Meet the conductor: London set to trial first all-electric doubledecker bus

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 8:18am

London mayor Boris Johnson announces the trial of all-electric bus on route 16 between Cricklewood and Victoria station

The first fully electric London doubledecker bus will enter service in October, as transport authorities try to reduce the capital’s air pollution levels.

Transport for London said the Chinese-built bus would be the the world’s first purpose-built electric doubledecker.

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Categories: Environment

Iceland whaling season under way despite protest

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 8:02am

Iceland fisheries ministry issues whalers with a quota of 154 fin whales in defiance of 1986 ban and more than 700,000 signatures against the hunt

Icelandic whaling boats have left port to begin the 2015 whaling season, authorities said on Monday as more than 700,000 people signed a petition calling for an end to the hunt.

Two whaling boats, Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9, left on Sunday, Gunnlaugur Gunnlaugsson, the manager of the Hvalfjordur whaling station, told AFP.

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Categories: Environment

Glastonbury organisers: keep the spirit of the festival – make it vegetarian

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 6:22am

170,000 people could come to an event that proudly proclaims itself meat- and fish-free. Wouldn’t it be great for Glastonbury to be able to say ‘no animals were harmed during the making of this festival?’

We are trained in consumption from the first glimmers of consciousness. Wherever we look, we are bombarded by exhortations to develop new, unmet needs; to acquire a hunger that can never be sated.

The aim of advertising, marketing and the media is to create social norms: to ensure that certain suites of behaviour are normalised and naturalised to the degree that they become almost instinctive.

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Categories: Environment

The prospects for UK shale gas have never looked bleaker | Damian Carrington

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 6:17am

Cuadrilla are almost certain to appeal Lancashire county council’s decision, but the nascent fracking industry in the UK may never recover from this blow

Be in no doubt, it is a seismic decision. Nine county councillors have defied the full-throated backing of David Cameron, well over £100m of spending from shale gas firm Cuadrilla and their own planning officers to reject plans for the UK’s first full-scale fracking.

Cuadrilla are near certain to appeal, but the nascent fracking industry in the UK may never recover from this blow. Councillors around the country will feel emboldened to stand up to the intense national pressure to back fracking. In the future, this may well be seen as the day the fracking dream died.

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Categories: Environment

Rich countries' $100bn promise to fight climate change 'not delivered'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 5:51am

Brazil, China, India and South Africa say they are disappointed in failure to make good on promise six years ago to mobilise $100bn a year by 2020

Rich countries are very, very far from raising the billions they promised to help poor countries fight climate change, jeopardising the prospects of reaching a global warming deal at Paris, the world’s rising economies warned.

As a key United Nations meeting got underway, Brazil, China, India and South Africa said they were disappointed in rich countries’ failure to make good on a promise six years ago to mobilise $100bn a year by 2020 for climate finance.

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Categories: Environment

John Busby obituary

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 5:43am
Wildlife artist and teacher best known for his book Drawing Birds

“My work is rooted in landscape and in the living birds and animals as they are part of it. I aim to show how creatures move and to express the visual delight they bring. I try to combine accuracy with artistry.” So the wildlife artist John Busby, who has died aged 87, summed up his approach. As well as portraying the natural world in his inimitable style, Busby also inspired several generations of leading artists: not simply through his drawings and paintings, but also through the more direct medium of teaching.

He was born in Bradford, son of Eric and Margaret Busby. Eric was a director of the department store Busbys’ of Bradford and later, because of his interest in John’s work as an artist, opened the Goosewell Gallery, in the village of Menston, Wharfedale. John was brought up in Wharfedale, where he developed an early interest in nature, especially birds. He attended Ilkley grammar school, and then studied art at Leeds University and Edinburgh College of Art. After graduating in 1955, he travelled to France and Italy before returning to Edinburgh, where he taught drawing and painting at the art college for more than 30 years until his retirement in 1988.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking application rejected by Lancashire county council

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 3:26am

Anti-fracking campaigners visibly delighted as councillors reject Cuadrilla’s application to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road

Lancashire county council has rejected a planning application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to frack in the county, in a major blow to what would have been the UK’s biggest round of fracking so far.

Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the county hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded.

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Categories: Environment

Residents Grow More Desperate Without Water In California Town

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 2:05am

A town in California's Central Valley is at the center of the state's drought. Renee Montagne talks to Pastor Roman Hernandez about the thousands of residents who don't have water in East Porterville.

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Categories: Environment

Bill Gates to invest $2bn in breakthrough renewable energy projects

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 12:06am

Bill Gates plans to double investment in green energy technology and research to combat climate change, but rejects calls to divest from fossil fuels

Bill Gates has announced he will invest $2bn (£1.3bn) in renewable technologies initiatives, but rejected calls to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are burning carbon at a rate that ignores international agreements to limit global warming.

Related: Could this be the world's most efficient solar electricity system?

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Categories: Environment

The golden poison dart frog: 'Like holding a loaded gun' – video

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2015/06/29 - 12:00am
Lucy Cooke, the 'amphibian avenger', really loves frogs. She travels to a remote region of Colombia's wild west to look for one of the world's most toxic animals: Phyllobates terribilis, the golden poison frog. Protecting it from extinction isn't an easy job – it lives among gold mines, drug runners, guerrillas and local people sceptical of protecting a frog that could kill them. Can Lucy's love for this rare orange frog convince them?

With thanks to:
The Rainforest Trust
Pro Aves
Synchronicity Earth Foundation Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Solar plane Impulse 2 takes off on the toughest leg of its journey so far – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 11:40pm
The Solar Impulse 2, which is attempting an around-the-world flight, leaves Japan on Monday bound for Hawaii. A previous takeoff was abandoned last week because of bad weather. Its journey across the Pacific Ocean – from Nanjing, China to Hawaii – is expected to be the most difficult stretch of the journey Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Mine expansion threatens NSW town and Aboriginal heritage, says community elder – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 11:17pm
As part of its campaign against an open-cut coalmine expansion, a NSW community collective has funded and produced this video profiling 65-year-old Kevin Taggart, an elder of the local Wonnarua traditional custodians. Bulga residents, alongside the custodians, have been fighting for more than five years to stop the expansion by Rio Tinto. They say it will create severe noise and dust pollution, destroy a critically endangered woodland and threaten 110 registered Aboriginal cultural sites. A final decision is expected within weeks.

This video was made by the campaign collective, Our Land Our Water Our Future Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Famous baby giant armadillo found dead

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 10:28pm

After two years of recording the surprising relationship between a baby giant armadillo and its mother, scientists have found the juvenile dead in the Brazilian Pantanal.

For almost two years, Alex the giant armadillo has been the most famous of his little-known and cryptic species. Born in June of 2013, photos and videos of Alex appeared across the global media, including the BBC, National Geographic and Mongabay. From Alex and his mother, Isabelle, researchers learned that giant armadillos are far more parental and familial than long believed.

Two weeks ago, researchers found Alex dead.

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Categories: Environment

The towpath is alive with the essence of summer

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 9:30pm

Wheelock Canal, Cheshire I see the saucer-sized, creamy-white elderflowers, the essence of summer. Celtic lore has it that fairies will appear to those who stand under an elder tree on Midsummer’s Eve

The sky is a speedwell blue as I walk along the towpath of the Wheelock canal, which runs parallel to the river Weaver. Bottle-green and crimson narrowboats decorated with pots of geraniums and horseshoes pootle by. There are dandelions bold as brass in the grass. Cow parsley, or Queen Anne’s Lace, frills the bank. Peacock butterflies alight on a purple buddleia growing out of a stone wall flecked with burnt-orange and pale-grey lichen, showing their eye-spots.

I pass under a bridge and hear the rush of water from the lock; out the other side, an explosion of swallows alternating royal-blue backs and scarlet throats as they skim the water for insects. There is a female mallard, five balls of golden-brown fluff paddling furiously to keep up with her.

