'Environmental disaster': sailor shows oily sludge polluting water in Poole harbour – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/03/27 - 8:43am

A sailor in Poole in Dorset posted a video on social media on Sunday showing an oily substance he had noticed leaking into the water in the harbour. He collected some of the 'horrible, oil kind of sludge' in a plastic bottle. The public is being urged to avoid using the water and beaches within Poole after the harbour regulator said a leak occurred at a pipeline operated by gas company Perenco. The incident, which took place at Wytch Farm oilfield, resulted in approximately 200 barrels of 'reservoir fluid' being released from the UK’s largest onshore field

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Philadelphians rush to buy bottled water despite officials claiming water is safe after spill

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/03/27 - 8:30am

Residents show skepticism to officials insisting tap water is uncontaminated after chemical spill in the Delaware River

Residents in Philadelphia and nearby areas have been buying bottled water after a chemical spill upstream in the Delaware River in neighboring Bucks county, despite officials’ latest advisory insisting tap water was safe to drink at least up to midnight Monday.

The concerns came after a leak late Friday evening at the Trinseo Altuglas chemical facility in Bristol Township spilled between 8,100 and 12,000 gallons of a water-based latex finishing solution into the river, Bucks county health officials said Sunday.

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It’s not perfect, but the Labor-Greens climate deal should limit emissions and fossil fuels. That matters | Adam Morton

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/03/27 - 7:00am

The agreement delivers important changes to the safeguard mechanism. But there is still a lot of work to do

The safeguard mechanism is a better policy to deal with major industrial greenhouse gas emissions after a deal between the Albanese government and the Greens.

It is not perfect, it is needlessly complicated and there are still things to be ironed out about how some of the headline changes will work. But it is an improvement.

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Older people like me need to start protesting for our planet | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/03/27 - 6:38am

I’m proud to be part of Third Act, a climate activist organization for people over the age of 60

The brutal truth is that last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report didn’t have the effect it should have had, or that its authors clearly intended. Produced by thousands of scientists who synthesized the work of tens of thousands of their peers over the last decade, and meticulously drafted by teams of careful communicators, it landed in the world with a gentle plop, not the resounding thud that’s required.

In China, the world’s biggest emitter, official attention was focused instead on Moscow, where Xi Jinping was off to do a little male bonding with fellow autocrat Vladimir Putin, incidentally the world’s second largest producer of hydrocarbons. In America, the historical emissions champ, we were riveted by the possibility that would-be autocrat Donald Trump might be indicted. In the New York Times, our planet’s closest thing to a paper of record, the IPCC report was the fourth story on the website.

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Exxon in the classroom: how big oil money influences US universities

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/03/27 - 1:30am

Students at Princeton describe unease that Exxon employee had an office on campus, while dozens of universities have big oil links

The lecturer looked, and sounded, the part. Sporting a pale blue shirt and Princeton University ID badge, he had his own office on campus, a short stroll from the room where several dozen students were gathered to hear him confidently talk about the challenges in moving away from fossil fuels.

Tim Barckholtz is not a Princeton professor, however. He is a senior scientific adviser at ExxonMobil, the oil giant that has done so much to both perpetuate and downplay the climate crisis. Barckholtz, an affable figure who has fronted adverts for Exxon touting its emissions reduction research, spent around six months sitting in and contributing to lectures and research groups, based in his own office space at the elite university.

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Australia politics live: Bob Brown says Chris Bowen would ‘bring the house down’ if he amended emissions cap

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2023/03/26 - 9:00pm

Follow today’s news live

Fletcher won’t offer ‘gratuitous advice’ on Moira Deeming move

The vote on whether or not first term Victorian upper house Liberal Moira Deeming will remain in the Liberal party is to be held today (there is a party room meeting in just under two hours).

What I support is that the leader in Victoria and the party room in Victoria.

My Victorian state colleagues will make the decision that they determine is in the best interests of the Liberal party but, more importantly, of the people of Victoria who they seek to serve.

I’m not going to be offering commentary on these matters.

I’m not going to be commenting on hypotheticals.

My view is that we are a party with a diverse range of views. And what’s very important is that we can have a vigorous exchange of views within our party room. We take our internal party democracy, democratic process very seriously. And that is how it should be. And look, I’m not going to get into ruling in or ruling out particular viewpoints on this or any other issue in an abstract, hypothetical way.

