Guardian Environment News

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Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.
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Host UK 'does not have clear vision' for last-ditch climate talks

Sun, 2020/02/02 - 5:01pm

Campaigners are increasingly concerned country lacks clear strategy for Glasgow summit

Developing countries and climate campaigners are growing increasingly concerned that the UK lacks a clear strategy for hosting vital UN talks on the climate crisis, amid fears of a conflict of interest in government between seeking post-Brexit trade deals and a global climate settlement.

Boris Johnson will lead prominent British figures from climate science, business and economics to launch the UK’s strategy for the conference, known as COP26, on Tuesday. The talks, to take place in Glasgow this November, are widely seen as the last realistic chance for countries to pledge the stiff cuts needed in greenhouse gases to stave off climate breakdown.

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Categories: Environment

Why sushi could be the solution to a sea urchin invasion

Sun, 2020/02/02 - 2:00pm

The ravenous creatures are destroying vast swaths of kelp forests, which are crucial for carbon storage. Is the answer staring us in the plate?

Eating as much sushi as humanly possible seems an unlikely way to help save the planet. But one company is hoping fine diners from London to LA to Tokyo will devour enough uni sushi – sea urchin roe – to help restore the planet’s kelp forests.

From the North Sea to Tasmania, large parts of these underwater carbon stores – crucial for biodiversity – have vanished, leaving vast “urchin barrens” on the sea floor in their place. In Norway, the expanses of bizarre, prickly orbs are green. In California, they are purple. But wherever the urchins linger, the problems are the same.

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Categories: Environment

Grave fears held for thousands of rock art sites after bushfires lay bare irrevocable damage

Sat, 2020/02/01 - 12:00pm

Warnings come after discovery of fire-ravaged Anaiwan panel on property in northern NSW that is at least 500 years old

An important rock art site in northern New South Wales has been discovered after being irretrievably damaged by bushfire, with grave fears held for thousands of other sites.

Some of the art at the site, which is on private property west of Armidale on the NSW northern tablelands, was known but had not been fully documented. Fire also destroyed a nearby site which had not been documented. The art is thought to be at least 500 years old.

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Categories: Environment

In the ground and off the page: why we’re banning ads from fossil fuels extractors

Sat, 2020/02/01 - 5:00am

The Guardian has become the first major global news organisation to institute an outright ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels. Here, we hear from readers on their reaction, and our interim chief executive explains the policy change

In a bid to reduce our carbon footprint, confront greenwashing and increase our focus on the climate crisis, the Guardian this week announced it will no longer run ads from fossil fuel extractors alongside any of its content in print or online. The move will come into immediate effect, and follows the announcement in October last year that we intend to reduce our net emissions to zero by 2030.

Once upon a time, a newspaper was a rather straightforward business. You generated enough material of interest to attract a significant number of readers. You then ‘sold’ those readers to advertisers happy to pay to get their ideas, products or brands in front of consumers with cash to spend.

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Categories: Environment

Why were whales increasingly caught in crab lines? Because of the climate crisis

Sat, 2020/02/01 - 4:00am

New study shows marine heat wave was causing marine life to cluster in an area that made feeding dangerous

When humpback whales began to appear in large numbers off the California coast in 2015 and 2016, people celebrated the comeback of the whales after a near-miss with extinction.

However, the excitement was quickly met with new worries – the whales increasingly got caught up in fishermen’s crab ropes. By 2016, there were more than 50 recorded entanglements that left whales injured or killed. Whales got ropes tangled around their mouths, making it difficult for them to eat. Crab lines cut through tissue and caused infections.

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Categories: Environment

Help bees by not mowing dandelions, gardeners told

Sat, 2020/02/01 - 2:00am

Plants provide key food source for pollinators as they come out of hibernation

Gardeners should avoid mowing over dandelions on their lawn if they want to help bees, according to the new president of the British Ecological Society.

Dandelions – which will start flowering in the UK this month – provide a valuable food source for early pollinators coming out of hibernation, including solitary bees, honey bees and hoverflies.

