Senate Prepares To OK Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Despite Obama Veto Threat

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 11:21am

Sixty senators support the measure, but it doesn't appear to have enough backing to override a presidential veto. A vote could come as early as today. The House approved a similar measure this month.

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Categories: Environment

Shell slashes spending and calls for North Sea tax cuts

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 9:33am
Anglo-Dutch oil group said it was cancelling investment plans and will take a ‘significant hard look’ at the tax position of its North Sea operations

Shell is to make $15bn (£10bn) of spending cuts and has warned Chancellor George Osborne that North Sea operations will remain in the firing line unless he can offer tax cuts.

The chief executive, Ben van Beurden, said he had already put in place a restructuring programme selling off some North Sea fields but low oil prices meant more savings must be found.

Related: Shell determined to start Arctic oil drilling this summer

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Categories: Environment

Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 9:26am

Resolution brought by activist shareholders requires oil firm to test its business model is compatible with global targets to limit global warming

Shell is set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The move came on the same day it announced $15bn (£10bn) in cost cutting due to plummeting oil prices and said it wanted to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic.

The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C.

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Categories: Environment

Solar power in the UK almost doubled in 2014

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 8:01am

Installed solar photovoltaic capacity grows from 2.8GW to nearly 5GW as industry hails ‘milestone achievement’

Solar power almost doubled in the last year, with 650,000 installations ranging from solar farms to panels on homes, figures showed.

By the end of 2014 there was almost five gigawatts (5GW) of solar photovoltaic panels installed, up from 2.8GW at the end of 2013, the Department of Energy and Climate Change figures showed.

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Categories: Environment

Biofuels are not a green alternative to fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 7:06am

Biofuels and bioenergy take up finite land resources at the cost of food production and carbon storage and doesn’t guarantee carbon emissions cuts

Powering cars with corn and burning wood to make electricity might seem like a way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and help solve the climate crisis. But although some forms of bioenergy can play a helpful role, dedicating land specifically for generating bioenergy is unwise. It uses land needed for food production and carbon storage, it requires large areas to generate just a small amount of fuel, and it won’t typically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

First, dedicating areas to bioenergy production increases competition for land.

Related: Are biofuels worse than fossil fuels?

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Categories: Environment

New research reveals extreme oxygen loss in oceans during past climate change

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 7:00am

During global warming after the last ice age, we found evidence of extreme oxygen loss in the oceans

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Categories: Environment

Amendment to infrastructure bill puts cycling investment on a level with roads

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 5:29am

A new requirement for national cycling and walking investment in the infrastructure bill could mean future funding for sustainable transport gets the same priority as road and rail

This week, the House of Commons added in a requirement for a national ‘cycling and walking investment strategy’ to the infrastructure bill. For the first time, investment in safe routes to school and work places may receive as much parliamentary attention as ‘big kit’ infrastructure such as High Speed 2 and major roads.

Originally this proposal was simply supported by just a few non-governmental organisations. So how did it turn into something roads minister John Hayes MP described as having “more tributes… than a ’60s pop band”? And, even more importantly, what could it mean for a country that continues to struggle to pull itself up from some of the lowest cycling rates in Europe?

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Categories: Environment

Elusive African golden cat is filmed attacking monkeys – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 3:42am
Extremely rare footage of an African golden cat, filmed by scientists, shows it hunting in Kibale national park in Uganda. The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology released the video, which shows a group of red colobus monkeys gathered around a tree stump before the big cat suddenly pounces on one of the monkeys

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Categories: Environment

Dramatic footage of African golden cat sheds light on species

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/01/29 - 3:41am

Camera trap film of one of the world’s least-studied cats shows the animal stalking a group of monkeys in Uganda

Conservationists have recorded dramatic and rare video of the African golden cat, the continent’s least-studied wild cat.

In the footage, captured in Kibale national park in south Uganda, the cat stalks and rushes a group of red colobus monkeys before appearing to beat a retreat.

