Shark nets don't enclose swimmers – they catch and kill sharks | Leah Gibbs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 3:42pm

The suggestion that nets prevent bites is an oversimplification of a complex story, a misrepresentation of technology and data

Mike Baird has this week announced a plan for a six-month trial of shark nets off the beaches of northern New South Wales. This would extend the state’s shark net program from the 51 beaches now netted between Wollongong and Newcastle.

The premier’s announcement was triggered by a surfer receiving minor injuries on Wednesday after he was bitten by a shark at Sharpes beach near Ballina.

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Categories: Environment

Winter Heating Costs Likely To Increase

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 3:04pm

The federal government says higher fuel prices and colder weather will add up to a steeper bill than last year for consumers heating their homes this winter.

Categories: Environment

Autumn: a season of saints and little summers

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 1:30pm

According to folklore there could be several distinct spells of good weather in autumn, each named after a saint’s day

Spells of fine autumn weather used to be known as gossamer, a contraction of “goose summer”. The name was applied because this was when geese were eaten, having been fattened up in the previous months.

These spells were notable for gossamer threads, the mass of fine spider webs which catch the sun in stubble fields on a bright autumn morning. Now gossamer is used only to describe fine threads rather than weather.

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Categories: Environment

Gorilla recaptured after escape at London zoo

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 10:52am

Animal reportedly shot with tranquiliser dart after zoo said it was ‘managing an incident’

London zoo was placed under lockdown on Thursday after a gorilla escaped from its enclosure.

Armed police were called to the central London attraction and visitors were evacuated as keepers tried to recapture the animal.

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Categories: Environment

Stranded seal rescued from river Thames in London

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 8:26am

Animal found on a pontoon near Kew Bridge brought to safety after a 90-minute rescue, to applause from watching public

A stranded seal has been rescued from the Thames to applause from the watching public in west London.

The animal was discovered on a pontoon near Kew Bridge in Brentford, and brought to safety after a 90-minute rescue involving the fire brigade and RSPCA.

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Categories: Environment

Electric vehicles could go first at traffic lights under UK clean air zone plans

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 8:07am

Government proposals to tackle air pollution in five UK cities could see electric vehicle drivers using bus lanes and getting priority at traffic lights

Drivers of electric vehicles could be allowed to use bus lanes in five UK cities and even go first at traffic lights, to tackle illegal levels of air pollution, the government has suggested.

Launching its consultation on clean air zones to be introduced in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton, the environment department said air pollution killed 50,000 people each year at an annual cost to society of £27.5bn.

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane Nicole Wallops Island Of Bermuda

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 7:40am

The Category 3 storm has maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center calls it "extremely dangerous."

Categories: Environment

Power stations to get early warning against jellyfish invasions

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 7:27am

Researchers say forecasting tool will stop coastal plants from being shut down by swarms blocking cooling water intakes

Invasions of jellyfish have proved adept at shutting down power plants in recent years. But an early warning tool is now in development to alert power stations to incoming swarms which block the cooling water intakes of coastal plants.

EDF’s Torness nuclear power plant in Scotland was closed for a week in 2011 after a mass of moon jellyfish invaded and the company is now working with researchers from the University of Bristol to tackle the problem.

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Categories: Environment

The EU's effect on Blackpool's beaches – before and after pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 6:30am

As Brexit puts the future of EU laws protecting the environment in doubt, Greenpeace sent photographer Vanessa Miles to Blackpool to recreate a series of images she took in 1990 when just one in five UK beaches met bathing guidelines

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Categories: Environment

Red squirrels in Wales protected with military-style strategy

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 4:45am

Ogwen valley, which allows easy defence against grey squirrels, is selected for new colony

Conservationists have turned to military strategy to ensure a new wild colony of red squirrels is protected from grey squirrels in Wales. A site at Ogwen valley, five miles from Bangor, has been selected because it is ringed by mountains and cut off from grey squirrels.

“It’s easier to defend an area if there are geographical pinch points,” said Craig Shuttleworth, a biologist based at Bangor Univserity and a specialist in squirrels. He added that he had adopted the approach of a “tactical military strategist” when planning where the colony should go.

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Categories: Environment

We Pay Billions For Greener Farms, So What Does That Buy Us?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 4:00am

American farmers receive billions of dollars each year in "conservation payments" that are intended to protect the environment. Some environmentalists say the payments deserve scrutiny — and reform.

Categories: Environment

Cycling, saints and Santini: Italy's legendary Giro Di Lombardia

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/10/13 - 2:29am

The end-of-season classic is not only among the oldest races, but also one of the toughest. Peter Kimpton delves into its course, kit and culture

Snaking down forested hairpin bends towards the finish, just 61 riders remain from 201, most beaten down by a gruelling 240km and multiple climbs across some of Italy’s most challenging but beautiful terrain. Dubbed “la classica delle foglie morte” (the race of the falling/dying leaves), the Giro Di Lombardia recently completed its 110th edition.

This year it traversed the glimmering waters of Lake Como before climbing up through cobbles into the ancient walled section of Citta Alta in Bergamo, where buildings glow orange, brown, red and in the autumn light. A sprint finish in the town’s main square saw Italy’s Diego Rosa tearfully beaten to the line by the ever-smiling Colombian Esteban Chaves, the first non-European ever to triumph here.

