Environment

UN asks UK to suspend work on Hinkley Point

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/20 - 3:00am

Move likely to embarrass British government as UN agency says lack of talks with Europe means it should refrain from further work

A United Nations committee has asked the UK to suspend work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset because of the government’s failure to consult with European countries over the project.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said last year that the UK had failed to meet its obligations to discuss the possible impact of an incident at Hinkley on neighbouring countries.

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Categories: Environment

Torrey Canyon oil spill 1967 - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/20 - 2:10am

Fifty years ago, the supertanker Torrey Canyon ran aground between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly, spilling more than 100,000 tonnes of crude oil into the Channel. The Observer photographer Jane Bown was sent to cover the cleanup operation across Cornwall’s beaches. These images are a small selection of the 270 photographs she took there, now housed in the GNM Archive.

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Katter’s Australian party push to legalise crocodile hunting after Queensland attacks

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/20 - 1:00am

Party to draft laws allowing a controlled cull of protected reptiles, including Indigenous-run safari hunts, after two suspected attacks in state’s far north

Two suspected crocodile attacks in the same north Queensland area within a day have prompted a bid by Katter’s Australian party to legalise hunting of the protected predators.

Wildlife officers and police believe Warren Hughes, 35, may have been killed by a 4m-plus crocodile that later “charged” a police boat searching for the Cairns man’s body on Sunday night.

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Categories: Environment

Sea level rise: Miami and Atlantic City fight to stay above water – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/20 - 12:15am

Sea levels are rising. For many cities on the the eastern shores of the United States, the problem is existential. We take a look at how Miami and Atlantic City are tackling climate change, and the challenges they face under a skeptical Trump administration that plans to cut funding for environmental programs

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Categories: Environment

Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/20 - 12:00am

Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem

The Irish Pub near Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk doesn’t have any locks on the doors as it is open 24 hours a day. So when Hurricane Sandy crunched into what was once known as the Las Vegas of the east coast in 2012, some improvisation was needed.

Regular drinkers helped slot a cork board through the frame of the door, wedging it shut and keeping out the surging seawater. The wild night, which severely damaged more than 320 homes and caused a week-long power blackout, was seen out by those taking shelter with the help of several bottles of Jameson.

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Categories: Environment

British tampons and nappies set to fuel power stations

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 11:01pm

New scheme aims to tackle one the UK’s trickiest disposal issues by turning thousands of tonnes of hygiene products into burnable bales

One of the UK’s trickiest waste problems is being tackled by turning the undesirable into the combustible – tampons and incontinence pads are being converted into dry, burnable bales. The new initiative, from a major waste company, compresses the waste into fuel for power stations.

Huge volumes of what are known in the trade as “absorbent hygiene products” are produced in the UK. But it is difficult to deal with as its dampness makes incineration expensive. Dumping the waste in landfill is the other current option, but the material takes decades to degrade and heavy and rising landfill taxes are aiming to end the practice.

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Categories: Environment

Inside story of a thatched roof

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 10:30pm

Hope Cove, Devon I need to go into the attic to check the timbers – an awkward job, but a chance to get out of the wind

An experienced thatcher told me early on in my apprenticeship: “You’ll learn to hate the wind more than anything.” And after five years of working on Devon roofs I’m inclined to agree with him: rain is our more obvious enemy, but rain doesn’t blow the wheat out of your hand or bowl you sideways off your ladder.

On really windy days like this one, you can’t go on the roof. In spite of the warm spring sunshine, a howling south-westerly is whipping up white horses on the Atlantic and training the coastal trees into even more diagonal contortions.

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Crocodile attack suspected as body found in search for Queensland spearfisher

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 5:54pm

Body believed to be that of 35-year-old Cairns man who disappeared on Saturday in far north Queensland

Rescue crews searching for a Cairns man who went missing while spearfishing alone in far north Queensland have a found a body.

Initial investigations suggest the man may have been taken by a crocodile, police said.

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Categories: Environment

Elon Musk, meet Port Augusta: four renewable energy projects ready to go

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 4:11pm

Pumped hydro, big battery, solar thermal and solar PV and storage projects are already planned for South Australia’s power network

When it comes to South Australia’s radical plans for energy storage to support its power network, all roads lead to Port Augusta – or all transmission lines, that is.

Proponents of projects that include energy storage have converged on this small outback city perched on the top of the Spencer Gulf – but why here and why now?

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Categories: Environment

Lambs make the most of their first hour on open land: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 3:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 24 March 1917

SURREY
Sheep, some fifty of them, big black-faced ewes, with about the same number of late lambs just dropped, came this morning out of a great pen at the end of the rickyard which had been put up behind the shelter of two still standing stacks of corn. As they filed through the hurdle gap each began bleating, and all were soon in the wide ditch opposite, nosing about in warm corners for any sweet young shoots of early spring. The lambs of a few days old, each “wickering” (as the shepherd said) after its mother, tumbled about grotesquely; it was their first hour on the open land. Some of the older ones began to frisk; the sedate sheep dog watched them narrowly as if with a mute warning against pranks; then, the barred gate of a near meadow swung, and all were among the turnips littered here and there. But not for long. Clouds swept up with a north-east wind: the lambs shivered and cried plaintively; they had to be housed again behind the piled trusses of wheat straw. We are never out of the wood on the farm.