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Categories: Environment

Dam fine: estate owners across UK queue up to reintroduce beavers

Sat, 2020/02/01 - 2:00am

Beavers can regenerate landscapes, encourage wildlife and prevent flooding – and they have friends in high places

The must-have accessory for every English country estate was once a gothic folly, a ha-ha or a croquet lawn. Now it is a pair of beavers.

Landowners and large estates are racing to acquire licences to reintroduce the water-loving rodents, which were hunted to extinction in Britain 400 years ago.

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Categories: Environment

Matt Canavan announces nuclear waste dump location in South Australia

Fri, 2020/01/31 - 2:54pm

Farm on Eyre Peninsula volunteered by owner to house low and medium risk waste

A farming property on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula will become a nuclear waste dump, the federal government has announced, but opponents of the facility are making a last-bid ditch to stop it.

On Saturday the federal resources minister, Matt Canavan, said 160 hectares of the Napandee property in Kimba would host Australia’s radioactive waste, the vast majority of which comes from the production of nuclear medicine and is held across more than 100 sites.

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Categories: Environment

Former energy minister removed as UN climate talks chair

Fri, 2020/01/31 - 11:25am

Source says officials in COP26 unit could not work with Claire O’Neill in run-up to Glasgow talks

Claire O’Neill, the former UK energy minister who was to lead the UN climate talks this year in Glasgow, has been removed from the post.

Her sacking comes as Boris Johnson prepares to launch the UK’s strategy for hosting November’s crunch climate talks, known as COP26.

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Categories: Environment

Composting success with Guardian wrap | Brief letters

Fri, 2020/01/31 - 10:24am

Biodegradable potato-starch bags | Fossil fuel advertising | Marmalade | Sponges and loofahs

I have just turned my “active” compost heap, which has received all the Guardian biodegradable bags since they were introduced last year. I am pleased to say the older bags are barely recognisable and are well on their way to forming nice new compost. By the time the “maturing” heap is emptied in the spring, I expect all the bags will have disappeared and will help grow the next crop of potatoes – a virtuous circle. Well done on your initiative.
Jonathan Hammonds
Shrewsbury, Shropshire

• Congratulations on your brave decision to stop taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels (Guardian drops ads from fossil fuel companies, 30 January). Greenpeace calls for others to follow suit, prompting this marmalade consumer (who merely adds the labels to his wife’s confection) to triple his admittedly tiny subscription to your inspiring newspaper.
David Yates
Eccles, Greater Manchester

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2020/01/31 - 8:06am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a plea for a crocodile trapped in a tyre

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Categories: Environment

Cropped-out climate activist Vanessa Nakate urges media to hear Africans

Fri, 2020/01/31 - 6:19am

Ugandan activist says she hopes storm over Davos photo will help shift narrative

The Ugandan climate activist who was cropped out of a press photo in Davos has said many African activists experience the same erasure but feel unable to speak up.

The Associated Press apologised last week after it cropped Vanessa Nakate out of a photo she had posed for alongside fellow activists Greta Thunberg, Loukina Tille, Luisa Neubauer and Isabelle Axelsson.

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Categories: Environment

Narrabri farmers feel 'sold out' by federal-NSW energy deal that boosts gas supply

Fri, 2020/01/31 - 1:39am

NSW environment minister insists government will not ‘cut corners’ in assessing Santos’s controversial coal-seam gas project at Narrabri

Farmers near the proposed Narrabri gas development in northern New South Wales fear they will be “sold out” by a federal-state energy deal that promises to dramatically increase supplies of the fossil fuel in the state.

Announcing the $2bn deal alongside the prime minister, Scott Morrison, on Friday, the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, nominated Santos’s long-promised Narrabri coal-seam gas project as a way to deliver 70 petajoules of new gas a year as promised under the agreement.

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Categories: Environment

They survived fire and toxic fumes. So what happened next to Notre Dame's bees?

