NT gas pipeline approval puts fracking moratorium in question

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 12:00pm

Pipeline from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa could bring gas from the territory into the eastern states market amid power crisis

An $800m gas pipeline from the Northern Territory to Queensland is one step closer after the federal government granted environmental approval for construction.

The approval, which carries conditions to protect the native death adder snake, had not been expected by the NT government for several weeks, and follows Malcolm Turnbull’s statement that his government will consider “all measures” to ensure energy security.

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Categories: Environment

Why do we love Love Actually? | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 11:34am

Sharp intake of breath on reading Chitra Ramaswamy’s statement that Pembrokeshire is the only coastal national park (Last Night’s TV, G2, 8 March). True, it is the only fully coastal one, but here in North Yorkshire we have the best national treasure of all in a park with heather moors, beautiful villages nestling in valleys, heritage and craftspeople aplenty as well as a delightful varied coastline.
Felicity Brown
Nether Poppleton, North Yorkshire

• Why is Richard Curtis’s film so popular (Love Act-two-ally, G2, 13 March)? It features a prime minister who stands up to an American president. Could only happen in fiction.
John Loader
Leyburn, North Yorkshire

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Categories: Environment

Death toll from rubbish dump landslide in Ethiopia rises to 65

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 10:57am

Rescue workers search 74-acre site for survivors, with residents blaming construction of biogas plant for disaster

At least 65 people were killed in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump this weekend, officials said on Monday, with entire families including children buried alive in the tragedy.

“The rescue operation is still ongoing. Security personnel and rescuers are trying their level best to locate any possible survivors, while searching for the dead,” said communication minister Negeri Lencho.

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Categories: Environment

The west’s throwaway culture has spread waste worldwide | Waste packaging

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 9:43am

Packaging – much of it single-use food wrapping – has created a rubbish problem that now pollutes every corner of the world. Manufacturers got us into this mess, but it’s up to us to dig ourselves out – and here’s how

In 2003, I was told by a restaurant owner on a Thai island that local fishermen used to wrap their lunch in banana leaves, which they would then casually toss overboard when done. That was OK, because the leaves decayed and the fish ate the scraps. But in the past decade, he said, while plastic wrap had rapidly replaced banana leaves, old habits had died hard – and that was why the beach was fringed with a crust of plastic. Beyond the merely unsightly, this plastic congregates in continent-scale garbage gyres in our oceans, being eaten by plankton, then fish; then quite possibly it’ll reach your plate ...

This is a worldwide problem – we can’t point the finger at Thai fishermen. The west started this. The developing world justifiably yearns for its living standards and, with it, its unsustainable convenience culture.

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Categories: Environment

Boaty McBoatface Prepares For First Antarctic Mission

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 8:13am

After the Internet voted to name a U.K. research vessel "Boaty McBoatface," the results were overruled. But, as a consolation gesture, the name was given to a remote-controlled submersible.

(Image credit: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills)

Categories: Environment

The fossil fuel industry's invisible colonization of academia | Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 3:00am

Corporate capture of academic research by the fossil fuel industry is an elephant in the room and a threat to tackling climate change.

On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?

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Categories: Environment

Turnbull under pressure as gas supply takes centre stage in power crisis

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 3:00am

Competition watchdog will urge companies to sell to the domestic market, as South Australia reveals its plan to head off further power cuts

The head of Australia’s competition watchdog will urge gas companies to support the domestic market to ensure struggling manufacturers don’t go to the wall, as the Turnbull government mulls options for boosting domestic gas supply to head off forecast shortages.

The chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, will outline his views on the east coast gas crisis in a speech in Sydney on Tuesday, as the South Australian government unveils a blueprint to shore up the state’s unreliable power network, perhaps including new investment in baseload power and storage.

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Categories: Environment

EPA's Chief Environmental Justice Official Steps Down

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 2:16am

One of the EPA programs the administration may eliminate is the office of Environmental Justice, according to The Washington Post. Steve Inskeep talks to Mustafa Ali, who helped found the office.

Categories: Environment

Kentucky Community Hopes Trump Infrastructure Plan Will Fix Water System

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 1:50am

In Martin County, the drinking water comes from a river contaminated by sewage and years of coal and gas extraction. Residents hope a new federal focus on infrastructure will help them fix the system.

(Image credit: Benny Becker/Ohio Valley ReSource)

Categories: Environment

Boaty McBoatface to go on its first Antarctic mission

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 12:29am

Robot submarine, named after competition, will collect data from depths of Southern Ocean

A small yellow robot submarine, called Boaty McBoatface after a competition to name a new polar research ship backfired, is being sent on its first Antarctic mission.

Boaty, which has arguably one of the most famous names in recent maritime history, is a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which will be able to travel under ice, reach depths of 6,000 metres, and transmit the data it collects to researchers via a radio link.

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Categories: Environment

Battery-makers on Turnbull's Tesla chat: 'Give Australian companies a fair go'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 12:13am

Industry wants more support from federal government now prime minister has ‘taken interest in the tweets of an American billionaire’

Malcolm Turnbull should encourage Australia’s battery energy storage industry now he has “taken interest in the tweets of an American billionaire”, Zen Energy chairman Ross Garnaut says.

Garnaut was referring to Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of electric car giant Tesla, who tweeted that Tesla could solve the power shortage issue causing price spikes and blackouts in South Australia within 100 days by installing 100-300 megawatt hours of battery storage.

