Environment

Australians have spent almost $8bn on rooftop solar since 2007, says report

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 1:03pm

Exclusive: Solar Citizens says since the 2012-13 financial year, rooftop solar owners have saved about $1bn on their household bills each year

Australian households and small businesses have invested more than $1bn a year in rooftop solar over the past five years, spending a total of almost $8bn since 2007, new calculations show.

In its latest State of Solar report, Solar Citizens – which campaigns for, and represents the interests of, solar owners – has for the first time estimated Australian’s out-of-pocket investment in rooftop solar, how much money it has saved consumers, and how much carbon it has abated.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change: poll finds support for strong action at highest level since 2008

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 12:56pm

Galaxy polling finds only 17% of voters think the Coalition has a credible climate plan and only 20% think Labor does

Support for strong action on climate change is at its highest level since 2008, with much sought after uncommitted voters showing the strongest support, according to Galaxy polling commissioned by the Climate Institute.

Despite that, voters were dissatisfied with both Labor and Coalition policies, with only 17% saying the Coalition had a credible climate plan and only 20% saying Labor did.

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Categories: Environment

Trader Joe's reaches settlement over Clean Air Act violation claims

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 12:22pm

Grocery chain agrees to reduce leakage of hydrochlorofluorocarbons and pay $500,000 fine after US officials claim it did not promptly repair refrigerators

Trader Joe’s agreed on Tuesday to reduce its stores’ greenhouse gas emissions and pay a $500,000 penalty to settle claims from the federal government that the grocery chain had violated the Clean Air Act.

US officials alleged that the company did not promptly repair leaks of a hydrochlorofluorocarbon that the chain used as a coolant in its stores’ refrigerators. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are an ozone-depleting substance and a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming. The federal complaint also said the company had not kept adequate records of refrigerator repairs.

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Categories: Environment

After Vélib’ bikes and Autolib’ cars, Paris adds mopeds to hire fleet

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 10:23am

Organisers say low-cost vehicle emits no noise or fumes, although its maximum speed is unlikely to impress Top Gear

First Paris introduced the Vélib’ bicycle; then the Autolib’ electric car. Now, in a further move to reduce noise and pollution, a moped-sharing scheme has rolled into the French capital.

Called Cityscoot, a fleet of 150 electric scooters similar to the old-fashioned 50cc mobylette, made their appearance on Paris’s streets on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

California's last nuclear plant to close amid longstanding earthquake concerns

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 10:21am

‘Historic’ agreement between the state’s largest utility company and environmental groups follows safety debates over proximity to seismic faults

California’s last nuclear power plant will close by 2025 under an accord announced Tuesday, ending three decades of safety debates that helped fuel the national anti-nuclear power movement.

The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E), and environmental groups reached an agreement to replace production at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant with solar power and other energy sources that do not produce climate-changing greenhouse gases.

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Categories: Environment

King of sting - the scientist who reviews the stings of insects

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 9:51am

Justin Schmidt sampled the stinging power of ants, bees and wasps. His reviews – from ‘blinding, fierce’ to ‘hot and smoky’ – have now been published in their entirety

Ever wondered what it’s like to be stung by an artistic wasp? (This being an actual insect species of the order Hymenoptera, as opposed to a Turner-nominated waspish type with a vendetta.) “Pure, then messy, then corrosive,” according to entomologist Justin Schmidt, otherwise known as the King of Sting. “Love and marriage followed by divorce.” Or what about something with a little more bite? Like the sting of the fierce black polybia wasp, which apparently feels like “a ritual gone wrong, Satanic. The gas lamp in the old church explodes in your face when you light it.”

Now that summer is sort of here, and wasps are blithely buzzing around the nation’s Coke cans (or San Pellegrino, if you want to be posh about your pop), check out the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the exquisite life’s work (and pain) of a biologist at Southwest Biological Institute and the University of Arizona who appears to be a cross between Steve Irwin and Jilly Goolden. As in he likes to stick his hand into a hornet’s nest and then sample the venom as though as it were a glass of classic vintage barolo.