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Poole harbour: major incident declared over leak from oilfield

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2023/03/26 - 7:40pm

About 200 barrels of reservoir fluid leak into the Dorset harbour, a site of special scientific interest

The public is being urged to avoid using the water and beaches within Poole harbour in Dorset, south-west England, after an oil leak caused a major incident to be declared.

Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC), the harbour regulator, said a leak occurred at a pipeline operated by gas company Perenco, under Owers Bay on Sunday.

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Rubbish fashion: street art costumes of Kinshasa – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/03/25 - 10:00am

In his series Fulu Act, Brussels-based documentary photographer Colin Delfosse captures street artists in Kinshasa, who craft striking costumes out of everyday objects found littering the streets, such as discarded wigs, wires, soda cans and bottle lids, to raise awareness of environmental issues facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The statement behind their costumes is to condemn and inform about overconsumption and its side effects, namely pollution, poverty, lack of reliable investments and so on,” says Delfosse. “By capturing these images, I’m giving an echo to their crucial work.”

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Official behind Plymouth tree felling says it will be ‘really good for city’

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/03/25 - 9:27am

Giles Perritt says ‘change is difficult’ as campaigners obtain court order to extend injunction against future felling

An official behind the controversial felling of 110 trees by Plymouth council has said their removal will be “really good for the city”.

Giles Perritt, the council’s assistant chief executive, was speaking after campaigners got a high court order to extend an injunction to stop future felling.

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‘Like a vacuum cleaner running all day’: noisy nightlife making Spanish streets ‘uninhabitable’

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/03/25 - 9:00am

Tensions between residents and revellers have reached boiling point after loosening of serving restrictions during Covid

The sun has barely set when the music starts thumping on Madrid’s Calle Ponzano. As queues start to form outside the already heaving bars, the party spills out on to the pavement, leaving customers jostling for space with an ever-growing cacophony of smokers and passersby.

Lost in the fray is the brightly lettered message – pleading with punters to keep the noise down – from banners that flap from balconies above. It is a last ditch effort by those who have found themselves living on the frontline of a battle playing out across Spain as exhausted neighbours face off against raucous drinkers.

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How a video game has revolutionised the way farmers are buying tractors

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/03/25 - 7:00am

Farming Simulator lets customers test out new trailers, balers and other machinery before buying the real thing

Tractors are commonly sold to farmers at agricultural fairs and announced in the trade press. But machinery makers are falling over themselves to get a slice of a much more unlikely advertising vehicle: the Farming Simulator video game.

The developers, Giants Software, now receive hundreds of queries a year from manufacturers of equipment – from tractors and combine harvesters to trailers, balers and seed drills – about how they can feature in the game, where players create their own virtual farm.

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‘It’s win-win’: how a dangerous sailing race could reveal the ocean’s secrets

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/03/25 - 6:00am

After a long hiatus, the epic Ocean Race is back – but this year, as well as dodging icebergs, cracking masts and suffering the occasional ‘hull sandwich failure’, the teams are gathering crucial data from places even research vessels rarely reach

The Southern Ocean is not somewhere most people choose to spend an hour, let alone a month. Circling the icy continent of Antarctica, it is the planet’s wildest and most remote ocean. Point Nemo – just to the north in the South Pacific – is the farthest location from land on Earth, 1,670 miles (2,688km) away from the closest shore. The nearest humans are generally those in the International Space Station when it passes overhead.

But on 21 March, four sailing teams came through here – part of a marathon race round the bottom of the Earth, from Cape Town in South Africa to Itajaí in Brazil.

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Power move: Stacey Abrams’ next act is the electrification of the US

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/03/25 - 3:00am

The Georgia activist on why she is leaving campaign politics behind to focus on weaning America off fossil fuels

Stacey Abrams has been hailed as a masterly community organizer, after she helped turn out the voters that secured two Senate seats for Democrats in once solidly red Georgia. She has also run twice – unsuccessfully – for state governor. For her next move, she’s not focusing on electoral power so much as power itself.

Recently she left the world of campaign politics and took a job as senior counsel for the non-profit Rewiring America. Her role will focus on helping thousands of people across America wean their homes and businesses off fossil fuels and on to electricity, at a moment when scientists have given a “final warning” about the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global catastrophe.

