Terns follow record warm temperatures in 'shock' migration to north of Alaska

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/09/23 - 3:00am

Researchers on north-west coast of Alaska startled to discover Caspian terns 1,000 miles farther north than species had been previously recorded

Eyebrows would be raised if American crocodiles, found on the southern tip of Florida, decided to relocate to New York’s Fifth Avenue or Moroccan camels suddenly joined the tourist throng outside Buckingham Palace in London. Yet this is the scale of species shift that appears to be under way in Alaska.

In July, researchers in Cape Krusenstern national monument on the north-west coast of Alaska were startled to discover a nest containing Caspian terns on the gravelly beach of a lagoon. The birds were an incredible 1,000 miles further north than the species had been previously recorded.

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Categories: Environment

Ratifiying the Paris agreement will be a major step but must be the first of many

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/09/23 - 2:32am

Making the accord legally binding is not enough to guarantee the world keeps warming within agreed limits. That will take much more - not least ending our reliance on fossil fuels

In a rare show of international unity, more than 30 countries this week declared their plans to translate into national laws the Paris agreement on climate change.

As a result, by the end of this year, or soon after, the accord should come into effect and become binding under international law.

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Categories: Environment

Australians waste $10bn of food a year and Gen Y is largely to blame, says report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 8:39pm

Survey finds households wasting up to $1,100 of food each year with problem worst in capital cities

Australians waste $10bn of food annually with “excitable” Generation Y consumers the worst offenders, according to a new report.

The RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer 2016 Food and Farming Report found that households wasted up to $1,100 worth of food each year, or 14% of their weekly groceries, with one in four Gen Y consumers saying they threw out up to 20% of their weekly groceries.

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Categories: Environment

BP's planned response to any Great Australian Bight oil spill too slow, says expert

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 8:31pm

Andrew Hopkins says BP’s plans to drill in Bight fall short of best practice and would not be allowed in other regions

BP is proposing to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight using plans that fall a long way short of industry best practice and would not be allowed in some other regions, according to an expert in oil spill disasters.

Andrew Hopkins, emeritus professor at the Australian National University, has researched BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Writing in the Conversation he said it was “by no means obvious” that BP had reduced risks of a spill in the Bight to as low as reasonably practicable, which is the requirement under Australian law.

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Categories: Environment

How climate science deniers can accept so many 'impossible things' all at once | Graham Readfern

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 6:47pm

New research claims psychological traits could help explain why climate science deniers often make contradictory arguments

Sometimes, climate science deniers will tell you that we can’t predict global temperatures in the future. Sometimes, they’ll say we’re heading for an ice age.

Occasionally, contrarians will say that no single weather event can prove human-caused global warming. But then they’ll point to somewhere that’s cold, claiming this disproves climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Greener pastures: the dairy farmers committed to sustainability

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 4:41pm

Biological farming, conservation planning and water recycling are part of a concerted push to make the milk industry more ‘carbon confident’

It was a soil bacteria course in New Zealand that convinced Reggie Davis to change his farming methods.

The fourth-generation Victorian dairy farmer had become increasingly concerned by the costs, chemicals and time involved in the use of nitrate fertilisers to maintain – what was considered to be – high-quality pasture for his dairy herd.

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Categories: Environment

As a GMO Pillar Wobbles, Biotech Companies Promise New Insect-Killing Genes

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 1:50pm

Scientists have discovered a soil microbe with a gene that kills the corn rootworm, an insect that farmers spend $1 billion each year trying to control.

Categories: Environment

Carney backs green finance to cut emissions and boost growth

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 11:15am

Bank of England governor says more investment in green technologies could help escape low-inflation low-growth trap

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has thrown his weight behind the fledgling market in green investments to help cut carbon emissions and boost global economic growth. Carney used a speech in Berlin on Thursday to highlight green finance as an opportunity to boost financial stability while also tackling climate change.

He said more of the $100 tn (£76tn) held by big global investment firms could be channelled into green bonds to help finance initiatives such as water or renewable power projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Last year, $42bn of green bonds were sold worldwide.

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Categories: Environment

Soil carbon storage not the climate change fix it was thought, research finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 11:00am

Soil’s potential to soak up planet-warning carbon dioxide has been overestimated by as much as 40%, say scientists

Hopes that large amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide could be buried in soils appear to be grossly misplaced, with new research finding that the ground will soak up far less carbon over the coming century than previously thought.

Radiocarbon dating of soils, when combined with previous models of carbon uptake, has shown the widely assumed potential for carbon sequestration to combat climate change has been overestimated by as much as 40%.

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Categories: Environment

Second European bison found decapitated in Spain

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 10:10am

The animal was either poisoned or died naturally before beheading, a spokesman said, days after headless body of herd’s dominant male discovered at reserve

Spanish authorities are investigating the death of a second European bison, which was found decapitated just days after staff discovered the headless body of the herd’s dominant male.

The death of the bison was similar to that of Sauron, the 660kg (1,455lb) male whose decapitated body was found nearly a week earlier at the reserve.

