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Vietnam blames toxic waste water from steel plant for mass fish deaths

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/01 - 2:06am

Taiwanese firm Formosa Plastics that owns the plant says it will pay $500m towards clean up and compensation

Vietnam’s government has said toxic discharges from a Taiwanese-owned steel plant were responsible for massive fish deaths that have decimated tourism and fishing in four provinces and highlighted the risks of rapid growth in foreign investment.

An estimated 70 tonnes of dead fish washed ashore along more than 200 km (125 miles) of Vietnam’s central coastline in early April, sparking rare protests across the country after the Taiwanese company denied any wrongdoing.

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Categories: Environment

China Environmental Press awards winners – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/01 - 1:00am

From exposing environmental crimes to a campaign to save a wildlife reserve, the awards, created by chinadialogue and the Guardian in 2010, recognise journalists making outstanding contributions to the field in China

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Categories: Environment

This election, what hope is there for the Great Barrier Reef?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 11:38pm

Before you head to the polls, here’s one last quick attempt to clear some of the haze of half-truths and complete rubbish surrounding the parties’ reef policies

If the Great Barrier Reef is an election issue for you, then before you head to the polls this weekend, here are a few things worth noting about the major parties’ policies.

Firstly, by way of background, remember that almost a quarter of the reef was killed by warm waters this year, in the worst bleaching event on record. And those water temperatures are expected to be average temperatures within 20 years. To give the reef a fighting chance of surviving that, scientists estimate $10bn needs to be spent to reduce water pollution over the next 10 years.

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Categories: Environment

The soup kitchen putting London's air quality on the menu

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 11:00pm

Free colour-coded menu is changed daily according to air pollution levels at pop-up scheme that aims to raise awareness of problem

“I see the air is good today,” says the security guard, as he sips his cup of bright green pea soup. “I can tell by the flavour.”

Staff and visitors here at the central London headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) have been treated to daily free soup from the Pea Soup House, a pop-up installation in the lobby that serves colour-coded soup which matches the government’s Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI).

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Categories: Environment

Giant swimming, venomous centipede discovered by accident in world-first

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 9:41pm

Scientist on honeymoon in Thailand stumbles on ‘horrific-looking’ creature that is the first one known to swim

Scientists have discovered the world’s first known amphibious centipede, which grows up to 20cm (nearly 8in) long and has an excruciating bite.

Scolopendra cataracta, from the Latin for “waterfall”, has been found in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and was seen scurrying into the water by entomologist George Beccaloni, during his honeymoon to Thailand in 2001. It is only recently that it has been fully described, in the online science journal ZooKeys.

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Categories: Environment

Dead dugong raises concerns over fishing practices in Great Barrier Reef

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 8:18pm

Lacerations and scratches on animal found north of Townsville suggest entanglement with fishing net or line, say researchers

A dead dugong, with injuries researchers say are consistent with entanglement in a fishing net or line, has been found near Townsville, raising concerns about lack of oversight over fishing practices in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Found on Wednesday last week near Saunders beach, just north of Townsville, the dugong had scratches on its back and belly, and a deep laceration around its tail.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 5:52pm
A year and a half of inactivity has rendered me 25 lbs. overweight.  90,94,73,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Al Gore's daughter arrested at Boston pipeline protest

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 2:39pm

Karenna Gore arrested for trying to block construction activity by lying in a trench dug for the line, which is opposed due to safety and climate concerns

Former US vice-president Al Gore’s daughter was among 23 people arrested during a protest of a pipeline under construction.

The arrests happened Wednesday at the site of Spectra Energy’s West Roxbury Lateral pipeline in Boston.

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Categories: Environment

All hail the purple emperor

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 1:30pm

With its flashing, iridescent purple wings, our second largest butterfly is midsummer incarnate

This Monday, a week later than normal, His Imperial Majesty awoke in the woods of Sussex and Surrey. The purple emperor is midsummer incarnate – its flashing, iridescent purple wings the perfect accompaniment to both sunshine and, this year, violent lightning.

When Victorian collectors nicknamed our second-largest butterfly HIM, they were not being sexist but simply referring to the male. The female is even larger but does not flash purple and is a secretive presence, laying eggs in sallow thickets.

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Categories: Environment

'He was afraid of having a difficult death' - an advocate for physician assisted dying speaks out

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 1:03pm

In the wake of new right to die legislation, a nurse and advocate for physician assisted dying explains her experience watching her dying father unable to get the relief he deserved

Support seems to be growing in the US for assisted suicide as a way for terminally ill patients to retain some control over their deaths, as well as spare them and their loved ones undue pain.

Earlier this month, California became the fifth state to allow what advocates for death with dignity call “physician-assisted dying”. Groups in Colorado are currently working to push through a bill that would make available similar rights to its residents.

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Categories: Environment

Canadian court overturns approval of oil pipeline opposed by indigenous groups

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 12:55pm

Judges rule former Conservative government in 2014 failed to consult with groups on Northern Gateway project as matter is sent back to Trudeau’s cabinet

A Canadian court has overturned the approval of Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline, adding another steep obstacle to a project fiercely opposed by environmentalists and many aboriginal groups.

The federal court of appeal ruled in a 2-to-1 decision released on Thursday that the government had failed in its duty to consult with aboriginal groups on the project and sent the matter back to Justin Trudeau’s cabinet for a “prompt redetermination”.

