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Gourd almighty: grower hopes giant pumpkin will break record

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 11:14am

Fruit was grown in Chelmsford from world’s most expensive pumpkin seed and has circumference of 4.5 metres

A giant pumpkin grown in Chelmsford could set a new record on Saturday when it is weighed at a festival in Southampton.

The fruit was grown from the world’s most expensive pumpkin seed at RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex by gardener Matthew Oliver.

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Categories: Environment

Overwhelming global response to giving away Australian wildlife sanctuary

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 10:30am

Harry Kunz’s search for a successor willing to continue his legacy of caring for injured creatures has been met by an avalanche of calls, emails and visits

For Harry Kunz, the wildlife rescuer who joked he worked with animals because “humans I can’t understand anymore”, it’s been the kind of week that just might have restored some faith in his own species.

The Austrian-born Kunz has been overwhelmed by the global response to his offer to give away his north Queensland wildlife sanctuary to someone willing to carry on his legacy caring for injured and orphaned native Australian creatures.

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Categories: Environment

Hundreds expected to protest at Lancashire fracking site

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 8:39am

Environmentalists plan sustained campaign against Cuadrilla after government gave it green light for drilling

Hundreds of people are expected to protest near a fracking site in Lancashire that was given the green light by the government this week.

The Lancashire Responds rally on Saturday is the first shot across the bows of Cuadrilla, in what anti-fracking groups and local residents say will be a sustained campaign of action to stop the company fracking next year.

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Categories: Environment

UK fracking, record temperatures and fishy accents – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 8:15am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Kite power to take flight in Scotland next year

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 7:03am

Kite Power Solutions plans to open UK’s first kite power plant and predicts the technology could global ease energy costs

Giant kites could supply green energy without the need for taxpayer-funded subsidies within years, according to one of the firms developing the technology.

Kite Power Solutions expects to open the UK’s first kite power plant in March 2017 at the Ministry of Defence’s West Freugh site in Stranraer, Scotland.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 6:00am

A snacking water vole, two-towed sloths and humpback whales and among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

What price Tory localism when fracking’s on offer in Lancashire? | Jennifer Mein

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 4:31am
Sajid Javid has overturned my county council’s decision to stop drilling. So much for talk of devolution to communities

Last year a committee of county councillors from Lancashire dealt with one of the biggest planning applications ever put before any council, as they considered Cuadrilla’s applications to drill and frack for shale gas in two rural locations between Preston and Blackpool. Anyone in any doubt about the depth of feeling generated by fracking need only have seen and heard the hundreds of protesters who gathered outside county hall in Preston over the four days of that committee meeting, expressing their views as the committee listened to days of evidence from both sides.

Related: Fracking given UK go-ahead as Lancashire council rejection overturned

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Categories: Environment

Delay to curbs on toxic shipping emissions 'would cause 200,000 extra premature deaths'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 3:47am

Unpublished study warns of the global health consequences of delaying by five years a cap on the sulphur content of shipping fuels

A push by the shipping and oil industries for a five-year delay to curbs on toxic sulphur emissions would cause an extra 200,000 premature deaths from lung cancer and heart disease, according to an unpublished International Maritime Organisation (IMO) study.

Fatalities from illnesses such as asthma were not covered by the leaked paper, which was based on shipping satellite data and modelling work.

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Categories: Environment

North Sea or Great Australian Bight, oil drilling is always a risky business | John Sauven

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 3:32am

As BP pushes ahead with plans to drill in the pristine Bight, the oil leak off the coast of Scotland serves as a timely reminder of the company’s track record on environmental disasters

Monday’s news of an oil leak at a BP platform off the coast of Scotland could not have come at a worse time for the company. This latest stain on BP’s environmental record coincides not only with Hollywood reminding everyone of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, but with the company’s faltering efforts to secure Australian regulatory approval to open up the pristine Great Australian Bight for oil drilling.

“Small spills” during oil operations are part and parcel of the business – even in the North Sea, where BP has decades of experience, and established infrastructure. BP’s response was predictably bland, keen to downplay any potential impacts.

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Categories: Environment

Poor countries urge fast action on Paris deal to stop catastrophic warming

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 2:35am

As the climate agreement is ratified, developing nations warn that money pledged is still nowhere near enough to adapt to expected sea level rises

UN back-slapping for the record speed at which the Paris agreement on climate change has been ratified this week has been tempered by the reality that the new treaty will not stop catastrophic warming as it stands, and that the money so far pledged by rich countries is nowhere near enough to allow developing countries to adapt to expected sea level rises and more extreme weather.

The agreement, which will come into force on 4 November, is hoped to hold temperatures to a maximum 2C rise, and for the first time commits both rich and poor countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Zac Goldsmith vows to quit as MP if Heathrow third runway is allowed

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 1:39am

MP for Richmond reiterates intention to resign over the scheme that government is rumoured to be on the brink of backing

Zac Goldsmith has reiterated that he will quit as an MP if the government gives the green light to a third runway at Heathrow.

There is mounting speculation that the government is set to back a third runway in the coming weeks, ending years of arguments over airport expansion.

