangers at Saks. “Every once in a while,” wrote the New York Times at the time, “a name comes along for a product that is exactly right. It describes the product exactly and does a selling job that even the legendary 10,000 words cannot do. Such a one is London Fog.”

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Categories: Environment

Drought, urbanization and climate: big business opportunities for long-term thinkers

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 9:52am

Resource scarcity is a major business challenge, but evolving market conditions mean companies that can adapt quickly could reap big profits

As São Paulo, Brazil, suffers from the worst drought in its history, multinational pulp company Fibria, which is headquartered in the city, is one of many that has felt the pinch. At times, water has been shut off to 40% of the city and even now, after the rainy season, only 6-13% of the city’s reservoir’s capacity has been filled. In response, the company is working to reduce the amount of water it uses for forest irrigation.

This isn’t the first time that Fibria has had to adapt to a shifting environment. Over the last several years, the rising scarcity of several essential resources – including water, fertilizer, labor and land – has pushed the company to reconsider its business model. It has diversified into renewable energy, biofuel production and sustainable real estate development. Fibria’s goal is to make these portfolio additions 20% of total free cash flow by 2025, making the company less pulp-dependent and giving it alternative options for future business growth in light of looming sustainability challenges.

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Categories: Environment

Tick populations booming due to climate change

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 9:20am

Ticks are spreading further north in the US and Canada with the potential to transmit diseases to dogs and humans, reports Earth Island Journal

A few weeks ago, on a pleasantly cool day, this reporter and his dog, an Alaskan malamute named Bear, headed for a small set of trails in an area of woods not far from the New York-New Jersey border. With bicyclists plying their way on the shoulder of a nearby highway and the Hudson River rushing along beyond the wooded landscape, man and dog walked along the well-maintained trails, yielding to other visitors and trying to stay away from the tall grass.

Memories of the day were somewhat dampened after returning home. Bear, whose deep malamute hair is a jungle of fluffiness, brought home an intrepid hitchhiker. Crawling in that furry maze, and thankfully not attached to his skin, was a tick, no doubt on the hunt for some dog blood — or human blood, for that matter. Another one was found crawling nearby. This episode plays out across the US and the rest of the world on a regular basis.

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Categories: Environment

Killer of Cecil the lion was dentist from Minnesota, claim Zimbabwe officials

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 9:00am

Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force alleges trophy hunter shot one of Africa’s most famous lions near Hwange national park

Conservationists in Zimbabwe have accused an American man of being the alleged killer of Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions and the star attraction at the Hwange national park.

On Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said the man thought to have paid $50,000 (£32,000) for the chance to kill Cecil was not a Spaniard as originally believed, but US citizen Walter Palmer, from a small town near Minneapolis. The man left the lion skinned and headless on the outskirts of the park, the ZCTF’s Johnny Rodrigues said in a statement.

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Categories: Environment

Cecil the lion at Zimbabwe's Hwange national park – archive video footage

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 7:58am
Archive footage of Cecil the lion, the star attraction at Zimbabwe's Hwange national park that was killed earlier this month. The 13-year-old lion was found skinned and headless on the outskirts of the park. Authorities say an American man paid $50,000 (£32,000) for the chance to kill Cecil. Bryan Orford, a professional wildlife guide who has filmed Cecil many times, posted the footage online after his death

Jimmy Kimmel has emotional response to death of Cecil the lion - video Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rare rhino dies at Czech zoo, leaving just four northern white rhino on Earth

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 7:38am

Northern white rhino on brink of extinction after deaths of male in San Diego zoo last year and female named Nabire in Czech Republic this week

Only four northern white rhinos remain on earth after a 31-year-old female named Nabire died in the Czech Republic late on Monday, zookeepers said.

The animal born at Dvur Kralove zoo in the country’s north died from complications of a ruptured cyst, the zoo said in a statement on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

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

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 6:03am

Clinton’s first climate change policy pitch – for renewables to provide 33% of the nation’s electricity by 2027 – is bold, but the US must look beyond solar for a clean energy revolution

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton took a first swing at the many-headed carbon hydra. By the end of her first term, she said, the US would have seven times more solar energy capacity than it does today. And by 2027, renewable energy would supply a third of the nation’s electricity.

Clinton’s announcement, which the campaign said would be the first of many on climate change from the presidential hopeful, extends the carbon-saving ambition in a significant sector of the economy. Burning fossil fuels for electricity accounts for 31% of US greenhouse gas emissions. One estimate found Clinton’s 33% renewable target could slice another 4% off the US’s existing pledge to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025.

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Categories: Environment

India conducts first official survey of Ganges dolphins

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 3:22am

Conservation programme aims to protect the endangered species and restore biodiversity of the polluted river, reports The Straits Times

The conservation of dolphins in India’s holiest, but most polluted waterway, is under the spotlight as the country conducts its first official count of the freshwater species.

An estimated 450 volunteers, government experts and conservationists will take part in the exercise, which spans the states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, in November and December.

