Pooductive: the toilet chat-app raising awareness of sanitation

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/19 - 5:11am

Startup, in partnership with UN-Water initiative, wants to get people messaging and playing games on the loo

Mobile app Pooductive sounds like a silly gimmick: a smartphone app for messaging and playing games with strangers while sitting on the toilet.

However, the app has a more serious aim: raising awareness of the 2.4 billion people in the world who do not have access to improved sanitation and clean water.

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Categories: Environment

The £200,000 cycling jerseys: Eddy Merckx collection goes on show

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/19 - 4:47am

Cycling legend Eddy Merckx will be reunited with nine of his winning jerseys at the Rouleur Classic in London tonight. Here are some of the most stylish

Twenty-five years ago Californian Brett Horton started his collection of cycling ephemera. This weekend perhaps his most valuable pieces – nine jerseys worn by the five-time Tour de France winner and multiple world champion, Belgium’s Eddy Merckx – will be on show at the Rouleur Classic expo in London. Merckx will be reunited with the jerseys on Thursday night when he attends the show. Their total value is now estimated at $304,000 (£198,426).

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Categories: Environment

Renewables are changing the climate narrative from sacrifice to opportunity | Adnan Z Amin

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/19 - 4:14am

Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, boost GDP and improve livelihoods - as well as reduce emissions

Accelerating signs of climate change and rising global temperatures are perhaps more pressing here in the Middle East, where the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) is headquartered, than anywhere else on the planet.

Record-breaking temperatures made global headlines this year and a recent scientific study predicts the region will face heatwaves “beyond the limit of human survival” if climate change remains unchecked.

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Republicans make second bid to weaken Obama's hand at Paris climate talks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/19 - 4:09am

White House regards moves to oppose the US deal and block $3bn in climate aid for developing countries as empty threats

Republicans moved for the second time in 24 hours on Wednesday to try to weaken Barack Obama’s position at the Paris climate negotiations, opposing a deal at the summit and threatening to block $3bn in aid pledged to developing countries.

The gesture, less than two weeks before nearly 200 countries gather in Paris to try to reach a deal to stop climate change, was intended to cast doubt about Obama’s ability to deliver on his agenda.

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Categories: Environment

Conservationists take court action over government failure to protect UK rivers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/19 - 2:59am

Conservationists and angling organisations argue Defra and Environment Agency are failing in legal duty to protect rivers and wetlands from agricultural pollution

Conservationists and angling organisations have joined together to challenge “a government failure” to protect some of England’s “most precious rivers and wetlands” from agricultural pollution.

The high court on Thursday is hearing a judicial review from the WWF-UK, the Angling Trust and Fish Legal in what they say is a bid to protect rivers, lakes and coastal areas from further damage.

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Kiribati president pushes Australia to back moratorium on new coalmines

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 10:16pm

Anote Tong says freeze on new coalmines before global climate summit in December ‘easiest, most reasonable’ way to help reduce emissions

The president of the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, Anote Tong, has urged the Australian government to support a moratorium on new coalmines before the global climate summit in Paris in December.

Tong, who was in Melbourne for a public meeting hosted by the Australia Institute on Thursday, said it was the “easiest, most reasonable” measure world leaders could commit to to reduce emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's lead public servant for global climate talks reveals hopes and fears for Paris

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 8:48pm

Ambassador for the environment Peter Woolcott says terrorist attacks in Paris ‘will only strengthen’ France’s desire for a strong climate deal

You don’t get to hear from Peter Woolcott all that much in public, even though he is a pivotal character in Australia’s international climate change negotiations.

Woolcott is Australia’s ambassador for the environment and for the past 14 months has led the country’s negotiating teams at UN climate talks.

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Categories: Environment

COP21 climate marches in Paris not authorised following attacks

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 5:10pm

French government says demonstrations in closed spaces can go ahead but not those in public places

Major marches which had been planned to coincide with the COP21 international climate talks in Paris will not be authorised for security reasons, the French government has said.

Environmental activists – who had expected attract hundreds of thousands people on 29 November and 12 December – said that they accepted Wednesday’s decision with regret, but were now considering “new and imaginative” ways of making their voices heard.

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Victoria to review whether or not state will continue to fund coal projects

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 5:08pm

As a plan to make brown coal briquettes for export to China fails to attract private cash, the state will assess whether past projects gave value for money

The Victorian government has announced an independent review of coal development projects after a demonstration plant in the Latrobe Valley which was set to receive federal and state funding failed to attract private investment.

The project to make brown coal briquettes for export to China was withdrawn less than 12 months after Shanghai Electric Australia Power and Energy Development Pty Ltd was awarded state and federal government funding.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change is 'single biggest threat' to polar bear survival

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 5:01pm

‘High probability’ of a 30% decline in polar bear numbers by 2050 due to retreating sea ice, IUCN study finds

Global warming is now the single most important threat to the survival of the polar bear with retreating sea ice set to decimate populations, according to a new study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It found a “high probability” that the planet’s 26,000 polar bears will suffer a 30% decline in population by 2050 due to the loss of their habitat, which is disappearing at a faster rate than predicted by climate models.

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Categories: Environment

Bullying tactics: brands can't squeeze suppliers if they're serious about sustainability

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 5:00pm

A more sustainable supply chain is needed, but will only emerge when the breakdown in trust between suppliers and buyers is resolved

Majestic Wine this week announced the removal of its chief buyer after its pre-tax profits dropped by almost half. Supply chain relations at the ailing retailer have been tense ever since it asked suppliers to stump up cash towards its new warehouse.

