Deal to build $450m windfarm struck after renewable energy bill passed

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 4:20pm

Consortium including GE and Downer EDI agrees to finance and build the 75-turbine Victorian windfarm, which will be Australia’s third-largest

A deal has been struck to build a $450m windfarm in Victoria, days after the renewable energy target finally passed parliament.

A consortium of five companies, including America’s GE and the Australian contractor Downer EDI, has agreed to finance and build the 75-turbine Ararat windfarm in south-west Victoria.

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Categories: Environment

Barack Obama interviews David Attenborough on climate change - video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 4:06pm
US president Barack Obama discusses climate change and the future of life on Earth with Sir David Attenborough, in an interview to be broadcast simultaneously in the UK and US on BBC1 on Sunday at 10.30pm. Obama confesses to the broadcaster and naturalist that he's been a huge admirer of Attenborough's work for a very long time. Attenborough presented his first natural history programme for the BBC in 1954 Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

David Attenborough and Barack Obama face-to-face in TV interview

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 2:32pm

Acclaimed naturalist plants – sometimes prickly – questions for US president during visit to White House

It sounds like a scenario from a fantasy dinner party: the most powerful man on the planet interviewing one of the world’s most beloved naturalists about his life story, about climate change and the future of life on Earth.

But in May, it has emerged, this encounter did happen, when Barack Obama invited Sir David Attenborough to the White House for a televised discussion – in which he, the US president, was to ask the questions of the broadcaster, not the other way round.

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Floating robots primed for release to capture elusive ocean data

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 1:00pm

Scientists will release robots next week that can dive to 2,000 metres to gather previously unattainable information from the Indian Ocean

Scientists will embark on a voyage across the Indian Ocean next week, distributing floating robots to gather data about the largely unknown biology of the ocean.

For about 10 years 3,600 Argo free-floating sensors have been drifting around and gathering data about the temperature and salinity of the ocean.

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Study Reveals What Happens During A 'Glacial Earthquake'

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 12:54pm

Scientists have figured out how massive chunks of ice trigger these seismically detectable events when they break off a glacier. The findings could help researchers track ice loss from glaciers.

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How A Historical Blunder Helped Create The Water Crisis In The West

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 12:06pm

In 1922, seven states drew up a plan for dividing the waters of the Colorado River. But they overestimated how much water the river could provide — and now 40 million Americans face a water crisis.

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Toronto march to merge economic justice and climate action - video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 11:16am

Mobilization on eve of Pan American summits in Canada brings together start of “new kind of climate movement”

A mobilization calling for a “new economy that works for people and the planet” will bring together unions, environmentalists, anti-poverty organizations, farmers, faith groups, Indigenous peoples and others on July 5 in Toronto, according to a video about the March for Jobs, Justice & the Climate.

“Environmental struggle has to merge with the struggle to build a just society, because a society that’s willing to abandon people is certainly not willing to pay attention to a sustainable future for the climate,” says John Clarke, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

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Atkins Ciwem environmental photographer of the year 2015 winners – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 11:15am

The winning photograph of two watermelon farmers in West Bengal, India will feature alongside over 100 photographic artworks in a display at the Royal Geographical Society in London from 22 June - 10 July 2015. The exhibition will then tour UK forest venues, supported by the Forestry Commission England, including Grizedale Forest visitor centre, Cumbria, 18 July-7 September

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Categories: Environment

Google to convert Alabama coal plant into renewable-powered data centre

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 9:01am

Technology company says it will open 14th data centre at Widows Creek site in Jackson County that will be powered with 100% renewable energy

Google will convert an old coal-fired power plant in rural Alabama into a data centre powered by renewable power, expanding the company’s move into the energy world.

The technology giant said on Wednesday that it would open its 14th data centre inside the grounds of the old coal plant, and had reached a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the region’s power company, to supply the project with renewable sources of electricity. With the coal plant rehab, Google solidifies a reputation among tech companies for promoting clean energy.

“It’s very important symbolism to take an old coal plant that is a relic of the old energy system and convert it into a data centre that will be powered by renewable energy,” said David Pomerantz, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace.

Michael Terrell, who leads energy market strategy for Google’s infrastructure team, said the company saw clear benefits in taking over the old coal facility. “There is an enormous opportunity when you take over the infrastructure that is there – the transmissions lines and the water intakes – and use that to power a data centre that is powered by renewable energy,” he said.

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Emma Thompson criticises plans for a third runway at Heathrow in 2009 interview – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 8:54am
Speaking in 2009, actress Emma Thompson rails against plans for the expansion of Heathrow airport. Thompson was one of several celebrities who signed up to own part of a plot of land, acquired by Greenpeace in 2009, which was situated in the middle of the proposed runway site. It has recently been revealed that the organisation and its celebrity supporters sold the land in 2012 Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Senior Tories slam government's Green Investment Bank sell-off

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 8:43am

‘Green Tories’ express dismay at plans to put one of the Conservative party’s few key environmental acheivements up for part-privatisation

Senior “green Tories” – Conservative supporters who want the party to act on environmental issues – have attacked the government’s decision to sell a majority stake in the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

Bright Blue, an influential thinktank focused on the Conservative party and numbering senior Tories among its backers, said the sell-off was “the last thing we need” and criticised the move as putting public sector capital in competition with the private sector.

