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The world is going slow on coal, but misinformation is distorting the facts

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 4:38pm

A recent story on 621 plants being built globally was played up in various media – but the figure is way off the mark

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This is a story about how misinformation can take hold. It’s not always down to dishonesty. Sometimes it’s just a lack of time, a headline and the multiplying power of ideological certainty.

Last week, China announced it was stopping or postponing work on 151 coal plants that were either under, or earmarked for, construction.

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Categories: Environment

In Puerto Rico, Generators Divide Those With And Those Without

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 2:56pm

With Puerto Rico facing weeks, and possibly months, without electric power on much of the island, many residents have become dependent on generators. The reliance on generators has introduced a new division in the U.S. territory.

Categories: Environment

'The Day We've Dreamed Of Has Arrived': Napa County To Begin Wildfires Recovery

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 2:56pm

The Northern California wildfires killed at least 40 people and forced some 75,000 to evacuate. But Napa officials say firefighters have made enough progress for the county to switch to recovery mode.

Categories: Environment

Birdwatch: On the trail of the elusive buff-breasted sandpiper

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 1:30pm

It never occurred to me, peering through rain-soaked binoculars, that I would have to wait 43 years to see another one

It was late September 1974. Manchester United led the old Second Division, Kung Fu Fighting was top of the pop charts, and the BBC had just launched its Ceefax service. Meanwhile, I was birdwatching on the Isles of Scilly, thanks to my mother’s far-sighted decision to take me out of school for a fortnight, slap-bang in the middle of the migration season.

We saw some good birds, including Iceland gull, scarlet rosefinch and a sharp-tailed sandpiper from Siberia. But nearly 50 years later, those I remember best were three buff-breasted sandpipers, plump little waders that had flown all the way across the Atlantic, driven off course by the tail end of a hurricane.

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Categories: Environment

New HS2 fears as large crack opens up on land where train line will run

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 6:50am

Residents claim high-speed rail company has not taken West Yorkshire area’s coal mining legacy into account

Residents in West Yorkshire have raised concerns about plans to build the HS2 rail line through a former mining area, after an eight-metre-long crack opened up in the ground along the proposed route.

Plans for the Yorkshire section of the high-speed train line were changed earlier this year, taking it to the east of Sheffield instead of through the Meadowhall shopping centre, on the city’s border with Rotherham.

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Categories: Environment

Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 6:00am

Wind isn’t just mysterious, destructive and exhilarating – capturing just 2% of it would solve the planet’s energy needs at a stroke. And as the windiest country in Europe, Britain is at the forefront of this green revolution

The wind rips along the Humber estuary in Hull. It’s the kind that presses your coat to your back and pushes you on to your toes. “A bit too windy,” shouts Andy Sykes, before his words are swept away. He is the head of operational excellence at the Siemens factory, which supplies blades – the bits that turn – to windfarms in the North Sea. At 75 metres long, they are hard to manoeuvre when it’s gusting.

Inside the vast factory hall, the blades lie in various states of undress. Several hundred layers of fibreglass and balsa wood are being tucked into giant moulds by hand. There are “naked” blades that require paint and whose bodies have the patina of polished tortoiseshell. Look through the hollow blades from the broadest part, and a pale green path, the tinge of fibreglass, snakes down the long tunnel, tapering to a small burst of daylight at its tip.

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Categories: Environment

More Destructive, Expensive, Dangerous: What's Ramping Up Wildfires?

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 5:02am

The author of Megafire: The Race To Extinguish A Deadly Epidemic Of Flame, says a wet spring counterintuitively is feeding Western wildfires this year — and dangerous dry winds haven't peaked yet.

Categories: Environment

David Attenborough urges action on plastics after filming Blue Planet II

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/15 - 1:22am

Naturalist says experience making second series of BBC show revealed devastating threat posed to oceans by plastic

Sir David Attenborough has called for the world to cut back on its use of plastic in order to protect oceans. His new BBC TV series, Blue Planet II, is to demonstrate the damage the material is causing to marine life.

Speaking at the launch of Blue Planet II, which will be broadcast 16 years after the original series, the broadcaster and naturalist said action on plastics should be taken immediately and that humanity held the future of the planet “in the palm of its hands”.

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Categories: Environment

'This is the future': solar-powered family car hailed by experts

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 11:39pm

As the annual solar race across Australia wraps up, a Dutch entry averaged 69kmh from Darwin to Adelaide and resupplied the grid

A futuristic family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia.

Related: How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to radical materials

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 10:00pm

Cotton has a disastrous foorprint, leather is destroying the Amazon, polyester threatens the ozone layer. Luckily there are some new fabrics on the way

The current exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art asks: “Is Fashion Modern?” Looking at the industry’s main materials you would have to answer “no”. The global wardrobe of cotton and polyester (invented around 80 years ago) spells ecological disaster.

How do you take the cow (with its thunderous footprint) out of a pair of leather shoes?