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Categories: Environment

Personality influences lifespan as much as socioeconomic status. Why is that?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 9:59am

A group of Wisconsin nuns in the 1930s proved that positive personality traits can add years to your life. Being disagreeable, on the other hand, can be deadly

On this day in 1930, the Mother Superior of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sent a letter asking every member of the sisterhood to write an autobiography. She offered few further instructions, and so left it up to each member of the order to decide how to describe the most important episodes of their lives. Some nuns chose to insert emotional details about how their experiences had affected them. Others recounted only bald facts.

Seven decades later, researchers at the University of Kentucky found that these differences were strong predictors of how long the 180 nuns in their study lived. The more the sisters couched their accounts of personal responses to major life events in positivity, the greater their longevity.

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Categories: Environment

Autumn equinox – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 9:11am

The official first day of autumn occurs when the sun aligns directly with the Earth’s equator, creating a day and night of equal length

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Categories: Environment

Beachgoers in south-west England warned to avoid portuguese man o'war

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 9:01am

Marine experts say jellyfish-like creatures that have washed up in Cornwall and the Scilly Islands can inflict a very painful and potentially fatal sting

Marine experts have warned beachgoers to avoid jellyfish-like portuguese man o’war that have washed up in south-west England, as they can inflict a very painful and potentially fatal sting.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said it had verified half a dozen photos submitted by members of the public from beaches in Cornwall and the Scilly Islands, but the oceanic creatures could soon appear across a much wider area based on previous strandings.

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Categories: Environment

100 countries push to phase out potentially disastrous greenhouse gas

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 9:00am

Hydrofluorocarbons, commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioning systems, could add 0.5C to global temperatures by the end of the century

A loose coalition of more than 100 countries, including the US and European nations, is pushing for an early phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful greenhouse gas that if left unchecked is set to add a potentially disastrous 0.5C to global temperatures by the end of the century.

Related: Global coral bleaching event might become new normal, expert warns

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Categories: Environment

Prince William: African elephants could be gone from the wild by the time Charlotte turns 25

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 7:32am

Duke of Cambridge tells audience at a conservation charity event in London that he is not prepared to be part of a generation that lets the species disappear from the wild

Prince William says he fears the African elephant will have disappeared from the wild due to poaching by the time Princess Charlotte turns 25.

The prince told the audience of campaigners and policymakers at Time For Change – an event organised by the conservation charity Tusk, of which he is a patron – that he was “not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear from the wild”.

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Categories: Environment

Dong Energy plans world's largest windfarm repair hub at Grimsby

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 6:15am

Danish company says creation of 200-plus long-term jobs at service centre is ‘massive vote of confidence’ in the offshore sector

Dong Energy is planning to create the world’s largest offshore wind maintenance hub in Grimsby, creating at least 200 jobs.

The Danish company said the hub would be up and running from March 2018, initially serving three east coast windfarms. Westermost Rough is already operational, while Race Bank and Hornsea Project One are under construction. The three wind farms together are expected to generate enough electricity to power 1.5m homes.

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Categories: Environment

Paris climate goal will be 'difficult if not impossible to hit'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 5:30am

Top scientists meeting in Oxford this week say they see few scenarios that would meet the Paris target to limit temperature rise to 1.5C

The global target to prevent climate catastrophe, crafted at a landmark summit last year in Paris, will be very difficult if not impossible to hit, said some of world’s top scientists meeting this week in Oxford.

The first-ever climate pact to enjoin all nations vows to cap global warming at “well below” 2C compared to pre-Industrial Revolution levels – and under 1.5 C if possible.

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Categories: Environment

Apps and maps: 6 ways companies can cut their water footprints

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 5:17am

Our expert panel highlights six ways to ensure companies put water at the heart of their operations

Food, clothing, electrical goods, energy – everything we consume has a hidden water footprint. So how can businesses cut water consumption and reduce the footprints of their products?

We brought together six experts to debate the question. Here’s what we learned.

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Categories: Environment

Conservationists and MPs call for a total UK ban on ivory sales

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 5:02am

Group including William Hague, Jane Goodall and Stephen Hawking write to prime minister Theresa May saying recent crackdown on sales of ivory less than 70 years old does not go far enough

The government must implement a total ban on ivory sales in the UK, according to scores of politicians, conservationists, scientists and entertainment stars including William Hague, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking and Ricky Gervais.

Ministers this week announced a ban on ivory younger than 70 years old, but stopped short of a total ban.

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Categories: Environment

Archeologists denounce Dakota Access pipeline for destroying artifacts

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/09/22 - 3:00am

Coalition of 1,200 archeologists, museum directors and historians say $3.8bn Dakota Access pipeline disturbs Native American artifacts in North Dakota

Archeologists and museum directors have denounced the “destruction” of Native American artifacts during the construction of a contentious oil pipeline in North Dakota, as the affected tribe condemned the project in an address to the United Nations.

Related: Dakota Access Pipeline plan still on despite protests across the US and world

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