Let’s go with the grain of tidal power | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 9:43am
Fictional Leros | Tidal power in the 18th century | Feast | AA salute | Interpreters v translators

Further to your travel feature on the Greek island of Leros (9 June), may I recommend to your readers Four’s Destiny: A Wartime Greek Tragedy by Michael Powell, a fictionalised account centring on Leros. Powell weaves a clever, powerful story around some fascinating wartime history. We follow four young men, one each from England, Germany, Italy and Greece, as the second world war changes their lives and destinies.
Ruth Samuels
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

• Re the proposed Swansea Bay tidal power lagoon (Letters, 11 June), the tidal-powered grain mill on the River Lea at Bromley-by-Bow in London was economic from the 1700s to the 1930s – and without the super-efficient bearings common in today’s machinery. Such small-scale hydro-powered generators (tidal and river) should be all over the country – they’d provide work and be far less expensive than nuclear. But some city slickers won’t be so able to extract their rent from localised generation so it won’t be approved by UK’s present government.
Robin Le Mare
Allithwaite, Cumbria

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Categories: Environment

Doug Ford’s disastrous agenda can be derailed by a massive grassroots movement | Martin Lukacs

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 8:45am

The right-wing triumph in Ontario shows the left needs a new populism – backed by street protest and a bold NDP

The guardians of respectable opinion forecast that Doug Ford would never become Ontario’s Premier. Now that he has, they are suggesting his reign might be orderly and painless.

While agreeing with his basic agenda, the Globe & Mail is crossing its fingers that Ford “moves slowly on the public-service layoffs and program cuts…to avoid strikes and social discord.”

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My daughter and I paddled 22 miles, picking up plastic. Here’s what we found

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 7:49am

In a weekend scouring the Salcombe estuary, we found everything from bottles to a toy dolphin. The pollution in our waters is ubiquitous – and devastating

One My Little Pony, two crabbing buckets, five balloons, six balls, seven straws, nine shoes, a dozen coffee cups, 20 carrier bags, 205 plastic bottles and lids, polystyrene and a huge amount of rope. That is just a fraction of what my six-year-old daughter, Ella, and I collected over the course of two days last weekend, as we paddleboarded around the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary in south Devon, scouring the foreshores of every creek and cove for 22 miles.

Within seconds of setting off from South Sands beach by the mouth of the estuary, we spotted a clear plastic carrier bag floating in the shallows. Marine wildlife could easily have mistaken it for a jellyfish. Ella grabbed it with a litter picker as we paddled past.

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Rise in global carbon emissions a 'big step backwards', says BP

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 6:30am

Coal rebound and slowing efficiency gains in 2017 suggest Paris goals may be missed, says oil firm

The renewed upward march of global carbon emissions is worrying and a big step backwards in the fight against climate change, according to BP.

Emissions rose 1.6% in 2017 after flatlining for the previous three years, which the British oil firm said was a reminder the world was not on track to hit the goals of the Paris climate deal.

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Michael Gove appoints UK 'tree champion'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/13 - 2:50am

Sir William Worsley is tasked with stopping the unnecessary felling of trees and support plans to plant 11 million trees

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has appointed a “tree champion” to stop the unnecessary felling of trees and boost planting rates.

Sir William Worsley, chairman of the National Forest Company which oversees the National Forest, has been appointed to support government promises to plant 11 million trees, plus a further 1 million in towns and cities. The move, part of the pledges in the government’s 25-year environment plan, comes after a controversial tree-felling programme in Sheffield.

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Fifth of Britain’s wild mammals ‘at high risk of extinction’

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 10:01pm

Species including the wildcat and black rat may be lost within a decade while others such as deer are thriving, analysis shows

The wildcat and mouse-eared bat are on the brink, but deer are spreading and otters bouncing back, according to a comprehensive analysis.

At least one in five wild mammals in Britain faces a high risk of extinction within a decade and overall populations are falling, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date.

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Birdwatch: garden warblers are losing their scrub habitat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 1:30pm

Garden warblers in fact prefer thick scrub, which is dying out in our tidy countryside

Some birds are very well named: such as the cuckoo, treecreeper and song thrush. Others, including Kentish plover, grey wagtail and garden warbler, are almost wilfully misleading.

Garden warblers are, unlike their cousin the blackcap, hardly ever found in gardens. They prefer thick scrub, a transitory habitat that is becoming harder and harder to find in our increasingly tidy countryside.

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Categories: Environment

New Research On Sound Could Make Tornado Warnings More Accurate

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 1:26pm

Forecasters have gotten better giving advance notice of when tornadoes might strike. Now, there's a new technology that may help researchers even more: listening for the sounds of a tornado that humans can't hear.

Categories: Environment

Philanthropists' $1m pledge aims to double largest cat-free zone

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 11:00am

Andrew and Jane Clifford promise to match donations in bid to stop feral cats

A $1m donation to the fight against feral cats could help to double the size of the world’s largest cat-free sanctuary or help genetically neuter cats, conservationists say.

Sydney philanthropists Andrew and Jane Clifford have pledged to match every donation made to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy up to $1m before the end of the financial year, hoping to create a $2m fund to eradicate Australia’s cat plague.

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Cut out meat, pets and kids to save the Earth | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 10:13am
Readers react to George Monbiot’s article on dropping meat and dairy, news about Sainsbury’s selling vegan ‘fake meats’ , and a report on meat being found in vegan and vegetarian meals

Alongside George Monbiot’s suggestion (Want to save the planet? Drop meat and dairy, 8 June), another way to reduce greenhouse gases is to stop keeping pets. It’s been calculated that an average dog has an ecological footprint twice as large as that of a large car.

