Environment

How many giant pandas are there?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/01/20 - 6:05am

China is about to announce the findings of its latest giant panda ‘National Survey’, a once-a-decade census that aims to put a figure on the number of giant pandas left in the wild. Will the figure be accurate?

I once heard a story about a young student who landed a doctorate to study giant pandas in the wild. After two years in the field, he still hadn’t seen one. Even if it’s only apocryphal, this tale captures an undeniable truth: giant pandas are incredibly elusive, which makes them incredibly hard to count. Yet this week, China’s State Council is expected to update its estimate of the number of pandas left in the wild. [UPDATE ON 22/1/2015: The announcement, supposedly due to be made at this briefing on 21/1/2015, has been postponed until further notice.]

Every decade or so since the 1970s, China has had a go at counting pandas. The first census, conducted between 1974 and 1977, alighted on a figure of 1050 to 1100 pandas. The second survey, carried out between 1985 and 1988 with input from WWF, came up with 1,120 plus or minus 240. The third, between 1998 and 2002, gave us 1596 pandas.

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Categories: Environment

Householders hoping to get green deal assessments are out of pocket

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/01/20 - 5:46am
Tivium claimed to be government approved when offered consumers free home improvements

Householders who arranged a green deal assessment through a firm called Tivium believing it was part of the government’s official scheme are out of pocket after the firm failed to carry out promised work.

The company cold-called customers and made doorstep sales calls offering free home improvements through the green deal scheme ranging from new boilers to solar panels. It said work could only be completed after an assessment report costing £299 upfront.

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Categories: Environment

EU to launch diplomatic offensive ahead of Paris climate talks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/01/20 - 5:44am

Celebrities to front ambitious climate campaign, as army of diplomats is mobilised for an emissions-cutting push ahead of a crunch UN summit in Paris in December

Europe is launching a major diplomatic push for an ambitious deal on global warming, mobilising A-list celebrities and tens of thousands of diplomats to exert “maximum pressure” on key countries in international climate negotiations.

The EU plan, endorsed by ministers on Monday in Brussels, will see 90,000 diplomats in over 3,000 missions lobbying to win new pledges on carbon cuts from countries ahead of a crunch UN climate summit in Paris this December.

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Categories: Environment

Flatback turtle hatchlings studied prior to release in Australia – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/01/20 - 5:38am
A group of flatback turtle hatchlings are studied at the Aquarium of Western Australia before their release into the ocean off northern Australia. The animals, listed as vulnerable, are only known to breed on Australian beaches. Once they are bigger, the group of 31 turtles will be tagged and set free Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Everyday climate change – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/01/20 - 5:18am

Inspired by the co-founder of Everydayafrica, photographer James Whitlow Delano launched Everydayclimatechange, an Instagram feed where photographers from five continents share their images as evidence that climate change is real and to raise awareness of the situation around the world

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Categories: Environment

Baby turtles to be tagged for study into notoriously tough flatbacks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/01/20 - 12:53am

Hatchlings on display at Aquarium of Western Australia before being released to provide data on the behaviour of the tenacious flatback sea turtle

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Categories: Environment

Winter’s mute music

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 10:30pm
Claxton, Norfolk: Those glorious papilionaceous flowers, burning yellow against that January blue, are warmer than the sun itself Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Life in the shadow of Bruce, a shark that weighs as much as two VW Beetles

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 9:56pm

There were five sightings of enormous great whites … then dolphin carcasses began washing up. Michael Safi goes to the epicentre of Australia’s summer shark frenzy, only to find some swimmers and surfers defying beach closures

Great white sharks: 10 myths debunked
Australian government seeks to opt out of protection of five shark species

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Categories: Environment

More than $1.7bn needed to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 8:33pm

Further government funding is essential to reduce agricultural runoff and other pollutants flowing into the marine park’s waters, new analysis finds

Improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef will cost $785m over the next five years, with further improvements requiring an investment totalling more than $1bn after 2020, according to a new report.

The analysis, compiled by the six regional natural resources management groups that oversee the river catchments that flow into the reef’s waters, found that further funding was “essential” to improve the health of the world heritage-listed ecosystem.

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Categories: Environment

Australian government seeks to opt out of protection of five shark species

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 7:08pm

Exclusive: Thresher and hammerhead sharks listed as protected migratory species under UN convention in November

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Categories: Environment

Birdwatchers crowdsourced to help save endangered black cockatoos in WA

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 6:07pm

Western Austrlaian researchers to recruit up to 1,000 volunteers to conduct population surveys of the Baudin’s and forest red-tailed cockatoos

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Categories: Environment

Fine supermarkets if they have unfairly squeezed milk suppliers, say MPs

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 5:01pm
Environment and rural affairs committee says big retailers should be punished if they are found to have misused market muscle

• Dairy farmers’ despair: ‘now milking doesn’t really make economic sense’

The UK’s big supermarkets should be slapped with heavy fines, and as soon as possible, if they are found to have squeezed milk suppliers, an influential committee of MPs is urging.

The MPs were responding to recent drastic falls in the price of milk, which have left thousands of dairy farmers struggling for survival.

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Categories: Environment

U.S. Solar Industry Sees Growth, But Also Some Uncertainty

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 2:09pm

The solar industry employs nearly 174,000 workers in the U.S., up 22 percent from a year ago. But the industry's future is murky, as government subsidies are set to expire within two years.

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Categories: Environment

Yellowstone river clean-up begins after Montana oil pipeline breach

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 9:44am

Officials said about 50,000 gallons of oil had been spilled, but that they were unaware of any threats to public safety

Crews worked on Monday to clean up crude oil that spilled in and near the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana while officials with Bridger Pipeline LLC tried to determine what caused the weekend breach.

Bridger has said the break in the 12in steel pipe happened on Saturday morning in an area about 9 miles upstream from Glendive. Bridger’s spokesman, Bill Salvin, said on Monday that the company is confident that no more than 1,200 barrels – or 50,000 gallons – of oil spilled during the hour-long breach.

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Categories: Environment

What the UK could learn from New York's fracking ban

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 9:08am

New York state’s ban on fracking rested largely on evidence of an adverse public health impact. Why aren’t UK authorities worried?

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Categories: Environment

Should tackling climate change trump protecting nature?

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 5:37am

Planners have given the green light for a solar farm at Rampisham Down, a SSSI in West Dorset. But stopping biodiversity loss is as important as stopping global warming

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Categories: Environment

EU politicians seek to revive sluggish carbon market

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 4:46am

Germany and Britain support bolstering the flagging price of carbon in in EU’s flagship Emissions Trading System

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Categories: Environment

Men and women's cycle clothing for 2015, tried and tested

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 4:18am

How do cycle-influenced clothes from Ted Baker and Marks & Spencer measure up against those from more bike-oriented firms Vulpine and Rapha?

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Categories: Environment

GM crop vote was just the beginning of Europe's biotech battle

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 3:47am

A recent EU vote allows states to cultivate GM crops, with the first expected to be grown in the UK in 2017, but big hurdles remain

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Categories: Environment

Pup numbers boom at English seal colony

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/01/19 - 3:01am

Blakeney Point becomes the biggest breeding site for grey seals in England thanks to remote, sheltered beach

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Categories: Environment
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