Feed aggregator

England's plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 4:01pm

Number of single-use bags handed out dropped to 500m in first six months since charge, compared with 7bn the previous year

The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October, early figures suggest.

More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

They 'Failed': 6 More Michigan Employees Charged In Flint Water Crisis

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 12:52pm

In announcing the charges, Michigan's attorney general said those accused attempted to "bury or cover up, downplay or hide information" about elevated lead levels in Flint's water supply.

Categories: Environment

Just as we need friends, May is busy ruffling feathers over Hinkley Point | Deborah Orr

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 11:45am
Delays, bad manners and petulance: Theresa May’s government is not showing its best side with the nuclear power station hold-up

There are a number of things that I really don’t want to hear discussed on the news, especially in a manner that resembles the couple of expository lines frantically shouted at the start of a disaster movie. Nuclear power is very much one of those things. Nevertheless, here we all are, speculating as to whether the Chinese might build weaknesses into the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant’s computer systems, just in case they might at some point decide to snatch control of the facility. Which hardly suggests an open, collaborative relationship of trust.

Related: Hinkley Point C in doubt after British government delays approval

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'Worse than one thousand pukes': fetid corpse flower overwhelms New York

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 11:42am

One of the world’s largest flowers, Amorphophallus titanum takes around a decade to bloom and promptly dies two days later in a foul-smelling crescendo

On Friday morning, visitors to New York’s botanical garden in the Bronx gathered together and began to sniff. They were there to witness one of the world’s largest and smelliest flowers – Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower – bloom.

“It smells like lettuce when you take it out of the bag,” a woman yelled from the crowd of onlookers in the Enid A Haupt conservatory. “It smells like the aquarium. Like the penguin enclosure,” another added. The odor came in waves as onlookers jostled for the best spot to take photos and selfies with the giant flower. Some left holding their noses.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

From feast to farce: how the big Hinkley Point C party was put on ice

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 10:59am

The UK government was meant to be celebrating, but delays and second thoughts have left the project stalled

It was the lunch that never was. Cantonese-style pork crackling, Somerset brie and mackerel ceviche with creme fraiche were all on the menu for the 150 VIPs invited to Hinkley Point on Friday. The guests were due to celebrate a third nuclear power station at the site finally being approved.

In keeping with the rest of the decade-long battle to build Hinkley Point C, however, the celebrations did not go as scheduled. By Friday morning the marquee was being packed away and the guests were nowhere to be seen.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Hinkley Point review gives UK golden opportunity | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 10:49am

Energy conservation and renewables are the only possible solution to the world’s energy problems and the need to move as fast as possible to a low-carbon economy (Hinkley Point deal delayed by minsters, 29 July). Sadly, the UK has been rowing in the opposite direction by rigging the market in favour of shale gas. We can only hope that George Osborne’s irrational hostility towards renewables will now be abandoned by the new “green team” of Greg Clark, Jo Johnson and Nick Hurd at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As a matter of urgency, they need to scrap HS2 and use the money on a European supergrid in order to iron out fluctuations from different sources of renewable energy. We need not only a new green deal, but huge investment in local microgeneration projects. And, if the government insists on going down the nuclear route, it should develop small modular reactors and locate them on ships not land, as shipping contributes 4.5% of carbon emissions world-wide and this is set to increase 30% by 2020.
Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet

• Greg Clark’s decision to review the Hinkley project looks sensible, since it has become abundantly clear there are many alternatives to produce reliable low-carbon electricity cheaper and earlier. Until its demise, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) ignored reports showing that solar, wind, storage and backup gas can produce the same output as Hinkley Point a decade earlier and at least 25% cheaper, saving consumers £720m a year for 35 years. Decc repeated its (factually wrong) mantra that only nuclear can provide reliable low-carbon electricity power. Waxing lyrical about jobs created falls flat when you realise that only 900 new permanent jobs will be created, each at a cost to consumers of £800,000 per year.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Flint water crisis: attorney general files charges against six more employees

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 9:56am

Michigan attorney general filed charges Friday against state employees for alleged involvement in lead contamination of the water supply

The Michigan attorney general filed charges against six more state employees on Friday for their alleged involvement in lead contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan.

Three other employees were previously charged, bringing the total to nine.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Hinkley Point C delay points to renegotiation rather than rethink

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 9:46am

Government is still committed to nuclear power as part of UK energy mix so don’t expect a return to renewable-only days

Theresa May’s government has read the small print of the Hinkley deal and maybe it’s become spooked. But whether ministers are specifically anxious by the phenomenal long-term cost of the project, the Chinese state’s involvement, or the design and near-impossible construction of what would be the most ambitious and expensive power station in the world is not yet clear.

