Environment

Goldmining having big impact on indigenous Amazon communities

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/07 - 11:42am

Study calls for more rights for indigenous reserves as rising gold price attracts more miners

A new report has exposed the scale and impact of mining on indigenous reserves in Amazon countries as gold prices soared during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 20% of indigenous lands are overlapped by mining concessions and illegal mining, it found, covering 450,000 sq km (174,000 sq miles) – and 31% of Amazon indigenous reserves are affected.

The report, released on Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, said indigenous people should be given more legal rights to manage and use their lands, and called for better environmental safeguards. As pressure mounts over the issue, a leading Brazilian thinktank has called for regulations tracing gold sold by financial institutions.

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Categories: Environment

Thinning forests doesn't reduce bushfire risk and could make some blazes worse, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/07 - 9:30am

Across most forest types and ages, thinning had little impact on the severity of Black Saturday fires in Victoria, ANU study suggests

Removing trees to thin out forests is unlikely to cut the risk of severe bushfires despite the claims of forest industry groups, according to the authors of a new study.

Analysis of forests that burned in Victoria’s Black Saturday fires in 2009 found in most cases areas that had been thinned did not see less severe burning and, depending on the type of trees, such intervention sometimes made fires more intense.

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Categories: Environment

Counting the species: how DNA barcoding is rewriting the book of life

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/07 - 3:38am

We do not know how many species live on Earth. Barcoding could change that – and open the way for incredible discoveries

Guanacaste conservation area in north-west Costa Rica is the most DNA barcoded place on Earth. On its western frontier, jaguars hunt turtles from the mangrove swamps that line the Pacific coast. Endangered spider monkeys swing through dry tropical forest, the remnants of a rapidly disappearing ecosystem that once ran from northern Mexico to Panama.

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Categories: Environment

Carbon capture 'moonshot' moves closer, as billions of dollars pour in

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/07 - 1:19am

While some say CO2 capture is part of the problem, big projects are being invested in as a part solution to the climate crisis

As the world dices with the climate emergency, businesses and governments are starting to push funding towards technology that aims to trap planet-heating gases rather than let them saturate the atmosphere.

Carbon capture is a controversial idea, attacked as a costly distraction from stopping emissions occurring in the first place.

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Categories: Environment

More offshore wind is welcome, but we have to keep the jobs it creates in the UK | Chaitanya Kumar

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/10/07 - 1:00am

In the past, although windfarms were located just off the coast of Scotland, manufacturing work was outsourced to Indonesia

Yesterday’s speech to the virtual Conservative party conference was classic Boris: amusing metaphors, whimsical slogans and grand rhetoric. The prime minister has pledged to usher in a “green industrial revolution” that will help us “bounce back greener” from Covid-19.

One of the most significant announcements was the scaling up of the offshore wind sector. The government intends to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030, with a promise to power all our kettles, lights and electric cars from clean, “guilt-free” electricity.

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Categories: Environment

BHP and Origin suspend membership of Queensland Resources Council over 'vote Greens last' campaign

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 8:53pm

Mining giant and energy compny say they object to advertising targeting individual parties and had asked for campaign to be halted

Australia’s largest miner, BHP, and the largest energy company, Origin Energy, have suspended their membership of the Queensland Resources Council over state election advertisements urging people to “vote the Greens last”.

Several other major resource companies are understood to have raised concerns about advertisements, which the mining industry peak body says were approved by its board.

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Categories: Environment

Trump report touts oil and gas as 'energy security' amid US climate disasters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 1:00pm

The document, which cost about $200,000, fails to mention either the realities of climate crisis or the downsides of the energy industry

The Trump administration’s energy department is rolling out a lengthy report touting oil and gas as “providing energy security and supporting our quality of life”, without acknowledging that fossil fuels are the main cause of the climate crisis.

Released a month before the election, the report is strikingly at odds with the realities of climate change that the American public has been coping with over the past few months, from huge wildfires to destructive derecho storms and a series of intense hurricanes.

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Categories: Environment

Powering all UK homes via offshore wind by 2030 'will need £50bn'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 11:01am

Aurora Energy Research calculates investment would have to quadruple capacity

Boris Johnson’s bold new vision for offshore wind to power every home in the UK by 2030 would require almost £50bn in investment and the equivalent of one turbine to be installed every weekday for the whole of the next decade.

The huge investment, calculated by Aurora Energy Research, an Oxford-based consultancy, would increase the UK’s offshore wind power capacity by four times what it is today, to reach 40GW by 2030.

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Categories: Environment

California wildfires spawn first ‘gigafire’ in modern history

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 9:11am

August complex fire expanded beyond 1m acres, elevating it from a mere ‘megafire’ to a new classification: ‘gigafire’

California’s extraordinary year of wildfires has spawned another new milestone – the first “gigafire”, a blaze spanning 1m acres, in modern history.

Related: California fires set bleak record as 4m acres destroyed

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Categories: Environment

UK insect farm project for sustainable animal feed awarded £10m

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 8:49am

Government backs plan by London-based Entocycle to build facility outside capital

The UK’s first large-scale farm breeding insects for animal feed and pet food has moved a step closer after the government backed the project with a £10m funding package.