Like meat-eating, pet ownership is nowadays encouraged by a vast industry; the pet insurance sector alone is said to generate more of Britain’s GDP than fishing does. The production of pet food, provision of veterinary services and breeding the creatures are big businesses, all with an interest in promoting the alleged benefits of owning a furry friend.

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Ben & Jerry's joins the campaign to support onshore windfarms

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 8:17am

With names like Strawberry Breezecake and Cherry Gale-cia, ice-cream maker pushes for government re-think

Tubs of Strawberry Breeze-cake, Cherry Gale-cia and other wind-themed ice-creams will feature in a campaign by Ben & Jerry’s to persuade the government to rethink its opposition to onshore windfarms.

The renamed flavours will be sold at half price on “windy Wednesdays” to support a pro-renewables push by the Unilever-owned firm, which has a history of campaigning on climate change and environmental issues.

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Fires And Drought Close Forests In Colorado And New Mexico

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 7:23am

In southwestern Colorado, residents of more than 2,000 homes have been ordered to evacuate, and the San Juan National Forest is closed to visitors due to extreme risks.

(Image credit: AP)

Categories: Environment

Trump really has achieved a historic breakthrough – for the Kim dynasty | Jonathan Freedland

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/12 - 5:54am

With a shake of the hand, the US president has tightened Kim Jong-un’s grip over an enslaved nation – and got almost nothing in return

A useful way to test the deal Donald Trump has reached with Kim Jong-un is to imagine what Trump himself would have said had it been Barack Obama rather than him who shook hands with the North Korean dictator. Trump and his echo chamber on Fox News and elsewhere would have poured buckets of derision on Obama for the piece of paper he signed with Kim, for the fawning praise he lavished on a brutal tyrant, and for the paltry non-concessions he got in return. He would have branded the agreement a “horrible deal” and condemned Obama as a sucker for signing it.

Look first at what Kim got from the encounter. Once ostracised as a pariah, Kim was treated as a world statesman on a par with the president of the United States, the two meeting on equal terms, right down to the equal numbers of flags behind them as they shook hands. The tyrant now has a showreel of images – including his walkabout in Singapore, where he was mobbed by what the BBC called “fans” seeking selfies – which will feature in propaganda videos for months, if not years.

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Categories: Environment

How universal basic income and rewilding could save the planet | Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin

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

Are we doomed to societal collapse? Not if we break the mould of ever-greater production and consumption

Enough concrete has been produced to cover the entire surface of the Earth in a layer two millimetres thick. Enough plastic has been manufactured to clingfilm it as well. We produce 4.8bn tonnes of our top five crops, plus 4.8 billion head of livestock, annually. There are 1.2bn motor vehicles, 2bn personal computers, and more mobile phones than the 7.5 billion people on Earth.

The result of all this production and consumption is a chronic, escalating, many-sided environmental crisis. From rapid climate change to species extinctions to microplastics in every ocean, these impacts are now so large that many scientists have concluded that we have entered a new human-dominated geological period called the Anthropocene.

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Windfarm experts publish no research and had no face-to-face meetings last year

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/11 - 10:17pm

Committee was set up by former prime minister Tony Abbott to handle complaints about wind turbine noise

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An independent scientific committee on wind turbines established by the Coalition in 2015 failed to hold one face-to-face meeting last year and failed to have its research accepted by peer-reviewed journals.

The independent scientific committee on wind turbines was created to advise on the science of potential impacts of wind turbines on people’s health.

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Queensland's plan for clean energy company stalls as coal cash surges

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/11 - 10:16pm

Moves to set up state-owned CleanCo were to start in first half of 2018 but have been delayed

The Queensland government appears to have stalled on plans to create its own clean energy generation company, even as it delivered a state budget propped up by a surge in coal royalties.

The June 2017 “powering Queensland” plan introduced the idea of CleanCo, a government-owned renewable energy corporation that would operate renewable generators and develop new projects.

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Categories: Environment

Israel to top up Sea of Galilee after years of drought

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/11 - 5:35pm

Inland lake where Christians believe Jesus walked on water has reached its lowest level in a century

The shrinking Sea of Galilee, the inland lake where Christians believe Jesus walked on water, is to be topped up with desalinated seawater.

A plan given Israeli cabinet approval will pump 100 million cubic metres of water annually by 2022 into the lake in the Galilee region, said Yechezkel Lifshitz, from the country’s energy and water ministry.

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Giant African baobab trees die suddenly after thousands of years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/11 - 3:13pm

Demise of nine out of 13 of the ancient landmarks linked to climate change by researchers

Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers.

The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated.

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Gary Barlow to stop using confetti after 'littering' Eden Project

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/06/11 - 11:39am

Singer apologises for firing ticker-tape cannon at gig after outcry from environmentalists

Gary Barlow has promised not to use confetti cannons after being criticised by environmental campaigners for firing the tiny pieces of plastic during a concert at the Eden Project.

The environmental attraction in Cornwall is running a campaign against single-use plastics and has banned the sale of plastic water bottles and similar items in its shops. But the singer-songwriter went off-message during his appearance on 6 June, when the crowd was showered with ticker tape.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's emissions reduction target 'unambitious, irresponsible'

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

New Australia Institute paper finds neither Coalition nor Labor’s pollution reduction targets would see us doing our fair share

Pollution reduction targets for 2030 proposed by the Coalition and Labor will not see Australia contributing its fair share to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement, according to new research.

A paper from the progressive thinktank the Australia Institute finds the Turnbull government’s target of a 26-28% reduction on 2005 levels is “inadequate according to any recognised principle-based approach” and the Labor target of a 45% reduction is “the bare minimum necessary for Australia to be considered to be making an equitable contribution to the achievement of the Paris agreement’s two degree target”.

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