Environment

Diesel crisis deepens as German brands recall 630,000 cars

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 8:17am

Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Opel and Mercedes diesel cars will be recalled as part of a clampdown on nitrogen oxide emissions

Germany’s top carmakers will recall 630,000 vehicles to fix diesel engine software technology that has been blamed for causing high pollution, while the emissions scandal engulfing Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors deepened.

Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Opel and Mercedes diesel cars will be recalled as part of a clampdown on nitrogen oxide emissions, according to a German government official. BMW, which invested in fuel-saving technologies earlier than most rivals, is not part of the recall, the official said.

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Categories: Environment

Why the Paris climate change goals may already be slipping beyond reach

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 7:11am

World leaders convened at the UN this week in support of the historic deal, but epic challenges lie ahead if the promises of Paris are going to be put into action

World leaders have failed to come to grips with the epic challenge of phasing out fossil fuels and running the entire global economy almost entirely on clean energy by the middle of this century, experts said this week.

While more than 170 countries converged at the United Nations on Friday to demonstrate their support for the landmark deal to fight climate change reached at Paris last December, economists and scientists warned the accord’s goal of keeping temperatures below 1.5-2C may already be slipping beyond reach.

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Categories: Environment

Halt Hinkley Point until Brussels approves French state aid plans, Osborne told

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 6:21am

French government support for EDF to continue UK nuclear project might break EU competition rules, says Greenpeace

Greenpeace has written to George Osborne warning him not to allow the Hinkley Point C nuclear project to proceed until the European commission approves further planned support from the French state.

The letter, which is signed jointly with the energy supplier Ecotricity, follows legal advice that plans for state help from France’sgovernment to enable EDF to continue with the reactor scheme could break European competition rules.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 6:00am

Cheetah cubs learning to hunt, cherry blossom and a prairie rattlesnake are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Earth Day 2016: what happened to Cameron's green Conservative dream? – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 4:51am

On Earth Day 2016, cast your mind back to 2006, when fresh-faced new Tory leader David Cameron hugged a husky and promised Britain a greener future to combat climate change. So how did it all pan out? Is Cameron’s government the greenest government ever?

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Zero-waste bloggers: the millennials who can fit a year's worth of trash in a jar

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 3:00am

These bloggers treasure taking a sleek, modern approach to reducing waste in their efforts to save the planet – but they face their fair share of criticism, too

In pictures: how to produce nearly zero waste

Kathryn Kellogg, a 25-year-old print shop employee, spends four hours a day on her lifestyle blog Going Zero Waste. She posts on Instagram, engages with Facebook followers, and writes about homemade eyeliner and lip balm, worm composting, and shopping bulk bins – anything to avoid unnecessary waste. Her trash for the past year – anything that hasn’t been composted or recycled – fits in an 8oz jar.

Kellogg is earnest, enthusiastic, and admittedly still figuring out what it means to be zero waste. The aspiring actor has also weathered her fair share of criticism. “I’m not even that big yet and I get so much hate mail,” says Kellogg, who draws 10,000 unique page views a month and has 800 subscribers.

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Categories: Environment

How to produce nearly zero trash in a year – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 3:00am

Kathryn Kellogg aims to reduce the amount of waste she produces to almost nothing. She buys secondhand, uses cloth bags and glass jars for shopping, composts leftovers, and views recycling as a last resort. It takes great determination, but being vegetarian and lactose-intolerant helps

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Categories: Environment

Scottish elections: What would each party do to improve cycling?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/04/22 - 12:00am

We asked candidates for their views on investment, infrastructure and safety to assess how far they would transform Scotland for active travel

As well as the much publicised London mayoral election, in just under two weeks the Scots also go to the polls, to select their next government. As transport policy is largely devolved, the vote could make a big difference to anyone who cycles or walks.

Campaign group We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote – which is supported by over two dozen organisations and primarily funded by Cycling UK – aim get all parties to sign up to three key policy pledges:

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Categories: Environment

What coalmine? Adani's tweet ridiculed for jumping on Earth Day bandwagon

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 11:31pm

Invitation from the company that wants to transport coal through the Great Barrier Reef to ‘do our bit’ for the environment does not go down too well online

World Earth Day – it’s a day about protecting the environment. So Australians got a bit hot under their collars when Adani Group tried to get in on the action.

Adani, remember, is trying its darnedest to build one of the world’s biggest coalmines in Queensland and transport the coal to India via the Great Barrier Reef.

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Categories: Environment

Zac Goldsmith backs fossil fuel divestment movement

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 11:00pm

Tory London mayoral candidate supports pulling City Hall’s fund out of oil, coal and gas companies if elected

Zac Goldsmith has backed the fossil fuel divestment movement and said he would pursue efforts to pull London City Hall’s pension fund out of investments in oil, coal and gas if he was elected mayor.

The Conservative mayoral candidate’s support for moving the £4.8bn London Pension Authority Fund (LPFA) out of fossil fuel investments is at odds with Boris Johnson, who last year rejected a motion calling for divestment.

