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How much of the world's fossil fuel can we burn?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 7:36am

The much-quoted three numbers of climate change have raised awareness of the simple fact there’s far more fossil fuel than we can burn and the more we extract, the greater the risk of climate catastrophe – but they don’t tell us the whole story

The world is gradually waking up to the true nature of the climate change conundrum, and not a moment too soon. The situation boils down to this: fossil fuel is immensely useful, valuable and politically important, yet if we want to avoid taking unacceptable risks with the planet we need to leave most of that fuel in the ground – either forever or at least until there’s an affordable and scalable way to stop the exhaust gases building up in the atmosphere.

Many of us have been saying this for years (I co-wrote a book about it) but much of the credit for the increased awareness of the need to ‘leave the fuel in the ground’ goes to Bill McKibben, whose brilliant and much-read article in Rolling Stone clarified for many readers the simple and crucial fact that there is far more carbon in existing fossil fuel reserves than we can safely burn.

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Categories: Environment

US supreme court to hear challenge to EPA power-plant pollution regulations

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 6:31am

Court to decide whether cost is initial factor in regulating output of mercury and other hazardous pollutants or whether health risks are only consideration

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Categories: Environment

Fossil fuel firms are still bankrolling climate denial lobby groups

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 6:24am

BP has withdrawn support to Alec, a group known for misrepresenting climate science, but appearances can be deceptive. Oil, gas and coal companies remain firmly behind climate disinformation campaigns

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Categories: Environment

One in six UK homes at risk from flooding, says MPs report

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 6:05am

Current levels of flood protection for five million properties face ‘major risks’ due to lack of long-term defence maintenance budgets, MPs have warned

England’s ability to sustain current levels of flood protection for homes and businesses faces “major risks”, MPs have warned.

Some five million properties across the country, or around one in six, are at risk of flooding from coastal, river and surface water, and climate change is increasing the risks of extreme weather and floods, a report by the public accounts committee said.

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Categories: Environment

One satellite data set is underestimating global warming

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 6:00am

A new study suggests that the University of Alabama at Huntsville is lowballing the warming of the atmosphere

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Categories: Environment

Wellcome Trust rejects Guardian's calls to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 4:34am

Director of the charitable trust, Jeremy Farrar, says retaining fossil fuel shares gives more influence over such companies – but they would not rule out divesting in the future, should engagement prove ineffective

The director of the Wellcome Trust has rejected calls from a Guardian campaign to shift the charitable foundation’s investments out of the fossil fuel industry, warning that such a move would mean less pressure on those companies to be green.

Related: Fossil-fuel divestment is not the way to reduce carbon emissions | Jeremy Farrar

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Categories: Environment

Fossil-fuel divestment is not the way to reduce carbon emissions

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 4:28am
Despite the Guardian campaign, at Wellcome we’ve found it’s more constructive to actively engage with the companies in which we invest Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Naomi Klein: Let's kick oil while the price is down – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 2:00am
Climate change should be a catalyst for a major change, but we're not treating it as a real emergency. Naomi Klein believes that capitalism is at war with the climate, but she says sometimes it gives us a gift – the sudden drop in oil prices. So let's not blow what could be our best chance to prevent catastrophic global warming Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: Nationals MP says environmentalists are guilty of treason

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 1:08am

Conservation groups are ‘eco-traitors’ for lobbying the Unesco world heritage committee on reef, says Abbot government backbencher George Christensen

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Categories: Environment

Life in the Philippines: preparing for the next typhoon Haiyan

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/03/25 - 12:00am

The Philippines is battered by some 20 typhoons a year – events that will get more severe with climate change. Yet, post Haiyan millions of Filipinos remain vulnerable and underprepared for future such disasters

In 2013, the Philippines had so many typhoons that it ran out of letters to name them. For the first time, the country had got to the end of the alphabet for typhoon names and had to start at ‘a’ again.

