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Updated: 10 hours 27 min ago

Judge suspends Dakota Access pipeline over environmental concerns

Mon, 2020/07/06 - 4:35pm
  • US district judge sides with Standing Rock Sioux tribe
  • More extensive environmental review is required – judge

A federal judge has sided with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down until a more extensive environmental review is done.

US district judge James Boasberg had previously said the pipeline, which has been in operation three years, remained “highly controversial” under federal environmental law, and a more extensive review was necessary after an environmental assessment by the US army corps of engineers.

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Categories: Environment

Multibillion-dollar gas projects in jeopardy as global market collapses

Mon, 2020/07/06 - 4:01pm

Plans for new terminals may be abandoned because of glut of fossil fuel supply, says study

A multibillion-dollar pipeline of projects aiming to ship gas around the world on giant tankers could be in jeopardy because of a collapse in the global gas market, according to a report.

A study by Global Energy Monitor has found that spending on new gas terminals needed to ship super-chilled liquified natural gas (LNG) on seaborne tankers has more than doubled in the past year, from $82.8bn (£66.3bn) to $196.1bn.

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Categories: Environment

Chancellor set to announce £3bn green investment package

Mon, 2020/07/06 - 2:30pm

Campaigners say Rishi Sunak’s plan to decarbonise public buildings does not go far enough

Rishi Sunak is to announce a £3bn package of green investment to decarbonise public buildings and cut emissions from Britain’s poorly insulated homes as part of the government’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

The chancellor will seek to use Wednesday’s summer statement on the economy to fend off criticism that his proposals lack ambition by insisting that he can “kick start” an environment-friendly revival through the creation of thousands of green jobs in the construction industry.

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Categories: Environment

Coronavirus: world treating symptoms, not cause of pandemics, says UN

Mon, 2020/07/06 - 9:00am

Ongoing destruction of nature will result in stream of animal diseases jumping to humans, says report

The world is treating the health and economic symptoms of the coronavirus pandemic but not the environmental cause, according to the authors of a UN report. As a result, a steady stream of diseases can be expected to jump from animals to humans in coming years, they say.

The number of such “zoonotic” epidemics is rising, from Ebola to Sars to West Nile virus and Rift Valley fever, with the root cause being the destruction of nature by humans and the growing demand for meat, the report says.

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Categories: Environment

Giant flywheel project in Scotland could prevent UK blackouts

Mon, 2020/07/06 - 6:14am

Trailblazing system would help to stabilise the energy grid’s electrical frequency

A giant flywheel in north-east Scotland could soon help to prevent blackouts across Britain by mimicking the effect of a power station but without using fossil fuels.

The trailblazing project near Keith in Moray, thought to cost about £25m, will not generate electricity or produce carbon emissions – but it could help keep the lights on by stabilising the energy grid’s electrical frequency.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition announces $190m plan to divert 10m tonnes of waste from landfill

Sun, 2020/07/05 - 8:20pm

Government hopes to generate $600m in investment and states and territories must match federal contribution to receive funding

The federal government will devote $190m towards new recycling infrastructure, as it looks to divert more than 10m tonnes of plastic, paper and glass waste away from landfill.

The funding, which will be contingent on state and territory governments and industry groups matching the federal contribution, is part of a newly launched Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) that the Morrison government hopes will generate $600m in investment.

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Categories: Environment

Algae turns Italian Alps pink, prompting concerns over melting

Sun, 2020/07/05 - 4:57pm

Pink snow observed on parts of the Presena glacier believed to be caused by plant that makes the ice darker, causing it to melt faster

Scientists in Italy are investigating the mysterious appearance of pink glacial ice in the Alps, caused by algae that accelerate the effects of climate change.

There is debate about where the algae come from, but Biagio Di Mauro of Italy’s National Research Council said the pink snow observed on parts of the Presena glacier is likely caused by the same plant found in Greenland.

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Categories: Environment

Thames Water former boss handed £2.8m since being sacked

Sun, 2020/07/05 - 7:27am

Steve Robertson received £2m payoff on top of £777,500 for loss of notice despite being sacked over leakages

The former boss of Thames Water has been handed £2.8m since leaving the company, despite being sacked for leakages and fines while in charge.

Steve Robertson, who stopped working for the company in May last year, was given a £2m payoff for losing his job on top of £777,500 paid to cover his 12-month notice period.

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Categories: Environment

'Irrelevant': Labor frontbencher says no use focusing on 2030 emissions target

Sat, 2020/07/04 - 8:20pm

Resources spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon says a mid-century target of net zero emissions would now be the opposition’s focus

Labor’s resources spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon, says an emissions reduction target for 2030 has become “irrelevant”. He’s also declined to say whether the opposition should adopt a concrete commitment for 2035.

Fitzgibbon told the ABC on Sunday Labor’s climate change policy for the next federal election would be “meaningful”, but he said a mid-century target of net zero emissions would now be the opposition’s focus.

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Categories: Environment

English countryside 'at risk from Boris Johnson’s planning revolution'

Sat, 2020/07/04 - 9:18am

The prime minister’s ‘build, build, build’ strategy could harm habitats and reduce wildlife protection, critics warn

The English countryside and its wildlife are at serious risk because of Boris Johnson’s pledge to revolutionise the planning system, leading green groups warn today.

In a joint letter to the Observer, the organisations, which include the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Wildlife Trusts, say wide-scale deregulation leading to lower environmental standards and less protection would be a betrayal of promises by Johnson and Michael Gove to deliver a “green Brexit”.

