Environment

Scientists endure extreme Antarctic temperatures to extract ice cores – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 8:37pm

This footage from the Antarctic summer of 2007-08 shows how Australian scientists endure extreme conditions to drill ice cores from Antarctica’s Law Dome area. Law Dome is a spot in eastern Antarctica where scientists have been drilling to gather historic climate datat. New research using Law Dome ice cores suggests the world might be able to burn less fossil fuels than previously thought

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Categories: Environment

What the Earth's frozen burps tell us about global warming

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 7:56pm

Analysis of bubbles trapped in ancient Antarctic ice suggests that as the planet heats up, plants and soils will add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

“When the earth burps, Law Dome records it,” says Australian climate scientist Dr David Etheridge.

Law Dome is a special spot in eastern Antarctica where scientists have been drilling down into the continent’s long-frozen surface to pull out cores of ice.

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Categories: Environment

Huge wildfire forces evacuations near Big Sur coastline in California

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 6:03pm

The blaze spanning 42 square miles has destroyed 34 homes, forced the evacuation of 350 properties and put at least 2,000 buildings at risk

Firefighters struggled on Thursday to get the upper hand on a huge wildfire along northern California’s picturesque Big Sur coastline, where anxious residents awaited word on their homes and popular parks and trails closed at the height of tourist season.

The blaze spanning 42 square miles has destroyed 34 homes, forced the evacuation of 350 properties and put at least 2,000 buildings at risk. A 35-year-old father of two girls was also killed this week when the bulldozer he was operating rolled over on the fire lines.

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Hinkley Point C in fresh doubt after government delays approval

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 3:35pm

Ministers to conduct fresh review into much delayed project, with no green light expected until autumn despite EDF’s confirmation

Britain’s first new nuclear power station for a generation is in fresh doubt after the government delayed making a final decision on the £18bn Hinkley Point C, despite EDF’s directors voting to start work on the project.

The government said ministers would now conduct another review of the controversial project and make an announcement in the early autumn about whether to give it the green light.

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Dear corporate Canada: it's time to pay for your part in climate change

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 2:00pm

Canada’s Justin Trudeau intends to unveil a program this fall that will require big polluters in business to pay for their carbon emissions

By 2030, Canada intends to see its greenhouse gas emissions fall 30% from the 2005 levels of 749 megatonnes. To get there, the country expects its businesses to play an important role in a new plan that will include a program to make companies pay for their carbon emissions.

Under the new government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada expects to unveil a carbon pricing program as early as this fall. “We’re going to make sure there is a strong price on carbon right across the country,” Trudeau said during a TV interview last week.

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Russian Olympic team's drug usage could have long term effects on athletes' health

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 12:34pm

Over 100 athletes banned from the Rio Olympics after proof of a state-run doping program also need to worry about the health impacts of steroids. So do those who used the team’s drug cocktail but were never tested and caught

Further revelations in the Russian doping scandal have rocked the upcoming Olympic Games. Over 100 Russian athletes who would have competed in Rio have been barred due to an investigation into a state-run doping program that involved administering a cocktail of anabolic steroids to the country’s world-class athletes.

Related: Dark clouds hang over Anniversary Games as bad news keeps pouring in

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To show confidence, Philip Hammond should hang on to Lloyds shares | Nils Pratley

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 12:27pm

‘Market volatility’ postponed George Osborne’s plan for Lloyds retail offer – the new chancellor should play the long game

Be grateful, dear retail investor, that George Osborne never got a chance to unleash his mass-market offer of shares in Lloyds Banking Group. The former chancellor had planned to sell discounted stock to the populace at 70p apiece, or thereabouts. Lloyds’ shares now fetch just 52.5p in non-discounted form.

The other side of the story, of course, is that Osborne did well to shift more than a few Lloyds shares to City institutions at prices that now look pretty only from the seller’s point of view. The reduction in the state’s stake from 43% in 2009 to 9% today was achieved at an average price of 79p. It is a rare of example of the City being a medium-term loser in a government sell-off.

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Categories: Environment

A short history of nuclear fission

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 12:15pm

An Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, was the first to achieve it but just recently nuclear fission’s popularity has been decreasing

It began in 1789 when a German chemist named Martin Klaproth discovered uranium but it was not until 1934 that nuclear fission was first achieved following a series of experiments by Enrico Fermi, an Italian physicist.

Related: Hinkley Point C to go ahead after EDF board approves project

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Nuclear critics condemn decision to give Hinkley Point C project go-ahead

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 11:58am

Green MP Caroline Lucas and host of experts strongly criticise project while pro-nuclear experts welcome move to give power plant green light

Nuclear critics are rounding on proponents of the giant Hinkley project – arguing that it has been negotiated in secret, is technically flawed and possibly unbuildable, and will condemn Britain to centuries of massive, unnecessary costs.

“It beggars belief that this government, which prides itself on pinching the pennies, plans to spend tens of billions on Hinkley Point – the most expensive white elephant in British history,” said the Green MP Caroline Lucas on Thursday after the EDF board gave it the go-ahead.

