Environmental charities allowed to challenge changes to court cost rules

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/21 - 5:57am

High court judge has agreed to limit RSPB, ClientEarth and FoE’s costs liabilities to £10,000 in their action against the Ministry of Justice’s changes to costs cap

Three environmental charities have been given permission to challenge court regulations which they say make it too financially risky to bring cases over air pollution standards or the expansion of Heathrow airport.

A high court judge has agreed to limit costs liabilities of the RSPB, ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth to £10,000 in their action against the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which introduced the new rules earlier this year.

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David Attenborough’s ‘Guardian headline’ halts Borneo bridge

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/21 - 4:03am

Conservationist denounced Sukau project as a threat to pygmy elephants and orangutans

Officials in Borneo have cancelled plans to build a bridge across the Kinabatangan river, after warnings from Sir David Attenborough and other conservationists that it would gravely endanger pygmy elephants, orangutans and many other jungle species. The news comes just weeks after the Guardian revealed Attenborough’s opposition to the project.

Attenborough originally sent a private letter to the chief minister of the state of Sabah, Musa Aman, in September 2016. Last month, with signs pointing to the bridge still going ahead, the Guardian published excerpts from the letter. The authorities in Borneo have described Attenborough’s now-public opposition as the final blow to the project.

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Matt Damon And Gary White On The World's Water Crisis

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/04/21 - 2:08am

One topic at this week's World Bank meetings is water scarcity. David Greene speaks with the co-founders of Water.org, actor Matt Damon and Gary White, about people who can't access clean water.

(Image credit: Emily Bogle/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Green Investment Bank sell-off: only time will tell how green it is | Nils Pratley

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 11:20pm

The government has secured green ‘commitments’ after the £2.3bn sale. In reality it has secured only ‘good intentions’

The charge that Macquarie is a ruthless asset-stripper that, given half a chance, would dismember the Green Investment Bank clearly stung. As the government unveiled the inevitable sale, for £2.3bn, to a consortium led by the Australian finance house, all sides were anxious to emphasise the buyer’s long-term enthusiasm for its new purchase.

GIB will survive as a discrete entity in Edinburgh. Macquarie will throw a few of its own assets – a couple of windfarms and a waste and biomass plant – into the mix for it to manage. It will report on progress in honouring GIB’s green investment principles. It will aim to invest £1bn a year in green energy projects, more than the £700m-ish that GIB was achieving via taxpayer funding. “We look forward to seeing these commitments from Macquarie delivered, in full, in the months and years ahead,” said Lord Smith of Kelvin, GIB’s chair.

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Firefighting foam: minister considers 'transitional removal' of toxic chemicals

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 10:12pm

Call for federal government to follow Queensland and ban PFOS and PFOA after spill from Qantas airport hangar in Brisbane

The federal government is weighing up how to eliminate toxic chemicals from firefighting foam linked to high-profile contamination scares, including a spill from a Qantas airport hangar into Brisbane waterways last week.

It comes after a call by the Queensland government for the commonwealth to follow its own ban on the chemicals PFOS and PFOA, which doesn’t apply to Qantas because it operates on federal land.

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Categories: Environment

Plunged into a soundscape of rich noise

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 9:30pm

Stanage, Derbyshire Listening to moorland might illustrate its health just as well as looking at it does

The eastern horizon was a pale streak capped with pink, but it was still dark at Hollin Bank car park and I could barely make out Bill Gordon’s face as he waited. Bill is a volunteer for the Eastern Moors Partnership, monitoring ring ouzels, the mountain blackbird. To record their calls, he was carrying an impressive-looking microphone on a pole with a “dead-cat” windshield, rather cosy on a frosty April morning.

We had barely walked a few yards when, without a word, he pushed his headphones over my ears. It was a moment of complete transformation. From peering at the tenebrous moors, I was plunged suddenly into a soundscape at its zenith, its high noon, a matrix of rich, vital noise. To my right, I could hear a pair of snipe chipping away and, from all around, with a measure of distance between each, the looping voices of curlew. Just ahead of me, on steep scrubby ground, the wren that had sounded so thin and distant became gigantic, all lungs.

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Categories: Environment

Facts over feelings: Australians join global march for science

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 3:36pm

Former science minister Barry Jones warns policy is increasingly divorced from evidence, as 12 Australian cities prepare for global march

Barry Jones, a Hawke government minister who held the science portfolio when the high court decided the Tasmanian dam case in 1983, despairs of an Australian government making the same decision in 2017.

Instead of taking a principled opposition on the grounds of science, he said, the Labor party would probably do a photo opportunity pouring the concrete.

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When It Comes To Policymaking, The Rules Don't Apply To Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 1:31pm

On Saturday, people from around the country will take to the streets in the March for Science. Organizers say that the point of the March is not to make science political, but to highlight the reality of science to politicians, as a guide in policymaking, in which science is an uncharted issue.

