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Brazil's indigenous people outraged as agency targeted in conservative-led cuts

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/07/10 - 2:00am

Amid budget cuts and threats from conservative lawmakers, the National Indian Foundation, or Funai, is barely able to protect indigenous people and their land

The Brazilian agency charged with protecting nearly a million indigenous people and their extensive reserves is barely functioning after a debilitating assault from a powerful group of conservative politicians and a cost-cutting government.

The concerted campaign against the National Indian Foundation, known as Funai, could endanger some of Brazil’s most vulnerable tribes – and compromise the country’s ability to meet international commitments on climate change, said indigenous leaders, campaigners and scientists.

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Categories: Environment

Adani's short-cut operating plan avoids expected $1bn environment bond

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 11:08pm

Carmichael plan details no mining or construction, which would trigger a Queensland government demand for funds to pay for land rehabilitation

Adani has kept an operating plan for its unfunded Queensland mine to just six months, postponing an expected legal obligation to provide a billion-dollar rehabilitation bond before financial backing emerges.

The miner has provided the state government with a plan that covers only up to the end of 2017, which falls before its deadline for securing US$2.5bn in financial backing to execute the first phase of Australia’s largest proposed coal project.

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Categories: Environment

Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 10:26pm

A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change

Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.

The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute.

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Categories: Environment

Between two shires – a world of difference

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 9:30pm

Moonshine Gap, Cambridgeshire I watch a bird, listen to its dainty movements, then walk over into Northamptonshire, into the wood and signs of rural mischief

Moonshine Gap: what does that name say? When I saw it on the map it said something probably over-romantic, definitely nefarious, the sort of feature found in literature of the Kentucky backwoods. Or older, when the transit of and sightlines to stellar objects were watched, noted and sometimes immortalised. Seemed a stretch for this place.

Gap is like col or pass, a place where the ground gives to allow a way between this place and that. All are mountain words, so a strange find in this flat place. This “gap” marks a straddle between Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, so maybe that’s why. It’s not new: there it is on the 1889 map, attached to a wedge of wood amid crackle-glaze fields.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 4:38pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Impressionist view of midsummer flowers: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 12 July 1917

Along the grassy cuttings of the railway line between Carlisle and Kilmarnock the midsummer flowers are rampant. One would like to have a free pass to investigate the flora of railway cuttings. Many are the tales one hears of the uncommon plants which turn up in such situations, but, in whirling past, one can get only an impressionist view. To-day the prevailing colour was a brilliant and beautiful lilac-blue, that of the tufted vetch (Vicia cracca) whose long-spikes of pea-shaped flowers made “little heavens” for many miles. In some places they had begun to mow the grass along the cuttings, and the farmers will be glad of this vetch, which makes a much-prized sweet food for cattle.

Related: How to access the Guardian and Observer digital archive

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Categories: Environment

The downside of summer sunshine

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 1:30pm

The June heatwave brought dangerously high ozone levels and caused serious summer smog

The hottest June day in the UK since 1976 caused widespread summertime smog across southern England and the Midlands. Sevenoaks in Kent and Lullington Heath, East Sussex, measured the greatest ozone level for 11 years; reaching eight on the UK government’s ten-point scale for the first time. The winds then turned westerly and carried our polluted air eastwards to create problems over Germany.

Ozone can take days to form in the atmosphere. It therefore spreads across very wide areas. To reduce the worst impacts, Paris once again banned the oldest vehicles from its roads and, in a targeted approach, restrictions were placed on industries that emit volatile hydrocarbons that contribute to ozone formation. In a re-run of the 2003 heatwave, smoke from the tragic forest fires in Portugal spread over France and reached the UK during the hot weather.

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Categories: Environment

Environmentalists in Brazil blame government for Amazon land violence

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 12:32pm

Plans to reduce forest protections linked to attacks on inspectors and campaigners, environmental groups said after two land rights activists murdered

Environmental campaigners have blamed the Brazilian government and Congress for intensifying violence in the lawless Amazon after two land activists were murdered and a transporter carrying vehicles for Brazil’s environment agency was torched last week.

Related: Brazil's archaeologists join fight to preserve country's ancient lands

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Categories: Environment

Ambitious clean energy target will mean lower electricity prices, modelling says

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 11:00am

Energy analysis firm RepuTex finds clean energy target going beyond that advocated by Finkel Review would keep prices down for longer

The more ambitious a clean energy target is, the lower Australian wholesale electricity prices will be, according to new modelling by energy analysis firm RepuTex.

The Finkel review, released last month recommended the government introduce a clean energy target (CET), which it found would cut emissions from the national electricity market and put downward pressure on both wholesale and retail prices.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow hotel operator drafts £6.7bn cheaper third runway plan

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 7:42am

Surinder Arora publishes ‘cheaper and less disruptive’ plan to expand airport including shifting new runway away from M25 and reducing site area by 25%

A wealthy hotel operator has submitted plans for a third runway at Heathrow which he claims would be £6.7bn cheaper than the airport’s current scheme.

Surinder Arora, founder and chairman of the Arora Group, said there were “cheaper and better ways” to expand Britain’s biggest airport in proposals sent to the government as part of a public consultation.

