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Victoria to permanently ban fracking and coal seam gas exploration

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 6:22pm

Activists and farmers hail decision after inquiry into onshore unconventional gas received 1,600 submissions

Victoria is to introduce a permanent ban on all onshore unconventional gas exploration, including fracking and coal seam gas, becoming the first Australian state to do so.

The premier, Daniel Andrews, made the announcement on Tuesday morning and said legislation for the ban would be introduced later this year, making the current moratorium on unconventional gas exploration permanent.

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Categories: Environment

More than half of south Asia's groundwater too contaminated to use – study

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 5:14pm

Salinity and arsenic affect 60% of underground supply across vast Indo-Gangetic Basin, according to research published in Nature Geoscience

Sixty per cent of the groundwater in a river basin supporting more than 750 million people in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh is not drinkable or usable for irrigation, researchers have said.

The biggest threat to groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic Basin, named after the Indus and Ganges rivers, is not depletion but contamination, they reported in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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Categories: Environment

Poisonous Algae Blooms Threaten People, Ecosystems Across U.S.

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 1:21pm

Serious algae outbreaks have hit more than 20 states this summer. Algae blooms aren't unusual. But the frequency, size and toxicity now are worse than ever, and changes in climate are partly to blame.

Categories: Environment

North Dakota oil pipeline protesters stand their ground: 'This is sacred land'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 1:16pm

Pipeline’s planned route takes it close to Standing Rock Sioux reservation and Cannon Ball, which could endanger drinking water and threaten sacred sites

The Cannonball river flows into the mighty Missouri about 50 miles due south of Bismarck, North Dakota.

At its confluence, a protest encampment – really a series of camps, on both sides of the Cannonball, strewn with kitchens and canteens, portable toilets, stabling for horses, sweat lodges and tall teepees, and stands selling indigenous art – has sprung up.

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Categories: Environment

‘We’re not going home’: inside the North Dakota oil pipeline protest – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 1:13pm

There is a battle under way near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, over plans for a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline. The North Dakota Access pipeline will run just outside the formal boundary of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, and tribal members fear it will pollute local drinking water and disturb sacred sites

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Categories: Environment

323 Reindeer Killed In Lightning Storm In Norway

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 11:22am

The reindeer died on a mountain plateau in central Norway. "I don't remember hearing about lightning killing animals on this scale before," says a Norwegian environmental official.

Categories: Environment

New York governor sparks anger after killing threatened shark

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 7:22am

Conservationists criticise Andrew Cuomo after he tweets photos of himself next to thresher shark caught during fishing trip

The New York state governor, Andrew Cuomo, and his news anchor brother Chris have been criticised by conservationists and constituents after posing beside a threatened shark they killed on a fishing trip.

The governor tweeted two photos of himself and friends standing next to the bloodied shark as it hung from a marina-side gantry.

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Categories: Environment

UK government could approve Hinkley Point but delay Essex project

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 5:29am

Decision on the Bradwell reactor could be stalled to allow a discussion about security, potentially endangering deal with China

The government is considering a proposal to detach development of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant from an agreement allowing China to build a reactor in Essex.

The plan is one of the options under consideration after Theresa May delayed approving the £18bn Hinkley Point project last month, according to a report in the Times (£).

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Categories: Environment

The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 5:00am

Experts say human impact on Earth so profound that Holocene must give way to epoch defined by nuclear tests, plastic pollution and domesticated chicken

Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official expert group who presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress in Cape Town on Monday.

The new epoch should begin about 1950, the experts said, and was likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete, and even the bones left by the global proliferation of the domestic chicken were now under consideration.

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Categories: Environment

The Anthropocene epoch could inaugurate even more marvellous eras of evolution | Martin Rees

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 5:00am

The darkest prognosis is that bio, cyber or environmental catastrophes could foreclose humanity’s potential. But there is an optimistic option

On Christmas Eve 1968, the Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders took a photograph of the view outside the window as his spaceship orbited the moon. The now iconic Earthrise image shows our half-moon blue planet under a decoration of clouds rising from the blackness of space over the lunar surface.

The picture encapsulated Earth’s precariousness in the cosmos and, for many, contained a message of humility and stewardship for our home.

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Categories: Environment

World first for Shetlands in tidal power breakthrough

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 4:43am

Nova Innovation deploys first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in the Bluemull Sound

A power company in Shetland has claimed a breakthrough in the race to develop viable offshore tidal stations after successfully feeding electricity to local homes.

Nova Innovation said it had deployed the world’s first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in the Bluemull Sound between the islands of Unst and Yell in the north of Shetland, where the North Sea meets the Atlantic.

