Pristine Amazon rainforest and conservation areas are being rapidly opened up to dams, gold mining and soya plantations in Brazil’s least developed stateContinue reading...
Premature births across 183 countries may be associated with fine particulate matter, a common air pollutant, with Africa and Asia especially affected
Air pollution could be a contributing factor in millions of premature births around the world each year, a new report has found.
Nearly 15 million babies are born annually before reaching 37 weeks gestation. Premature birth is the leading cause of death among children younger than five years old, and can cause lifelong learning disabilities, visual and hearing problems, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.Continue reading...
Pesticides, paving and higher temperatures have put huge strain on butterflies in cities over past two decades, finds study
Butterflies have vanished from towns and cities more rapidly than from the countryside over the past two decades, according to a new study.
Industrial agriculture has long been viewed as the scourge of butterflies and other insects but city life is worse – urban butterfly abundance fell by 69% compared to a 45% decline in rural areas over 20 years from 1995.Continue reading...
Egglestone, Teesdale Near the hart’s tongues, mosses clinging to the rock were becoming fossilised, encased in tufa
This section of moist, shady, wooded bank above the footpath, extending for perhaps 150 metres, is covered with the largest concentration of hart’s tongue ferns I have ever seen. This fern, Phyllitis scolopendrium, dominates because it thrives in calcareous woodland soils over limestone and the conditions here are perfect.
This morning, as I approached, hundreds of long, undulating, emerald-green tongues wagged in the breeze: if these plants needed a collective name “a gossip” of hart’s tongues would do nicely.Continue reading...
Rapid warming trend sees heat records in Australia outnumber cold records by 12 to one over the past decade
The heatwave that engulfed southeastern Australia at the end of last week has seen heat records continue to tumble.
On Saturday 11 February, as New South Wales suffered through the heatwave’s peak, temperatures soared to 47℃ in Richmond, 50km northwest of Sydney, while 87 bushfires raged across the state, amid catastrophic fire conditions.Continue reading...
One of the more frustrating aspects of energy policy is that it begins and ends with electricity prices and the over-arching issue of climate change is a side issue
The government has clearly decided that electricity prices is its key message for the next three years – and as a result the prime minister has ensured the policy debate will be biased towards climate change denial and will continue to treat Australians as idiots.
When the prime minister let fly against Bill Shorten in parliament last week, amid the personal attacks, the only policy areas he broached were company tax and energy prices. Pointedly, energy price was the first issue that came to him after he told his jokes about Shorten dining with Dick Pratt.Continue reading...
Plan for pumped hydro project co-located with a large-scale solar farm demonstrates government’s ‘strong commitment to energy security’, PM says
The Turnbull government has given a $54m loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to a large-scale solar development which it says has the potential for pumped hydro storage.
Malcolm Turnbull and the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, have announced the government had directed the CEFC and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) to fund large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.Continue reading...
UK is one of five countries persistently contravening legal nitrogen dioxide levels with pollution from factories and vehicles
Britain has been sent a final warning to comply with EU air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or face a case at the European court of justice.
If the UK does not show Brussels how it intends to comply with EU law within two months, a court hearing with the power to impose heavy fines could begin later this year, as the Guardian revealed last week.Continue reading...
ProPublica senior reporter Andrew Revkin discusses President Trump's possible cuts to the EPA, as well as the potential impact of pulling out of the Paris climate accord.
Richard Higgins (Letters, 15 February) writes: “Farming is about maintaining the land in such a way as to support the animals and people who live upon it”. The late Tony King, professor of politics at Essex University, argued that all successful popular revolutions, good and bad, were accompanied by land reform and redistribution. One criticism of the EU levelled historically by the progressive, internationalist wing of the Labour party has been that the common agricultural policy encourages wasteful use of our common agricultural wealth. Max Weber, more than 100 years ago, showed that there was a relationship between the existence of large, capital-intensive farming estates and reliance on seasonal, immigrant labour.
When the inevitable leftwing reaction to this rightwing Brexit comes we would do well to consider how to reframe agriculture to involve a greater portion of the population and to ensure that a greater portion of our basic needs can be met at a local level rather than, as we seem to do at the moment, relying entirely on production for export and thus throwing ourselves open to the tempestuous nature of global commodity markets in the hope we can be saved by financial calculus alone.
My mother, Mary Welsh, who has died aged 88, inspired thousands of people to walk the wilds of Scotland and northern England and appreciate their flora and fauna, through her numerous books and published articles. While Alfred Wainwright guided walkers up high fells, Mary described walks that explored less visited lower slopes, moorlands and valleys, often covering three or four different habitats in one circular route and providing views of famed peaks from little-known vantage points.
