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EU on track to meet renewable energy targets – but UK lags behind

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 7:41am

EU looks set to meet its 2020 goal of using 20% of energy from renewable sources but the UK is one of three member states to increase reliance on imported energy

The European Union is on track to meet its renewable energy targets but the UK is one of only three member states to become more dependent on imported energy in the last decade.

A report from the European commission boasts of good progress towards the goal of using 20% of final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife on your doorstep: share your February photos

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 6:29am

With grey winter skies still dominating the northern hemisphere and the southern still enjoying the summer heat, what sort of wildlife will you discover?

The shortest month of the year is upon us and, while the fog and mist might be clearing slightly in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is still basking in the summer sunshine. So what sort of wildlife will we all discover on our doorsteps? We’d love to see your photos of the February wildlife near you.

Share your photos and videos with us and we’ll feature our favourites on the Guardian site.

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Categories: Environment

We are heading for a senseless nuclear Brexit - with no political or legal mandate

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 6:15am

Our nuclear energy, safety and research must not be subjugated to already chaotic Brexit negotiations – the government must put the national interest first

Last week we learned just how hard and how ill-conceived Brexit looks like being. The two line parliamentary bill published by the government last Thursday contained no detail, no plan, and no check or balance on the prime minister’s possible negotiation as it progresses.

One thing that was included, albeit buried in the explanation notes, is a brief reference to also ending Britain’s membership of Euratom – an entirely separate treaty. The implications of this will be deep and far-reaching for the future of UK’s energy supply, science, industry and workers. There is no political or legal mandate for the UK to leave Euratom, in fact it was barely even a footnote in the referendum campaign, and yet we are heading for a nuclear Brexit.

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Categories: Environment

The traditional cures threatening Myanmar's wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 5:26am

From elephant skins as a remedy for eczema, to otters’ sex organs as a natural aphrodisiac, a $20bn-a-year global wildlife trade operates under the shadow of Myanmar’s Golden Rock buddhist pilgrimage site

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Categories: Environment

First class meal: could the declining US postal service deliver food to the needy?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 5:00am

Students in St Louis propose to help millions of ‘food insecure’ people and reduce America’s mountain of food waste ... by piggybacking on the vehicles and shuttered offices of the United States Postal Service

Despite living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, one in seven US residents is “food insecure”. These 48 million people struggle to reliably find food, even as the rest of the poulation throw out about 60m tonnes of it a year.

Typically America’s food-insecure population is also low-income and trapped in food deserts, where they lack fresh, healthy, affordable eating options. Residents of food deserts make up almost 18% of the population, or about 54.4 million people, who live more than half a mile away from the nearest supermarket in urban areas or more than 10 miles away in rural areas.

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Categories: Environment

Scottish government launches public consultation on fracking

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 4:45am

Four-month consultation on possibility of fracking in Scotland runs until end of May with dedicated website at talkingfracking.scot, reports BusinessGreen

The Scottish government has launched a public consultation over whether to allow unconventional oil and gas extraction – including fracking – to take place in Scotland.

The four-month consultation runs until the end of May and the Scottish government then plans to make a recommendation that will go before MSPs for a vote towards the end of the year.

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Categories: Environment

GOP Lawmakers Take Steps To Repeal Environmental Regulations

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 3:04am

There are two big environmental regulations on the chopping block for congressional Republicans this week — involving coal mining and methane emissions.

Categories: Environment

Barnaby Joyce says Australia should build new coal-fired power stations

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/02/01 - 1:45am

Nationals leader says he would not oppose taxpayers subsiding the building of new coal-fired plants

The deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, says it is “morally prudent” for Australia to build new coal-fired plants and he would have no problem if taxpayers provided support.

Joyce told the ABC that subsidising new coal plants was not on the agenda right now but, if it emerged on the agenda, “it wouldn’t worry me in the least.”

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Categories: Environment

These squirrels are not native. So what?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 10:30pm

Wenlock Edge This sycamore isn’t native either, and neither are the people who planted them, or who look at them now

The squirrels look as though they make everyday life into a game; they have the kind of mischievous intelligence once attributed by folklore to hidden, supernatural creatures such as fairies, elves, goblins and the like. These grey and ginger squirrels are tricky. To some people they are a delight to watch; to others they are an anathema, interlopers blamed for the demise of the native red squirrel.

A group of half a dozen – I imagine them as a family or tribal gatherers – are foraging for seeds under a big old sycamore. It’s a bit parky, the frost only just going off will soon return with the breath of darkness when the sun, all syrupy gold at the moment, slides behind trees.

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Categories: Environment

Army Says It Is Expediting Review Of Dakota Access Pipeline Route

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 8:54pm

Members of the North Dakota congressional delegation say the acting secretary of the Army has ordered the Corps of Engineers to proceed with an easement needed to complete the pipeline.

