No, new coal is not feasible: on price, reliability or emissions | Tennant Reed

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 5:28pm

The proposition that new coal plants could be an effective solution to Australia’s energy needs should be treated with scepticism

Are we going to renew Australia’s coal-fired electricity generators? It doesn’t seem likely. Here’s why.

Australians want three things from their electricity system: costs they can afford, supply they can rely on, and environmental sustainability. It’s easy to trade off one of these goals against the others, and tough to maximise them all. Right now, wholesale electricity prices are soaring and the reliability and security of supply are under increasing strain in South Australia and soon Victoria.

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Categories: Environment

Australian project to improve water delivery in urban slums gets $27m funding

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 5:12pm

Monash University’s Sustainable Development Institute aims to ensure water access for urban poor

An Australian project that aims to revolutionise water delivery and sanitation in urban slums has been awarded $27m in funding.

Prof Rebekah Brown, the director of the Sustainable Development Institute at Melbourne’s Monash University, has been awarded a $14m research grant by the Wellcome Trust’s Our Planet Our Health awards in the UK. A further $13m from the Asian Development Bank would cover infrastructure and construction costs.

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Categories: Environment

'No plans' to cut renewable energy target, Josh Frydenberg says

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 4:27pm

Environment minister says RET adds $63 a year to household power bills but is a ‘far cry from the 50% target Bill Shorten is proposing’

The Turnbull government has “no plans” to change the Renewable Energy Target, environment minister Josh Frydenberg has said in response to reports conservative Coalition MPs want the target dropped.

In an interview on Radio National Frydenberg said the RET was “balanced” but “not cost free” – warning it added $63 a year to household power bills and attacking Labor for its 50% target on renewables.

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Categories: Environment

At least 3,000 geese killed by toxic water from former Montana copper mine

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 4:08pm

Incident raises questions about how Trump’s administration would the country’s largest Superfund site from leaking its poisonous mix into other waters

At least 3,000 geese were killed by a toxic stew formed by a former copper mine in Butte, Montana, this weekend, raising questions about how the new Trump administration will handle the largest Superfund site in the country.

Over the weekend, a large flock of geese making a late migration over Montana was blown off course by a snowstorm, which sent the birds toward the abandoned copper mine. They splashed down into the 50bn-gallon pool, polluted heavily by acidic chemicals and metals, and died en masse.

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Categories: Environment

'Like High-Definition From The Heavens'; NOAA Releases New Images Of Earth

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 4:06pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the first public images from its new weather satellite. The agency says the satellite's data will lead to more accurate weather forecasts.

(Image credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Categories: Environment

To Fight Coastal Damage, Louisiana Parishes Pushed To Sue Energy Industry

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 2:31pm

Louisiana has a $90 billion plan to fight coastal erosion. Gov. John Bel Edwards says suing oil and gas firms, which have contributed to the damage, will help foot the bill. But he faces obstacles.

(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Invasive Fern In Florida Threatens To Take Down More Than Just Trees

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 2:26pm

The tenacious Old World climbing fern — native to Africa, Asia and Australia — is toppling trees as it swamps the state. It also threatens to derail a national wildlife refuge.

(Image credit: Amy Green/WMFE)

Categories: Environment

MPs question post-Brexit viability of May's industrial strategy

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 11:24am

PM pledges extra support for life sciences and other sectors but unions say plans could be ‘hobbled’ outside single market

Trade unions, MPs and business leaders have questioned whether the government’s new industrial strategy will succeed if Britain leaves the single market in Europe, despite Theresa May pledging that it will create a platform for businesses to grow after Brexit.

The industrial strategy, unveiled in Warrington, Cheshire, shows the prime minister is prepared to take a more interventionist approach in British industry than previous governments.

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Categories: Environment

London on pollution 'high alert' due to cold air, traffic, and wood burning

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 10:58am

Camden, City of London, and Westminster hit 10 out of 10 on index, while pollution levels across UK also peaked

London has been put on “very high” alert as cold and still weather, traffic, and a peak in the use of wood-burning stoves combined to send air pollution soaring in the capital and across swaths of the UK.

According to data from King’s College London, areas of London including Camden, the City of London and Westminster all reached 10 out of 10 on the air pollution index, with many other areas rated seven or higher.

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Categories: Environment

Top climate experts give their advice to Donald Trump

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 10:11am

We asked the world’s climate leaders for their messages to Trump ahead of his inauguration as the 45th US president

To fulfil his campaign slogan of “make America great again”, Donald Trump must back the boom in green technology – that was the message from the leading climate figures ahead of his inauguration as president on Friday.

Unleashing US innovation on the trillion-dollar clean technology market will create good US jobs, stimulate its economy, maintain the US’s political leadership around the globe and, not least, make the world a safer place by tackling climate change, the experts told the Guardian.

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Categories: Environment

Destructive Storms Soak, Batter And Bury Communities Around The Country

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 9:11am

Apparent tornadoes killed at least 19 people in the South, nearly 4 inches of rain caused mudslides in California and a storm is dumping snow and rain from the Mid-Atlantic through the Northeast.

(Image credit: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

Categories: Environment

So you want to be a climate campaigner? Here's how

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 5:28am

Readers have asked how to get involved after the Guardian’s 24-hour digital event last week. Opportunites abound to make a difference, from setting up an online petition, to joining a local green group, to entering politics

The planet is getting hotter, leaving people hungry and fuelling wars around the world and you want to do something about it. But with a green movement to cater for every age, location, and type of plastic recycling, how do you turn your enthusiasm into action?

We talked to campaigners and politicians to glean their top tips for getting started as a climate activist.