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Categories: Environment

Road signs could warn Londoners of air pollution episodes, says Sadiq Khan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 7:44am

London mayor has told TfL to develop system of alerts and signs to increase awareness of air quality blackspots, BusinessGreen reports

Roadside signposts and online alerts could be used to inform Londoners of air pollution hotspots and periods of poor air quality, under proposals announced today by the capital’s new Mayor Sadiq Kahn.

Londoners should be much better informed when air pollution reaches dangerous levels in the UK capital, Kahn said, announcing he has directed Transport for London (TfL) to “urgently” develop a package of public alerts and signs aimed at increasing awareness of poor air quality in the city.

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Categories: Environment

Cars buck downward trend of EU carbon emissions

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 6:39am

Total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 24% between 1990 and 2014 but road transport emissions rose by 17%, European Environment Agency data shows

Road transport has bucked a downward trend in European greenhouse gas emissions, growing by 17% between 1990 and 2014, at the same time that emissions from other sectors fell by almost a quarter.

Cars, vans and lorries reported the biggest absolute increase of any sector in CO2 emissions over the last 25 years, growing by 124 megatonnes (Mt), European Environment Agency (EEA) data published on Tuesday shows.

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Categories: Environment

Maldives urges rich countries to rapidly ratify Paris climate agreement

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 6:02am

Environment and energy minister of small island state, one of the countries most at risk of global warming impacts, says ‘no time to waste’ on Paris deal

Rich countries must ratify the climate change agreement reached in Paris last December, one of the world’s most at-risk nations has warned.

Thoriq Ibrahim, environment and energy minister of the Maldives, told the Guardian that there was “no time to waste”, in ratifying the agreement that was reached more than six months ago, and that it should be a matter of urgency for industrialised countries.

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Categories: Environment

Brexit-on-sea: Why do voters on Essex's protected coast want out of Europe?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 2:14am

Residents in the Ukip stronghold of Clacton-on-Sea are rightly proud of their clean beaches, fresh air and wildlife. Would they still vote leave if they knew the things they love about their town are thanks to EU membership?

Audrey James and and Mary Chivers, skirts hitched and shoes off, are paddling with their grandchildren by the pier at Clacton-on-Sea. A huge offshore windfarm spins in the distance and all around them are clean beaches, clear water and protected nature reserves.

But Groyne 41, the name of the beach on the “Essex sunshine coast” where they are picnicking, is the exception, having failed to meet tough new EU water quality tests last year possibly because of the many seagulls living below the pier.

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Categories: Environment

Low Oil Prices Fuel Reconsideration Of Petroleum Reserves

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 1:48am

The Department of Energy is considering the future of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Some argue it's no longer needed or should be smaller because U.S. oil production has increased.

Categories: Environment

The weight of light: how gravity is illuminating sub-Saharan Africa – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/06/21 - 1:33am

Off-grid communities such as those in sub-Saharan Africa can pay thousands of times as much as the rest of us for their energy. Designer Jim Reeves has developed a simple, low-cost gear-train and generator that uses a descending weight to power a perpetual light source. Children can do their homework and study, families and friends can eat together and interact after dark adding new dimensions and possibilities to their lives

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Categories: Environment

Poisonous tropical lionfish could be spreading through Mediterranean

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 6:19pm

Voracious predator with sting that has been known to kill humans is spotted in waters off Turkey and Cyprus

The lionfish – a tropical creature with poisonous barbs and a painful sting that can kill humans in rare cases – may be spreading through the Mediterranean, a conservation group has warned.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN) said the fish had been spotted in waters around Turkey and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.

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Categories: Environment

Only cub of beloved grizzly bear killed by a car in Wyoming

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 5:31pm

The death of the young animal, known as ‘Snowy’ for its ‘notably white face’, comes at a fraught time for grizzly bears and their advocates

The sole cub of one of the US’s most beloved grizzly bears was reportedly struck and killed by a car on Sunday evening in Grand Teton national park in Wyoming, prompting mourning among lovers of the mother animal known as 399.

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates announced the news in a Facebook post: “399’s cub, known as Snowy or Spirit by the bear watchers of Grand Teton, was adored for its antics and notably white face and will be sorely missed.”