(Image credit: Michael Owen Baker/AP)

Categories: Environment

Coalition's renewable energy target won't last forever, says Turnbull

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 8:53pm

• Prime minister boosts conservatives’ calls for U-turn on green energy plan
• Leaves door open for Coalition to do deals with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

Malcolm Turnbull has said Australia’s renewable energy target was “never intended to be perpetual”, giving encouragement to conservatives including Tony Abbott in Coalition ranks who are calling for it to be scrapped.

The prime minister made the statement at the National Press Club on Wednesday, after a speech in which he advocated an “agnostic” energy policy and the government’s plan for “security and prosperity”.

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Categories: Environment

Deutsche Bank pulls out of coal projects to meet Paris climate pledge

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 8:41pm

The biggest bank in Germany says all new investment will stop and existing exposure will be gradually reduced

Deutsche Bank, the biggest bank in Germany, has said it will stop financing coal projects as part of its commitments under the Paris agreement to tackle global warming.

“Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries will not grant new financing for greenfield thermal coal mining and new coal-fired power plant construction,” it said in a statement.

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Categories: Environment

Dakota Access pipeline moves to final stage in army corps approval process

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 7:58pm

The acting secretary of the army has directed the army corps of engineers to grant the easement necessary to finish the billion-dollar project

The Dakota Access pipeline is in the final process of getting approvals to complete construction across the Missouri river, according to Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota.

Related: Trump orders revival of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

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Categories: Environment

Backyard butchers and vigilante farmers: stock rustling on the rise in New Zealand

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 5:16pm

Last year thousands of valuable farm animals were poached from isolated farms to await slaughter in ‘abhorrent’ and illegal conditions

The thick swarm of black flies hanging above the backyard of the rural property was the first tip-off. The metallic stench of weeks-old animal blood was another.

“There were dead animals, offal and blood everywhere, spread out on an exposed concrete slab with people walking through it and birds flying through,” says Gary Orr.

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Categories: Environment

a farm that makes sense out here...

The Field Lab - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 3:45pm
New business venture up the road from me.  Couldn't help but notice their fence isn't bunny proof.  I wonder if that is going to be a problem.  63,78,29,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Move Over, Sheep. Doves Are Returning Home To Tiny Island Of Socorro

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 2:28pm

On an island where sheep, cats and mice thrive, the doves died off. But scientists have a plan to reintroduce the Socorro dove to its ancestral home.

(Image credit: Loretta Williams for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Space Archaeologist Wants Citizen Scientists To Identify Archaeological Looting

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 1:56pm

Sarah Parcak used $1 million in TED Prize money to launch a program called GlobalXplorer that allows anyone online to analyze satellite images of archaeological sites for evidence.

(Image credit: DigitalGlobal2017)

Categories: Environment

Tesla moves beyond electric cars with new California battery farm

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 12:18pm

The project is part of Elon Musk’s plan to help transform the power grid

From the road, the close to 400 white industrial boxes packed into 1.5 acres of barren land in Ontario, California, a little more than 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles, look like standard electrical equipment. They’re surrounded by a metal fence, stand on concrete pads and sit under long electrical lines.

Related: US advances on clean energy with first offshore wind farm

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Categories: Environment

Indigenous federation sues Peru over new national park

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 11:51am

Oil and gas concession overlaps 1.3m hectare “protected area” inhabited by indigenous peoples in “isolation”

One of the almost 100 resolutions adopted by the World Conservation Congress (WCC) held in Hawai’i in September 2016 was that “protected areas” such as national parks should be “no go” for mining, oil and gas operations, agriculture, dams, roads and pipelines. Another resolution was that indigenous peoples’ territories overlapped by “protected areas” should be recognised and respected, calling upon International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) members, non-member States and others to do so.

While it might not seem particularly significant or startling to demand that “protected areas” should be, er, protected from such damaging activities as oil operations, and while WCC resolutions aren’t legally-binding on anyone, such calls do urgently need to be made. Take as an example Peru, the country that, according to the IUCN, established more “protected areas” than any other in 2016. Undoubtedly its most important conservation achievement in recent years has been the creation of the 1.3m hectare Sierra del Divisor National Park, although approximately 40% is included in an oil and gas concession ultimately controlled by a Canadian-headquartered company, Pacific Exploration and Production.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution crisis ‘plagues’ UK, finds UN human rights expert

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/31 - 10:23am

‘Silent pandemic’ of air pollution affects UK children and there is no indication protection against toxic waste will be retained after Brexit

Air pollution is a crisis that “plagues” the UK, particularly children, according to the UN’s special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes.

Baskut Tuncak, who was appointed by the UN human rights council and completed a 15-day mission to the UK on Tuesday, said there was an “urgent need for political will by the UK government to make timely, measurable and meaningful interventions”.

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Categories: Environment
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