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Déjà vu: as with tobacco, the climate wars are going to court | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/07/18 - 3:00am

The fossil fuel industry copied Big Tobacco’s racketeering playbook. They’re following the same path to court, where tobacco lost

Investigative journalism has uncovered a “web of denial” in which polluting industries pay “independent” groups to disseminate misinformation to the public and policymakers. The same groups and tactics were employed first by the tobacco industry, then fossil fuel companies. Big Tobacco has been to court and lost; now it’s Big Oil’s turn. Political leaders are choosing sides in this war.

Research by Inside Climate News revealed that Exxon did top notch climate science research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which revealed the dangers its products posed via climate change. Soon thereafter, Exxon launched misinformation campaigns by funding “think tanks” and front groups to manufacture doubt about climate science and the expert consensus on human-caused global warming.

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Categories: Environment

Amazon could face intense wildfire season this year, Nasa warns

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/07/18 - 2:19am

The Amazon is the driest it has been at the start of the dry season since 2002 — and that probably means the rainforest is in for a particularly nasty wildfire season, reports Mongabay

Conditions created by the strong El Niño event that warmed up Pacific waters in 2015 and early 2016 altered rainfall patterns around the world. In the Amazon basin, that meant reduced rainfall during the wet season, plunging some parts of the region into severe drought.

According to NASA, the Amazon is the driest it’s been at the start of the dry season since 2002 — and that probably means the rainforest is in for a particularly nasty wildfire season, according to Doug Morton, an Earth scientist with the U.S. agency and a co-creator of the Amazon fire forecast, which uses climate observations and active fire detections by NASA satellites to predict fire season severity.

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Categories: Environment

UN criticises UK and Germany for betraying Paris climate deal

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 10:01pm

Climate change envoy singles out both countries for subsidising the fossil fuel industry and says the UK has lost its position as a climate leader

Ban Ki-moon’s climate change envoy has accused the UK and Germany of backtracking on the spirit of the Paris climate deal by financing the fossil fuel industry through subsidies.

Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and UN special envoy on climate change and El Niño, said she had to speak out after Germany promised compensation for coal power and the UK provided tax breaks for oil and gas.

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Categories: Environment

Keeping track of the gannets of the Bass Rock

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 9:30pm

The Bass Rock, East Lothian As more offshore wind farms are built, the scientists want to know how high the birds fly before diving down to fish

Just over a mile off the coast of Scotland, within sight of the Forth Railway Bridge, is a truly wild place. The Bass Rock, 100m at its highest point, is white with guano and ringed with a halo of constantly honking seabirds. This is the largest colony of gannets on a single island on Earth, with up to 250,000 crowding into its three hectares in summer.

Scientists from Leeds University are studying their foraging habits. Crucially, as more offshore wind farms are built, they want to know how high the birds fly before diving down to fish.

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Categories: Environment

Scientific hints?

The Field Lab - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 2:57pm
The only way to know for sure is to accept Christ and experience the Holy Spirit.  A story link on Yahoo is probably not going to do it for you and most would still deny Him even if he walked up and slapped them in the face.  (BTW - it's not like you suddenly get super powers...it is much more subtle than that)
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Swimming with seals in Anglesey: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 21 July 1916

I had no intention of commenting upon a highly sensational account of a “Lady’s Thrill” which appeared in one of the papers, but when it was copied into several others I felt that it was time to protest. The account stated that a lady, when bathing at Bull Bay, in Anglesey, was chased by a ferocious “sea lion.” The sea lion, which we may see diving, swimming, and catching fish which are thrown to it in the fine tank at Belle Vue, is commercially the most important of the fur-bearing seals; it inhabits the Pacific – and the Pacific only. Seal hunters do not care much about bathing in icy seas, but even if they did I doubt if the sea lion would attack a man in the water.

What apparently did happen at Bull Bay was that a grey seal reared its head out of the water and looked at the lady when she was bathing. Perhaps it yawned and showed its teeth, for they do not, as a rule, “project over the sides.” Possibly, too, seeing something with which it was unfamiliar in the water, and not suspecting the presence of a human being so far from the shore, it swam nearer for closer inspection. At any rate, there is no recorded instance that I know of, of the timid grey seal swimming after and attacking any bather.

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Categories: Environment

Daily Ketone Testing

Holy Scrap - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 1:32pm
I'm finally ending my daily ritual of measuring blood glucose, ketones and calibrating the Ketometer. At this point I can just rely on breath testing to be reasonably accurate about my ketone levels. In case anyone is curious as to how I was testing my blood sugar and ketones this sub two minute video explains it. More info at my Ketometer.biz site.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Close encounters with the seabirds of Orkney

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 1:30pm

“Although I found the remains of this ancient settlement fascinating, I was constantly distracted by the array of birds along the beach”

From the way the bird was moving, it was obvious she was distressed. One wing held out at an awkward angle, tail fanned, she piped loudly to attract my attention. But I knew that despite appearances, this ringed plover was not injured, but using all her wiles to lure me away from her nest.

Moments later, we found the object of her concern: a tiny chick, so well hidden amongst the stones and pebbles we almost trod on it, before beating a hasty retreat.

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Categories: Environment

Using the Ketometer

Holy Scrap - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 1:28pm

This short video (1.5 min) shows how to use my new ketometer. Available on ketometer.biz.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Decaying carcass of Wally the whale may have returned to California beach

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 6:36am
  • Officials say a dead whale keeps floating to the southern coast
  • The humpback whale’s body has already been towed back to sea twice

Officials say a dead whale that keeps floating to the southern California coast after being towed out to sea may have returned to the shoreline again.

