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Fracking could hurt house prices, health and environment, official report says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 2:04pm

Defra report, published in full after freedom of information battle, admits impact on water quality and wildlife is ‘uncertain’, though possible benefits also listed

Fracking operations to extract shale gas in Britain could cause nearby house prices to fall by up to 7% and create a risk of environmental damage, according to a government report that has been published in full for the first time.

Entitled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) document was released on Wednesday after a freedom of information battle.

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Categories: Environment

Unesco spares Great Barrier Reef 'in-danger' listing but issues warning

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 1:33pm

Unesco world heritage committee passes draft ruling that reef’s status remain unchanged, but says Australia must do more to prevent further damage

The UN has ruled against listing the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”, congratulating Australia on its conservation plan but giving it five years to halt deterioration of the natural icon.

Unesco’s world heritage committee in Germany on Wednesday unanimously passed an earlier draft ruling that the reef’s status remain unchanged but that Australia must show significant progress in pushing its plan by the end of 2016.

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Categories: Environment

Vatican 'may' consider divestment from fossil fuels, despite pope's call to arms

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 12:34pm

Activist Naomi Klein, who is in an ‘unlikely alliance’ with Vatican on climate change, says she believes a possible divestment policy is under discussion

The Vatican may consider, but is not committed to, divesting its holdings in fossil fuels, a Catholic church official has said, despite Pope Francis’s call for bold action to fight climate change and global warming.

The statement – made at a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the pope’s recently released encyclical on the environment – is likely to disappoint climate activists, who have praised Pope Francis’s essay stressing that climate change is mostly a man-made problem.

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Categories: Environment

Cameron warned of Commons defeat if he fails to back Heathrow expansion

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 12:05pm

Sir Howard Davies’s independent airports commission report makes strong recommendation for third runway at Heathrow

Tory grandees are warning David Cameron that he will face a heavy parliamentary defeat if he fails to back a third runway at Heathrow airport, in line with the morning’s recommendation by Sir Howard Davies’s independent airports commission.

The prime minister and the Tory chief whip, Mark Harper, have been told that the pro-Heathrow contingent in parliament – comprising a sizeable number of Tories, the Labour party, the SNP and the DUP – has a clear Commons majority.

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Categories: Environment

North Carolina's seventh shark attack in three weeks sends man to hospital

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 11:33am

Victim, about 50, bitten at Ocracoke island beach before being airlifted for treatment of wounds to ribcage, leg, hip, and hands

Authorities say a man apparently bitten by a shark off the North Carolina Outer Banks is being airlifted to a hospital with serious wounds.

Related: Teenager bitten by shark no longer in critical condition in North Carolina

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Categories: Environment

The Scallop Scoop: Survey Forecasts A Banner Year In Atlantic

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 10:44am

Federal fisheries researchers says their survey found about 10 billion scallops in waters off Delaware and southern New Jersey. They're predicting a boom for the nation's most valuable fishery.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow third runway gets thumbs up, but may fail on take off

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 10:33am

Davies report recommends a third runway at Heathrow, but critics are concerned conditions intended to allay their fears will not be upheld

The Davies report has landed, but its recommendations may never take flight. Amid the hysterical antipathy from Sir Howard Davies’ bête noire, London mayor Boris Johnson, were pertinent questions: not least, would the conditions the Airports Commission placed upon building a third Heathrow runway be met?

Certainly, the measures would make a real difference. Davies said Heathrow needs to be a better neighbour; the airport accepts it. Some campaigners see an opportunity: a third runway could actually give more respite for those who now live under the approach to Britain’s busiest airport, especially if a ban on night flights is enforced. While new neighbourhoods would clearly suffer, it would share out the pain of aircraft over London more fairly, and enlarge the constituency of people set to erupt at any breach of Heathrow’s promises.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow expansion risks deepening London's air pollution crisis

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 7:50am

A third runway could throw air quality standards and UK climate targets to the wind

The UK government’s Airports Commission has recommended that a new runway at Heathrow should go ahead, but only with a legally binding commitment to control air and noise pollution.

If the government decides to act on Howard Davies’ recommendation (and doing so would be a political minefield) Londoners will be forgiven for treating any air quality guarantees with a heavy pinch of salt.

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Categories: Environment

How can businesses make healthy eating easier? - live chat

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 6:57am

Join experts on Wednesday 8 July, 1-2pm BST, to discuss the role business can play in promoting healthy diets and tackling the obesity epidemic

Recent decades have witnessed the rise of cheap, calorie-loaded diets in countries as diverse as the US, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. In the UK, the price of an ice-cream halved between 1980 and 2012 yet the price of fresh vegetables tripled, according to a recent study from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Meanwhile, the relative prices for fruit and vegetables in the middle-income countries of Brazil, China, Korea and Mexico increased by as much as 91% between 1990 and 2012, while the price tag of processed foods fell by up to 20%, according to the ODI study.

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Categories: Environment

More evidence that global warming is intensifying extreme weather | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 6:45am

A new study finds that global warming is causing weather whiplash.