Regrettably, such practices are all too common. Global brewer Carlsberg is also facing animosity from suppliers after following the likes of Diageo, Halfords and Mars and extending its payment terms to 93 days.

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Categories: Environment

Congress to vote on bill to ban microbead hygiene products in US

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 3:06pm

House committee unanimously approves proposed legislation to phase out such personal care products, whose exfoliants can end up in rivers and lakes

US lawmakers are to decide whether to ban personal care products containing microbeads – minuscule pieces of plastic considered harmful to the environment – after proposed legislation was approved by a bipartisan committee.

Microbeads, typically under 5mm in size, are used as abrasive exfoliants in products such as toothpastes and facial cleaners. They often evade water filtration systems and flow into rivers, lakes and streams, where they can be mistaken for food by fish. Pollutants can bind to the plastic, causing toxic material to infect fish and, potentially, the humans that consume them.

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Categories: Environment

Kipper Williams on the 'new energy model'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 1:22pm

Gas-fired power given a big boost at the expense of coal … and renewables

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Categories: Environment

In 'Just Eat It,' Filmmakers Feast For 6 Months On Discarded Food

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 12:47pm

Roughly 133 billion pounds of food go uneaten each year — much of it still edible. So for a half-year, the two filmmakers behind Just Eat It vowed to eat nothing but food entering the waste stream.

Categories: Environment

The Guardian view on Paris, terror and climate change: shaping the future | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 12:38pm
It is hard for France’s capital to look beyond the terror attack, but the decisions taken at the UN climate change conference may in the end matter more

While Europe is on high alert against another murderous terrorist attack, it will be hard for Paris to look beyond the next 24 hours. But soon delegates start arriving in the French capital for preliminary meetings ahead of COP21, the United Nations climate change summit which will be launched on 30 November with all the grandeur attendant on a gathering of global leaders. There is a certain symmetry to the two events that goes beyond the nightmare task facing France’s overstretched security forces. As the UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond pointed out in an important speech in the US only days before the Paris attacks last Friday: “Unchecked climate change … could have catastrophic consequences – a rise in global temperatures … leading in turn to rising sea levels and huge movements of people fuelling conflict and instability.”

There are reasons to be optimistic about a useful outcome from these negotiations, not least the determination of President Barack Obama’s team to deliver a deal with some kind of legal force. But any deal will mark the start rather than the end of the process.

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Categories: Environment

HS2’s impact on urban homes and hedgehogs | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 12:32pm

Patrick Barkham’s article about the HS2 route through the countryside (The long read, 17 November) was excellent – a compelling overview of its effect on rural communities. But, though any article about the omnishambles that is HS2 is welcome, it was incomplete. Perhaps Patrick could also now wander around Camden to see and record the devastation that HS2 will bring to urban residents: 24/7 working with all the associated noise and pollution that goes with such work through a conservation area; fragile houses – part of John Nash’s scheme for Regent’s Park – being drilled under for the purpose of installation of concrete staves; roads closed for years; tower blocks destroyed; Drummond Street (known for its Asian restaurants) destroyed; London Zoo car park taken over by HS2’s HGVs, which threatens the endangered hedgehog community.

Small local businesses will be jeopardised due to noise and lack of access, and there will be no compensation in any form for those living within the M25. An article on HS2’s effects on Camden would surely be an equally depressing but irresistible read.
Lorely Burkill

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Categories: Environment

Planning permissions and ancient woodland | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 12:31pm

I note the reference to my practice, Forbes-Laird Arboricultural Consultancy, in an article on your Opinion pages (Notebook: The animals of Smithy Wood, 18 November).

Any decision to grant planning permission affecting ancient woodland is taken after careful scrutiny of the proposals, with matters of need, benefits and harm – and whether this latter can be mitigated against or compensated for – all being considered.

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Categories: Environment

Will the UK ever get a truly free market energy model? Pull the other one

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 11:47am

The energy secretary’s announcement of a ‘new energy model’ leaves just as many questions as there were before

Amber Rudd’s “new model” for the UK’s energy market looks very like the old model. It is a mix of the legally necessary, the uncertain and the expensive.

At least it was served with an amusing garnish – the idea that government will one day be able to step back and let market forces supply the nation’s energy needs. Pull the other one. In the age of nuclear, renewables and internationally binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, energy infrastructure only gets built when the government agrees subsidies and sets economic incentives. Energy secretaries will be in the “reset” game for years.

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Categories: Environment

Coal and renewable firms criticise government energy plans

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 11:42am

Rival energy suppliers have joined forces in attacking Amber Rudd’s announcement that gas is future of British power

Coal and renewable power firms have formed an unlikely alliance to criticise government plans to put gas and nuclear at the centre of UK energy supply.

The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, has claimed she will resetUK policy and has promised to shut down polluting coal-fired power stations by 2025.

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Categories: Environment

Iran starts dismantling nuclear programme, says UN watchdog

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/11/18 - 11:05am

IAEA says country has broken up 4,500 centrifuges under landmark deal but has some way to go until all commitments are met

Iran has begun dismantling parts of its nuclear programme, as agreed in a landmark deal with major powers, the UN atomic watchdog has said.

Iran has started removing centrifuges and related infrastructureat the Natanz and Fordo enrichment facilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency quarterly report said on Wednesday.

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