World urges Donald Trump not to dump Paris climate agreement

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/01 - 4:27am

World leaders, businesses, scientists and charities join in urging the US president not to abandon the global accord

World leaders, businesses, investors, scientists and development charities have joined in urging Donald Trump not to withdraw the US from the Paris climate change agreement.

The US president is due to announce his decision at 3pm ET on Thursday and is expected to pull the world’s largest economy, and second greatest polluter, from the global accord agreed unanimously by almost 200 nations in 2015.

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Categories: Environment

Disaster Agency To Weather Hurricane Season With No Leader, Proposed Cuts

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/06/01 - 3:54am

As hurricane season begins, there are concerns that FEMA, the federal agency in charge of dealing with disasters, may be less prepared than usual and hampered by proposed budget cuts.

(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

US joins only Syria and Nicaragua on climate accord 'no' list

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/06/01 - 3:25am

Only other UN members not party to Paris agreement never signed up, but for reasons of war and principle, not disbelief

Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement on climate change means the US joins only two other countries not signed up to the historic accord.

The only other UN members not signed up are Nicaragua and Syria, which both chose not to enter into the climate accord in the first place.

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Categories: Environment

Don't lend Adani money for coal railway, build it yourself, Hanson tells government

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 11:36pm

Senator says rail line will be ‘piece of national infrastructure’ and should not be controlled by ‘foreign multi-national’

Pauline Hanson has asked the federal government to build the rail line to open up Queensland’s Galilee coalfields instead of allowing it to be controlled by a “foreign multi-national”.

The One Nation leader and Queensland senator said she opposed the government granting the Indian conglomerate Adani a $900m concessional loan through its $5bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for the rail line.

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Categories: Environment

Lobbying Act 'stifling environment debate' in election campaign

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 11:00pm

Law restricting NGOs in run up to polling day have pushed climate and pollution issues off the election agenda, say opposition parties and green groups

Debate on environmental issues has been stifled in the run-up the general election leaving voters in the dark , opposition parties have claimed, as a result of the Lobbying Act and government determination to avoid criticism over problems such as air pollution.

Green groups have privately raised concern, along with other charities, over the impact of the law, and now have the support of all major parties apart from the Conservatives.

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Categories: Environment

Barnaby Joyce refuses to say if Australia should support Paris climate deal if US quits

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 7:27pm

Deputy PM departs from official Coalition line, saying ‘to speculate on what Donald Trump might do is insanity’ and I’m going to ‘see what happens’

Barnaby Joyce has declined to say whether Australia should remain within the Paris climate accord if the United States pulls out, in a departure from the official government line that Australia will stay the course.

While Australia’s energy and employment ministers have said this week Australia will honour its Paris commitments regardless of what Donald Trump decides, the Nationals leader and deputy prime minister was more guarded on Thursday.

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Categories: Environment

Nine tenths of England's floodplains not fit for purpose, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 4:01pm

Intensive farming cited as main reason for destroying natural barriers to deluge and making low lying areas more vulnerable to floods

Only a tenth of England’s extensive floodplains are now fit for purpose – 90% no longer function properly – with the shortfall putting an increasing number of homes and businesses at risk of flooding, according to a new report.

Floods are more likely due to climate change and will claim higher economic costs unless action is taken to halt the damage to floodplains and restore some of their functions, warned the authors of the 12-month study – the first to paint a comprehensive view of England’s floodplains and their capabilities.

“We have ignored our floodplains,” said George Heritage of Salford University, co-author of the study the Changing Face of Floodplains, published by Co-Op Insurance on Thursday. “The changes to them mean water [from heavy rainfall] can flow much faster downstream, and can flow at the same speed as the water in the rivers.”

This accelerated flow has led to sudden and unstoppable deluges in recent years. For instance, Storm Desmond in 2015 affected more than 6,000 homes as rivers and streams burst their banks and spread water over floodplains. As these natural floodplains had been altered by man-made features, they no longer had the ability to store water, leading to rapid flows into urban areas which led to the devastation.

Storm Desmond caused more than £500m in damages, and misery for families excluded from their homes sometimes for months. The UK’s flooding bills are on the rise, with scientists warning of rocketing numbers of cloudbursts and periods of sudden and intense rainfall as climate change takes effect.

Floodplains act as natural “sponges”, soaking up excess water in their vegetation, forming natural buffers that hold back or divert rushing water after rain, and providing areas where rivers can breach their banks and wetlands can be replenished.

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Categories: Environment

Ending land clearing would compete with renewables for carbon abatement, analysis finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 2:47pm

RepuTex says ceasing all land clearing by 2030 would save between 300m and 650m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions

Ending land clearing in Australia by 2030 would cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by about as much as completely shifting the entire electricity sector to renewable energy for a year, a new report has found.

