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Deadly dam burst in Brazil prompts calls for stricter mining regulations

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 2:10pm

Six bodies have been found with 22 still missing in one of the country’s worst mining disasters as hundreds are displaced in Minas Gerais

As despair turns to anger over a deadly dam burst at a Brazilian mine, lawmakers pushed on Tuesday for tougher regulations in a new mining code, as iron ore giant Vale SA came under pressure to help mourning families and contain the environmental impact.

In five days of rescue efforts in towns ravaged by the massive mudflow, six bodies have been found and 22 people are still missing, making it one of the worst mining disasters in Brazil’s history. Rescuers abandoned a search for seven-year-old Tiago Damasceno in the muddy aftermath of the dam collapse on Tuesday, as hope for survivors diminishes five days after the disaster.

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Categories: Environment

Open-sourced food production – the future of urban diets?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 12:41pm

Scientists are developing open-source technologies that reward locally grown foods, cutting down on shipping and improving nutrition

As much as 40% of the urban diet could eventually be produced in specialized domestic grow-boxes, an agricultural scientist has explained, cutting down on unnecessary shipping and also providing fresher, more nutritional food.

Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing sustainable food systems, including boxes that create controlled environments to grow specific types of food. Certain combinations of temperature, humidity and soil can be optimised for certain crops, such as tomatoes, and that “recipe” can be shared through the lab’s open source work to recreate it anywhere in the world.

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Categories: Environment

Renewable energy investment predicted to surge

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 11:59am

Countries are realising the cost of their dependence on oil and coal, says International Energy Agency

Between the tropics and probably as far as the 33rd parallel, the sun could soon be a major source of energy for households and businesses alike.

Countries such as Mexico and Indonesia, long dependent on cheap home-produced oil and coal, are realising that a solar panel on every roof can reduce poverty by lowering energy costs as well as minimising the destabilising weather effects from higher CO2 emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Campaigners call for land reform as Scottish farmer faces eviction

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 11:30am

Andrew Stoddart and his family must leave farm they have tended for 22 years by end of the month, with minimal compensation

Land reform campaigners have gathered outside the Scottish parliament to protest against the threatened eviction of a tenant farmer, in a case that has galvanised activists and focused public attention on a legislative mire that affects farming families across the country.

To comply with a Scottish land court ruling last year, Andrew Stoddart and his family must quit Coulston Mains farm, East Lothian, by the end of the month. Despite tending the land for 22 years and investing more than £500,000 in improvements, Stoddart will be evicted with minimal compensation along with his wife, three children and two staff, one of whom has a family of four.

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Categories: Environment

The Amazon, As It Looks To A Man Who Made His Fortune There

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 9:09am

Ivo Cassol is a prominent Brazilian politician who made his money in cattle ranching and logging in the Amazon. He says the world should pay Brazil a lot more if it wants to preserve the rain forest.

Categories: Environment

Ten UK universities divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 8:36am

Institutions with endowments worth £115m are withdrawing their investments from fossil fuels ahead of crunch UN climate talks in Paris

Ten UK universities with endowments worth £115m are in the process of moving their money out of fossil fuels ahead of crunch UN climate change talks in Paris later this month.

The University of Surrey, the University of Arts in London (UAL) and Oxford Brookes University are divesting their respective £42m, £3.9m and £1.6m endowments from all fossil fuel companies.

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Categories: Environment

Saudi Arabia submits climate pledge to UN deal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 7:52am

Petropower offers conditional emissions cuts of up to 130Mt CO2e by 2030, becoming last G20 member to submit plan before Paris summit, reports Climate Home

Saudi Arabia made its contribution to a climate rescue pact on Tuesday, calling it a “significant deviation” for the emissions of the oil-reliant economy.

The world’s largest crude oil producer pledged to achieve “mitigation co-benefits” of up to 130 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year by 2030, in an opaque submission with numerous caveats.

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Categories: Environment

Can social enterprise help fix the Greek crisis?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 7:15am

Despite youth unemployment at 53%, Greece’s young entrepreneurs face state obstacles and hostility

Myrto Papadogeorgou and her business partner Nikos Konstantinou chose not to join the exodus of 200,000 people from Greece over the past five years. Instead they’ve stayed, hoping to help drag their country out of crisis. For them, and many other young Greeks, starting a social enterprise has become a way to capitalise on their frustrations in the face of 52% youth unemployment.

But Papadogeorgou and Konstantinou have hit a dead end. After four years unsuccessfully applying for funding from organisations at home and abroad for City of Errors, an interactive platform they’ve developed that encourages users to fix their city’s problems, the defeated pair have stopped trying. Now they talk about leaving Greece.

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Categories: Environment

UK doesn't have right policies to meet renewable energy target, admits Amber Rudd

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 7:07am

Energy secretary says heat and transport must make a contribution to meeting the EU target of sourcing 15% of renewable energy by 2020

Amber Rudd has admitted the UK does not have the right policies in place to meet its EU target of sourcing 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, and challenged transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to help make up the shortfall.

The energy secretary told MPs on Tuesday that meeting the target would be challenging, and admitted that the UK could end up having to buy renewable energy from its European neighbours if it fell short.