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 11:00pm

Hives that survived catastrophic Paris cathedral blaze are healthier than ever, says beekeeper

It is a crisp winter morning and the area around Notre Dame is sealed off as it has been since the fire last April that devastated the cathedral.

Those in the know, however, especially those with the keenest of eyes, might spot some small movement high up to the south of the stricken and blackened structure.

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Categories: Environment

Change climate policy now to avert oil market crisis, warns thinktank

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 5:01pm

Governments risk derailing global fossil fuel demand with ‘handbrake turns’ in future

The oil industry is at risk of a global market shock that could halve the value of fossil fuel investments if governments delay setting policies to tackle the climate crisis, according to new analysis.

A report by Carbon Tracker, a financial thinktank, warned that a “handbrake turn” in climate policy could have a “forceful, abrupt, and disorderly” impact on the global oil industry by derailing fossil fuel demand.

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Categories: Environment

Scott Morrison strikes $2bn deal with NSW to boost gas supply

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 3:06pm

Agreement will underwrite grid interconnectors and cut emissions, Australian prime minister says

Scott Morrison has struck a $2bn deal with the New South Wales government to increase gas supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.

The deal includes at least $450m of federal grants and $510m more of federal grants or loans for “NSW-based emissions reduction initiatives”, to be matched by $1.01bn in direct funding from Gladys Berejiklian’s government.

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Categories: Environment

Mexico: defender of monarch butterflies found dead two weeks after he vanished

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 11:00am
  • Homero Gómez González was found floating in a well
  • Activists say death could be over illegal logging disputes

A Mexican environmental activist who fought to protect the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly has been found dead in the western state of Michoacán, two weeks after he disappeared.

Homero Gómez González, a former logger who managed El Rosario butterfly reserve, vanished on 13 January. His body was found floating in a well on Wednesday, reportedly showing signs of torture.

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Categories: Environment

Florida hunters capture more than 80 giant snakes in Python Bowl

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 10:30am

Annual challenge encourages the public to catch as many of the invasive giant snakes that decimate native wildlife as possible

Most visitors to the mosquito-infested swamps of the Florida Everglades are happy to leave again quickly: a half-hour airboat ride and photograph of a basking alligator is usually enough to satisfy the curiosity of any tourist keen to return to the theme parks and beaches – or sports events – of the sunshine state’s more traditional attractions.

But Mike Kimmel wouldn’t be anywhere else. The professional wildlife trapper and self-styled python cowboy’s most recent excursion into the uninhabitable backwaters of the famed River of Grass region was rewarded with the grand prize in this year’s extra-special version of the annual Python Challenge encouraging the public to catch as many of the invasive giant snakes that decimate native wildlife as possible.

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Categories: Environment

The US government claims I'm a 'domestic terrorist'. Am I? | Ken Ward

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 4:24am

I shut down an oil pipeline as part of a peaceful protest. The government thinks this is violent extremism

In the early hours of 11 October 2016, I closed a safety valve on an oil pipeline in Skagit county, Washington.

I was acting as part of the “Valve Turners” direct action against climate change. Five of us, in locations across four states, succeeded in shutting down all five pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands oil into the US for a day. We were careful, transparent, civil and nonviolent. We put a premium on minimizing damage to pipeline property, and carefully considered ways to minimize any violations of the law. We called the pipeline companies beforehand, and waited around afterwards for the police to arrest us (nearly an hour in two cases).

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Categories: Environment

Bushfire survivors join claim against ANZ for financing climate crisis

Thu, 2020/01/30 - 12:47am

Three survivors joined Friends of the Earth to accuse ANZ of misleading consumers by investing in fossil fuel projects

Three bushfire survivors have joined environment group Friends of the Earth in a claim against ANZ, accusing it of financing the climate crisis by funding fossil fuel projects.

The case, lodged under international guidelines agreed by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), demands the bank disclose its greenhouse gas emissions, including “scope three” emissions resulting from its business lending and investment portfolio, and set ambitious targets that align with the Paris climate agreement.

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Categories: Environment