Environment

Silver linings: the climate scientist who records cloud behaviour

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 10:23am

Clouds cool the planet by reflecting solar energy back to space and also trap heat and radiate it back to Earth. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, physicist Kate Marvel discusses the double-edged effect clouds have on rising temperatures

Clouds perform an important function in cooling the planet as they reflect solar energy back into space. Yet clouds also intensify warming by trapping the planet’s heat and radiating it back to Earth. As fossil fuel emissions continue to warm the planet, how will this dual role played by clouds change, and will clouds ultimately exacerbate or moderate global warming?

Kate Marvel, a physicist at Columbia University and a researcher at Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is investigating the mysteries of clouds and climate change. And while she and her colleagues would like to offer definitive answers on this subject, the fact is that few now exist. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she discusses what is known about the behaviour of clouds in a warming world (they are migrating more toward the poles), why strict controls need to be imposed on geoengineering experiments with clouds, and why she is confident that science and human ingenuity will ultimately overcome the challenge of climate change.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 8:47am

Brown bears fishing, a rare white moose, and a puma found in a São Paulo office block are among our images from the natural world this week

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Government faces fresh criticism over Green Investment Bank sell-off

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 6:05am

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable questions UK’s commitment to environmental projects after GIB sale to Australian bank Macquarie

The government is facing renewed criticism after pushing through the “disastrous” sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to the Australian bank Macquarie, as fresh concerns are raised over its commitment to environmental projects.

A consortium led by Macquarie agreed to buy the GIB, which was established in 2012 by the coalition government to fund green infrastructure projects such as windfarms and a waste and bioenergy power plant. The consortium also includes Macquarie’s in-house infrastructure fund and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a pension fund for British higher education institutions.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Waste Of Thyme: Why Do We Have To Buy More Herbs Than Recipes Call For?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 4:00am

Fresh herbs are some of the most perishable items in the produce section. And yet, shoppers must buy amounts that are bound to go wasted at home.

(Image credit: Matthew Leete/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Climate change will likely wreck their livelihoods – but they still don't buy the science

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 2:00am

The small Louisiana town of Cameron could be the first in the US to be fully submerged by rising sea levels – and yet locals, 90% of whom voted for Trump, still aren’t convinced about climate change

In 50 years, the region near where I grew up, Cameron Parish in south-west Louisiana, will likely be no more. Or rather, it will exist, but it may be underwater, according to the newly published calculations of the Louisiana government. Coastal land loss is on the upswing, and with each hurricane that sweeps over the region, the timeline is picking up speed.

As a result, Cameron, the principal town in this 6,800-person parish (as counties are called in Louisiana), could be the first town in the US to be fully submerged by rising sea levels and flooding. So it’s here one would expect to feel the greatest sense of alarm over climate change and its consequences.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

California Prepares For An Eclipse Of Its Solar Power

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 2:00am

On a sunny day, California gets up to 40 percent of its energy from solar power. Monday's total eclipse isn't just a scientific spectacle, it's a major concern for the state's power grid.

(Image credit: Marcus Yam/LA Times via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Labor questions if Joyce and Nash can make legally valid decisions as ministers

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/08/18 - 1:47am

As Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash face high court cases over citizenship, the constitution says parliamentarians cannot be ministers if not validly elected

Labor has opened a new front in the Turnbull government’s citizenship crisis, raising the prospect that ministers may be unable to validly execute their ministerial duties under the constitution while there is a question about whether they have been validly elected.

Stephen Jones, the shadow minister for regional communications, wrote to the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on Friday, demanding that he ask the deputy Nationals leader, Fiona Nash, to stand aside while her case is before the high court.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rained-out festival has left the fields in chaos

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 9:30pm

Minninglow, Derbyshire The Y Not festival site is still a mess, but a walk along the High Peak Trail underlines the resilience of nature

At the top of Gratton Dale, turning into Mouldridge Lane, the familiar white-walled pasture had been transformed. Diggers and tractors swarmed across the fields, beeping frantically. Grass had been churned up everywhere, and serried ranks of portable loos leaned like wearied soldiers. I was baffled. Was this some sort of war re-enactment?

Then I saw the word TONY spelled out in giant letters in the middle of the busiest field, only the Y was drooping and the N was the wrong way round.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Murdered environment officer’s family says land-clearing law change would diminish his life

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 8:28pm

Alison McKenzie, whose husband Glen Turner was killed by a farmer, is ‘horrified’ broadscale tree clearing could return in NSW

The widow of a New South Wales environment officer murdered over his role in overseeing tree-clearing laws has asked the state government to reconsider deregulation that would see “the value of his life diminished”.

Alison McKenzie said her family was “horrified” that changes would allow a return to broadscale clearing that her husband Glen Turner “gave his life trying to prevent”.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Queensland conservationists call for river-mining ban to protect Great Barrier Reef

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 5:58pm

State mines minister rejects two applications at reserves west of Cape Tribulation which campaigners say should set a precedent

The “archaic” practice of mining rivers in north Queensland is making a mockery of Australia’s key policy to protect the Great Barrier Reef, wasting multimillion-dollar efforts to cut runoff pollution, its opponents say.