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Categories: Environment

Snow bunting takes a winter break in Somerset

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 2:30pm

The commonest garden bird in Iceland, and no stranger to the Scottish Highlands, this visitor is taking the bunting equivalent to a holiday in the Med

Some birds are simply more compelling than others. Think bullfinches and barn owls, peregrines and storm petrels, gannets and golden eagles. The snow bunting is certainly high in the charisma stakes. I first saw them in 1973, swirling around a shingle beach in Norfolk, caught in a biting wind like flurries of snow. Since then I’ve watched them on their breeding grounds in Iceland, where they are the commonest of the very few “garden birds” found in that northerly land.

Once, I even saw one singing in the car park at Reykjavik airport. And I’ve often come across them in the Cairngorms, where they feed on the crumbs left by passing skiers. But we don’t often get snow buntings in Somerset. So when I heard that one was spending the winter on my local patch alongside the River Parrett, I headed down there as soon as I could.

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Categories: Environment

Churchyards are our forgotten nature reserves

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 2:30pm

Often ignored, the ancient sites in the hearts of towns and villages have become refuges for a tremendous range of plants

There are thousands of wild plant sanctuaries across Britain, many in the hearts of villages, towns and cities, but they’re often ignored and forgotten. Cemeteries, churchyards and burial grounds have almost become nature reserves.

Some of the most ancient sites have been around for over 1,000 years, and many grounds haven’t been assaulted with chemicals or intensive management – tighter spending has actually helped even more by cutting back on over-management. And so these sites have become refuges for a tremendous range of plants, including some of our most threatened grassland plants and old trees, mosses, lichens and flowers, as well as wildlife.

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Categories: Environment

Have a bird’s eye view of a Nottingham nest | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 11:33am

If Guardian readers wish to get up close to peregrine falcons (Flying high, 15 March) they need go no farther than their computers where, by typing in “Nottingham peregrines cam” or something similar, they will be able to sit back and watch the comings and goings of the birds to their nest-box high on Nottingham Trent University in the very centre of the city. I did that, entranced, a couple of years ago as I watched the four chicks grow up and fly away.

The cameras are put in each year by Nottingham Wildlife Trust and are proving invaluable for spotting details of behaviour that can only be remarked upon when the subject is under scrutiny round the clock by someone, somewhere.
June Perry
Nottingham

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Categories: Environment

Self-driving cars will change cities | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 11:32am

Once daredevils, cyclists and pedestrians work out just how safe they are with this new technology (Google’s self-driving car avoids hitting a woman chasing a bird, theguardian.com, 17 March), it is easy to imagine how there might be a battle for rights of way. Busy crossings during rush hour could become an unbroken stream of pedestrians as self-driving cars wait helplessly. It is only a small leap from here to imagine the physical measures that may need to be implemented to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate. Fenced in pavements? Raised roadways? This technology could have bigger impacts on our built environments than we are currently anticipating.
Robert Cullen
Gothenburg, Sweden

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Categories: Environment

Indonesia's Peat Fires Still Blaze, But Not As Much As They Used To

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 11:00am

Clearing peat land by fire is illegal but remains widespread, since it's the cheapest way to clear land for farming and industry. Still, peat fires were down by more than 80 percent from 2015 to 2016.

(Image credit: Yosef Riadi for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Green energy in a coal state: the struggle to bring solar jobs to West Virginia

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 7:00am

Local entrepreneurs want to replace disappearing coal jobs with employment in solar – but that’s a tough move in a state that lacks the solar-friendly regulations of places like California

If solar energy were Dan Conant’s only passion, the West Virginia native could have stayed in Vermont, working for a fast-growing startup in a state friendly to renewables.

Instead, Conant returned home to Shepherdstown, where he started an installation company, Solar Holler, in 2014. Now, with three employees and a crew under contract, Conant’s new passion comes with an audacious goal: bring solar jobs to communities hit hard by the decline of coal.

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Categories: Environment

Climate Change As An Issue Of National Security

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 4:52am

Defense Secretary James Mattis called climate change a national security threat. Retired Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway talks about how the Pentagon will manage challenges presented by climate change.

Categories: Environment

Why I think there's still hope for the climate in 2017 | Adam Levy

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 3:00am

Despite Trump halting reduction of the US’s vast CO2 emissions, climate change is being taken seriously around the world from China to Sweden

Optimism has always been in short supply in conversations about global warming. Only for the briefest window – after the Paris climate agreement was reached in December 2015 – did the words “climate” and “hope” look reasonable next to each other in headlines. Then came 2016.

And yet, in spite of these past 12 months, I remain optimistic.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to mainstream organics

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 11:00pm

We need to learn from the Danish supermarkets, where organic produce is front and centre, not niche

Say you were to swap your weekly shop with a Dane, you’d notice something strange. In Danish supermarkets like SuperBrugsen, myriad organic products are proudly displayed at the front. Try tracking down anything more exciting than an organic carrot in a UK supermarket.

With this in mind our Organic Trade Board wants us to be more Danish and go mainstream organic. There’s some way to go. In 2014, our organic spend here was just £30.60 each for the whole year. Cynics might say that this equates to one organic chicken.

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Categories: Environment

As drought sweeps Kenya, herders invade farms and old wounds are reopened

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 5:04pm
Threatened by famine, pastoralists have turned to violence

Sitting on the edge of Kenya’s highest mountain, its spectacular dun-coloured vistas stretching out into the endless distance, Laikipia is one of the most beautiful corners of east Africa.

The region received a rush of publicity in 2010 when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton at a log cabin there. Tens of thousands of tourists now flock to parks and reserves in an area that promises rare sights including the world’s last three remaining northern white rhinoceroses.

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Categories: Environment
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