Snow monkey attempts sex with deer in rare example of interspecies mating

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 11:32am

Monkey’s unusual behaviour is only the second recorded observation of sexual interaction between distantly related wild animals

A male snow monkey has been observed attempting to have sex with female sika deer on Japan’s Yakushima Island, in an unusual example of interspecies mating behaviour.

Related: Sandpipers go the extra 8,000 miles to have as much sex as possible

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Categories: Environment

Dutch electric trains become 100% powered by wind energy

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 11:27am

The national railway company, NS, said that its renewables target had been met a year earlier than planned

All Dutch electric trains are now powered by wind energy, the national railway company NS has said .

“Since 1 January, 100% of our trains are running on wind energy,” said NS spokesman, Ton Boon.

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Categories: Environment

China: the secret lives of urban waste pickers

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 10:49am

Chinadialogue interviews two sociologists who have documented the hidden lives of waste pickers in recycling communities on the outskirts of Beijing

Rarely do we stop and question where our waste goes and who collects and sorts it. Waste pickers work at the margins of our lives, removing things we don’t want to see. In a new book, The Life of Waste, sociologists Wu Ka Ming and Zhang Jieying describe these unknown lives that play out on the outskirts of Beijing. They visit the village of Lengshui, 50km north of Beijing, home to a community of waste pickers.

Part of this world is as one might expect it to be. Piles of rubbish and pools of foul water gather, while pets and children play in the waste. Yet homes are often spotless, as if domestic life becomes more orderly the more chaotic the surroundings. The families from all over China form close-knit communities that extend beyond blood relationships. Chinadialogue (CD) spoke to the authors about life in these recycling communities.

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Categories: Environment

Businesses and investors renew plea to Trump: don't ignore climate change

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 8:17am

A letter released today contains signatures from 530 companies including Campbell Soup and Johnson & Johnson, urging the president-elect to take action

More than 600 businesses and investors signed and released a letter on Tuesday urging president-elect Donald Trump to fight climate change – a move that coincides with the start of the Senate hearings to confirm his cabinet nominees, who are poised to gut existing climate policies.

The letter contains signatures from roughly 200 more companies and investors than when it was initially submitted after the election in November, including Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson and the New York State Retirement Fund. The previous plea was signed by companies like Monsanto, eBay, Levi Strauss and Staples.

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Categories: Environment

Warming Oceans Could Boost Dangerous Toxin In Your Shellfish Dinner

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 5:00am

A new study finds a link between warming waters and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in species like Dungeness crabs, clams and mussels — and can be hazardous, even fatal in people who eat them.

(Image credit: Eric Risberg/AP)

Categories: Environment

Solar panel researchers investigate powering trains by bypassing grid

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 4:17am

Imperial College and climate change charity 10:10 to focus on connecting solar panels directly to train lines, reports BusinessGreen

Imperial College London has partnered with the climate change charity 10:10 to investigate the use of track-side solar panels to power trains, the two organisations announced yesterday.

The renewable traction power project will see university researchers look at connecting solar panels directly to the lines that provide power to trains, a move that would bypass the electricity grid in order to more efficiently manage power demand from trains.

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Categories: Environment

Conservative media can't stop denying there was no global warming 'pause' | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 4:00am

In the Spectator, the GWPF keeps denying facts and reality

Scientists have proven time and time again that global warming continues unabated. Most recently, a study published last week showed that over the past two decades, the oceans have warmed faster than prior estimates. This study affirmed the findings of a 2015 NOAA paper – not surprisingly attacked by deniers – that removed a cool bias in the data, finding there never was a global warming “pause.”

This particular myth has been a favorite of deniers over the past decade for one simple reason – if people can be convinced that global warming stopped, they won’t consider it a threat that we need to urgently address by cutting fossil fuel consumption. It’s thus become one of the most common myths peddled by carbon polluters and their allies.

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Categories: Environment

Once a trophy hunting concession, now a snow leopard sanctuary

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/10 - 2:07am

Snow leopards are showing up on camera traps in places they’d never been seen before – thanks to an innovative programme in Kyrgyzstan.

