New airplane biofuels plan would 'destroy rainforests', warn campaigners

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 10:17am

Plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes would lead to clearing of rainforests to produce ‘vast’ amount of necessary crops

A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with an 8% leap reported in Europe last year and a global fourfold increase in CO2 pollution expected by 2050.

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Categories: Environment

Almost 90% of edible tomatoes thrown away based on appearance – research

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 10:00am

Up to 86.7% of harvest rejected, environmental scientist says – underlining Australia’s costly food waste culture

Up to 87% of undamaged, edible tomatoes harvested from a commercial Queensland farm were rejected and wasted based on appearance, a study has found, highlighting the problem of food wastage.

Tara McKenzie, an environmental scientist at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said that at every point in the supply chain, edible tomatoes that were slightly odd-shaped or marked or deemed too small or too large were rejected because they didn’t meet market standards for premium, unblemished product. She found between 68.6% and 86.7% of the produce was rejected.

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Categories: Environment

Supermarkets must stop using plastic packaging, says former Asda boss

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 9:12am

Exclusive: Consumers do not want plastic-polluted oceans so supermarkets and packaging industry have to work together, says Andy Clarke

The former boss of Asda is calling for supermarkets to stop using plastic packaging saying billions of pounds of investment in recycling has failed to resolve the world’s plastic proliferation crisis.

Andy Clarke, CEO of one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains for six years, said the only solution was for retailers to reject plastic entirely in favour of more sustainable alternatives like paper, steel, glass and aluminium.

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Categories: Environment

California wildfires: 29 dead as winds threaten to worsen out-of-control blaze

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 8:21am

Unprecedented wildfires raging in California’s wine country leave enormous devastation as fire agency says situation still ‘very serious’

The death toll climbed to 29 on Thursday as wildfires continue to blaze almost completely out of control in California’s wine country and firefighters expect weather conditions to take a turn for the worse.

“Now the winds are going back up and the humidity is going back down,” said Heather Williams, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection. “We’re still not out of the woods. It’s a very serious situation.”

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Categories: Environment

On Fire, Out West

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 7:06am

Nearly every state west of the Rockies has a fire burning.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Draughty homes targeted in UK climate change masterplan

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 6:28am

Ministers publish long-delayed blueprint for hitting target of cutting emissions by 57% in next 15 years

Millions of draughty homes in England and Wales will be insulated and overhauled by 2035 to save families as much as £300 a year on their energy bills, under the government’s climate change plans.

The long-delayed blueprint for how the UK will hit its binding target of cutting emissions by 57% by 2032 includes about 50 policies supporting everything from low-carbon power and energy savings to electric vehicles and keeping food waste out of landfill.

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Categories: Environment

UK climate change masterplan – the grownups have finally won

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/10/12 - 5:32am

Government’s clean growth strategy unequivocally states that tackling climate change and a prosperous economy go hand in hand

The grownups have finally won and everyone in the UK, from those in cold homes to those on polluted streets and in flooded towns, will benefit. The most important aspect of the UK government’s new clean growth strategy is its unequivocal statement that tackling climate change and a prosperous economy are one and the same thing.

This has been clear to many for some time, including Philip Hammond, if not his predecessor George Osborne. There is no long-term, high-carbon economic strategy because the impacts of unchecked climate change destroy economies, as Lord Nicholas Stern puts it.

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Categories: Environment

Finding Nemo? We may be losing him, says climate study

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 10:26pm

Clownfish under threat from warming ocean waters, which are damaging the anemones that serve as its home

The clownfish, the colourful swimmer propelled to fame by the 2003 film Finding Nemo, is under threat from warming ocean waters wreaking havoc with sea anemones, the structures that serve as its home, a study has found.

Closely related to corals, sea anemones are invertebrate marine creatures that live in symbiosis with algae, which provide them with food, oxygen and colour.

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Categories: Environment

'Boar War': the Forest of Dean pixies fighting against the cull of wild pigs

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 10:00pm

Activists claim the boar should be welcomed in Gloucestershire – and they are determined to sabotage marksmen targeting pigs roaming ancient woodland

Drew Pratten admits it can be a little unnerving to suddenly come upon a wild boar in the forest.

“They are very big. When they growl at you it’s primal. You get the sort of feeling deep in your stomach that you get when you hear a lion roar. But these animals don’t want to hurt anyone. If you slowly back away they are fine. We should all be living peacefully together.”

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Categories: Environment

Australian desert reaches peak budgie as thousands dazzle wildlife photographer

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 9:26pm

Steven Pearce captures up to 10,000 birds swooping for a drink at an outback water hole in rare display he describes as a marvel of agility

A wildlife photographer has captured stunning images of budgerigars in a murmuration of up to 10,000 birds near a water hole outside Alice Springs.

Steven Pearce said the display was rare, unique and relatively short-lived – lasting for only about 10 minutes. Pearce was able to shoot dozens of photos displaying the birds’ agility and dazzling splashes of colour in the middle of the desert.

