Adani coal mine: green groups fume over plan for $1b federal loan

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 8:21pm

A $2.2b rail link to the huge Carmichael project has gained conditional approval for commonwealth funding

The environmental movement is up in arms over a move towards federal funding of up to $1b for a railway that will serve Adani’s proposed Queensland coal mine.

A $2.2b rail link to Adani’s huge Carmichael mine in the untapped Galilee basin has gained conditional approval for a commonwealth loan, days before its billionaire promoter, Gautam Adani, is due to meet state and federal political leaders.

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Categories: Environment

The Electric Blue Polar Cloud Season Came Early This Year

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 3:05pm

Noctilucent clouds, high-altitude clouds that appear to glow in the sky at night, usually show up in the Southern Hemisphere summer. Satellite images showed them covering Antarctica in early November.

Categories: Environment

Americans Don't Trust Scientists' Take On Food Issues

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 3:02pm

A new survey finds strong public support for organic food, and suspicion of GMOs — regardless of whether people vote Republican or Democratic. Also, people don't trust scientists much at all.

Categories: Environment

New blow for Hinkley Point contractor EDF after French safety checks

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 12:37pm

Safety issues force many reactors offline with warnings of power cuts across France, higher energy prices and a rise in emissions

The company building the UK’s first new nuclear power station for decades is facing questions over the health of its fleet of French nuclear plants after an investigation which has left the country with the lowest level of nuclear power for 10 years and the prospect of power cuts during a cold snap.

Thirteen of Électricité de France’s (EDF) 58 atomic plants are offline, some due to planned maintenance, but most for safety checks ordered by the regulator over anomalies discovered in reactor parts.

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Categories: Environment

How electric car drivers are being overcharged | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 11:41am

As a relatively new owner of a Nissan Leaf, I support entirely the need for adequate provision of charge points (Letters, 29 November). The ecotricity charging points at motorway services are great, even if they are now not free. But you can now only pay using a mobile phone app – not much use for my wife whose phone is too old to run the app, and not much use for anyone if their phone is lost or broken. What is wrong with a swipe card, as offered by Charge your Car at other charging points? But the biggest absurdity, as employed by all charging points, is that you pay by charging session, not by the amount of electricity you use. In a petrol or diesel car in an area with few fuel stations, you will top up whenever you have the opportunity even if it means putting in only, say, a quarter of a tank. Electric car users may need to follow that routine, but will have to pay the same however much electricity they need.
Dr Robin Shipp

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Categories: Environment

Trump supports Dakota pipeline – but claims it's not due to his investment in it

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 10:33am

Transition team says that the president-elect’s endorsement of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline ‘has nothing to do with his personal investments’

Donald Trump has said he supports a controversial oil pipeline that runs next to a Native American reservation in North Dakota – a project that the president-elect is personally invested in.

Related: Dakota Access pipeline company and Donald Trump have close financial ties

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Categories: Environment

Emergency Evacuation Notice Arrived After The Flames For Some In Tennessee

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 9:29am

As the death toll continued to rise from a wildfire that destroyed parts of Gatlinburg, Tenn., officials began to assess the response to a blaze that grew out of control in a matter of minutes.

Categories: Environment

Nuclear fusion, combatting air pollution and Attenborough – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 8:55am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Boris Johnson makes 'save African elephant' plea

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 7:21am

Foreign secretary, who backs ban on ivory trade, breaks off London speech to make plea for ‘magnificent’ vulnerable animal

Boris Johnson has interrupted a sweeping speech on the UK’s geopolitical future to make a passionate plea to save the African elephant, saying they are on the brink of extinction as they “get turned into umbrella stands and billiard balls”.

In the midst of a speech at Chatham House to ambassadors and foreign policy advisers, the UK foreign secretary said he was “obsessed with the tragic fate of the African elephant”.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 7:00am

A baby slow loris, a ‘walking shark’ and caribou in Alaska are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Four of world's biggest cities to ban diesel cars from their centres

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 5:47am

Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City will ban the most polluting cars and vans by 2025 to tackle air pollution

Four of the world’s biggest cities are to ban diesel vehicles from their centres within the next decade, as a means of tackling air pollution, with campaigners urging other city leaders to follow suit.

The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City announced plans on Friday to take diesel cars and vans off their roads by 2025.

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Categories: Environment

Fires and drought cook Tennessee - a state represented by climate deniers | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 4:00am

Climate change intensified the extreme weather in Tennessee, but its legislators deny the science

With my new hope that deniers of climate change will take ownership of the consequences, I am sad to report that this week, terrible wildfires have swept through Tennessee, a southeastern state in the USA. This state is beset by a tremendous drought, as seen by a recent US Drought Monitor map. There currently are severe, extreme, and exceptional drought conditions covering a wide swath of southern states. The causes of drought are combinations of lowered precipitation and higher temperatures.

