Energy minister faces questions as Swansea tidal lagoon plan left in limbo

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/06/24 - 3:05am

Tidal Lagoon Power has to cut headcount after delays over decision on £1.3bn project

Britain’s energy minister will have to explain to MPs why no decision has been made on whether to support a tidal lagoon in Swansea – nearly 18 months after an independent government review backed the plan.

Claire Perry will face the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee on Monday afternoon to answer questions on the £1.3bn clean energy project, which has been left in limbo.

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Categories: Environment

Genetically modified animals

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 11:00pm
Despite its potential to battle disease and hunger, genetically engineered food is still controversial

Last week, scientists from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute announced they had deleted the section of DNA that leaves pigs vulnerable to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, which is estimated to cost European farmers £1.5bn a year in loss of livestock and decreased productivity. Genetically modified animals are banned from the EU food chain, but since this is a new and different technique it’s possible they’ll be appearing in bacon sandwiches in a few years.

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Categories: Environment

Up to 100 Labour MPs to back government on Heathrow third runway

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 10:00pm
Backbenchers defy Jeremy Corbyn by working behind the scenes with Tory whips

Labour MPs who disagree with Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to the expansion of Heathrow airport have been working closely with government ministers and Tory whips to ensure the plans win parliamentary approval on Monday, in an extraordinary show of defiance against their party leader.

The extent of behind-the-scenes cooperation with the government on such an important policy issue is believed to be unprecedented and all but guarantees that the third runway plan will be passed, despite Corbyn, his shadow chancellor John McDonnell and the Labour front bench opposing the move.

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Categories: Environment

Coral reefs ‘will be overwhelmed by rising oceans’

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 2:21pm
Study finds fragile marine ecosystems cannot grow fast enough to keep pace with sea levels

Scientists have uncovered a new threat to the world’s endangered coral reefs. They have found that most are incapable of growing quickly enough to compensate for rising sea levels triggered by global warming.

The study suggests that reefs – which are already suffering serious degradation because the world’s seas are warming and becoming more acidic – could also become overwhelmed by rising oceans.

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Categories: Environment

Highland fury as Trump rival drives golf course plan forward

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 11:00am
Environmentalists fear loss of dunes wildlife and warn of ‘flimsy promises’ about jobs

On a stretch of Scotland’s north-east coast, two historic acts of Highland pillage, separated by ages, are linked across golden sands. The village of Embo in Sutherland lies in the shadow of the grander cathedral town of Dornoch but its beach is known globally for the unique ecosystem its dunes support.

Now, a planning decision by Highland council has left many of the 1,200 animal and insect species to be found in this corner of Scotland facing an uncertain future. High on Ben Bhraggrie overlooking this place stands the 200ft statue of George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland and the most ruthless perpetrator of the Highland clearances which harrowed this place two centuries ago. Some now fear another harrowing is imminent.

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Categories: Environment

Green energy feels the heat as subsidies go to fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 4:34am
Community projects can slash household bills but the sector has ground to a halt in Britain – in contrast with schemes in Europe

The number of people generating their own power has almost flatlined, with only one new group formed in the UK last year, according to the body representing grassroots energy organisations.

Cuts to subsidies for homeowners to install solar panels and a “hostile planning approach” that has in effect banned new wind turbines are behind the “wholesale decline”, Community Energy England (CEE) said in its 2018 State of the Sector report.

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Categories: Environment

Large Methane Leaks Threaten Perception Of 'Clean' Natural Gas

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 1:30am

A new study finds that oil and gas operations are leaking 60 percent more methane than previously reported by the federal government.

(Image credit: Matthew Brown/AP)

Categories: Environment

Living next door to 17 million chickens: 'We want a normal life'

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/06/23 - 12:00am

Ukrainian villagers living in the shadow of Europe’s biggest chicken farm are fighting back – not just against the company but the development banks funding it

The locals call this area the Ryaba-land. That’s the name of the chicken brand Nasha Ryaba under which MHP – the largest poultry company in Ukraine and the owners of Vinnytsia farm - sells poultry meat in supermarkets. There are more chicken sheds than houses here. Even the village signs bear the MHP brand.

There are, as is so often the case, tensions between the industrial farms and the villagers. But in this case, anger is focussed not just on the company, but on their funders – the big international development banks that hand out public money.

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Categories: Environment

Are some landlords bending energy efficiency rules?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 11:00pm

Renting out properties with bad insulation and heating has been prohibited since April

Are some landlords and agents fiddling new rules that ban them from letting out properties that are poorly insulated and inefficiently heated?

Since the start of April, landlords have been prohibited from renting out “sub-standard” houses and flats, which, in this context, means those that don’t meet minimum energy-efficiency requirements.

