Environment

Ecuador’s leading environmental group fights to stop forced closure

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/01/07 - 8:26am

NGO Acción Ecológica responds to the government’s attempt to close the organization down

Members of one of Latin America’s most well-known environmental organisations, Acción Ecológica, are fighting for their survival against a controversial attempt by Ecuador’s government to shut them down.

The move by the government came six days after violence between soldiers, police and indigenous Shuar people opposed to a Chinese-run copper development, Panantza-San Carlos, in the Cordillera del Condor region, and just two days after Acción Ecológica had called for a Truth Commission to be set up to investigate events there. The attempt to close the organisation has sparked severe criticism from UN human rights experts and outrage from numerous civil society organisations in Latin America and elsewhere.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists Work To Bring Back Once-Thriving American Chestnut Tree

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/01/07 - 6:08am

The American chestnut tree used to make up a quarter of the forests in the eastern U.S., but disease decimated these trees in the last century. Now there's an effort to restore the American chestnut.

Categories: Environment

Would You Eat This Fish? A Shark Called Dogfish Makes A Tasty Taco

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/01/07 - 6:08am

About 90 percent of the fish Americans eat is imported, yet fish caught off our shores is often exported. New efforts are promoting locally caught fish, especially ones we've never appreciated before.

(Image credit: Ben de la Cruz/NPR)

Categories: Environment

China's ivory trade ban: how to make it work

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/01/07 - 12:34am

Elephants will only be safe when decisive action is taken against the ivory traffickers who have been operating under the cover of the legal trade

China’s decision to ban all trade in ivory by the end of the year has been widely hailed as a game changer by environmentalists in China itself and across the world. There is no doubt that this is very welcome news.

Many commentators have also pointed out that this new Chinese policy is also motivated by self-interest. China has rapidly growing economic and political interests in Africa and hopes to improve its image on the continent by responding to pressure from its African allies to reduce demand for ivory among Chinese consumers. If protecting elephants is in China’s self-interest—and if African leaders care enough about them to put pressure on China to change its policies—that is also welcome news.

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Categories: Environment

Prey silence for the peregrine falcon

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 10:30pm

Udale Bay, Cromarty, Highlands Rapid wings took the peregrine high, and it wheeled, looking for any movement below

The tide was starting to ebb as I raised two of the windows in the RSPB hide. This meant I could not only see the mass of birds on the saltmarsh but also enjoy the music of their various calls. They seemed to be trying to decide just when to leave for the mudflats and the food that would be exposed for them by the departing tide.

Curlews walked around looking superior on their long legs, drake wigeon whistled in their inimitable fashion, and the black and white plumage of the several shelduck stood out in contrast to the brown and grey camouflage of the waders.

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Categories: Environment

Alone, China's ban on ivory could make life worse for elephants

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 2:00pm

China has ordered all its legal ivory carvers and traders to get of the business by the end of the year. But it will have to do more if it really wants to stop poaching

China’s ban on ivory trading and processing has been hailed as a monumental step on the path to saving elephants from extinction. But if China does not simultaneously tackle its much larger illegal trade in ivory, the ban could perversely make it more lucrative for the poaching gangs who massacre Africa’s elephants and ship their tusks to Asia.

Related: 'Elephants are not the only victims': the lament of China's ivory lovers

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Categories: Environment

'Elephants are not the only victims': the lament of China's ivory lovers

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 2:00pm

For years China’s ivory carvers and collectors have been blamed for elephant poaching. Now their government is banning the ivory trade. How do they see their future?

In a tiny workshop at his home in the Tai Po district of Hong Kong, 84-year-old Au Yue-Shung shows me an ivory carving he has been working on for months. Measuring just 5x10 inches, Nine Sages in Mount Xiang depicts the 9th-century poet Bai Juyi and eight of his peers in full creative flow in Henan province, far from the imperial court that Bai once served. The point of the story is that the sages tried to maintain their integrity by staying close to nature and art, and away from the ugly politics of the time. This is a piece that Au created for himself rather than a client. It is his statement about life after going through many ups and downs.

Born during the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s, Au joined Guangzhou’s Daxin ivory carving factory at the age of 13 as an apprentice. With only one year’s formal education and with no one caring to teach him, he taught himself drawing and carving in his spare time. Unable to afford drawing paper, he drew on toilet paper. His gift was soon recognised and by the late 1960s he had become a key carving artist at Daxin. Later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, he decided that he had had enough of the political and artistic repression.

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Categories: Environment

A Really Big Crack In An Antarctic Ice Shelf Just Got Bigger

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 12:04pm

If the rift gets long enough, Antarctica will lose a chunk of ice the size of Delaware.

