Environment

UK needs 6,000 shale gas wells to fill 50% of imports, study says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/24 - 10:01pm

Friends of the Earth says countryside would be industrialised with a new well fracked daily until 2035

More than 6,000 shale gas wells would be needed to replace half the UK’s gas imports over a 15-year period, according to a new report.

The nascent UK fracking industry has argued that growing reliance on gas from Norway and Qatar necessitates developing home-produced supplies in addition to North Sea output.

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Categories: Environment

Dame Daphne Sheldrick obituary

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/24 - 9:53am
Renowned conservationist dedicated to saving orphaned elephants and releasing them back into the wild

Elephant babies like coconut oil. This discovery has saved the life of hundreds of orphaned, unweaned elephants, left behind when their mothers were killed, victims of the ivory wars that have catastrophically reduced elephant populations across Africa.

The discovery came after two decades of efforts by the renowned conservationist Daphne Sheldrick, who has died aged 83. She devoted most of her life to rescuing young elephants and releasing them back into the wild.

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Categories: Environment

Why there are more gym supplements in a London fatberg than cocaine and MDMA

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/24 - 9:32am

Substances used to aid muscle-building and weight loss made up more than half of the pharmaceuticals found in the capital’s sewers. What does this tell us about modern life?

Along with the flushed debris and the thriving bacteria – the wet wipes, condoms, and sanitary towels; the listeria and E coli – that have congealed within the giant fatbergs in the sewers under central London, are chemicals found in banned gym supplements. In fact, they were discovered in greater quantities than drugs such as cocaine and MDMA.

In tonight’s Fatberg Autopsy: Secrets of the Sewers, on Channel 4, samples from a giant block were examined to see what it contained. Caused by people pouring cooking oil down the drain – which then congeals with items that should not be flushed, such as wet wipes – fatbergs are an increasing problem for water companies, particularly in urban areas. But the examination of fatbergs’ chemical content also provides a picture of the way we live. The scientists who did the analysis discovered numerous predictable substances, such as paracetamol, prescription medications and substances used in skin creams. But more surprising was the amount of hordenine and ostarine – described by the programme-makers as often being found in gym supplements, which made up more than half of the pharmaceuticals found.

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Categories: Environment

Record levels of plastic discovered in Arctic sea ice

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/24 - 8:00am

Samples taken from five locations found concentrations of more than 12,000 microplastic particles per litre of sea ice

Scientists have found a record amount of plastic trapped in Arctic sea ice, raising concern about the impact on marine life and human health.

Up to 12,000 pieces of microplastic particles were found per litre of sea ice in core samples taken from five regions on trips to the Arctic Ocean – as many as three times higher than levels in previous studies.

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Categories: Environment

BP chief urges Cambridge University to keep fossil fuel investments

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/24 - 7:53am

Bob Dudley faces criticism for calling for university to ‘come to its senses’ over divestment

BP’s chief executive has come under fire from campaigners after he urged Cambridge University not to drop its fossil fuel investments.

Bob Dudley was greeted with laughter when he told an industry conference on Tuesday: “We donate and do lots of research at Cambridge so I hope they come to their senses on this.”

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Categories: Environment

UK runs without coal power for three days in a row

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/24 - 2:12am

Demand lower following recent warm weather, making it easier for gas, renewables and nuclear to cover UK’s needs

The UK has been powered without coal for three days in a row, setting a new record and underlining the polluting fuel’s rapid decline.

Coal has historically been at the cornerstone of the UK’s electricity mix, but last year saw the first 24-hour period that the the country ran without the fuel since the 19th century.

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Categories: Environment

Hard Brexit would mean more and cheaper British fish – but there's a catch

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 10:00pm

Exclusive: Taking back control of UK waters would lower the price of British-caught fish, new analysis shows – but most of the fish we eat is imported

A hard Brexit that banned EU fishermen from UK waters would lead to many more fish being landed by British boats and a corresponding drop in prices, according to new economic analysis.

But there’s a catch. Two-thirds of the fish UK consumers eat are imported from overseas, and the costs of those would rise, due to the trade barriers resulting from a hard Brexit. Moreover, the fall in the price of UK fish would lead to a drop in earnings for UK fishermen. Overall, the analysis shows closing the UK’s sea borders would be a “lose-lose situation” for both UK and EU consumers and fishing industries.

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Categories: Environment

Warmshowers: why free hospitality for bike tourists is a priceless experience | Joshua Cunningham

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 10:00pm

The global network of 85,000 members runs on goodwill and a ‘pay it forward’ philosophy, allowing riders to navigate the lonely and sometimes testing side of cycle touring and connect with kindred spirits

Imagine you’re nearing the end of another long day in the saddle, partway through your latest cycling tour. Your panniers feel heavy and your tyres sticky as you drag your bike over the final climb of the day. You pull your map out and wrestle with the foreign characters on the paper, trying to match them with those on the road sign ahead.

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Categories: Environment

£10m a year needed to ensure England's soil is fit for farming, report warns

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 9:30pm

Soil erosion and water pollution caused by poor farming practices mean land could become too poor to sustain food crops by the end of the century

England must invest £10m a year to ensure its soil is productive enough to continue to grow food by the end of the century, a new report warns.

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Categories: Environment

#ScootersBehavingBadly: U.S. Cities Race To Keep Up With Small Vehicle Shares

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 6:06pm

Cities like San Francisco and Austin are struggling to regulate a flood of new transportation options, from electric scooters to dock-less bikes. Residents are angry over sidewalk and safety concerns.

