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'Obscene amount of money': Anthony Albanese backs potential cap on political donations

Sat, 2020/02/22 - 5:26pm

Labor leader tells ABC he is open to a donations cap and says ALP zero emissions target could revive the Neg

Anthony Albanese has given in-principle support for a cap on political donations, citing the record $83m donation from Mineralogy to Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party as an example of “obscene” donations that must be curbed.

In a wide-ranging interview on ABC’s Insiders, the Labor leader also confirmed the opposition’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 will include all sectors of the economy and could be achieved in part by adopting the Turnbull-era national energy guarantee in the electricity sector.

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Categories: Environment

Greta Thunberg’s mother reveals teenager’s troubled childhood

Sat, 2020/02/22 - 3:01pm
Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman gives emotional account of daughter’s battles with autism and an eating disorder

Greta Thunberg’s extraordinary transformation from a near-mute 11-year-old into the world’s most powerful voice on the climate crisis is revealed today by her mother.

In an emotional account, Malena Ernman describes how her daughter came to be diagnosed with autism, and how activism helped her overcome an eating disorder.

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Categories: Environment

California street shut down after 40,000 bees swarm from hotel

Sat, 2020/02/22 - 1:18pm

Several people hospitalized in Pasadena after Africanized bees emerge from hotel’s eaves: ‘Something set them off’

A swarm of as many as 40,000 Africanized bees sent several people to hospital and closed a street in California, after swarming from the eaves of a Howard Johnson Inn.

Related: Ursus urbinus: 'elderly' 400lb bear spotted roaming Los Angeles suburb

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Categories: Environment

‘I’ve had enough … I want out’: York traders count the cost of the floods

Sat, 2020/02/22 - 12:40pm

The city has fared badly in the recent storms, with long-suffering businesses taking another hit

At Plonkers wine bar in York city centre, brass plaques on the bare brick walls show how high the floodwaters have risen over the years.

The highest was 17ft 8in in 2000 – “Here it comes”, the plaque reads. The lowest is 2012’s 16ft 7in, captioned “Here again”. Another plaque from 2015 says “Keep on smiling” and records a height of 17ft 2in.

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Categories: Environment

Can there be a Hollywood ending for the 'Brad Pitt of mountain lions'?

Sat, 2020/02/22 - 7:00am

Penned in by freeways, LA’s big cats face extinction – but a new wildlife crossing might be the answer

The lingering stench from putrefying deer carcasses is so powerful in Richie King’s pickup truck that his neighbours once reported him to the police. The suspicious plastic boxes behind our seats are empty today, he promises, chuckling, as we drive into California’s Sierra Azul mountains.

But we are both hoping the smell of fermenting roadkill proves irresistible for an elusive predator in these hills: mountain lions.

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Categories: Environment

Mike Bloomberg under fire for 'not very ambitious' climate plan

Sat, 2020/02/22 - 1:00am

Candidate has offered few details on how he would he achieve goals as critics say plan lags behind Democratic rivals

Mike Bloomberg has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to environmental advocacy causes, but his campaign is coming under fire for a climate plan that lags far behind the other Democratic candidates for president.

In the latest televised Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night, Bloomberg said he wouldn’t “go to war with China” over its highest-in-the-world carbon emissions. He called fracked gas a “transition fuel”, and said that “we want to go to all renewables, but that’s still many years from now”. But, he added: “The world is coming apart faster than any scientific study had predicted. We’ve just got to do something now.”

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Categories: Environment

Getting privatisation undone puts centre-left in good shape in Hamburg

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 10:00pm

Losing 2013 plebiscite on buying back utility grid appears to have enhanced SPD’s local prospects

As with Brexit in Britain, the outcome of a referendum in Hamburg came as a blow to the establishment. By the slimmest of majorities, voters defied the status quo, and the party that did the best job convincing the public it would honour their will collected the political rewards.

The dynamic unleashed by the 2013 plebiscite on buying the local utility grids back from private providers helps to explain why the city state is expected to buck national trends at this Sunday’s elections.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef could face 'most extensive coral bleaching ever', scientists say

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 12:00pm

This year’s bleaching likely to be widespread although less intensive than previous outbreaks, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says

The Great Barrier Reef could be about to experience its most widespread outbreak of mass coral bleaching ever seen, according to an analysis from the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But the analysis, seen by Guardian Australia, says while bleaching could hit the entire length of the world heritage-listed reef, the impacts may not be as intense as previous major outbreaks.

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Categories: Environment

Device inspired by mangroves could help clear up flood water

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 12:00pm

Researchers say their synthetic system reproduces tree’s ability to desalinate water

A novel approach to removing salt from water, inspired by mangrove trees, has been revealed by researchers who say the system could offer an unusual approach to clearing up flood water.

Mangroves, like other trees, employ a system of water transport: it is thought evaporation of moisture from their leaves produces a negative pressure in their water-conducting tissues that helps to draw water into their roots and up their trunks.

