Environment

Maules Creek coal mine divides local families and communities

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2014/04/09 - 12:09am

The project has ripped apart the landscape and ruined relationships in Indigenous groups and farming communities

The tiny chopper quivered in the wind. It hovered at 300 metres and 75-year-old Uncle Neville Sampson, a Gomeroi elder, surveyed the Leard state forest below. Lush box gum woodland, the land that Sampsons ancestors have walked for thousands of years, stood proud. But eventually, as the chopper zipped along, the terrain gave way to the mine construction.

For Uncle Neville it was both breathtaking and heartbreaking in equal measure. The Maules Creek mine, Australias largest coal mine under construction, has ripped apart both the landscape and the Gomeroi community. Many are now prevented from entering the mine site, which holds numerous Indigenous artefacts and significant sites, after accusing the leaseholders, Whitehaven Coal, of not respecting their wishes for preservation.

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Categories: Environment

Western Australia wave energy project on the brink of commercialisation

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 11:28pm

A major sustainable energy plan has come closer to fruition with the launch of three giant buoys in Perth

Australia could be set for a breakthrough in energy derived from waves, following the launch a major new project in Western Australia.

Carnegie Wave Energy unveiled three large buoys in Perth on Wednesday as part of a new $70 million technology which will feed energy into the Australian grid later this year.

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Categories: Environment

Procter & Gamble bows to pressure on palm oil deforestation

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 10:43pm

Multinational pledges to ensure that the palm oil and palm kernel oil it sources is traceable to the supplier mills

Procter & Gamble has bowed to pressure from environmentalists and revealed a new, extensive no-deforestation policy in the production of its products, including demanding fully traceable palm oil from suppliers.

In the wake of severe criticism by a Greenpeace report earlier this year, the multinational company said on Wednesday that by the end of 2015 it would ensure that the palm oil and palm kernel oil it sources is traceable to the supplier mills.

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Categories: Environment

British butterflies make fluttering recovery thanks to hot summer

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 10:00pm
Four-fifths of UK species improve numbers after 2013 and targeted conservation but extinction threat lingers

Butterflies returned to the skies last year with four-fifths of British species increasing after the worst summer on record, but overall numbers were still well below average.

An unusually sunny midsummer gave respite to rare species threatened with extinction following a disastrous 2012, in which fewer butterflies were recorded by volunteers and scientists than at any time since records began.

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Categories: Environment

The realities of living with windfarms | @guardianletters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 1:00pm

Chris Huhne asserts that wind generation is popular with the British public (The Conservatives' onshore wind sums are all at sea, 7 April). He omits to say that's because up to now the British public has been largely unaffected by the development of this fundamentally useless form of electricity generation. However, in the relatively small and thinly populated area of Britain that is the Scottish Borders, many of us have spent much of the past decade fighting windfarm development. Unsuccessfully, it has to be said: in spite of planning policies aimed at preventing undesirable development, some 400 turbines have been built here, and there are many more in the planning pipeline. If those 4,000 turbines across the UK produce about 5% of our total electricity need when the wind is blowing be sure there will be a windfarm coming your way quite soon. Let's see how popular that turns out to be.

Huhne thinks that turbines are "elegant and minimalistic". Individually on a distant horizon, Mr Huhne, or dozens in vast slabs of metal 70, 80 or more metres high, covering a couple of square miles and in your face on a daily basis? But even if they may be elegant, they certainly are not a solution to a pressing energy need. For every hour a turbine operates it has to be supported by alternative means, just in case the wind doesn't blow, often when the temperature is at its lowest and our need is greatest. And should it blow too hard, landowners, many of whom don't live close by and aren't characterised by Huhne as "venomous nimbies", can pocket large sums of "compensation" in return for turning them off. So it's no surprise that here on the A1 at the Scotland-England border, there is a fine panorama of wind turbines 20 miles or more to the north, west and south.
George Russell
Eyemouth, Berwickshire

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Categories: Environment

Country diary: Wenlock Edge: Marsh marigolds jump into life like a bawdy old song

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 1:00pm
Wenlock Edge: The name comes from the Old English for horse-gall, a flowerbud like a blister, also called mare's blob

Like that buried hoard of gold sword hilts folded up, the marsh marigold buds begin to undo. On green hearts broken from black water reeking of rain and muck, they turn on yellow. Unlike the pot marigolds and corn marigolds, the name has nothing to do with Mary and the healing of power of gold but comes from the Old English merc-meargealle meaning marsh horse-gall, a flower bud like a blister or swelling, also called mare's-blob or 'oss-bleb. Forgotten since last spring, these flowers jump into life like a bawdy old song, a beauty kept by a rough country language that refuses to be gentrified.

Because it shines so brightly in dark boggy places, marsh marigold is a tonic for the eyes. There are other things leaping from darkness: tonics for all the senses. From the top of a blackthorn, a chiffchaff bursts into his two-syllable rant. The sound is electric, more than an announcement of arrival, pulsing along the hedges and across fields, filling the landscape. The song of a nuthatch somewhere between a dog whistling and a car alarm sounds from old sycamore trees. The green woodpeckers yell their mocking rain call.

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Categories: Environment

David Attenborough voices mountain gorilla documentary

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 12:00pm

Broadcaster lends his support to conservation efforts to promote recovery of critically endangered ape

David Attenborough has lent his support to a fresh push to protect Rwanda's endangered mountain gorillas.

The naturalist and broadcaster has voiced a 15-minute documentary on conservation efforts by the charity that continues the work of Dian Fossey, the primatologist made widely known by the film adaptation of her book, Gorillas in the Mist.

