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German scientists to conduct nuclear fusion experiment

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/02/03 - 1:52am

Angela Merkel to attend test in which team will heat hydrogen until it becomes plasma in bid for clean nuclear power

Scientists in Germany are poised to conduct a nuclear fusion experiment they hope will advance the quest for a clean and safe form of nuclear power.

In a test expected to be attended by Angela Merkel, the chancellor, researchers will inject a tiny amount of hydrogen into a special device and heat it until it becomes a super-hot gas known as plasma – mimicking conditions inside the sun.

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Categories: Environment

Indonesia and US join forces to police the seas | Johnny Langenheim

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/02/03 - 1:42am

A new strategic partnership to improve marine law enforcement and combat illegal fishing in Indonesia builds on existing progress

President Joko Widodo’s plan to establish Indonesia as a ‘global maritime axis’ took a step forward last week as US ambassador Robert Blake announced a partnership programme to help improve marine law enforcement and sustainable fisheries management in the world’s largest archipelagic nation.

According to the World Bank, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) costs an estimated $20 billion in lost revenue annually. Around a quarter of these losses occur in Indonesia, whose fishing industry is second only to China in size.

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Categories: Environment

Headkayse: the bike helmet you can drop (or hit) and still use

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/02/03 - 12:00am

British start-up firm says its revolutionary design offers a more robust and effective helmet. But design niggles remain

Let’s begin by forgetting the usual tedious arguments about bike helmet use – you can do it; close your eyes, count to 10, breathe – and instead focus on the more minor irritations concerning them.

For someone like me, who wears a helmet the majority of the time when on two wheels, it’s mainly the care you have to take with a cycle helmet, not dropping it on the floor or, if you have it attached to a bag, bashing it against things.

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Categories: Environment

Brexit would return Britain to being 'dirty man of Europe'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 11:00pm

Leading group of environmentalists warns that leaving the European Union would mean a return to filthy beaches, foul air and weak conservation laws

Britain risks becoming the “dirty man of Europe” again with filthy beaches, foul air and weak conservation laws if it leaves the European Union, a group of leading environmentalists warned on Wednesday.

The steering committee of the new E4E (Environmentalists for Europe) group includes former ministers, a former EU commissioner and a former head of the Environment Agency. It will work with green groups to persuade people that leaving the EU could set back the UK’s nature protection and prevention of pollution many years. The UK’s referendum on EU membership may come as soon as June.

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Categories: Environment

How much do you know about the world's food security challenges? Take the quiz

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

Demand for food is growing but arable land is being lost; millions are obese but millions still face hunger. Can you put exact figures to these problems?

How much do you understand about global food security?

How many people in the world currently go hungry according to the UN?

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Categories: Environment

Australian town Huntlee could be first off-grid, but what about everyone else?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 9:41pm

Falling technology costs and rising electricity prices make going off the grid appealing but regulations and networks could hold others back

Living off-grid used to be something that people had to do to support modern life in remote communities but living without centralised power is becoming an increasingly mainstream concept.

Last year Australia’s CSIRO and its Energy Networks Association stated that by 2050 a third of Australians could have left the electricity grid as technologies that support off-grid systems, such as solar panels and battery storage, become significantly more competitive. In fact, the chief economist at the CSIRO’s Energy Flagship, Paul Graham, estimates battery storage costs could fall by about 60% in the next 10 years, while solar panels could fall by around a third over the same period.

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Categories: Environment

Paris to launch electric moped hire scheme

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 9:06pm

Anyone aged over 20 with a relevant licence will be able to hire an electric moped, in a move aimed at cutting down on noise and pollution

Electric mopeds will be available for hire around Paris from this summer following an “encouraging” trial of the public scheme, the mayor’s office has announced.

The service will see 1,000 scooters gradually deployed around the French capital, available to anyone aged over 20 with a moped licence.

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Categories: Environment

Los Angeles files criminal charges against SoCalGas over massive gas leak

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 8:36pm

Southern California Gas could be fined up to $25,000 for each of the three days it didn’t notify the state of the leak in the Porter Ranch community

The utility company whose blown-out natural gas well forced the evacuation of thousands of people in the Los Angeles area faced criminal charges on Tuesday for failing to report the massive breach to the authorities.

With the criminal complaint, Southern California Gas Company faces mounting legal challenges for its response to the underground blow-out of its natural gas storage well, which was discovered on 23 October.

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Categories: Environment

Little blue penguins from Australia 'invaded' New Zealand

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 7:51pm

Australian little blue penguins, also known as fairy penguins, colonised an area in New Zealand, wiping out local penguins about 500 years ago, researcher say

They might be the cutest invaders ever. It seems a population of little blue penguins in New Zealand are Australian invaders who colonised the region very recently, exploiting a gap in the ecosystem left when humans arrived and wiped out the local penguins.

Little blue penguins, known as fairy penguins in Australia, are the smallest penguins in the world, growing to about 30cm tall and weighing a bit over 1kg.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland hotel evicts snake hiding in men's toilets – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 5:47pm

Sunshine Coast snake catcher Richie Gilbert was called in to evict an unwanted guest from the men’s toilets at the Waterfront hotel in Maroochydore. While the reptile, curled up beneath the urinal, turned out to be a ‘completely harmless’ common tree snake, Gilbert says ‘it would still give you a bit of a fright if it came out and nipped you while you were doing your business’. The cool tiles of bathrooms provide the perfect place for snakes to escape the summer heat, and Gilbert recommends Queenslanders keep their doors closed

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Categories: Environment

Border tensions rumble over ageing Belgian nuclear reactors

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 5:38pm

Decision to restart 40-year-old nuclear reactors places strain on relations between European neighbours, as Germans and Dutch voice concerns

Belgium’s decision to restart two 40-year-old nuclear reactors is putting pressure on northern Europe’s political fault lines, with Germany announcing that it would send experts to inspect the plants.

Concerns have been stoked by the discovery of thousands of defects in the reactors’ pressure vessels, a fire, and one unresolved sabotage incident at the plants, which also border Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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Categories: Environment

groundhog day

The Field Lab - Tue, 2016/02/02 - 4:44pm
Ben didn't come out of the barn til long after sunrise so he didn't see his shadow = early spring.48,60,39,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

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
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