(Image credit: John Sonntag/NASA)

Categories: Environment

How do we fix air pollution? It's simple but it needs political will

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 9:24am

We know diesel vehicles are the key culprit, but when it comes to both long-term solutions and emergency measures the govenment has been asleep at the wheel

Cutting toxic levels of city air pollution to safer levels is simple, but not easy – it requires resolve. Yet, despite the key culprit in the UK being well known – diesel vehicles – the government has been asleep at the wheel for years.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide have been illegally high across much of the UK since 2010. In 2015 86% of major urban areas broke annual limits. Cutting this pollution means choking off diesel emissions and there is a wide range of effective measures available.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution, owl cafes and 25 years of UK wind power – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 8:06am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

French authorities gas thousands of ducks after bird flu outbreaks

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 7:49am

Workers continue planned cull of 800,000 birds in south-west France to prevent spread of H5N8 virus

Workers wearing masks and protective clothes have gassed thousands of ducks in south-west France, in a massive cull that was ordered in an attempt to prevent a spread of the H5N8 bird flu virus.

At one farm in the village of Latrille, in the heartland of duck and geese rearing country, 8,000 ducks were taken by hand and put in coloured metal containers where carbon dioxide was piped in to kill them, normally within seconds.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 7:00am

A swimming baby elephant, diving penguins and jumping impalas are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Giant iceberg poised to break off from Antarctic shelf

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 5:38am

Predicted to be one of the largest break-offs ever recorded, separation of iceberg could trigger breakup of most northern major ice shelf, Larsen C

A giant iceberg, with an area equivalent to Trinidad and Tobago, is poised to break off from the Antarctic shelf.

Related: British Antarctic research station to be moved due to deep crack in the ice

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Categories: Environment

Prepare for reanimation of the zombie myth ‘no global warming since 2016’ | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 4:00am

Pushback will be needed against an impending swarm of climate zombie myths

Climate myths are like zombies – you shoot them through the heart, walk away thinking they’re dead, and then they pop back up behind you and try once again to eat your brain.

So it is with Stage 1 climate denial and the myth that the Earth isn’t warming. It’s so persistent that it’s related to the 5th, 9th, and 49th-most popular myths in the Skeptical Science database. Climate deniers have been peddling the myth ‘no warming since [insert date]’ for over a decade.

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Categories: Environment

London breaches annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 3:03am

Brixton Road in Lambeth has already broken legal limits for toxic air for the entire year, with many other sites across the capital set to follow

London has breached its annual air pollution limits just five days into 2017, a “shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution”, according to campaigners.

By law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide must not be more than 200 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) more than 18 times in a whole year, but late on Thursday this limit was broken on Brixton Road in Lambeth.

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Categories: Environment

UK wind power overtakes coal for first time

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 2:54am

Green groups hail analysis showing collapse in coal due to power station closures and rising carbon taxes

Windfarms across the UK generated more electricity in 2016 than coal power plants for the first time, according to an analyst’s estimates.

Three major coal power stations closed last year, causing coal electricity generation to plummet to 9.2%, down from 22.6% in 2015. Wind power provided 11.5% of generation in 2016, slightly down from 12% in 2015.

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Categories: Environment

China cementing global dominance of renewable energy and technology

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 2:00am

It now owns five of the world’s six largest solar-module manufacturing firms and the largest wind-turbine manufacturer

China is cementing its global dominance of renewable energy and supporting technologies, aggressively investing in them both at home and around the globe, leaving countries including the US, UK and Australia at risk of missing the growing market.

A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (Ieefa) found China’s dominance in renewables is rapidly spreading overseas, with the country accelerating its foreign investment in renewable energy and supporting technologies.

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Categories: Environment

Inside Glanrhyd, the first solar 'eco hamlet' in Wales

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 12:00am

Residents of the new eco hamlet in Pembrokeshire can expect greatly reduced fuel bills and shared use of an electric car

Most of the houses in the Welsh village of Glanrhyd are of traditional construction – walls made out of hefty local stone, roofs of grey slate. They can get chilly when the winter winds whistle through the gaps.

The six houses that make up the “eco hamlet” of Pentre Solar look and feel very different. They are built using light, bright timber sourced from a nearby valley. The houses are carefully insulated, airtight and powered by solar panels.

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Categories: Environment

Serene cycling, more variety and new lanes: my Bike Blog hopes for 2017

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/01/06 - 12:00am

A late list of new year resolutions include a return to mountain biking and a position in the commuting slow lane

New year resolutions are, of course, traditionally made before 1 January, not nearly a week into 2017. But I shall disregard convention – below are my cycling-related hopes for the current year.

Some are personal, some more general. I should also stress that these aren’t my sole hopes for humanity, just some specific Bike Blog-based ones. New bike lanes would be great, but I’m more keen overall on peace for all and a continued avoidance of a nuclear holocaust.

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Categories: Environment

Diesel cars are 10 times more toxic than trucks and buses, data shows

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/01/05 - 11:01pm

Stricter EU emissions testing for large vehicles means modern diesel cars produce 10 times more NOx per litre of fuel

Modern diesel cars produce 10 times more toxic air pollution than heavy trucks and buses, new European data has revealed.

The stark difference in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) is due to the much stricter testing applied to large vehicles in the EU, according to the researchers behind a new report. They say the same strict measures must be applied to cars.

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Categories: Environment
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