EPA inspector general to investigate Scott Pruitt's security detail on trips

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 1:09pm
  • Latest in a string of investigations into Pruitt’s travel spending
  • Trips included Disneyland and attendance at sporting games

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general will investigate agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s use of his official security detail on recent personal trips, the latest in a string of congressional, White House and internal investigations into his spending on security and travel.

The investigation comes at the request of Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse, he announced on Thursday, a month after he asked Inspector General Arthur Elkins to look into Pruitt’s “unprecedented use” of his taxpayer-funded security detail documented in six weeks of obtained schedules and travel logs.

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Categories: Environment

To Curb Ocean Pollution, U.K. May Ban Plastic Straws, Stirrers And Cotton Swabs

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 11:31am

Prime Minister Theresa May called plastic waste "one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world." The government said it will work with industry to develop alternatives.

(Image credit: Thn Rocn Khosit Rath Phachr Sukh / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm)

Categories: Environment

Redirect funds from failed 'clean coal' project, environmentalists say

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 11:00am

Campaigners say $90m should be used instead to help Latrobe Valley transition away from brown coal

A $90m fund set aside for failed “clean coal” projects in the Latrobe Valley should be spent on helping the region transition away from reliance on coal, Environment Victoria has said.

The Victorian government said this week that the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP) would be shut down after its third and final project to find a low-emissions use for the valley’s enormous brown coal store was declared unsuccessful.

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Categories: Environment

Grubs up: Carrefour offers Spanish shoppers insect-based snacks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 8:50am

Supermarket chain’s new range includes spicy chilli buffalo worms and smoked crickets

Despite being a country that guards its culinary traditions more jealously than most - the recipe for the perfect tortilla proves enduringly divisive, and woe betide the anglosajón celebrity chef who dares pollute a paella with chorizo - Spain could be set to swell the ranks of the two billion people on the planet who regularly eat insects.

Or so the supermarket giant Carrefour is hoping.

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Categories: Environment

UK drives into e-vehicle fast lane with 11% sales rise

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 6:16am

Electric vehicles’ share of new UK registrations rises to 2%, still falling far short of Norway’s 48%

Sales of electric cars in the UK have risen 11% on last year, putting the country in the premier league of those ditching petrol and diesel engines, though it is still miles behind Norway and China.

An analysis of the latest global sales of electric vehicles found that nearly half the vehicles registered in Norway in the first three months of 2018 were electric (48%), compared to just over a third (35%) during the same period in 2017. The vehicles are run almost exclusively off the nation’s hydropower resource, underlining Norway’s claim as the world leader.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla factory to be investigated over safety concerns

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 4:02am

California base faces claims of unreported injuries as it struggles to roll out Model 3

Tesla is facing an investigation by Californian safety regulators into reports of serious injuries at its factory in Fremont, California, where it is struggling to scale up production of its Model 3 mass-market electric car.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Wednesday it had begun an inspection on Tuesday, a day after the news website Reveal alleged that Tesla failed to disclose legally mandated reports on serious worker injuries, making its safety record appear better than it was.

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Categories: Environment

'Very angry badger' causes part of Scottish castle to be closed

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 3:25am

Repairs to masonry damaged by intruder put Craignethan’s cellar tunnel out of bounds to public

Parts of a Scottish castle remain closed to the public after a “very angry badger” took up residence. The cellar tunnel at Craignethan Castle, in South Lanarkshire, was initially closed last week after the animal arrived, and remains closed while the damage it caused is repaired.

It is thought the animal had become lost, and staff tried to lure it out with cat food and honey.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's largest python in captivity gets a weigh-in – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 1:30am

'Monster' is the largest reticulated python in captivity in Australia. Getting her on the the scales for a weigh-in required a number of handlers, and caution. In December she bit one of her handlers on the hand. 

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Categories: Environment

The cost-effective technology that can clean up oil spills – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 12:38am

Researchers from South Australia’s Flinders University demonstrate how a polymer can act like a sponge to remove crude oil and diesel from seawater. The lead researcher, Dr Justin Chalker, says it has the potential to be a cheap and sustainable recovery tool in areas affected by oil spills. 'Our goal is for this to be used globally,' he says. 'It is inexpensive, and we have an eye for it to be used in parts of the world such as the Amazon Basin in Ecuador and the Niger Delta that don’t have access to solutions to oil spills.'

Researchers create super sponge that mops up oil spills

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Categories: Environment

Cotton buds and plastic straws could be banned in England next year

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/19 - 12:36am

Consultation to start later this year as Theresa May continues drive against single-use plastic waste

Cotton buds, plastic drinking straws and other single-use plastics could be banned from sale in England next year in the next phase of the campaign to try to halt the pollution of the world’s rivers and oceans.

Theresa May hopes to use the announcement to encourage the Commonwealth heads of government to join the fight as the meeting opens formally on Thursday. “The Commonwealth is a unique organisation with a huge diversity of wildlife, and environments – so it is vital we act now,” the prime minister will say, urging all Commonwealth countries to participate.

