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VW Will Buy Back Some Diesel Cars, Announcing A Deal With U.S.

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 8:17am

The agreement addresses "what to do about the 2-liter diesel cars on the road and the environmental consequences resulting from their excess emissions," the Justice Department says.

Categories: Environment

Can The U.S. And China Keep Their Climate Pledges?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 7:32am

The two nations topping the world in greenhouse gas emissions agreed at the Paris talks to cut way back. But critics have stalled a key part of the U.S. plan, and China's good start may be fragile.

Categories: Environment

California's coal war pits economic survival against environmental justice

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 5:00am

Proposed terminal to export coal to Asia creates tense showdown in port city as key players cite potential health risks, yet industry could provide needed jobs

Margaret Gordon will not get out of the car. She is in the shadow of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge on a triangle of land where a bustling maritime terminal is planned.

“The pollution is too bad,” the 70-something activist declares, and the terminal isn’t even built yet. She rummages through her purse for an inhaler. “I got a sore throat. I have allergy attacks … See the crane operating over there? All that’s going to be OBOT.”

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Categories: Environment

Study reveals greater climate impacts of 2C temperature rise

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 5:00am

Analysis of difference between 1.5C and 2C of warming finds extra 0.5C would mean longer heatwaves, greater droughts and threats to crops and coral reefs

A difference of half a degree centigrade may be barely noticeable day to day, but the difference between 1.5C and 2C of global warming is a shift into a new, more dangerous climate regime, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the issue.

The scientists found the additional 0.5C would lead to longer heatwaves, greater droughts and, in the tropics, reduced crop yield and all coral reefs being put in grave danger.

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Categories: Environment

Cambodia bans film about murdered rainforest activist

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 4:55am

British documentary I Am Chut Wutty has been watched tens of thousands of times online following the government ban

A documentary about the murder of a rainforest activist has been viewed tens of thousands of times online after being banned by the Cambodian government.

The film I Am Chut Wutty was due to be shown this week in a Phnom Penh cinema to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the killing of the environmentalist by an unidentified military police officer in April 2012.

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Categories: Environment

Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 3:16am

Authorities are looking into whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast

Vietnam said on Thursday it was investigating whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast after huge amounts of marine life washed ashore in recent days.

Tonnes of fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been discovered on beaches along the country’s central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand conservationists celebrate rare parrot breeding success

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 2:27am

The kākāpō has had its most successful breeding season since conservation efforts rescued it from the brink of extinction in the 1970s

The world’s heaviest parrot, a critically endangered bird that only lives in a remote part of New Zealand, has had its most successful breeding season since conservation efforts began more than two decades ago.

Thirty-seven kākāpō chicks are currently surviving, providing a much-needed boost to the population of 123 adult kākāpō which live on predator-free islands.

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Categories: Environment

San Francisco adopts law requiring solar panels on all new buildings

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 2:01am

Tech capital is first major US city to require all new buildings of 10 storeys or under to have solar panels, reports BusinessGreen

San Francisco has this week passed landmark legislation requiring all new buildings under 10 storeys in height to be fitted with rooftop solar panels.

The city’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the new rule on Tuesday, making the metropolis the largest in the US to mandate solar installations on new properties.

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Categories: Environment

For Voters In Appalachian Region, Medical Care Is A Big Issue

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 1:59am

Tennessee's alternative to Obamacare is faltering. Steve Inskeep talks to Knoxville's mayor about health and political issues. Chris Green of Berea College weighs in on the area's political leanings.

Categories: Environment

More Charges Expected In Flint's Contaminated Drinking Water Case

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 1:59am

A day after the first criminal charges related to Flint's lead tainted water were filed, residents of the Michigan city and others wonder how high up the investigation into the crisis will go.

Categories: Environment

Mourning Loomis Reef - the heart of the Great Barrier Reef's coral bleaching disaster

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 10:53pm

Corals on Loomis Reef are dying as one veteran scientist lets the “veil” of academia drop to reveal anger and frustration

Stretching for half a kilometre or so, Loomis Reef is the place where the alarm bells started going off.

Prof Justin Marshall has been diving this reef, about 270km north of Cairns, for 30 years. Right now he is, to say the least, angry.

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Categories: Environment

Times's climate change coverage 'distorted' and 'poor quality'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 10:06pm

Newspaper is losing people’s trust on its global warming coverage, say group of UK’s leading climate advisers and top scientists in letter to the editor

The Times newspaper has been criticised for “poor quality” and “distorted coverage” of global warming by a group including some of the UK’s most eminent scientists, the chair of the government’s official advisers on climate change and a former chair of oil giant Shell.

