Environment

Is wild red grouse more ethical than chicken? | Lucy Siegle

Guardian Environment News - 3 hours 13 min ago

Red grouse can never be raised in captivity, but that doesn’t make the wild variety an eco winner, says Lucy Siegle

Why did the red grouse cross the road? I’m still working on the punch line. Battery-reared red grouse will never be on the menu as they can’t be raised in captivity, just home-grown birds from British uplands. It sounds gloriously ethical. They are even on offer at frozen food giant Iceland, which doesn’t provide a great deal of information as to how and why, nor which UK uplands the birds are from. This season 200,000 birds will be shot, netting the rural economy £100m. At a glance it’s a lot more ethical than, say, importing battery-farmed poultry from Brazil.

But not so fast. The first downside is the tax breaks under the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) system for moorland farmers. According to tax justice campaigners, these end up in the pockets of super-rich landowners. Also, grouse rearing involves the burning of our precious uplands. A recent report led by the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science takes issue with this form of ancient land-management technique where heather is burned to create new shoots that feed grouse. Over 10 years from 2001, researchers mapped 45,000km² of British uplands. Burning was detected in one-fifth of all areas, increasing by 11% every year, and was most egregious in so-called protected areas.

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Categories: Environment

Obama to hit US power plants with tougher than expected emissions cuts

Guardian Environment News - 3 hours 23 min ago

The US president will announce a 32% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in what he calls America’s biggest ever step against climate change

President Barack Obama is planning to impose tougher than expected cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants, White House officials have said.

A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, the Obama administration was poised to finalise the rule at a White House event on Monday. 

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Categories: Environment

Evans Head beach on New South Wales north coast reopens after shark attack

Guardian Environment News - 7 hours 12 min ago

More shark sightings keep other beaches in Ballina shire closed after Craig Ison, 52, was airlifted to Gold Coast hospital after being mauled by great white on Friday

Evans Head beach on the NSW north coast has been opened days after a man was mauled by a great white shark.

The beach was reopened on Sunday morning after it was deemed safe,  a spokeswoman for NSW Surf Life Saving said.

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Categories: Environment

Creepy-crawly celebrity contest will highlight UK’s threatened species

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2015/08/01 - 4:05pm
Royal Society of Biology asks Britons to choose their favourite bug to focus attention on over-use of pesticides, loss of habitat and climate change

Vote for your favourite here
The top British insects – in pictures

Britons are to be asked to pick their favourite creepy-crawly this weekend. A poll to select Britain’s best bug is to be launched today on Sunday by the Royal Society of Biology as part of its campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the nation’s insects. Candidates for the accolade include the seven-spot ladybird, the buff-tailed bumblebee, the stag beetle and the emperor dragonfly.

The poll is part of a campaign that is being run by the society to publicise the plight of British invertebrates which are now suffering from the impact of a triple whammy of environmental impacts: loss of habitat, over-use of pesticides and climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Zambian villagers take mining giant Vedanta to court in UK over toxic leaks

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2015/08/01 - 2:35pm
Fears of environmental catastrophe as report finds ‘constant contamination’ of streams around copper mine while locals report health problems and failed crops

A London-listed mining giant has been polluting the drinking water of villages in Zambia and threatening a wider health disaster, the Observer has found.

Leaked documents and a confidential internal report commissioned from Canadian pollution control experts show that Vedanta Resources’ giant mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt region has been spilling sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals into rivers, streams and underground aquifers used for drinking water near the mining town of Chingola.

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Categories: Environment

Hunt is on for 33 slave ships off coast of Papua New Guinea

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2015/08/01 - 2:00pm
Immigration officials seek trawler fleet crewed by 1,000 trafficked Burmese men that is thought likely to be supplying the UK with seafood

A fleet of at least 30 fishing trawlers crewed by slaves is being hunted off the coast of Papua New Guinea as the true extent becomes apparent of the trafficking of Burmese men by a massive Thai-run criminal syndicate operating throughout the East Indies.

Immigration officials have so far intercepted one of the fishing vessels, called the Blissful Reefer, and rescued its trafficked crew. Another 33 Thai trawlers thought to be crewed by slaves are being tracked in fishing grounds off the south coast of Papua New Guinea, known locally as the Dog Leg.

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Categories: Environment

Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho is not dead despite rumors, say researchers

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2015/08/01 - 1:12pm
  • ‘Nothing looks untoward’ says researcher after reports of shooting
  • Second researcher tells Guardian Jericho seen ‘probably mating’

Despite reports that Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho had been shot dead by a poacher, a field researcher at Hwange Lion Research said on Saturday: “He looks alive and well.” Another conservation worker said the lion had been seen with a female earlier in the day, “probably mating”.