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Categories: Environment

David Attenborough lends support to new campaign to save Rwanda gorilla video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 12:00pm
Exclusive: Naturalist and broadcaster has voices a 15-minute documentary on conservation efforts by the charity that continues the work of Dian Fossey, the primatologist made widely known by the film adaptation of her book, Gorillas in the Mist. 'Dian Fossey knew that the survival of mountain gorillas depended on the education and progress of communities around them,' Attenborough says in the film. 'Today in this densely populated country, communities still live and farm right up to he edges of the gorillas' habitat.' Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Carbon divestment activists claim victory as Harvard adopts green code

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 9:30am

Managers of university's $33bn endowment adopt UN-backed responsible investment rules

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Categories: Environment

NASA Image Shows Volcanic Island Has Annexed Its Neighbor

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 9:28am

NASA says the Western Pacific island of Nishino-shima has merged with its newly created volcanic companion, forming one larger landmass.

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Categories: Environment

Baby meerkats in Botswana - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 9:20am

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas got more help than he bargained for when he went to shoot a young family of meerkats in the Makgadikgadi region of Botswana. The new arrivals used the photographer as a look out post before trying their hand at taking pictures.

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Categories: Environment

Deep sea mining the gold rush on the ocean floor

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 6:45am

As resources on dry land are depleted, companies are turning their attention to the oceans, where vast reserves of precious metals lie untouched

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Categories: Environment

Fox News climate change coverage is now 28% accurate, up from 7% | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 6:00am
An analysis of cable news climate coverage finds Fox News 28% accurate, CNN 70%, and MSNBC 92%

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has just published an analysis of 2013 climate coverage by the three major American cable news networks. The report and data are available online, and the results are summarized in the figure below.

"Sometimes, it's like the networks are covering different planets. Unfortunately, too many politicians, interest groups, and pundits continue to dispute established climate science and cable shows sometimes give them a platform to do so."

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife cameraman Doug Allan: I like to get on an animal's wavelength

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 5:17am
Lauded by David Attenborough and famous for filming polar bears, the veteran explains his love of working in cold climates

Not many people go to Kong Karls Land, and even fewer return from these Arctic islands way north of Norway because it is a world of polar bears and is strictly off limits to all but the most intrepid or foolhardy. So when photographer Doug Allan got permission to film sequences there for David Attenborough's Planet Earth series, he did not expect an easy assignment it is usually -32C in April, the wind is vicious and hauling cameras in the deep snow is a nightmare.

After walking five or more hours a day and watching polar bear dens in the snow slopes for 23 days, however, Allan had seen just one mother bear and her cub. By day 24, he says, he was living "in bear world, at bear speed, with bear senses".

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Categories: Environment

Saddles Somme snow: tale of the toughest cycle race ever

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 5:00am

Across the battlefields of the first world war, nothing has ever tested riders more than 1919's Circuit de Champs de Bataille

Even as the guns all along the western front fell silent in November 1918, plans were being made to stage an extraordinary bicycle race around the battlefields in the spring of the following year. It was to become known as the toughest race in history, and the extraordinary efforts of the riders, who raced across the fields of Flanders and the Somme barely five months after the armistice, have been all but forgotten.

The Circuit Cycliste de Champs de Bataille (The Tour of The Battlefields) in April 1919 took the riders in seven 300km stages on a 2,000km loop anti-clockwise from Strasbourg to Luxembourg to Brussels to Paris and then back to Strasbourg via the Vosges mountains.

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Categories: Environment

Conservatives give strongest sign yet they will halt windfarm expansion

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 2:28am
Tory chairman Grant Shapps says renewable energy sources 'blight countryside' and predicts clash with Lib Dems on issue

The Tory chairman, Grant Shapps, has given the first public signal that the Conservatives will seek a moratorium of onshore windfarms and will draw a dividing line with the Lib Dems, who he says love them.

The senior minister appeared to confirm Guardian reports that the Tories will pledge at the next election to cap the output of onshore wind farms from 2020.

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Categories: Environment

BT, Shell and corporates call for trillion tonnes of carbon to stay in the ground

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 2:06am

Trillion tonne communiqué signed by 70 companies calls for rapid response to rising emissions, reports BusinessGreen

Unilever, Shell, BT, and EDF Energy are among 70 leading companies today calling on governments across the globe to step up efforts to tackle climate change.

The companies, which have a combined turnover of $90bn, say the world needs a "rapid and focused response" to the threat of rising global carbon emissions and the "disruptive climate impacts" associated with their growth.

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Categories: Environment

Washington Mudslide Creates Environmental Hazards

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 2:00am

The Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Ecology have moved in to monitor water pollution and hazardous materials. Residents living in the area have expressed concerns.

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Categories: Environment

Tasmanian forests set for logging as Liberals push ahead with repeal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2014/04/08 - 12:55am

State government unveils plan to tear up historic deal between industry and greens protecting 400,000 hectares of forest

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of Tasmanian forest have been earmarked for logging after the newly elected state government pushed ahead with the repeal of a historic forestry deal.

The state government has unveiled its plans for undoing the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement - a deal reached in 2011 by industry groups and conservationists.

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Categories: Environment

The Future Of Clean, Green Fish Farming Could Be Indoor Factories

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2014/04/07 - 2:45pm

Aquaculture in the U.S. has lagged because of opposition from environmentalists and people living on the coast. But entrepreneurs say they've found a way to produce fish on land with little pollution.

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Categories: Environment
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