Town of Bulga vows to not give up fight against Rio Tinto coalmine

Guardian Environment News - 14 hours 36 min ago

Residents explore legal options to overturn decision by state government commission to approve expansion of Mount Thorley-Warkworth open-cut mine

A town in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales has vowed to continue fighting the battle against the expansion of a Rio Tinto coalmine.

The village of Bulga lost its fight on Friday with the government’s planning and assessment commission, which approved the expansion of Mount Thorley-Warkworth open-cut mine.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition's weird climate rhetoric says one thing, its modelling says another

Guardian Environment News - 15 hours 11 min ago

Post-Abbott, the Coalition is still claiming its own policies can cut emissions with almost no cost while wildly exaggerating the cost of alternatives

Remember how Malcolm Turnbull promised to respect the intelligence of the Australian people if he became prime minister?

Some of his ministers seem to have missed that memo, because they are now recycling the same discredited Abbott-era claims about the cost of more ambitious climate change action, while ignoring their own up-to-date economic modelling that says deeper emission cuts would come at far lower additional costs.

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Categories: Environment

Coal can help reduce climate change, says Minerals Council of Australia

Guardian Environment News - 16 hours 34 min ago

However, as world leaders head to Paris to discuss carbon emissions, a survey has found most Australians believe coal is an energy source of the past

Coal can help countries meet international climate targets emerging from next week’s Paris conference, the Minerals Council of Australia has said.

Greg Evans, an executive director of the council, said the industry had a role to play in reducing climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Unilever to stop using coal for energy within five years

Guardian Environment News - 18 hours 59 min ago

Consumer goods giant pledges to go ‘carbon positive’ by 2030, generating 100% of its energy needs from renewables with more to spare

Unilever, the consumer goods giant, has pledged to eliminate coal from its energy usage within five years, and derive all of its energy worldwide solely from renewable sources by 2030.

The company will become “carbon positive” by 2030, through its own use of renewables, and by investing in generating more renewable energy than it needs, selling the surplus on the markets and making it available to local communities in areas where it operates. About 40% of the company’s energy use currently comes from green sources.

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Categories: Environment

Unbranded review – four Texans, 16 mustangs and a wild journey across the west

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 3:15pm

Navigating the US with mustangs as sole transport provides some breathtaking scenery, even if it does look a bit like a Marlboro ad without cigarettes

This good-natured, Kickstarter-funded documentary shows the adventures of four young guys from Texas as they attempt to travel 3,000 miles on horseback from the Mexican to the Canadian border, using only “adopted” wild horses, or mustangs, which they have trained themselves. We get to see some beautiful country along the way, and there’s some pertinent thinking on the levels of intervention needed in managing America’s wild horse population. Unbranded does sometimes look a little bit glossy and self-congratulatory, like a 105-minute commercial for itself, or indeed a Marlboro ad without cigarettes. One argument the young men have looks a bit staged, to create drama, though there is one very real and disconcerting disagreement they finally have about all crossing the finish line together: a really strange moment that the movie doesn’t fully investigate or explain. At any rate, there are some breathtaking landscapes in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

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Categories: Environment

Negociações climáticas de Paris: “Seis anos depois, a alteração climática está a matar os peixes, a inundar os nossos territórios”

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 1:34pm

Na véspera da cimeira de Copenhaga de 2009, informámos para o facto de que muitas famílias eram ameaçadas pela alteração climática em todo o mundo. Neste momento, à medida que nos aproximamos da cimeira de Paris, muitos dos seus piores receios estão a concretizar-se

São a esperança da Humanidade para o futuro, mas cada uma delas enfrenta um futuro cada vez mais sombrio e incerto. Nascidas nos quatro cantos do mundo, estas crianças vieram ao mundo nas semanas que seguiram a conferência climática de Copenhaga, em dezembro de 2009.

Na altura, o Observer descreveu a vida destas crianças, enquanto as suas famílias lutavam para lidar com o impacto da alteração climática.

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Categories: Environment

Arsenic and mercury found in river days after Brazil dam burst

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 11:11am

Unacceptable levels of pollutants found at several places along Rio Doce following Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster

Illegal levels of arsenic and mercury polluted the Rio Doce river in the days after a dam burst at an iron ore mine in early November in Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster, according to tests by a state water agency.

