Environment

Future-proof UK coastal areas against rising sea levels, says National Trust

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/11 - 1:05am

Charity says many of its sites have been battered by storms and hit hard by high tides this winter

A clear national strategy is "urgently needed" to help future-proof coastal areas from rising sea levels and extreme weather, according to a report published by the National Trust on Friday.

The trust, one of the UK's biggest coastal owners, says many of its sites have been "battered" by storms and "hit hard" by high tides this winter.

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Australias beaches littered with 150m pieces of rubbish, says CSIRO

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 8:58pm

Remote beaches are the least tidy and 80% of rubbish is from land-based sources such as plastic drink bottles

An estimated 150m pieces of rubbish are strewn upon Australias beaches, with many remote locations far less tidy than beaches close to cities, a CSIRO study has found.

The government science agency has been surveying more than 175 beaches around Australias coastline since 2011 to assess the extent of human-caused waste. The project, which concludes in June, has found that when population factors are accounted for, the more remote beaches contain a proportionally greater amount of rubbish than those next to large population centres.

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Categories: Environment

What's A Breath Of Fresh Air Worth? In China, About $860

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 2:06pm

A Beijing artist who collected a jar of air from Provence, France, sold it at auction "to question China's foul air and express dissatisfaction."

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Country Diary: Wepham Down, West Sussex: The curious calls and stifled sneezes of a multitude of birds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 1:00pm
Wepham Down, West Sussex: A partridge defends his covey while finches and buntings swirl in the sky

Low rain cloud shrouds the down. Water cascades down the track in small rivers. In spite of the rain, skylarks climb into the air all around, flinging their songs against the dark, blustery sky. A grey partridge leaps up and I stop and crouch, instinctively thinking I've disturbed it. As I approach carefully, I can hear the "stifled sneeze" calls of several partridges, all close by. They are agitated, their orange-cheeked faces glancing around from the long grass, but they are preoccupied with each other rather than with me.

A male is defending its covey from several keen-looking rivals. It faces down one bird, suddenly running at it. The other jumps and turns in fright and the pursuit continues in and out of the long grass, culminating in a tightening spiral before the chasing bird nips the other on the tail. The attacked bird shrieks and flaps into the air. Satisfied, its pursuer turns and lunges at another loitering partridge and the chase begins again.

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Categories: Environment

Greenpeace and TV chef celebrate as tuna producer agrees to change ways

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 12:41pm
Oriental & Pacific's owner LDH tells campaigners it will sell only sustainably sourced tuna from April 2015

Greenpeace and the television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are claiming victory for sea creatures after a producer of cut-price tuna linked to a controversial fishing method that can kill sharks, rays and turtles agreed to change its ways.

LDH, owner of Oriental & Pacific, a brand stocked by Tesco and Asda, told campaigners it would sell only sustainably sourced tuna from April 2015.

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Categories: Environment

El Niño likely to hit later this year, recent climate reports show

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 12:39pm

Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, pegged the likelihood at more than 50%

The chances have increased over the past month that the much-feared El Niño phenomenon, which has the potential to wreak havoc on global crops, would strike by summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the federal US weather forecaster said Thursday.

In its monthly report, the Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, pegged the likelihood at more than 50%.

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Categories: Environment

Harvard faculty members urge university to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 10:42am

Nearly 100 professors petition university to purge its $33bn endowment of holdings in oil and coal companies

Nearly 100 professors have accused Harvard of a failure of leadership on climate change and called on the university to sell off its investments in fossil fuels.

In an open letter released on Thursday, some 93 faculty members urged Harvard to purge its nearly $33bn endowment of all holdings in oil and coal companies.

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Desmond Tutu calls for anti-apartheid style boycott of fossil fuel industry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 9:03am
Nobel peace prize winner calls for organisations to cut ties with industry and for investors to dump fossil fuel stocks Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The worlds top 10 most unusual and endangered birds - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 9:00am

Scientists from the Zoological Society of London and Yale University have assessed the worlds 9,993 bird species according to their evolutionary distinctiveness and global extinction risk to produce a list of the worlds 100 most unusual and endangered birds. Here are the top 10

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We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet | Desmond Tutu

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 9:00am
We must stop climate change. And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters

Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects.