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Categories: Environment

California wildfire death toll rises to 40 amid cluster of blazes 100 miles wide

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 9:49pm
  • 100,000 evacuated and 5,700 homes and businesses destroyed
  • wildfires race toward wineries and historic town of Sonoma

Three more deaths have been confirmed in the wildfires burning in northern California wine country, which were already the deadliest series of such fires in state history. By Saturday afternoon, the toll had reached 40.

Related: 'She was the love of my life': survivors mourn victims of California wildfires

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Categories: Environment

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine won’t go ahead, Greens leader says

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 5:07pm

Richard Di Natale ‘confident’ if project can’t be stopped in parliament or for financial reasons, Australians will stand in front of bulldozers

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine won’t go ahead, the Greens leader Richard Di Natale said, predicting “many, many thousands” of Australians would come together to protest any moves to stop the project.

Di Natale said he believed Australians largely stood against the Carmichael coalmine, choosing the Great Barrier Reef and the environment over the construction of what has been billed as the largest coal project in the southern hemisphere.

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Categories: Environment

From dead woods to triumph of nature, 30 years after the Great Storm

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 4:05pm

The devastating winds of 1987 felled 15 million trees but also prompted a radical change to the way we work with the countryside to let it heal itself

It is remembered as a generation-defining moment, the night when ships ran aground, London endured its first blackout since the Blitz, 18 people died and 15 million trees were toppled. But the devastation wrought by the Great Storm of 1987 also left in its wake a startling woodland recovery, prompting a radical reshaping of the way we work with nature to care for the countryside.

Thirty years ago on Monday the storm hit south-east England after a fierce wind swooped up from the Bay of Biscay, across a corner of northern France before making landfall in the south-west and sweeping through southern England to bring the full force of its 100mph winds to bear on the south-east.

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Categories: Environment

As badger culls begin, could one pioneering vet’s bovine TB test end the slaughter?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 4:04pm
Research at a secret location in Devon may help eradicate bovine tuberculosis without a single badger being killed, says leading vet

A pretty stone farmhouse sits in a bucolic green valley, surrounded by airy cowsheds. It looks like a timeless west country scene but is actually a pioneering farm, where cutting-edge science is helping to solve the hugely controversial, multimillion-pound problem of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

As an expanded badger cull gets under way this autumn, in which 33,500 animals will be killed to help stop the spread of the disease, a leading vet, Dick Sibley, believes this Devon farm demonstrates a way to eradicate the disease in cattle – without slaughtering any badgers.

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Categories: Environment

Dignity in chains: stark macaque portrait shines light on animals’ plight in Indonesia

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 4:01pm
Nominations for Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards include images of endangered species on island of Sulawesi

Nona is a Sulawesi crested black macaque. Photographed here by Stefano Unterthiner, she is seen chained to a chair outside the house where she is kept as a pet. The scene is made particularly poignant because Unterthiner has included in his image the shadow of Nona, her chain and a tree, thus underlining the freedom that the little animal has lost. At the same time, the owner of Nona – which means “miss” – stands relaxing in the early morning sun.

It is illegal to keep this critically endangered animal in captivity. Yet the law is rarely enforced, particularly in remote areas. Hence the grim picture – though far worse was taken by Unterthiner, an Italian wildlife photographer, during his visit to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Hunting, the live-animal trade and forest clearance have caused the animal’s population on the island to crash by 90% in the past 30 years. Only a few thousand are left there.

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Categories: Environment

a pressing issue...

The Field Lab - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 3:57pm

One tool I have found very handy out here is an air compressor.  My 15 year old Porter Cable has been showing its age for the past year.  Finally got to the point where it was blowing the breaker on my generator every time I fired it up.  Trouble shot the issue back to the pressure switch.  Found a replacement online - a no-brainer as far as shopping goes.  Replace the switch for $95 or buy a whole new compressor for $107.  89,94,61,0,C
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh trampled to death by wild elephants

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 12:51pm

Deaths of three children and a woman highlight environmental impacts of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar into forested hills of Balukhali

Wild elephants trampled sleeping Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in the early hours of Saturday, killing three children and a woman in the second such incident since the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Myanmar in just a few weeks.

Many trees on the forested hills of Balukhali in southern Bangladesh, where the incident took place, have been chopped down to house the massive influx of Rohingya Muslims escaping violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

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Categories: Environment

Hinkley nuclear site radioactive mud to be dumped near Cardiff

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 12:13pm

Critics say dredging of sediment could increase risks of contamination on Welsh side of Severn estuary

More than 300,000 tonnes of “radioactive” mud, some of it the toxic byproduct of Britain’s atomic weapons programme, will be dredged to make way for England’s newest nuclear power station and dumped in the Severn estuary just over a mile from Cardiff.

Related: Electricity consumers 'to fund nuclear weapons through Hinkley Point C'

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Categories: Environment

A School For Kids With Autism Copes With Fire's Physical And Emotional Damage

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/10/14 - 4:00am

Dealing with a fire or other natural disaster is hard on anyone, from evacuation to aftermath. And people with physical or developmental disabilities have particular needs, say emergency planners.

(Image credit: Adam Grossberg/KQED)

Categories: Environment
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