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Nuclear fusion, combatting air pollution and Attenborough – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 8:55am

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

Boris Johnson makes 'save African elephant' plea

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 7:21am

Foreign secretary, who backs ban on ivory trade, breaks off London speech to make plea for ‘magnificent’ vulnerable animal

Boris Johnson has interrupted a sweeping speech on the UK’s geopolitical future to make a passionate plea to save the African elephant, saying they are on the brink of extinction as they “get turned into umbrella stands and billiard balls”.

In the midst of a speech at Chatham House to ambassadors and foreign policy advisers, the UK foreign secretary said he was “obsessed with the tragic fate of the African elephant”.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 7:00am

A baby slow loris, a ‘walking shark’ and caribou in Alaska are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Four of world's biggest cities to ban diesel cars from their centres

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 5:47am

Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City will ban the most polluting cars and vans by 2025 to tackle air pollution

Four of the world’s biggest cities are to ban diesel vehicles from their centres within the next decade, as a means of tackling air pollution, with campaigners urging other city leaders to follow suit.

The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City announced plans on Friday to take diesel cars and vans off their roads by 2025.

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Categories: Environment

Fires and drought cook Tennessee - a state represented by climate deniers | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 4:00am

Climate change intensified the extreme weather in Tennessee, but its legislators deny the science

With my new hope that deniers of climate change will take ownership of the consequences, I am sad to report that this week, terrible wildfires have swept through Tennessee, a southeastern state in the USA. This state is beset by a tremendous drought, as seen by a recent US Drought Monitor map. There currently are severe, extreme, and exceptional drought conditions covering a wide swath of southern states. The causes of drought are combinations of lowered precipitation and higher temperatures.

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Categories: Environment

Joy as China shelves plans to dam 'angry river'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 1:35am

Environmentalists celebrate as Beijing appears to abandon plans to build giant hydroelectric dams on 1,750-mile Nujiang

Environmentalists in China are celebrating after controversial plans to build a series of giant hydroelectric dams on the country’s last free-flowing river were shelved.

Activists have spent more than a decade campaigning to protect the Nujiang, or “angry river”, from a cascade of dams, fearing they would displace tens of thousands of people and irreparably damage one of China’s most spectacular and bio-diverse regions.

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Categories: Environment

Quitting UN climate change body could be Trump's quickest exit from Paris deal

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 1:00am

Lawyer on president-elect’s transition team says leaving UNFCCC is ‘most practical way’ way to quit agreement, a process that normally takes four years

The US should completely quit the United Nations forum to tackle climate change in order to quickly exit the Paris climate agreement, according to a conservative lawyer who is part of Donald Trump’s transition team.

Abandoning the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would allow the US to back out of the international climate effort within a year, far sooner than the four-year period that would be required to ditch the Paris accord, which came into force in November. Such a move would probably prove a severe blow to global efforts to avoid dangerous warming.

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Categories: Environment

After 60 years, is nuclear fusion finally poised to deliver?

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

It’s been a long time coming, but the world’s top powers are now betting billions on the Iter collaboration to deliver clean, safe, limitless energy for the modern world

“We are standing on the ground that could change the future of energy,” says engineer Laurent Pattison, deep in the reactor pit of the world’s biggest nuclear fusion project.

Around him is a vast construction site, all aimed at creating temperatures of 150mC on this spot and finally bringing the power of the sun down to Earth. The €18bn (£14.3bn) Iter project, now rising fast from the ground under the bright blue skies of Provence, France, is the first capable of achieving a critical breakthrough: getting more energy out of the intense fusion reactions than is put in.

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Categories: Environment

Off-grid solar to help Myanmar bring electricity to all by 2030

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 11:00pm

In a country where only 16% of rural homes have power a government-led scheme is bringing electricity to thousands of villages

Four feet in length, of aggressive disposition, and deadly poisonous: you don’t want to stand on a Russell’s viper in the dark. Especially if there’s no antivenom for miles around. Yet that’s the daily predicament facing millions of villagers in Myanmar, where snakebites cause about 500 deaths every year.

In Yin Ma Chaung, a rural settlement about nine hours by car from Yangon, villagers can rest easier knowing there are doses of antivenom chilling securely in a new refrigerator in the village’s community centre, powered by solar.

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Categories: Environment

Hogweed magic mocks the cold snap

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 10:30pm

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire Defying the season, the flowering hedge-bank plant has an irrepressible urge to burst forth

A hogweed blooms in the violet breath of shadows on the lane. Where garden roses are bred to keep flowering compulsively in a desperate denial of the season, the hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) opens in defiance. In a frosty corner of the hedge bank cut down at the end of summer, one flower makes a reappearance.

Related: Late bloomers in the lee

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Categories: Environment

The $40m 'magic pipe': Princess Cruises given record fine for dumping oil at sea

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 10:08pm

Caribbean Princess discharged thousands of gallons of polluted bilge waste along British coast, while other ships used rigged sensors to hide contamination

Princess Cruise Lines will pay a US$40m penalty after pleading guilty to seven federal charges in an illegal ocean pollution case that involved one ship’s use of a so-called magic pipe to divert oily waste into the waters.

