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U.S. Quake Warning System Could Save Lives When Seconds Count

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 3:59pm

Before it does damage, an earthquake sends out a "P wave" that scientists use to find location and size. The U.S. quake warning system under development on the West Coast is built around the P wave.

Categories: Environment

Californians let their guards down as El Niño rains drenched state

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 3:03pm

Statewide conservation rate was down as rain fell, snow accumulated and huge waves battered the coast – but ‘we are still in a state of emergency’

Whoever thought that, in the middle of California’s historic drought, a little bit of rain could pose a problem?

But that was the message Tuesday from the state water resources control board and some environmentalists.

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Categories: Environment

Landmark Deal Protects Over 9 Million Acres Of Canadian Rain Forest

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 2:28pm

The agreement reached between aboriginal groups known as First Nations, environmental groups and logging companies designates 85 percent of the forest land as permanently protected from logging.

Categories: Environment

Scientists warn of last chance to rid Madagascar of invasive toxic toad

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 2:00pm

New report says there is a ‘diminishing window of opportunity’ to completely eradicate the Asian toad, which poses a threat to biodiversity, human health and the economy

Madagascar must wipe out an invasive, toxic toad immediately to save the country’s unique wildlife from disaster, scientists have warned.

A report published on Wednesday says that the Asian toad is spreading unchecked through the eastern part of the island, and poses a direct threat not only to the country’s biodiversity, but to human health and the economy.

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Categories: Environment

We’re drowning in cheap oil – yet still taxpayers prop up this toxic industry | George Monbiot

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 1:34pm
As these new crisis bailouts for fossil fuels show, it’s those who are least deserving who get the most government protection

Those of us who predicted, during the first years of this century, an imminent peak in global oil supplies could not have been more wrong. People like the energy consultant Daniel Yergin, with whom I disputed the topic, appear to have been right: growth, he said, would continue for many years, unless governments intervened.

Related: New research points to risk peak oil presents to business

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Categories: Environment

BP makes record loss and axes 7,000 jobs

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 1:05pm

£6bn wiped off stock market value of oil company as investors react to losses and increasing Deepwater Horizon liablities

BP is to axe another 7,000 jobs after reporting an annual loss of $6.5bn (£4.5bn), the worst in its history.

Shares in the oil company dived 8.6% to 335p by the end of trading on Tuesday, wiping almost £6bn off the stock market value of the business, and helped drag down the wider FTSE 100 index of leading shares in London.

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Categories: Environment

EPA 'seeks to strengthen' safe water laws amid widespread testing concerns

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 11:29am

Environmental Protection Agency addresses fears over ‘pre-flushing’ techniques that could downplay water’s lead levels

The US Environmental Protection Agency aims to “strengthen” existing safe water laws, in response to findings that many cities are downplaying the levels of lead in their water.

Since news proliferated of dangerous lead contamination in Flint’s water, the Guardian revealed that numerous US cities and states, including Philadelphia, Detroit and Rhode Island, advise residents to run their faucets for several minutes the night before taking a sample of water for lead tests.

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Categories: Environment

Ravens can imagine being spied on, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 10:00am

Scientists find capacity for abstraction not necessarily uniquely human in study of ravens’ behaviour when hiding food

Ravens can imagine being spied upon by a hidden competitor, showing a capacity for abstraction once thought to be exclusively human, according to a new study.

Scientists have shown that the birds take extra care to hide food if they suspect their movements are being monitored by another raven, even when the second bird is not actually there.

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Categories: Environment

FBI joins EPA in investigating Flint water crisis for criminal violations

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 9:25am

FBI spokeswoman says agency’s role is ‘investigating the matter to determine if there have been any federal violations’ in lead contamination of drinking water

The FBI is working with a multi-agency team investigating the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water, alongside Environmental Protection Agency investigators who can tackle criminal violations of federal environmental law, officials said on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, it was announced that Darnell Early, the state-appointed emergency manager for Flint when its water source was switched, will leave his current role in Detroit’s troubled school district four-and-a-half months early.

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Categories: Environment

New England: one of the Earth’s greatest spectacles - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 7:24am

Moose, chipmunks, rattlesnakes and a bizarre mixture of caterpillars all play a crucial role in the forests of the US far north-east. Paul Williams shares some exclusive images from BBC2’s new wildlife series starting on 5 February

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Categories: Environment

Oxbridge academics call for 'morally sound' university investments

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 5:39am

Demand by hundreds of academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities for evidence-based investment policies could include divestment from fossil fuels

Hundreds of academics from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford are demanding their institutions adopt an “evidence-based, morally sound investment policy that serves the needs of the future”, which could include divestment from fossil fuels.

The call is supported by Lord Deben, chair of the government’s official climate change advisory committee; Prof David Mackay, former chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; the incoming president of the Royal Society, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, as well as 300 other academics.

