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Traditional owners enter mine over fears Glencore could avoid cleanup cost

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 10:30pm

Group demands answers on the future and rehabilitation of sacred sites at the McArthur river mine, which mines one of the world’s largest zinc deposits

Traditional owners have trespassed on to a mine to visit their own sacred sites and draw attention to ongoing fears mining giant Glencore could avoid financial liability for pollution and cleanup costs.

The McArthur river operation near Borroloola in the Gulf region of the Northern Territory mines one of the world’s largest zinc deposits. Government documents recently revealed elevated lead levels in fish and cattle near the site, as well as inconsistencies in the information given to the public about contamination.

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Categories: Environment

England's natural beauty areas at risk, says National Trust

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 10:01pm

Conservation organisation claims that local planners are not always applying law correctly in AONBs, citing example of solar farm in Dorset

Some of England’s most beautiful landscapes are threatened by inappropriate development because planning rules are not being followed properly, the National Trust has claimed.

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Categories: Environment

Emissary arrives in fiery copper costume

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 9:29pm
River Derwent, Northumberland The small copper butterfly flitted from flower to flower, then settled almost at my elbow

Downstream from Blanchland bridge there were signs that the countryside was settling into autumn. In gardens on the edge of the village newly harvested onions had been left to dry in the early morning sun. A gentle rain of yellow birch leaves, spinning as they fell, settled on a footpath that was flanked by angelica umbels, and hogweed seeds festooned with dew-bedecked spider webs.

Some stretches of the river, where the lowering arc of the sun fell below the crowns of pines on the far bank, would not be warmed again by direct sunlight until spring.

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Categories: Environment

Australia says Volkswagen faces legal action if 'defeat devices' found

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 7:39pm

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says presence of pollution-cheating software would violate consumer law and risk fines of $1.1m per breach

Volkswagen faces being hauled before a court and fined by the consumer watchdog if pollution-cheating software is found in its Australian cars.

In an update on its investigation into the local impact of the car giant’s emissions fraud, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said a discovery of “defeat devices” would violate consumer law.

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Categories: Environment

Record El Niño set to cause hunger for 10 million poorest, Oxfam warns

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 5:00pm

Charity says countries already facing a ‘major emergency’ include Ethiopia, where 4.5 million people need food aid because of scarcity of rain this year

At least 10 million of the world’s poorest people are set to go hungry this year because of failing crops caused by one of the strongest El Niño climatic events on record, Oxfam has warned.

Related: El Niño: a global weather event that may save California — and destroy the tropics | Kyle Meng & Solomon Hsiang

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Categories: Environment

Mining and oil threatens one in three natural world heritage sites — report

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 4:01pm

WWF finds 31% world heritage sites at risk from fossil fuel exploration and mining, including Great Barrier Reef and Africa’s oldest national park

Nearly one in three natural world heritage sites are at risk of exploration for fossil fuels and mining, a report from the conservation charity WWF has found.

The record high of 31% at risk is up from 24% last year. Natural world heritage sites are selected as the most important globally to conserve for reasons of natural beauty or significance, including game reserves, and unique natural features such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

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Categories: Environment

World's energy systems at risk from global warming, says industry group

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 4:01pm

Energy grids, power stations and distribution networks are vulnerable to storms, flooding and heatwaves caused by climate change, says World Energy Council

The world’s energy infrastructure is at risk from the extreme weather expected to result from climate change, a group of prominent energy companies has warned.

Energy systems, including fossil fuel power stations, distribution grids, and the networks that reach to people’s homes, are all at risk from effects such as flooding, severe storms and sea level rises, according to a new report from the World Energy Council, which brings together energy companies, academics and public sector agencies.

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Categories: Environment

Five million hectares around Uluru declared an Indigenous protected area

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 3:45pm

Government funding will allow the Anangu people to protect sacred sites, native plants and animals around the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park

Five million hectares (12.35m acres) of land around Uluru in the Northern Territory is to be declared an Indigenous protected area, allowing traditional owners to better preserve sites of cultural significance.