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Categories: Environment

How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 2:36pm

New studies show that alarming numbers of tiny fibers from synthetic fabrics are making their way from your washing machine into aquatic animals

The first time professor Sherri Mason cut open a Great Lakes fish, she was alarmed at what she found. Synthetic fibers were everywhere. Under a microscope, they seemed to be “weaving themselves into the gastrointestinal tract”. Though she had been studying aquatic pollution around the Great Lakes for several years, Mason, who works for the State University of New York Fredonia, had never seen anything like it.

New studies indicate that the fibers in our clothes could be poisoning our waterways and food chain on a massive scale. Microfibers – tiny threads shed from fabric – have been found in abundance on shorelines where waste water is released.

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Categories: Environment

Coral bleaching event now biggest in history – and about to get worse

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 2:01pm

US weather agency says bleaching is now the most widespread on record and is likely to continue for unprecedented third year

The coral bleaching event sweeping the globe and destroying vast tracts of valuable coral reef is now officially the most widespread in recorded history, and is likely to continue for an unprecedented third year, according to the US weather agency.

For the coming four months, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration says its forecasts show warm ocean temperatures are expected to cause bleaching in the northern hemisphere, including around Hawaii, Micronesia, the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico.

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Categories: Environment

China's plan to cut meat consumption by 50% cheered by climate campaigners

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 1:08pm

New dietary guidelines could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1bn tonnes by 2030, and could lessen country’s problems with obesity and diabetes

The Chinese government has outlined a plan to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50%, in a move that climate campaigners hope will provide major heft in the effort to avoid runaway global warming.

New dietary guidelines drawn up by China’s health ministry recommend that the nation’s 1.3 billion population should consume between 40g to 75g of meat per person each day. The measures, released once every 10 years, are designed to improve public health but could also provide a significant cut to greenhouse gas emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: tourists will go elsewhere if bleaching continues – poll

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 1:07pm

Survey shows a majority of Chinese tourists and about a third of US and UK visitors will travel to somewhere other than Australia

If the bleaching continues on the Great Barrier Reef, tourists say they will pack their bags and go elsewhere, taking with them an estimated $1bn a year and costing 10,000 jobs in regional Queensland, according to a new poll.

The majority of Chinese tourists, and about a third of UK and US tourists, said if severe bleaching continues, and “some of the reef dies completely,” they would be more likely to visit somewhere other than Australia, according to the online polling of more than 4,000 people commissioned by the Australia Institute

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Categories: Environment

Mass elephant relocation could save populations in parts of Africa

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 12:47pm

Experts in Malawi will move 500 elephants 185 miles across the country to a sanctuary that will act as a ‘reservoir’

Wildlife experts in Malawi will next month start moving up to 500 elephants to a sanctuary that they hope could eventually serve as a reservoir to restore some elephant populations in other parts of Africa where the threatened species has been heavily poached.

The massive relocation, slated for completion next year, will involve darting the elephants from a helicopter, hoisting the slumbering animals by crane and loading them in crates on to trucks for a ride of about 185 miles (300km) to Malawi’s Nkhotakota wildlife reserve.

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Categories: Environment

Cruel summer: how you should use today’s extra daylight – if you must

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/06/20 - 11:38am

Today is a once in a lifetime event: the longest day of the year, first day of summer and a full ‘strawberry’ moon – which means it’s time to go outside

As if today being Monday wasn’t bad enough, it’s also the longest day of the year. Now, if you’ve spent the last nine months shuttling between your office and your apartment glimpsing only a smidgeon of sunshine in between, all this extra daytime can come as a shock. Suddenly it’s not quite so acceptable to spend your free time in a dark room watching Netflix ignoring everyone except the delivery person. You have to go outside and do outside stuff. You have to, you know, have fun in the sun.

So, how should you use today’s extra daylight? If you’re a Druid, Pagan, Wiccan or Swede you’ve probably got your plans sorted and have a nice maypole or prehistoric monument to convene around. If you don’t have any rituals planned, however, here are a few ways you can use the longest day of the year to its full advantage.

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Categories: Environment
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