Possibly, the new prime minister has been led to understand that the whole darn thing must be rethought. Or it could just be a momentary delay.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The Conservatives have realised too late that Hinkley Point is a rip-off | Barry Gardiner

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 9:15am

It was always a bad deal for government and public, and Labour said as such. By getting cold feet so late on, the government will only do damage

One would imagine that the phone call from the Élysée Palace yesterday went something like this:

François: My dear Thérèse, what in the name of Sacré-Cœur do you think you are doing?

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Heart disease, depression and blindness – the hazards of deep space travel

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 8:41am

Can we colonize Mars without killing our space pioneers? We take a look at some of the biggest health hazards facing astronauts on long space missions

Upon his return last March from a record-breaking 340-day stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly was most excited about plunging into the swimming pool in his Houston, Texas backyard.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

EDF boss confident Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be built

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 6:50am

Nuclear power project thrown into doubt late on Thursday after UK government announced fresh review

The boss of EDF says he is still confident about Hinkley Point C being built despite the UK government throwing the nuclear power plant into doubt by launching a fresh review.

Jean-Bernard Levy, the chief executive of EDF, said on Friday he had no doubt about the government’s support for the £18bn project.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Week in wildlife - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 5:56am

Stork-billed kingfishers and baby rhinos are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Why have ministers delayed final approval for Hinkley Point C?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 5:05am

Possible explanations include fears over China’s involvement, trying to renegotiate costs and looking to scrap nuclear project

The government’s decision to delay final approval of the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has cast fresh doubt on the project.

Theresa May’s government plans to review the proposed £18bn plant before making an announcement in early autumn.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 4:00am

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.

Categories: Environment

Chernobyl could be reinvented as a solar farm, says Ukraine

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 3:04am

Ministers create presentation to show how idle land around nuclear disaster site can be used to produce renewable energy

The contaminated nuclear wasteland around Chernobyl could be turned into one of the world’s largest solar farms, producing nearly a third of the electricity that the stricken plant generated at its height 30 years ago, according to the Ukrainian government.

In a presentation sent to major banks and seen by the Guardian, 6,000 hectares of “idle” land in Chernobyl’s 1,000 square km exclusion zone, which is considered too dangerous for people to live in or farm, could be turned to solar, biogas and heat and power generation.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Hinkley Point is bad business. Theresa May should put it out of its misery | Simon Jenkins

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 2:13am
David Cameron has bequeathed Britain the worst deal in the history of procurement. May cannot cave in like she did with Trident

The message of last night’s Hinkley Point fiasco could not be clearer. The project cannot go ahead. But who in government has the guts to say so?

No one without an interest in this £18bn project believes it should proceed. The sole interest of the French and Chinese builders is that David Cameron, in the worst deal in the history of procurement, effectively stuffed their pockets with gold. The gold was to come from future British taxpayers and energy consumers, over an astonishing 30 years. Even then, directors and employees at the French firm, EDF, ran for the hills. Yesterday its board voted to go ahead only on a narrow majority, before jumping into their limousines for a signing ceremony in Somerset. When they arrived, the British energy secretary, Greg Clark, humiliated them by cancelling.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Hinkley Point C in doubt after British government delays approval

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/07/29 - 2:03am

Ministers to conduct fresh review into long-delayed project, with no green light expected until autumn despite EDF’s confirmation

Britain’s first new nuclear power station for a generation is in fresh doubt after the government postponed a final decision on the £18bn project, despite the French energy company behind it voting to start work.

The government said ministers would now conduct another review of the controversial Hinkley Point C project and announce its decision in the early autumn.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Thorn tree tangle of pagans and poets

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 9:30pm

Langley Bush, Cambridgeshire A bronze age grave, Roman shrine, gibbet mound, parish marker, gypsy haunt - centuries of decisions and deaths right here

Odd, the durable significance of some places. You can understand a mountain or cliff or sprawling forest – places that awe the eye on the ground, horizon or map. More enigmatic are the little places. Slid away, unremarkable but exquisite in appearance or legacy, for reasons frequently forgotten but strangely lingering.

This one, historically, a bronze age grave, then Roman shrine, then outdoor court, place of execution, parish marker, gypsy haunt, poet’s muse. Today, the name of a road and the title of a plaque. This is Langley Bush, lost in a field near Peterborough.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Scientists endure extreme Antarctic temperatures to extract ice cores – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 8:37pm

This footage from the Antarctic summer of 2007-08 shows how Australian scientists endure extreme conditions to drill ice cores from Antarctica’s Law Dome area. Law Dome is a spot in eastern Antarctica where scientists have been drilling to gather historic climate data. New research using Law Dome ice cores suggests the world might be able to burn less fossil fuels than previously thought

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

What the Earth's frozen burps tell us about global warming

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 7:56pm

Analysis of bubbles trapped in ancient Antarctic ice suggests that as the planet heats up, plants and soils will add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

“When the earth burps, Law Dome records it,” says Australian climate scientist Dr David Etheridge.

Law Dome is a special spot in eastern Antarctica where scientists have been drilling down into the continent’s long-frozen surface to pull out cores of ice.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content