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Australia's greenest city: Adelaide pulls ahead of Sydney and Melbourne

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 5:38pm

Across the nation, city councils are tackling climate change at a grassroots level, with green buildings, electric transport and ambitious emissions targets


The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne stretches back through history. So too does the tug-of-war between Queensland and, well, just about all the other states. While these contests haven’t always been friendly, the race to be Australia’s greenest city will see the whole country benefitting.

All of the local governments responsible for Australia’s capital cities have schemes in place (or in progress) to use energy-efficient lighting in council-run locations, as lighting accounts for as much as 40% of local authority emissions – and a large percentage of council electricity bills.

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Categories: Environment

Startup's purchase of Queensland coalmine avoids environmental scrutiny

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 5:29pm

A loophole could mean a company that raised just $750,000 to buy a mine with a $120m clean-up liability does not need to seek a new environmental permit

A loophole in Queensland mining laws could allow a startup company to avoid government scrutiny of its suitability to operate a coalmine with a $120m-plus environmental liability after raising less than $750,000 from investors.

Batchfire Resources has inked a deal to buy Callide mine that may also not require it to seek a new environmental permit, sparing it from a possible hike in the amount of money it must guarantee for site rehabilitation should it go under.

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Categories: Environment

Prison sentences for Heathrow 13 activists would threaten our right to protest | Letter from John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas and others

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 1:00pm

Last month, 13 activists were tried in court for carrying out a peaceful protest against the expansion of Heathrow airport (Report, Opinion, 25 January, theguardian.com). They were found guilty of aggravated trespass, and await sentencing on 24 February.

We believe it would be unjust for these people to receive prison sentences for their actions.

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Categories: Environment

Two-thirds of US students are taught climate change badly, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 12:00pm

Just 38% of US schoolchildren were taught that climate change is linked to fossil fuels, with many teachers spending less than an hour a year on the subject

Nearly two-thirds of schoolchildren in the US are taught lessons on climate change that do not rise to the level of a sound science education, according to new research on Thursday. The finding provide new evidence on the source of the confusion and denial surrounding global warming in American public life.

In the first national survey of classroom science teachers, researchers found there was short shrift given to the teaching of climate change in public middle and high schools in all 50 states.

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Categories: Environment

Democrats pitch Keep it in the Ground bill to prohibit new fossil fuel extraction

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 11:57am

The bill would ban coal, oil and gas extraction on US public land and is symbolic, as it has no chance of passing a Congress dominated by Republicans

Legislation that would ban coal, oil and gas extraction on US public land has been introduced in Congress in a timely act of Democratic defiance to the legal threat looming over Barack Obama’s plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The Keep it in the Ground Act would prohibit the digging or drilling for fossil fuels on federal land or waters. A Senate version of the act has the support of several senior Democrats, including presidential nominee Bernie Sanders.

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Categories: Environment

How Can We Ensure Our Survival As A Species?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 11:45am

Astronomer and cosmologist Lord Martin Rees asks whether our species will endure despite the many existential threats we face.

Categories: Environment

What Does It Take To Endure The Harshest Climate On Earth?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 11:45am

Explorer Ben Saunders is the first person to finish the perilous trek from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. He describes what he had to endure in order to survive the journey.

Categories: Environment

Stunning, emotional portraits of horses – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 11:27am

Photographer Bob Tabor specialises in horses – his minimalist portraits of them are powerful and emotionally resonant. His latest collection is Horse/Human: An Emotional Bond, which is published by Glitterati Incorporated in March

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Categories: Environment

EPA workers knew spill was possible before Gold King disaster in Colorado

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 11:19am

An investigation of a mine waste accident that polluted rivers in three states has found evidence that government workers knew a spill could occur

An investigation of a mine waste accident in Colorado that fouled rivers in three states with arsenic, lead and other toxic substances has found further evidence that government workers knew a spill from the gold mine was possible, according to documents released on Thursday by a US House of Representatives committee.

Related: After Animas river spill, experts warn of next disaster: 'We were lucky this time'

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Categories: Environment

Citrus In The Snow: Geothermal Greenhouses Grow Local Produce In Winter

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 10:33am

Greenhouses could make local fruits and vegetables more available year-round, but they're energy intense. In the Midwest, some growers tap into the Earth's internal heat to warm the structures.

