Fukushima 360: walk through a ghost town in the nuclear disaster zone – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 8:53pm

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What happens to a town that has been abandoned for seven years after a nuclear meltdown? Greenpeace took former residents and a 360-degree camera into the radiation zone north of Fukushima to mark the anniversary of the disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi plant was damaged by a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake on the afternoon of 11 March 2011. The tsunami killed almost 19,000 people along the north-east coast of Japan and forced more than 150,000 others living near the plant to flee radiation. Some of the evacuated neighbourhoods are still deemed too dangerous for former residents to go back.

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Categories: Environment

Volkswagens in Australia using more diesel after recall, research finds

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 5:59pm

Australian Automobile Association calls for real-world testing after finding nitrogen oxide emissions four times the levels observed in lab

Volkswagen cars in Australia are guzzling up to 14% more diesel fuel after a recall fix designed to cut emissions, research has found, reigniting calls for emissions to be tested in the real world rather than a laboratory.

The analysis, commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association, which is campaigning for real-world testing, examined affected VW cars before recall and immediately after.

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Categories: Environment

Can Queensland Labor end broadscale land clearing, as promised?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 4:58pm

Green groups welcome proposed changes to land-clearing law but there are still reasons to doubt they are enough to halt the crisis

Last week, the Queensland government tabled a highly anticipated bill seeking to implement its promise to “end broadscale clearing in Queensland”.

Queensland is responsible for more tree clearing than the rest of the country combined, so making good on that promise would go a long way to halting Australia’s growing land clearing crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Poll of Malcolm Turnbull's electorate finds 75% back review of Adani approval

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 10:00am

Wentworth voters overwhelmingly favour review – including 70% of Liberal supporters

More than 75% of voters in Malcolm Turnbull’s Sydney electorate of Wentworth would support reviewing the environmental approvals for the controversial Queensland Adani coalmine, according to a new opinion poll.

A ReachTel survey of 676 residents in the prime minister’s electorate, commissioned by the progressive thinktank, the Australia Institute, found an emphatic majority favoured a review of the project approvals, including 70% of Liberal voters.

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Categories: Environment

Will the Labrador energy switcher make you switch suppliers?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 9:13am

Startup claims device will automatically switch smart-meter users three times a year and save them £300

A device that plugs into a home broadband router and automatically switches supplier when cheaper deals become available is set to revolutionise the home energy market.

The launch of Labrador comes as more and more people are changing their energy companies.

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Categories: Environment

'On a hot day, it's horrific': Alabama kicks up a stink over shipments of New York poo

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 4:00am

New York sends its treated sewage to other states to avoid dumping it in the sea – but it has plagued residents with a terrible stench

New York City is the beating heart of global finance, a cultural behemoth, and home to more than 8.5 million people who create an enormous amount of poo. Some of this expelled waste has been causing a major stink 900 miles away, in Alabama.

Related: Environmental racism case: EPA rejects Alabama town's claim over toxic landfill

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Categories: Environment

Prince Charles laments loss of craft skills in communities

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 4:21pm

Royal announces amalgamation of four charities to help protect communities and local heritage

The Prince of Wales has urged communities not to lose the dwindling skills that shaped the built environment and prevent specialist trades from disappearing “at an alarming rate”.

Ahead of his 70th birthday in November, the prince also said he was “deeply concerned” that young people were growing up without a basic understanding of how the world works and our relationship with food.

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Categories: Environment

Big firms push to overturn uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 10:10am

Companies say mining poses scant threat but conservation groups say ban should remain until environmental risks have been fully explored

The US mining industry has asked the supreme court to overturn an Obama-era rule prohibiting the mining of uranium on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

Related: Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

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Categories: Environment

False emissions ratings cost UK more than £2bn a year – report

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 1:01am

Some new diesel models emit 12 times legal limit, while others ‘are the cleanest cars on the road’

False emissions ratings for cars based on lab tests have cost the UK more than £2bn a year in lost tax revenue, according to the Green party.

With CO2 emissions exceeding official measures by an average of 42%, millions of vehicles have been placed in tax bands that do not reflect their true levels of pollution, according to new research published on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment

Green power and water recycling: be switched on by switching off

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 2:20pm

Each Australian uses an average of 100,000 litres of water a year, and our electricity use is extreme. Our series Life Swaps looks at ways to reduce the load

Despite living on Earth’s driest populated continent, Australians throw around water as though the supply were endless. We are the planet’s greatest per capita consumers of water, with each person using an average 100,000 litres a year. Much of that is invisible to consumers, expended on the food and products we buy.