Encinitas lifeguards say a whale body that came ashore Saturday at Grandview beach had been decaying in the water for about two weeks, KABC-TV reports.

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Categories: Environment

Fracked! review – Alistair Beaton's environmental satire has rampant energy

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/07/17 - 5:17am

Minerva, Chichester
Anne Reid and James Bolam star in Beaton’s dark comedy about fracking that becomes an outright plea for direct action

Alistair Beaton’s forte is topical satire. His most recent piece, The Accidental Leader, pre-empted events by showing the shadow cabinet rebelling against Jeremy Corbyn. Now he takes on the topic of fracking (helpfully defined in the programme as “a process of mechanically liberating oil or gas direct from shale”), which has prompted angry protest, not least in rural Sussex. The first thing to say is that the play is very funny, even if it gives short shrift to the pro-fracking argument.

Related: Alistair Beaton and Anthony Neilson: double trouble

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Categories: Environment

An industrial strategy is hard to achieve. But at least laissez-faire is over

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/07/16 - 11:00pm
The new business secretary, Greg Clark, may or may not match up to Heseltine, Mandelson or Benn. But, significantly, he has an explicit licence to intervene

Over the years, politicians of all stripes have had big ideas for Whitehall’s business department. When he was industry secretary in the 1970s, Tony Benn thought state ownership, planning agreements with companies and protectionism were the answer to Britain’s productivity problem.

Twenty years later, Michael Heseltine said he would intervene before breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner to promote the interests of UK plc. When Gordon Brown was in deep trouble during the Great Recession of 2008-09, he wanted a big beast to provide support for key sectors of the economy. Burying the hatchet with an old foe, he called on Peter Mandelson to do the job.

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Categories: Environment

card count

The Field Lab - Sat, 2016/07/16 - 4:12pm
Here is the last round of the birthday cards for Big Ben...He got 26 total with one from the UK and one from Finland.  Thanks!  93,102,74,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

After decades in dire straits, Whitley Bay leads renaissance of northern resorts

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/07/16 - 3:00pm
Inspired by the reinvention of southern seaside towns, the pleasure beach immortalised by Mark Knopfler is enjoying a multimillion-pound revamp

Dire Straits sang in 1981 about Whitley Bay’s Spanish City pleasure beach, where lead singer Mark Knopfler first heard loud rock music. Twenty years after the song, Tunnel of Love, hit the charts, Spanish City’s domed Edwardian concert hall closed and fell derelict. Now the seaside resort, like many of its northern contemporaries, is gearing up for an ambitious renaissance.

Related: Style revival: Britain’s booming seaside towns

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Categories: Environment

A different kind of tea party: how US farmers are brewing up a new industry

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/07/16 - 7:00am

Unchon Ramos has kickstarted an American tea farming revolution right from her farm in Virginia – but growers say the industry is still in ‘the wild west’ stage of development

As a girl growing up in South Korea, Unchon Ramos recalls her mother would always give her green tea to drink at bedtime when she didn’t feel well.

“And when she washed my hair, she always put a couple green tea leaves in the water,” Ramos said.

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Categories: Environment

Carbon-free banking: where to save, invest and borrow

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/15 - 11:00pm
We look at the range of options available if you want to move away from companies connected to fossil fuels

If you are worried about climate change, it has never been easier to move your money away from companies connected to fossil fuels, with plenty of carbon-free banking and investment options available. So says the editor of Ethical Consumer, which describes itself as the UK’s leading alternative consumer magazine, and which has this month published a personal finance guide to carbon divestment that recommends a number of best-buy products in banking, savings, mortgages and investment.

Tim Hunt says the global carbon divestment campaign has been incredibly successful in getting a wide range of institutions to dump billions of pounds of shares in carbon-intensive industries. And it’s not just the likes of universities, pension funds and charitable foundations – many individuals have followed suit or are considering doing so.

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Categories: Environment

US Navy banned from using sonar that harms dolphins and walruses

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/15 - 9:57pm

Low-frequency sonar used for training and testing can injure whales and other marine life, and disrupt their feeding and mating

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the US Navy was wrongly allowed to use sonar in the nation’s oceans that could harm whales and other marine life.

The ninth circuit court of appeals reversed a lower court decision upholding approval granted in 2012 for the Navy to use low-frequency sonar for training, testing and routine operations.

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Categories: Environment

Blue butterflies and black ants thrive on a New Forest heath

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/15 - 9:30pm

Yew Tree Heath, New Forest Below me, the heath drops steadily away through hectares of heather, with patches of grey-green gorse and burgeoning bracken

To seek a commanding view of Yew Tree Heath, I climb a wartime relic. In 1939, an anti-aircraft battery was set up here, with a control centre whose mound offers me the view that I’m after. The tree-line has etched the horizon for millennia. It still does where the chimneys of Marchwood’s industry have not intruded with jagged fingers of concrete, and huge metallic structures are not rearing over it like an alien army poised to attack.

Below me, the heath drops steadily away through hectares of heather, with patches of grey-green gorse and burgeoning bracken, segmented by gritty footpaths. Nearby, two bronze age burial mounds have watched over this ground from long before it was heathland.

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Categories: Environment

back to counting planes...

The Field Lab - Fri, 2016/07/15 - 5:04pm

Been back online with my ADS-B receiver for 2 1/2 days now.  We shall see if I lose the other two ports on my router - it is placed with plenty of breathing room now and I have the backup router ready and waiting...just in case.  Today's tally so far from what I picked up from my humble little station maxed out at 30,296 pings yielding 4,336 positions on some of the 709 aircraft seen today from a maximum distance of 209 nautical miles (which is 240 miles to you and me).  90,102,80,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Butterflies, food waste and Theresa May – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/15 - 9:11am

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
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