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Categories: Environment

We’re now breaking global temperature records once every three years | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/23 - 4:00am

Denial and “alternative facts” haven’t stopped the Earth from warming to record-shattering levels

According to Nasa, in 2016 the Earth’s surface temperature shattered the previous record for hottest year by 0.12°C. That record was set in 2015, which broke the previous record by 0.13°C. That record had been set in 2014, beating out 2010, which in turn had broken the previous record set in 2005.

If you think that seems like a lot of record-breaking hot years, you’re right. The streak of three consecutive record hot years is unprecedented since measurements began in 1880. In the 35 years between 1945 and 1979, there were no record-breakers. In the 37 years since 1980, there have been 12. The video below illustrates all of the record-breaking years in the Nasa global surface temperature record since 1880.

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Categories: Environment

All birds and bluster on the headland

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 10:30pm

St Bees Head, Cumbria The red sandstone cliffs are home to a reserve that claims to be the largest seabird colony in the north-west

At Cumbria’s most westerly point, I watch two fulmars glide stiff-winged on the wind over the unmanned lighthouse. Guillemots follow suit, as does a razorbill (inappropriately named, for, though similar, their beaks are blunter and thicker). The adjacent red sandstone cliffs, 300ft high, are home to an RSPB bird reserve that claims to be the largest seabird colony in north-west England.

B-o-o-om! “What was that?” asks a startled woman, one of a group tackling Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast walk. “It’s not the foghorn,” says another walker, consulting a guidebook. “Says here it has long been decommissioned. Maybe it’s wind hitting the cliffs.” She reads from the book: “Wreckers once lured ships below the headland with lanterns, then plundered the wreckage.” They stride on towards Robin Hood’s Bay 14 days and 190-odd miles to the east.

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Categories: Environment

Winter reigns over the land: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 3:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 30 January 1917

The biting east wind played on the swaying wires beside the road, striking notes now melancholy moans, now high-pitched screams; it swept across the mere, lashing white foam from the wavelets; it drove floating ice fragments into the rushes and reeds, scrunching and churning them against the ice-discs which clung to each stalwart stem. The western shore was caked with ice, each grass stem which had caught the splashing waters deep within a transparent icicle; a dead mallard was coated in an icy blanket, driving the hungry rats from the meal they had begun. To the south-east broad shafts, like beams from a searchlight, crossed the sullen clouds which hid the wintry sun, and, beyond, the snow-clad hills of the Derbyshire border faded into the misty horizon. The coots, weary of tossing, chilly waters, fed in a mob on the grass, where they were joined by fifty clonking Canada geese. The hungry redwings searched the frozen fields so unsuccessfully that one bird, separated from its companions, had only energy for an occasional flutter. One felt indeed that

Winter reigneth o’er the land,
Freezing with its icy breath.

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Categories: Environment

Barnaby Joyce won't rule out dumping Renewable Energy Target

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 2:54pm

Deputy prime minister criticises ‘romantic’ targets set by states as some Coalition MPs call to ditch RET if US pulls out of Paris climate deal

Barnaby Joyce has refused to commit the government to maintain the Renewable Energy Target, after a report that conservative Coalition MPs want to ditch it if the United States pulls out of the Paris climate agreement.

The deputy prime minister ruled out pulling out of the Paris agreement, but criticised “romantic” renewable targets set by states and said MPs were free to think and say what they like about the RET.

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Categories: Environment

The long-tailed tit – successful, adaptable, sociable, and oh so cute

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 2:30pm

This tiny ball of fluff with an impossibly long tail, has almost doubled in numbers since the 1980s

A brief, high-pitched “see-see-see” sound, followed by the appearance of half-a-dozen tiny balls of fluff, each attached to what looks like a protruding stick. Then, more calls, as these flying lollipops flit from one tree to the next, pause, grab an invisible insect, and then move rapidly on.

Encountering a flock of long-tailed tits on a frosty January day is always a delight. Few other birds so immediately provoke a smile, for few other birds are quite so… well, adorable is the word that most readily to mind. When you discover that – as my friend and fellow nature writer Dominic Couzens puts it – the long-tailed tit is the only small bird that spends Christmas with its family, then their status in the pantheon of cuteness is confirmed.

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Categories: Environment

Hypothermia: why most deaths are preventable

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 2:30pm

New research into the cold weather killer suggests health authorities need to start taking action much earlier in the season

Earlier this month the cold snap across Europe claimed more than 60 lives. In Poland temperatures fell to below -30°C in some regions and 10 people died of the cold on 8 January alone. Meanwhile in Greece and Turkey refugees and homeless people suffered greatly in the unseasonably heavy snow. The sad thing is that almost all of these deaths were preventable.

Every winter hypothermia extends its icy grip, causing 25,000 extra deaths per year in England for example. A decrease in air temperature of 1°C causes a 1.35% increase in mortality across Europe, and added up over the years, cold weather has caused far more deaths than any single heatwave event.

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Categories: Environment

60mph speed limit for M1 under consideration to combat air pollution

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 6:22am

Highways England plans to introduce Britain’s first pollution-linked speed limits to help reduce smog over Sheffield

A proposal to impose Britain’s first pollution-linked speed limits in order to help ease smog over Sheffield is being considered by Highways England.

A 60mph speed limit at rush-hour when vehicle numbers are highest where the M1 runs close to schools and homes in the city could help address air quality concerns, a report commissioned by the agency found.

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Categories: Environment

Bringing a breath of fresh air to the UK’s polluted cities

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/22 - 12:00am
A weekend of creative events in central London aims to raise awareness of poor urban air quality

Featuring a sturdy leather head-strap and mask, two large tubes and a transparent backpack containing a small potted plant, designer Chih Chiu’s response to crowded, polluted cities is stark.

“My initial idea was to separate an individual from the public space,” he says.

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Categories: Environment
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