Sometimes wildlife champions come as high as heads of state. Since taking office in 2011 the current president of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev, has turned the former Soviet Republic into a centre point for snow leopard conservation and research. Perhaps the best symbol of Atambayev’s commitment to snow leopards are recent camera trap photos showing the elusive, high-altitude predator roaming Shamshy Wildlife Reserve. Just two years ago, Shamshy was a concession for high-paying trophy hunters looking to bag an ibex. Today, it’s protecting those prey animals that snow leopards depend on.

“We are certain about the presence of at least one, perhaps two snow leopards,” Koustubh Sharma, the Senior Regional Ecologist at the Snow Leopard Trust, said. “The second snow leopard we are not sure about given a slightly blurry image.”

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Categories: Environment

Government review likely to back Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 11:00pm

£1.3bn plan is seen as ‘pathfinder’ for six bigger plants, which could generate more than 10% of UK’s electricity

Plans for a pioneering tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay are expected to be supported by a government-commissioned report this week, potentially unlocking a multibillion-pound series of projects harnessing electricity from the rise and fall of the tide around the UK.

When ministers last year ordered a review to see if the technology could affordably provide green energy to the UK, it was widely seen as a way to kill off an ambitious project at Swansea proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power.

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Categories: Environment

Parks Victoria staff used work credit cards for KFC to lure feral cats

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 10:20pm

Credit card bill was $2.2m last year, and was also used to spend $347 at a jewellery store, $898 at a bike shop and $5,000 at JB Hi-Fi

Parks Victoria staff have justified the use of their taxpayer-funded credit cards on hundreds of dollars worth of KFC because it is an effective bait for luring feral cats.

On Monday Victoria’s environment minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, announced an external auditor would undertake an independent review of Parks Victoria’s credit card transactions over the past four years.

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Categories: Environment

'This is our future' – Kenya's croton tree touted as new biofuels crop

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 10:00pm

Will the legacy of biofuel’s failure in Kenya prevent croton oil from transforming the industry?

Tall, spindly and grey, croton trees grow everywhere in Kenya. Although they tend to be used for little more than firewood or shade, their nuts turn out to be an excellent source of biofuel. This overlooked plant could be the answer to Africa’s growing demand for cheap, low-carbon energy.

At least that is what Eco Fuels Kenya hopes. Founded in 2012, this small company based in Nanyuki, in the foothills of Mount Kenya, is pioneering the use of croton oil as a replacement for diesel and hopes others will soon follow suit. The startup wants to use the tens of thousands of croton trees already growing wild across the nation to improve livelihoods and protect the environment.

The croton industry is still in its infancy but, if the biofuel performs as promised, this macadamia-sized nut could help Africa meet several sustainable development goals, including clean energy, climate action and poverty reduction.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland community action prevents Santos from freely dumping coal seam gas waste

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 8:19pm

Challenge by Western Downs Alliance prompts environment minister Josh Frydenberg to revamp approval of development

Legal action by a Queensland community group has forced the federal government to stop Santos freely dumping coal seam gas waste water in Surat Basin rivers and streams.

A federal court challenge by the Western Downs Alliance has prompted the minister for environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, to revamp approval of the Santos gasfield development, in what has been hailed as a victory in protecting the Dawson river.

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Categories: Environment

Bittersweet harvest as Tunisian orange farmers swamped by record crop

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 6:36pm

Huge haul of 550,000 tonnes due to dry weather and ‘physiological conditions’ helping more blossoms hold on to trees

Tunisian farmers have warned that thousands of tonnes of oranges might have to be destroyed if more buyers cannot be found for the country’s bumper harvest.

According to Mohamed Ali Jandoubi, who heads the Groupement Interprofessionel des Fruits (GIF), an association of citrus fruit growers, farmers have harvested 550,000 tonnes of oranges so far this year.

