Environment

Motor boat noise making small fish easier to prey on, reef study finds

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/02/05 - 3:00am

Predator fish gobbled twice as many smaller fish when motor boats were nearby, according to first research to show noise pollution directly impacts fish survival

A “cloak of noise” produced by motor boats is making small fish easy prey for predators, according to the first study to show noise pollution in the seas can have a direct impact on fish survival.

The research, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, showed predator fish gobbled up twice as many prey when motor boats were nearby, compared to when the natural noises of the reef were the only sound.

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Categories: Environment

Welsh home installs UK's first Tesla Powerwall storage battery

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/02/05 - 2:52am

Battery could revolutionise UK energy market by enabling people to store excess energy generated from rooftop solar panels

The setting is decidedly modest: a utility room in a red-brick house at the end of a cul-de-sac in Wales. But if the hype turns out to be right, this may be the starting point for an energy revolution in the UK.

Householder Mark Kerr has become the first British owner of a Tesla Powerwall, a cutting-edge bit of kit that the makers say will provide a “missing link” in solar energy.

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Categories: Environment

Life ain't easy for a spider named Johnny Cash

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/02/05 - 2:12am

Scientists name species of tarantula discovered near Folsom prison in honour of country music legend

It is big, hairy, and if one sinks its fangs in you it will burn, burn, burn like a ring of fire.

Scientists have named a newly discovered species of tarantula after country music legend Johnny Cash.

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Categories: Environment

Life and death on the beach

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 10:30pm
Horsey Gap, Norfolk Close to us is one of the very last newborns, eyes without focus, white fur still slick and wet

Scaling the dune, we are smacked in the face by the wind, but we recover, and smile because we are not too late. They are still here. The beach below is busy with grey seals, and my quick count reveals about 30 from our vantage point.

Here, as every year, the cows come ashore to pup on the sandy beach between November and early February. Close to us is one of the very last newborns; eyes dark liquid and without focus, white fur still slick and wet, a shock of blood on its back. The placenta lies on the sand like an inert purple jellyfish. The mother sniffs at her pup casually, raising that Roman nose which earned the species its scientific name, Halichoerus grypus, based on the Greek for “hooked-nose sea-pig”.

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Categories: Environment

California natural gas leak could be capped next week, official says

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 8:44pm

An adviser to Governor Jerry Brown told residents near the leak that the final phase to intercept the ruptured well should start on Monday

A California official outlined a plan on Thursday to cap the massive Los Angeles-area gas leak by the end of next week.

Wade Crowfoot, an adviser to Governor Jerry Brown, told residents of Porter Ranch that the final phase to intercept the ruptured well should start on Monday. It is then expected to take another five days to permanently seal the Southern California Gas Co well that began leaking in October.

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Categories: Environment

Hungry sea lion spends night in San Diego restaurant booth – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 7:58pm

Workers at a San Diego restaurant got a shock when they found a hungry and disgruntled sea lion pup sitting at a booth in their restaurant. The pup, who was very underweight, had been sitting at the booth all night. The sea lion was rescued by SeaWorld staff who said sea lions had been looking for higher ground due to recent weather events

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Categories: Environment

After climate cuts at CSIRO, who should we ask about global warming impacts on Australia? Netflix?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 7:57pm

Former senior CSIRO climate scientist explains climate models in Australia were not being used to ‘prove’ climate change. That had happened long ago

Dr Penny Whetton had spent 25 years working on climate change modelling for Australia’s premier science agency, but in 2014 it was time to go.

“I could see the writing on the wall,” says Whetton, who put up her hand to take a redundancy package in October 2014.

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Categories: Environment

Norway's oil-based wealth fund sells out of more fossil fuel companies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 7:34pm

The 73 companies posed too much of a social or environmental risk to the $794bn fund, the annual report said, as it steps up its divestments

Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, has sold out of 73 companies in the past year because their social or environmental policies could hurt profitability.

The Norwegian state pension fund’s annual report relating to “responsible investment” did not give the names of companies, but it indicated that most were coal or energy companies using coal, as well as those involved in mining, producing cement and heavy construction.

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Categories: Environment

Starving sea lion rescued after being found in San Diego restaurant

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 7:30pm

The severely underweight and dehydrated pup was taken to SeaWorld’s animal rescue center, and experts are cautiously optimistic about her recovery

A starving sea lion has been rescued after finding its way into the booth of a fancy San Diego restaurant.

Experts at SeaWorld were called Thursday morning to The Marine Room, an oceanfront restaurant in La Jolla.

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Categories: Environment

'Arachnophobic family' finds giant huntsman spider in Woolworths salad mix

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 5:18pm

Sydney woman posts video on Facebook of spider crawling through her Italian-style packaged salad greens bought at Woolworths

As meat production depletes the world’s resources and compounds the changing climate, eating insects and other creepy crawlies might well be in all our futures. But one Australian woman came closer than the rest of us when she brought home a sizeable spider in her bag of salad greens.