“If you lose trust, you lose everything; and on this issue, you are losing trust,” said the group, in a letter to the Times editor, John Witherow, seen by the Guardian.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's solemn climate promise much more than a signing ceremony

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 8:30pm

The Paris agreement puts real pressure on Australia to close the gap between scientific and international reality and an unedifying climate policy paralysis

First the good news. Greg Hunt is about to join 60 heads of state and representatives from more than 150 countries at the United Nations signing ceremony for last year’s Paris climate agreement, and has said Australia will move to ratify it by the end of the year.

That eagerness, in itself, is a step forward. The Howard government refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol for a decade.

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Categories: Environment

Australian biofuels could transform airline industry and create jobs

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 8:03pm

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand looking for new partners to source biofuel, amounting to about 5% of total use

This week Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand held a conference with the biofuel industry after joining forces to investigate options for locally produced biojet fuel for their domestic and international routes.

This striking step signals the two airlines’ intention to aggregate their purchasing power in order to reduce their reliance on a single fuel, while at the same time significantly reducing their carbon emissions. Jet fuel, a petroleum distillate, has been used to power air travel since the first flights in the 1940s because of its high-energy density and thermal stability. And each year, the world’s airlines burn about 300bn litres, which represents about 10% of global oil consumption.

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Categories: Environment

India's changing climate – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 7:00pm

From deadly protests to billion dollar insurance schemes, we look at the impact of extreme weather and what the world’s fastest growing major economy is doing about it

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Categories: Environment

India crippled by extreme weather as 100 million exposed to floods

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 7:00pm

Ranked top in a list of populations most at risk from natural disasters, India must find solutions to make its economy less exposed

High temperatures and a crippling shortage of rainfall in India is forcing schools to close and communities to ration drinking water. In Chennai, the oppressive heat currently gripping the east Indian city has led to workers demanding an allowance for working in stifling factories and vets offering advice on caring for pets to avoid dehydration. “While some rains would have been a blessing in disguise, the rain gods have ditched Chennai,” writes a reporter for Skymet, which provides weather forecasts in India.

It would have been hard to imagine such a situation four-and-a-half months ago. Following the heaviest rainfall in more than a century at the end of last November, the Adyar river – which runs through the centre of Chennai – surged, causing muddy water to pour over the walls of nearby apartment blocks and into the streets. Thousands were forced to flee their homes, and hundreds died.

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Categories: Environment

Deadly explosion at Mexican state-run petrochemical plant

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 6:38pm

Residents warned of toxic fumes from fire at Coatzacoalcos works in Gulf state of Veracruz that produces chemicals for making plastics

A large explosion has rocked a major petrochemical facility of Mexican national oil company Pemex in the Gulf state of Veracruz, killing at least three people, injuring dozens more and pumping a black cloud into the sky.

Related: New US oil drilling regulations aim to prevent another Deepwater disaster

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Categories: Environment

Volkswagen to buy back 600,000 cars in framework deal over emissions scandal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 6:19pm

Automaker would spend just over $1bn in a ‘deal in principle’ reached with the US government and private lawyers

Volkswagen, the US government and private lawyers have reached a deal for the automaker to buy back some of the nearly 600,000 diesel cars that cheat on emissions tests and spend just over $1bn to compensate owners, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The “deal in principle” includes a maximum amount of spending, but the final details, like how much each owner would get, are still being worked out, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal has not been made public.

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Categories: Environment

Deadly explosion at Mexico oil plant – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 6:15pm

Several deaths and dozens of injuries were reported after an explosion at the Clorados 3 plant of Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo in Mexico. Javier Duarte, the mayor of Mexico’s Veracruz state, said authorities were co-ordinating with the operators and the state oil company, Pemex, to deal with the emergency

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand's largest bus company to retrofit fleet with electric engines

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 5:43pm

Significant part of 1,000-strong fleet will have combustion engines removed and be refitted with an electric motor, battery pack and gas turbine generator

New Zealand’s biggest urban bus company will soon be running its vehicles on electric engines after signing a deal with Wrightspeed, a company founded by Ian Wright, a Kiwi and co-founder of Tesla.

NZBus runs more than 1,000 buses across New Zealand, carrying more than 50m passengers each year. The US$30m deal will result in a “significant number” of those buses having their combustion motors removed, and replaced with two powerful electric motors, a battery pack, and a gas turbine generator, that will charge the batteries when needed.

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Categories: Environment
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