Victoria unveils proposed cash for cans scheme ahead of rollout in 2023

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 6:35pm

Under container deposit scheme, Victorians will receive 10c for every empty can, small bottle and carton they drop off at a collection point

The Victorian government has called for public comment on a proposed container deposit scheme, due to be rolled out in 2023, finally ending its status as the only state or territory in Australia without one.

Under the proposal put forward by the state government, Victorians will receive 10c for every empty can, small bottle and carton they drop off at a collection point.

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Categories: Environment

Lack of climate action over 50 years will cost Australian economy $3.4tn and 880,000 jobs – report

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 9:30am

If policies promoting net zero emissions by 2050 are adopted 250,000 jobs would be created and $680bn added to the economy

Australia’s economy will be 6% smaller, there will be 880,000 fewer jobs and $3.4tn in economic opportunities will be lost if the climate crisis goes unchecked for the next 50 years, a report says.

On the other hand, the analysis by consultancy Deloitte Access Economics found policies consistent with a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and keeping global warming to 1.5C could expand the economy by 2.6%, or $680bn to the economy, and create 250,000 jobs.

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Categories: Environment

Russia rules out cutting fossil fuel production in next few decades

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 6:24am

Energy minister says Moscow will also focus on clean-burning hydrogen and carbon capture

Russia has no plans to rein in its production of fossil fuels in the coming decades despite the global efforts to shift towards low-carbon energy, according to its energy minister.

Alexander Novak told the Guardian that Russia did “not see that we will achieve a peak in [gas] production anytime soon” because the world’s appetite for gas would continue to grow in the decades ahead despite its growing number of climate targets.

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Categories: Environment

UK's bid to power every home via offshore windfarms by 2030 at risk

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 5:52am

Germany’s RWE says outdated regulation is slowing investment in onshore electricity grid

Britain’s bid to build enough offshore windfarms to power every home in the country by 2030 risks being derailed by outdated regulation which is slowing investment in the electricity grid, according to one of the industry’s biggest players.

Germany’s RWE has warned that work to connect the growing number of windfarms off the UK coast to the onshore electricity grid will not keep pace with the government’s goals unless decades-old regulation allows for faster investments.

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Categories: Environment

On the horizon: the end of oil and the beginnings of a low-carbon planet

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 2:00am

With demand and share prices dropping, Europe’s fossil fuel producers recognise that peak oil is probably now behind them

A year ago, only the most ardent climate optimists believed that the world’s appetite for oil might reach its peak in the next decade. Today, a growing number of voices within the fossil fuel industry believe this milestone may have already been passed. While the global gaze has been on Covid-19 as it ripped through the world’s largest economies and most vulnerable people, the virus has quietly dealt a mortal blow to oil demand too.

Energy economists claim with increasing certainty that the world may never require as much oil as it did last year. Even as economies slowly emerge from the financial fallout of the pandemic, the shift towards cleaner energy has gained pace. A sharp plunge in fossil fuel use will be followed in quick succession by a renewable energy revolution, which will occur at unprecedented pace. The tipping point for oil demand may have come and gone, and major oil companies are taking note.

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Categories: Environment

'Crossroads of the climate crisis': swing state Arizona grapples with deadly heat

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 12:00am

Maricopa county is home to America’s hottest city, where deaths from the heat are weighing on voters’ minds

Even now, Ivan Moore can’t think why his father didn’t didn’t tell anyone that the air conditioning in their house was busted. “I honestly don’t know what was going through his mind,” he said.

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Categories: Environment

Flower power: Covid restrictions fuel boom in plant and bulb sales

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/10/31 - 3:00am

Sales of medicinal plants such as echinacea have risen by almost 3,000% at some outlets

As winter approaches, the pandemic continues and spending time outdoors seems less appealing, how can you still get your fix of nature? By bringing the outdoors inside, or at least that’s what soaring plant sales seem to suggest.

Latest figures show there has been a huge increase in the number of people buying plants and bulbs during lockdown, and medicinal plants have proven particularly popular.