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Categories: Environment

New guidance to help consumers make better meat choices

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 10:01pm

Campaign draws up eight principles to guide people who want to be healthier and reduce their environmental impact

Eating less meat has long been advocated for our health and that of the planet, but the choices we make within that advice can be just as important, according to a new report.

Choosing lamb, for instance, means the animal is almost certain to have been grass-fed and free range, as sheep are not factory farmed in the same way as pigs or chickens. Meat from pasture-fed animals also tends to have higher levels of “good” fats, which are healthier.

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Categories: Environment

Japan's renewable energy puzzle: solar push threatens environment

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 9:08pm

As the country rushes to cut carbon emissions by 26%, campaigners worry that forests and wildlife are being trampled

The tens of thousands of solar panels resting on the surface of the Yamakura dam reservoir have finally begun to earn their keep.

This floating solar farm in Chiba prefecture is the biggest of its kind in Japan – and one of the largest in the world – covering 180,000 square metres, or roughly equivalent to 25 Wembley stadium pitches.

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Categories: Environment

Ipswich axes kerbside recycling that would cost residents a 'few extra dollars per week'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 8:37pm

Queensland council’s mayor, Andrew Antoniolli, says every other council will feel brunt of China’s recycling crackdown
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The mayor of Ipswich city council, Andrew Antoniolli, has warned every council will feel the brunt of China’s recycling clampdown and ratepayers will eventually foot the bill.

The local government body has come under fire for dumping recyclable waste in landfill because it would have cost $2m a year to comply with China’s tighter imported recycling regulations.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers forced to sell chocolates to save Queensland 'punk' turtle from extinction

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 6:12pm

Recovery plan for threatened Mary river turtle and other species drafted in 2013 but never approved
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Conservationists trying to save the Mary river turtle have had to resort to selling turtle chocolates and soliciting donations from the United Arab Emirates to try to help save the endangered reptile from extinction.

And a Mary river catchment committee that developed a recovery plan for the turtle and four other Mary River species has been waiting years for the federal government to approve the finished plan, which is in draft form and awaiting official sign-off.

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Categories: Environment

Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day – equal to a pound per person

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 11:05am

Research shows people with healthy diets rich in fruit and vegetables are the most wasteful and calls for better education for consumers

Americans waste about a pound of food per person each day, with people who have healthier diets rich in fruit and vegetables the most wasteful, research has found.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: 30% of coral died in 'catastrophic' 2016 heatwave

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 11:00am

Report chronicles ‘mass mortality’, the extent and severity of which has shocked scientists
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Scientists have chronicled the “mass mortality” of corals on the Great Barrier Reef, in a new report that says 30% of the reef’s corals died in a catastrophic nine-month marine heatwave.

The study, published in Nature and led by Prof Terry Hughes, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, examined the link between the level of heat exposure, subsequent coral bleaching and ultimately coral death.

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Categories: Environment

Swarms Of Tiny Sea Creatures Are Powerful Enough To Mix Oceans, Study Finds

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 10:43am

Each night, the organisms gather in a "vertical stampede" to feed at the ocean's surface. Research suggests the columns of swimming animals can create large downward jets that help churn the waters.

(Image credit: Isabel Houghton / J.R. Strickler /courtesy of Stanford / University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Categories: Environment

A millennial’s guide to the great outdoors

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 7:35am

They may be duff at identifying birds and flowers, but some young people are at least showing an interest. So here are our tips for experiencing the best of British nature

If, like me, you are a fiftysomething trying to cope with the modern world, you will be pleased to hear that millennials are struggling, too. As well as being unable to do mental arithmetic, ironing and spelling, they are also – according to a recent Bupa survey – unable to identify birds and wild flowers.

Despite this, there has been a surge in interest among some millennials, with the organisation A Focus on Nature encouraging a new generation of young people to connect with the natural world.

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Categories: Environment

Clean energy projects stifled by Tory reforms, says Labour

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 7:14am

‘Outrageous financial demands will have serious repercussions across the renewables sector’

Labour has accused the government of holding back clean energy projects in the UK by allowing energy networks to impose “outrageous” charges on renewables developers.

This week, two of the six companies that run the country’s local electricity grids began making green energy firms pay for an estimate of how much it will cost to connect their solar and windfarms.

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Categories: Environment

Balkan dam projects could result in loss of one in 10 European fish species

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/18 - 6:07am

Exclusive: Plans for a network of hydropower plants in three countries would cause ‘chain reaction’ for endangered species, report warns

Nearly one in 10 of Europe’s fish species will be pushed to the brink of extinction by a constellation of hydropower plants planned in the western Balkans, new research has found.

Eleven endemic species would be wiped out, seven more would be critically endangered, four types of sturgeon would be devastated and the number of endangered species would double to 24, according to the University of Graz report.

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