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Categories: Environment

Sandpipers go the extra 8,000 miles to have as much sex as possible

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 6:24pm

Small birds were observed travelling to as many as 24 different breeding sites in Alaska within six weeks, further than flying from Paris to Moscow

A bird smaller than a city pigeon has been recorded flying 13,000km (8,000 miles) in just one month to have sex with as many females as possible

In behaviour never witnessed before, male pectoral sandpipers were observed travelling to as many as 24 different “breeding sites” in northern Alaska within a single season, a team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature.

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Categories: Environment

UK throwing away £13bn of food each year, latest figures show

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 5:01pm

Waste and recycling advisory body says 4.4m tonnes of household food waste thrown away in 2015 could have been eaten

UK households binned £13bn worth of food in 2015 that could have been eaten, according to new figures which suggest that progress in reducing the national food waste mountain has stalled.

Despite concerted efforts to reduce food waste through the entire supply chain, a new national update from the waste and recycling advisory body Wrap revealed that an estimated 7.3m tonnes of household food waste was thrown away in 2015 – up from 7m tonnes in 2012.

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Categories: Environment

Indian Point nuclear plant in New York will close after dozens of 'safety events'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 2:02pm

New York City secured agreement with facility’s operator for shutdown in about four years, following radioactive leak that contaminated groundwater last year

The Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York, which last year leaked radioactive material into groundwater near New York City, will close by April 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

Related: New York investigates radioactive leak in groundwater near city

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Categories: Environment

Fracking concerns must be listened to | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 12:57pm

As public health researchers we noted your article on fracking (Friends of the Earth ticked off over claims in anti-fracking leaflet, 4 January) and wish to highlight the following: fracking operations involve pumping millions of litres of water containing fracking fluids underground and a small percentage of wastewater contains returned fracking fluids. Estimates vary depending on geological conditions but recent research suggests typically 4-8%. It is well established in peer-reviewed studies and government reports that fracturing fluids and wastewater have contaminated ground and surface waters.

An early peer-reviewed study on chemicals in fracking fluids found 25% could cause cancer and mutations, 37% could affect the endocrine system, 40-50% could affect the brain/nervous system, kidneys, immune system and cardiovascular systems. More recent studies support these findings, including a systematic evaluation that examined 240 fracking substances and found evidence suggesting 43% were linked to reproductive toxicity and 40% to developmental toxicity.

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Categories: Environment

Desperate exodus of the climate refugees | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 12:57pm

In the last six years, some 140 million people have been forced to move because of climate-related disasters (Mongolian herders fly steppe blighted by climate extremes and social change, 5 January). Climate change is driving long-term environmental damage and sudden catastrophes, presenting a global long-term threat to human security. According to the UN, by mid-century, one in 30 people could be displaced, many as a result of climate change. Existing global inequalities are exacerbated by the injustice of climate change which severely affects the poorest and most vulnerable, those who have contributed least to the climate crisis. Although climate change and enforced migration are increasingly linked, those displaced have no legal standing under existing international refugee and asylum law.

Record-breaking increases in global temperature mask the unequal impact of planetary warming. Temperature increases in Mongolia have risen by more than double the global average over the past century. Elsewhere, in Somalia, Darfur, Syria and across sub-Saharan Africa, the chronic effects of drought, water scarcity and agricultural crises in rural areas no longer able to sustain their peoples have driven hundreds of thousands of migrants into cities and across borders. Safe haven is provided overwhelmingly by other poor countries, whilst richer countries respond by building walls and fences and a political debate that is toxic and often racist.

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Categories: Environment

Smog Police: New Beijing Force Created To Tackle Air Pollution

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 12:38pm

This comes after a month of particularly severe air quality that left the capital and dozens of other Chinese cities blanketed in thick, brown smog.

(Image credit: Andy Wong/AP)

Categories: Environment

Bears Ears Monument Is A Win For Tribal Food Sovereignty. Will Trump Undo It?

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/09 - 10:51am

The newly created monument preserves 1.3 million acres in Utah where natives have foraged for millennia. But critics who point to the land's energy extraction potential want the designation undone.

(Image credit: Josh Ewing/Courtesy of Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition)

Categories: Environment
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