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Categories: Environment

Why are Americans spending too much time at work?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 11:04am

Employers should be doing more to protect staff from the psychological and physical effects of overwork, argue the authors of a new study

Everyday, hundreds of social media users add the popular hashtag #nevernotworking to their posts, a kind of humblebrag meant to convey someone’s admirable work ethic. But it masks a darker reality. Americans have embraced work to such an extent that it’s having a detrimental impact on their health and family life, and paradoxically, on the economy too.

A new study, compiled by economic thinktank Washington Center for Equitable Growth, looks at why Americans are putting in such long hours, and the economic and health effects of overwork.

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Categories: Environment

Ozone layer hole appears to be healing, scientists say

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 11:00am

Research by US and UK scientists shows the size of the hole has shrunk, and the layer will eventally recover, albeit slowly

The vast hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica appears to be healing, scientists say, putting the world on track to eventually remedy one of the biggest environmental concerns of the 1980s and 90s.

Research by US and UK scientists shows that the size of the ozone void has shrunk, on average, by around 4m sq km since 2000. The measurements were taken from the month of September in each year, when the ozone hole starts to open up each year.

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Categories: Environment

Wildfires engulfing the west coast are fueled by climate change, experts warn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 10:30am

High temperatures, drought, wind and beetle infestations have combined to create a number of fires that have caused at least two deaths in California

Scorching wildfires that are raging throughout the American south-west are being fueled by climate change and require new strategies from states to prevent ever-greater destruction of people’s lives and property, a group of experts have warned.

High temperatures, drought and wind have combined to create a number of fires that have caused at least two deaths in California. The first large wildfire of the summer has this week broken out in northern California, burning through more than 1,200 acres and threatening thousands of homes in an area around 50 miles north-east of Sacramento.

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Categories: Environment

Florida declares state of local emergency over influx of ‘God-awful’ toxic algae

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 9:09am

Miles of waterways and beaches in St Lucie and Martin counties swamped with foul-smelling algae, causing skin rashes and raising concerns over marine animals

An area of southern Florida has been hit by an “unprecedented” outbreak of blue-green algae, causing miles of waterways and beaches to be swamped with foul-smelling toxins that have caused skin rashes among residents and raised concerns over the fate of marine animals.

Florida governor Rick Scott has declared a state of local emergency in St Lucie and Martin counties, in the Treasure Coast region, after the bloom caused water at some beaches to thicken and turn pea green. Warnings at four beaches spanning 20 miles in Martin county urged beachgoers to not enter the water.

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Categories: Environment

Don't panic, Brexit doesn't have to spell gloom for the environment | Michael Jacobs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 8:32am

The UK government has just set an ambitious new carbon target. Now we need to mobilise support to protect our many other environmental laws

Amid all the other news happening right now, you might have missed a vital story: the government has accepted the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation for the ‘fifth carbon budget’. This is the total amount of greenhouse gases which the UK economy will be allowed to emit in the 2028-30 period, which will now be cut by 57% on 1990 levels.

This would be important for the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change at any time. In the aftermath of the EU referendum campaign it takes on special significance, for it nails the myth that Brexit will tear up all of the UK’s environmental policies and commitments.

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Categories: Environment

Nobel winners slam Greenpeace for anti GM campaign

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 7:30am

About a third of living Nobel laureates sign an open letter saying Greenpeace has misrepresented the risks and benefits of genetically modified crops

About a third of living Nobel laureates – 108 at last count – have signed an open letter which attacks Greenpeace for campaigning against genetically modified crops, especially one called Golden Rice.

Addressed to the global environmental group, the United Nations and governments, the letter on Thursday says Greenpeace has “misrepresented the risks, benefits and impacts” of genetically altered food plants.

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Categories: Environment

Floating solar is a win-win energy solution for drought-stricken US lakes

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 7:00am

Sunbaked southwest US is a prime spot for floatovoltaic projects, where they could produce clean energy and prevent evaporation in major man-made reservoirs, reports Environment 360

The Colorado River’s two great reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are in retreat. Multi-year droughts and chronic overuse have taken their toll, to be sure, but vast quantities of water are also lost to evaporation. What if the same scorching sun that causes so much of this water loss were harnessed for electric power?

Installing floating solar photovoltaic arrays, sometimes called “floatovoltaics,” on a portion of these two reservoirs in the southwestern United States could produce clean, renewable energy while shielding significant expanses of water from the hot desert sun.

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Categories: Environment

Tax new diesel cars up to £5,000 to cut pollution, says report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 6:00am

Money raised should be spent on improving public transport, cycling and walking, advise researchers

The purchase of highly polluting diesel cars in the UK should be discouraged with a tax of up to £5,000 to help tackle the public health emergency of air pollution, according to a new report.

The policy could be particularly important following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, which until now has set most pollution rules.

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Categories: Environment

UK lacks policies to meet more than half its carbon emissions cuts – report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/06/30 - 4:00am

Climate Change Committee warns of rising transport pollution, failed action on buildings emissions and says leaving the EU throws some policies into doubt

The UK has no policies in place to meet more than half of the carbon emission cuts required by law by 2030, the government’s official advisers warned on Thursday, the same day ministers committed to the target.

The advisers also warned that the UK’s Brexit vote had thrown some EU-linked climate policies into doubt.

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Categories: Environment
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