This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada's carbon emissions by over 30%.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists name world's 100 most unusual and endangered birds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 9:00am
'Little dodo', flightless parrot and giant ibis among species ranked by evolutionary distinctiveness and global extinction risk

In pictures - top 10 most unusual and endangered birds Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Which UK borough has the most deaths from air pollution? - interactive map

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 6:51am
A new study from Public Health England looks at deaths from particulate air pollution by each UK borough. The default view of the map shows the percentage of deaths in 2010 calculated to be caused by fine particulate matter (ambient PM2.5) concentration in each local authority, according to central estimates. You can also switch to see that particulate matter concentration on its own.

Be warned though because of uncertainty of the effect of particulate air pollution, the mortality risk could range from approximately one-sixth to double these figures but this map shows what the official estimates are at the moment Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Kensington and Chelsea is borough with most polluted air in UK

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 6:50am
Traffic levels give London and south-east England the worst air, finds first study to measure pollution by borough

Kensington and Chelsea has the most polluted air in the United Kingdom, with more than one in 12 of all deaths in the London borough attributable to tiny particles of soot largely emitted by diesel engines. The only other borough with similar pollution levels is nearby Westminster.

The statistics, collated by locality for the first time by Public Health England an agency of the Department of Health suggest that London and south-east England have by far the worst air in Britain, largely due to traffic levels. In London, 3,389 people died of air pollution and 41,404 "life years" were lost in 2010, while in south-east England, 4,034 people died and 41,728 years were lost.

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Stand up for the things we love that are threatened by climate change | Neil Thorns

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 5:12am

From chocolate and coastlines to bee and butterfly habitats, we need to protect the cherished things that climate change endangers

I dont usually expect to be picking my way through seaweed, pebbles and assorted debris from the sea when I stroll along the promenade in Brighton, but after the recent storms this is what I found as beach and pavement merged into one.

Walking along the seafront is one of the pleasures of living in Brighton, the commute to London is not. Both were disrupted in the storms, although nothing like the misery caused to people on the Somerset Levels and fellow commuters using the main rail link between Devon and Cornwall. All along the south coast thousands of seabirds were washed up dead on the shoreline.

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James Lovelock: we should give up on saving the planet video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 4:02am
James Lovelock has spent his career in science defying the mainstream, with startling results. He accurately measured the extent of ozone depletion in the atmosphere using home-made equipment, and is most famous for the Gaia hypothesis, which suggests the Earth is a self-regulating system that enables life to exist on the planet. The theory shaped environmental scientists' exploration of climate change. As London's Science Museum opens a new exhibition dedicated to his life and work, Lovelock gives Ian Sample an exclusive tour Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Jar of French mountain air sells for £512 in polluted Beijing

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2014/04/10 - 1:08am

Artist puts up glass of Provence air for auction in artistic protest against air quality in China

Beijing artist Liang Kegang returned from a business trip in southern France with well-rested lungs and a small item of protest against his home city's choking pollution: a glass jar of clean, Provence air.

He put it up for auction before a group of about 100 Chinese artists and collectors late last month, and it fetched 5,250 yuan (£512).

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Tory plan to limit onshore windfarms will raise energy bills, engineers warn

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2014/04/09 - 10:00pm
Royal Academy of Engineering report shows replacing onshore turbines with offshore wind would add extra cost to bills

A Conservative party plan to limit the number of onshore windfarms would drive up household energy bills, according to the UK's most eminent engineers.

Replacing a single banned onshore turbine with offshore wind power, which is more expensive, would cost £300,000 a year more in subsidies, with the extra cost being added to bills, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) said. The engineers also said a cap on turbines would make it harder to meet the UK's legally binding targets for renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions.

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Abbot Point gas project could dredge further half a million cubic metres

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2014/04/09 - 9:31pm

Proposed liquefied natural gas terminal beside Great Barrier Reef follows approval to dredge 3m cubic metres of seabed

A proposed gas project beside the Great Barrier Reef could involve dredging a further half a million cubic metres of seabed at Abbot Point a port where expansion already faces bitter opposition from environmentalists.

The Cooper to Abbot Point Liquefied Natural Gas Project, which has been submitted to the government for environmental assessment, may require dredging to clear the way for ships to export the resource.

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Categories: Environment

Why Do Some Clouds Drop Rain, While Others Don't?

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2014/04/09 - 3:26pm

With little relief in sight for California's record drought, scientists are trying to learn why some clouds rain and other don't. As Lauren Sommer of KQED says, they're finding surprising answers.

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