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First global water conference in 50 years yields hundreds of pledges, zero checks

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 5:15pm

Non-binding commitments, paucity of scientific data and poor representation of global south left a lot to be desired at summit

The first global water conference in almost half a century has concluded with the creation of a new UN envoy for water and hundreds of non-binding pledges that if fulfilled would edge the world towards universal access to clean water and sanitation.

The three-day summit in New York spurred almost 700 commitments from local and national governments, non-profits and some businesses to a new Water Action Agenda, and progress on the hotchpotch of voluntary pledges will be monitored at future UN gatherings. A new scientific panel on water will also be created by the UN.

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High concentrations of DDT found across vast swath of California seafloor

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 4:27pm

Barrels of the toxic chemical were dumped along the Pacific coast decades ago. New research shows the material never broke down

For years industrial companies in southern California used the coast as a dumping ground for toxic chemical waste, including DDT. Decades later, scientists have found that the pesticide remains in high concentrations on the ocean floor and has never broken down.

Nearly two years after the discovery of tens of thousands of barrels of waste off the coast of Los Angeles, a scientist working on the issue shared this week that the chemical is still spread across a vast stretch of the seafloor, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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‘Spectacular’ spiny crayfish samples rec amid Lismore floods key to mapping species

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 4:00pm

Australia Museum says 20-year-old collection will help understand and conserve threatened animals, which are sensitive to climate change

As floods devastated Lismore, a group of ecologists waited anxiously for a break in the weather so they could move an important scientific collection of “spectacular” spiny crayfish to a new home at the Australian Museum.

The samples of the crayfish were collected more than 20 years ago from deep within the rainforests of north-eastern NSW and southern Queensland by Dr Jason Coughran, a freshwater ecologist.

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Ocean salmon fishing ban off California and Oregon as stocks plummet

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 9:13am

Adult fall-run Chinook salmon returned to California’s rivers in near record low numbers in 2022

As drought dried up rivers that carry California’s newly hatched Chinook salmon to the ocean, state officials in recent years have resorted to loading up the fish by the millions on to trucks and barges to take them to the Pacific.

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.

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UK planning to launch watered down net zero strategy in oil capital Aberdeen

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 9:00am

Exclusive: Labour decries ‘climate vandalism’ as launch plans signal intention to boost fossil fuel industry

The government is planning to launch its revamped net zero strategy from the UK’s oil and gas capital, Aberdeen, in a clear signal of its intention to boost the fossil fuel industry while cutting key green measures, the Guardian has learned.

Next week’s launch was originally called “green day” in Whitehall, but has been rebranded as “energy security day” and will focus on infrastructure. Campaigners have called the move a travesty.

Ministers will refuse to force oil and gas companies to stop flaring by 2025, as recommended in the review of net zero by Chris Skidmore earlier this year.

Ofgem will not gain important powers to include the net zero target in its regulation of the energy sector, effectively defanging the regulator.

No overarching new office for net zero, as recommended in the Skidmore review.

No compulsion on housebuilders to fit rooftop solar to new housing.

No comprehensive nationwide programme for insulation of the UK’s draughty housing stock, as green groups have been calling for. Instead, the strongest insulation measure is likely to be a consultation on the private rented sector.

The Treasury, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and the Department for Business and Trade are at war over whether to introduce carbon border taxes.

Major roles for carbon capture and storage technology and hydrogen, which could boost the oil and gas industry with questionable gains for the environment.

The potential licensing of a massive new oilfield, Rosebank, under cover of investing in carbon capture and storage technology, which campaigners warn is “greenwash”.

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Scotland to earn £260m from floating windfarms powering North Sea rigs

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 7:59am

Crown estate leases seabed rights to new projects as oil firms look to replace gas and diesel generators

The Scottish government will earn more than £260m after agreeing to lease areas of its seabed to floating offshore wind projects that can power oil and gas rigs.

In a world first, Crown Estate Scotland gave the green light for companies to help trim the North Sea’s carbon emissions by developing floating windfarms that can directly supply oil and gas platforms with renewable electricity.

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Not a fringe issue: the hairdressers trained to talk to their clients about climate change – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/03/24 - 7:00am

The owner of Paloma salon in Paddington has organised seminars for hairdressers across Sydney to instruct them on how to talk to their clients about climate action. Owner Paloma Rose Garcia started the A Brush with Climate workshops – navigating how to discuss science and solutions with clients – after she 'really understood that there is a unique opportunity that hairdressers have to hold meaningful conversation and assist the community with understanding more about climate and what they can do in their everyday life'

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