Environment

Peers to rebel over ‘toothless’ post-Brexit green watchdog

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/05/12 - 12:33pm
Former ministers condemn new body’s lack of power for legal action against government

A former Tory cabinet minister is backing efforts to force through tough green laws after Brexit, amid anger over plans that would weaken environmental protections once Britain leaves the European Union.

Four former environment and climate change secretaries from three parties told the Observer they had concerns about “toothless” plans announced by the government last week, which suggested the new post-Brexit green watchdog would lack the power to take the government to court.

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Categories: Environment

‘Paradise and hell’: the battle to save the forest elephant

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/05/12 - 12:01am

Gabon’s wild and beautiful rainforest is on the frontline against ivory poachers, part of international criminal networks that also fund terrorists

Deep in the steamy rainforest of Gabon, a poaching gang’s night-time fire is smouldering and two long elephant tusks lie among the tangled roots. The axe that hacked them off lies nearby.

Just after dawn, the insect buzz and bird chatter is suddenly pierced by a whistle blast and camouflaged park guards burst out from their forest cover, swiftly pinning the poachers to the ground.

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Categories: Environment

'Just four citizens': the Australians who confronted Adani in India, and made a difference

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 4:24pm

In this book extract, Geoff Cousins describes how the farmer, the activist, the tourism operator and ‘an old bald man with hope in his heart’ travelled to India to protest against Adani

I settled back into the seat as the Air India flight took off from my hometown of Sydney, unaware of just how relieved I would be to return there. I had been warned the Indian government might take a dim view of our mission to intercept the Queensland premier on her journey to have lunch with chairman Gautam Adani, who would be intending to impress on her the force and majesty of his major asset, the Mundra power plant – ironically, now for sale for one rupee.

I’d also been told there was a chance that either the government or Adani or both were intercepting all my communications. So there was a degree of apprehension even as I passed through customs in New Delhi, since I was travelling on a tourist visa and the sites we would be visiting did not include the Taj Mahal.

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Categories: Environment

Eruption Of Hawaii Volcano Could Cause Smog, Acid Rain And Ballistic Projectiles

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 3:04pm

Since Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted on last week, dozens of structures have been destroyed, and thousands have been evacuated. Now, scientists say it could cause volcanic smog, acid rain and ballistic projectiles.

Categories: Environment

Kinder Morgan pipeline: Al Gore joins fight to block 'destructive' project

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 2:44pm

Gore says pipeline expansion in Canada ‘would be a step backward in our efforts to solve the climate crisis’

Al Gore has thrown his support behind opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project and condemned the planned expansion as federal officials in Canada scramble to ensure it goes ahead.

“The Kinder Morgan pipeline carrying dirty tar sands oil would be a step backward in our efforts to solve the climate crisis,” Gore tweeted on Thursday.

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Algae causes glowing aqua waves in San Diego – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 1:52pm

A bloom of bioluminescent phytoplankton has dazzled San Diego residents as the abundance of the algae along the coats lights up the water.

The bloom was cause by a red tide, resulting in a higher level than normal of the plankton in the water. When the small organisms are disturbed, they let off light, making them more visible. 

Red tides can be dangerous as the explosion of algae can release an excess of toxins into the air and water, but most are dispersed by currents and wind before they can become too dangerous 

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Categories: Environment

'Incredible' bioluminescence gives California coastline an eerie blue glow

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 1:10pm

An unusual algal bloom, known as a red tide, has drawn many to the beach in the hopes of witnessing the stunning spectacle

A dense bloom of bioluminescent algae off the coast of southern California has lit up the Pacific Ocean with an eerie and fantastical neon blue glow, sending photographers and spectators to the beach at night in hopes of witnessing the natural phenomenon.

The algal bloom, also known as a red tide, was observed this week lighting up the waves along a 15-mile stretch of coastline.

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Top rock climbers head to Washington to push for public lands protection

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 7:53am

In 62 separate meetings, 13 teams of athletes and advocates made their ask of politicians: protect public lands by supporting funding

Alex Honnold was stuck in traffic.

The world’s most renowned rock climber was due on Capitol Hill for a US Senate reception with other top climbers from around the country, who had descended en masse on Washington to lobby for greater protections for public lands.

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Categories: Environment

From babies' bums to fatbergs: how we fell out of love with wet wipes

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 7:35am

We now use 14,000 of the handy cloths every second - but they are increasingly clogging rivers and putting wildlife at risk. So how can we wean ourselves off them?


On the eighth-floor isolation ward of London’s University College Hospital, nurses have two lines of defence against the spread of life-threatening diseases. First are the airtight double lobbies in every room. Second – and, arguably, more importantly – are the disinfectant wipes they rely on to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

For nurse consultant Annette Jeanes, the disposable flannels are a godsend that allow her and her staff, not only to protect themselves from superbugs such as C difficile and other viruses, but also to make the most of their time, a crucial factor in the National Health Service.

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Categories: Environment

How Cape Town cracked its water crisis, and other tales of hope

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 6:45am

This week’s edition of the Upside looks at how the world can conserve water despite climate change, and how seeds planted in a Yorkshire valley have grown a global movement

One of the obvious consequences of climate change is that our reservoirs of fresh water are running out. As global temperatures continue to rise, people around the globe will have to figure out how to manage with less water.

