Guardian Environment News

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Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.
Updated: 11 hours 7 min ago

Helping poorest tackle climate crisis will boost global growth, says IMF head

Sun, 2021/01/24 - 5:01pm

Kristalina Georgieva says investing to create resilient economies is a ‘win-win-win-win’ scenario

Helping the most vulnerable people to cope with the climate crisis can boost the global economy during the Covid crisis and governments should make this a priority, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said.

Kristalina Georgieva said international responses to the pandemic must urgently take account of the need to adapt to the impacts of extreme weather and other climate shocks, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Swathes of England's vital flood defences ‘almost useless’

Sun, 2021/01/24 - 10:41am

Data from Environment Agency shows thousands of people and businesses ‘at risk from ruined assets’

Thousands of England’s vital flood defences were in such a state of ruin last year they would fail to protect communities from extreme weather, an investigation has found.

More than 3,400 of England’s “high consequence” flood assets, defined as those where there is a high risk to life and property if they fail, were judged by the Environment Agency to be in such a bad condition they were almost useless.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition signs Australia up to agreements to price in climate risk

Sun, 2021/01/24 - 9:30am

Announcement could inflame tensions between Liberals and Nationals, who have criticised banks for asking businesses for carbon transition plans

Australia will sign up to two international agreements that aim to integrate climate risk into investment decision-making including through pricing risk, Sussan Ley will announce.

The environment minister will tell the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit on Monday that Australia will join the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment and the Call for Action: Raising Ambition for Climate Adaptation and Resilience.

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Categories: Environment

Saxon church prays for deliverance from nuclear plant

Sun, 2021/01/24 - 2:00am

Community says boom in renewable energy means Bradwell B in Essex is not needed

For the 55 years that Tim Fox has worshipped at St Peter-on-the-Wall, his only neighbours have been a farm and a birdwatchers’ shelter.

Now, the tranquil surroundings of the salt marsh and the Essex sea wall at Bradwell-on-Sea are threatened by a new arrival: a sprawling nuclear power station, Bradwell B.

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Categories: Environment

‘No more monkey selfies’: scientists told images could drive illegal pet trade

Sun, 2021/01/24 - 1:30am

New guidelines say pictures posted on social media by primatologists and researchers can inadvertently damage conservation efforts

Celebrity primatologists and scientists have been urged not to post selfies with chimpanzees, orangutans and other primates on social media to help conservation efforts for threatened species.

Cuddling baby monkeys on camera and sharing Instagram posts interacting with primates at sanctuaries is strongly discouraged under new guidelines aimed at scientists, researchers and TV presenters from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on protecting the natural world.

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Categories: Environment

Cut food waste at home by sniffing and tasting, urges new campaign

Sat, 2021/01/23 - 7:55am

National government-backed initiative will replace ‘use by’ with ‘best before’ and urge people to judge for themselves

Worried about whether the yoghurt, milk and cheese sitting in your fridge is still safe to eat? Rather than rely on the misleading “best by” date stamped on the side, perhaps its time to “sniff and taste” your staple foods.

That’s the aim behind a new initiative to fight the UK food-waste mountain, by reducing the amount thrown away in the home.

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Categories: Environment

Jair Bolsonaro could face charges in The Hague over Amazon rainforest

Sat, 2021/01/23 - 5:03am

Indigenous leaders and human rights groups accuse Brazilian president of crimes against humanity

Jair Bolsonaro could face charges in the international criminal court (ICC) after being accused of crimes against humanity.

Indigenous leaders in Brazil and human rights groups are urging the court to investigate the Brazilian president over his dismantling of environmental policies and violations of indigenous rights, which they say amount to ecocide.

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Categories: Environment

How creating wildlife crossings can help reindeer, bears – and even crabs

Sat, 2021/01/23 - 1:30am

Sweden’s announcement this week that it is to build a series of animal bridges is the latest in global efforts to help wildlife navigate busy roads

Every April, Sweden’s main highway comes to a periodic standstill. Hundreds of reindeer overseen by indigenous Sami herders shuffle across the asphalt on the E4 as they begin their journey west to the mountains after a winter gorging on the lichen near the city of Umeå. As Sweden’s main arterial road has become busier, the crossings have become increasingly fractious, especially if authorities do not arrive in time to close the road. Sometimes drivers try to overtake the reindeer as they cross – spooking the animals and causing long traffic jams as their Sami owners battle to regain control.

“During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer,” says Per Sandström, a landscape ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who works as an intermediary between the Sami and authorities to improve the crossings.

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Categories: Environment

Buyers of brand-new homes face £20,000 bill to make them greener

Sat, 2021/01/23 - 1:00am

Critics say the costs could have been avoided if ministers had agreed to bring in low-carbon standards sooner

Householders buying brand new homes in the next four years are likely to find an unpleasant surprise awaiting them in the future: homes built today will have to be retrofitted with energy efficiency measures and low-carbon technology, at an average cost of more than £20,000.