Zoe Perry posted the video of the huntsman shifting around within the “Italian style salad” bag – with the on-screen caption “Jesus” – to Woolworths’ Facebook page on Thursday night.

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Categories: Environment

Florida Governor Ramps Up Mosquito Fight To Stay Ahead Of Zika

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 4:42pm

It's only a matter of time, Gov. Rick Scott figures, before the Zika virus shows up in Florida mosquitoes. He's called for increased spraying and other moves to keep Zika and other diseases in check.

Categories: Environment

Central Queensland flood watch: residents warned of dam releases

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 4:14pm

People living along Callide creek near Biloela told to consider evacuation as severe weather warning issued for regions between Bundaberg and Proserpine

Flood-prone residents along Callide creek in central Queensland have been told to consider evacuating their homes as water is released from a nearby dam.

The Banana shire council issued the warning after SunWater began releases from the Callide dam, near Biloela, after heavy rainfall in the area, and amid forecasts for more over the next 24 hours.

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Categories: Environment

There's a spider in my salad: Sydney woman gets a shock – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 3:49pm

Woolworths is being accused of being a little too fresh after a video was posted to Facebook showing a big live huntsman spider trapped inside a sealed bag of salad. Zoe Perry posted the clip to Facebook, captioning it: ‘Shopping as per usual for Italian style salad mix ... get it home ... Mum goes to open the packet and we are greeted by ...’ This unwelcome addition to the salad mix is another blow to Woolworths, who had to recall some pre-packaged lettuce yesterday after a link to salmonella was discovered

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Categories: Environment

Whale washes up and dies on Norfolk beach in sixth UK stranding in weeks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 1:50pm

Experts say the huge mammal stranded on Hunstanton beach died, despite the tide refloating it

Another sperm whale has become stranded on the east coast of England, the sixth to wash up on British shores in recent weeks.

The huge mammal washed up at Hunstanton beach in Norfolk and died on Thursday evening, according to British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).

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Categories: Environment

Sperm whale washes up on Norfolk beach – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 12:29pm

A sperm whale is stranded on a beach in Hunstanton, Norfolk, the sixth to wash up on British shores in recent weeks. One bystander, who discovered the male whale early on Thursday morning, says its condition is rapidly deteriorating. Due to its size and weight, rescuers are unable to help the whale. Experts say the chance that the whale could survive is slim

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Categories: Environment

Missing Scottish osprey found 3,000 miles away in Senegal

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 9:59am

Tagged male bird from nature reserve near Forfar spotted on a beach in west Africa after 18 months

An osprey that went missing from a Scottish nature reserve for more than 18 months has been found almost 3,000 miles away – on a beach in Senegal.

The three-year-old male bird, known as Blue YD, was tagged with a lightweight satellite tracker in July 2012 at a Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) reserve near Forfar.

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Categories: Environment

Let’s make this a real ‘leap’ year, and go fossil fuel-free | Naomi Klein

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 9:02am
The Leap Manifesto is an unashamedly radical plan to convert the world to 100% renewable energy, fast. And you can be a part of it

Leap day is coming up at the end of the month – remember this one?

“Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty one,
except February, on its own,
which has twenty eight most times.
And in a leap year, twenty nine.”

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Categories: Environment

Major UK coal power plant closure 'will not lead to blackouts'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 8:20am

Consumers assured that electricity supplies for this winter will remain unaffected by closure of most of Fiddler’s Ferry near Manchester

The UK government and the electricity regulator moved on Thursday to reassure consumers that they will not face blackouts as the result of the closure of most of a major coal power plant.

Operator SSE said the closure of three out of four generation units at the 2GW Fiddler’s Ferry near Manchester, which has made financial losses for two years, was likely to take place on 1 April.

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Categories: Environment

Why a tax on fizzy drinks would help tackle the UK's £10bn diabetes epidemic

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 7:04am

More than one in 20 people in the UK has type 2 diabetes, with consumption of sugary drinks proven to be a direct cause. Failing to tax them is irresponsible

While education remains a crucial factor in ensuring people maintain healthy diets, our latest research shows this alone is not enough: healthy eating is too difficult for typical British families. Too many factors – including an imbalance in the price of healthy and unhealthy food – push our behaviour in the wrong direction. Voluntary industry initiatives have not achieved enough and our food system needs a major overhaul to make healthy eating easier for everyone. The proposed, and often misunderstood, sugar tax has a role to play in this.

First, what would be taxed? After all, sugar appears in many foods, including many that are good for us, like fruit. The calls for a sugar tax are actually very specific: it should be a tax on soft drinks with added sugar – the largest source of sugar in our children’s diets.

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Categories: Environment

Morocco to switch on first phase of world's largest solar plant

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 4:47am

Desert complex will provide electricity for more than 1 million people when complete, helping African country to supply most of its energy from renewables by 2030

Morocco’s king will switch on the first phase of a concentrated solar power plant on Thursday that will become the world’s largest when completed.

The power station on the edge of the Saharan desert will be the size of the country’s capital city by the time it is finished in 2018, and provide electricity for 1.1 million people.

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Categories: Environment
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