Environment

World heading for catastrophe over natural disasters, risk expert warns

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 9:02am

With cascading crises – where one event triggers another – set to rise, international disaster risk reduction efforts are woefully underfunded

The world’s failure to prepare for natural disasters will have “inconceivably bad” consequences as climate change fuels a huge increase in catastrophic droughts and floods and the humanitarian crises that follow, the UN’s head of disaster planning has warned.

Last year, earthquakes, floods, heatwaves and landslides left 22,773 people dead, affected 98.6 million others and caused $66.5bn (£47bn) of economic damage (pdf). Yet the international community spends less than half of one per cent of the global aid budget on mitigating the risks posed by such hazards.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Solar-powered plane completes historic flight over Pacific – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 8:18am

The solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 accomplished a 56-hour, record-setting flight over the Pacific Ocean on Saturday night. Pilot Bertrand Piccard guided the plane from Hawaii to San Francisco. The solar aircraft began its journey in March 2015 in Abu Dhabi, and has made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan. It is the first aircraft to fly day and night without fuel

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mushrooms, whales and hurricanes: how bio-inspiration boosts energy efficiency

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 8:00am

As bio-inspired engineering comes into its own, we take a look at the innovative technologies using nature as a blueprint

This week, the Biomimicry Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to bio-inspired engineering, announced the seven finalists in its first Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The competitors, who come from around the globe, sought to develop efficient, nature-inspired solutions to food shortages. Their solutions copy a wide array of organisms, including an agricultural drainage system based on earthworms, an edible insect harvester based on a carnivorous plant and a desalinizing water still that imitates mangrove trees.

These projects – and the rest of the Global Design Challenge competitors – have until October to develop working prototypes for their inventions. In the meantime, here are a few other bio-inspired innovations that are already changing our lives and the way we relate to nature.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Solar Impulse 2 lands safely in San Francisco after historic flight over Pacific

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 6:40am

Plane powered only by sun flies over Golden Gate Bridge after spending 56 hours coming from Hawaii on riskiest leg of its journey around the world

A solar-powered plane accomplished a 56-hour, record-setting flight over the Pacific Ocean, flying by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and landing in Mountain View, California late Saturday night.

Related: Solar Impulse: round-the-world flight to continue after raising €20m

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Experimental Solar-Powered Plane Completes Journey Across The Pacific

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 5:38am

Solar Impulse 2 flew for three days from Hawaii to Calif., after a nine month delay for repairs. The team is aiming to complete a round-the-world journey using only the sun's power.

Categories: Environment

Is divesting from fossil fuels the best tactic for tackling climate change?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 4:00am

Earth Day will see calls on college campuses to pull funds from carbon-producing fuels but activists should consider positive ways to change energy policy

It’s April; your taxes are filed (hopefully); the cherry blossoms are out (hopefully), and Earth Day has rolled around once more. And in what is becoming yet another April ritual, on a growing number of college campuses, students are staging protests demanding that their institutions divest themselves of any holdings in companies involved in fossil fuel exploration or production – coal, crude oil or natural gas.

It’s all in the spirit of Earth Day. It certainly draws attention to the issue, which is the primary purpose of any divestment campaign.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Jeremy Buckingham sets Condamine river on fire, blaming fracking – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 2:18am

New South Wales Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham posted a video to Facebook on Friday showing him lighting the surface of the Condamine river, causing flames to rise up around his boat. He says the flames are a result of methane gas buildup, linked to the coal seam gas industry and fracking operations nearby. The government-funded science body, the CSIRO, says it is unlikely that the gas seep is linked to fracking

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

If consumers knew how farmed chickens were raised, they might never eat their meat again

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 1:00am
The debate about animal welfare has intensified

The year 2012 marked a leap forward for animal welfare in the European Union. Farmers were no longer allowed to keep egg-laying hens in barren battery cages smaller than an A4 sheet of paper. Instead, the minimum requirement now is that hens are kept in a cage the size of an A4 sheet of paper, with an extra postcard-sized bit of shared space that allows them to scratch and nest. These are known as enriched cages.

Animal welfare campaigners would like to see them abolished too, saying they barely make a difference to the birds’ ability to express their natural behaviour and live free from stress. Around half of the eggs we eat are still produced in caged systems.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Olafur Eliasson and the power of the sun

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 12:00am

First Olafur Eliasson invented the Little Sun solar-powered lamp for parts of the world without electricity (and Glastonbury). Now the artist has come up with a solar-powered phone charger

Installation artist Olafur Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967 to Icelandic parents. He is best known for creating a giant sun in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003, viewed by more than 2 million people, and for making four dramatic waterfalls in New York harbour in 2008. In 2012, he launched Little Sun solar-powered lamps for areas of the globe with no electricity (though they have also proved popular at music festivals in the developed world). This month, he releases the Little Sun Charge, which uses solar energy to power mobile phones.

How successful has the Little Sun lamp been?
Right now, for every lamp we sell in on-grid areas of the world – where people have access to power, like the UK – we deliver two lamps at cost price in, for instance, rural Africa. And in May, we expect to cross the half-a-million-lamps line. That’s our next little target.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

River on fire in Greens MP's video is natural, not fracking, says CSIRO

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 11:40pm

Jeremy Buckingham says scientists ‘making excuses’ for CSG industry after footage shows him touching off sheet of flame on the Condamine river

The CSIRO has defended its independence after a Greens MP, whose footage of burning methane on a Queensland river went viral, accused the government-funded research body of “making excuses” for the coal seam gas industry.

