Greenpeace urges legal ban to tackle problem after finding that top personal care companies fell short on commitments
Loopholes in the voluntary pledges by the biggest personal care companies to phase out polluting microbeads have been revealed in a report from Greenpeace, which says a legal ban is needed.
Tiny plastic beads are widely used in toiletries and cosmetics but thousands of tonnes wash into the sea every year, where they harm wildlife and can ultimately be eaten by people, with unknown effects on health. A petition signed by more than 300,000 people asking for a UK ban was delivered to the prime minister in June A US law banning microbeads was passed at the end of 2015.Continue reading...
Partnership for Responsible Growth and other groups launch campaigns to urge Republicans and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to accept climate change
Conservative and free-market groups have staged a rearguard effort to get the Republican party to accept the dangers of climate change, criticizing climate denialism within the GOP and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
Climate change, and other environmental concerns, are unlikely to receive much, if any, attention during the Republican convention in Cleveland this week. This is despite a slew of temperature records being broken – June was the 14th consecutive month of record heat around the world – and extreme examples of Arctic ice decline and drought and wildfires in the US west.Continue reading...
Maria Damanaki questioned feasibility of UK controlling stocks or setting its own catches without input from Europe
The EU’s former fisheries chief has said it is an illusion that the UK will be able to dictate its fishing policies after Brexit.
Maria Damanaki, the former commissioner for fisheries, who oversaw the most sweeping reforms of the EU’s common fisheries policy in decades, said: “The idea that you can control fisheries at a national level is an illusion for any country, but especially the UK - with Brexit or without. International cooperation is needed to keep stocks and control.”Continue reading...
From east Africa to India, finance for off-grid clean energy projects offers a wealth of benefits beyond tackling climate change
Investing in a large-scale wind farm is a better guarantee of profits than multiple, small, off-grid renewables projects but without the latter, argues a recent report, the sustainable development goal of low-carbon energy access for all will never be met.
It is estimated (pdf) close to $50bn a year is needed to achieve universal access to electricity and clean cooking facilities by 2030. Yet traditional forms of climate finance are not working.Continue reading...
The World Bank is poised to support a new coal plant that would modernise Kosovo’s creaking energy infrastructure, but also lock the young nation into a future powered by a regressive fossil fuel
In the early days of December 2015, as the Paris climate talks veered off course and off schedule, the US secretary of state John Kerry left his team of negotiators and flew to Kosovo to voice his support for a proposed US-built, World Bank-sponsored coal power station.
Speaking alongside the prime minister, Isa Mustafa, Kerry told reporters at Pristina airport that the Kosovo e re (New Kosovo) plant would help the tiny, impoverished country do “its part to contribute to this global effort of nations who are committed to dealing with climate change” by replacing an extremely high-polluting cold war-era power plant. Kerry then returned to Paris and helped land a deal intended to bring the fossil fuel era to an end.Continue reading...
Nasa and a host of aviation startups are developing aircraft that could transform the way we travel, with lower emissions and runway-free landings
The end of the jet age could be in sight. Innovative new electric aircraft are starting to find their way off the drawing board and onto runways, funded by startups, government agencies and the world’s biggest jet makers. They promise flights that are cleaner, quieter and safer than today’s jets, and with a fraction of their carbon footprint.
Earlier this month, Nasa announced that it would be building a high-speed research aircraft called Maxwell that would use electric motors to drive 14 propellers. The four-seater aircraft should be able to fly at speeds of up to 175mph (about as fast as many small aircraft), using a fifth of the energy of a normal private plane.Continue reading...
‘World’s best minister’ makes way for Josh Frydenberg, listing emissions reduction fund among achievements
With the trophy of world’s best minister already on Greg Hunt’s mantle, he’s declared his work done in the environment portfolio.
After almost a decade overseeing Coalition environment policy, Hunt stepped aside to make way for the Liberal party rising star Josh Frydenberg.Continue reading...
Ozersk, codenamed City 40, was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme. Now it is one of the most contaminated places on the planet – so why do so many residents still view it as a fenced-in paradise?
• View the trailer for the documentary City 40 here
“Those in paradise were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no third alternative.” (From the dystopian novel We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1924)
Deep in the vast forests of Russia’s Ural mountains lies the forbidden city of Ozersk. Behind guarded gates and barbed wire fences stands a beautiful enigma – a hypnotic place that seems to exist in a different dimension.Continue reading...
Government says carbon storage technology not cost-efficient, while critics say U-turn will double cost of tackling climate change
The government’s cancellation of a pioneering £1bn competition to capture and store carbon emissions may have pushed up the bill for meeting the UK’s climate targets by £30bn, according to a report from the UK’s official spending watchdog.
The National Audit Office (NAO) report, published on Wednesday, says the move has delayed by a decade the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the UK, which takes emissions from power stations and industry and buries them so they do not contribute to global warming.Continue reading...
