After Decades-Long Push, It's Not Clear Who Will Bid In Arctic Refuge Oil Lease Sale

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2021/01/01 - 3:02am

There's little solid data on how much oil is under the refuge, and lawsuits and market forces could dampen industry interest. Any leases would also face opposition from a Biden administration.

(Image credit: Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Land subsidence 'will affect almost fifth of global population'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/12/31 - 12:00pm

Unesco warns of urban centres sinking because of unsustainable farming and groundwater extraction

Subsidence, or the gradual sinking of land, could affect 19% of the world’s population by 2040, according to new research funded by Unesco.

If no action is taken, human activity, combined with drought and rising sea levels exacerbated by global heating, could put many of the world’s coastal cities at risk of severe flooding.

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Categories: Environment

Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Eruption Creates 600-Foot-Deep Lava Lake

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2020/12/31 - 11:35am

The volcano on Hawaii's Big Island began erupting more than a week ago and lava continues to flow, creating a huge new lake that's taken the place of a water lake it vaporized.

(Image credit: D. Downs/USGS)

Categories: Environment

Butterflies, bushfires and bears: Age of Extinction's year in photography

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/12/31 - 8:00am

In a year like no other, our photographers – and readers – captured images reflecting the beauty and diversity that could all too easily be lost in our fragile world

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Categories: Environment

Is the UK about to have liftoff in the global space industry?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/12/31 - 7:51am

With plans for satellite launches and investment in space-based solar, can the UK become a space super power?

In 1969, a British engineer was invited to the White House to meet President Nixon. His name was Francis Thomas Bacon and he had developed the fuel cells used on Apollo 11. Known now as Bacon fuel cells, these power sources consume hydrogen and oxygen to produce water, heat and, in theory, a continuous supply of electricity.

His invention was considered so integral to the success of the Apollo mission that Nixon told him, “Without you Tom, we wouldn’t have gotten to the moon.”

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Categories: Environment

'It's awakened me': UK climate assembly participants hail a life-changing event

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/12/31 - 2:35am

From buying an electric car to starting a secondhand clothes business, attendees talk of the unexpected delights of the first UK citizens’ assembly

At the start of 2020, Sue Peachey could never have predicted how her life would change over the next 12 months. She was one of 108 people to take part in the UK’s first climate assembly earlier in the year, spending four weekends learning about a range of environmental issues before producing a final report of recommendations.

“The first weekend changed me really. I thought, ‘Oh my God, [climate change] is really going to happen,’ she said. “It made me want to learn and to live my life greener.”

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Categories: Environment

'See your own back yard' – just don't poo in it, New Zealanders told

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/12/30 - 9:03pm

Local travel making up for lack of overseas visitors but also causing problems

New Zealanders have been called on to show greater respect for their environment amid a boom in domestic tourism that has been accompanied by reports of littering, human waste and wildlife disturbance.

Restrictions on international travel due to Covid-19 have forced New Zealanders to holiday at home, with government data showing some holiday spots are busier than they were before the pandemic despite the absence of tourists from overseas.

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Categories: Environment

How Covid has plunged Asia's captive elephants into fresh crisis

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/12/30 - 8:00pm

Stripped of tourism money, keepers in India and Thailand are struggling to keep their elephants alive

It has been a tough year for many, and for the elephants at Elefanjoy sanctuary in Jaipur, India, it has been no exception. As the pandemic hit in March, the country imposed a strict nationwide lockdown, and the sanctuary’s dozens of elephants could no longer take their 30-mile daily walks, vital for stretching their legs and aiding digestion.

Health problems began to set in, worsened by a glum mood that beset human and other animal inhabitants of the sanctuary.

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Categories: Environment

Partying dolphins and rare sea slug among 2020 highlights in UK seas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/12/30 - 5:01pm

The Wildlife Trusts and Sir David Attenborough call on public to help protect marine life

Sir David Attenborough has called for a halt to activities that damage the UK’s seas, as the Wildlife Trusts revealed the highs and lows of marine life around the British Isles during 2020.

Highlights included thousands of Atlantic bluefin tuna in a rare run up the Channel from Cornwall to Kent, at some points accompanied by porpoises, minke whale and dolphins in a feeding frenzy, the trusts’ living seas marine review reported.

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Categories: Environment

Farmers Got A Government Bailout In 2020, Even Those Who Didn't Need It

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/12/30 - 3:04am

Total payments to farmers reached $46 billion, a record. Many received more than $100,000, yet didn't necessarily need the help.

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Categories: Environment

'A critical time': how Covid-19 piled the pressure on conservation efforts

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/12/30 - 2:30am

Ecotourism revenues plummeted around the world as some areas saw poaching and land grabs increase in 2020

From the Nepalese Himalayas where tigers patrol the snowy peaks to the lush forest homes of mountain gorillas in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, national parks emptied as Covid-19 spread around the world in 2020. Billions of pounds of ecotourism revenue – crucial to the livelihoods of many communities that live alongside biodiverse areas – dried up as people were locked down.