Related: Uluru's secrets must be preserved | Toni O'Loughlin

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Categories: Environment

metal minded

The Field Lab - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 3:35pm
Since I am still rather incapacitated with my long recovery (due for my next surgeon appointment Oct 15th), I am spending a lot of time thinking about metal possibilities while waiting to be able to get back to all the Field Lab projects that need to happen.  A couple of years ago, a Canadian company acquired the rights to the silver mine in nearby Shafter.  Falling silver prices forced then to shut down the operation not long after they got up to speed.  Since panning for gold really isn't an option in the Chihuahua desert and the mercury mines in Terlingua have been out of operation for many years, I thought about what other metal might be in abundance in the area.  Not surprisingly - it is beer can aluminum.  It's not really a viable commercial enterprise for minting (a troy ounce of aluminum is worth about 5 cents), but there are plenty available in the area.  Melting and casting them looks like fun and it is a fairly simple and inexpensive project to experiment with.  86,91,62,0,C    
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Volkswagen Owners Wonder Where A Fix Will Leave Them

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 2:24pm

Many customers who bought cars touted as "clean diesel" now ponder the possibility of having a substantial fix that could cut their vehicle's gas mileage or performance.

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Categories: Environment

Questions over Direct Action as Greg Hunt reveals Paris target needs industrial emissions cut

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 1:10pm

Experts doubt environment minister’s assumption that ‘safeguards’ mechanism can deliver cuts required to meet Australia’s emissions reduction target

Australia is calculating that its big industrial emitters will be forced to reduce greenhouse pollution by 200m tonnes between 2020 and 2030, an assumption experts say will require major changes to the Direct Action policy which is not designed to force cuts from existing plants.

The environment minister, Greg Hunt, has revealed the 2030 emissions reduction target Australia will take to Paris in December – a cut of between 26% and 28% of 2005 levels – is based on an assumption that the so-called “safeguards” mechanism will deliver 200m tonnes of emission reductions between 2020 and 2030, or almost a quarter of the total cuts required.

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Categories: Environment

Outdoor apparel brand United By Blue takes charge in ocean cleanup effort

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 12:01pm

Active lifestyle brands are organizing to protect the environment they rely on. This month, a small Philadelphia-based apparel company picked up 250,000lb of waste

On a late Saturday morning earlier this month, hundreds of people gathered under a navy blue tent at Brandywine Creek in Wilmington, Delaware, in preparation to pick up trash. Philadelphia-based outdoor lifestyle company United By Blue has been organizing these waterway cleanups since the company was founded in 2010, but this day was a bit different. It marked the company’s 140th cleanup, on target to collect 250,000lb of waste from beaches and waterways.

In 2007, United By Blue founder Brian Linton started Sand Shack, a company that sold resort jewelry, and donated some of the revenue to nonprofits focused on ocean and waterway conservation.

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Categories: Environment

Jeremy Corbyn prefers mushroom curries to clouds – thank goodness | Lucy Mangan

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 11:27am
Even talking about nuclear weapons brings us uncomfortably close to a nightmare too awful to contemplate

From the age of five until 10 I lay awake every night frozen in terror by the thought of the four-minute warning going off when I was at school, which I knew to be at least a five minute run away even on a day when your legs weren’t paralysed by fear. When I at last revealed all to my mother, she brought sweet relief and the return of Morpheus by responding: “Don’t be so daft! There’ll be all sorts of palaver before a war starts, and I’ll keep you home. And we’re in London! It’s the first place they’ll hit, and we’ll all die together! Now go to sleep.”

My understanding of global nuclear arrangements essentially arrested at this point. Teenage readings of Brother in the Land and Z for Zachariah, set in atomically- and apocalyptically bombed wastelands confirmed it was better not to know.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla's Model X electric car spreads falcon wings at US launch

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 11:25am

Long-awaited SUV has 17in touchscreen, radar and sonar technology, and double-hinged falcon-wing doors that open when driver approaches

Tesla Motors has unveiled its new electric SUV, the Model X, amid much fanfare in California and growing expectations that low-carbon vehicles are finally on the verge of a breakthrough amid the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The Model X has been billed by Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, as the company’s most advanced vehicle to date.

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Categories: Environment

Ex-climate negotiator hopes for 'miracle' on people's pilgrimage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 10:46am

Armed with Pope Francis’s blessing, Filipino Yeb Sano begins 1,500km walk from Rome to Paris where he will arrive before crunch climate change summit

A former international climate negotiator-turned-environmentalist is walking from Rome to Paris, hoping for a “miracle” that will push world leaders to strike a new deal on global warming.

