Environment

Wildfires Still Burn In Tennessee As Death Toll Rises To At Least 7

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 11:42am

Eight new blazes raged Wednesday near Gatlinburg, Tenn., where fire has already destroyed more than 150 structures and injured dozens of people. "There were rivers of fire," said a resident who fled.

Categories: Environment

Cold weather in England and Wales set to continue

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 11:38am

Parts of UK experienced coldest night of the season on Tuesday, with temperature of -9.4C (15F) recorded in Powys in Wales

England and Wales will continue to experience some of the coldest temperatures of the last 12 months over the next few days , as the meteorological winter starts on Thursday.

Related: Cold snaps: frost and ice around the UK – in pictures

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Categories: Environment

Sheffield council urged to drop plans to fell war memorial trees

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 7:16am

Trees planted in memory of a school’s former pupils killed in first world war set to be cut down in road maintenance project

Campaigners are demanding that Sheffield council re-examine plans to cut down trees planted to honour soldiers killed in the first world war, in the latest development of the long-running battle over the local authority’s tree-felling programme.

The 23 trees on Western Road in the Crookes area of the city were planted in memory of a group of young soldiers who attended nearby Westways primary school and were killed in the war.

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Categories: Environment

Inner Mongolia's unauthorised steel factories – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 6:07am

‘We will make China a beautiful country with blue sky, green vegetation and clear rivers,’ vowed President Xi Jinping in September. But these haunting photographs by the award-winning Canadian photojournalist Kevin Frayer, who travelled to Inner Mongolia to witness the activities of unauthorised steel mills, underline the scale of Beijing’s challenge to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels

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Categories: Environment

Tesco and Sainsbury's ban plastic cotton buds to cut waste

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 5:15am

UK’s two largest supermarket chains will replace the plastic stems with paper ones in all own-brand products by the end of 2017

The UK’s two largest supermarket chains have committed to end the sale of cotton buds with plastic stems, which are the most common litter from toilets flushed on to the country’s beaches.

Both Tesco and Sainsbury’s will replace the plastic stick with paper by the end of 2017 in their own-brand products.

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Categories: Environment

Obama's complicated legacy on climate change - video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 5:00am

Barack Obama has been called the first ‘climate president’ for acknowledging the real threat of global warming. But work by Columbia University and the Guardian shows that Obama’s climate record has been badly tarnished by investments made in dirty fuels around the world

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Categories: Environment

How Obama's climate change legacy is weakened by US investment in dirty fuel

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 5:00am

Exclusive: an agency inside the Obama administration poured billions into fossil fuel projects that will lead to global carbon emissions on a damaging scale

President Barack Obama has staked his legacy on the environment, positioning his administration as the most progressive on climate change in US history.

However, an obscure agency within his own administration has quietly spoiled his record by helping fund a steady outpouring of new overseas fossil fuel emissions – effectively erasing gains expected from his headline clean power plan or fuel efficiency standards.

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Categories: Environment

EU targets energy waste and coal subsidies in new climate package

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 4:12am

Plan to cut energy use by 30% before 2030 forms centrepiece of package to help EU meet its Paris climate commitments

Europe will begin phasing out coal subsidies and cut its energy use by 30% before the end of the next decade, under a major clean energy package announced in Brussels on Wednesday.

The 1,000 page blueprint to help the EU meet its Paris climate commitments also proposes measures to cut household electricity bills, integrate renewables into power markets, and limit use of unsustainable bioenergy.

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Categories: Environment

Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 4:00am

While Trump claims to be open-minded on climate, there are ominous signs that Republicans will try to slash climate research

Last week, Donald Trump’s space policy advisor Bob Walker made headlines by suggesting that the incoming administration might slash Nasa’s climate and earth science research to focus the agency on deep space exploration. This caused great concern in the scientific community, because Nasa does some of the best climate research in the world, and its Earth science program does much more. Walker suggested the earth science research could be shifted to other agencies, but climate scientist Michael Mann explained what would result:

It’s difficult enough for us to build and maintain the platforms that are necessary for measuring how the oceans are changing, how the atmosphere is changing, with the infrastructure that we have when we total up the contributions from all of the agencies ... we [could] lose forever the possibility of the continuous records that we need so that we can monitor this planet.

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Categories: Environment

'We opened eyes': at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 4:00am

As an Indigenous American, Joe Whittle never questioned his need to travel to Standing Rock. The resolve he saw to protect a sacred space was transformative

As an Indigenous American, there was never any question of whether I should travel to Standing Rock or not. I needed to witness firsthand what was happening there, and wanted to offer solidarity to those fighting for the right of tribes to exercise agency over their own futures.