Categories: Environment

Louisiana's Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Disappearing Coastline

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 12:18pm

It's an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal projects. The state loses the equivalent of one football field of land an hour.

(Image credit: Lee Celano/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Chris Packham jostled by hunter on Gozo, Malta – video report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 8:37am

Chris Packham has released the video that shows his encounter with a Maltese hunter and police on the island of Gozo, after being cleared of charges of assault by a Maltese judge on Thursday. The video shows Packham filming with his crew before being accosted by the hunter and police, leading to the incident. The judge threw out the case and criticised the police for the charge. Packham has said he will not press charges

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Green Investment Bank sell-off described as a disaster by critics

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 8:22am

Greenpeace says £2.3bn sale to controversial Australian bank Maquarie risks climate targets, while Lib Dems say bank was sold too fast and too cheap

The UK government’s decision to sell the Green Investment Bank to Australian bank Macquarie for £2.3bn has been attacked by critics including the Liberal Democrats and Greenpeace as “politically dubious” and a “disaster”.

A consortium led by Macquarie, which also includes the bank’s European Infrastructure Fund 5 and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a UK pension scheme for university professors, agreed to buy the GIB, which was established in 2012 by the coalition government to fund green infrastructure projects.

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Yosemite Rangers Use Technology To Save Bears From Cars

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 7:22am

Speeding cars have become the biggest threat for bears in Yosemite. But rangers hope tracking tools, like the website where the public can track bears, will help keep both humans and bears safe.

(Image credit: Yosemite National Park via AP)

Categories: Environment

It's good to hear cycling to work reduces your risk of dying. But that's not why I do it | Laura Laker

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 7:16am

The latest study on the health benefits of cycling suggests it can cut the risk of cancer and heart disease. It’s also the most fun you can have on your daily commute

It may not be a surprise to see another study suggesting that cycling to work can drastically reduce your chances of getting cancer and heart disease – those who ride bikes for transport already know how good it makes them feel. However, it’s perhaps yet another motivation for those who don’t, to dust off their bikes – and remember some other reasons cycling to work is so great.

In a five-year study of 263,450 UK commuters, published in the BMJ, researchers at Glasgow University found regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, and the incidence of cancer and heart disease by 45% and 46% respectively.

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Categories: Environment

Wildflowers in the hill country of Texas – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 3:00am

Think of Texas and it’s most likely you imagine rocky, red desert. But each spring the hill country of central Texas is awash with a riot of colour, as millions of wildflowers bloom

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Categories: Environment

Massive Iceberg Makes A Stop Off Newfoundland Coast

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/20 - 2:01am

A huge iceberg has run aground just off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. For now, it's made a home in what is known as "iceberg alley," and in photos, appears to dwarf the houses in town.

(Image credit: Charlie Dunne)

Categories: Environment

Shark inquiry told culling and drum lines would not reduce number of deaths

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/19 - 11:31pm

Surf Life Saving Western Australia rejects accusations from News Corp that mitigation plan is too timid

Lifesavers in Western Australia say they have seen no evidence that shark culling would be effective in reducing attacks and have hit out at claims their mitigation plan is “timid”.

The Senate inquiry into shark deterrence and mitigation began its hearing in Perth on Thursday.

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Categories: Environment

Green Investment Bank to be sold off in £2.3bn deal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/19 - 11:29pm

Bank expected to retain offices in London and Edinburgh, as bid from Australia’s Macquarie accepted despite opposition

The government has agreed a £2.3bn sale of the Green Investment Bank to the Australian bank Macquarie, according to sources close to the process.

The privatisation of the bank was expected in January but signoff was delayed in the face of stiff political opposition and wrangling over the final price.

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Millions of native oysters to be returned to the Solent

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/19 - 10:30pm

New project aims to restore what was once Europe’s largest oyster fishery, off the south coast of England

Millions of native oysters are to be put into the Solent, once the site of Europe’s largest oyster fishery.

The five-year project aims first to restore a thriving oyster population to the waters between the south coast and Isle of Wight. Oyster beds provide habitat for many other species and the shellfish filter vast volumes of water – 200 litres per oyster – helping to clean up pollution. Once re-established, significant oyster fishing could resume.

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Coastal scrub and grassland alive with birds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/19 - 9:30pm

Seaham, Durham Impressions of movement, colour, sound and the scents of spring left an abiding sense of wellbeing

Along the well-worn cliff-edge path from Dawdon to Hawthorn Dene, blackthorn was in full bloom, the air laden with the coconut scent of gorse, and the ground spangled with primroses and dog violets.

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Queensland prawn farmers demand compensation from Qantas after toxic leak

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/19 - 6:21pm

Industry says it is losing money after firefighting foam leaked from airline’s hanger into Brisbane river

Queensland prawn farmers are seeking compensation from Qantas after toxic firefighting foam leaked from its hangar into the Brisbane river.

The embattled industry, already struggling with white spot disease, was dealt another blow this week when it was advised not to catch produce from the contaminated zone.

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