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Categories: Environment

Joy as China shelves plans to dam 'angry river'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 1:35am

Environmentalists celebrate as Beijing appears to abandon plans to build giant hydroelectric dams on 1,750-mile Nujiang

Environmentalists in China are celebrating after controversial plans to build a series of giant hydroelectric dams on the country’s last free-flowing river were shelved.

Activists have spent more than a decade campaigning to protect the Nujiang, or “angry river”, from a cascade of dams, fearing they would displace tens of thousands of people and irreparably damage one of China’s most spectacular and bio-diverse regions.

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Categories: Environment

Quitting UN climate change body could be Trump's quickest exit from Paris deal

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 1:00am

Lawyer on president-elect’s transition team says leaving UNFCCC is ‘most practical way’ way to quit agreement, a process that normally takes four years

The US should completely quit the United Nations forum to tackle climate change in order to quickly exit the Paris climate agreement, according to a conservative lawyer who is part of Donald Trump’s transition team.

Abandoning the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would allow the US to back out of the international climate effort within a year, far sooner than the four-year period that would be required to ditch the Paris accord, which came into force in November. Such a move would probably prove a severe blow to global efforts to avoid dangerous warming.

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Categories: Environment

After 60 years, is nuclear fusion finally poised to deliver?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/12/02 - 12:00am

It’s been a long time coming, but the world’s top powers are now betting billions on the Iter collaboration to deliver clean, safe, limitless energy for the modern world

“We are standing on the ground that could change the future of energy,” says engineer Laurent Pattison, deep in the reactor pit of the world’s biggest nuclear fusion project.

Around him is a vast construction site, all aimed at creating temperatures of 150mC on this spot and finally bringing the power of the sun down to Earth. The €18bn (£14.3bn) Iter project, now rising fast from the ground under the bright blue skies of Provence, France, is the first capable of achieving a critical breakthrough: getting more energy out of the intense fusion reactions than is put in.

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Categories: Environment

Off-grid solar to help Myanmar bring electricity to all by 2030

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 11:00pm

In a country where only 16% of rural homes have power a government-led scheme is bringing electricity to thousands of villages

Four feet in length, of aggressive disposition, and deadly poisonous: you don’t want to stand on a Russell’s viper in the dark. Especially if there’s no antivenom for miles around. Yet that’s the daily predicament facing millions of villagers in Myanmar, where snakebites cause about 500 deaths every year.

In Yin Ma Chaung, a rural settlement about nine hours by car from Yangon, villagers can rest easier knowing there are doses of antivenom chilling securely in a new refrigerator in the village’s community centre, powered by solar.

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Categories: Environment

Hogweed magic mocks the cold snap

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 10:30pm

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire Defying the season, the flowering hedge-bank plant has an irrepressible urge to burst forth

A hogweed blooms in the violet breath of shadows on the lane. Where garden roses are bred to keep flowering compulsively in a desperate denial of the season, the hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) opens in defiance. In a frosty corner of the hedge bank cut down at the end of summer, one flower makes a reappearance.

Related: Late bloomers in the lee

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Categories: Environment

The $40m 'magic pipe': Princess Cruises given record fine for dumping oil at sea

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 10:08pm

Caribbean Princess discharged thousands of gallons of polluted bilge waste along British coast, while other ships used rigged sensors to hide contamination

Princess Cruise Lines will pay a US$40m penalty after pleading guilty to seven federal charges in an illegal ocean pollution case that involved one ship’s use of a so-called magic pipe to divert oily waste into the waters.

Miami US attorney Wifredo Ferrer told a news conference the penalty was the largest ever of its kind. A plea agreement filed in federal court also requires Carnival, the UK and US-listed parent company of the Princess line, to submit 78 cruise ships across its eight brands to a five-year environmental compliance programme overseen by a judge.

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Categories: Environment

The government's report on the Great Barrier Reef is a 'dog ate my homework' moment | Larissa Waters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 10:03pm

The federal and Queensland governments are risking the reef being put on Unesco’s in-danger list with their coal obsession and shoddy progress report

If you’ve ever visited the Great Barrier Reef, or are one of the 70,000 people whose job relies upon it, you know why it’s considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Yet it faces more pressure than ever before, from global warming, water quality, industrialisation of the coastline, and ever more extreme weather.

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Categories: Environment

Great Australian Bight oil drilling plans too 'technical' for FoI release, says regulator

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/12/01 - 7:33pm

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority censors documents sought by Greenpeace

Australia’s offshore oil regulator is censoring documents about BP’s plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight on the grounds that environmental campaigners could use the information to “oppose all drilling activities” there – and that the plans are too “technical” for the public to understand.

Nathaniel Pelle, a Greenpeace campaign who requested the documents under freedom of information laws, said the decision hindered democratic debate.

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Categories: Environment
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