The new facility will be built by the insect farming start-up Entocycle, which will use it to raise black soldier flies fed on food waste to create sustainable insect protein.

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Categories: Environment

Boris Johnson: UK must not return to status quo after Covid-19 pandemic

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 7:10am

PM pledges to transform country in keynote address to Conservative party conference

Boris Johnson has said the UK must not return to the status quo after the coronavirus pandemic, promising a transformation akin to the “new Jerusalem” the postwar cabinet pledged in 1945.

The prime minister also mounted a robust defence of the private sector, saying “free enterprise” must lead the recovery and that that he intended to significantly roll back the extraordinary state intervention the crisis had necessitated.

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Categories: Environment

Corpses washed from cemeteries in France-Italy floods

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 6:28am

Gruesome find comes as 12 people are reported killed with a further 20 still missing

The task of searching for victims of the French and Italian floods in Alpine villages and on nearby coasts has grown more gruesome as authorities have said corpses from cemeteries have been swept down the mountain by violent rains.

A spokeswoman for France’s Alpes-Maritimes regional administration, badly hit by the storm along with the Italian regions of Liguria and Piedmont, said it was unclear where the bodies had come from but corpses unearthed from cemeteries had washed up on the Italian side.

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Categories: Environment

Previous incident may have led Orcas to target boats, say experts

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 4:53am

Inquiry into encounters off coasts of Spain and Portugal says speed could be a factor

Experts investigating a series of extraordinary encounters between orcas and yachts off the coasts of Spain and Portugal believe the animals responsible may have been triggered to target boat rudders by an earlier “aversive incident” involving some kind of vessel.

Related: 'They were having a real go': man tells of orca encounter off Spain

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Categories: Environment

Nobody knows why this mother bear is so aggressive, but her fans online love it

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/10/06 - 2:30am

Grazer, a 15-year-old sow, will maul, swat or bite any bear that even thinks about getting too close to her cubs

More than 2,000 bears live within Katmai national park in Alaska, where they spend the precious few warm-weather months fishing for salmon, swimming and strolling over the park’s nearly 4.1m acres. But in recent years, one bear has cultivated an internet following for demonstrating uncommonly aggressive behavior with others.

Related: Fat bear week: America's most body positive contest nears climax

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Categories: Environment

'It'll be around forever': fossil fuel workers switch to new jobs in renewables

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/05 - 11:00pm

Those hoping to future-proof their careers are turning to green industries such as windfarms

“This is absolutely massive for me,” Mustafa Hamed explains. The 21-year-old from Wigan first came to Britain from Iraq as a child more than 17 years ago in the wake of a bitter war steeped in oil. Today, he is helping to build what will be the world’s biggest offshore windfarm off the east coast of England.

Hamed joined Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, a Welsh engineering firm, as an apprentice last year. He now works as a contractor at the Dogger Bank offshore windfarm, a multibillion-pound energy project by SSE Renewables and the Norwegian energy company Equinor that is due to begin powering millions of British homes by the early 2020s.

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Categories: Environment

A nine-point plan for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/05 - 11:00pm

Author Chris Goodall says tackling the climate crisis is neither difficult nor expensive and can help boost the economy

Net zero. It’s a simple enough concept – the notion that we reduce carbon emissions to a level where we are no longer adding to the stock in the atmosphere. More and more companies and countries are taking the pledge, promising to hit net zero by 2050, 2030 or even sooner.

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Categories: Environment

Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part one) – podcast

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/05 - 9:00pm

In a special two-part takeover by colleagues from the age of extinction project, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston investigate whether national parks actually benefit the environment and biodiversity, or if there might be a better way of doing things

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand bushfire that demolished village leads to climate crisis debate

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/05 - 5:43pm

Scientists say hotter and longer summers make such an unusually fierce fire more likely

A bushfire that destroyed most of a village in New Zealand’s South Island has sparked a fierce debate between high-country farmers and conservationists, as those affected struggle to understand the unusually fierce nature of the blaze.

Lake Ōhau village is located at the foothills of the Ben Ohau mountain range, and is home to just 15 permanent residents but its numbers swell significantly during the holiday season. On Sunday morning, a fire tore through the foothills and into the village, forcing 90 people to evacuate.

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Categories: Environment

Indonesia mass strikes loom over cuts to environmental safeguards and workers' rights

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/10/05 - 4:30pm

New law to boost investment is a ‘tragic miscalculation’, campaigners say, as unions plan strike action in protest

Indonesia has passed a wide-ranging bill that will weaken environmental protections and workers’ rights in an attempt to boost investment, a move condemned as a “tragic miscalculation” that could lead to “uncontrolled deforestation”.

Groups representing millions of workers said they would strike on Tuesday in response to protest against the bill, which will amend about 1,200 provisions in 79 existing laws after it was pushed through parliament with unprecedented speed. Police said that a permit for the protest had not been approved, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Categories: Environment
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