Tagus river at risk of drying up completely

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/14 - 7:39am

Climate change, dams and diversion bring Iberian peninsula’s longest river, on which millions depend, to brink of collapse

The Tagus river, the longest in the Iberian peninsula, is in danger of drying up completely as Spain once again finds itself in the grip of drought.

Miguel Ángel Sánchez, spokesman of the Platform in Defence of the Tagus, says “the river has collapsed through a combination of climate change, water transfer and the waste Madrid produces.”

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Categories: Environment

Poison once flowed in America's waters. With Trump, it might again | Peter Gleick

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/14 - 3:00am

Over the past four decades, a huge amount of effort has gone into cleaning America’s heavily polluted waters. Is all of that progress about to be undone?

  • Peter Gleick is a member of the US National Academy of Science and the president-emeritus of Pacific Institute

As a scientist working for decades on national and global water and climate challenges, I must speak out against what I see as an assault on America’s water resources.

I grew up in New York in the 1960s hearing about massive Polychlorinated Biphenyl – a toxic chemical used as a coolant – contamination in the Hudson River and the threatened extinction of bald eagles and ospreys from eating contaminated fish.

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Categories: Environment

Great climate science communication from Yale Climate Connections | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/14 - 3:00am

Stellar work by group led by Anthony Leiserowitz on putting climate change research into public domain is empowering citizens and institutions

This is an unabashed endorsement of an important group. I have no affiliation with them or conflict of interest. They are great, period.

The ability to convey complex climate science to a wide-ranging audience is a golden attribute, something very few can achieve. This characteristic makes the Yale Climate Connections group unique.

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Categories: Environment

Port Augusta solar thermal plant to power South Australian government

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/14 - 12:07am

Jay Weatherill’s government says 150 megawatt plant will be biggest of its kind in the world and create about 700 jobs

A proposed solar thermal power plant in South Australia’s mid-north has been contracted to supply all the state government’s power needs.

Work on the $650m SolarReserve facility will start in 2018, creating 650 construction jobs and 50 ongoing positions.

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Categories: Environment

Commonwealth Bank's first climate policy attacked by environmental groups

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 7:02pm

Market Forces says it will lodge shareholder resolution to force bank to implement stated commitment to Paris agreement

The Commonwealth Bank’s first climate policy statement has been criticised by environmental groups and sparked one group to lodge a shareholder resolution to force the company to implement its stated commitment to the Paris agreement.

The bank released the statement, saying it was “reaffirming our support for a responsible global transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050”.

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Categories: Environment

Factory farming in Asia creating global health risks, report warns

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 4:01pm

Growth of intensive units has potential to increase antibiotic resistance and could result in spread of bird flu beyond region

The use of antibiotics in factory farms in Asia is set to more than double in just over a decade, with potentially damaging effects on antibiotic resistance around the world.

Factory farming of poultry in Asia is also increasing the threat of bird flu spreading beyond the region, with more deadly strains taking hold, according to a new report from a network of financial investors.

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Categories: Environment

Electric cars are not the solution

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 1:30pm

If we really want to tackle particle pollution we need carbon-free electricity and, even better, walk or cycle over short distances

Will our streets be pollution free when the last petrol and diesel cars are sold in the UK in just over two decades time? Sadly not. This is for two main reasons. First, we will still have diesel lorries and buses. Second, electric cars still release particle pollution into the air from wearing tyres, brakes and road surfaces. Already more particle pollution comes from wear than from the exhausts of modern vehicles.

Related: The polluting effect of wear and tear in brakes and tyres

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Categories: Environment

Angela Merkel rival takes aim at German car chiefs

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 10:02am

Social Democrat chief Martin Schulz says embattled sector’s failure to innovate and lead projects such as electric cars risks the future of country key exporter

Martin Schulz, the main challenger to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s September election, has accused the country’s car industry executives of putting the sector at risk by failing to plan for the future.

The future of the automotive sector, Germany’s biggest exporter and provider of about 800,000 jobs, has become a hot election issue as politicians blame executives and each other for the industry’s battered reputation following the emissions scandal.

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Categories: Environment

Rise of electric car solves little if driven by fossil fuels, warns windfarm boss

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 9:39am

Dong Energy boss says falling price of renewables means they must power the electric car revolution or the environment will gain only a pyrrhic victory

The rise of electric cars will be a pyrrhic victory for the environment if they are powered by fossil fuels instead of renewables, according to the UK boss of the world’s biggest offshore windfarm developer.

Matthew Wright, the new managing director of Dong Energy UK, said the cost of windfarms at sea had fallen so much that the big issue facing the industry was no longer levels of subsidies but how they integrated with the National Grid and emerging technologies.

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Categories: Environment

In Egypt, A Rising Sea — And Growing Worries About Climate Change's Effects

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 5:33am

"In the winter, the sea attacks us," a fisherman says. "We are afraid the village will sink into the sea." The World Bank says Egypt is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change's effects.

(Image credit: Ibrahim Ramadan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

People In Nepal Used To Think Vultures Were Bad Luck. Not Anymore

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 4:00am

The number of vultures in South Asia has plummeted. But "restaurants" to feed rescued chicks and wild vultures are good for the birds — and for the local economy.

