Environment

'Buses with fins': giant basking sharks reappear off California coast

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 11:08am

The marine behemoths, which can weigh more than 10,000 pounds, are returning in numbers not seen in decades

Giant basking sharks have reappeared off the coast of southern California in numbers not seen in decades.

“The sight just takes your breath away – it’s magic,” said Lotti Keenan, who saw nearly a dozen basking sharks while on a whale-watching cruise in April. Three of them circled the boat. “We knew this was such a rare thing. And people on the boat were screaming with excitement – it was like you were at a soccer game.”

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Categories: Environment

Britain passes one week without coal power for first time since 1882

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 6:05am

Landmark follows government pledge to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025

Britain has gone a week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since Queen Victoria was on the throne, in a landmark moment in the transition away from the heavily polluting fuel.

The last coal generator came off the system at 1.24pm on 1 May, meaning the UK reached a week without coal at 1.24pm on Wednesday, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator, which runs the network in England, Scotland and Wales.

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Categories: Environment

This Company Says The Future Of Nuclear Energy Is Smaller, Cheaper And Safer

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 3:02am

An Oregon company plans a new kind of nuclear power plant that many consider the future of the industry. It's smaller and cheaper and could work well with renewable energy.

(Image credit: NuScale Power)

Categories: Environment

Fresh mountain smog? 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality – study

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 3:00am

Report finds popular parks such as Yosemite and Joshua Tree have pollution at levels that threaten visitors and wildlife

Sign up for the This Land is your Land newsletter to get monthly updates on the threat to America’s public lands.

Millions of tourists will head out into America’s national parks this summer in search of fresh mountain air. But according to a new report they should instead expect dangerous levels of pollution; roughly 96% of the nation’s parks are struggling with significant air quality issues.

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Categories: Environment

US is hotbed of climate change denial, major global survey finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 11:00pm

Exclusive: Out of 23 big countries, only Saudi Arabia and Indonesia had higher proportion of doubters

The US is a hotbed of climate science denial when compared with other countries, with international polling finding a significant number of Americans do not believe human-driven climate change is occurring.

A total of 13% of Americans polled in a 23-country survey conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project agreed with the statement that the climate is changing “but human activity is not responsible at all”. A further 5% said the climate was not changing.

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Categories: Environment

Nearly two dozen Democrats want to be president. Only two have a climate change plan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 11:00pm

Scientists have warned that governments have about 11 years to enact large-scale climate legislation to stop global warming

Of the nearly two dozen Democrats running for president, only two campaigns have so far laid out deadlines for transforming American life to slash the pollution that is warming the planet’s climate.

The world’s scientists warn that governments have about 11 years to put in place strategies to cut emissions from power plants, cars, buildings, factories and land use. Once the next US president takes office, they will have nine years.

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Categories: Environment

'We are hammering the last nail in the coffin of the fracking industry'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 10:00pm

Direct action has spooked the government, shackled the shale gas companies and raised public awareness. Are protesters winning the fight against the frackers?

It was always a poisoned chalice, mediating between multinational fracking firms and the local communities dead set against the extreme form of energy extraction in their backyards. Nonetheless, it still shocked many when the government’s “shale commissioner”, the former Labour MP Natascha Engel, resigned at the end of last month after barely six months in the job.

The role was impossible, despaired Engel, who lost her seat in North East Derbyshire in 2017 after coming out in favour of fracking in the constituency. The government, she complained, was “choosing to listen to a powerful environmental lobby campaigning against fracking rather than allowing science and evidence to guide our policymaking”.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand introduces bill for zero carbon emissions by 2050

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 6:07pm

Jacinda Ardern says law will address climate change but faces opposition from farmers over plans to reduce methane emissions

A landmark bill which would set a target of zero carbon emissions for New Zealand by 2050 has been tabled in the New Zealand parliament.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday that the bill, which would introduce targets for carbon and biogenic methane emissions and would establish an independent climate change commission, was aimed at addressing the “long-term challenge of climate change” – the biggest single challenge facing the world.

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Categories: Environment

Australians overwhelmingly agree climate emergency is nation's No 1 threat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 5:52pm

Lowy poll showing two-thirds of people say global warming is serious problem comes as shock UN report finds 1 million species at risk of extinction

New polling from a respected foreign policy thinktank underscores the point that 2019 is the climate change election, with a majority of Australians saying global warming is a critical threat.

The poll undertaken for Lowy says 64% of adults rank climate change number one on a list of 12 threats to Australia’s national interests, up six points from last year’s survey and a jump of 18 points since 2014.

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Categories: Environment

'Not adequate': experts rate Australian political response to extinction crisis

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 3:00pm

Following the publication of the UN’s shocking report, we ask three experts to review and rank commitments from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens

The United Nations’ global assessment of environmental health is grim: biodiversity declining at an unprecedented rate, one million species at risk of extinction, human populations in jeopardy if the trajectory is not reversed.

With the election less than two weeks away, Guardian Australia asked the Coalition, Labor and the Greens to explain how they planned to respond to the crisis. Three of the country’s leading scientists assessed what the parties had to say.

