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Japan to face criticism at international summit for flouting whaling ruling

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 11:00pm

Japanese fleets have killed more than 300 minke whales in the Southern Ocean despite a court ruling and three-decade-old ban

Japan is likely to face international criticism at a whaling summit this week for killing whales in the Southern Ocean in defiance of a court ruling.

Japanese fleets killed more than 300 minke whales, many of them pregnant, when they resumed so-called scientific whaling in 2015-16 after a hiatus the year before because the international court of justice decided the hunts were not scientific and should cease.

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Categories: Environment

EU leaders at loggerheads over nature laws review

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 11:00pm

In a letter seen by the Guardian, European parliament president, Martin Schulz, warns EU chief, Jean Claude-Juncker, that inaction over a stalled review of the EU’s nature directives is jeopardising EU biodiversity targets

An impasse in Brussels over changes to the EU’s pioneering nature laws has pitted the president of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, against the bloc’s chief, Jean Claude-Juncker, in private correspondence seen by the Guardian.

More than a thousand animal and plant species – and 500 types of wild bird – are protected by the EU’s nature laws.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef scores D for health for fifth year in a row

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 10:07pm

Results of annual report card based on data collected before bleaching killed a fifth of the reef’s coral, suggesting next year’s results will be even worse

The Great Barrier Reef has been given a D on a report card for its overall health by the federal and Queensland governments for the fifth year in a row.

The results of the annual report card were based on data collected before this year’s climate change-induced bleaching event that killed about a fifth of the reef’s coral, suggesting next year’s results will be even worse.

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Categories: Environment

Best and worst beaches in NSW: Coogee and Botany Bay rate poorly for pollution

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 7:09pm

Four ocean beaches – Terrigal, Avoca, Coogee and Malabar – found to be ‘not always suitable for swimming’, but 83% rated good or very good

Just four ocean beaches in all of New South Wales have been found to have poor water quality – but one is the very popular Coogee beach, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

According to an annual State of the Beaches report by the state government, 207 of the 248 sites assessed (83%) were graded as good or very good – stable since 2013, and up from 81% in 2012-13.

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Categories: Environment

Endangered eastern black rhino born in Iowa zoo – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 5:52pm

An endangered eastern black rhino has been born at Blank Park zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. The combined captive and wild population of black rhinos is less than 1,000, making the birth very significant. The calf was standing and walking within an hour of its birth and attempted to feed within two hours, both signs of a healthy baby rhino

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Categories: Environment

Hoop visit...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 2:20pm

Long time TFL follower David Hooper (The Hoop) dropped in for a visit yesterday.  It has been four years since he last stopped by.  He brought 10 pounds of carrots - for Ben (and a little something for me).  Ben has never had a carrot nor have I ever even thought of giving him one - even though I constantly feed them to the burros and the rabbits.  Turns out HE LOVES THEM!  Thanks Hoop for enhancing Ben's quality of life.  87,97,56,0,C
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Cameron aide said government was ‘exposed on Heathrow’ over air quality

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 1:05pm

As Theresa May prepares for airport expansion decision, memo emerges in which former PM was told he did not ‘have an answer’ on pollution concerns

David Cameron’s No 10 policy chief warned him a year ago that he was “exposed on Heathrow” because the government did not have an answer to its impact on air quality, an internal Downing Street note has revealed.

The memo was written by Camilla Cavendish, a former Downing Street adviser, who was scathing about the first draft of a government air quality plan from the department of the then environment secretary, Liz Truss.

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Categories: Environment

Going Dutch on recycling pays off | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 11:28am

Michael Marks (Letters, 17 October) said that the plastic bag charge needs to be followed by one for plastic bottles in order to cut the huge number not recycled. We lived for six years in the Netherlands, where people are much more oriented towards recycling. Plastic drinks bottles had a tax on them which was refunded when they were returned to the store. This was on soft drinks as well as alcohol bottles.

Related: Crazy paving: Rotterdam to consider trialling plastic roads

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Categories: Environment

'It Was Time To Make A Hard Stand'; Closing Arguments Completed In Malheur Trial

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 10:16am

Seven defendants who occupied Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge stand accused of conspiracy, theft of government property and illegally carrying firearms. Among them are Ammon and Ryan Bundy.

Categories: Environment

Chimpanzee seen smoking at North Korea's reopened zoo

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 8:00am

Spectacle seemed to delight visitors but zoo has been criticised in the past for keeping animals in ‘woefully inadequate’ conditions

Visitors to a newly reopened zoo in North Korea have been flocking to a new attraction: a smoking chimpanzee.

According to officials at the Central zoo in Pyongyang, which has been criticised for animal cruelty in the past, the 19-year-old female chimpanzee Azalea, Dallae in Korean, smokes a pack a day.

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Categories: Environment

Sustainable cities: how can we develop the urban circular economy? – live chat

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 6:01am

Join us on this page on Wednesday 19 October, 1-2pm (BST), to debate the potential of cities to foster the circular economy

5.37pm BST

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for our circular cities live chat today. Scroll down to read some of the highlights (in the blog) or the full chat (in the comments space).

And if you’re looking for further reading, check out our recent piece on eco-villages. Is this the future of circular cities?

Related: Fancy life in an eco-village? Welcome to the hi-tech off-grid communities

2.01pm BST

de Winter says:

it is often easier to implement circular economy strategies [in developing countries] because there is no vested infrastructure yet [...] Many towns in Africa are going directly towards solar panels, without having the need to connect to the grid [...] On the other hand the challenges are bigger. Plastic waste is huge problem in India. To overcome that problem they now made mandatory to use plastics in roads.