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More than 14% of England's honeybee colonies died over winter

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 8:33am

British Beekeepers Association says level of winter losses is unacceptably high as European Food Safety Authority launches investigation into bee threats

More than 14% of England’s honeybee colonies died over the winter, the latest research from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has found.

The BBKA’s annual survey of beekeepers across England’s found that winter losses were highest in the west country (18%) and lowest in the north of England (11.8).

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Categories: Environment

Bill Gates discusses climate change with French president – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:55am
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has met with French president François Hollande to discuss some of Gates' ideas for the next United Nations conference on climate change, or COP21. France will host the meeting in December. UN member countries meet every year to discuss climate change and how to combat it Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Leading health experts call on Wellcome to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:40am

Open letter urges Wellcome Trust to divest, citing ‘extremely serious health effects’ that could be caused by climate change

• Read the letter, and if you’re a health practioner you can sign it, here

A group of high-profile health practitioners, including the editors of the Lancet and the British Medical Journal (BMJ), have called upon the Wellcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels in an open letter published on Thursday in the Guardian.

Among the signatories are Anthony Costello, director of the University College London (UCL) Institute for Public Health, Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health, Fiona Sim, chair of the Royal Society for Public Health, Richard Horton, editor of medical journal the Lancet and Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ.

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Categories: Environment

Do no harm: the Wellcome Trust should not profit from the fossil fuel industry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:40am

Are you a health professional? Scroll to the bottom to add your name to the letter or to tell us why you are concerned about climate change as a health issue

Dear members of the Wellcome Trust Executive Board,

We write as concerned health professionals and academics in relation to the Guardian’s Keep It In the Ground campaign calling on the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest from the world’s 200 largest fossil fuel companies over the next five years.

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Categories: Environment

The solidarity fridge: Spanish town's cool way to cut food waste

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 7:17am

Everyone from vulnerable families to peckish builders are taking leftover goods left dropped off by local people in Galdakao

The large white fridge sits prominently on a pavement in Galdakao, a small city on the outskirts of Bilbao.

A wooden fence has been built around it, in the hope of conveying the idea that this is not an abandoned appliance, but a pioneering project aimed at tackling food wastage.

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GM wheat no more pest-resistant than ordinary crops, trial shows

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 6:00am

GM wheat designed to repel aphids is no more effective at repelling the bugs than standard varieties a major field trial has revealed

A major field trial of GM wheat that is designed to repel aphids has found the crop is no better protected against the pests than conventional wheat.

The results come from two years of trials that compared aphid attacks on standard wheat plants with those suffered by a GM version modified to release a natural aphid repellant.

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Closed-road cycling in the Italian Dolomites that's free for all

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 5:50am

Twice a year a stunning 30-mile loop on some of Europe’s most scenic roads is closed to traffic for the Sellaronda Bike Day – and there’s no charge to take part. Trevor Ward joins cyclists of all ages for the event’s 10th anniversary ride

Yesterday (21 June) was the 10th anniversary Sellaronda Bike Day in the Italian Dolomites. The event is held twice a year and involves closing off a 33-mile loop of roads, including four mountain passes, to motorised traffic. Bus services are suspended and workers have to arrive early to beat the 8.30am road closure which affects the communities of Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Arabba and Canazei. And it’s all so that thousands of people can get on their bikes and have some of the most scenic roads in Europe exclusively to themselves.

I was one of an estimated 20,000 cyclists who took part in yesterday’s ride. It felt like being in a closed-road sportive with one big difference – it was entirely free.

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Categories: Environment

Land bought by Greenpeace to defy Heathrow expansion quietly sold for £1

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 5:05am

Greenpeace and its celebrity supporters sold the land in 2012, declining an option to retain it until 2014, but some people still visit believing it is theirs

It was, some believed, to be an orchard of perpetual, flourishing resistance, its trees adorned with plaques bearing the names of the great and the good and keeping Heathrow’s third runway at bay forever. In a defining moment of the last anti-Heathrow campaign, Greenpeace, backed by political leaders and celebrities, announced: “We’ve bought a piece of land slap bang in the middle of the proposed third runway site.”

Emma Thompson owned a bit. Alistair McGowan owned a bit. So did Zac Goldsmith, and during 2009 almost 100,000 Britons were persuaded to sign up as beneficial co-owners of the AirPlot to defy the planners. The words “Our climate, our land” were spelt out on the plot in great white letters, and then the planting began. David Cameron had a tree planted for him, Nick Clegg planted his own and the runway plans were shelved.

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Categories: Environment

French banks say no to Bangladesh coal plant | Janaki Lenin

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/06/25 - 3:47am

Three French banks say they will not invest in Rampal power plant in Bangladesh. As the plant struggles for funding, a report says it is non-compliant with minimum environmental and social standards

Three French banks have said they will not invest in the Rampal power plant, Bangladesh. Six months earlier, two Norwegian pension funds pulled out their investments from India’s National Thermal Power Corporation that is building the project.

During his visit to Bangladesh on 6 June 2015, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi endorsed the 1,320 MW Rampal coal- based thermal power project. He said,

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