Our electricity use isn’t much better. A recent Environmental Justice Australia investigation found east coast coal-fired power stations – where emissions limits trail places such as China – are responsible for deadly pollution that causes a suspected 130 premature deaths a year in Sydney alone. Yet oil and coal remain our primary energy sources, powering 70% of the nation.

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Categories: Environment

UK defies EU over Indonesian palm oil trade, leaked papers show

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 10:27am

UK is pushing for a deal that would boost imports linked to deforestation despite EU moves to ban unsustainable palm oil, diplomatic papers reveal

The UK is defying EU institutions to push for a hike in nominally “sustainable” Indonesian palm oil imports which have nonetheless been linked to deforestation, leaked documents show.

The European parliament is currently trying to force a ban on EU biofuels using palm oil, which have driven deforestation and contributed to the loss of 150,000 orangutans in Indonesia since 2002.

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Categories: Environment

Getting Climate Change Right: In Light Of The Stars

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 9:52am

When it comes to facing global warming, dealing with climate change and making informed choices for our cherished "project of civilization," we've been asking the wrong question, says Adam Frank.

(Image credit: Getty Images/WIN-Initiative RM)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 7:00am

Spinner dolphins and a rehabilitated owl are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

In The Recycling World, Why Are Some Cartons Such A Problem?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 6:00am

Because of layers of material that can be difficult to separate, many containers for juices and broths have traditionally been destined for landfills. But recycling them is getting easier.

(Image credit: KidStock/Getty Images )

Categories: Environment

Tories have cost households £1,000 in energy bills, says Labour

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 5:52am

Labour says Conservative government should have intervened earlier

Labour has accused the Conservatives of costing British households nearly £1,000 in extra energy costs over the past seven years by failing to stop electricity and gas firms raising prices.

While the government is now imposing an energy price cap, the opposition attacked what it said was a record of inaction by successive Tory governments.

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Categories: Environment

Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 4:00am

Exclusive: extractive industry companies who met with Kathleen Benedetto later saw direct benefits from administration decisions

A key Trump administration official scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed.

Further investigation shows that some of the firms she met later benefited directly from administration decisions that weakened wilderness and wildlife protections.

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Categories: Environment

UN moves towards recognising human right to a healthy environment

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 1:00am

Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment

It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the world body’s chief investigator of murders, beatings and intimidation of environmental defenders.

John Knox, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said the momentum for such a move – which would significantly raise the global prominence of the issue – was growing along with an awareness of the heavy toll being paid by those fighting against deforestation, pollution, land grabs and poaching.

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Categories: Environment

Bike safety consultation shows someone in government might understand cycling

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 12:00am

Amid plans for an unnecessary law change targeting cyclists, a parallel government consultation on safety makes some unexpectedly sensible points

For those interested in the many benefits that come from getting more people cycling, there’s some bad news and good news today – and in another minor compensation, at least the bad news was widely expected.

This is the confirmation from the Department for Transport (DfT) that, as widely trailed at the weekend, a review it commissioned has recommended there should be a new law about causing death or injury by dangerous cycling, as for driving.

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Categories: Environment

Tories lambasted for rejecting 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 11:01pm

Government accused of warm words but no action on reducing throwaway packaging waste

The government has rejected calls for a “latte levy” to be introduced on takeaway cups to reduce the amount of waste they create.

Mary Creagh, the chair of the environmental audit committee, accused ministers of being all talk and no action after they refused to adopt a charge on throwaway cups similar to the plastic bag levy.

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Categories: Environment

Nuclear fusion on brink of being realised, say MIT scientists

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 10:01pm

Carbon-free fusion power could be ‘on the grid in 15 years’

The dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised, according to a major new US initiative that says it will put fusion power on the grid within 15 years.

The project, a collaboration between scientists at MIT and a private company, will take a radically different approach to other efforts to transform fusion from an expensive science experiment into a viable commercial energy source. The team intend to use a new class of high-temperature superconductors they predict will allow them to create the world’s first fusion reactor that produces more energy than needs to be put in to get the fusion reaction going.

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Categories: Environment
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