‘Sexy plants’ on track to replace harmful pesticides to protect crops

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 10:30pm

Researchers are genetically engineering plants to produce the sex pheromones of insects, which then frustrate the pests’ attempts to mate

“Sexy plants” are on the way to replacing many harmful pesticides, scientists say, by producing the sex pheromones of insects which then frustrate pests’ attempts to mate.

Scientists have already genetically engineered a plant to produce the sex pheromones of moths and are now optimising that, as well as working on new pheromones such as those of the mealybugs that plague citrus growers.

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Categories: Environment

More than 100 wedge-tailed eagles found dead on Victorian farm

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 8:27pm

The eagles – and four other protected species – are alleged to have been poisoned

More than 100 wedge-tailed eagles have been found on a farm in eastern Victoria, prompting a criminal investigation.

Officers from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) found the carcasses on a property at Tubbut, which is on the edge of the Snowy River national park near the New South Wales border in East Gippsland.

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Brumby law ‘turns Australia into global laughing stock’

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 5:38pm

Environment groups condemn legislation protecting feral horses in national park

Australia has become a “global laughing stock” after the New South Wales parliament passed legislation to protect the heritage of feral horses in the Kosciuszko national park, environment groups say.

The Berejiklian government, with support from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party and the Christian Democrats, passed the Kosciuszko wild horse heritage bill 2018 through the NSW Legislative Council late on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Preaching against plastic: Indonesia's religious leaders join fight to cut waste

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 5:26pm

Nation’s two largest Islamic organisations will call on network of 100 million followers to reduce plastic waste and reuse bags

Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest marine polluters, has decided to get religious – literally – about reducing plastic waste.

Related: Antarctica: plastic contamination reaches Earth's last wilderness

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Categories: Environment

Academic Peter Ridd not sacked for his climate views, university says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 4:00pm

‘We defend Peter’s right to make statements … until we are blue in the face,’ says deputy vice chancellor

A James Cook University boss says media reports about its sacking of controversial marine scientist Peter Ridd are “misleading and untrue” and that his academic freedom had always been upheld.

In an exclusive interview with Guardian Australia, deputy vice chancellor Prof Iain Gordon said he was frustrated at reports claiming Ridd was sacked for his fringe views on climate change or for his rejection of the scientific evidence linking human activity to degradation of the Great Barrier Reef.

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Antarctica: plastic contamination reaches Earth's last wilderness

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 1:00pm

Traces of microplastics and hazardous chemicals found in majority of snow and ice samples taken earlier this year

Plastic and traces of hazardous chemicals have been found in Antarctica, one of the world’s last great wildernesses, according to a new study.

Researchers spent three months taking water and snow samples from remote areas of the continent earlier this year.

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Categories: Environment

Hurricanes Are Moving More Slowly, Which Means More Damage

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 10:18am

Hurricanes are moving more slowly than they used to. That means storms are dumping more rain and doing more damage when they make landfall, as Hurricane Harvey did when it lingered over Houston.

(Image credit: Katie Hayes Luke for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Underreporting of toxic waste at hog farms prompts inquiry

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 8:46am

Testing of 55 North Carolina lagoons showed large discrepancies in levels of key pollutants compared to what was self-reported

Authorities in North Carolina have launched an investigation into widespread underreporting of dangerous toxins in dozens of feces-filled cesspools on giant hog farms that dot the eastern part of the state.

Testing of 55 waste lagoons at 35 hog-raising operations by regulators showed large discrepancies in levels of key pollutants compared with what was self-reported to the state by farmers. Excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which can poison the water supply, were, in many cases, much higher than that reported by the farms.

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Categories: Environment

Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 8:44am

Shoreline communities may be inundated in the next two years as ocean levels rise amid serious climate change concerns

The frequency of coastal flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years, with communities near shorelines warned that the next two years are set to be punctuated by particularly severe inundations, as ocean levels continue to rise amid serious global climate change concerns.

Related: Man missing after Maryland flash flood was helping woman rescue her cat

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Categories: Environment

John McDonnell joins Tory rebels to oppose Heathrow third runway

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 8:27am

Shadow chancellor hopes to help persuade undecided MPs to vote against expansion plan

John McDonnell has joined Conservative rebels against Heathrow’s third runway to attempt to persuade MPs who may still have reservations about the project to vote against it.

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Categories: Environment

In Thailand, 17 Pounds Of Plastic Kills Whale, Highlighting Ocean Pollution

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 7:15am

Last week, dozens of plastic bags were pulled from the stomach of a whale that researchers found washed ashore in Thailand.