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Abbot Point coal terminal: Westpac may not refinance Adani loan

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 6:51pm

Report reveals Adani needs to refinance $2bn of loans for Abbot Point coal terminal, which is more than it paid for it in 2011

Adani’s financing for its proposed Carmichael coalmine could face a further hurdle, with Westpac appearing to indicate it will not refinance its existing loan to Adani’s coal terminal at Abbot Point.

A recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (Ieefa) revealed Adani needed to refinance more than $2bn worth of loans for its Abbot Point coal terminal in the coming year – an amount that is more than it paid for the port in 2011. That means the company has negative equity on the facility – owing banks more than it is worth.

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Categories: Environment

Fossil fuels win billions in public money after Paris climate deal, angry campaigners claim

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 4:01pm

Coal, oil and gas finance from major development banks totalled $5bn in year after historic climate pact, according to estimates

Billions of dollars of public money was sunk in new fossil fuel projects by the world’s major development banks in the year after the Paris climate change deal was agreed, according to campaigners who are calling for the banks to halt their financing of coal, oil and gas.

The new analysis also reveals that some of the taxpayers’ money given to coal and gas projects was counted as “climate” finance.

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Categories: Environment

From Their Home, They Saw A Wall Of Flames And Knew They Had To Go

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 1:44pm

Emily Cocks lost her home to the Atlas Fire burning through Napa Valley in California. She speaks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the moment she decided to leave and what she lost.

Categories: Environment

Northern California Wildfires Still Burning As Death Toll Is Expected To Rise

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 1:44pm

Winds are expected to pick up and possibly refuel the wildfires spreading across northern California. The fires have left at least 21 people dead. But authorities say the death toll is likely to rise.

Categories: Environment

There's Gold In Them Thar Sewage Pipes, Swiss Researchers Say

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 10:42am

Each year, more than $3 million in gold and silver winds up in Swiss wastewater, scientists found. But in most cases, it doesn't make economic sense to extract and recycle the metals.

(Image credit: Elke Suess/Eawag)

Categories: Environment

Trump’s pro-coal agenda is a blow for clean air efforts at Texas' Big Bend park

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 10:34am

For decades the national park’s stunning vistas have been compromised by poor air quality, and prospects of improvement were derailed by Trump Tuesday

Big Bend national park is Texas at its most cinematic, with soaring, jagged forest peaks looming over vast desert lowlands, at once haughty and humble, prickly and pretty. It is also among the most remote places in the state.

Even from Alpine, the town of 6,000 that is the main gateway to the park, it is more than an hour’s drive to one of the entrances.

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Categories: Environment

Elephants mourn. Dogs love. Why do we deny the feelings of other species?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 8:00am

Scientists are discovering more and more about the internal lives of animals. But what does this mean for the way humans behave?

Last week footage of five young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe to sell to zoos travelled round the world. Parks officials used helicopters to find the elephant families, shot sedatives into the young ones, then hazed away family members who came to the aid of the drugged young ones as they fell.

The film, shared exclusively with the Guardian, showed the young captives being trussed up and dragged on to trucks. In the final moments of footage, two men repeatedly kick a small dazed elephant in the head.

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Categories: Environment

Coffee shops not doing enough to combat huge increase in waste cups

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:49am

Just 1% of the 2.5bn disposable cups thrown away each year in the UK are recycled, committee of MPs is told

Coffee shops are not doing enough to deal with the billions of disposable cups that are thrown away in the UK each year, an influential committee of MPs has been told.

The environment audit committee heard that the phenomenal growth of on-the-go coffee meant that 2.5bn disposable cups are thrown away annually in the UK, a number expected to rise to about 3bn by 2025. Only 1% are recycled.

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Categories: Environment

2017 on course to be deadliest on record for land defenders

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:35am

Deaths of environmental activists locked in conflict with mining, logging and agricultural companies across three continents has passed 150

Interactive: recording the deaths of environmental activists around the world

The number of people killed this year while defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife has passed 150 – meaning 2017 is on course to be the deadliest year on record.

Environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders are locked in fierce conflicts with mining, logging and agricultural companies in hundreds of places around the world. The Guardian is working with watchdog Global Witness to record all the deaths in 2017, and this week that figure reached 153 with a spate of killings across three continents.

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Categories: Environment

Fukushima evacuee to tell UN that Japan violated human rights

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:27am

Mitsuko Sonoda will say evacuees face financial hardship and are being forced to return to homes they believe are unsafe

A nuclear evacuee from Fukushima will claim Japan’s government has violated the human rights of people who fled their homes after the 2011 nuclear disaster, in testimony before the UN in Geneva this week.

Mitsuko Sonoda, who voluntarily left her village with her husband and their 10-year-old son days after three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant went into meltdown, will tell the UN human rights council that evacuees face financial hardship and are being forced to return to neighbourhoods they believe are still unsafe almost seven years after the disaster.

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