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Hinkley C is the wrong project at the wrong price | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 11:54am
This project will suck up billions that ought to be invested in reducing demand and developing renewables

The French energy giant EDF today finally decided to go ahead with Hinkley C . It may be a disaster for the largely state-owned company. If the British government now gives the nod to the first round of subsidies, it will surely be a disaster for British energy policy. This is not an untested model – worse than that. Its two sister stations, currently under construction in Finland and France, are overdue and over budget. Hinkley is predicted to cost £18bn to build, and it will cost consumers upwards of £30bn to run. It will displace billions of pounds of investment that could otherwise be spent reducing demand and developing renewable alternatives. The new prime minister and her ministers at the Department of Business and Energy, Greg Clark and Nick Hurd, should use the prerogative of a new government: stop it, now.

The justification for Hinkley C, originally conceived under Labour in 2008 and signed off by the coalition in 2011, is that when it finally comes on stream, perhaps in 2025, it will provide a large amount of carbon-free energy generation – 7% of total demand, which cannot be met by the weather-dependent energy that comes from renewables such as wind or solar. It will be a vital contribution to the UK’s low-carbon energy target. It looks like a bold solution to a big problem.

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Categories: Environment

What do we know about Hinkley Point C's technology?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 11:04am

European pressurised reactor will be most powerful in the world but is designed to use less fuel and produce roughly a third less waste than older reactors

Britain’s first new nuclear power station in more than 20 years will contain the industry’s most cutting-edge technology.

Hinkley Point C on the Somerset coast will feature two European pressurised reactors (EPRs) designed to be safer, more reliable and more fuel efficient than anything that has gone before.

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Hinkley Point C timeline: all the key moments

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 10:23am

Nuclear reactor project has seen several developments since being announced in 2005

UK energy policy review launched by Tony Blair

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Hinkley's nuclear plant fails all tests - bar the politics | Damian Carrington

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 10:23am

Huge, expensive and difficult to build, Hinkley is a throwback to the last century, just as the world is embracing the smart energy systems of the future

The new nuclear reactors now given the go-ahead at Hinkley Point have failed every test bar the one that finally mattered - political expediency.

The plant, to be paid for by UK energy customers, could cost them £37bn and is a leading contender for the most expensive object ever built on the face of the Earth. A former Conservative energy secretary calls it “one of the worst deals ever” for Britain.

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'I'm not scared by nuclear': locals divided over Hinkley Point C

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 10:23am

Businesses and education providers on the Somerset coast see opportunities but residents remain concerned over safety and waste

The EDF Energy visitor centre at the Angel Place shopping centre in Bridgwater was doing brisk business.

A group of pensioners waited for a coach to take them for a tour of Hinkley Point B nuclear power station 10 miles away on the Somerset coast while children played with displays explaining how electricity is created. Teenagers dropped in to jump on to a static bike and power up their mobile phones.

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Wildlife workers rescue six baby rhinos from flooding in India

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 7:56am

Floods in Assam submerge Kaziranga national park, home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceros

Wildlife workers have rescued a group of rhino calves at risk of being washed away by flood waters that have swamped a national park in northeastern India.

Monsoon rains have caused widespread flooding in Assam state and forced about 1.2 million people to leave their waterlogged homes. The rains have also flooded vast tracts of the Kaziranga national park, home to the world’s largest population of the one-horned rhinoceros.

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Record 46% of UK's electricity generated by clean energy sources in 2015

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 7:44am

Official figures show low-carbon sources accounted for almost half of national electricity supply last year - outstripping coal for the first time

Almost half the UK’s electricity came from clean energy sources such as wind and nuclear power last year, official figures have revealed.

Renewables accounted for a quarter of the country’s power supplies in 2015, outstripping coal power for the first time, the data published by the government revealed.

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Scottish farms face losing millions in subsidy after Brexit

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 7:13am

UK government would need to increase funding to match common agricultural policy levels, Holyrood committee hears

Scottish farmers face losing hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidy after Brexit unless the UK government increases funding for Holyrood, a Scottish parliament committee has been told.

A senior economist and the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) said the EU referendum vote raised significant doubts over the future of £452m in common agriculture programme spending in Scotland, because of the current Treasury deal to fund Holyrood.

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Hinkley Point C: should the £18bn nuclear power station be built?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 6:45am

EDF’s vote on UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation comes after years of debate about its pros and cons

If EDF decides to go ahead with the construction of an £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset it would be controversial.

A debate has raged about the merits of the project for a decade, with the following some of the key arguments for and against.

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The 'human sensor' making Manchester's air pollution visible

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 5:38am

The hi-tech illuminated costumes worn by media artist Kasia Molga reveal changes in urban air pollution and bring together art and science

Heads turn when media artist Kasia Molga and her performers walk the streets of Manchester. When they near buses belching diesel fumes, their futuristic capes and masks turn a bright red. Near a park they go green. Depending on the traffic pollution levels in the northern industrial city, their clothing pulses, flashes and changes colour from purple through to white.

Molga calls herself a “human sensor”. She has linked with atmospheric scientists at King’s College London to develop clothing that reacts to the minute particles (PM2.5s) emitted mainly by diesel engines.

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Oyster Archaeology: Ancient Trash Holds Clues To Sustainable Harvesting

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/07/28 - 4:00am

Modern-day oyster populations in the Chesapeake are dwindling, but a multi-millennia archaeological survey shows that wasn't always the case. Native Americans harvested the shellfish sustainably.

Categories: Environment
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