Environment

English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/12/13 - 12:20am

Neonicotinoids, banned on flowering crops, were found in nearly all rivers tested, increasing concerns over their impact on fish and birds

Rivers in England are contaminated with powerful insecticides, new testing has revealed, increasing concerns over the impact of the toxic chemicals on fish and birds.

Neonicotinoids were banned from use on flowering crops in the European Union in 2013 due to the harm they cause to bees and other vital pollinators. Following even more evidence of harm, an EU vote to extend the ban to all outdoor uses is expected soon.

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Categories: Environment

'Last year I gave the kids briquettes and everyone yelled at me!' Christmas with Ian | First Dog on the Moon

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/12/13 - 12:14am

Ian the Climate Denialist Potato surprises his loved ones with a festive report on climate emissions. Or would they rather get an inflatable Greg Hunt doll?

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Northern Territory to decide about fracking ban only after inquiry's final report

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 7:54pm

Draft report from hydraulic fracking inquiry has found the practice can be safe if risks are better mitigated

The Northern Territory government will wait until next year to make a decision on lifting its moratorium on fracking, despite federal calls for it to “get on with the job” after a long-running inquiry found it could be safe if risks were better mitigated.

The inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the NT released its draft final report on Tuesday with 120 recommendations, which it said must be implemented in full to “reduce the risk to an acceptable level”.

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Shark nets create false sense of safety and should be phased out, inquiry finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 7:12pm

Upper house committee says nets damage other marine wildlife and recommends replacement of lethal drum lines

Shark nets in place across Australia to protect beachgoers should be phased out as they cause more harm than good, a Senate inquiry has found.

An upper house committee examined shark mitigation and deterrent measures in Australia, and specifically the use of mesh nets in New South Wales and Queensland.

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Court upholds Obama-era ban on new Grand Canyon uranium mines

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 3:23pm

Celebration of the ruling by environmentalist has been tempered by expectations that the Trump administration will side with mining interests to end the ban

A powerful court ruled on Tuesday that an Obama-era ban on new uranium mines around the Grand Canyon should stay in place, though celebration on the environment side was tempered by expectations the government itself will now side with mining interests to end the ban. A separate, but linked, ruling on an older mine was a defeat for a Native American tribe.

The mining industry and a coalition of Republicans in Arizona and Utah had hoped for court support to tear down an order from the Obama administration in 2012 that protected a million acres of land around the Grand Canyon from mining development for 20 years. But they lost in the ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday.

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World Bank to end financial support for oil and gas exploration

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 3:19pm

Bank announces in Paris it ‘will no longer finance upstream oil and gas’ after 2019 in response to threat posed by climate change

The World Bank will end its financial support for oil and gas exploration within the next two years in response to the growing threat posed by climate change.

In a statement that delighted campaigners opposed to fossil fuels, the Bank used a conference in Paris to announce that it “will no longer finance upstream oil and gas” after 2019.

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California Firefighter On Battling The Thomas Wildfire

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 2:33pm

The Thomas Fire is now the fifth-largest fire in modern California history. NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with battalion chief Fred Burris about what battling this wildfire is like.

Categories: Environment

Firefighters Struggle To Contain Southern California's Thomas Fire

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 2:03pm

Firefighters made some progress controlling the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, which is the fifth-largest in the state's history. Other fires in the area are mostly contained.

(Image credit: Kenneth Song/AP)

Categories: Environment

Arctic permafrost thawing faster than ever, US climate study finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 12:04pm
  • Sea ice also melting at fastest pace in 1,500 years, US government scientists find
  • ‘The Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago’ – author

Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever, according to a new US government report that also found Arctic seawater is warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years.

The annual report released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed slightly less warming in many measurements than a record hot 2016. But scientists remain concerned because the far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe and has reached a level of warming that’s unprecedented in modern times.

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Categories: Environment

EU announces €9bn in funding for climate action

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 10:57am

EU funds will be focused on clean energy, and sustainable cities and agriculture, with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also pledging $300m towards climate adaptation

The European commission has announced funding of €9bn (£8bn) for action on climate change, one of a flurry of measures from governments, businesses and investors aimed at achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.

The EU funds will form part of the bloc’s External Investment Plan, and will be focused on sustainable cities, clean energy and sustainable agriculture. The announcement was made at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday, held to mark the second anniversary of the landmark 2015 pact.

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Categories: Environment

Arctic's Temperature Continues To Run Hot, Latest 'Report Card' Shows

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 9:09am

The extreme warming trend continues, and scientists fear that floating sea ice will be gone by midcentury. That will have extraordinary effects closer to home.

(Image credit: Nathan Kurtz/NASA)

Categories: Environment

Golden eagles released in Scotland with hope they will fly south

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 6:42am

Conservationists launch project to restore bird numbers with view to reintroducing them in northern England and Lake District

Conservationists hope golden eagles will start reappearing over northern England and the Lake District as part of a project to release up to 10 eagles in southern Scotland.