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Categories: Environment

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 9:27am

Leaked report for world’s major fossil fuel financier says Earth is on unsustainable trajectory

The world’s largest financier of fossil fuels has warned clients that the climate crisis threatens the survival of humanity and that the planet is on an unsustainable trajectory, according to a leaked document.

The JP Morgan report on the economic risks of human-caused global heating said climate policy had to change or else the world faced irreversible consequences.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 9:05am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including chinstrap penguins and a koala up a tree

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Categories: Environment

Coal and wet wood burning: how will restrictions work?

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 7:18am

Everything you need to know about the phasing out of the polluting domestic fuels in England

From next year, sales of the most polluting domestic fuels, coal and wet wood, will be phased out in England. What will this mean for households, the environment and the traditional roaring open fire?

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Categories: Environment

As Nobel prize winners, we demand Justin Trudeau stop the Teck Frontier mine | Nobel prize winners

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 4:30am

All new projects that enable fossil fuel growth are an affront to our state of climate emergency. It is a disgrace Canada is considering them

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

The year 2020 has already become one defined by devastating impacts of climate change. While we celebrated the ambition of countries – including Canada – that demanded the enshrinement of 1.5C in the Paris climate agreement, it is increasingly clear that even this is a compromise with deeply tragic implications for the world’s climate-vulnerable regions.

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Categories: Environment

Dry February sends California back to drought: 'This hasn't happened in 150 years'

Fri, 2020/02/21 - 4:00am

February is typically one of the wettest months in California, but the state is parched, and there’s no moisture in the forecasts

San Francisco and Sacramento have not seen a drop of rain this February, and climate scientists are expecting that disturbing dry trend to hold, in what is typically one of the wettest months of the year for California.

“This hasn’t happened in 150 years or more,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “There have even been a couple wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter.”

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Categories: Environment

House coal and wet wood to be phased out by 2023 to cut pollution

Thu, 2020/02/20 - 11:10pm

Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest sources of PM2.5

The sale of the most polluting fuels burned in household stoves and open fires will be phased out in England from next year to clean up the air, the government has said.

Plans to phase out the sale of house coal and wet wood have been confirmed as part of efforts to tackle tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5, which can penetrate deep into lungs and the blood and cause serious health problems.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition ministers at odds over emissions target after Labor commits to net zero by 2050

Thu, 2020/02/20 - 7:15pm

Mathias Cormann says Coalition will ‘finalise longer-term target in time for Cop26’ but Angus Taylor commits only to ‘long-term strategy’

Senior Morrison government ministers are publicly at odds about whether Australia will take a long-term emissions reduction target to global climate talks in November after Labor unveiled a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

On Friday the finance minister Mathias Cormann confirmed the government “will be finalising a longer-term target in time for Cop26” but the emissions reduction minister would commit only to “a long-term strategy” despite repeatedly being asked about a new target.

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Categories: Environment

The government's sudden passion for climate technology is newfound and insincere | Simon Holmes a Court

Thu, 2020/02/20 - 5:34pm

The call for technology before action is a specious distraction designed to paper over the plan to take no action

If you’re committed to the Paris agreement – to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees – then at a minimum, logically, scientifically, you’re committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

So far, at least 77 countries have committed to the target, as has every state and territory in Australia. The fact that prime minister Scott Morrison is pushing back hard against the calls for such a target sends yet another strong signal that his government still denies the need to tackle climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Flood insurance cover does not protect thousands of new homes

Thu, 2020/02/20 - 5:01pm

Thinktank says 70,000 new builds in high risk areas are not covered by government-backed scheme

Tens of thousands of families who bought new homes in flood-risk areas are facing “crippling” financial costs, as they are ineligible for cover under a government-backed insurance scheme, a study has found.

Research by the liberal conservative thinktank Bright Blue found that 70,000 homes had been built on land at the highest risk of flooding in England since 2009, including 20,000 that were not protected by flood defences.

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Categories: Environment

Canadian police had 'no authority' to search pipeline activists, says watchdog

Thu, 2020/02/20 - 2:12pm

Letter offers scathing criticism of police’s tactics against Wet’suwet’en people amid growing protest over gas pipeline

Canadian federal police had “no legal authority” to make ID checks and searches on activists seeking to block a pipeline project on Indigenous territory, according to newly released correspondence from the force’s oversight body.

The nine-page letter written by Michelaine Lahaie, chair of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, offers scathing criticism of the police’s continued use of tactics against Indigenous people which she had previously warned against.

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Categories: Environment

Colorado River flow shrinks from climate crisis, risking ‘severe water shortages’

Thu, 2020/02/20 - 12:00pm

Millions of people rely on the 1,450-mile waterway as increasing periods of drought and rising temperatures reduce flow of river

The flow of the Colorado River is dwindling due to the impacts of global heating, risking “severe water shortages” for the millions of people who rely upon one of America’s most storied waterways, researchers have found.

Increasing periods of drought and rising temperatures have been shrinking the flow of the Colorado in recent years and scientists have now developed a model to better understand how the climate crisis is fundamentally changing the 1,450-mile waterway.

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Categories: Environment