Bolt Head, South Devon This Finnish windjammer loaded with thousands of tons of grain had reached Falmouth from south Australia in just 86 days
Eighty years ago the cliff-land here was thronged with curious sightseers, including my grandfather and uncle who drove from St Dominic to view the wreck of the Herzogin Cecilie with its masts towering towards the spectators. This Finnish windjammer – a four-masted barque loaded with thousands of tons of grain – had reached Falmouth from the Boston Island anchorage in south Australia in just 86 days, but on the last lap towards Ipswich it foundered on the Ham Stone off Soar Mill Cove.
Hosegoods, the Plymouth grain merchants, salvaged damp wheat, and my grandfather bought some cheaply for delivery to Cotehele Mill via the river Tamar and his barge, the Myrtle. It was mixed with extra-dry Persian barley, made into pig and poultry meal, and sold to local farmers.Continue reading...
US agencies Nasa and Noaa say last month was 0.9C hotter than the 20th century average and the hottest June since records began in 1880
As the string of record-breaking global temperatures continues unabated, June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.
According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C.Continue reading...
Josh Frydenberg has been sworn in as minister for both the environment and energy. Is it a clash of objectives or a brilliant opportunity?
Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to merge the environment and energy portfolios could lead to a breakthrough in the toxic climate politics that was unleashed when Tony Abbott rolled him in the December 2009 leadership coup.
Or the new super-ministry and its new minister Josh Frydenberg could be set up for failure.
With the coal boom on the wane, mining companies want to escape the cost of rehabilitating their sites. But even if governments effectively restrain them, many of the huge voids in the landscape will never be filled in
Australia is teetering on the edge of a massive hole – one left by huge mines that may soon close. As they do, the country is playing a desperate game of catch-up to make sure the mining companies pay for the cleanup. But a legacy of limited environmental requirements means that even if that succeeds, the end of the coal boom will leave Australia pockmarked with unfilled holes.
This game has been highlighted in recent years by a trend of major miners unloading projects to industry minnows amid a coal slump. As they do so, taxpayers risk being lumped with cleanup costs in the wake of their collapse.Continue reading...
During the 12 months from May 2015 to May 2016, each month set an all-time heat record. That's on average around the world. Some places were not record breakers, but overall, global warming is increasing. NASA scientists talk about what the rest of this year may look like, and whether it will set yet another global record.
The cross-party initiative has the support of Lord Ashdown, Jonathon Porritt and Caroline Criado-Perez, and is looking at fielding candidates in the next general election
A new cross-party movement for progressive liberalism that could endorse candidates in favour of the EU and immigration at the next election is being set up by politicians, celebrities and intellectuals.
The initiative has the support of Jonathon Porritt, the environmentalist, Caroline Criado-Perez, the feminist writer, and Luke Pritchard from the band Kooks, as a space for people who want a voice for openness and tolerance.Continue reading...
It looks like Andrea Leadsom is unconcerned that her children’s children may never see a butterfly unless they climb a mountain (Leadsom’s views make her surprise choice for new role, 15 July), which she sees as a sensible approach to environment planning. Could Patrick Barkham (Wet summer is last straw in disastrous year for butterflies, 15 July) perhaps persuade the family to take part in the big butterfly count?
• Perhaps I’m paranoiac, but I rather resented the implication that because I enjoy AE Housman, I must be a xenophobic Brexiteer (Housman Country: Into The Heart Of England by Peter Parker, reviewed by Blake Morrison, Review, 16 July). The bleakness below Housman’s sylvan surface has long been recognised and was concisely captured by Hugh Kingsmill’s parody of Housman’s verse which begins: “What still alive at twenty-two / A clean upstanding lad like you?”
St Helens, Merseyside
Citing "a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance" at Volkswagen, New York and Massachusetts have filed civil lawsuits against the carmaker.
Consumer appetite for organic foods reached $13.4bn in the US last year – so why is only 1% of the country’s cropland dedicated to organic farming?
Marc Garibaldi, a farmer in California’s Central Valley, no longer uses conventional pesticides and fertilizers because he doesn’t want to work with toxic chemicals at his 40-acre cherry orchard. His farm was officially certified as organic a few weeks ago, but the path to securing that designation was long and costly: he spent three years working to demonstrate the use of eco-friendly pest and soil management practices and paid between 10%-20% in higher labor cost.
Yet he was unable to convince processors that pack and ship his harvest to pay more for his fruit – which he was already cultivating by using the organic standards set by the federal government – during that period.Continue reading...
Eight of the 10 busiest ports are in East Asia. A new study shows how the growing number of cargo ships are polluting the air and threatening health.
Some plants will release their pollen only to bees that buzz in just the right way. It's a risky strategy — and it's critical to human agriculture, from tomatoes to blueberries.