Some parts of Latin America, Asia and Africa recorded spikes in poaching and human-wildlife conflict amid mass redundancies of park rangers and reduced enforcement capabilities.

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Categories: Environment

Indigenous environmental defender killed in latest Honduras attack

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/12/29 - 11:32am
  • Félix Vásquez, 60, shot in own home in front of family
  • Killing followed death threats linked to work on environment

Another indigenous environmentalist has been killed in Honduras, cementing the country’s inglorious ranking as the deadliest place in the world to defend land and natural resources from exploitation.

Félix Vásquez, 60, a veteran leader of the indigenous Lenca people, was shot dead at home in Santiago de Puringla, a rural community in the department of La Paz, western Honduras on the night of 26 December – just weeks after reporting death threats linked to his work. His adult children were beaten and threatened by the four armed assailants in balaclavas, but survived the ordeal.

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Categories: Environment

Fatal freshwater skin disease in dolphins linked to climate crisis

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/12/29 - 5:53am

Researchers report affected animals off the coasts of the US, South America and Australia

Dolphins are increasingly dying slow, painful deaths from skin lesions likened to severe burns as a result of exposure to fresh water, exacerbated by the climate crisis.

Researchers in the US and Australia have defined for the first time an emerging “freshwater skin disease” reported in coastal dolphin populations in the US, South America and Australia.

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Categories: Environment

Fractures to Antarctic iceberg reduce risk to South Georgia wildlife

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/12/29 - 3:27am

Unclear if iceberg will hit small British territory but researchers more optimistic about threat to ecosystem

A giant iceberg, heading for the island of South Georgia, is continuing to fracture into smaller pieces, meaning it poses less of a threat to the island’s wildlife and ecosystem.

The Antarctic iceberg, which has been moving towards the island group, has fractured into four parts. Although it is still unclear if the iceberg will collide with the small British territory, researchers are more optimistic about the risk it poses to local wildlife.

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Categories: Environment

'That Terrifies Me': Trump Rule Allows Natural Gas Transport By Rail In Dense Areas

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2020/12/29 - 3:00am

Fifteen states are challenging the decision, arguing that the risk of explosion puts lives in danger. For one project, highly flammable gas will travel 200 miles through a busy East Coast corridor.

(Image credit: Emma Lee/WHYY)

Categories: Environment

'Miners out, Covid out': threats to indigenous reserve in Brazil grow

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/12/29 - 12:30am

Illegal goldminers supported by Bolsonaro bring environmental destruction and coronavirus to Yanomami communities

A petition with 439,000 signatures demanding “miners out, Covid out” of the Yanomami reserve in Roraima state was handed to Brazil’s congress this month as shamanic images were projected on to the building’s exterior. With Covid-19 ravaging the Yanomami population since the first death from the disease was reported in April, the existence of the “garimpeiros”, or goldminers, has brought even greater threats to the reserve.

The estimated 20,000 miners were already blamed for bringing alcohol and prostitution into the Yanomami reserve, where they have worked illegally for decades, clearing forests and polluting rivers with mercury used in separating out the gold. The destruction wreaked by their work has increased since far-right president Jair Bolsonaro took office – and they have kept working during the pandemic.

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Categories: Environment

U.S. Implementing 1st-Ever Airplane Emission Rules; Critics Say They're Ineffective

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2020/12/28 - 2:23pm

The Environmental Protection Agency said the new rules will not result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists are calling for more stringent measures.

(Image credit: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Storm Bella helps Great Britain set new record for wind power generation

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/12/28 - 10:47am

On Boxing Day more than half of country’s daily electricity came from wind turbines

More than half of Great Britain’s daily electricity came from wind turbines for the first time on Boxing Day, as the country headed for its “greenest year on record”, due in part to the coronavirus.

As Storm Bella arrived, bringing gusts of up to 100mph, wind provided 50.7% of Great Britain’s electricity according to data charting the power generation mix.

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Categories: Environment

UK beach clean: disco ball and pink pants among oddest items found

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/12/28 - 3:32am

Crisp packets, cup lids and wet wipes among the more mundane objects commonly encountered

A full-size disco ball, a plastic Christmas tree and a double mattress were among the more unusual objects found by volunteers cleaning up the UK’s beaches this autumn.

The most common polluting items retrieved in the Marine Conservation Society’s annual clean of coastal areas were pieces of plastic or polystyrene, plastic takeaway cup lids and wet wipes.

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Categories: Environment

Is nuclear fusion the answer to the climate crisis?

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/12/28 - 3:00am

Promising new studies suggest the long elusive technology may be capable of producing electricity for the grid by the end of the decade

If all goes as planned, the US will eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions from its electricity sector by 2035 – an ambitious goal set by President-elect Joe Biden, relying in large part on a sharp increase in wind and solar energy generation. That plan may soon get a boost from nuclear fusion, a powerful technology that until recently had seemed far out of reach.

Researchers developing a nuclear fusion reactor that can generate more energy than it consumes have shown in a series of recent papers that their design should work, restoring optimism that this clean, limitless power source will help mitigate the climate crisis.

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