Court recommends $900m New Acland mine be rejected

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 10:47pm

In historic decision, land court advises Queensland government to refuse environmental and mining licences

A court has recommended the Queensland government reject a controversial coalmine in what farmers and lawyers hailed as a historic victory in one of Australia’s largest environmental public interest cases.

The saga of the $900m New Acland mine proposal, which included a public slanging match between the broadcaster Alan Jones and Campbell Newman that led to a defamation suit by the former premier, drew to an extraordinary conclusion with a ruling by a land court member, Paul Smith, on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Michaelia Cash says Donald Trump should keep US in Paris climate deal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 8:20pm

Minister says Australia’s view clear to US although departmental secretary unable to point to ‘particular discussion’

The employment minister, Michaelia Cash, says Australia’s national interest is best served if Donald Trump stays the course with the Paris climate agreement.

With the US president expected to make a decision this week about whether America will pull out of the Paris accord, officials were asked during Senate estimates hearings whether Australia had made diplomatic representations to the Trump administration encouraging the president to remain in the agreement.

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Categories: Environment

Adani: director on board that will consider $900m loan says project is 'vital'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 6:14pm

Karla Way-McPhail, who runs mining labour and equipment companies, will not say whether she will recuse herself from Carmichael decision

A director of the independent board due to provide recommendations regarding a $900m taxpayer loan to Adani publicly declared she was “very supportive” of its “vital” coal project, a day after she was accused of allowing a perceived conflict of interest to develop.

Karla Way-McPhail, who runs mining labour and equipment hire companies, last week told a central Queensland newspaper that Adani’s Carmichael mine project would be “a huge boost” for the region.

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Categories: Environment

Cambridgeshire zookeeper killed by tiger was a 'shining light'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 5:05pm

Rosa King’s mother says keeper had always loved working at Hamerton Zoo Park, which remains closed after death

Friends and family of a zookeeper killed by a tiger have paid tribute to an “inspirational” woman who was the “shining light” of the Cambridgeshire zoo where she worked.

Rosa King, 33, died at Hamerton Zoo Park near Huntingdon on Monday after a tiger entered the enclosure where she was working.

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Categories: Environment

Quitting Paris climate deal would threaten US security, UN chief warns

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 4:06pm

António Guterres says exiting landmark accord would threaten US economy and society: ‘If someone leaves a void, I guarantee someone will fill it’

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned on Tuesday that if Donald Trump withdraws from the Paris climate agreement, there could be negative economic, security and societal consequences for the US.

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Categories: Environment

‘We have been poisoning ourselves’: has ice analysis revealed the truth about lead?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 12:00pm

Exclusive: ice cores and records from the Black Death show lead entered the air from human activity – and scientists claim “natural background” levels are zero

Analysis of an ice core taken from the Swiss Alps together with records dating from the time of the Black Death have revealed that there is no “natural” level of lead in the air, researchers have claimed.

Once in the body, lead is known to have harmful impacts on health, from behavioural to neurological, reproductive and cardiovascular effects.

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Categories: Environment

Outsourcing IT poses risks in Britain and in India | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 11:31am
Sue Roaf says excessive electricity use is causing power cuts in India, Nigel Boddy worries that we’re overreliant on modern technology, and Richard Gilyead wonders whether there will be resignations at British Airways

British Airways and many other businesses have offshored electricity-dependent functions like IT services and call centres to northern India (BA chief refuses to resign after ‘catastrophic’ IT failure, 30 May). Increasingly this is a region in the grip of extended droughts and annual heatwaves associated with record-breaking temperatures that scientists say will only get worse with climate change.

Catastrophic electricity system failures are exacerbated by heat-triggered thunderstorms and regional outages resulting from the air-conditioning-related energy demand spikes that are common in India. In July 2012 power failed for 600 million people in northern India in the biggest blackout in history.

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Categories: Environment

Opinion: My First-Nations Identity Feels More Like An Absence

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 9:58am

Indigenous stories are ongoing, not simply legends from the past. I don't want my students to have the distorted idea that First Nations people have vanished or are not "modern."

(Image credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Three Mile Island faces shutdown without financial rescue from Pennsylvania

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 8:58am

Owner of plant – site of worst commercial nuclear power accident in US history – urges state to preserve ‘clean, reliable’ energy source

The owner of Three Mile Island, site of the worst commercial nuclear power accident in US history, will shut down the plant in 2019 unless it receives a financial rescue from the Pennsylvania state government.

In March 1979, equipment failure and operator errors led to a partial core meltdown of one of Three Mile Island’s two reactors. The damaged reactor has been mothballed since then but the other reactor is still in use.

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Categories: Environment

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant To Shut Down In 2019

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 8:58am

The company that owns the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, site of the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history, says the facility will be closed unless the state of Pennsylvania decides to bail it out.

(Image credit: Matt Rourke/AP)

Categories: Environment

Robert Llewellyn's quest to spur a green energy revolution in his village

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 7:55am

Actor’s efforts to persuade Temple Guiting to generate its own electricity captured in BBC4’s Great Village Green Crusade

Robert Llewellyn is not a typical eco-activist. “Oh, I’m absolutely un-green,” says the actor and TV presenter. “I’m as un-green as a corporate exec. I fly a lot. Though I have hugged a tree. Actually, I’ve lent against one while I was having a wee in the woods, I’m not sure if that counts?”