Only one problem remained: I had to find a way to go.

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Categories: Environment

ExxonMobil Vs. The World

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 3:13am

Oil companies once led in climate science; if they put a fraction of their profits into the search for alternative renewable fuels, they could ensure our collective well-being, says Marcelo Gleiser.

Categories: Environment

Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/11/30 - 12:09am

Denmark’s capital has reached a milestone in its journey to become a cycling city – there are now more bikes than cars on the streets. Can other cities follow?

Bicycle sensors in Copenhagen clocked a new record this month: there are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In the last year, 35,080 more bikes have joined the daily roll, bringing the total number to 265,700, compared with 252,600 cars.

Copenhagen municipality has been carrying out manual traffic counts at a number of city centre locations since 1970, when there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes. In 2009, the city installed its first electric bike counter by city hall, with 20 now monitoring traffic across the city.

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Categories: Environment

Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it | George Monbiot

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 11:00pm

Many of his staffers are from an opaque corporate misinformation network. We must understand this if we are to have any hope of fighting back against them

Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.

Related: Trump’s climate denial is just one of the forces that point towards war | George Monbiot

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Categories: Environment

Canada approves controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 5:02pm
  • Justin Trudeau blocks Northern Gateway pipeline through rain forest
  • Infrastructure will help exports reach Asia and reduce reliance on US

Canada has approved Kinder Morgan Inc’s hotly contested plan to twin a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, setting up a battle with environmentalists who helped elect the prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

The Liberal government, seeking to balance demands from both greens and the energy industry, said allowing Kinder Morgan to build a second pipeline next to its existing Trans Mountain line will help ensure oil exports reach Asia and reduce reliance on the US market.

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Categories: Environment

Firms such as Kellogg's, Unilever and Nestlé 'use child-labour palm oil'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 5:01pm

Amnesty claims producer Wilmar employs children to do back-breaking physical labour on refineries in Indonesia

Global firms behind popular brands such as Kit Kat, Colgate toothpaste and Dove cosmetics use palm oil produced by child workers in dangerous conditions, Amnesty International has claimed.

The human rights organisation traced a range of well-known products back to the palm oil company Wilmar, which it alleged employs children to do back-breaking physical labour on refineries in Indonesia.

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Categories: Environment

The price of change: battle over Queensland's energy mix rages on

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 3:00pm

Is a cost-neutral shift to renewables too good to be true? Energy minister Mark Bailey is ready to take on anyone who says he can’t get to 50-50 without steep price rises

It seemed impossibly good news for the Queensland government in its push to transform Australia’s biggest carbon-polluting state into a renewable energy powerhouse in little more than a decade.

An expert advisory panel steeped in what the energy minister, Mark Bailey, described as “hard-nosed economic experience and extensive modelling” last month concluded the state could effectively have its cake and eat it in its pursuit of a greener energy sector.

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Categories: Environment

Environmentalists Gird For Battle With A Trump Administration

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 1:41pm

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to rescind some environmental regulations. Environmentalists are planning ways to keep a new administration from rolling back eco-rules.

Categories: Environment

A blow to state schools and the solar industry | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 12:47pm

Many state schools struggling to help disadvantaged pupils (Report, 22 November) are facing a further demand on their shrinking budgets. Prudent schools that have invested in solar panels to reduce their electricity bills now face a retrospective six- to eight-fold hike in their tax rates, if the government gets its way. This would be socially divisive, as it will apply to state schools but not to the private schools that have charitable status. The higher rates will also apply to businesses and other organisations that use solar electricity internally. This is yet another blow to the solar industry, already reeling from four separate subsidy cuts since May 2015. UK solar had been expanding exponentially, creating many new jobs and reducing both the wholesale price of electricity and our carbon emissions.
Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham
London

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: Australia's 'response plan' draft contains no new action or funding

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 12:14pm

Exclusive: ‘Confidential’ draft acknowledges coral bleaching but does not make any attempt to address climate change

The Australian government’s official “response plan” to the worst ever bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef commits it to no new action, pledges no new money and does not make any attempt to address climate change, according to a draft seen by the Guardian.

The Northern Great Barrier Reef Response Plan, marked “draft” and “confidential”, begins by describing the bleaching event as “the worst ever coral bleaching” and attributes its cause to climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Wildfire Tears Through Tennessee As Region Suffers Exceptional Drought

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2016/11/29 - 10:05am

At least three people died and hundreds of structures were damaged or destroyed in Tennessee's Sevier County after a wildfire moved through populated areas overnight.

Categories: Environment
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