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Categories: Environment

California has urged President Obama and Congress to tax carbon pollution | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 3:00am

The California state government passed AJR 43, urging the national government to pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax

Last week, the California state senate passed Assembly Joint Resolution 43, urging the federal government to pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax:

WHEREAS, A national carbon tax would make the United States a leader in mitigating climate change and the advancing clean energy technologies of the 21st Century, and would incentivize other countries to enact similar carbon taxes, thereby reducing global carbon dioxide emissions without the need for complex international agreements; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature hereby urges the United States Congress to enact, without delay, a tax on carbon-based fossil fuels; and be it further Resolved ... That all tax revenue should be returned to middle- and low-income Americans to protect them from the impact of rising prices due to the tax

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Categories: Environment

Small tortoiseshell butterfly numbers have plummeted across UK

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 2:54am

Conservationists fear this year’s cool spring and slow start to summer have taken their toll on one of UK’s best-loved butterflies

Conservationists are warning of the decline of one of the UK’s best-loved butterflies.

Numbers of the small tortoiseshell – which is one of the most recognisable and widespread in the country – appear to have plummeted this summer.

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Categories: Environment

Controversy Over Drinking Water Safety In N.C. Private Wells Drags On

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 2:00am

In North Carolina's capital Raleigh, sparks have been flying between scientists and politicians over possible carcinogens in the public water supply, from nearby coal ash pits.

Categories: Environment

When The Biggest Earthquake Ever Recorded Hit Chile, It Rocked The World

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 1:50am

In 1960, all of Chile shook violently for more than 10 minutes. That quake along the western coast of South America was so big, it changed the way people see the world.

Categories: Environment

Our message to Japan: Africa's elephants need your support

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 1:49am

Paula Kahumbu: Elephant diplomacy is helping to get Japan on board in efforts towards a global ban on ivory trade

The global coalition for a total ban on the trade in ivory is taking shape. In Africa calls for the ban are led by the 29 nation African Elephant Coalition (AEC). In the consumer countries, both the US President Obama and China’s President Xi have made commitments to close the domestic markets which will have a huge impact on demand.

To be sure, progress towards building the coalition is uneven. Key African nations such as Zimbabwe and Namibia are opposed to the ban, and have even petitioned CITES for a relaxation of current restrictions. In Europe, while the French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal has signed a decree banning the trade, in the UK the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says it is still “working” on its pledge to implement a total ban on ivory sales.

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Categories: Environment

Greg Hunt's approval of Adani's Queensland mine upheld by federal court

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/08/29 - 1:10am

Former environment minister entitled to find any assessment of resulting carbon pollution on the Great Barrier Reef was ‘speculative’, court says

The federal court has upheld the commonwealth approval of Adani’s Queensland mine, ruling that former environment minister Greg Hunt was entitled to find any assessment of resulting carbon pollution on the Great Barrier Reef was “speculative”.

The court on Monday dismissed a challenge by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), which claimed Hunt failed to consider the impacts of the mine’s 4.6bn tonnes of emissions on the world heritage values of the reef.

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Categories: Environment

Climate sceptic MP appointed chair of environment and energy committee

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/08/28 - 11:49pm

Liberal Craig Kelly will lead backbench committee that provides advice and feedback on legislation and policies

The climate sceptic Liberal MP Craig Kelly has been appointed chairman of the backbench environment and energy committee, with National party MP Kevin Hogan as secretary.

The committee will provide feedback on legislation and policies relating to the environment and energy, including to the minister, Josh Frydenberg.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change predicted to halve coffee-growing area that supports 120m people

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/08/28 - 9:55pm

More than 120 million of the world’s poorest depend on the coffee economy, a report says, and their livelihoods are already suffering from temperature rises

Climate change is going to halve the area suitable for coffee production and impact the livelihoods of more than 120 million of the world’s poorest people who rely on the coffee economy, according to a new report by the Climate Institute, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand.

The report findings follow stark warnings by some of the world’s biggest coffee producers, including Starbucks and Lavazza, who have said climate change is posing a severe risk to the industry.

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Categories: Environment

Lessons from a meadow brown butterfly

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/08/28 - 9:30pm

Crewe Green, Cheshire This one has had a lucky escape; with more than half of its wings gone, it’s surprising it can fly at all. Butterflies may look ethereal and fragile, but they are survivors

A flock of starlings lift up from the damp grass and swerve in the harebell blue sky as I cycle by. It’s a mellow morning with a hint of a breeze. Ox-eye daisies and buttercups adorn the hedgerows, nodding their heads. There are big clouds of feathery white meadowsweet; I can smell its marzipan scent. To my left and right, jackdaws are flying over open fields drenched in light, the sun buttering their edges. A plaintive, cat-like mewling: a buzzard is circling.

The university grounds are practically deserted. I freewheel across the bridge. Below, the rippling brook glints like tiny pieces of bottle-green glass. Midges skim the surface and an iridescent dragonfly. There is a wasps’ nest in the far bank.

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Categories: Environment
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