(Image credit: Mary Plage/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Radical millennials are a climate force to be reckoned with | Geoff Dembicki

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/13 - 3:00am

The window for hope is closing rapidly for the planet. But young activists are demonstrating their power at the ballot box to push for a different future

  • Geoff Dembicki is the author of Are We Screwed? How a New Generation is Fighting to Survive Climate Change

If progressives can’t take back control of the White House and Congress from climate change deniers in the next three years, it’s conceivable that humankind could be screwed. But evidence is mounting that a new political force is up to the task. It has millions of potential supporters across the US, the UK and Canada. It’s openly critical of capitalism. And it’s led by millennials such as Moumita Ahmed.

The 25-year-old activist is intimately aware of what’s at stake. She grew up in Queens, New York, and rose to prominence during the 2016 Democratic primaries as co-founder of a group now known as Millennials for Revolution.

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Categories: Environment

Tanzania's ghost safari: how western aid contributed to the decline of a wildlife haven

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 11:00pm

Lions, elephants and hippos have vanished from Kilombero valley after UK- and US-funded projects helped turn a once-thriving habitat into farmland, teak, and sugar plantations

The long road from Dar es Salaam brings you through sparsely wooded hills and fields to the narrow northern neck of the Kilombero valley. There’s a bend in the road, then the land opens out, suddenly, in front of you.

Along the west side lie the steep-faced Udzungwa mountains, one of the last pristine rainforests in Tanzania. The Kilombero river runs through the red soils of the valley, flooding in November or December and subsiding by June. Down the longer eastern flank rise the Mahenge mountains, and beyond them, invisible, unfurls the vast territory of the Selous game reserve, one of the largest remaining chunks of African wilderness.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to optimism

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 10:00pm

OK, the Sixth Mass Extinction may be upon us, but there are still some reasons to be cheerful

Let’s begin with the bad news. First, Earth Overshoot Day – the point at which the world consumes more natural resources than the planet can renew throughout the year – shifted forward this year to 2 August, putting humanity in the red for longer.

We are starting to unlink greenhouse gas emissions from production and consumption

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Categories: Environment

New coal plants have a role in Australia's energy future, Josh Frydenberg says

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 5:50pm

Energy minister’s comments on market intervention leave open the possibility of government support of coal-fired power

New high-efficiency low-emission (HELE) coal-fired power plants have a role in the energy mix and the government is prepared to intervene in the market, Josh Frydenberg has said.

The energy and environment minister told Sky News on Sunday that new coal plants “need to be considered” alongside other sources of baseload power, and the government could intervene if the market failed to deliver the “best possible outcomes” in the electricity market.

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Categories: Environment

The war on food waste has a new weapon: a £99 fridge camera

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 4:04pm
Phone app offers households savings for a fraction of the cost of a top-of-the-range smart fridge

The world’s first wireless fridge camera goes on sale in the UK next month aimed at helping households slash food waste by being able to check exactly what they have in their refrigerator at any time.

As well as taking selfies to be sent to the user, the Smarter FridgeCam and app will also monitor use-by dates and send out automatic top-up reminders to buy more milk, for example. It will also encourage people to eat what they already have – typically festering at the back of the fridge or in the salad box – by suggesting recipes.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 3:11pm
This is in addition to 47 already known about and eruption would melt more ice in region affected by climate change

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.

The project, by Edinburgh University researchers, has revealed almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest as tall as the Eiger, which stands at almost 4,000 metres in Switzerland.

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Categories: Environment

Asia’s Harry Potter obsession poses threat to owls

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 1:44pm
From Indonesia to India, wild birds are being sold as pets to families who want their own Hedwig. Ecologists call for protection to help species survive

The Harry Potter phenomenon has broken publishing and cinema box-office records and spawned a series of lucrative theme parks. But wildlife experts are sounding the alarm over a sad downside to JK Rowling’s tales of the troubled young wizard. The illegal trade in owls has jumped in the far east over the past decade and researchers fear it could endanger the survival of these distinctive predators in Asia.

Conservationists say the snowy owl Hedwig – who remains the young wizard’s loyal companion for most of the Harry Potter series – is fuelling global demand for wild-caught birds for use as pets. In 2001, the year in which the first film was released, only a few hundred were sold at Indonesia’s many bird markets. By 2016, the figure had soared to more than 13,000, according to researchers Vincent Nijman and Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University in a paper in Global Ecology and Conservation. At around $10 to $30, the price tag is affordable to most middle-class families.

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Categories: Environment

Grouse shooting: half a million reasons why time’s up for this appalling Victorian ‘sport’ | Mark Avery

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 12:55pm
Some 500,000 birds will have been shot by the end of another inglorious season as a select few continue to trample on the interests of the rest of us

After 150 years of being treated as a quaint rural pastime, grouse shooting is now under the microscope – unless it reforms it is doomed, and it may drag other country sports down with it.

On Saturday, the start of the grouse shooting season, the social media hashtag #inglorious12th was trending, and a social media message, “I want to see an end to raptor persecution in the uplands. Criminal activity needs to be stopped”, set up by 15-year-old birdwatcher and conservation campaigner Findlay Wilde, was sent to more than 11 million people.

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Categories: Environment

Protesters call for end to grouse shooting on Glorious Twelfth

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/08/12 - 7:46am

Thousands turn out in London and on Yorkshire moors as campaigners call for end to ‘killing for the psychopathic joy of it’

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of central London to protest against the start of Britain’s grouse shooting season.

Animal rights supporters are campaigning to end the sport, which would be their biggest breakthrough since MPs voted to ban fox hunting in 2004.

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Categories: Environment
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