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Categories: Environment

Vanuatu reconstruction moves ahead in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 2:26am
Archipelago continues to rebuild after natural disaster but predicted El Niño drought could hit food security

More than four months after Cyclone Pam, one of the most powerful ever recorded in the south Pacific, emergency aid is winding down in the Vanuatu archipelago, leaving inhabitants of rural islands facing an uncertain future. Tanna, an island 200km south of the capital Port-Vila, took a direct hit on 13 March. The wreckage is still visible: the tops of banyan trees have been lopped off, roofs ripped away and churches flattened. Trees on island were stripped by winds gusting at over 320km/h, but now fresh greenery is bursting out and people are rebuilding their homes and replanting their fields.

“We’ve sawn up timber from banyan and avocado trees to make beams, cut bamboo for the walls and dried coconut leaves for the roof. Once we’ve gathered up all the materials in the forest, it takes a fortnight to actually build a house; everyone here knows how to do that,” says David, from Port Resolution on the east coast.

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Categories: Environment

Squeezed By Drought, California Farmers Switch To Less Thirsty Crops

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 2:05am

Water scarcity is leading farmers away from planting staples and towards planting higher-value, lower-water specialty crops. Think wine grapes and pomegranates instead of citrus and avocados.

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Categories: Environment

French climate ambassador concerned over slow progress of Paris draft for negotiations

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 12:47am

France wants to see serious progress by October on text for a new deal on global warming, says Laurence Tubiana

France’s top climate ambassador has said she is very concerned at the slow rate of progress on a negotiating text that will form the basis of a new international deal on global warming in Paris later this year.

But Laurence Tubiana also said that negotiators from nearly 200 countries were making headway on the document, and made clear that the French government wanted to see serious progress on the text by October.

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Categories: Environment

Poll finds 60% believe carbon tax had little or no effect on electricity bills

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 12:30am

Only 21% of voters polled believe that the carbon price had a large impact on power prices and just 9% thought the repeal had pushed prices down

More than 60% of voters think the former Labor government’s carbon price had no effect, or only a small effect, on electricity bills – as the Abbott government tries to rerun its cost of living argument against Labor’s pledge to reintroduce an emissions trading scheme.

Only 21% of voters (30% of Liberal/National voters and 15% of Labor and Green voters) believe the carbon price had a big impact on electricity prices, according to the latest poll by Essential Media.

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Categories: Environment

Hillary Clinton: 'I'm not a scientist, I'm just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain' – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/07/27 - 11:48pm
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveils her renewable energy goals on the US campaign trail, announcing she wants to move the country away from a 'fossil fuel economy' towards a 'clean renewable energy economy'. The former Democratic senator and secretary of state has been criticised for going beyond President Barack Obama's actions in relation to climate change policy Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Protected birds faring better in Europe

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/07/27 - 10:01pm

EU birds directive is having a positive impact on threatened populations as Dalmatian pelicans, griffon vultures, red kites and cranes see their numbers rise

Birds which have been given the highest level of protection by European rules are faring significantly better than other bird species, research has shown.

The study found birds protected as “annex 1” species under the EU’s birds directive, which requires governments to take action to conserve them, are more likely to have increasing populations than those that are not annex 1.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change: world’s wealthiest understand, but only half see it as threat

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/07/27 - 9:33pm

In every South American country, along with Mexico, India, Tanzania and Morocco, concern over climate change is above 90%

People living in the world’s wealthiest nations generally understand what climate change is but in many countries just half perceive it to be a threat, new research has found.

The analysis of perceptions in 119 countries found living standards and relative wealth are “poor predictors” of whether someone considers climate change to be a severe risk.

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Categories: Environment

Dolphins bring a moment of pure joy to idyllic journey

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/07/27 - 9:30pm

Moray Firth, Highlands A merchant ship came powering in with dolphins riding its bow wave

We had sailed the length of the Great Glen on the Ros Crana, the largest barge in Scotland, and now, for the last half mile, could smell the sea. Past the Clachnaharry Works Lock, then the swing railway bridge, we were at the point where the Caledonian canal juts into the Beauly Firth.

Between the closely mown arms of twin embankments there is one last lock before open water. The solid wooden gates opened slowly and the Ros Crana eased into a sea so smooth that its surface looked viscous like the skin forming on boiled milk. Inverness was behind us as we headed under Kessock bridge, the barge’s engines reducing the noise of the traffic above to a blur of sound. Sun lit up vast banks of broom on the Black Isle and the green slopes where sheep grazed its fertile soil.

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Categories: Environment

Last-ditch attempt to save the plains wanderer, Australia's most endangered bird

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/07/27 - 8:20pm

The ground-dwelling bird is critically endangered due to loss of its grasslands habitat, but a new strategy aims to turn around its fortunes

A plan to save Australia’s most critically endangered bird has been outlined in the nation’s first threatened species strategy.

The plains wanderer, which is only found in small pockets of Victoria’s northern plains, the Riverina district of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, requires “emergency action”.

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Categories: Environment
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