Related: Neighbors of man who killed Cecil the lion give mixed views on Walter Palmer

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Categories: Environment

Neighbors of man who killed Cecil the lion give mixed views on Walter Palmer

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2015/08/01 - 5:21am

While some speak of a ‘kind and gracious’ person, others remember the big-game-hunting Minnesota dentist as ‘always money-hungry’

The dentist vilified around the world for killing a beloved lion in Zimbabwe is thought of fondly by at least one of his neighbors in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Related: Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho is not dead despite rumors, say researchers

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Categories: Environment

The UK's favourite creepy-crawlies

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2015/08/01 - 4:59am

Poll to find the nation’s best-loved insect is designed to focus attention on the dangers posed by over-use of pesticides, loss of habitat and climate change.
Vote for your favourite

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Categories: Environment

Noisy dynamism of the jackdaw kings of the castle

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 9:29pm

Harlech The ragged corvid mass is impressive against the light, but lacks the choreographed sky-balletics with which starlings weave at dusk

A cacophonous, crepuscular circling of jackdaws around the towers and ramparts of the castle caught my attention. From every cranny in the ancient walls and nearby chimneys more crowded in to augment the sooty horde as it swirled and shouted away, streaming to its roost in conifer plantations behind the dunes. The gathering’s a first subtle sign of the year’s turning towards autumn. The dark and ragged corvid mass is impressive and dynamic against western light; yet it lacks the fluidity, the illusion of choreographed sky-balletics, with which starlings at dusk weave patterned elastic complexities across the wind.

I sat in a garden to spectate. In his delightful autobiography, Wildlife, My Life (Gomer, 1995), the late Country Diarist Bill Condry tells how he “watched this multitude with total astonishment” as a five-year-old on holiday from Birmingham. That was in 1923. Seeing it myself nearly a century on, I wondered how many generations had witnessed it. This cohabitation of jackdaws and humans was already strong in Shakespeare’s time. Their squalling cries surely impinged on Owain Glyndŵr’s consciousness when he took the castle in 1404. As the 13th-century masons of Master James of St George laid the last lofty stones, these curious bright birds searched out nesting sites, fetched twigs from the oakwood bluffs. Pair after bonded pair billed and preened along parapet and rocky eminence throughout history and even mythology.

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Categories: Environment

Cecil the lion spurs US lawmakers to draft bills to discourage trophy hunting

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 2:28pm

New Jersey senator proposes legislation to extend import and export protections for endangered species amid global outrage over Minnesota dentist killing lion

American lawmakers say they are crafting legislation to curb trophy hunting in the wake of the killing of one of Zimbabwe’s most famous lions by a Minnesota dentist this month.

Related: Zimbabwe calls for extradition of dentist who killed Cecil the lion

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Categories: Environment

As Beijing Prepares To Host Winter Olympics, Where Will It Get The Snow?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 2:24pm

NPR's Melissa Block talks with Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center, about water resources and environmental concerns in the extremely arid region.

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Categories: Environment

As The West Craves Drought Relief, El Nino May Do More Harm Than Good

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 1:28pm

There is much hype around a potential El Nino that could help ease the drought on the West Coast. But there are concerns that a deluge of rain could do more harm than good for the long term drought outlook.

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Categories: Environment

As Midwest Dams Reach End Of Life, Soaked States Can't Handle Repair Costs

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 1:28pm

More than 11,000 dams across the U.S. have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up to them, and many need repairs. Record rain hasn't helped matters this year.

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Categories: Environment

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 12:45pm

Conventional farmers use millions of pounds of pesticides each year to protect crops from weeds and insects. When those chemicals drift to neighboring property, they can ruin crops on organic farms.

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Categories: Environment

Zimbabwe calls for extradition of dentist who killed Cecil the lion

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 11:18am

Environment minister wants Walter Palmer to face trial for financing illegal hunt, as White House pressured to respond to petition seeking extradition

The Zimbabwean environment minister has called for the dentist who killed Cecil the lion to be extradited from the US to face trial for financing an illegal hunt.

Oppah Muchinguri told a news conference that Walter Palmer, 55, was a “foreign poacher” and said she understood Zimbabwe’s prosecutor general had started the process to have him extradited.

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Categories: Environment

Chinese-built railway line to cut through Nairobi national park in Kenya

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 10:35am

Rail project costing $13.8bn, part of deals signed with China in 2013, will link Mombasa and Nairobi with Uganda and pass through park on special bridge

Kenya’s new Chinese-built rail line will cut through Nairobi’s wildlife sanctuary, officials said on Friday, replacing the colonial-era railway known as the Lunatic Express.

Related: Wildlife pushed back as city encroaches on Nairobi national park

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Categories: Environment

Fuel cell industry charges forward thanks to big corporate customers

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 9:00am

Businesses that want low-carbon, reliable distributed power are turning to fuel cells which, if costs come down, could compete with solar and wind energy for these deep-pocketed customers

Unlike solar panels or wind turbines, fuel cells are usually hidden from sight. But a growing number of big companies are relying on these mini power plants for a steady supply of electricity with a lower carbon footprint.

Fuel cells, which date back to the 1800s, generate electricity by putting natural gas through a chemical reaction. They release about half the emissions of a conventional power plant, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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Categories: Environment

Green news roundup: Cecil the lion, Paris climate text and Portland protests

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 7:42am

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

Heathrow third runway unjustifiable, says BA parent company boss

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/31 - 5:58am

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said Heathrow had glossed over its ability to finance the new infrastructure, which he called inefficient and unfit for purpose

Heathrow’s biggest customer, the group that owns British Airways, has dealt a stinging blow to the airport’s expansion hopes by saying the £17.6bn price for a third runway is excessive and “cannot be justified on any basis”.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, warned that his airlines would not pay the outrageous cost for new infrastructure that he called “inefficient and not fit for purpose”.

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Categories: Environment
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