The Institute for Water Management in Minas Gerais (IGAM) found arsenic levels more than 10 times above the legal limit in one place along the Rio Doce after the dam burst on 5 November, leading to at least 13 deaths and flooding thick mud across two states. Mercury slightly above the permitted level was also found in one area.

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Categories: Environment

Pope Francis says failure of climate summit would be catastrophic

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 9:35am

Pope meets Muslim and other religious leaders in Nairobi to call for success at the Paris summit and for greater environmental protections in Africa

World leaders must reach a historic agreement to fight climate change and poverty at coming talks in Paris, facing the stark choice to either “improve or destroy the environment”, Pope Francis said in Africa on Thursday.

Francis chose his first visit to the world’s poorest continent to issue a clarion call for the success of the two-week summit, known as COP21, that starts on Monday in the French capital still reeling from attacks that killed 130 people and were claimed by Islamic State.

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Categories: Environment

Ecuador eco-tour shows positive effects of mangrove replanting in face of El Niño

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 6:35am

Near the resort of Bahía de Caráquez, a community project has restored mangrove forests – and may help save it from one of the strongest ever El Niños

The canoe sliced through the water and along a quiet, narrow tunnel enclosed by mangrove trees. As the craft slid past the spindly tree trunks and roots sticking several feet out of the water, tour guides pointed out ibis, herons and small red crabs hidden among the foliage.

Related: Camping around South America

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Categories: Environment

Scottish farmer facing eviction wins last-minute reprieve

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 6:29am

Andrew Stoddart and his family, who were told they must leave farm he has tended for 22 years, secure eviction postponement after talks with landlord

A tenant farmer facing immediate eviction with minimal compensation has won an 11th-hour reprieve in a case that has galvanised the land rights movement in Scotland.

Andrew Stoddart announced on Thursday – the day before his family’s scheduled eviction from Coulston Mains, East Lothian, which he has farmed for 22 years – that the departure date had been postponed until January and a settlement agreed after last-minute mediation with his landlord.

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Categories: Environment

VW's Audi suspends two engineers in emissions-rigging inquiry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 6:20am

Scandal widens after German carmaker tells US that 85,000 V6 diesel engines were fitted with software defeat devices

Volkswagen’s luxury flagship Audi has suspended two engineers after its larger diesel engines were found evading emissions limits in the US.

VW and Audi notified US authorities last week that about 85,000 vehicles with 3.0 litre V6 diesel engines were fitted with emissions-control equipment that was not disclosed to US regulators, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said.

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Categories: Environment

Bill Shorten lays out bold climate aims as Malcolm Turnbull heads to Paris

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 6:01am

Labor suggests tough 45% cuts to emissions – compared with Coalition’s 26% to 28% pledge – in bid to pressure prime minister at Paris climate talks

Bill Shorten has suggested he will adopt a far tougher greenhouse target – a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 – compared with the Coalition’s promised cut of 26% to 28%.

Related: Malcolm Turnbull: coal export ban ‘would make no difference to emissions’

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Categories: Environment

TTIP talks: EU alleged to have given ExxonMobil access to confidential papers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 5:18am

Documents and emails obtained by the Guardian reveal ‘collusion’ between Brussels and industry over the fossil fuel push in free trade negotiations

The EU appears to have given the US oil company ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public during its negotiations with the US on the trade agreement TTIP, documents reveal.

Officials also asked one oil refinery association for “concrete input” on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of US crude oil and gas into the trade deal.

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Categories: Environment

Paris climate summit: the climate circus comes to town | Suzanne Goldenberg

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 5:05am

The soap opera of global climate talks has been playing for 20 years. As it comes to Paris on Monday, Suzanne Goldenberg reviews the tears, the bloodshed and the unspeakable catering

On the evening of 18 December 2009, Barack Obama and a trail of White House and State Department officials swept through a cavernous exhibition centre in Copenhagen and barged, uninvited, into a private meeting between the leaders of four powerful developing countries – China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

It was about 6pm on the final day of the Copenhagen climate summit, when nearly 200 countries were expected to agree on collective action to fight climate change. For the first time, the United Nations claimed, countries were on the verge of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. Obama, along with dozens of other presidents and prime ministers, had flown into Copenhagen for the final day of the summit at the request of the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, who believed their presence would embolden negotiators to make a deal. The UN was so optimistic about the prospects at the start of that year that it signed off on an ad campaign touting “Hopenhagen”.

