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Agency ruling on federal loan to Adani cites cyberbullying as reason for secrecy

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 8:28pm

Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility denies freedom of information request for details of board meetings because of media attention and protests

The federal agency considering a $900m loan to Adani has cited “substantial cyberbullying” of its directors to justify refusing a freedom of information request for basic details of its board meetings.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif) also raised concerns about “attempts to trace board members through unofficial channels” and protests outside its Cairns office to argue the time and place of meetings should be kept secret.

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Categories: Environment

When magpies attack: the swooping, dive-bombing menace – and how to avoid them

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 5:57pm

In an excerpt from his book on Australian birdlife, Geoffrey Maslen finds there’s method in magpies’ madness

Hostilities have broken out up and down the east coast of Australia. The enemy strikes from above, and always attacks from behind. Casualties have been reported and the dive bombings that began with the onset of spring have become more frequent. Zoologists have been called in to devise some means of defence but they have also suffered from the swift and silent enemy.

Related: Penguin Bloom: how a scruffy magpie saved a family

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Categories: Environment

Boaty McBoatface submarine records successful maiden voyage

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 4:01pm

Robotic submersible probes depths of up to 4,000m near Antarctic Peninsula to obtain unprecedented data on how mixing ocean waters affect climate change

A yellow submarine dubbed Boaty McBoatface has obtained “unprecedented data” from its first voyage exploring one of the deepest and coldest ocean regions on Earth, scientists have said.

The robotic submersible was given the name originally chosen for a new polar research ship by irreverent contestants in a public competition. Embarrassed officials decided to ignore the popular vote and instead named the vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough in honour of the veteran broadcaster. A storm of protest led to a compromise that allowed the name to live on.

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Categories: Environment

Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of California's Great Hive Heist

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 12:54pm

This year authorities uncovered a "beehive chop shop:" nearly $1 million in stolen hives in a field in Fresno County. There's money to be made by renting out bees to orchards, and thefts are rising.

(Image credit: Daniel Milchev/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 12:19pm

Environmental Protection Agency and army propose ending clean water rule to hold ‘substantive re-evaluation’ of which bodies of water should be protected

The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population.

The EPA, with the US army, has proposed scrapping the rule in order to conduct a “substantive re-evaluation” of which rivers, streams, wetlands and other bodies of water should be protected by the federal government.

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Categories: Environment

Rare spate of bear attacks leaves two dead in Alaska

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 10:50am

Four people have been attacked in less than a week, resulting in two fatalities, in what wildlife experts are calling ‘a lightning strike’

Alaska is experiencing a spate of bear attacks, with four people attacked in less than a week, resulting in two fatalities.

Two men, Alex Ippoliti and James Fredrick, were cycling in a woodland near Anchorage on Saturday when Fredrick was attacked, causing him to suffer lacerations to his neck and lose part of his biceps muscle. Ippoliti managed to stave off the assailant, which may have been guarding a nearby cub, with bear spray.

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Categories: Environment

Ozone hole recovery threatened by rise of paint stripper chemical

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 8:00am

The restoration of the ozone hole, which blocks harmful radiation, will be delayed by decades if fast-rising emissions of dichloromethane are not curbed

The restoration of the globe’s protective shield of ozone will be delayed by decades if fast-rising emissions of a chemical used in paint stripper are not curbed, new research has revealed.

Atmospheric levels of the chemical have doubled in the last decade and its use is not restricted by the Montreal protocol that successfully outlawed the CFCs mainly responsible for the ozone hole. The ozone-destroying chemical is called dichloromethane and is also used as an industrial solvent, an aerosol spray propellant and a blowing agent for polyurethane foams. Little is known about where it is leaking from or why emissions have risen so rapidly.

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Categories: Environment

World's first floating windfarm to take shape off coast of Scotland

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 6:55am

Turbines for £200m Hywind project will be towed from Norway across North Sea and moored to seabed off north-east Scotland

The world’s first floating windfarm has taken to the seas in a sign that a technology once confined to research and development drawing boards is finally ready to unlock expanses of ocean for generating renewable power.

After two turbines were floated this week, five now bob gently in the deep waters of a fjord on the western coast of Norway ready to be tugged across the North Sea to their final destination off north-east Scotland.

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Categories: Environment

Plastic debris inundates remote UK coasts endangering wildlife

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/27 - 2:28am

A Greenpeace research expedition into plastic waste finds devastating pollution on Scottish beaches and seabird colonies

Plastic bottles and packaging are overrunning some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches and remote coastline, endangering wildlife from basking sharks to puffins.

A Greenpeace research ship has spent the past two months touring the Scottish coast and islands assessing the impact of plastic waste.

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Categories: Environment

Dutch companies set up giant bread bins to help cities tackle rat scourge

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 11:00pm

Businesses in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam are getting involved in efforts to collect waste bread and turn it into biogas and fertiliser

Once upon a time, you would throw your old bread to the birds. But in the Netherlands, where an excess of crumbs is feeding a growing scourge of rats, people are starting to turn to massive bread bins instead.