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Categories: Environment

'An incredible scar': the harsh toll of Trump's 400-mile wall through national parks

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/10/31 - 2:15am

Samuel Gilbert visited four distinct wilderness areas near the new border wall, which is fragmenting protected habitats and threatening endangered species

In the 1980s, when Kevin Dahl first began visiting the Organ Pipe Cactus national monument in southern Arizona, the border was unmarked, save for a simple fence used to keep cattle from a ranch in the US from crossing into Mexico. In those days, park rangers would call in their lunch orders at a diner located just across the border.

Since then, a 30ft steel bollard wall has replaced the old barbed wire fence at Organ Pipe. The towering steel barrier cuts through the Unesco reserve like a rust-colored suture.

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Categories: Environment

Huge spider assumed extinct in Britain discovered on MoD training site

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/10/31 - 1:01am

Described as ‘gorgeous’ by the man who found it, the great fox-spider has not been seen since 1993

One of Britain’s largest spiders has been discovered on a Ministry of Defence training ground in Surrey having not been seen in the country for 27 years.

The great fox-spider is a night-time hunter, known for its speed and agility, as well as its eight black eyes which give it wraparound vision. The critically endangered spider was assumed extinct in Britain after last being spotted in 1993 on Hankley Common in Surrey. The two-inch-wide (5cm) arachnid had previously also been spotted at two sites in Morden Heath in Dorset. These are the only three areas in Britain, all in the comparatively warmer south, where it has been recorded.

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Categories: Environment

'They give me the willies': scientist who vacuumed murder hornets braces for fight

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/10/31 - 12:00am

Chris Looney helped dismantle the first nest of Asian giant hornets in the US. Now he’s preparing for the next step

The eradication of the first nest of Asian giant hornets on US soil somewhat resembled a science fiction depiction of an alien landing site. A crew of government specialists in white, astronaut-like protective suits descended upon the hornet nexus to vanquish it with a futuristic-looking vacuum cleaner, to the relief of onlookers.

The nest of the fearsome invasive insects, notoriously known as “murder hornets”, was found in a tree crevice near Blaine, in Washington state, via a tracking device attached to a previously captured worker hornet. The Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA) confirmed the nest had been successfully removed, with dozens of live captives taken back for inspection.

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Categories: Environment

Drive less or face post-lockdown gridlock, UK transport experts warn

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 5:01pm

Campaigners urge more walking and cycling schemes despite opposition from ‘vocal minority’

Many Britons will have to get used to driving less if the country is to avoid gridlock on the roads once coronavirus restrictions ease, and councils must provide better routes for cycling and walking, transport experts say.

Government statistics show motor traffic is almost back at pre-lockdown levels, and only 59% of employees have returned to their workplaces. One study predicts that with health concerns reducing the use of public transport, up to 2.7 million more people could end up using cars for commuting trips alone.

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Categories: Environment

NSW government doubles goal for national parks expansion after reaching target a year early

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 12:00pm

The state has added 207,000 hectares to its national parks estate since announcing the target last year

The New South Wales government will double its goal to expand the state’s national parks after reaching its 200,000 hectare target nearly a year early.

The state’s environment minister, Matt Kean, gazetted 202,669 hectares of additional national park land on Friday, including 153,682 hectares for the new Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp national park in the state’s far north-west.

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Categories: Environment

US and UK citizens are world’s biggest sources of plastic waste – study

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 11:00am

US population may also be third-largest producer of marine plastic pollution

The US and UK produce more plastic waste per person than any other major countries, according to new research.

The analysis also shows the US produces the most plastic waste in total and that its citizens may rank as high as third in the world in contributing to plastic pollution in the oceans. Previous work had suggested Asian countries dominated marine plastic pollution and placed the US in 20th place, but this did not account for US waste exports or illegal dumping within the country.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 10:47am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including an ant tug of war and red macaws’ return

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Categories: Environment

ExxonMobil warns of $30bn writedown of shale assets amid energy price slump

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 10:24am

Announcement follows record quarterly loss of $680m, its third quarterly deficit in a row

ExxonMobil has warned it may write down the value of its US shale assets by up to $30bn (£23.2bn) following a steep drop in global energy prices that has led to the oil giant’s third consecutive quarterly loss.

