Environment

Tony Abbott warns against 'unconscionable' renewable target

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/19 - 4:00pm

Former PM reissues demand for new coal power stations: ‘If we can have Snowy 2.0, let’s have Hazelwood 2.0’

Tony Abbott is reportedly threatening to cross the floor to vote against a clean energy target, warning Malcolm Turnbull it would be “unconscionable” for the government to do anything to further encourage investment in renewable energy.

Abbott told Sky News on Tuesday evening the government had to address market failure by providing base-load power and building coal-fired power stations.

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Hull firefighters return to scene of acid leak at King George dock

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/19 - 10:22am

Vapour cloud formed after leak meant emergency services had to return to east of city, but health risk said to be minimal

Emergency crews have attended a large-scale acid leak in Hull, which caused a vapour cloud to form over a dock in the east of the city.

The fire service had initially warned nearby residents to close their doors and windows as a precautionary measure after a tank containing 580 tonnes of hydrochloric acid sprang a leak at the King George dock late on Monday.

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Poorest London children face health risks from toxic air, poverty and obesity

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/19 - 8:45am

Schools in capital worst affected by air pollution are in most socially deprived areas with high levels of obesity, finds study

Tens of thousands of the poorest children in London are facing a cocktail of health risks including air pollution, obesity and poverty that will leave them with lifelong health problems, according to a new report.

The study found that schools in the capital worst affected by the UK’s air pollution crisis were also disproportionately poor, with high levels of obesity.

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Categories: Environment

Can we turn the Whitechapel fatberg into biodiesel?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/19 - 8:31am

The human-waste bomb recently found clogging up a London sewer has an unlikely admirer – a Scottish renewable energy company

For a 130-tonne mass of grease, bound as hard as concrete by thousands of tampons, wipes and used tissues, the Whitechapel fatberg is in surprisingly high demand.

Last week, the Museum of London announced it wants to display a chunk of the human-waste bomb, recently unearthed in east London, as a way “to raise questions about how we live today”. Now, a Scottish biodiesel company is taking a piece to turn into fuel.

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Categories: Environment

Guess What's Showing Up In Our Shellfish? One Word: Plastics

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/09/19 - 4:00am

Scientists predict that plastic in the ocean will eventually outweigh the fish there. Where is it all coming from? And is it making our food unsafe? Researchers are trying to find the answers.

(Image credit: Ken Christensen/KCTS Television)

Categories: Environment

Bears Ears is sacred to Native Americans. But heritage isn't all equal for Trump | Julian Brave NoiseCat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/09/19 - 3:00am

While Trump is quick to defend his Confederate forefathers, he has been equally swift to desecrate places held sacred by Native Americans

History and heritage are powerful words in American politics. In the United States, the Founding Fathers are second only to the apostles; the Constitution comes just after the Bible on the bookshelf and the Declaration of Independence is nearly as important an origin story as Genesis.

Just days after bloody white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville last month, Donald Trump argued that a growing chorus of voices calling for the removal of Confederate statues would inevitably lead to the removal of monuments honoring the Founding Fathers – tantamount to heresy.

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BHP agrees to rethink its links to Minerals Council of Australia

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 11:54pm

Mining giant will clarify how its position on climate and energy policy differs from the industry bodies to which it belongs

The giant Anglo-Australian miner BHP has agreed to reconsider its membership of the Minerals Council of Australia, as well as other industry groups, and to clarify how BHP’s position on climate and energy policy differs from those bodies.

The move comes as BHP faces a shareholder resolution urging the company to terminate membership of bodies that demonstrate a pattern of advocacy on policy issues at odds with the company’s positions since 2012.

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AGL says keeping Liddell power station open beyond 2022 could cost $900m

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 11:05pm

Coal-fired power station’s general manager says plant should not be extended beyond 2022 and new coal power stations do not make sense

Keeping the Liddell coal-fired power station open beyond 2022, as Malcolm Turnbull has urged, could cost more than $900m, AGL says, with representatives of the energy company saying the station should be shut.

In a tour for journalists, in which AGL spoke about the problems facing the ageing power station, the company revealed an independent study conducted in 2013 estimated it would cost $900m to extend its life until 2032.

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Categories: Environment

Tony Abbott says dumping clean energy target would help Coalition win election

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 9:38pm

Former prime minister says change would leave Bill Shorten and Labor ‘on the side of green extremists’

Tony Abbott says the Coalition should dump the clean energy target to create political opportunity at the next election to sharpen a point of partisan difference with Labor.

The former prime minister made the frank remark in response to an observation by the 2GB radio host Ray Hadley on Tuesday that “punters on ... the street, up the pub, up the club that I go to” think the power policies between the major political parties are identical.

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Q&A: panellists spar over coal as energy debate dominates

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 2:38pm

Doctor says respiratory and cardiovascular implications of coal should be top of Australia’s energy debate and warns Adani mine threatens health of millions

The health implications of coal-fired power should be a main concern in Australia’s debate over energy generation, doctors have argued.

Speaking on the ABC’s Q&A program, the chair of Doctors for the Environment New South Wales, Dr John Van Der Kallen, asked panellists why health was not a primary consideration in the discussion over the closure of coal-fired power stations such as the Liddell plant in the Hunter Valley “when we know that the pollution from these coal-fired power stations contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular illness, as well as premature death?”