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Categories: Environment

While Corals Die Along The Great Barrier Reef, Humans Struggle To Adjust

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 5:09am

It's the world's biggest coral reef system, home to some 400 types of coral. In the past 18 months, rising ocean temperatures helped cause the single greatest loss of coral ever recorded there.

(Image credit: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Gig economy: now is the time to ease the burden for workers

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/09 - 12:51am

The Taylor review of employment practices, set up by Theresa May, is due to be published. It must promise radical reform

When Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, was appointed last year by Theresa May to lead a review of modern employment practices, he said it would be “really important to get out and listen to people”, as opposed to merely crunching data and numbers.

Let us hope he has listened to some of the same people as Frank Field, the former chair of the work and pensions committee. Field’s latest report from the frontline of the gig economy told some depressing, if by now familiar, stories. Workers can be forced into forms of self-employment against their will. Contracts can offer effective wages of less than £2.50 an hour and be enforced with threats of fines or loss of work.

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Categories: Environment

another tail light

The Field Lab - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 5:29pm

Just over a year ago I replaced this tail light.  2 months ago the new one jiggled loose and lost a vital part and I have been nursing it along by applying a little duct tape to hold it in place.  Last week I forgot to check the tape and took a trip south for some errands.  That evening I noticed the tail light was gone.  Found it the next day along the highway about half way to Study Butte.  Just installed a new replacement today (and put some thread lock on the 2 screws that hold it in place).  90,95,75,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Grapes shrivel as Spanish farmers lament a relentless drought

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 4:03pm
Animals and plants struggle to survive as severe heat dries up the land

A taunting peal of thunder rings out overhead as Diego García de la Peña studies one of his ponds and wonders whether its water will see his cattle through until October.

The 65-year-old farmer – a former bullfighter who quotes Federico García Lorca and whose ancestors were among the legions of steely Extremadurans who bent the New World to their will – is a worried man.

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Categories: Environment

Badger cull could see boom in foxes, stoats and weasels

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 2:01pm
Conservationists fear negative impact on ecosystem and call on the government to release cull data

It is one of the more neglected dimensions of the badger cull, but one that could reignite the controversy surrounding the attempt to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Conservationists have long claimed that eliminating badgers from certain areas is likely to trigger an increase in other predators, such as foxes, leading to serious consequences for species and habitats. But the government has refused to publish data showing what impact the cull is having on local ecosystems for fear that the results will be used by animal rights activists to identify the farmers and landowners carrying out the extermination.

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Categories: Environment

'G19' Nations Affirm Climate Plan, Acknowledging U.S. Withdrawal

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 10:30am

Noting President Trump's stance, a declaration states, "The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible."

(Image credit: Patrik Sollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

G20 leaders' statement on climate change highlights rift with US

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 7:42am

Joint statement points to US decision to withdraw from Paris agreement while other G20 countries see accord as ‘irreversible’

World leaders have made clear the US’s isolated stance on climate change, with 19 of the G20 countries affirming their commitment to the “irreversible” Paris climate agreement.

After lengthy negotiations that stretched well into Saturday, the final joint statement from the meeting in Hamburg notes Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris deal while stating that the world’s other major economies all still support the international effort to slow dangerous global warming.

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Categories: Environment

Seven right whales found dead in 'devastating' blow to endangered animal

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 3:00am

Carcasses found off Canada in recent weeks in what may be biggest single die-off of one of world’s most endangered whale species, expert says

Seven north Atlantic right whales have been found floating lifelessly in the Gulf of St Lawrence, off Canada, in recent weeks, in what is being described as a “catastrophic” blow to one of the world’s most endangered whales.

The first whale carcass was reported in early June. Within a month, another six reports came in, leaving marine biologists in the region reeling.

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Categories: Environment

Electric car revolution: calculating the cost of green motoring

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/08 - 1:00am

More battery-powered vehicles would mean cleaner air and quieter streets – but also a drain on the National Grid and less fuel duty to the Treasury

Streets will be quieter, the air will be cleaner, people will spend less time at petrol stations and car factories might even return to Britain’s shores if the country switches to electric cars in a dramatic, widespread fashion.

But widespread adoption of battery-powered vehicles would not be without challenges too. A large-scale switchover to electric cars could create problems for power grids, could mean roads lined with charging poles and it could also leave a big hole in public coffers as fuel duty dries up.

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Categories: Environment

Sassy and sociable, the swifts are back in town

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/07 - 9:30pm

Kendal, Lake District Every year they fly 5,000 miles to breed in the exact same crack or crevice in the exact same building

In their brief sojourn here, swifts wreak high-pitched havoc – they are all daredevil velocity and sassy sociability. Since Roman times at least, these urban Apodidae have exploited humankind’s structures. They are nest site faithful, returning every year to breed in the exact same crack or crevice in the exact same building after their 5,000-mile migration from Africa.

But according to the RSPB, over a third of the UK’s swifts have been lost in 22 years, in no small part because of habitat loss. Re-roofing or re-pointing old stone buildings can unwittingly lock swifts out; they may return from their long-haul trip to find their homes boarded up and, for that season at least, breeding will not take place.

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Categories: Environment
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