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NSW fires: wind change expected to fan bushfires as Sydney smoke causes hazardous air quality – live

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 9:59pm

Almost 3,000 firefighters deployed across New South Wales as more than 80 bushfires continue to burn and temperatures soar. Follow all the latest news and updates

• ‘National security issue’: Turnbull tells Q&A Morrison must step up response to bushfires

• Greg Jericho: the Coalition isn’t being honest about the climate crisis. But neither is Labor

4.56am GMT

The Three Mile fire on the Central Coast has been downgraded to a Watch and Act, thanks to firefighting efforts.

Watch and Act: Three Mile (Central Coast LGA)
The work of firefighters and waterbombing aircraft has reduced the fire activity. If you are in the area of Central Mangrove and Kulnura, monitor the changing conditions. More info: https://t.co/B2Sp1ax5Dc #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/pBhRwDEoHR

4.48am GMT

Advice - Ruined Castle fire (Blue Mountains LGA)
Fire activity is increasing on the Narrow Neck Plateau. The Large Air Tanker is helping firefighters work to slow the spread of the fire. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/b6SByIiQ1f

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Categories: Environment

‘It is very confusing’: new drought working group to coordinate assistance to farmers

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 9:20pm

Working group comes as new federal drought coordinator Shane Stone refuses to be drawn on climate change’s impact on drought

Agriculture ministers have agreed to establish a new drought working group to better coordinate the country’s assistance to farmers, amid criticism that the current system is too confusing.

Following a meeting of state and territory agriculture ministers in Moree in NSW on Tuesday, federal drought minister David Littleproud announced the new working group would be set up and would report back to government in February.

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Categories: Environment

Orca grandmothers babysit young whales, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 7:23pm

Research on 378 killer whales finds those with grandmothers live longer and the older females help them when food is scarce

Doting killer whale grandmothers help their grand calves survive, particularly in times of food scarcity, scientists reported in a paper that sheds new light on the evolutionary role of menopause.

Orca females stop reproducing in their thirties or forties but can continue to live for decades more, a phenomenon known only to exist in humans and four other mammal species, all of which are whales.

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Categories: Environment

Drax owner plans to be world's first carbon-negative business

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 5:01pm

Energy firm once labelled western Europe’s top polluter sets ambitious 10-year target

An energy company once labelled western Europe’s biggest polluter is planning to become the world’s first carbon-negative business within 10 years.

The owner of the Drax power plant, once a coal-fired behemoth, is the first company in the world to set out plans to absorb more carbon emissions from the air than it creates by 2030.

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Categories: Environment

Thousands were paid to use extra renewable electricity on windy weekend

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 11:31am

UK homes using new smart-energy tariffs urged to take advantage of record windfarm power

Thousands of households were paid to use extra renewable electricity over the weekend as windfarms generated unprecedented levels of clean power.

Homes using a new type of smart energy tariff were urged to plug in their electric vehicles overnight and set their dishwasher on a timer to take advantage of the record renewables in the early hours of the morning.

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Categories: Environment

Scottish wildlife at risk after £100m funding cut, say charities

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 11:09am

Analysis shows ‘staggering’ 40% reduction in government spending in a decade

Public funding for environment bodies in Scotland has plummeted by 40% in a decade, placing already declining wildlife at risk, according to analysis of government budgets.

Scottish Environment Link, a coalition of more than 35 wildlife, environment and countryside charities, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, WWF and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, estimates almost £100m has been slashed from the budgets of public agencies in Scotland between 2010-11 and 2019-20.

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Categories: Environment

a monday matinee...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 10:45am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Boom in seahorse poaching spells bust for Italy’s coastal habitats

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/09 - 2:00am

Ocean species endangered as black market trade devastates marine life across Puglia region

Every night, dozens of wooden boats loaded with fishing equipment pass under the Punta Penna bridge and into the protected waters of the Mar Piccolo, a unique saltwater lagoon in the southern Italian port city of Taranto.

Trawling nets, cage traps and even homemade bombs are deployed into the moonlit waters by those in search of lucrative prey. “It’s like my father picking lemons and making limoncello at home,” says Luciano Manna, a local activist who has been monitoring the illegal activity for five years. “It’s too easy.”

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Categories: Environment

Energy treaty 'risks undermining EU's green new deal'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 5:01pm

Calls for ECT to be scrapped to stop fossil fuel firms using it to take governments to court

The international energy treaty that threatens Labour’s energy nationalisation plans may also risk undermining the EU’s green new deal, according to Friends of the Earth.

The environmental organisation is calling for parts of the energy charter treaty (ECT) to be scrapped to prevent fossil fuel companies from using the multilateral agreement to take governments to court over green policies.

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Categories: Environment

who can know it?