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Categories: Environment

British opposition to fracking still outstrips support, survey finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 5:31am

Loss or destruction of the natural environment is most common concern for people opposed to hydraulic fracturing, long-running government poll finds

Opposition to fracking continues to outstrip support - particularly among those who know about the controversial process, a survey for the government shows.

More than half (53%) of those who said they knew a lot about fracking were against it, compared to a third (33%) who said they were in favour of it, the latest poll tracking attitudes to energy policies has revealed.

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Categories: Environment

Ships' noise is serious problem for killer whales and dolphins, report finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 5:00am

Low-frequency noise is known to affect baleen whales but high-frequency din from vessels is harming endangered orcas’ ability to communicate and find prey

Noise emanating from passing ships may disturb animals such as killer whales and dolphins far more than previously thought, with new research showing that the animals’ communication and ability to find prey could be hampered by the underwater din.

Related: UK’s last resident killer whales 'doomed to extinction'

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Categories: Environment

Without a solution to the poaching crisis, the death of conservationists will continue | Ben Fogle

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 4:34am

The murder of helicopter pilot Roger Gower while protecting Tanzania’s wildlife is the latest example of those on the frontline in the war against illegal ivory being outnumbered and outgunned

The death of Roger Gower, shot through his helicopter by AK47 while protecting Tanzania’s game reserves from poachers, is the culmination of a worrying trend in the east African nation that has seen its wildlife populations plummet in recent years.

In 2014 a helicopter donated to the Tanzanian government to help the anti-poaching operations crashed, killing four. In December last year, Tanzania National Parks’ head of anti-poaching Emily Kisamo was murdered. Four have been charged, but there are still uncertainties as to the reasons for his killing, or the cause of the helicopter crash.

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Categories: Environment

A sugar tax won't work. Here's why

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 4:28am

They might not grab headlines or have celebrity backing, but there are better ways to tackle obesity than a blunt rise in cost

Taxing unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as the levy placed on alcohol and tobacco, is an established way of raising revenue for the UK. With sugar now inextricably linked to the obesity crisis, ministers in the UK are being urged to tax it.

However, placing a tax on sugar is not as straightforward as it first sounds. Unlike alcohol and tobacco, there is a clear necessity for everyone to buy and consume food. Sugar is a naturally occurring nutrient, for example in fruit, as well as a more refined product, as on the teaspoon, but seeking a tax that distinguishes between the two can be artificial.

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Categories: Environment

Plumbers Converge On Flint To Help Get Lead Out Of Its Drinking Water

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 3:25am

Some good news for Flint, Mich., where the water was contaminated with lead. Dozens of union plumbers volunteered to install water filters and replace faucets for some of the city's poorest residents.

Categories: Environment

Reducing HS2 train speed would cut emissions and noise, report finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 2:40am

A small reduction in the top speed of trains on the planned high-speed line from London to Birmingham would increase journey time but massively reduce carbon emissions and noise, independent analysts tell MPs

A small reduction in the top speed of trains on the planned high-speed line between London and Birmingham would increase journey times by just 4.5 minutes, but would massively reduce carbon emissions and noise, independent analysts have told MPs scrutinising the multibillion-pound scheme.

Research commissioned by objectors to the 117-mile HS2 line through the Chilterns shows that if trains were limited to 300 kilometres an hour rather than the proposed 360km/h, they could save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2. Britain is committed to reducing emissions under UK law and the new Paris climate deal.

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Categories: Environment

Japanese firm to open world’s first robot-run farm

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 1:15am

Spread says it will open the fully automated farm with robots handling almost every step of the process

A Japanese company is to open the world’s first “robot farm”, as agriculture joins other sectors of the economy in attempting to fill labour shortages created by the country’s rapidly ageing population.

Spread, a vegetable producer, said industrial robots would carry out all but one of the tasks needed to grow the tens of thousands of lettuces it produces each day at its vast indoor farm in Kameoka, Kyoto prefecture, starting from mid-2017.

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Categories: Environment

NSW Farmers member quits executive in dispute over land clearing

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 12:37am

Joshua Gilbert says he was told he would be publicly attacked if he spoke out against the association’s policy on clearing of native vegetation

A dispute inside a New South Wales farming lobby group over permission to clear native vegetation has led to one of its most prominent voices resigning, after personal threats he alleges were made against him.

Joshua Gilbert, who was formerly the chair of the NSW Farmers young farmers committee and was also on the NSW Farmers executive, resigned last week citing “philosophical differences” over the group’s policy on land clearing. He said he received threats from a member of NSW Farmers saying he would be publicly attacked if he spoke out against the policy.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland gives Adani environmental permit for Carmichael coalmine

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 12:16am

Huge project clears one more hurdle, but financial uncertainty still hovers over the mine and related rail and port construction at Abbot Point

Adani has secured an environmental permit from the Queensland government to build Australia’s largest coal mine.

The Indian conglomerate was issued an environmental authority for its Carmichael mine, west of Bowen in north Queensland, by the department of environment and heritage on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment
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