The extra costs will amount to more than £20bn for the whole of the UK, if the government’s targets of building 300,000 new homes a year are met. Critics say the costs could have been avoided if ministers had agreed to bring in low-carbon standards sooner.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition quietly adds fossil fuel industry leaders to emissions reduction panel

Fri, 2021/01/22 - 12:00pm

Critics ask if some appointees to the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee have a potential conflict of interest

The Morrison government has quietly appointed fossil fuel industry leaders and a controversial economist to a committee responsible for ensuring the integrity of projects that get climate funding.

Critics have raised concerns about whether some appointees to the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee may have a potential conflict of interest that could leave its decisions open to legal challenge.

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Categories: Environment

Quarter of known bee species have not been recorded since 1990

Fri, 2021/01/22 - 9:00am

Global study finds that species numbers reported in the wild fell sharply between 1990 and 2015

The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on Earth has declined by a quarter since 1990, according to a global analysis of bee declines.

Researchers analysed bee records from museums, universities and citizen scientists collated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, (GBIF) a global, government-funded network providing open-access data on biodiversity.

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Categories: Environment

UN warns most will live downstream of ageing large dams by 2050

Fri, 2021/01/22 - 8:57am

Global study calls on governments to step up maintenance efforts to prevent failures, overtopping or leaks

By 2050 most people will live downstream of a large dam built in the 20th century, many of which are approaching the limits of the useful lifetime they were designed for, according to global research.

To avoid the potential for dam failures, overtopping or leaks, the dams will require increasing maintenance, and some may have to be taken out of service. Many governments have not prepared for these needs, warn the authors of a study by the United Nations University.

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Categories: Environment

Yosemite closed after high winds bring down two giant sequoias

Fri, 2021/01/22 - 6:47am
  • California national park to remain shut over the weekend
  • About 300,000 people in the state had electricity knocked out

Yosemite national park will remain closed through the weekend after high winds that battered much of California knocked down two giant sequoias and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Related: Joe Biden to focus on economic recovery after Covid as 17.5m vaccine shots given in US – live

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Categories: Environment

Cross-channel power link for 1m British homes opens

Fri, 2021/01/22 - 4:01am

Electricity cable stretches 149 miles on seafloor between UK and France

A new high-voltage subsea cable linking the UK to France has begun importing enough electricity to power 1m British homes.

The delayed power cable, which is the second interconnector linking the UK to France, will stretch 149 miles along the seafloor between Hampshire in the UK and Normandy in France.

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Categories: Environment

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Fri, 2021/01/22 - 3:15am

Significance of changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time, a new study has found.

Researchers compiled a database of satellite images of major rivers in the United States from 1984 to 2018 and learned that about a third have significantly changed color in less than 40 years.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition granting fossil fuel companies up to $250,000 to attend industry events

Thu, 2021/01/21 - 8:28pm

International mining conference among forums involving oil, coal and gas industries approved for subsidies in program touted as boosting events sector

The Morrison government is offering fossil fuel companies grants of up to $250,000 to attend industry events as part of a program that is supposed to help the Australian conference industry recover from a coronavirus-induced slump.

A dozen events involving the oil, coal and gas industries are among 150 so far approved by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission as part of the $50m stimulus package.

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Categories: Environment

1 million young people urge governments to prioritise climate crisis

Thu, 2021/01/21 - 5:01pm

World leaders will meet for Climate Adaptation Summit to consider how to adapt to extreme weather

More than 1 million young people around the world have urged governments to prioritise measures to protect against the ravages of climate breakdown during the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

World leaders are due to meet by video link on Monday to consider how to adapt to the extreme weather, wildfires and floods that have become more common as temperatures rise. Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary general, will lead the Climate Adaptation Summit, and leaders including Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Narendra Modi are expected to attend.

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Categories: Environment

California has environmental allies once again with Biden in the White House

Thu, 2021/01/21 - 1:44pm

The new administration shares many of the state’s concerns and has been quick to address Trump’s de-regulation efforts

California has led the resistance to Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations in the past four years, with the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, filing a whopping 122 lawsuits challenging Trump administration rules, most of them focused on climate and public health.

Now, following Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s swearing in on Wednesday, the Golden state once again has allies in the White House when it comes to environmental protections.

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Categories: Environment

John Kerry commits US to climate crisis fight but warns world is way off pace

Thu, 2021/01/21 - 11:38am

Joe Biden’s new climate envoy says: ‘All nations must raise ambition together – or we will all fail, together’

The world is lagging behind the pace of change needed to avert catastrophic impacts from the climate crisis, John Kerry has warned in his first remarks as the US’s new climate envoy.

Kerry, the former US secretary of state, acknowledged that America had been absent from the international effort to contain dangerous global heating during Donald Trump’s presidency but added that “today no country and no continent is getting the job done”.

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Categories: Environment

France passes ‘sensory heritage’ law after plight of Maurice the noisy rooster

Thu, 2021/01/21 - 11:37am

Senators approve law to protect the noises and smells of the countryside following high-profile cases

From crowing roosters to the whiff of barnyard animals, the “sensory heritage” of France’s countryside will now be protected by law from attempts to stifle the everyday aspects of rural life from newcomers looking for peace and quiet.

French senators on Thursday gave final approval to a law proposed in the wake of several high-profile conflicts by village residents and vacationers, or recent arrivals derided as “neo-rurals”.

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Categories: Environment