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Categories: Environment

Low sunshine throws light on a complex past

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 10:30pm

Llanon, Ceredigion The paths retain their sense of age, hinting at centuries of daily journeys from homestead to field and back

Between the village of Llanon and the sea lies an area of flat land perhaps a kilometre wide, bordered to north and south by minor rivers. On the large scale maps of the area it is labelled Morfa Esgob – which translates roughly as Bishop’s Land. In contrast to the steep, thin-soiled hill pastures inland it is a favoured spot. Well-drained and quick to warm in spring, thanks to the great heat store of Cardigan Bay, the land is now mostly grazed, but both map and landscape hint at a more complex past.

The tithe map of the local parish, recently digitised and interpreted as part of the Cynefin project, captures a snapshot of the land as it was in the 1840s. It reveals Morfa Esgob as a collection of several hundred interlocking “slangs” – narrow strips of farmland – each of a size that could be managed by a single household.

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Categories: Environment

Minister-turned-lobbyist Ian Macfarlane says mines need protection from native title

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 7:12pm

Macfarlane urges MPs to pass legislation to protect land use agreements as Indigenous leaders call for consultation

The former federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane has said the majority of 126 mining projects under Indigenous land use agreements could be shut down pending renegotiations following a federal court ruling on native title.

His comments come after a federal court ruling in the McGlade native title case found that an Indigenous land use agreement (Ilua) was invalid because not all Indigenous representatives had signed it.

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Categories: Environment

NSW thunderstorms: severe weather, hail and flash flood warnings

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 5:43pm

Damaging winds are forecast to hit parts of New South Wales on Monday, bringing large hailstones and heavy rain

Severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail and winds of up to 90km/h are forecast to hit parts of New South Wales on Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned people in the central west slopes and plains, and northern tablelands, to brace for large hailstones, damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.

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Categories: Environment

Rubbish dump landslide kills at least 46 in Ethiopia

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 4:54pm

Many victims are thought to have been people who scavenged for a living at Koshe landfill site

At least 46 people have died and dozens more have been injured in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby.

Dozens of homes of squatters who lived in the Koshe landfill site, on the outskirts of the capital, were flattened when the largest pile of rubbish collapsed on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment

The horse, skilled labourer on the land: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 3:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 17 March 1917

Hoar frost turned to dew as the horses came out into the farm stable-yard this morning. They knew it was a strange hand that clattered the chain harness on the cobbles. Working for years in one place, they recognise even the footstep which goes to the manger, and intelligence reveals itself in their eyes when they turn and stoop their heads for the collar to slip on. There is then a little shrinking, half apprehension, half mental inquiry, as though in study of your character, and when you speak the glance is responsive to the tone. It is almost the same with each horse when the stubble is reached and his shoulders begin to strain. Drop the long rein on his back in an unaccustomed way and you note the twitching of his flank; it takes much gentle stroking with the palm about his head before you come slightly into favour as a friend. But once this is accomplished how much more readily work is done. Your horse, you perceive, is a skilled labourer on the land.

Milder nights – a few – have brought daffodils into bloom in sheltered hollows. They are small and pale, but when, not far away, the yellower beak of the blackbird is seen digging busily it is certain that new life has come. The tips of daisies are a rich pink in the early sun. The ditch by the side of the path which leads up to the wood appears greener than yesterday; a missel-thrush is perched on an ash bough holding a stalk of straw; the honey-suckle is in leaf; just within the wood the sharp, short call of a gold-crest is heard. It is a long wait, but hardly wasted time, before a glimpse, and one only, can be caught of the bright tuft seemingly dancing away.

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Categories: Environment

Diesel emissions: the clues were there

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 2:30pm

For too long, no one suspected that any car manufacturer was cheating. Instead it was thought to be a weakness in the test

It is amazing that the Volkswagen and diesel emissions scandal was not discovered earlier. In 2003 nitrogen dioxide alongside London’s Marylebone Road increased by around 20%. As we approached the 2010 legal compliance date, concentrations from traffic went up, not down, and diesel cars were shown to be much more polluting than the official tests led us to believe.

However, according to the EU parliament’s recent inquiry, no one suspected that any car manufacture was cheating. Instead it was thought to be a weakness in the test.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition colleagues urge Malcolm Turnbull to head off energy crisis

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 12:00pm

Prime minister told to adopt a domestic gas reservation policy to deal with forecast LNG shortages

The prime minister is under mounting internal pressure to adopt a domestic gas reservation policy to deal with forecast shortages. The chairman of the government’s backbench committee on energy and the environment, Craig Kelly, has said it is something Malcolm Turnbull should consider.

With Turnbull due to meet senior executives from the east coast gas companies on Wednesday, Kelly told Guardian Australia the government needed to be open to adopting a reservation policy to ensure that a looming lack of gas supply did not create a full-blown energy crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Oregon Lumber Community Looks To Trump And Innovation To Survive

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 11:00am

In Oregon, lumber companies try to innovate to survive the years-long downturn in the timber industry. Some are succeeding. Others aren't and their communities suffer.

(Image credit: Tom Goldman/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Anti-fracking protesters take government to court in Lancashire

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 10:13am

Activists will challenge permission granted to Cuadrilla for test fracking sites near Blackpool as pressure mounts over the cost of policing the protests

The government will go to court this week to defend test drilling at a fracking site in Lancashire as it comes under pressure to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to cover the cost of policing anti-fracking protests.

The high court in Manchester will hear two cases on Wednesday that pit Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, against protesters who oppose the permission granted to fracking companies for test sites near Blackpool.

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Categories: Environment
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