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10 national monuments at risk under Trump's administration

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 1:22pm

The US interior secretary has identified a total of 10 national monuments to reshape or repurpose in order to allow for logging, mining and grazing

A total of 10 US national monuments are in the Trump administration’s sights to be either resized or repurposed, in order to allow activities such as mining, logging and grazing within their borders. Environmental groups have vowed legal action to stymie any alterations to the protected areas. Here are the 10 national monuments identified for change by Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior.

Related: The Trump administration's national monuments 'review' is a sham | Brian Calvert

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Categories: Environment

More national monuments should be opened for exploitation, Zinke says

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 11:37am

In leaked memo, Trump interior secretary recommends 10 protected areas be modified to allow for ‘traditional uses’ such as mining, logging and hunting

The Trump administration faces a fresh legal battle from environmental groups after the interior department recommended that 10 national monuments be resized or opened up to mining, logging and other industrial purposes.

Related: The Trump administration's national monuments 'review' is a sham | Brian Calvert

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Australia's record-breaking winter beats average highs by 2C, Climate Council says

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 11:00am

‘Less of an opportunity to clear the mind,’ is the verdict from Bidyadanga, where winter highs of 33C were replaced by 36C as records tumbled across the country

It’s always hot in Bidyadanga but a few degrees can make a big difference in the remote Aboriginal community, about 190km south of Broome in Western Australia.

“It’s always hot – it’s the desert – but the difference between 33C and 36C can be quite oppressive,” said Shaun Burgess, a teacher in the community.

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Nuclear must be part of the low-carbon mix | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 10:48am
Agneta Rising of the World Nuclear Association and Dr Alexander Bannara reply to criticisms of the industry

Re David Lowry’s criticisms of nuclear energy (Letters, 17 September), it is true that nuclear plants stop generating temporarily for maintenance and repair, but the same is true for most other forms of electricity generation. However, on average these outages represent a much smaller quantity of lost generation compared to the day-to-day intermittency of wind or solar. Nuclear plants spend a high proportion of the time generating at their maximum capacity.

On emissions, some proponents of both nuclear and renewables do fall into the habit of referring to their technologies as “zero-carbon”, even though there are some greenhouse gas emissions produced with all forms of generation. But there is remarkable academic agreement that the emissions from nuclear, wind, solar and many other non-fossil generation sources are similarly low per unit of electricity generated and these emissions are tiny fractions of those associated with burning coal and gas. We desperately need to cut emissions in our electricity mix to as low as possible.

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MP welcomes 'swift' BBC rebuke of presenter over climate sceptic tweet

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 10:28am

Adam Rutherford may have compromised BBC’s impartiality by criticising Labour MP Graham Stringer, a climate change sceptic, standards team says

The BBC has reprimanded the presenter of Radio 4’s Inside Science after he called on his Twitter followers to write to their local MPs about the reappointment of Graham Stringer, a climate change sceptic, to a parliamentary committee.

Adam Rutherford “potentially compromised the BBC’s impartiality” by publicly criticising the Labour MP’s return as a member of the Commons science and technology committee, the broadcaster’s editorial standards team said.

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Categories: Environment

Ministers launch group to help boost green business investment

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 10:28am

Green Finance Taskforce to assist UK’s shift to low-carbon economy and be led by investors and leading figures from City

A new group led by investors and leading figures from the City of London has been brought together by the government to draw up measures to encourage “green finance” in the UK.

The Green Finance Taskforce will have six months to come up with proposals on how to increase investment in the low-carbon economy and will work with banks and other financial institutions. Chaired by Sir Roger Gifford, former lord mayor of London, the taskforce will look at measures to make the UK’s planned investments in infrastructure, for instance on energy and transport, more environmentally sustainable.

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Indian PM inaugurates Sardar Sarovar dam in face of activist anger

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 8:41am

Narendra Modi hits out at ‘misinformation campaign’ as environmentalists warn that 40,000 families’ homes are at risk

A mega-dam that became one of India’s greatest environmental controversies during the three decades it was under construction has been formally declared complete by the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Activists have warned that 40,000 families across hundreds of villages will lose their homes as a result of the construction of the final stage of the dam and are yet to be adequately compensated.

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Trump adviser tells UN the US is not looking to stay in Paris climate deal

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 8:39am

Gary Cohn confirmed the US intends to withdraw from the agreement without a renegotiation, but declined to provide details

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said at the United Nations on Monday the US has not changed its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate pact without a renegotiation favorable to Washington, a step for which there is little appetite in the international community.

Related: Top Trump officials signal US could stay in Paris climate agreement

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Ambitious 1.5C Paris climate target is still possible, new analysis shows

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 8:00am

Goal to limit warming to 1.5C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change was seen as unreachable, but updated research suggests it could be met if strong action is taken

The highly ambitious aim of limiting global warming to less than 1.5C remains in reach, a new scientific analysis shows.

The 1.5C target was set as an aspiration by the global Paris climate change deal in 2015 to limit the damage wreaked by extreme weather and sea level rise.

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Octlantis: the underwater city built by octopuses

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/09/18 - 6:53am

The discovery of aquatic architecture has led scientists to compare the behaviour of cephalopods to humans – but octopus city life is no utopia

If animals are our other, there is nothing quite so other as the octopus. It is the alien with whom we share our planet, a coeval evolutionary life form whose slithery slipperiness and more than the requisite number of limbs (each of which contains its own “brain”) symbolise the dark mystery and fear of the deep.

Now comes news that octopuses have been building their own cities down there. In a story straight out of James Cameron’s The Abyss, scientists have discovered that the wonderfully named “gloomy octopus”, octopus tetricus, are not the loners we once thought them to be.

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