The US oil and gas producer told investors it plans to reassess its North America gas business over the coming months, which could lead to impairment charges as high as $25bn to $30bn if it changes its long-term strategy.

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Categories: Environment

New sensor offers a window into the secret lives of Britain's rarest bats

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 6:57am

Device makes it inexpensive to monitor sites previously too hazardous or difficult for volunteers to enter after dark

The secret lives of the UK’s rarest bats could be revealed thanks to a new sensor that can record ultrasonic calls in dense woodland areas that have previously been difficult to reach.

For decades, acoustic monitoring has been done by bat detectors carried by experts reluctant to stray into woodland thickets during night-time walks. Now a new £60 sensor that can be left in woodlands for up to a fortnight, called AudioMoth, is giving researchers a richer insight into the lives of these elusive mammals after a successful pilot study.

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Categories: Environment

‘This season is off the charts’: Colorado fights the worst wildfires in its recent history

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 3:00am

Two major fires are consuming the forests in the Rocky mountains, killing at least two people and causing an estimated $195m in damages

By 23 October, a blustery Friday toward the end of a depressingly short autumn, the two largest wildfires in Colorado’s recent history were descending on Rocky Mountain national park, reaching toward each other with a mere 10 miles of bone-dry forest between them.

The Cameron Peak fire had arrived from the north and had already scorched through wilderness for 71 days. The East Troublesome fire was approaching from the west, sending flames over the Continental Divide and forcing the evacuation of the nearby town of Estes Park.

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Categories: Environment

‘Un-managing the land’: sheep make way for trees in Cumbria's uplands

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/10/30 - 12:30am

Sheep grazing has dominated the Howgill Fells for over a century, but with shifting agricultural subsidies and urgent calls to address biodiversity loss, change is coming

For William Wordsworth the Howgill Fells was a romantic landscape, for rewilders they could be home to wolves, and for farmer John Pratt, these hills are home. “I was hoping this day would never come. I shan’t say it will break my heart, but it will,” says Pratt, who is selling his sheep and retiring after 55 years of uplands farming. “I’ve had a flock of sheep since I was 14, so I’m ready for a break,” he adds.

The 69-year-old tenant farmer works seven days a week and takes six days of holiday a year. Since 1966 he has been renting Kilnmire Farm (with no heating in the house) on the edge of Ravenstonedale village in Cumbria with his wife, Hazel. He doesn’t drink alcohol (he’s Methodist) and doesn’t have a mobile phone because he “wouldn’t know how to use it”. He tried an olive for the first time in 2017. It’s a lifestyle none of his three children is willing to take on.

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Categories: Environment

Trump's environment agency seems to be at war with the environment, say ex-officials

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/10/29 - 11:20pm

Trump has brought public health and environment rollbacks at an EPA already in trouble – and staffers worry it isn’t equipped to keep Americans safe

Donald Trump’s environment agency “actually seems to have a war on the environment”, has been “utterly untenable”, and has brought about “deeply, deeply troubling times”, according to three administrators appointed under past presidents.

Reflecting on Trump’s dozens of attacks on core environmental protections, a fourth put it another way: “[I’m] really god damned pissed off – and that’s being kind.”

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Categories: Environment

Scrap gas pipeline in eastern Med due to climate cost, says report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/10/29 - 11:00pm

Gas discovery at centre of Turkey-Greece dispute will ‘make world even less safe’

The giant gas reserves at the heart of a bitter political standoff between Greece and Turkey could lead to the same carbon emissions as the whole of France and Spain combined every year, according to a report that has called for the proposed gas pipeline project to be scrapped.

The gas discovery has inflamed regional tensions in the eastern Mediterranean as Greece and Turkey vie for control of new fossil fuel reserves in disputed waters and, according to Global Witness, the climate cost will outweigh its value in Europe’s carbon neutral future.

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Categories: Environment
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