Jeremy Buckingham, a member of the New South Wales parliament’s upper house, posted the video, which showed him lighting the surface of the Condamine river with a barbecue lighter and sending flames licking around the boat, on his Facebook page on Friday. By Sunday it had been shared 13,000 times and had 2.2m views.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

US moves to sell gene-edited mushrooms fuel doubts over British ban on GM imports

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 4:05pm
Approval for modified crops in America adds to confusion in UK on new-tech foodstuffs

American regulators have allowed the cultivation and sale of two crops modified with the gene-editing technique known as Crispr. The crops – a white button mushroom and a form of corn – are the first Crispr plants to be permitted for commercial use in the US.

The move is a boost for new technology in the creation of foodstuffs, but is expected to worsen the considerable confusion in Britain over the use of gene-editing in agriculture and the importing of crops created using such technology.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Reef Larger Than Delaware Found At The Mouth Of The Amazon River

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 12:36pm

The reef is unusual because it lies in muddy waters, and scientists had only seen hints of its existence until recent research expeditions. They say it's already in danger because of oil drilling.

Categories: Environment

Black hikers breaking the 'green ceiling' and clearing a path for enthusiasts

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 5:30am

African Americans make up just 7% of people venturing to national parks while white visitors make up 78% – but Outdoor Afro is training leaders to change that

David McCullough often gets sideways glances while he is hiking near Philadelphia. There is nothing immediately startling about McCullough, a museum educator with a studious look and a neatly trimmed goatee. But as a black man in the great outdoors, McCullough is usually in a racial minority of one.

“It’s conspicuous, you’re aware of it,” he says. “There are looks. You do get looks of concern, you can see that people are curious about why you are there.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

#NPRreads: 3 Stories To Soak Up This Weekend

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 5:28am

The premise of #NPRreads is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading and each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Categories: Environment

London mayor race: Zac Goldsmith is being slippery about the green belt

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 3:25am

The Conservative candidate is misrepresenting his Labour rival’s views on green belt as part of his wider scaremongering strategy

One of the less publicised aspects of Zac Goldsmith and the Conservative Party’s poisonous campaign to win the London mayoralty has been their scaremongering about the capital’s green belt. The supposedly “principled” Goldsmith was at it again on Thursday at the Evening Standard hustings held at the Royal Geographical Society. In his closing remarks he said:

If you want those 50,000 homes that we need to solve the housing crisis to be built beautifully, to enhance communities and without concreting over precious green spaces, then back me.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The annotated picture: climbing Nelson’s column

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 2:00am

Luke Jones and Ali Garrigan climbed the monument in Trafalgar Square on Monday to protest about air pollution

Luke Jones, a 30-year-old former rope-access technician who now works for Greenpeace full-time, has previously climbed on to the roofs of Parliament and the National Gallery. He is currently on bail after being arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage, although he says he caused none. No previous climber of Nelson’s column has been prosecuted for it.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The 20 photographs of the week

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 1:24am

The death of Prince, the Ecuador earthquake, the continuing refugee crisis in Europe - the best photography in news, culture and sport from around the world this week

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Why it makes sense to burn ivory stockpiles

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/04/23 - 12:06am

On 30 April Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will set fire to 105 tonnes of ivory in Nairobi National Park. Here are four reasons why it’s the right thing to do

By burning almost its entire ivory stockpile, Kenya is sending out the message that it will never benefit from illegal ivory captured from poachers or seized in transit. However, as the day of the burn approaches, commentators and experts have been lining up to condemn it. Some of the objections put forward are based on wrong assumptions; some deserve serious consideration.

Here I summarise four of the most frequent arguments being made against the burn and explain why, in my view, they are wrong.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Revealed: nearly all new diesel cars exceed official pollution limits

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 11:00pm

Health experts lambast ‘deceitful’ carmakers as data suggests 97% of vehicles fail to meet NOx emissions standards in real-world conditions

Ninety-seven percent of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution on the road than the official limit, according to the most comprehensive set of data yet published, with a quarter producing at least six times more than the limit.

Related: Diesel cars' emissions far higher on road than in lab, tests show

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Gas goes green as suppliers opt for carbon neutral sources

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 11:00pm
Electricity has long led the green energy market, but now both utilities are coming under the eco umbrella

Many of us have signed up with energy companies that offer 100% renewable electricity, so why not switch to a gas tariff that also promises to be carbon neutral? Energy firm Good Energy is hoping to tempt green households to do exactly that. This week the Chippenham-based firm started offering a domestic gas tariff that will allow customers to claim their gas usage produces no overall net carbon.

Launched to coincide with the Paris climate change agreement signing yesterday, Good Energy’s “green gas” tariff will include 6% biomethane, produced in the UK from organic matter including manure and even sewage. The move makes it the latest supplier to offer green gas – produced from the 300 or so anaerobic digesters dotted around the UK, a small number of which directly feed the biogas they produce into the national grid.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content