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Categories: Environment

Direct Action destined to fail even with low Paris pledge, Climate Institute says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 6:01am

Coalition’s emissions reduction scheme will not come close to meeting 2030 target and new climate policies are needed, chief executive John Connor says

The Turnbull government’s “Direct Action” policy cannot meet even the “inadequate” emission reductions it will pledge at the UN climate meeting in Paris and in fact will allow Australia’s greenhouse pollution to rise, according to the Climate Institute.

Malcolm Turnbull was forced to promise to keep Tony Abbott’s climate policy as he sought the prime ministership and has repeatedly pointed to a review scheduled for 2017 – after the next election. But institute chief executive John Connor says new policies are needed much sooner.

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Categories: Environment

Running for climate change: 'I was very much on the edge physically and mentally'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 5:05am

Emma Howard takes to the road with Erlend Møster Knudsen, one half of Pole to Paris, a campaign and journey by two scientists from the two polar regions of the world to crucial UN climate talks in Paris

The journey to next month’s crunch UN summit on climate change has been long for many, but by time Dr Erlend Møster Knudsen reaches Paris, he will have travelled more than 3,000km.

On 3 August, the Norwegian scientist put down his books and decided to take another approach to communicating the threat of climate change: he started running from the Arctic towards Paris.

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Categories: Environment

Niger delta oil pipeline vandalism estimated to cost $14bn a year

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 4:16am

Up to 52,000 hectares of land devastated in 2014, according to new estimates of cost to the Nigerian state and oil companies

Pipeline vandalism in the Niger delta costs the state and oil companies $14bn (£9.3bn) a year and devastated up to 52,000 hectares of land in 2014, according to new estimates by a leading Nigerian research and development group.

But the way to stop the damage is not by militarising the volatile region but by providing jobs to unemployed youths and giving communities a share in legitimate oil profits, says Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) in a report that coincides with the 20th anniversary of the execution by the Nigerian government of writer and Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa.

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Categories: Environment

Rich Nations Should Pay To Preserve Rain Forest, Brazilian Politician Says

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 3:09am

Representatives will meet soon in Paris to try to hammer out a climate change agreement, and what happens in one small Brazilian state in the Amazon can affect that global deal.

Categories: Environment

Renewable energy made up half of world's new power plants in 2014: IEA

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 2:48am

International Energy Agency says figures are a “clear sign” of a transition from coal to clean energy

Renewable energy accounted for almost half of all new power plants in 2014, representing a “clear sign that an energy transition is underway”, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Green energy is now the second-largest generator of electricity in the world, after coal, and is set to overtake the dirtiest fossil fuel in the early 2030s, said the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 report, published on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

National Grid plays down fears of power crunch and blackouts

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 2:08am

Chief executive says energy supplies will be tighter this winter, with grid drawing on extra sources of power to avoid blackouts

The chief executive of National Grid has said he was confident of getting through this winter without blackouts despite Britain’s energy capacity becoming increasingly stretched.

Steve Holliday, who is standing down as the pipes and pylons operator’s boss next year, also announced plans to sell a majority stake in the company’s gas distribution business, which is said to be worth about £10bn.

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Categories: Environment

Surfer in induced coma after shark attack on NSW north coast

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 1:40am

Sam Morgan, 20, taken to hospital with severe leg injuries after being bitten on his left thigh at Lighthouse Beach in East Ballina

A surfer has undergone surgery at a Gold Coast hospital after he was mauled by a shark off the NSW far north coast.

Sam Morgan was attacked at Lighthouse Beach in East Ballina on Tuesday evening but managed to make it back to the beach, where others came to his aid.

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Categories: Environment

Autumn colour: a drone's-eye view of maples at the National Arboretum

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/11/10 - 12:37am

Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, possesses one of the finest tree collections in the world. But it is particularly impressive in autumn, when its maples are a riot of colour. Graeme Robertson took his cameras – and his drone – to capture them

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Categories: Environment

Discovery of dead crocodile leads to calls for gillnets to be banned – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/11/09 - 9:21pm

A boat tour operator discovers the body of a crocodile which drowned while stuck in a gillnet in the Kimberley river in the Northern Territory. Brad Priest-Tasker, who operates the Kimberley Quest boat, narrates his discovery on camera and calls for more controls on where gillnets – which are long net panels, similar to a tennis court net, strung across the mouth of a river to catch fish – can be used

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Categories: Environment

Come come wherever you are....

Holy Scrap - Mon, 2015/11/09 - 7:29pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Crocodile found drowned in Kimberley river prompts calls for ban on gillnets

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/11/09 - 5:53pm

A Northern Territory tour boat operator says lack of supervision and reporting in remote Kimberley coastline increases risks of large marine species drowning

A tourist boat operator has called for gillnet fishing to be banned in remote areas of the Kimberley region of Western Australia after a group of tourists found a saltwater crocodile which had drowned in a barramundi net in the Roe river, 475km north of Broome.

A video of the discovery shows netting wrapped around the bloated body of the crocodile, which was bobbing in the water at the mouth of the river.

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Categories: Environment
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