Queensland has been clearing about 300,000ha of land a year since the Newman government weakened restrictions on land clearing there and the Palaszczuk government failed to tighten them.

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Categories: Environment

Chief Climate Negotiator Warns Against Consequences Of Leaving Paris Accord

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 1:31pm

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Todd Stern, former United States special envoy for climate change, about President Trump's likely withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Stern led the negotiations for this deal.

Categories: Environment

Scientists Urge Governments To Protect Coral Reefs From Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 1:31pm

A paper published in Nature by the world's top scientists says climate change is making irreversible changes to the world's coral reefs, and the role before governments is to steer coral reefs in a way that maintains their biological functions.

Categories: Environment

President Trump Expected To Make Decision On Paris Climate Accord

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 1:31pm

President Trump is expected to make a decision regarding whether or not the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate accord. NPR takes a look at the potential political and environmental impacts of leaving the agreement.

Categories: Environment

Shareholders force ExxonMobil to come clean on cost of climate change

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 10:28am

‘Historic’ vote by nearly two-thirds of shareholders will force annual ‘stress test’ to measure how regulation will affect assets

ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, was compelled by shareholders to be more open about the impact of climate change on its business in a “historic” surprise vote on Wednesday.

The public rebuke came as Donald Trump reportedly prepared to pull out of the Paris climate accord, the agreement forged by close to 200 countries to address climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Copenhagen cycle jams tackled with electronic information panels

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 10:06am

Danish capital last year saw more bicycles enter city than cars, with almost half of residents cycling to work or school

Copenhagen now has so many cyclists that the city is installing electronic information panels along its bike lanes to help prevent two-wheeled traffic jams.

In what city hall has called a world first, an initial five screens will be fitted at strategic points on the Danish capital’s 390km (240-mile) network of protected bike lanes, the state broadcaster Danmarks Radio reported.

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Categories: Environment

Survival of coral reefs requires radical rethink of what conservation means, say scientists

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 10:00am

Reef conservation must not be an attempt to restore reefs of the past, but to identify the parts essential to their continued existence, and protect those

The survival of coral reefs requires a radical rethink of what conservation means, as well as embracing some of the changes they are undergoing, according to a paper by leading coral reef scientists.

“Helping coral reefs to safely navigate the Anthropocene is a profound challenge for multiscale governance,” the scientists say in a paper published today in the journal Nature.

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Categories: Environment

Trump Has Multiple Escape Routes From Paris Climate Accord

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 9:42am

President Trump is nearing a decision on whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement and has been meeting this week with competing voices in his Cabinet.

(Image credit: Ron Sachs/Pool/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

‘Faceless’ fish rediscovered in Australian waters – video report

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 5:02am

A ‘faceless’ fish has been rediscovered by scientists on an expedition in the depths of a massive abyss in waters south of Sydney. The 40cm fish was found 4km below sea level. It was last seen in waters off Australia in 1873

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Categories: Environment

UK government sued for third time over illegal air pollution from diesels

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 4:24am

Environmental lawyers who have defeated ministers twice return to court in a bid to remove ‘major flaws’ from air quality plans

Environmental lawyers are taking the government to the high court for a third time in a bid to remove “major flaws” from minister’s plans to tackle the UK’s illegal levels of air pollution.

ClientEarth has inflicted two humiliating defeats on the government over previous plans, which were ruled not to meet legal requirements. Lawyers from ClientEarth had requested improvements to the latest plan from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) but were refused, prompting the new court action.

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Categories: Environment

Trees talk to each other, have sex and look after their young, says author

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 4:17am

Peter Wohlleben’s book has become bestseller in Germany but he tells Hay festival audience it has annoyed scientists

Trees are social creatures that mother their young, talk to each other, experience pain, remember things and have sex with each other, a bestselling author has said.

If that persuades you to go and hug the nearest tree, then great, said Peter Wohlleben. Just avoid a birch: “It is not very sociable. Try a beech.”

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Categories: Environment

U.N. Official Says Pulling Out Of Paris Climate Deal Will Cost Jobs

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 2:03am

Steve Inskeep talks with U.N. Environment chief Erik Solheim, who says the U.S. would lose out on green jobs if President Trump pulls out of the Paris climate agreement.

Categories: Environment

'Faceless' fish missing for more than a century rediscovered by Australian scientists

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/31 - 12:01am

Expedition leader says the deep-sea fish had not been seen in waters off Australia since 1873

A “faceless” deep-sea fish not seen for more than a century has been rediscovered by scientists trawling the depths of a massive abyss off Australia’s east coast, along with “amazing” quantities of rubbish.

The 40cm fish was rediscovered 4km below sea level in waters south of Sydney by scientists from Museums Victoria and the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on the weekend.

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Categories: Environment
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