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Categories: Environment

Does Australia have a workable climate change policy? – podcast

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 7:20pm
As the Abbott government gets set to unveil Australia's new target for greenhouse gas reductions after 2020, Lenore Taylor asks Professor Ross Garnaut and Frontier Economics managing director Danny Price: how do we intend to reach the target?

Does Australia have a climate policy that could work?

How we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions after 2020? Lenore Taylor asks two long-term participants in this debate; Danny Price, managing director of the consultancy firm, Frontier Economics, and Professor Ross Garnaut, who conducted two investigations of climate policy for the previous Labor government.

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Categories: Environment

Barack Obama turns tables in David Attenborough climate change interview

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 6:53pm

US president has opportunity to put questions to naturalist but ends up admitting action on climate change must be global and quicker

Barack Obama was the one asking the questions in an interview with British naturalist David Attenborough that aired on Sunday in which they agreed that combating climate change would require a global effort.

Saying he had long been a “huge admirer” of Attenborough’s TV documentaries about the environment, Obama turned the tables on Attenborough in an interview taped on 8 May at the White House, which aired on the BBC and other international broadcasters.

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Solar plane takes off in 'moment of truth' for longest solo flight in history

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 6:00pm

Solar Impulse 2 sets off on Pacific crossing from Japan to Hawaii, expected to last five days and nights in most difficult leg yet of Andre Borschberg’s attempt

A solar plane took off for what could be the longest solo flight in history on Monday, with its Swiss pilot confronting the “moment of truth” of a journey around the Pacific Ocean and around the world.

The Solar Impulse 2 set off about 3am from Nagoya, Japan, en route to Hawaii, a trip expected to take five days and nights of continuous flight.

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Migrating humpback whale freed from fishing trap near Sydney – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 4:58pm
Australian national parks staff and water police freed a migrating humpback whale from a fishing trap near Sydney Heads on Sunday. Whale watchers, tracking a pod of three frolicking whales, raised the alarm when it became clear one distressed adult was entangled in a fishing trap, dragging three buoys behind it Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Insect friends and foes in the garden: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 2 July 1915

A friend has sent some insects for identification, asking if they are useful or harmful in a garden. The green caterpillar with yellow stripes and collar is the larva of the common quaker, a neat, drab-coloured moth, as its name suggests; this grub appears to flourish on the leaves of any tree, and it was engaged in devouring the foliage of the pear when it was found; it is abundant and destructive. But he also sent me two green larvae, somewhat slug-like in shape, but with the power of lengthening out after the manner of a leech; these are as much our friends as the other green grubs are our foes. These sluggish larvae, hardly noticeable as they cling to the underside of rose or fruit tree leaves, will eventually turn into those beautiful and exceedingly active flies which poise with whirring wings above the flowers in our gardens, every now and then darting to one side or the other with a sudden jerk. There are few more voracious devourers of aphides, or green flies, than these hover-fly larvae, and, as every gardener knows, the aphis is a destructive pest. There are many books dealing with insect pests, but few give any information about insect friends; it is true that the hover-fly larvae are mentioned as natural checks on the increase of green fly and other destructive insects in several Board of Agriculture pamphlets, but in one only have I seen any attempt to describe the insect, and no figure is given. How is the puzzled agriculturist to know what to kill and what to preserve?

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Categories: Environment

World pollutionwatch: Slow progress on the exhaust front

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2015/06/28 - 1:30pm

Travel the world and you will see many of the same types of lorries, buses and cars on the roads but what comes from their exhaust can be very different.

The US, Japan and Europe were the first to set limits on health-harmful exhaust. European limits began in 1992 and got progressively tighter; allowing technology to be developed and perfected. Much of the world is following Europe but Russia lags by around eight years and others such as India, China, Mexico and Australia have no plans to adopt the latest European standards. India has no regulations beyond 15-year-old European standards and China has no national schemes beyond Europe’s 2005 standards for buses and lorries.

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