Mary’s first book, A Country Journal: The Diary of a Cumbrian Naturalist (1982), chronicled her wonder as she settled into the Lake District village of Broughton-in-Furness, to which she had moved from Islington, north London, a few years before. Her last, Walking Fife: The Ochils, Tayside and the Forth Valley, was published in 2012. She wrote 38 books and 12 substantial booklets, which together sold more than 200,000 copies.Continue reading...
Two groups unite to oppose proposal to plant thousands of trees saying it could threaten the country’s ‘dramatic open views and vistas’
Scotland’s mountaineers and gamekeepers have rarely seen eye to eye. But now they have put their differences behind them to oppose an apparently innocuous plan that both say threatens the country’s landscape: a proposal to plant thousands of new trees.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) and Mountaineering Scotland admit they are unlikely bedfellows, having historically disagreed over access to land for walkers and issues of wildlife preservation. But they are united in their concerns over proposals that are part of the government’s Draft Climate Change Plan, which they say could threaten the country’s “dramatic open views and vistas”.Continue reading...
PM says Tories ‘committed to nuclear’ but fails to confirm funding for a new Cumbrian plant after losses are reported by one of its backers
The prime minister has been accused of ducking the issue of whether the government supports a new nuclear power station in west Cumbria on a visit to Copeland ahead of the constituency’s byelection.
The accusation was levelled after Theresa May said the Conservative party was “committed” to nuclear, but did not offer state support following huge losses reported by one of the backers of a deal to build the Moorside nuclear plant near Whitehaven.Continue reading...
People who live downstream of the Northern California dam were allowed to return to their homes more than two days after the structure's concrete spillways suffered serious water damage.
(Image credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Just under half of requests for exceptions to the neonicotinoids ban were filed by industry not farmers, legal analysis shows
The EU has been criticised after a new legal analysis showed it had allowed scores of “emergency authorisations” of banned pesticides that threaten bee colonies.
The research emerged as the European court of justice began hearing a case by Syngenta and Bayer to overturn the pesticides ban. A ruling is expected shortly.Continue reading...
William Happer, frontrunner for job of providing mainstream scientific opinion to officials, backs crackdown on federal scientists’ freedom to speak out
The man tipped as frontrunner for the role of science adviser to Donald Trump has described climate scientists as “a glassy-eyed cult” in the throes of a form of collective madness.
William Happer, an eminent physicist at Princeton University, met Trump last month to discuss the post and says that if he were offered the job he would take it. Happer is highly regarded in the academic community, but many would view his appointment as a further blow to the prospects of concerted international action on climate change.Continue reading...
Descendant’s visit served as painful reminder for some Native Americans that historical traumas are closely linked to present-day battles with US government
Floris White Bull couldn’t believe what she was hearing. On the same day the US government granted permission for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, a descendant of General George Armstrong Custer had arrived at Standing Rock.
Alisha Custer – whose lineage traces back to the US army commander who led the 19th-century wars against Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors – had traveled from Wichita, Kansas, to Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and was ready to speak to Standing Rock members.Continue reading...
Document obtained by the Guardian states existing quotas will remain despite promises made by leave campaigners
The hopes of British fishermen that the UK can win its “waters back” after Brexit are expected to be dashed by the European parliament, despite the campaign promises of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, a leaked EU document reveals.
MEPs have drafted seven provisions to be included in Britain’s “exit agreement”, including the stipulation that there will be “no increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks [maintaining the existing quota distribution in UK and EU waters]”.Continue reading...
It remains a mystery as to where most of Scotland’s bats hibernate. Anne Youngman, Scottish officer for the Bat Conservation Trust, and the ecologist John Haddow conduct a survey in a disused quarry tunnel and at Doune CastleContinue reading...
Marylebone Road has the odd distinction of being the world’s most studied road in terms of air pollution – yet remains a chief culprit in London’s ‘shameful’ air quality. Now it’s home to a series of new experiments
Daybreak in the capital and on the pavement opposite Great Portland Street underground station runners cut virtuous paths through a crisp, cold winter’s morning. To one side of them lies Regent’s Park, deep green beneath a perfect frost. On the other roars a source of contamination so severe that the health of these runners might have been better served staying indoors.
Marylebone Road, one of London’s main east-west streets, illustrates with filthy glamour why the city suffers from stubbornly poor air quality – with recent record-breaking pollution levels having caused particular concern.