“Instream” mining in Queensland, the only state still allowing the excavation of rivers for gold, tin and silver, is unleashing torrents of fine sediment in one of the reef’s largest catchments.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Leading elephant conservationist shot dead in Tanzania

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 9:56am

Wayne Lotter had received numerous death threats while battling international ivory-trafficking networks

The head of an animal conservation NGO who had received numerous death threats has been shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Tanzania.

Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Rare butterfly spotted in Scotland for the first time since 1884

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 8:40am

Elusive and endangered white-letter hairstreak discovered in a field in the Scottish borders could become the 34th species to live and breed in the country

Scotland has a new species of butterfly: the elusive and endangered white-letter hairstreak has been discovered in a field in Berwickshire, 100 metres from the English border.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

All work, no pay: the plight of young conservationists

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 8:39am

Qualified graduates are struggling to find paid jobs and many give up to pursue a different career. The result is a net loss for conservation work, reports Mongabay

Nika Levikov swore she would never work as a waitress again. But, today — with a master’s degree in conservation science from Imperial College London — she’s taking orders, delivering drinks, and cleaning tables to support herself.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

How Norway is selling out-of-date food to help tackle waste

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/08/17 - 4:07am

Supermarkets selling out-of-date produce and apps that identify food at risk of being binned are part of an ambitious plan to slash the nation’s food waste

“They might not taste quite the same,” says Naeeh Ahmed, 37, holding up for inspection a pack of Old El Paso soft tacos. The tower of boxes in front of him are three weeks past their best before date but Ahmed, operations manager at the Best Før supermarket in Oslo, says they’ll stay on display for a good few weeks yet. The same goes for the chocolate biscuits precariously piled up in the display – four weeks past their best before date – and the packs of Tassimo coffee pods that should have been sold in April. But all the prices reflect the product’s age: half-price for the tacos, two-thirds off the biscuits and, at 30 kroner (£3.66) for 32 pods, the coffee is also less than half its regular price.

It would be hard to find cheaper food in Oslo than that sold at Best Før. They flog the stuff that no one else has been able to get rid off. Products whose season has passed, or which have been overproduced, have been arriving at this small store since October last year when the mainstream Lentusgruppen supermarket chain heeded the call of the Norwegian government and decided to take food waste seriously. They established an offshoot in Oslo, the first of its kind in the city, selling the stuff other stores and suppliers throw away. It’s all up front – the shop looks like any other, but a large sign informs customers of the slightly different nature of the food down their aisles and in the chillers, which includes chicken fillets frozen a couple of days before going off.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility may be investigated by auditor general

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/16 - 11:18pm

Exclusive: NGOs urge audit following Wayne Swan’s warning Naif risks ‘misallocating billions of dollars’ in loan for Adani’s mine rail link

The controversial Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which is mulling a $900m loan for a rail link for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, may be investigated by the auditor general.

The potential inquiry by the auditor general, who has wide-ranging access and information-gathering powers, follows interventions from a former federal treasurer and environment groups.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Hardcore cycling in almost guaranteed rain: Scotland's no-frills 'anti-sportive'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/16 - 10:45pm

The Ride of the Falling Rain on the Hebridean island of Islay has no entry fee, route card or medals, but its laidback, friendly vibe keeps riders coming back despite the weather

The Ride of the Falling Rain is an annual cycling event on the Hebridean island of Islay that proudly describes itself as “anti-sportive”.

Held on the first Sunday in August, there is no entry fee, no feed stations, no timing chips and no medal or certificate at the end. Yet in its 14-year history, it has attracted a hard core of regulars who travel from all over the UK.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

UK fracking may produce less fuel than claimed, says geologist

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/16 - 10:01pm

Prof John Underhill argues that geology is fundamental but has been forgotten in assessments of UK’s shale gas capability

Fracking for oil and gas in the UK may produce much less fuel – and profits – than has been mooted, according to research based on seismic imaging of the country’s underlying geology.

Most of the areas in which deposits of onshore “unconventional” gas and oil are likely to be found were affected by tectonic activity along the Atlantic plate about 55m years ago.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Brooklyn's social housing microgrid rewrites relationships with utility companies

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/16 - 10:00pm

Microgrids, promising energy self-reliance for communities, are growing in popularity as they become more affordable

Residents of a social housing complex in Brooklyn, New York, can’t stop another tempest like Superstorm Sandy from crashing through their city, but they can feel secure that it won’t cause a power cut.

In June, the 625-unit Marcus Garvey Village cut the ribbon on its very own microgrid, a localised network of electricity production and control. Rooftop solar panels produce clean power when the sun is up; a fuel cell takes in natural gas and churns out a steady current all day; when it’s more valuable to save the electricity for later, the largest lithium-ion battery system on New York City’s grid does just that.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Flood Standards For Infrastructure Projects

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/08/16 - 2:45pm

An Obama order called for new public infrastructure projects to be built to withstand rising sea levels caused by climate change. President Trump revoked that order to accelerate the review process.

(Image credit: Michael Reynolds/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Flood Standards For Infrastructure Projects

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/08/16 - 2:45pm

An Obama order called for new public infrastructure projects to be built to withstand rising sea levels caused by climate change. President Trump revoked that order to accelerate the review process.

(Image credit: Michael Reynolds/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment
Syndicate content