The letter ‘y’ proved most devastating. Typhoon Yolanda – known internationally as Haiyan – tore through a swathe of the Philippines on 8 November 2013, leaving more than 6,300 people dead. Nearly 2,000 are still listed as missing.

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Categories: Environment

Clean Energy Council suggests Coalition and Labor 'split the difference' over RET

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 11:04pm

Renewable energy industry peak body tries to broker a deal between the two major parties to end the standoff over the target

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Categories: Environment

Lord Smith 'hugely sceptical' of fracking for shale oil in the UK

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 11:00pm

Former environment agency chief says environmental case for shale oil in the UK is much tougher to make than for shale gas and calls for a single regulator


The former chief of the Environment Agency is “hugely sceptical” on the prospects of fracking for shale oil in the UK, saying it is far from clear that the process should be used to extract quantities of oil from downlands in the south-east of England.

Lord Smith of Finsbury, better known as Chris Smith when he was a Labour MP and minister, said: “The environmental case for shale oil is much more adverse than for shale gas. It’s much more difficult to make the case for shale oil.”

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Categories: Environment

Momentous and ephemeral: the flowering of the first violet

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 10:29pm
Wenlock Edge Fleeting beauty of the violet holds the potency of an equinox and eclipse Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Female polar bear raises hopes of birth in captivity

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 5:37pm

Owners of Highland Wildlife Park hope Victoria, 18, will get chummy with male Arktos during her stay in the Cairngorms

The arrival of a female polar bear at a wildlife park in Scotland has raised the prospect of the first captive birth in Britain in 23 years.

The new arrival, Victoria, is an 18-year-old bear who has spent her life in zoos in Germany and Denmark. On Wednesday, she will be introduced to an enclosure purpose-built to encourage the delicate, potentially deadly, process of polar bear breeding. She is the only female polar bear in Britain.

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Categories: Environment

Hard-headed approach frees kangaroo with head stuck in watering can – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 5:15pm

Can-do attitude of onlookers in South Australia helps liberate two-metre red kangaroo that became snared by a steel watering can

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Categories: Environment

BERNZ0MATIC

The Field Lab - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 4:51pm
Got everything assembled for the minting process.  New TS8000 just arrived.  This torch head burns 200 degrees hotter than my old one which should speed up the process a bit.  78,87,48,0,C
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

California Plastic Bag Referendum Could Spark Environmental Showdown

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 1:34pm

A referendum to repeal California's statewide ban on plastic single-use bags has been added to the November 2016 ballot. The measure was backed by the plastic bag industry.

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Categories: Environment

A Top Weedkiller Could Cause Cancer. Should We Be Scared?

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 12:48pm

A respected scientific group says that glyphosate, also known as Roundup, is "probably carcinogenic to humans." Yet the actual risks — which are mainly to farmers, not consumers — remain uncertain.

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Categories: Environment

US coal sector in 'structural decline', financial analysts say

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 9:38am

Over 200 mines shut down and industry loses 76% of its value in five years, report finds

The US coal sector is in a “structural decline” which has sent 26 companies bust in the last three years, according to financial analysts.

A report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative found that in the past five years the US coal industry lost 76% of its value. At least 264 mines were closed between 2011 and 2013. The world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy, lost 80% of its share price.

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Categories: Environment

UN climate chief joins alumni calling on Swarthmore to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2015/03/24 - 8:04am

Christiana Figueres calls on Swarthmore College in a letter to ‘play its part in history’ and rid its investments of fossil fuels that cause climate change

The United Nations climate chief appealed to her alma mater, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, to withdraw from fossil fuels, in an important symbolic show of support for the campus divestment campaign.

A group of protesters occupied Swarthmore’s administrative office last week to demand the university return to negotiations on fossil fuel divestment. The administrative board have since agreed to put divestment on the agenda their May meeting.

Related: Students occupy Swarthmore college in fossil fuel divestment protest

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Categories: Environment
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