Categories: Environment

Toxic chemicals found in beached pilot whales in Scotland

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 9:52am

Scientists find levels of mercury and cadmium in the whales’ brains increased with age

Scientists have found clear evidence that whales are absorbing high levels of toxic heavy metals, with cadmium found in the brains of pilot whales which washed up in Scotland.

Chemists at the University of Aberdeen said they had found cadmium in all the organs of adult long-finned pilot whales which stranded in 2012, including their brain.

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Categories: Environment

London drivers urged to turn off engines in bid to tackle air pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 9:36am

Plans announced by Boris Johnson would see the capital’s drivers encouraged by signs and volunteers to turn off their engines in traffic jams

London drivers will be encouraged by volunteers and signs to turn off their engines in traffic jams to tackle the capital’s illegal air pollution levels, under plans announced by Boris Johnson on Thursday.

But campaigners accused the mayor of failing to take hard measures to cut the city’s pollution problem, which has seen six sites including Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and Brixton Road already breach annual limits just weeks into 2016.

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Categories: Environment

Hundreds of manatees congregate in Florida refuge to escape chilly seas

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 9:31am
  • Three Sisters Springs closed to swimmers and kayakers
  • 400 of the marine mammals leave Gulf of Mexico to gather in river system

A popular Florida wildlife refuge has been closed to swimmers, thanks to an influx of hundreds of manatees.

It’s estimated that as many has 400 manatees have crowded into the Three Sisters Springs, a refuge about 65 miles north of Tampa. About 1,000 manatees live in the Kings Bay and Crystal River ecosystem, of which Three Sisters Springs is a part. A large number of the marine mammals are wedged in a spring called Idiot’s Delight.

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Categories: Environment

Nine charged over Tanzania murder of British conservationist

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 7:59am

Roger Gower, 37, died when his helicopter was shot down during a patrol of the Maswa game reserve last month

Nine Tanzanians have been charged in connection with the murder of a British conservationist whose helicopter was shot down while he chased suspected poachers, a senior prosecutor has said.

Roger Gower, 37, died when suspected poachers gunned down his helicopter during a patrol of the Maswa game reserve in northern Tanzania, close to the Serengeti national park, on 29 January.

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Categories: Environment

Namibia's wildlife caught by camera trap - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 7:00am

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas spent three months in Namibia on assignment for WWF using a specially adapted DSLR camera trap to take close-up portraits of the country’s most elusive wildlife. His incredible images will help scientists better understand migration patterns and establish additional protected areas

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Categories: Environment

China overtakes EU to become global wind power leader

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 6:35am

Booming market grew 27% in 2015 edging past European Union for first time, says industry group. Climate Home reports

China installed half of all new wind capacity worldwide last year, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The country added an “astonishing” 30.5 gigawatts (GW) to boost installations to 145.1GW, the Brussels-based industry group said on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Love Giant Insects? Meet The Tree Lobster, Back From The Brink

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 3:08am

The 8-inch insect nearly went extinct when hungry rats overran its island. But Melbourne scientists found a few in 2001 and started a thriving colony. Now the San Diego Zoo is hatching them, too.

Categories: Environment

UK's winter floods create 30,000 tonnes of landfill waste

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/02/10 - 11:01pm

Furniture, kitchen goods and carpets ‘contaminated’ by floodwater can’t be recycled and will cost councils over an estimated £2 million in landfill tax

Almost 30,000 tonnes of damaged household goods have had to be dumped in landfill following devastating winter floods, town hall chiefs have said.

A snapshot analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates councils have been landed with a £2.25m landfill tax bill as a result of the clear-up after the floods.

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Categories: Environment

Into the no-go zone – and back for old maps

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/02/10 - 10:29pm

Stanford Wood, Bedfordshire In our dog days this wood was a favoured spot, now I began to understand its origin

A ghost came with me to the local wood that I had not visited in over 12 years. I imagined him sitting in the car panting at my shoulder all the way and then yipping with excitement when we pulled into the layby. I half reached for a lead that was not there and shut the car door quietly.

In our dog days this was a favoured spot, a conifer plantation where he could do no harm, a springy floored place without seasons where a wee up a tree was all he could leave behind.

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Categories: Environment

The rise of internet veg box schemes in sub-Saharan Africa

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/02/10 - 10:00pm

Online grocery startups in Kenya, Rwanda and Gambia help farmers cut out the middleman, but challenges such as low internet access may hinder profitability

Growing up on a farm in central Kenya, Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market.

Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says.

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Categories: Environment
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