Drinks bottles now biggest plastic menace for waterways – report

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/04/07 - 4:01pm

Plastic bags only 1% of plastic in freshwater after sustained efforts to reduce their use

Plastic bottles, the detritus of our throwaway water and soft drinks habits, are the most prevalent form of plastic pollution in European waterways, according to a new report.

Food wrappers, including crisp and sweet packets, were the second biggest form of plastic pollution in rivers, followed by cigarette butts. All of these forms of litter can cause problems for wildlife and fish, and are hard to clean up once they have found their way into the water.

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Categories: Environment

Heart charity urges other cities to follow London's ultra-low emission zone

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/04/07 - 2:18pm

British Heart Foundation says Ulez will help reduce 36,000 annual UK pollution deaths

The ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) across London will help reduce the 36,000 deaths caused in the UK every year by outdoor pollution, the British Heart Foundation said as it welcomed the new vehicle charging zone that will launch on Monday.

According to the leading heart charity, a significant proportion of air pollution-related deaths are in the capital, where pollution levels are often at their highest.

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'The perfect storm': hydrogen gains ground on LNG as alternative fuel

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/04/07 - 11:00am

With demand set to rise across the world, Australia is set to become a global primary producer of hydrogen

In March, the Queensland University of Technology made history when it achieved the first export of a small quantity of clean, green hydrogen produced in Australia from renewable energy, to Japanese energy giant JXTG – proving that it was in fact possible.

Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as an alternative to LNG and other fossil fuels and Australia has a lot to gain from a new export industry, with companies such as Woodside Energy and Siemens already investing.

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Categories: Environment

Snake's 'boyfriend’ leads hunters to largest python in Florida Everglades

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/04/07 - 8:00am

Catch of pregnant female carrying 73 eggs is more than 17ft long as environmentalists struggle to eradicate the non-native species

Snake hunters have captured what they say is the largest python ever found in the swamps of the Florida Everglades: a pregnant female more than 17ft (5.2 metres) long and weighing 140lb, or 63.5kg.

The team from the Big Cypress national preserve posted news of their record-setting catch in a Facebook post that also noted the giant reptile was carrying 73 eggs.

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Categories: Environment

Shell Withdraws From Oil Lobby Group

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2019/04/07 - 5:05am

Royal Dutch Shell is withdrawing from an oil lobbying group because of disagreements about environmental policy. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Amy Harder of Axios about the move.

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Buildings are killing up to 1bn birds a year in US, scientists estimate

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2019/04/06 - 10:00pm

New report ranks deadliest cities for feathered travelers, who often collide with glass-covered or illuminated buildings

Scientists estimate that at least 100 million and maybe as many as a billion birds die each year in the US when they collide with buildings, especially glass-covered or illuminated skyscrapers. And, in a new report, conservationists now have a better idea which American cities are the deadliest for those on the wing.

Chicago, with its many glass superstructures that spike into what is the busiest US avian airspace during migration, is the most dangerous city for those feathered travelers. More than 5 million birds from at least 250 different species fly through the Windy City’s downtown every fall and spring.

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Categories: Environment

Australian Farmers Give Up In The Face Of Extreme Heat

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2019/04/06 - 5:16am

Australia is no stranger to periods of extreme heat and drought. But after years with little rain, many farmers in the country's southeast are simply giving up.

Categories: Environment

London prepares for launch of ultra-low emissions zone

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 10:00pm

Almost 1,000 people a year in London are hospitalised with asthma caused by pollution

London is preparing to enforce “world-leading” vehicle pollution restrictions from Monday as the capital attempts to clean up the toxic air blamed for thousands of premature deaths.

The ultra-low emission zone, or Ulez, will launch at one minute past midnight on April 8, imposing a £12.50-a-day charge to drive into central London in all but the cleanest cars and vans.

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Categories: Environment

Parliament must back Labor’s climate policy if party wins power, Mark Butler says

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 2:10pm

Shadow climate change minister reiterates opposition to Adani mine, saying no ‘case for opening up new thermal coal mine’

The shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, has issued a stark warning before the coming election campaign, declaring the Australian parliament must end the stalemate and back Labor’s climate policy in the event of a Bill Shorten victory, or politicians will betray the next generation.

In an interview with Guardian Australia’s political podcast, Butler says Labor’s commitment to reduce emissions by 45% on 2005 levels by 2030 is a “rock solid commitment”, not an “aspiration” or “something that would be nice to achieve” – and he says voters are more agitated now about climate action than he has ever seen during his time as an MP .

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Categories: Environment

The artist who's happy with all his work being washed away

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 12:09pm

The California tide soon washes away work by Andres Amador – but for the artist, that is part of the point

With a bundle of three-pronged tools and hand-assembled rakes cast over one shoulder, the artist Andres Amador quietly descends the steep, crumbling dunes arching over a San Francisco shoreline to the beach below.

Scanning the horizon, stopping every so often to smile and pick up smooth stones, he walks until it seems right – until he finds a wide enough stretch of wet sand to serve as his canvas. Soon, it will come to life, etched with the large-scale angles and arches that form his captivating, signature style of Earthscape art.