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Categories: Environment

Chernobyl review – chaos reigns in confusing nuclear disaster epic

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 2:00pm

With Jared Harris starring, this miniseries about the 1986 meltdown should be gripping – but instead strands viewers in a bewildering cloud of unanswered questions

Chernobyl is like the 80s nuclear horror-drama Threads crossed with the disaster-movie classic The Towering Inferno – but delivers neither the shocking realism of one nor the schlocky flair of the other. Sky Atlantic’s five-part miniseries (co-produced with HBO) dramatises the 1986 disaster at the nuclear power station in what is now Ukraine.

It is – at least so far – a confusing sprawl for anyone not au fait with the details of the catastrophe itself, the workings of nuclear reactors generally, or with a very good eye for faces obscured by dust and smoke, and a knack for remembering complicated names drowned out by the sound of reactor cores exploding.

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Categories: Environment

Mike Pompeo rejects Canada's claims to Northwest Passage as 'illegitimate'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 10:04am

Speech to Arctic Council delegates prompted frustration and surprise among experts and government officials

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has rejected Canada’s claims to the Northwest Passage as “illegitimate”, in a high-profile foreign policy speech that prompted frustration and surprise among experts and government officials.

Related: US warns Beijing's Arctic activity risks creating 'new South China Sea'

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Categories: Environment

Can we humans save ourselves from self-destruction? | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 9:59am
Richard Middleton, Robin Russell-Jones, Judith Wright, Tom Fyans, Richard Aldwinckle, John Nissen, and Mayer Hillman respond to the latest dire warnings from scientists and policymakers on biodiversity and climate change

Eduardo Brondizio’s observation – “We have been displacing our impact around the planet from frontier to frontier. But we are running out of frontiers” – is crucial (Humanity facing ‘urgent threat’ from loss of Earth’s natural life, 7 May). This frontier-based structure of thought, in which there is always a beyond, an outside, a domain of otherness, underpins the dichotomies of class and hence of economics (capital and labour); of race, religion and migration; of gender and sexuality; as well as that of ecology. In every sphere, the uncivilised, untamed, more “natural” partner is positioned for exploitation and subordination. This is the basic structure underlying capitalism, but probably goes back much further to the beginnings of agriculture, when the land was first “tamed”.

Its time is up. We have reached the final frontier and there is no longer any outside. The very concept of “nature” is misleading, since it positions human beings over and against something different called the natural world, and which therefore can be conceptualised as providing us with “services”. The concept should be junked.
Richard Middleton
Crossmichael, Dumfries and Galloway

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Categories: Environment

Unnatural Order: The Human Threat To Life On Earth

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 7:06am

A new U.N. report says one million species of plants and animals are facing extinction. What can we do about it?

(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Barclays Bank fossil fuel funding protests to spread worldwide

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 4:00am

Labour group Momentum joins activists to target branches in Germany, US and Canada

A UK-based campaign to pressure Barclays to stop its multibillion pound funding of fossil fuel corporations is spreading to countries around the world.

In the civil disobedience protests, organised by the grassroots Labour group Momentum and activists from People and Planet, campaigners disrupted business at 40 Barclays branches across the UK in March.

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Categories: Environment

Cambridge University agrees to explore fossil fuel divestment plan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 2:46am

Ex-archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams welcomes plans for fully costed proposals

The former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has welcomed an “urgent change” by Cambridge University, after it agreed to provide fully costed plans setting out how it could divest multibillion-pound endowments from fossil fuel corporations.

The university’s management accepted a motion, known as a grace, which urged Cambridge to “set out fully the advantages and disadvantages, including the social and political ones”, of divestment from global coal, oil and gas companies.

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Categories: Environment

U.N. Report: 1 Million Animal And Plant Species Are At Risk Of Extinction

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 2:01am

Humans are threatening the natural world as we know it. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to marine biologist Dr. David Obura, one of the lead authors of the U.N. report.

Categories: Environment

News Brief: U.S.-China Trade Talks, Humans Accelerate Species' Extinction

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 2:01am

The White House is fighting China in trade talks, but a new report found top advisers battled over whether to impose tariffs on Chinese imports. The U.N. warns which species are at risk of extinction.

Categories: Environment

Adani refuses to commit to size of 'scaled-down' Carmichael coalmine

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/05/06 - 11:19pm

Exclusive: Company pursues approvals based on original plans for 60m-tonne megamine

Adani has refused to commit to the size of its “scaled-down” Carmichael coal project and is still pursuing final approvals based on plans for a 60m-tonne megamine in central Queensland.

The Queensland government has confirmed that while Adani announced last year it intended to build a much smaller mine, the Indian company has filed no formal plans on that basis.

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Categories: Environment

Selfridges makes all own-brand foods free of palm oil

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/05/06 - 4:01pm

Department store says milestone has been achieved nine months ahead of target

Selfridges has become the first major UK retailer to make its own-brand foods completely free of palm oil, nine months ahead of its original target and as part of its long-term sustainable strategy.

The upmarket department store is poised to announce that the nearly 300 products in its Selfridges Selection range on sale in its food halls – including chocolates and biscuits – are free of palm oil, along with its own-label cakes and mince pies for Christmas this year.

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Categories: Environment
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