Miami US attorney Wifredo Ferrer told a news conference the penalty was the largest ever of its kind. A plea agreement filed in federal court also requires Carnival, the UK and US-listed parent company of the Princess line, to submit 78 cruise ships across its eight brands to a five-year environmental compliance programme overseen by a judge.

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Categories: Environment

The government's report on the Great Barrier Reef is a 'dog ate my homework' moment | Larissa Waters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 10:03pm

The federal and Queensland governments are risking the reef being put on Unesco’s in-danger list with their coal obsession and shoddy progress report

If you’ve ever visited the Great Barrier Reef, or are one of the 70,000 people whose job relies upon it, you know why it’s considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Yet it faces more pressure than ever before, from global warming, water quality, industrialisation of the coastline, and ever more extreme weather.

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Categories: Environment

Great Australian Bight oil drilling plans too 'technical' for FoI release, says regulator

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 7:33pm

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority censors documents sought by Greenpeace

Australia’s offshore oil regulator is censoring documents about BP’s plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight on the grounds that environmental campaigners could use the information to “oppose all drilling activities” there – and that the plans are too “technical” for the public to understand.

Nathaniel Pelle, a Greenpeace campaign who requested the documents under freedom of information laws, said the decision hindered democratic debate.

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Categories: Environment

looking up...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 5:08pm

Got my replacement part for the intake today.  Of course I couldn't buy just the rubber bit.  The assembly only comes with the filter.  Rigged a makeshift seat rest to test.  Once I find the optimum position and height I will come up with something more permanent.  Mounted a big wide angle mirror on the fork.  This is a pretty common accessory so you can see if the wing is coming up nice and straight behind you for launch.  63,70,32,0,C
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Drinking too much water when ill can be harmful, finds study

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 4:30pm

Doctors warn excessive intake can pose risks for some patients and say medical advice needs to be more specific

The common advice to drink plenty of water when ill is based on scant evidence and can actively harm chances of recovery, doctors have warned.

Medics at King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust, in London, raised the alarm after they treated a patient with hyponatremia – abnormally low sodium – from drinking too much water to help with a recurring urinary tract infection.

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Categories: Environment

Tornado Outbreaks Are On The Rise, And Scientists Don't Know Why

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 3:14pm

A new study looks at clusters of tornadoes, like those that hit the Southeast this week. They are costly in lives and insurance payouts.

Categories: Environment

Climate Scientists Struggle To Identify Cause Of Bigger Tornado Clusters

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 2:14pm

Climate scientists say the conditions that might produce more or stronger tornadoes are spreading along with a warmer atmosphere. But there's no sign so far that this is happening. New research finds that when tornadoes occur in clusters, as they often do, those clusters contain more tornadoes than ever. And we're also seeing more clusters with especially powerful tornadoes.

Categories: Environment

$199 for a luxury cruise? 'Voluntourism' eco vacations struggle to catch on

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 1:06pm

One cruise liner is offering passengers weeklong cruises centered entirely around volunteer work. But are these vacations as sustainable as they seem?

Cruise lines are among the travel industry’s worst polluters, notorious for dumping insufficiently treated sewage into oceans or producing as much soot as 1m cars per day.

Now, cruise companies are seeking to offset that tainted image by offering “voluntourism” experiences. Passengers onboard Carnival Cruises’ Fathom line, for example, can expect to tan by the pool in the morning, build water filters in the Dominican Republic in the afternoon, then dance on the ship’s deck at night.

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Categories: Environment

Two-thirds of Australians think reef crisis is 'national emergency' – poll

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 12:00pm

Overwhelming majority of people agree the government should legislate to stop chemicals polluting the Great Barrier Reef

More than two-thirds of Australians think the condition of the Great Barrier Reef should be declared a “national emergency” and support much stronger measures to protect it than are now being considered.

On Thursday the government released its report on the reef to Unesco, which was a condition of the reef being excluded from the UN body’s “world heritage in-danger” list. The government reported slow progress on the key issue of water quality and the failure of a major plank in the plan – slowing tree clearing in Queensland.

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Categories: Environment

Don’t call Sheffield tree campaigners fanatics | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 11:36am

Tree campaign groups across Sheffield have been at pains to garner expert inputs to substantiate their very clear arguments against the Sheffield chainsaw massacre (Letters, 29 November). The Woodland Trust is a longstanding critic of the Sheffield “Streets Ahead” programme and its epic and disastrous plans for street tree “management”. Equally, the Sheffield Wildlife Trust has not been shy about its deep reservations. More recently, the Arboricultural Association has felt compelled to take a position. It is insulting to condemn them as “fanatics”.

Campaigners do not advocate saving every tree and have a clear position on the removal of the dead and the dangerous. Yet we live in a post-truth, post-factual world. Perhaps then we should be unsurprised when finding some rot and a little deadwood are being cast in the way of constructive dialogue.

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Categories: Environment
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