Looking back at Standing Rock - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 2:41am

Photographer Josué Rivas spent seven months documenting the Native American community that came together to protest against the controversial Dakota pipeline. The work has been published in the book Standing Strong, which has won the 2018 FotoEvidence Book award with World Press Photo.

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Categories: Environment

As Nuclear Struggles, A New Generation Of Engineers Is Motivated By Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 2:01am

The number of people graduating with nuclear engineering degrees has more than tripled since 2001. Many say they are motivated by climate change.

(Image credit: Jeff Brady/NPR)

Categories: Environment

EDF Energy to pay £350,000 smart-meter penalty

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/15 - 1:35am

Company fails to meet annual target of fitting smart meters in customers’ homes

EDF Energy has agreed to pay out £350,000 for failing to fit enough smart meters in customers’ houses, the first time an energy supplier has been penalised for missing domestic smart meter targets.

Every large energy supplier has an annual target for rolling out smart meters, which provide consumers with real-time electricity usage data and automate readings, with a government goal of all households being offered one by the end of 2020.

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Categories: Environment

The magical wilderness farm: raising cows among the weeds at Knepp

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00pm

You can’t make money from letting cows run wild, right? When Patrick Barkham got access to the sums at a pioneering Sussex farm, he was in for a surprise.

Orange tip butterflies jink over grassland and a buzzard mews high on a thermal. Blackthorns burst with bridal white blossom and sallow leaves of peppermint green unfurl. The exhilaration in this corner of West Sussex is not, however, simply the thrilling explosion of spring. The land is bursting with an unusual abundance of life; rampant weeds and wild flowers, insects, birdsong, ancient trees and enormous hedgerows, billowing into fields of hawthorn. And some of the conventional words from three millennia of farming – ‘hedgerow’, ‘field’ and ‘weed’ – no longer seem to apply in a landscape which is utterly alien to anyone raised in an intensively farmed environment.

This is Knepp, a 3,500-acre farm in densely-populated lowland Britain, barely 45 miles from London. Once a conventional dairy and arable operation, at the turn of this century, Knepp’s owners, Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree, auctioned off their farm machinery, rewilded their land and, as much by accident as design, inched towards a new model of farming. Some view the result as an immoral eyesore, an abnegation of our responsibility to keep land productive and tidy. Others find it inspiring proof that people and other nature can coexist.

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Categories: Environment

Leaked UN draft report warns of urgent need to cut global warming

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 8:39pm

IPCC says ‘rapid and far-reaching’ measures required to combat climate change

The world is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming unless countries rapidly implement “far-reaching” actions to reduce carbon emissions, according to a draft UN report leaked to Reuters.

The final draft report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) was due for publication in October. It is the guiding scientific document for what countries must do to combat climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: four rivers are most responsible for pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00am

Burdekin, Fitzroy, Tully and Daintree rivers in Queensland pose greatest risk, researchers find

Four rivers are most responsible for polluting the Great Barrier Reef, according to research that scientists hope will help governments better target efforts to reduce damage to the reef from land use.

The Burdekin, Fitzroy, Tully and Daintree rivers in Queensland posed the greatest risk to the reef, the study led by The Nature Conservancy and the University of Queensland found.

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Categories: Environment

Inside the AEF, the climate denial group hosting Tony Abbott as guest speaker

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00am

The Australian Environment Foundation has secured a former prime minister to speak. But what does it actually do?

Securing a former prime minister to speak at your organisation is no doubt a coup for many groups.

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy recently got Kevin Rudd. Australia’s Nelson Mandela Day committee has snaffled Julia Gillard for their next annual lecture.

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Categories: Environment

Human activity making mammals more nocturnal, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 11:00am

Research involving 62 species found mammals spent relatively less time being active during the day when humans were nearby

Human disturbance is turning mammals into night owls, with species becoming more nocturnal when people are around, research has revealed.

The study, encompassing 62 species from around the globe, found that when humans were nearby, mammals spent relatively less time being active during the day and were more active at night - even among those already classed as nocturnal.

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Categories: Environment

'Ethical grocer' Farmdrop raises £10m to expand home delivery service

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 10:43am

Skype founder increases his investment, saying firm is using technology for good

The online ethical grocer Farmdrop has raised £10m from investors, including the founder of Skype, to take its home delivery service to the north of England.

The London-based company, launched by an ex-city broker, Ben Pugh, in 2014, wants to open a warehouse in Manchester after expanding to Bristol and Bath late last year.