The birds will start to be released at a secret location south of Edinburgh from next year in a £1.5m programme by conservationists and landowners to restore golden eagle numbers in the southern uplands, where they have struggled to survive.

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The Tories’ rebranding won’t wash: being green is about more than fluffy bunnies | Molly Scott Cato

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 5:28am
It’s all very well for Michael Gove to act as if the Tories love animals but they need to see the bigger picture on fracking, renewables and ecology

Up to their necks in Brexit chaos and with Corbyn’s Labour snapping at their heels, the Tories are trying again with a somewhat tired strategy to escape the label of the “nasty party”. They are having another go at acting like environmentalists, this time combining it with being nice to animals. At the helm of this more caring narrative is environment secretary, Michael Gove, tasked with resurrecting the idea that blue is the new green.

Related: Tories briefed on new policies after fears about 'compassionless' image

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Categories: Environment

Can a GM banana solve Uganda's hunger crisis? | Alon Mwesigwa

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 5:20am

A law paving the way for GM crops is aimed at tackling the acute food shortages faced by almost 11 million Ugandans, despite experts’ fears over the technology

After an afternoon drizzle, Ephraim Muhereza carefully scouts his three-acre banana plantation in Gayaza, Wakiso district, plucking male buds from trees. This will stop his plants from catching the notorious banana bacterial wilt, which has destroyed many farms in Uganda.

“We have been told that to reduce the spread of the wilt. We have to cut them so that bees that visit them don’t spread the disease,” he says.

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Categories: Environment

Calls for greater fossil fuel divestment at anniversary of Paris climate deal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 4:04am

Campaigners call for an end to fossil fuel finance and subsidies to avoid dangerous global warming at a meeting to mark two years since the signing of the landmark agreement

The Paris agreement on climate change, ratified by world governments a year ago, has failed to ensure major investors are moving away from fossil fuels with the urgency required to safeguard the planet, civil society groups have said.

Large companies, investors and national and local governments met in Paris on Tuesday to celebrate the second anniversary of the signing of the landmark 2015 agreement, which bound nearly all developed and developing countries for the first time to keep global temperatures below 2C, the threshold scientists regard as the limit of safety.

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Wildcats, butterflies, tortoises: all are endangered by Trump's border wall

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 4:00am

In the Rio Grande Valley, close to the border with Mexico, the president’s proposed barrier spells danger for the region’s plentiful wildlife

Deep in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where half the US’s species of butterflies reside in a protected swath of green, Donald Trump’s wall may soon rise from an earthen levee.

The wall is designed to be a barricade to anyone who has crossed the nearby Rio Grande river from Mexico, with a concrete base topped by steel bollards rising 18 feet in the air as well as a 150ft-wide enforcement zone stripped of all vegetation.

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Categories: Environment

'No shame': how the Trump administration granted big oil's wishlist

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 4:00am

The EPA has fulfilled almost all major demands made by the American Petroleum Institute within its first year under Trump

The Trump administration’s zeal for environmental rollbacks has enabled it to fulfill almost all of the top priorities in a “wishlist” drawn up by the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading lobby group for US oil and gas companies.

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Categories: Environment

How big oil is tightening its grip on Donald Trump's White House

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 4:00am

The oil industry has stalled action on climate change from the inside and sold America on fossil fuels – and its influence goes back further than people realize

When Rick Perry was interrupted by climate-change protesters during his address to the National Petroleum Council in late September, the energy secretary was ready with a retort.

“You want to talk about something that saves lives? It’s the access to energy around the globe,” Perry said, countering a woman worried about deadly hurricanes and a man whose hometown is being submerged by the rising Philippine Sea. “I am proud to be a part of this industry. I am proud to be an American.”

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UK to bring back beavers in first government flood reduction scheme of its kind

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 2:47am

Beaver family will be released in the Forest of Dean to stop a village from flooding, with potential for further such schemes to follow

A valley in the Forest of Dean will echo to the sound of herbivorous munching next spring when a family of beavers are released into a fenced enclosure to stop a village from flooding, in the first ever such scheme funded by the government.

The plan for the village of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, may soon be joined by other schemes. The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has indicated that the government may support other schemes to restore the beaver four centuries after it was driven to extinction in England and Wales.

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Inside the secret world of the corporate spies who infiltrate protests

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/12 - 2:04am

Major firms hiring people from corporate security firms to monitor and infiltrate political groups that object to their commercial activities

It was perhaps not the most glamorous assignment for a spy. Toby Kendall’s mission was to dress up as a pirate, complete with eye-patch, bandana and cutlass, and infiltrate a group of protesters.

The campaigners had organised a walking tour of London to protest outside the premises of multinational firms, objecting to what they believed was the corporate plunder of Iraq.

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