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Categories: Environment

Ineos accused of 'greenwashing' over Daily Mile sponsorship

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 9:39am

Teaching union to debate call for schools to oppose fossil fuel giant’s backing of school fitness event

The UK’s biggest teaching union is to decide whether to object to fossil fuel giant Ineos sponsoring the school Daily Mile initiative over allegations the company is using the event to greenwash its image.

Campaigners accuse Ineos, owned by the UK’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, of endangering the wellbeing of future generations through its fracking activities and plastics production.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 9:09am

A three-toed skink’s unusual birth, a dead whale full of plastic and young elephants stuck in the mud

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BMW, Daimler and VW charged with collusion over emissions

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 8:06am

EU gives car manufacturers 10 weeks to respond to findings from antitrust investigation

The European commission has charged BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen with colluding to limit the introduction of clean emissions technology, in the preliminary findings of an antitrust investigation.

The car manufacturers have 10 weeks to respond and could face fines of billions of euros – up to 10% of their global annual turnover – if their explanations are rejected.

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Categories: Environment

Why the Guardian is putting global CO2 levels in the weather forecast

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 7:00am

As CO2 levels climb, the carbon count is a daily reminder we must tackle climate change now

The simplest measure of how the mass burning of fossil fuels is disrupting the stable climate in which human civilisation developed is the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere.

Today, the CO2 level is the highest it has been for several million years. Back then, temperatures were 3-4C hotter, sea level was 15-20 metres higher and trees grew at the south pole. Worse, billions of tonnes of carbon pollution continues to pour into the air every year and at a rate 10 times faster than for 66m years.

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‘Historic breakthrough’: Norway’s giant oil fund dives into renewables

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/04/05 - 6:06am

Experts say even nations that got rich on fossil fuels are seeing the future is green

Norway’s $1tn oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, is to plunge billions of dollars into wind and solar power projects. The decision follows Saudi Arabia’s oil fund selling off its last oil and gas assets.

Other national funds built up from oil profits are also thought to be ramping up their investments in renewables. The moves show that countries that got rich on fossil fuels are diversifying their investments and seeking future profits in the clean energy needed to combat climate change. Analysts say the investments are likely to power faster growth of green energy.

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Categories: Environment

So many ways – big and small – to capture carbon | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/04/04 - 10:13am
Readers and heads of environmental organisations respond to a call to rewild on a massive scale

George Monbiot (The natural world can help save us from climate chaos, 3 April), Greta Thunberg and other signatories (Letters, 3 April) are right. Nature can provide effective options to help tackle climate change. Often there is no need for complicated, expensive and unproven technology. As we know from our work in such countries as Bhutan and Costa Rica, some governments are embracing nature-based solutions where natural forests are managed for their key role in storing carbon and regulating water for clean, green hydropower. Policies and investment need to work with local people and focus on linking nature to infrastructure to help avoid catastrophic climate change, protect biodiversity and cut emissions. The real challenge is to align the politics of change to the actions that are needed. While some countries are doing the right thing, in other places (such as Brazil) the politics is going backwards in deeply troubling ways.

The international community needs to act to support local livelihoods and enable communities to be good stewards of the natural world. Our lives depend on it.
Andrew Norton
Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

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At least 62 people killed in Iran floods as US accused of blocking aid

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/04/04 - 9:51am

Iranian government criticised over response to crisis that has left thousands displaced

The death toll from two weeks of flooding in Iran has risen to 62 as frustration mounts inside the country at the government’s handling of the crisis and an international dispute has broken out over whether renewed US sanctions are blocking aid.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, and the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have been engaged in a war of words over the crisis. Zarif attacked the US for “economic terrorism” and said it was blocking the shipment of vital rescue equipment.

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Categories: Environment

Komodo considers tourist ban to help boost dragon numbers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/04/04 - 9:34am

Indonesian authorities want to protect endangered lizard from smugglers and restock its island food supply

Authorities are considering banning tourists from Komodo, the island home of the ancient Komodo dragon, to allow for conservation efforts amid concerns over animal-smuggling.

The island, in Manggarai Barat, Indonesia, is a major tourist destination, with many people making the trip to see the lizard which has a venomous bite, can grow up to three metres long and weigh more than 150kg.

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Fossil of ancient four-legged whale with hooves discovered

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/04/04 - 8:00am

Giant 42.6m-year-old fossil was found along coast of Peru and suggests creature could walk on land

An ancient four-legged whale with hooves has been discovered, providing new insights into how the ancestors of the Earth’s largest mammals made the transition from land to sea.

The giant 42.6m-year-old fossil, discovered in marine sediments along the coast of Peru, appears to have been adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Its hoofed feet and the shape of its legs suggest it would have been capable of bearing the weight of its bulky four metre long body and walking on land. Other anatomical features, including a powerful tail and webbed feet similar to an otter suggest it was also a strong swimmer.

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Climate change group scrapped by Trump reassembles to issue warning

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/04/04 - 6:00am

Panel was disbanded after a Trump official voiced concerns that it did not have enough members ‘from industry’

A US government climate change advisory group scrapped by Donald Trump has reassembled independently to call for better adaptation to the floods, wildfires and other threats that increasingly loom over American communities.

The Trump administration disbanded the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment in August 2017. The group, formed under Barack Obama’s presidency, provided guidance to the government based on the National Climate Assessment, a major compendium of climate science released every four years.

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