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Categories: Environment

Approval of new oil search permit for Great Australian Bight sparks moratorium call

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 12:38am

Environmentalists call for moratorium on new licences as concerns grow about BP’s plans to drill for oil in Bight

Another company has been given a permit to explore for oil in a marine reserve in the Great Australian Bight, sparking calls from environmentalists for a moratorium on new licences.

Karoon Gas Australia announced to the Australian Stock Exchange on Thursday that it had been approved to explore for oil in “17,793 square kilometres of Australia’s most active and prospective frontier oil exploration province”.

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Categories: Environment

Chief scientist to lead review into Australia's energy security

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/10/07 - 12:12am

State and territory ministers agree on the exercise, which will take stock of the national electricity market while also assessing climate change commitments

Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, will lead an energy security review determining whether the national electricity market can deliver reliable base load power while meeting Australia’s climate change commitments.

Energy ministers held an emergency meeting on Friday and agreed to hold the independent review, which will deliver its preliminary findings in December.

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Categories: Environment

Hounds hot on the heels of poachers in rhino country

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 11:00pm

Tracker dogs trained on human scent are the latest weapon being used to help catch criminals in South Africa’s Kruger national park, the epicentre of the rhino poaching epidemic

“I am ready to die for conserving the rhino,” says Wisdom Makhubele. But the brave young ranger now has another weapon in the war against rhino poaching: the extraordinary nose of tracking hounds.

The trained dogs can run poachers to ground far faster than people, sometimes even being set free in packs and followed from helicopters. The new canine training unit at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), near Acornhoek, opened earlier this year and dogs have already brought armed poachers to heel in Kruger national park, the epicentre of the rhino poaching crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Rattle and screech as jays and magpies go on raptor alert

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 9:30pm

Dibbinsdale, Wirral The alarm builds, then we hear a plaintive whistle from on high, the birds take flight and we glimpse the buzzard

Entering Thornton Wood you have to watch your feet, treading cautiously through crisp leaves to avoid disturbing the bumblebees burrowing into the soft soil of the bank. This is one of the wildest patches of the Dibbinsdale woodland and there are no accessible footpaths or signed trails to lead the way.

Brambles and nettles are running rampant after summer growth spurts. The valley drops steeply down but there are plenty of ivy-wrapped tree trunks to help keep explorers upright. At the bottom Clatter Brook defies its name and progresses almost soundlessly over the smooth black stones.

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Categories: Environment

Once the storm settles, a clearer picture emerges of government's energy goals | Katharine Murphy

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 7:58pm

Lecturing the state governments about their emissions reduction policies tends to work better if you have a clear medium-term pathway of your own

As things stand at the moment, I can’t tell you what the re-elected Turnbull government is about. I don’t think anyone would be able to tell you. As some pundits would put it, there is no narrative. As I would put it, there is no coherent agenda.

But what there is, in abundance, is problem solving.

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Categories: Environment

Whale calf nudges stranded mother in effort to free her from sandbank – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 7:18pm

Aerial footage shows a humpback whale calf desperately nudging its mother in an apparent attempt to free her from a sandbank off North Stradbroke Island, Queensland. The mother is eventually able to free herself and the pair are seen swimming away from the shallow water

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Categories: Environment

It seems like a good time to ask: is privatisation of electricity networks ever a good idea? | Van Badham

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 5:53pm

South Australia’s energy wars really began with the privatisation of the electricity network in the 1990s. It’s worth looking at what we’ve learnt since then

Blackouts, when I was a kid, were fun. The emergency candles would be collected from under the sink, Mum would crack open a packet of cards, or the Trivial Pursuit box, and in the newly low-lit illumination of our surroundings, we’d eat squares of chocolate and indulge low-tech amusements as if stolen into an unexpected, folksy holiday.

But to imagine a whole state blacked out, from horizon to horizon, erases the folksy glow from the childhood blackouts of my mind. In these hard-wired times, there’s a doom aesthetic that accompanies ideas of total darkness. This may be why last week’s state-wide blackout of South Australia – amid a terrible storm – has had such a heightened, emotional impact on the national imagination.

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Categories: Environment

Let's leave it to the experts to work out what caused South Australia's blackout | Tristan Edis

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 4:08pm

Politicians and amateur power system sleuths have decided wind power was to blame for power failures but shouldn’t we let the engineers decide?

As someone who has spent much of my career engaged in energy market issues, it has been faintly amusing to read the media and political commentary that has swarmed over South Australia’s blackout and whether or not it was the wind farms that caused it.

Normally such serious matters of power system engineering where people’s lives are potentially at risk are left to, well, the power system engineers.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Thu, 2016/10/06 - 2:05pm
Paramotor engine test...PASS!  Drained out about a half gallon of the 2 1/2 year old fuel that was in the tank and mixed up a new batch of 100LL avgas & Castrol 2T Synthetic 2-stroke engine oil at 50:1.  Had the oil on hand and I had picked up 4 gallons of aviation fuel at the airport in Alpine during my last supply run @ $4.07/gallon.  Brought it back to life on the fourth pull.  Purred like a really angry kitten and ran smooth throughout the power-band.  Ordered the replacements for the rubber bits that had cracked from the importer of my unit.  As long as I am at it...I also ordered a tachometer/hour meter and a head temperature meter to mount on my machine.  86,91,68,0,B
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