You don’t need to wear an environmental hairshirt, however, to believe it’s possible to live in a different, more sustainable way. For the actor, who presented Scrapheap Challenge on Channel 4 and is best known for playing Kryten on BBC2’s Red Dwarf, that belief stemmed from a longstanding passion for new technologies, particularly renewable energy.

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Categories: Environment

Erdington: 'This election could be lost on litter'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 7:29am

In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies across the country to find out what matters to you and your area. In the latest dispatch from Erdington, Birmingham, Nazia Parveen and photographer Christopher Thomond learn that a growing rubbish crisis could easily lay waste to local politicians’ careers

In 1990s New York, the then mayor, Rudi Giuliani, tested an academic theory called broken windows: by tackling minor lawlessness, serious crime would fall.

The idea was that by creating nicer neighbourhoods a sense of pride within communities would be fostered, which in turn would lead to a reduction in crime. It broadly worked. Now the question is whether a similar approach can work in the Birmingham suburb of Erdington.

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Categories: Environment

John McCain urges action on Great Barrier Reef and Paris climate deal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 5:58am

Speaking in Sydney, US senator says he is ‘afraid about what the world is going to look like for our children’

The death of the Great Barrier Reef is one of the “great tragedies of our lives”, US senator John McCain has said, arguing America should uphold its commitment to the Paris climate agreement, or accede to it with minor modifications.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday night, the veteran politician and former Republican party presidential candidate said climate change was undeniably real and that it was incumbent upon world leaders to act now to halt and reverse global warming.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists warn US coral reefs are on course to disappear within decades

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 4:00am

New Noaa research shows that strict conservation measures in Hawaii have not spared corals from a warming ocean in one of its most prized bays

Some of America’s most protected corals have been blighted by bleaching, with scientists warning that US reefs are on course to largely disappear within just a few decades because of global warming.

Related: Coral bleaching on Great Barrier Reef worse than expected, surveys show

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Categories: Environment

Nick Xenophon reluctant to back Coalition plan for CEFC to fund carbon capture

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 3:03am

Senate crossbencher says government should instead look to emissions intensity scheme for electricity generators, while Labor says plan is a ‘stunt’

The key Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon has warned the Turnbull government he has “real reservations” about allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in carbon capture and storage technology.

Xenophon told Guardian Australia on Tuesday night the government should, instead of rewriting the rules of its so-called “green” bank, just knuckle down and deliver an emissions intensity trading scheme for Australia’s electricity sector.

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Categories: Environment

Endorsing the Paris Agreement is Trump’s best opportunity for a big win | Joseph Robertson

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/30 - 3:00am

A 21st-century American infrastructure agenda depends on the Paris Agreement

There is only one part of President Trump’s agenda with real opportunity for a big win, right now, and that is infrastructure. And the Paris Agreement—the strongest ever signal pointing toward transformational infrastructure investment—is the only way to mobilize the capital necessary to get to that big win.

The common misunderstanding about the Paris accord is its impact on business and investment. Opponents fret about costs and economic change, but achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals will unlock capital investment at a rate no other policy initiative can match.

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Categories: Environment

US army veterans find peace in protecting rhinos from poaching

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/29 - 10:00pm

In northern South Africa, former soldiers are fighting both the illegal wildlife trade and the twin scourges of unemployment and PTSD

The sun has set over the scrubby savannah. The moon is full. It is time for Ryan Tate and his men to go to work. In camouflage fatigues, they check their weapons and head to the vehicles.

Somewhere beyond the ring of light cast by the campfire, out in the vast dark expanse of thornbushes, baobab trees, rocks and grass, are the rhinos. Somewhere, too, may be the poachers who will kill them to get their precious horns.

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Categories: Environment

In the rooftop realm of straw animals

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/29 - 9:30pm

Ford, Devon For some, the figures are the crowning glory of a roof – and a chance to show off a thatcher’s skill and imagination

At the end of the roof I’m working on, the peacock sits, still as a bookend. Two pheasants eye each other coyly on the ridge of the thatched cottage opposite, while on a house further down the lane, a fox prowls between the chimneys. Up among the rooftops of this village near Plymouth, I am surrounded by a shadowy cast of creatures: straw animal finials.

Today I am repairing the ridge with the straw peacock. Typically the ridge on a thatched house needs to be replaced at least once during the roof’s lifetime – that much all thatchers can agree on. More controversial is the question of whether to add a straw animal.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change could make cities 8C hotter – scientists

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/29 - 8:36pm

Combination of carbon emissions and ‘urban heat island’ effect of concrete and asphalt gives rise to worst-case scenario by end of 21st century

Under a dual onslaught of global warming and localised urban heating, some of the world’s cities may be as much as 8C (14.4F) warmer by 2100, researchers have warned.

Such a temperature spike would have dire consequences for the health of city-dwellers, rob companies and industries of able workers, and put pressure on already strained natural resources such as water.

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Categories: Environment

Coalition votes to allow Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in carbon capture

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/29 - 7:55pm

Josh Frydenberg says proposed change will demonstrate Turnbull government’s ‘non-ideological approach’ to energy policy

The Turnbull government will move to overhaul the rules governing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to allow the so-called “green” bank to invest in carbon capture and storage technology.

After telegraphing its intention to overhaul the CEFC’s rules for some months, the government on Tuesday secured party room support for the change.

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