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Categories: Environment

Who’s to blame for the ecological apocalypse? | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 10:09am
Readers respond to Chris Packham’s recent observations on environmental destruction, and to the suggestion that one positive step would be for us to give up our pets

If we’ve normalised the ecological damage we are doing to our country, as Chris Packham suggests, it’s only because as individuals we feel helpless (Packham: ‘We are presiding over ecological apocalypse’, 11 June). As it is, the signs are extraordinary, and not just the absence of iconic species like butterflies, bees, frogs and hedgehogs. I have noticed a decline in the number (and size) of ticks, for example, and houseflies and greenflies – even dung flies – are actually rare this summer.

If we do not mourn their decline we are foolish – no flies means no maggots, which means no cleaning up of the dead badgers Packham mentions; no greenflies and ticks means less food for some species up the food chain, which is presumably why there are no birds on our feeders these days. It really does feel like an apocalypse, and yet the government still drags its feet over the poisons which have almost certainly caused it.
Jeremy Cushing

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Categories: Environment

As The Scandals Mount, Conservatives Turn On Scott Pruitt

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 9:54am

One of Pruitt's closest political allies in Congress said he would call for the EPA chief to step down if his ethical scandals don't stop.

(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Fight Over Federal Land In The West

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 8:06am

When the federal government says some publicly owned lands should be used "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people," who do they mean?

(Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 3:00am

Enbridge wants to build a new tar sands pipeline

Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuels. These are low-quality heavy tar-like oils that are mined from sand or rock. Much of the mining occurs in Alberta Canada, but it is also mined elsewhere, in lesser quantities.

Tar sands are the worst. Not only are they really hard to get out of the ground, requiring enormous amounts of energy; not only are they difficult to transport and to refine; not only are they more polluting than regular oils; they even have a by-product called “petcoke” that’s used in power plants, but is dirtier than regular coal.

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Categories: Environment

EU raises renewable energy targets to 32% by 2030

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 2:31am

UK called for 30% as green groups say increase does not go far enough

The EU is raising its target for the amount of energy it consumes from renewable sources, in a deal lauded by the bloc’s climate chief as a hard-won victory for the switch to clean energy.

Energy ministers agreed a binding renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, up from the previous goal of 27%, but fell short of the hopes of some countries and green groups for a more ambitious share.

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Categories: Environment

Looking To History To Combat Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 2:00am

After decades of modern fire prevention some forests are much thicker than they've been historically. New research offers a guide to thinning that could keep wildfires smaller and shorter.

(Image credit: Denver Water Department archives and Paula Fornwalt/U.S. Forest Service)

Categories: Environment

Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The Pope delivered | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/14 - 1:00am

At a gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke much-needed common sense about climate change

You kind of expect popes to talk about spiritual stuff, kind of the way you expect chefs to discuss spices or tree surgeons to make small talk about overhanging limbs.

Which is why it was so interesting this week to hear Pope Francis break down the climate debate in very practical and very canny terms, displaying far more mathematical insight than your average world leader and far more strategic canniness than your average journalist. In fact, with a few deft sentences, he laid bare the hypocrisy that dominates much of the climate debate.

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Categories: Environment

People in Manchester 'exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 4:01pm

Report finds life expectancy in region reduced by average of six months due to pollution

Dangerous levels of air pollution are having a devastating impact on the health of people living in Greater Manchester and costing the regional economy £1bn every year, according to a new study.

The report found that toxic air is reducing life expectancy in the region by an average six months and, over the next century, estimates “1.6 million life years” will be lost unless action is taken.

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Categories: Environment

Weatherwatch: Mauvoisin disaster triggered scientific interest in glaciers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 1:30pm

A ‘glacial lake outburst flood’ killed 44 people and many animals in 1818 in Switzerland

In June 1818, ice falling from the tongue of the Giétro glacier had in effect blocked the valley of Mauvoisin in Switzerland. Water was building up behind this ice dam to dangerous levels, and engineers were called in to release it gradually. They drilled a hole through the ice, but it did not relieve the water pressure quickly enough. On 16 June at 4.30pm the ice dam burst, disintegrating and releasing all the water at once.

The result was a catastrophic “glacial lake outburst flood”, a phenomenon characterised by extremely high rates of water flow. Warnings did not travel as fast as the sudden rush of 20m cubic metres (4.4bn gallons) of water, which swept away bridges and buildings in its path, killing 44 people and many animals.

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Categories: Environment

Antarctica Has Lost More Than 3 Trillion Tons Of Ice In 25 Years

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 11:52am

Antarctica's ice is melting faster than was thought, say scientists who recently completed the most exhaustive assessment of the ice sheet to date.

(Image credit: Ian Joughin, University of Washington )

Categories: Environment

Antarctic ice melting faster than ever, studies show

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 10:00am

Rate of melt has accelerated threefold in last five years and could contribute 25cm to sea-level rises without urgent action

Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies.

A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.

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