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Categories: Environment

Electric cars set to pass 2m landmark globally by end of 2016

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 11:01pm

China leads EU and US in market size, with Nissan Leaf taking the top spot for best-selling model followed by Tesla’s Model S and two Chinese-made models

The number of plug-in electric cars on the world’s roads is set to pass the landmark of 2m vehicles by the end of 2016, with industry observers saying the electric car revolution is finally underway.

A surging market in China is leading the way and Chinese-made models have pushed into the top five best-selling models. Europe is the second biggest market, followed by the US, but their traditional car manufacturers face a stern challenge from China and from Tesla, whose much-anticipated Model 3 is expected to go into production in 2017.

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Categories: Environment

GM seed firm Monsanto dismisses 'moral trial' as a staged stunt

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 11:00pm

US agri-business declines to attend peoples’ tribunal at which toxicologists and scientists will argue its activities have harmed human health and environment

International judges will take evidence from 30 witnesses and “victims” of US agri-business Monsanto in an attempt by hundreds of grassroots groups to hold the company accountable for what they allege are human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and “ecocide”, or widespread environmental damage.

High-profile witnesses, including former UN special rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter, will give evidence alongside Argentine doctors, Mexican beekeepers and toxicologists and scientists from 15 countries. The five judges will deliver what is expected to be a lengthy advisory legal opinion.

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Categories: Environment

UK must focus on carbon removal to meet Paris goals, climate advisers urge

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 10:00pm

Report from the Committee on Climate Change says a government strategy to deploy new, radical technologies at scale by 2050 must begin now

The UK government needs to kickstart technologies to suck carbon dioxide from the air if it is to play its part in meeting the goals of the Paris climate change agreement, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s official advisers.

The global climate deal, which the prime minister, Theresa May, says the UK will ratify by the end of 2016, pledges net zero emissions by the second half of the century, in order to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Given that some emissions, such as those from aviation and agriculture, will be very difficult to reduce to zero, that means removing some carbon from the atmosphere.

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Categories: Environment

Moratorium on logging Tasmania's old growth forests could be reversed

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 9:55pm

Environmentalists furious that 2020 moratorium on 400,000ha of Tarkine forests could be reversed to help Forestry Australia ‘stand on its own feet’

Old growth forests in the Tarkine could be logged by private companies under plans being considered by the Tasmanian government to reverse a moratorium on harvesting 400,000ha of high conservation value forests.

The forests were part of 500,000ha protected under the forest peace deal signed by the former Labor government in 2013, which would have seen them eventually gazetted into national parks.

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Categories: Environment

Don't let fracking kill our ecologically unique wildflowers | Piers Verstegen

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 9:30pm

People flock to Kwongan Heath to experience a living laboratory of plant species. But these unique wildflowers are under threat

Kwongan Heath country in the midwest of Western Australia is one of the of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Whereas Europe and North America have had the evolution of their flora species reset to near zero several times due to extended glacial periods, Western Australia is host to the longest unbroken evolution of plant species on the planet. You can literally see evolutionary history written in the landscape. Nutrient poor soils and continuous wet and dry cycles over millennia have produced an incredible array of adaptations, specialisation and coping methods to fill every available ecological niche.

There’s no better time than wildflower season (now) to experience this living laboratory, and people from all over the country, and indeed the world, come to experience the carpets of colour and marvel at each unique specimen.

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Categories: Environment

British public support for fracking sinks to lowest ever level

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 9:01pm

Long-running YouGov poll shows support for shale gas extraction at 37.3% – just as industry gears up to begin drilling

The British public’s support for fracking has fallen sharply in the last year and is now at the lowest level ever, according to a long-running poll published as the industry gears up to begin drilling.

New polling by YouGov for the University of Nottingham, which has been tracking attitudes towards shale gas extraction for more than four years, shows support for fracking in the UK is now at 37.3%, down from 46.5% a year ago and 58% in the summer of 2013.

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Categories: Environment

Shark attack victim worries nets will snare turtles and dolphins

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 5:29pm

Seneca Rus, 25, was bitten by a suspected white pointer in surf in Ballina on Wednesday

The surfer attacked by a shark on the NSW north coast is worried the use of nets around beaches could hurt marine life.

Seneca Rus, 25, was bitten by a suspected white pointer on Wednesday at Sharpes beach in Ballina when surfing with his mates.

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Categories: Environment

Preserving historical buildings: the most sustainable thing is not to build new stuff

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/10/12 - 3:05pm

Making heritage buildings sustainable is just as important as preserving their history – and they can offer energy-efficiency lessons of their own

After grinding grain since 1897, Sydney’s Crago Flour Mill finally cranked to a halt in the mid 80s. Over the years, this handsome industrial Newtown site became rundown, a dusty labyrinth of rooms sprawled over four buildings.

Given the job in 2008 of transforming the mill into 47 strata studios, architects Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C) made a strategic decision. By refusing to tear down the structure, they saved an estimated 21,000 tonnes of CO2. Preserving embodied energy (the energy consumed by the entire building process) was key, along with avoiding the physical energy needed to destroy a large structure.

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Categories: Environment
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