This week we looked at how one city united to tackle its water crisis, and found other tales of people coming together and turning around bleak situations.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 6:20am

A nesting stork, a rescued bobcat, and flamingos at sunset are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Fourth most published book in English language to go online

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 5:47am

Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789) by Rev Gilbert White inspired generations of naturalists including Darwin

A book that influenced Charles Darwin and is reputedly the fourth most published work in the English language is to be made available online.

The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne by the Reverend Gilbert White, first published in 1789, has inspired generations of naturalists with the vivid descriptions of the flora and fauna – as well as the weather and crops – the author encountered in the countryside around his Hampshire home.

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Categories: Environment

Local council issues tree preservation orders to stop Network Rail felling

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 4:50am

Bromley Council has taken steps to protect a group of mature trackside trees that are likely to be targeted in the rail operator’s plans to fell all ‘leaf-fall’ species

A local authority has imposed preservation orders on trees growing on Network Rail land to stop them being felled by the operator.

Bromley Council said on Friday it had issued two tree preservation orders (TPO) on a group of mature oaks, sycamores and ash trees which grow alongside the railway – many of which are likely to be targeted if the rail operator carries out its “enhanced clearance” plan to reduce delays, as revealed in the Guardian this week.

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Categories: Environment

Experience: I have been stung by 150 species of insect

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/05/11 - 1:59am

In my job, I have been stung countless times. But nothing comes close to the pain bullet ants inflict

I carried out my first experiment with a stinging insect when I was seven, picking a honey bee off a dandelion and placing it on the arm of my teacher. My hypothesis was that it might sting her, and it turned out to be correct, much to her dismay.

Where I grew up, in the Appalachian area of the north-east US, we had lots of honey bees and wasps of various sorts. As a kid, I was stung by virtually all of them. I realised that they registered the same sort of pain – the intensity may vary from one to the next, but they were fairly similar. But an accidental run-in with a colony of harvester ants led to a life-changing revelation: they didn’t feel at all as I expected they would. They really hurt.

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They're out to get you: study finds cyclists face paranoia about drivers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/10 - 11:00pm

Study finds that 70% of London cyclists believe drivers mean them harm. But is it mainly the fault of the road system?

As a cyclist in a busy urban environment, it can seem that some drivers are out to get you. And now a new study has concluded that for many bike riders, this is only too true: a sense of paranoia is a clinical reality.

The research led by Lyn Ellet, a clinical psychology academic at Royal Holloway, University of London, studied 323 cyclists in London aged between 18-66, and used a series of questions to gauge their levels of paranoia when on a bike.

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Categories: Environment

Sharks groove to the sound of jazz – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/10 - 10:58pm

Researchers at Sydney’s Macquarie University discover sharks can recognise jazz music, but struggle to differentiate between styles of music.

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The guerilla cyclists solving urban problems | Kieran Smith

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/10 - 10:30pm

From pop-up bike lanes to painted potholes, here are the imaginative ways frustrated cyclists are taking action to create a safer environment

Across the world, transport planning and infrastructure tends to favour the car, and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians are an afterthought. In response, frustrated urban cyclists have thrown caution to the wind and written their own will into the fabric of the city, overturning the dominance of the car and creating a safer environment for cycling in imaginative ways.

Cycling has the power to turn individuals into a community and communities have the power to improve our cities. These examples show how activism can be a real solution to urban problems.

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane season may be even worse in 2018 after a harrowing 2017

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/10 - 10:00pm

The initial forecasts of an above-average season for hurricanes, beginning on 1 June, follow a punishing spate of storms last year

The US may have to brace itself for another harrowing spate of hurricanes this year, with forecasts of an active 2018 season coming amid new research that shows powerful Atlantic storms are intensifying far more rapidly than they did 30 years ago.

Related: 'We've been forgotten': Hurricane Harvey and the long path to recovery

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Categories: Environment

Linc Energy fined $4.5m for pollution amounting to 'ecological vandalism'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/10 - 9:10pm

Prosecution seen as key test of Queensland’s ability to hold mining companies to account

The failed Queensland energy company Linc Energy has been slapped with one of the state’s largest environmental fines and ordered to pay $4.5m for contaminating farmland in the state’s western downs.

Judge Michael Shanahan said the company’s actions amounted to “ecological vandalism”.

But questions remain about whether the company’s liquidators, who pleaded not guilty but chose not to mount a defence in the Brisbane district court, can be forced to pay the fine and an estimated $72m cleanup bill.

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George Pell met US environment chief Scott Pruitt to discuss climate-change debate

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/05/10 - 8:42pm

Vatican meeting between the climate-change skeptics in 2017 looked at setting up two-sided ‘debate’ about global warming

Cardinal George Pell discussed a plan to set up a two-sided “debate” about human-caused climate change with the US Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt , at the Vatican in 2017, it has been revealed.

According to documents collated by The New York Times, Pruitt joined Pell and others for a $240-a-head dinner in June 2017, an engagement that was left off official schedules of Pruitt’s Vatican visit.

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