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Categories: Environment

British belief in climate change on the rise, research finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 11:01pm

Poll finds 15% say climate change is major threat in next two decades, jumping to 29% for people with direct recent experience of flooding

Britons are more likely to agree the climate is changing than at any time in recent years, with nearly nine in 10 people saying climate change is happening and 84% attributing this somewhat or entirely to human activity, new research has found. Two-thirds say they are concerned by global warming.

When asked to name major threats to the UK in the next two decades, 15% of those polled listed climate change without prompting, putting it in fourth position behind immigration, the economy and health. But among people who had direct recent experience of flooding, the number nearly doubled, to 29%.

Related: UK flood victims less likely to be climate sceptics

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Categories: Environment

Australian fish moving south as climate changes, say researchers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 10:54pm

University of Tasmania finds 35 species face shifts in their ranges and egg-laying patterns as the waters off south-east Australia warm faster than average

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Categories: Environment

Meadow of ice-packed tufts, shades of black death and serfdom

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 10:30pm
Tolworth Court Farm, Surrey: The last splashes of Bonesgate stream trickle into the Hogsmill Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Melbourne's trees bombarded with emailed love letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 8:27pm

City council gives identification numbers to its 70,000 trees which allow admirers to write Dear Tree letters – and get replies

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Categories: Environment

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 4:21pm

The market for single-serving coffee pods is dominated by Keurig's K-Cups. But they aren't recyclable, and critics say that's making a monster of an environmental mess. Meet the K-Cup Godzilla.

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Categories: Environment

Low oil prices won't hurt renewable energy, says US EIA

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 11:19am

Tax incentives more important than oil price and oil is not in head-on competition with renewables for electricity production, says government’s chief energy analyst

Cheap oil is not about to kill off wind and solar power as some experts have claimed, the US government’s chief energy analyst said on Wednesday.

The historic drop in crude oil prices, with Brent crude trading at $49.04 a barrel in London on Wednesday, had raised fears that renewable energy sources would struggle to compete.

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Categories: Environment

Roads are encroaching deeper into the Amazon rainforest, study says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 10:43am

Oil and gas access roads in western Amazon could open up ‘Pandora’s box’ of environmental impacts

Oil and gas roads are encroaching deeper into the western Amazon, one of the world’s last wildernesses and biodiversity hotspots, according to a new study.

Roads across Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and western Brazil could open up a ‘Pandora’s box’ of negative environmental impacts and trigger new deforestation fronts, the study published in Environmental Research Letters finds.

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Categories: Environment

Scotland announces moratorium on fracking for shale gas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 9:42am

Moratorium on planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction is hailed as ‘huge victory’ by anti-fracking campaigners

The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on all planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking.

Welcomed by campaigners as “a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland”, energy minister Fergus Ewing told the Scottish parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the moratorium would allow time for the government to launch a full public consultation on the controversial drilling technique, and to commission a full public health impact assessment.

I take the view that licensing should be devolved and then we should consider a moratorium on fracking #FMQs

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Categories: Environment

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 9:06am

An Oregon company has developed a high-tech process for turning sewage into pure drinking water. Now it's asking the state for permission to give its recycled water to a group of home brewers.

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Categories: Environment

England's beavers allowed to stay in the wild

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/01/28 - 7:30am

Government rolls back on plan to trap England’s first wild beavers in 300 years, saying they can be released into Devon’s river Otter once they have been confirmed as disease free and of Eurasian origin

The first beavers to live in the wild in England for 300 years are to be allowed to continue to swim free in a Devon river as long as it can be proven they are free of disease and of Eurasian origin.

Initially the government announced plans to trap the beavers, which are roaming wild in the River Otter, and confine them to a zoo or wildlife park, arguing they were an invasive species and could be carrying a disease.

Related: Rewilding Britain: bringing wolves, bears and beavers back to the land

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Categories: Environment
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