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Categories: Environment

'An ashram for the hummingbird': the Trinidad haven for world's tiniest bird

Sat, 2020/07/04 - 1:15am

Theo and Gloria Ferguson have created a garden specially designed to attract hummingbirds – and hundreds visit daily

At the foot of Theo and Gloria Ferguson’s property stands a giant silk cotton tree. Reminiscent of those enchanted species in children’s fables, this ancient sentinel’s huge varicose limbs yawn upwards and outwards, towards a canopy of leaves that scratch the sky. Eight adults linking arms would struggle to encircle its vast girth, proof of the aeons it has stood guarding the edge of Trinidad’s Maracas valley.

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Categories: Environment

Dover clifftops 'buzzing with wildlife' after National Trust takeover

Sat, 2020/07/04 - 12:00am

Restoration work and wet winter have led to an explosion of colour and an increase in birds

A well known piece of the British landscape that had become depleted of flora and fauna because of years of intensive farming is alive with wildflowers, butterflies and birds this summer.

Since the National Trust acquired fields on top of the white cliffs of Dover two and half years ago after a £1m national appeal championed by Dame Vera Lynn, it has worked to restore the area to rich grassland.

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Categories: Environment

'Steamy showers': Australian Instagram influencers post on behalf of natural gas

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 1:00pm

Former reality TV contestants promise ‘instant and long lasting hot water’ in campaign by gas company Jemena

The natural gas giant Jemena has defended paying Instagram influencers, including former contestants of The Block, Married at First Sight and other reality TV shows, to promote the fossil fuel in social media posts.

The #GoNaturalGas campaign from the Chinese and Singaporean-owned Jemena, which manages key natural gas pipelines around and out of Australia, appears to have been running for two years online, and comes amid concern liquified natural gas could be as bad for the environment as coal.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's register of threatened species critical habitat not updated in 15 years

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 1:00pm

Independent advice body says minister should be given emergency powers to protect habitat after natural disasters

Australia has not updated a register of habitat critical for the protection of threatened species for 15 years, prompting experts to call for it to be strengthened to protect more types of land.

An independent scientific body that advises the government on threatened species also says the environment minister should be given emergency powers to protect habitat after natural disasters.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 7:51am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a hatching crocodile and Mexican grey wolf cubs

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Categories: Environment

UK waste firm Biffa loses appeal after exporting dirty waste to China

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 6:43am

Company convicted of trying to export used nappies and other contaminated materials illegally

One of the UK’s biggest waste firms has lost a case in the court of appeal to overturn a criminal conviction for exporting dirty waste to China.

The Environment Agency, which brought a successful criminal prosecution a year ago against Biffa Waste Services Ltd, which was convicted of trying to send used nappies and other contaminated materials illegally to China, welcomed Friday’s ruling and said exports of this kind of illegal waste “blighted the lives and environment of people overseas”.

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Categories: Environment

Judge fines Greenpeace £80,000 over North Sea oil rig occupation

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 3:51am

Scottish court rules that environmental group defied court order banning the protest

Greenpeace has been fined £80,000 after a Scottish court found it guilty of the “wilful defiance” of a court order banning it from occupying a North Sea oil rig.

Lady Wolffe, sitting in the court of session in Edinburgh, said Greenpeace UK had deliberately broken an interdict, or injunction, against occupying a platform owned by the US contractor Transocean in June 2019.

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Categories: Environment

Heatwaves have become longer in most of the world since 1950s – study

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 3:26am

Frequency of heatwaves and cumulative intensity has risen through the decades, research finds

Heatwaves have increased in both length and frequency in nearly every part of the world since the 1950s, according to what is described as the first study to look at the issue at a regional level.

The study found the escalation in heatwaves varied around the planet, with the Amazon, north-eastern Brazil, west Asia (including parts of the subcontinent and central Asia) and the Mediterranean all experiencing more rapid change than, for example, southern Australia and north Asia. The only inhabited region where there was not a trend was in the central United States.

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Categories: Environment

Trump abuses our national parks, and he's doing it again at Mount Rushmore | Jonathan B Jarvis and Gary Machlis

Fri, 2020/07/03 - 2:05am

Past presidents used the parks to inspire and unite. Trump sees them as backdrops for self-serving, divisive campaign rallies

In the United States, parks have always been used as spaces for public protest, places for commemorating acts of resistance and the struggle for a more perfect union, and stages for presidents to call for national unity or celebrate civic purpose.

As his Mount Rushmore event scheduled for Friday makes clear, Donald Trump misunderstands and misuses all these precedents.

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Categories: Environment

'Human swan' to take flight on new mission to follow migrating ospreys

Thu, 2020/07/02 - 11:15pm

Conservationist Sacha Dench will also log marine mammals she sees from her paramotor on the 7,000km journey across Europe and Africa

Sacha Dench is not one to sit still. Known to many as “the human swan” for her record-breaking journey tracking migrating swans in a motorised paraglider, the conservationist and adventurer is planning her next aerial mission: to follow ospreys migrating 7,000km across Europe and Africa.

“It’s really hard to get people to care about migratory species because they are not the responsibility of any one country,” says Dench, who founded Conservation Without Borders and was named as a UN ambassador for migratory species this year. “Birds often don’t fit within borders so they don’t sit in national action plans unless they breed there. But we need to think of conservation in terms of a species’ entire flyway or migratory track.”

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Categories: Environment