Related: Plastic roads: India’s radical plan to bury its garbage beneath the streets

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Categories: Environment

Why has climate change been ignored in the US election debates?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 5:00am

While we rake over Clinton’s emails and Trump’s late-night tweets, climate has been the elephant in the room, leaving scientists and campaigners asking why there hasn’t been a single direct question about the crisis

Climate change has been the elephant in the room during the past two US presidential debates. Ignoring this issue would be more understandable if this metaphorical pachyderm weren’t about to rampage through the lives of Americans, causing upheaval on a scale not seen since the start of human civilization.

“I’ve been shocked at the lack of questions on climate change. It really is fiddling while the world burns,” said Kerry Emanuel, a leading climate scientist. “This is the great issue of our time and we are skirting around it. I’m just baffled by it.”

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Categories: Environment

Conventional thinking will not solve the climate crisis | Andrew Simms

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 5:00am

Choosing the best possible future means considering radical scenarios that align energy use and industry with climate action

The good news - according to the World Energy Council (WEC) - is that, per person, our energy demand is set to peak before 2030. Of course, there will be more of us around by then too, so that total demand will only slow, rather than level out. A heady whiff of technological optimism accompanies the explanation that this will happen because of “unprecedented efficiencies created by new technologies and more stringent energy policies”.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists investigate death of 10,000 endangered 'scrotum' frogs in Peru

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 4:42am

Researchers and campaigners suspect pollution killed the rare Titicaca water frogs that are endemic to the famous lake and derive their nickname from their wrinkly skin

Scientists are investigating the mysterious deaths of at least 10,000 endangered frogs, in a river which leads into South America’s most famous lake on Peru’s border with Bolivia.

The dead Titicaca water frogs were found along a 50km (30 mile) stretch of the Coata river, a tributary which flows into the 8,372 sq km Lake Titicaca, according to Peru’s wildlife and forestry service Serfor.

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Categories: Environment

British doctors and health professionals call for rapid coal phase-out

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 4:40am

Group of health bodies says tackling climate change and air pollution linked to coal would improve health and reduce NHS costs

Groups representing Britain’s 600,000 doctors and health professionals say it is “imperative” to phase out coal rapidly to improve health and reduce NHS costs.

The doctors and nurses say tackling outdoor air pollution from traffic and power stations would cut climate emissions, reduce air pollution, and deliver a powerful boost to the nation’s health.

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Categories: Environment

Satellite Eye on Earth: September 2016 - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 3:11am

A newly calved iceberg, an ice avalanche in Tibet and urban growth in Nairobi were among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month

This striking image shows the Caspian Sea, with shallow waters surrounding the Tyuleniy archipelago revealing dark green vegetation on the sea floor. Ocean scientist Norman Kuring of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center found a puzzling feature in the image – lines crisscrossing the sea bottom. What caused those lines? Similar lines show up in the world’s oceans because of trawling. But the scientific literature and a January satellite image suggest that a majority of the marks in the images were gouged by ice. In January, blocks of ice stand at the leading end of many lines, most notably in the north-east corner of the image. By April, ice has melted and only the scour marks persist.

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Categories: Environment

No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 3:00am

Anti-climate groups like GWPF try to leech credibility from serious scientific organizations like the Royal Society

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is an anti-climate policy advocacy group in the UK that often releases misleading scientific “reports.” The group also hosts annual lectures, and this year, they booked a room at the Royal Society. Many members of the Royal Society expressed concern that the GWPF would exploit the organization’s credibility, and asked that the event be cancelled.

The Royal Society’s governing council met and decided to allow the event to proceed, for fear that cancellation would give it “an unwarranted higher profile.” As a spokesperson for the Royal Society told DeSmog UK:

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Categories: Environment

Theresa May accused of 'dither and delay' over Heathrow expansion

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 2:06am

Mayor of London says decision to delay vote on airport expansion will cause unnecessary uncertainty for businesses

Theresa May has been accused of “dither and delay” by Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, after putting off a parliamentary vote on airport expansion for another year.

There are strong signs that a cabinet committee will decide next week to back expansion at Heathrow after the prime minister set out plans to let ministers such as Boris Johnson and Justine Greening carry on opposing the government’s position.

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Categories: Environment

UN tells Bangladesh to halt mangrove-threatening coal plant

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/19 - 1:51am

Climate Home: Rampal coal plant poses a ‘serious threat’ to a key ecosystem for Bengal tigers and must be cancelled, says the UN world heritage body

The UN’s world heritage body has made an urgent intervention to stop the construction of a coal power station in Bangladesh.

Unesco said the plant could damage the world heritage-listed Sundarbans mangrove forest, which houses up to 450 Bengal tigers.

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Categories: Environment

Cane-toad sausages help biologist win top science prize

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2016/10/18 - 11:57pm

PM’s science award given to researcher who used minced cane toads in sausages to teach animals not to prey on larger, lethal toads

A biologist who came up with the idea to release small, non-lethal cane toads into the wild to teach snakes and lizards a life-saving lesson in bush tucker has been awarded the 2016 prime minister’s prize for science.

Rick Shine, from the University of Sydney, has led the world in cane toad research, and successfully taught quolls and goannas not to eat cane toads by feeding them sausages made from cane toads. After eating a non-lethal dose of cane toad poison, the predators learn not to eat large toads that will kill them.

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Categories: Environment
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