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Queensland poised to pass tougher land-clearing laws as early as next week

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 4:28pm

Report recommends few changes to vegetation management act but notes LNP concerns

The Queensland government may push land-clearing laws through parliament as early as next week, after a committee report recommended few changes to its proposed vegetation management act.

The report, tabled late on Monday night, noted concerns from the Liberal National party opposition that the process was rushed and that consultation with people in regional areas had been inadequate.

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Categories: Environment

Fatberg 'autopsy' reveals growing health threat to Londoners

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 4:01pm

Potentially deadly bacteria thriving in huge clots of waste in sewers, Channel 4 study shows

Fatbergs, the congealed mass of fat and discarded items that are increasingly blocking Britain’s sewers, are the consequence of the plastic crisis in Britain and contain potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria, tests show.

A study by Channel 4 in conjunction with Thames Water has analysed the contents of one supersize fatberg discovered underneath the streets of South Bank in central London.

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Categories: Environment

Michael Morpurgo, Quentin Blake and Jacqueline Wilson join Authors4Oceans

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 4:01pm

A campaign to prevent the pollution of the Earth’s oceans with plastic, begun by Lauren St John, now has 50 children’s writers involved

Fifty children’s authors, including Michael Morpurgo, Quentin Blake and Jacqueline Wilson, have come together to call on the book trade to ditch plastic and help save the oceans.

The Authors4Oceans campaign wascreated by the award-winning novelist Lauren St John, whose children’s books include the eco-adventure Dolphin Song and the forthcoming seaside mystery Kat Wolfe Investigates. St John devised the project, which is asking publishers, booksellers and young readers to help halt the amount of plastic being dumped in our oceans, after she ordered a drink in a bookshop, and found it came with a plastic straw.

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Categories: Environment

'Wake-up call': microplastics found in Great Australian Bight sediment

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 11:00am

Exclusive: Scientists say governments and corporations need to ‘legislate and incentivise’ to tackle ocean plastics

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Plastic has been found in ocean-floor sediments 2km below the surface in one of Australia’s most precious and isolated marine environments.

CSIRO scientists discovered the microplastic pieces while analysing samples taken hundreds of kilometres offshore at the bottom of the Great Australian Bight – a so-called “pristine” biodiversity hotspot and marine treasure.

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Categories: Environment

Flint Activist Wins Major Environmental Prize

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 9:00am

LeeAnne Walters demanded action from local officials, confronting them with bottles of discolored water. They dismissed her for months. She meticulously documented lead levels in Flint homes.

(Image credit: Michael Gleason/The Goldman Environmental Prize)

Categories: Environment

Graphene 'a game-changer' in making building with concrete greener

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 8:25am

Form of carbon incorporated into concrete created stronger, more water-resistant composite material that could reduce emissions

The novel “supermaterial” graphene could hold the key to making one of the oldest building materials greener, new scientific research suggests.

Graphene has been incorporated into traditional concrete production by scientists at the University of Exeter, developing a composite material which is more than twice as strong and four times more water-resistant than existing concretes.

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Categories: Environment

For 50 Years, Deep-Water Trawls Likely Caught More Fish Than Anyone Thought

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 5:00am

Using historical data and estimates from deep-sea trawls that drag nets along the ocean floor, researchers estimate that millions of tons of catch have gone unreported in the last 50 years.

(Image credit: Monty Rakusen/Getty Images/Cultura RF)

Categories: Environment

Pruitt promised polluters EPA will value their profits over American lives | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 3:00am

Pruitt is one of TIME’s 100 most influential people for his efforts to maximize polluters’ profits

TIME magazine announced last week that Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is among their 100 most influential people of 2018. George W. Bush’s former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman delivered the scathing explanation:

If his actions continue in the same direction, during Pruitt’s term at the EPA the environment will be threatened instead of protected, and human health endangered instead of preserved, all with no long-term benefit to the economy.

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Categories: Environment

World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/23 - 12:13am

The discovery of the Tapanuli orangutan has not stopped a Chinese state-run company from clearing forest for a planned dam. Conservationists fear this will be the beginning of the end for a species only known for six months

Last November scientists made a jaw-dropping announcement: they’d discovered a new great ape hiding in plain sight, only the eighth inhabiting our planet.

The Tapanuli orangutan survives in northern Sumatra and it is already the most endangered great ape in the world; researchers estimate less than 800 individuals survive. But the discovery hasn’t stopped a Chinese state-run company, Sinohydro, from moving ahead with clearing forest for a large dam project smack in the middle of the orangutan population. According to several orangutan experts, Sinohyrdo’s dam represents an immediate and existential threat to the Tapanuli orangutan.

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Categories: Environment

Could sprinkling sand save the Arctic's shrinking sea ice?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/04/22 - 11:00pm

Arctic Dispatches, part 3: A pilot project at a lake in northern Alaska is one of a number aiming to slow climate change with geoengineering – but some worry about unintended consequences

As a test location for a project that aims to ensure the livability of Earth, a frozen lake near the northern tip of Alaska could seem rather inauspicious.

While the North Meadow Lake near Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, may be relatively nondescript, it will be the staging ground this month for an ambitious attempt to safeguard the Arctic’s rapidly diminishing sea ice and stave off the most punishing effects of global warming.

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Categories: Environment
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