Rather than ending up in the street or the dump, collected bread waste is taken to anaerobic digesters and turned into biogas or made into fertiliser.

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Categories: Environment

Ocean plastic pollution in Scotland – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 10:55pm

A Greenpeace expedition around Scottish coastlines has found plastic in the feeding grounds of basking sharks, in the habitats of puffins, seals and whales, and in the nests and beaks of seabirds

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Categories: Environment

Vulnerable ‘chokepoints’ threaten global food supply, warns report

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 10:30pm

Fourteen critical bottlenecks, from roads to ports to shipping lanes, are increasingly at risk from climate change, say analysts

Increasingly vulnerable “chokepoints” are threatening the security of the global food supply, according to a new report. It identifies 14 critical locations, including the Suez canal, Black Sea ports and Brazil’s road network, almost all of which are already hit by frequent disruptions.

With climate change bringing more incidents of extreme weather, analysts at the Chatham House thinktank warn that the risk of a major disruption is growing but that little is being done to tackle the problem. Food supply interruptions in the past have caused huge spikes in prices which can spark major conflicts.

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Categories: Environment

Tony Abbott trumpets conservative manifesto: 'We need to make Australia work again'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 10:21pm

Former prime minister warns his successor he has no intention of fading out of public life and will continue to stand for conservative values

Tony Abbott has warned his successor he does not intend to quit public life, declaring Australia needs “strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever”.

The former prime minister used a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs on Tuesday to dust off a conservative manifesto for government he first flagged in February, telling his audience: “I will do my best to be a standard bearer for the values and the policies that have made us strong.”

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Categories: Environment

My owl nest box has finally attracted a tenant

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 9:30pm

Allendale, Northumberland Every now and then I hear the peep of what sounds like a single owlet, but I can’t be sure

It can take a while for owls to accept a nest box. My homemade wooden one was built to a chimney design from the RSPB website and set on a sycamore branch at the recommended 45-degree angle. My garden has a plentiful supply of voles, which are owls’ main prey. I have waited five years for one to move in.

For the past couple of weeks, the signs had been there: hysterical blackbird calls and a fluster of blackcaps and dunnocks signalling the daytime presence of a tawny owl in my garden. I have watched her edging closer to the box as the days have passed, first on a level spur of the ash tree, next on the side branch of a sycamore, and then so near the house that I could study her as I ate my breakfast.

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Categories: Environment

Most Australians want renewables to be primary energy source, survey finds

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 11:00am

Climate Institute survey points to overwhelming frustration with government’s inaction and lack of leadership on clean energy

The vast majority of Australians want to see the country dramatically increase the use of renewable energy, a new survey has found, despite attempts by the federal government to characterise renewables as unreliable and expensive.

The Climate Institute’s national Climate of the Nation survey, published on Tuesday, pointed to frustration with the government’s inaction and lack of leadership on clean energy.

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Categories: Environment

a monday matinee...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 10:07am

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Rhino horn auction to go ahead in South Africa after court lifts ban on sales

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 9:14am

Breeder John Hume to take advantage of court ruling lift ban on domestic trade to sell horns trimmed from the 1,500 rhinos on his ranch

A rhino breeder in South Africa is planning an online auction of rhino horns to capitalise on a court ruling that opened the way to domestic trade despite an international ban imposed to curb poaching.

The sale of rhino horns by breeder John Hume, to be held in August, will be used to “further fund the breeding and protection of rhinos”, according to an auction website.

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Categories: Environment

Hong Kong launches bill to ban domestic ivory trade

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 7:55am

The move follows demonstrations in the city and the decision by China to ban their own trade

Hong Kong has launched a landmark bill to ban its domestic ivory trade, amid accusations that authorities were lagging behind China in phasing out the market.

Hong Kong is home to the world’s biggest retail ivory market, with more items for sale than anywhere else in the world. The majority of buyers are mainland Chinese, who smuggle the worked ivory across the border. Hong Kong is also perpetuating the illegal market: more than a third of licensed ivory dealers have been found to advise buyers on ways to smuggle ivory out of the city, according to a recent report by Traffic.

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Categories: Environment

Hundreds of US mayors endorse switch to 100% renewable energy by 2035

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 7:53am

Leaders from more than 250 cities unanimously back a resolution to reach clean energy goal at the US Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach

A bipartisan group of mayors from across the country has unanimously backed an ambitious commitment for US cities to run entirely on renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2035.

Related: The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era

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Categories: Environment

Hard Brexit could halt Heathrow expansion plans, says Lord Adonis

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/26 - 7:39am

National Infrastructure Commission chair says UK must maintain ties with EU to save key projects such as third runway and HS2

A hard Brexit would be a “calamity” that would spell the end for the Heathrow expansion, according to the chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission.

While the airport has argued that Brexit makes its third runway ever more important, Andrew Adonis said private investment in infrastructure would be off the table unless Britain could maintain ties with the EU.

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Categories: Environment
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