(Image credit: Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources/Social Media/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS)

Categories: Environment

Farmers challenge Nationals' claim drought unrelated to climate change

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/06/06 - 1:38am

Farmers and National party voters say they are ‘increasingly frustrated’ at the lack of action on climate change

Farmers have challenged National party claims that conditions in drought-stricken regions in eastern Australia should not be politicised by attributing them to climate change.

Farmer and former Nationals leader John Anderson said this week that while the drought was the worst he had experienced, it was not unprecedented.

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Queensland ministers will be targeted if state funds roads for Adani, warn activists

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 11:17pm

If Labor decides to finance infrastructure for the Carmichael mine, it would be a betrayal of trust and break a key election promise, say anti-coal protesters

Activists say they will relaunch a disruption campaign targeting Queensland government ministers and MPs after reports the government has considered financing road upgrades required for access to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine.

The ABC reports that documents, obtained under right-to-information laws by the consultancy Energy and Resource Insights, reveal ongoing discussions about upgrades to the local dirt roads.

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Categories: Environment

I climbed Everest expecting a rubbish dump but what I found surprised me | Ben Fogle

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 11:00pm

A huge clean-up is returning the world’s highest mountain to its former glory

Just over two weeks ago I was standing on the roof of the world, both figuratively and literally. I was 8,848 metres up on the summit of Mount Everest. It was the culmination of many years’ hard work, and the realisation of a childhood dream.

I have been overwhelmed by the tide of goodwill and support but one thing has become increasingly apparent. In many people’s minds, Everest has lost her crown. She has become a mountain synonymous with death, exploitation and pollution.

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Categories: Environment

'Impossible-to-cheat' emissions tests show almost all new diesels still dirty

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 10:30pm

Other new research shows diesel vehicles cause 88% of the £6bn annual damage to people’s health from car and van exhaust in the UK

Emissions tests that are impossible for carmakers to cheat show that almost all diesel car models launched in Europe since the “dieselgate” scandal remain highly polluting.

The test uses a beam of light to analyse the exhaust plume of a car as it passes and automatic number plate recognition to link the measurement to a specific model. More than 370,000 such measurements taken in the UK, France and other countries have been compiled into new rating system called The Real Urban Emissions Initiative (True) and made available to the public on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Lava Claims 'Hundreds' More Homes On Hawaii's Big Island, Officials Say

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 5:20pm

Lava from Kilauea volcano has filled Kapoho Bay and inundated a section of coastline that was once covered with lush forest and dotted by homes.

(Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

Categories: Environment

Coles and Woolworths’ plastic bag ban and the choices that remain

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 4:00pm

What is and isn’t being phased out? And how effective will the new policy be?

By the end of June, most of Australia’s major supermarkets will have stopped handing out single-use plastic bags.

Woolworths, Coles, and the Queensland and Western Australian governments are all phasing out lightweight shopping bags, potentially preventing billions of bags from finding their way into landfill or oceans.

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Categories: Environment

Pumped hydro projects unveiled as Tasmania bids to be 'battery of the nation'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 3:22pm

State and federal governments to confirm that 14 lake sites have been earmarked

Pumped hydro projects generating energy at twice the scale of the much-vaunted Snowy 2.0 scheme will be identified across Tasmania on Wednesday, with modelling suggesting the proposal could deliver thousands of jobs between now and 2028.

The Turnbull and Hodgman governments will confirm that 14 pumped hydro sites have been earmarked across the state with a combined potential generation capacity of up to 4,800 megawatts.

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Categories: Environment

Kakadu uranium mine closure planning ignores impact on Jabiru township

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 3:00pm

Ranger mine, which ceases operations in 2021, releases plan for rehabilitation, but fails to mention town of 1,000

Operators of a controversial uranium mine inside Kakadu national park have released their plans to close it, but make no mention of how the shutdown will affect the nearby town that has relied on the mine for its survival.

The Ranger mine, which in its more than 30-year existence has had a number contamination and fire incidents, including one that prompted a six-month shutdown, will stop operations by January 2021 and close by January 2026.

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Categories: Environment

Iran launches plan to bolster uranium enrichment

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/06/05 - 12:12pm

Move piles pressure on European states scrambling to salvage nuclear deal

Iran has launched a plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity with new centrifuges, raising the pressure on European diplomats scrambling to rescue the crumbling nuclear deal after the US pulled out.

“If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz [plant], we can announce the opening of the centre for production of new centrifuges,” said the vice-president, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, according to conservative news agency Fars on Tuesday.

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