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Categories: Environment

Why seed banks aren't the only answer to food security

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 5:01am

Hopes are being pinned on backup vaults to rescue the seeds we’re losing, but some simple changes in our diets can make a difference too

On 10 September, Dr Mahmoud Solh, director general of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (Icarda), sent an urgent request to the Svalbard global seed vault asking for the return of collections of seeds once held in Aleppo, Syria.

A few weeks later, 128 crates of seeds holding around 38,000 samples of wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea, fava bean, pea, grass pea and legumes were removed from the vault located in the frigid, snow-packed archipelago halfway between Norway and the north pole.

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Categories: Environment

Thanksgiving Buzz: What Would Pilgrims Say About The Plight Of Bees?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 4:33am

When you sit down for your holiday dinner, you may want to give thanks to bees and other pollinators. Their health is tied to your food. What's behind the bee declines? Watch our video investigation.

Categories: Environment

South African judge lifts domestic ban on rhino horn trade

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 4:31am

South African game breeders win battle to overturn moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horn, arguing legalised trade would cut poaching

A South African judge on Thursday lifted a domestic ban on trade in rhino horns, in a direct challenge to government policy put in place in 2009 to try to stem rocketing poaching numbers.

The government said it planned to appeal against the ruling, which was delivered in the Pretoria high court after two South African game breeders fought a legal battle to overturn the moratorium.

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Categories: Environment

Reino Unido concede 471 milhões de euros à Petrobas embora a empresa enfrente acusações de corrupção

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 4:28am

O Governo prepara-se para conceder um crédito de exportação generoso à gigante do petróleo brasileira envolvida num escândalo de branqueamento de dinheiro e num suborno multibilionário

O Governo do Reino Unido irá fornecer apoio financeiro no valor de centenas de milhões de euros à companhia petrolífera brasileira, embora esta enfrente investigações por corrupção em vários países.

A Whitehall está em vias de conceder um crédito de 471 milhões de euros à Petrobas, um acordo de exportação financeiro generoso que ajudará a desenvolver os projetos de exploração de petróleo e gás em águas profundas offshore do Brasil.

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Categories: Environment

Every politician's dream – the online tool that changes votes from 'no' to 'yes' | George Monbiot

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 3:56am

When users discovered a computer glitch on a Welsh government consultation on allowing scallop dredging in a dolphin reserve, it wasn’t the only thing wrong with this supposedly democratic process

It’s every politician’s dream: an electronic feature that automatically changes people’s votes from no to yes. It’s the perfect antidote to those tiresome folk who insist on having their voices heard. You know, the ones who claim we live in a democracy.

This marvellous innovation has been pioneered, no doubt accidentally, by the Welsh government, but I’m sure David Cameron is taking notes. EU referendum: solved. Consultations on academy schools, a new runway at Heathrow, privatising the NHS and drowning the poor in ornamental fish ponds: sorted. Next election: in the bag.

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Categories: Environment

Will the UK be the joker in the pack at Paris climate talks? | Damian Carrington

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/11/26 - 3:44am

David Cameron will sit down at the summit’s high stakes poker game with little but bluff after his government’s discarding of endless trump cards

If the crucial Paris climate summit is the highest stakes poker game of international diplomacy ever held, David Cameron will sit down on Monday with little but bluff. The UK has thrown away trump card after trump card, with the latest being £1bn of support for carbon capture and storage, dumped by the chancellor, George Osborne, on Wednesday.

Trust is the vital ingredient in the UN climate negotiations, because they are built on voluntary pledges. Each nation has to believe that every other nation will honour its pledges to cut carbon emissions or provide green funds. But the UK government’s actions since it won the general election in May will make other countries think the UK is not good for its stake in the game.

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