Just this week, a new article appeared in the journal Nature that provides more evidence of a connection between extreme weather and global warming. This falls on the heels of last week’s article which made a similar connection. So, what is new with the second paper? A lot.

Extreme weather can be exacerbated by global warming either because the currents of atmosphere and oceans change, or it can be exacerbated through thermodynamics (the interaction of heat, energy, moisture, etc.). Last week’s study dealt with just the thermodynamics. This week’s study presents a method to deal with both.

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Categories: Environment

Cameron teased by Harman at PMQs over Heathrow expansion – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 6:44am
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman urges David Cameron to make a quick decision on the expansion of Heathrow airport. At prime minister's questions in the House of Commons, Harman urges Cameron not to be bullied by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. Cameron says there is agreement on the need for additional airport capacity Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Cameron promises Heathrow decision by Christmas amid Tory civil war

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 6:28am

Decision is particularly difficult for PM because he unequivocally ruled out a third runway in 2010, and now faces prospect of cabinet resignations

David Cameron will resolve his dilemma on whether to back a third runway at Heathrow by the end of the year, but faces the prospect of cabinet resignations and having to rely on Labour support if the government decides in favour.

The prime minister said on Wednesday that he had yet to study the recommendations of the Davies commission, which strongly backed expansion at Heathrow.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife on your doorstep: July

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 6:19am

It’s July and while the northern hemisphere is basking in warm summer temperatures, the southern hemisphere wildlife are in the midst of winter. We’d like to see your photos of the July wildlife near you

July is here and while the northern hemisphere wildlife will be making the most of the heatwaves and sunshine, their southern hemisphere counterparts are now at the mercy of winter. So what sort of wildlife will we all discover on our doorsteps? We’d like to see your photos of the July wildlife near you.

Share your photos and videos with us and we’ll feature our favourites on the Guardian site.

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Categories: Environment

Weather alerts across western Europe as heatwave sets in

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 5:01am

Spell of sweltering weather expected to last several days as temperatures hit 40C and UN urges countries to develop better warning systems

European countries including France, Spain, Italy and Britain have issued weather alerts and the United Nations has urged countries to create better warning systems as a heatwave sweeping western Europe was expected to push temperatures to a nine-year high on Wednesday.

Related: Heatwave live: Britain swelters on hottest day of 2015

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Categories: Environment

Badgers, bullfrogs and birdsong: your June wildlife photos

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 5:00am

We asked you to share your June pictures of the wildlife around the world with which we share our outdoor spaces. Here’s our pick of the best

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow third runway plan offers more bang for your buck, says Sir Howard Davies – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 4:24am
Sir Howard Davies from the Airports Commission says Heathrow is a better option for expansion over Gatwick due to the economic benefits. He says Heathrow's plan was the strongest case for future airport capacity, delivering the greatest strategic and economic benefits. The £17bn expansion plan would mean 250,000 more flights a year, providing a £150bn boost to GDP over 60 years and 70,000 new jobs – but would mean demolishing 783 homes Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Heathrow third runway backing leaves village fearing for its future

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 3:05am

Harmondsworth villagers say they will support direct action against any attempt to bulldoze 750 homes if government backs expansion

Community leaders in Harmondsworth, the village that would be largely flattened to make way for a third runway at Heathrow, have reacted with anger at Howard Davies’s recommendation that the plan should go ahead – and alleged they were “deceived” by the government.

Related: Davies report says new runway should be at Heathrow airport - Politics live

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Categories: Environment

Climate change a security risk second only to terrorism, says defence report

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 2:31am

Defence white paper consultation report flags consequences of environmental pressures as a significant security risk for Australia

The Abbott government’s energy white paper made headlines for its curious reluctance to mention climate change – but the looming defence white paper may prove to be a different story.

A report on community consultations associated with the defence white paper flags the consequences of climate change, extreme weather events and environmental pressures as a significant security risk for Australia – second only to the risks posed by terrorism.

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Categories: Environment

Boris Johnson dismisses proposal for third runway at Heathrow – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 2:29am
The mayor of London gives his reaction to Sir Howard Davies' report on Wednesday outlining recommendations for airport expansion in the south-east. Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, says proposed restrictions on a third runway at Heathrow airport would inevitably be overturned and lead to a fourth Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Are we on the brink of an electric car revolution?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/07/01 - 1:46am

Electric car sales have fallen far short of predictions, but the global push to cut carbon emissions and improved techology could see them poised to hit the mainstream, says Renault-Nissan’s head, Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn, the fast-talking head of the Renault-Nissan alliance, is not keen to be drawn on targets for electric car sales. A 2011 prediction of 1.5m Renault-Nissan electric vehicles by 2016 turned out to be wildly optimistic. The group just passed the 250,000 mark.

Ghosn was not alone. President Barack Obama predicted 1m electric cars in the US by 2015: in January the total was 280,000. Virgin boss Richard Branson, adept as ever at grabbing headlines, said this week that “no new road cars will be petrol driven” within 20 years, calling combustion engines “complicated and antiquated”.

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Categories: Environment
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