The Field Lab - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 2:24pm
Jeremiah 17:5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like the heat in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.  
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Windfarms drive fall in wholesale energy price with lower bills forecast for 2020

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 1:52pm

Australian Energy Market Commission says prices will begin to fall next year and by 2022 will be $97 a year lower

The price of residential electricity is estimated to start falling next year and continue to fall until 2022, the Australian Energy Market Commission says.

The AEMC’s annual report on electricity price trends shows an overall falling price outlook over the next few years, mostly due to decreases in the wholesale cost from increased generation capacity, particularly from windfarms.

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Categories: Environment

UN climate talks failing to address urgency of crisis, says top scientist

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 11:21am

COP25 in Madrid criticised for focusing on details instead of agreeing deep cuts to emissions

Urgent UN talks on tackling the climate emergency are still not addressing the true scale of the crisis, one of the world’s leading climate scientists has warned, as high-ranking ministers from governments around the world began to arrive in Madrid for the final days of negotiations.

Talks are focusing on some of the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris agreement, but the overriding issue of how fast the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions has received little official attention.

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Categories: Environment

Which party has the answer to the big green questions?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 5:58am

Ahead of the election, we challenge the parties on the climate emergency, flying, rewilding, red meat and more

Putting a tax on meat, ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars within a decade and upgrading the energy efficiency of every home in the UK are among the eye-catching green promises from the political parties fighting for voters’ backing in the general election.

Others include zero-emission railways and a £640m Nature for Climate fund to restore the natural world and help fight the climate emergency. These pledges are in the answers given to a series of questions put to the main parties by the Guardian to draw them out on specific key issues.

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Categories: Environment

What will you do about the climate crisis? The parties answer

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 5:58am

Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Lib Dems and SNP tackle the biggest climate and environmental issues

The Guardian put the following questions to the main politicial parties to draw them out on specific key climate and environmental issues ahead of the election.

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Categories: Environment

Alaska Cod Fishery Closes And Industry Braces For Ripple Effect

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 5:01am

Gulf of Alaska cod have been in steep decline due to rising ocean temperatures. Now, for the first time ever, federal fisheries managers are shutting down the lucrative fishery because of low stock.

(Image credit: Kavitha George /KMXT)

Categories: Environment

App helps Inuit hunters navigate thinning sea ice in Canadian Arctic

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 4:30am
  • Siku app aims draw on traditional knowledge
  • ‘We copying what our parents used to do, but in modern ways’

A new mobile phone app has been devised to help Inuit hunters in northern Canada avoid an increasingly dangerous effect of climate change: unpredictable sea ice.

Developed under the guidance of the Arctic Eider Society, the app aims to draw on the catalogue of traditional knowledge that has helped the Inuit thrive in an unforgiving region.

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Categories: Environment

Big Money Is Building A New Kind Of National Park In The Great Plains

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 4:00am

In Montana, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur wants to create a massive, privately funded public park. Some ranchers oppose the American Prairie Reserve and say they can better conserve the land.

(Image credit: Claire Harbage/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Tigers, elephants and pangolins suffer as global wildlife trafficking soars

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/08 - 2:07am

Dozens of species are now at risk but a conference this week will showcase new technology that could help stop the illegal trade

The two young women who arrived at Heathrow in February 2014 en route to Düsseldorf were carrying nondescript luggage. Customs officers were suspicious nevertheless and looked inside – to find 13 iguanas stuffed into socks inside the cases. Astonishingly, 12 of the highly endangered San Salvador rock iguanas had survived their transatlantic journey.

“There only about 600 of these animals left in the wild, in the Bahamas, and these animals were being taken to a private collector somewhere in Germany. Incredibly, we were able to return 12 of them, alive, to their homeland – on San Salvador island,” said Grant Miller, who was then working for the Border Force’s endangered species team.

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Categories: Environment

Australia fires: blazes 'too big to put out' as 140 bushfires rage in NSW and Queensland

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2019/12/07 - 9:31pm

Conditions eased on Sunday morning but bureau forecasts heatwave as fire authorities say dozens of fires will burn across Australia for weeks
How big are the fires burning on the east coast of Australia?
‘Get the hell out of Dodge’: the fight to save homes from the NSW central coast inferno

Dozens of fires will burn across Australia for weeks, fire authorities say, including a “mega-fire”, already the size of greater Sydney, that is too big to put out.

At 6am on Sunday there were 96 bush and grass fires in NSW - 47 of which were not contained. Five fires are at a watch and act level.

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Categories: Environment

Amazon indigenous leaders killed in Brazil drive-by shooting

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2019/12/07 - 6:33pm

Gunmen opened fire on a group from the Guajajara tribe on a highway in Maranhão state, killing two and wounding others

Two indigenous leaders have been shot dead and two others wounded in Brazil’s Maranhão state, in an attack not far from where a prominent tribesman who defended the Amazon rainforest was killed last month, authorities said.

The attack on the members of the Guajajara tribe, which is known for the forest guardians who protect their territory against illegal deforestation, occurred on the margins of a federal highway near El-Betel village in the country’s north-east on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment
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