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Categories: Environment

Officials Say Illegal Pesticide Caused Deaths Of 13 Bald Eagles In Maryland

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 7:55pm

Authorities said there is an "epidemic on the Eastern Shore" of wildlife-poisoning crimes because it's "cheaper and easier" than trapping a nuisance animals or building a fence.

(Image credit: Rob Carr/AP)

Categories: Environment

You don't use so much plastic, do you? How to ditch plastics for July – and beyond

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 3:19pm

Cutting single-use plastics can be surprisingly challenging but there are easy alternatives

My first Plastic Free July was in 2013. At the time most of my friends were signing up for Dry July, the month where participants go alcohol free and raise funds for cancer support organisations across Australia.

Instead, I decided to participate in what was then a relatively unknown challenge to reduce my single-use plastics over a month after watching the eco-documentary The Clean Bin Project.

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Categories: Environment

A swift response to vanishing bird concerns | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 8:42am
Readers respond to Patrick Barkham’s article about declining swift numbers

Reading Patrick Barkham’s piece (Can our swifts fill summer’s skies again? It’s up to us to help, 19 June) reminded me of an experience that made me marvel at the swift’s aeronautical prowess and makes me anticipate their screeching return each May.

A few years ago I saw a small black bird fluttering on a roadside. I stopped and on closer inspection realised that the bird was a swift, which once grounded finds it hard to take to the air again. I cradled the bird in my hands and threw it upwards where it unfurled some six or eight feet above me, caught the air and shot away, out of sight in seconds.

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Categories: Environment

England will beat Panama. The ant pundits have spoken

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 8:32am

Insects racing with flags of the two countries offer prediction for outcome of World Cup tie

England have been backed to beat Panama on Sunday – by a colony of World Cup-predicting ants.

Two of the insects raced along 36 metres of rope carrying Panama and England flags, with the red and white of St George making it back to the queen fastest.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla downsizing residential solar business bought for $2.6bn

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 7:35am

Company to close facilities and end Home Depot partnership after buying company founded by Elon Musk’s cousins

The electric car maker Tesla is sharply downsizing the residential solar business it bought two years ago in a controversial $2.6bn deal, according to three internal company documents and seven current and former Tesla solar employees.

The latest cuts to the division that was once SolarCity – a sales and installation company founded by two cousins of Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk – include closing about a dozen installation facilities, according to internal company documents, and ending a retail partnership with Home Depot that the current and former employees said generated about half of its sales.

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Categories: Environment

Emails Raise Questions About Interior Secretary Zinke's Link With Oil Executive

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 7:00am

Congressional Democrats and a public watchdog group are calling for an ethics investigation into the secretary over a land deal between Zinke's family foundation and oil and gas company Halliburton.

(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

'He's a political prisoner': Standing Rock activists face years in jail

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 6:36am

The extraordinary Native American resistance effort may have faded from the headlines but the US government continues to prosecute activists, who say it is destroying lives

Standing Rock saved Little Feather’s life. Then the US government took it from him.

Little Feather was one of thousands of Native Americans who traveled to North Dakota in 2016 to fight the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. The 45-year-old member of the Chumash Nation was battling drug addiction at the time, said his wife, Leoyla Cowboy. But the “water protector” movement gave him a sense of purpose, a renewed connection to indigenous elders, and sobriety.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/22 - 6:00am

Burkina Faso’s sacred crocodiles, a family of cheetahs and a humpback whale are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

'Drunken' kangaroos may be suffering grass poisoning, vets say

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/21 - 11:19pm

Greater than usual presence of Phalaris grasses this year could be behind the neurological damage in the animals

Veterinarians from the University of Melbourne are investigating whether kangaroos that appear to be “drunken” and “staggering” in central Victoria have suffered neurological damage because of a common pasture crop.

Wildlife rescuers have reported a spike in the number of eastern grey kangaroos that appear to have Phalaris “staggers”, a condition commonly seen in ruminants such as sheep and cattle that have been grazing on the new shoots of Phalaris grasses, particularly Phalaris aquatica.

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Categories: Environment

'Drunken' kangaroos may be suffering grass poisoning – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/21 - 11:10pm

Wildlife rescuers have reported a spike in the number of eastern grey kangaroos that appear to have Phalaris 'staggers', a condition commonly seen in ruminants such as sheep and cattle that have been grazing on the new shoots of Phalaris grasses, particularly Phalaris aquatica

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Categories: Environment

MPs to examine environmental footprint of UK fashion industry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/21 - 10:01pm

Inquiry will explore the carbon impact, resource use and water footprint of growing throwaway ‘fast fashion’ sector

MPs are to investigate the environmental impact of throwaway “fast fashion” in the UK amid growing concerns that the multi-billion pound industry is wasting valuable resources and contributing to climate change.

The inquiry, launched on Friday by the House of Commons environmental audit committee, will explore the carbon impact, resource use and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle and supply chain.

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Categories: Environment
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