Wearing a pilgrimage T-shirt and a wooden cross hanging from his neck, Yeb Sano could be just another Catholic visitor to St Peter’s Square. But his canvas shoes point to another, more pressing purpose than a quick jaunt to the Vatican museums.

“These are the shoes I’m going in on sunny days. When the rains come I have my hiking boots,” he said of his well-worn and very sensible footwear. Fresh from a meeting with Pope Francis, Sano appeared energetic and ready to embark on a 930 miles (1,500km) journey to Paris.

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Categories: Environment

Excess baggage: will the 5p charge finally kill the plastic bag?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 9:44am

On Monday, English shoppers join the rest of the UK in having to pay for carrier bags. That’s great in theory, but a mess of confusing exemptions makes it hard to predict the impact

How many plastic bags have you got at home? I ask because I have just counted mine. They are sprawled across the kitchen table, my own personal, slippery, shiny bag mountain built from my own personal landfill site, otherwise known as the cupboard under the stairs. And they just keep coming. It is almost magic, the way you can go on pulling plastic bag out of plastic bag out of plastic bag, like rabbits from a hat. There are 82 in total. I didn’t know I liked department stores quite so much. Or, judging by the dozen blue bags from the corner shop, that I ate so many frozen desserts: they’re just too cold to carry in bare hands.

Slowly but surely, this bag mountain is going to shrink and slide. On Monday, anyone in England who shops at a retailer that employs 250 or more full-time members of staff nationwide will have to pay 5p for a single-use carrier bag. The charge will apply in all kinds of outlets, from fashion chains to DIY stores as well as supermarkets. There are a few exemptions, such as aquatic creatures - though it would be interesting to watch people get goldfish home without a bag. But mostly, this is the start of a new life. One in which you must remember your own reusable bags every time you go shopping, or pay.

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Categories: Environment

By 2025, our seas may be filled with one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 9:41am

Dow Chemical and the Ocean Conservancy explain why they have formed an unlikely alliance to prevent plastic from choking the world’s oceans

Roughly 8m tons of discarded plastic washes down our rivers and blows across our beaches into the ocean every year. Left unchecked, there may be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish in the sea within ten years. Most of this plastic breaks into smaller pieces in the ocean, where animals, from shrimp to whales, readily confuse it with food.

Nobody wants plastic to pollute the environment and enter the food chain; it is not part of anybody’s plan.

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Categories: Environment

Lord Drayson launches pollution sensor powered by radio waves

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 8:53am

Businessman and Labour party donor’s FreeVolt project uses ambient wireless and mobile network waves to power CleanSpace tag for app designed for cyclists and pedestrians

Lord Drayson, the millionaire businessman, Labour party donor and former science minister, has released a pollution monitor that he hopes will drive efforts to improve air quality around the world.

The gadget is designed to be carried in a pocket and is powered by a new technology which constantly harvests energy from the ambient radio waves that mobile phone and wireless networks emit. As such, its battery never needs replacing.

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Categories: Environment

Emissions scandal: how the drive for diesel ran out of gas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 7:54am

Diesel, with its lower CO2 emissions, was a policy priority but NOx failed to fall despite the ‘stringent’ regulations

From backroom deals between European leaders to the burying of the bad news of 23,000 premature UK deaths on the day Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, the scandal that has engulfed the diesel car is a startling tale.

It is a story of good intentions being relentlessly undermined and has a nasty twist in the tail: even the real rationale for Europe’s drive for diesel – to curb global warming – has run into the wall.

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Categories: Environment

Wide range of cars emit more pollution in realistic driving tests, data shows

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/09/30 - 7:53am

Diesel cars made by Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat and Volvo among others emitted far more NOx in more rigorous tests, research shows

New diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and other manufacturers have been found to emit substantially higher levels of pollution when tested in more realistic driving conditions, according to new data seen by the Guardian.

Research compiled by Adac, Europe’s largest motoring organisation, shows that some of the diesel cars it examined released over 10 times more NOx than revealed by existing EU tests, using an alternative standard due to be introduced later this decade.

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Categories: Environment
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