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Categories: Environment

European commission plans to relicense 'carcinogenic' weedkiller

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 10:00pm

Leaked proposal on glyphosate seen by the Guardian has few substantive changes from the one that was blocked last month

The European commission is planning to relicense a controversial weedkiller that the World Health Organisation believes probably causes cancer in people, despite opposition from several countries and the European parliament.

In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer – WHO’s cancer agency – said that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide made by agriculture company Monsanto and used widely with GM crops around the world, was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans.

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Categories: Environment

Leak blamed as Mexico explosion death toll rises

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 9:32pm

Soldiers on guard at Pemex petrochemical plant in Gulf port of Coatzacoalcos, with relatives waiting for news of missing workers

A leak has been blamed by Mexican authorities for the petrochemical plant blast that killed at least 24 people in the Gulf port of Coatzacoalcos.

The Mexican oil giant Pemex confirmed the deaths on Thursday and said 19 more remained in hospital, 13 with serious injuries, as it grappled with the latest in a series of fatal accidents to batter the company.

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Categories: Environment

Pollution forces Foundling Hospital out of London - archive, 22 April 1926

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 9:00pm

22 April 1926: The capital’s first home for babies whose mothers were unable to care for them fears air quality has worsened because of the railways

FLEET STREET, WEDNESDAY.
Within a couple of months or so the housebreakers will have been let loose on the Foundling Hospital, and London will have lost perhaps its most fascinating link with the eighteenth century architecture and life. No more will the statue of Captain Coram look down with crabbed benevolence from over the niche in the wall in which the mothers used to deposit their unwanted babes, no more shall we flock to the chapel at Christmas time to hear the foundlings sing their carols to the music of the organ given by Handel. London, in short, will be appreciably more drab than it was before.

A party of members of the London Society went round the old place this afternoon. Sightseers have been visiting the Foundling for nearly two centuries, but now a picturesque page must be struck from the guidebooks. It is astonishing with what indifference London has taken the loss of the Foundling Hospital. Hardly a voice has been raised for its preservation. Before the war it would have been very different. The visitors to-day could only get what consolation there is in the thought that the children will be happier and healthier at Redhill, where the institution is to be housed until a new hospital is built. The last children’s service in the old chapel is to be held on June 13.

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Categories: Environment

Coral bleaching spreads from Great Barrier Reef to Western Australia

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 7:45pm

Marine protections, which help coral reefs recover from bleaching, halted in Western Australia

The global coral bleaching event devastating the Great Barrier Reef has spread to reefs in Western Australia, where the federal government halted the implementation of marine parks, which would help the reefs recover.

Related: Mourning Loomis Reef - the heart of the Great Barrier Reef's coral bleaching disaster

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Categories: Environment

US and EU conservation funds failing to protect trees or people, claims report

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 4:01pm

Up to $500m spent by donors on protecting rainforest in the Congo basin has failed to prevent destructive developments, says the Rainforest Foundation

Up to $500m (£346m) spent by the US, EU and other donors to protect the world’s second largest swath of rainforest has failed – for the trees, the animals and the people who live among them – a major study has found.

Analysis of five equatorial African countries in the Congo basin has found that destructive developments including illegal logging, oil and gas exploration, and palm oil plantations are taking place in 34 large protected areas, and that conservation has displaced villages and led to conflict and human rights abuses.

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Categories: Environment

US solar company SunEdison files for bankruptcy

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 1:39pm

SunEdison makes bankruptcy filing as the renewable energy company’s years of debt-fuelled acquisitions prove unsustainable

SunEdison, once the fastest-growing US renewable energy company, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as years of debt-fuelled acquisitions proved unsustainable.

In its bankruptcy filing in a New York court on Thursday, the company said it had assets of $20.7bn (£14.4bn) and liabilities of $16.1bn as of 30 September.

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Categories: Environment

What is behind the diesel cars emissions scandal?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 1:08pm

All 93 vehicles tested in Germany and UK exceeded EU-set limits on air quality and pollution in real-world situation

The air pollution scandal that hit front pages around the world last year with VW’s admission it had been cheating emissions tests has got much bigger.

A UK government-sponsored trial launched in the wake of the VW revelations has found that every single one of the diesel-fuelled vehicles tested had higher emissions of nitrogen oxide pollutants than permitted under EU laws. For some models emissions were 12 times the legal limit.

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Categories: Environment

Diesel cars' emissions far higher on road than in lab, tests show

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 12:05pm

UK inquiry after Volkswagen scandal finds much higher nitrogen oxide levels than when vehicles are tested in laboratory

Diesel cars are producing many times more health-damaging pollutants than claimed by laboratory tests, with some emitting up to 12 times the EU maximum when tested on the road, according to a government investigation undertaken following the Volkswagen scandal.

A Department for Transport (DfT) study of cars made by manufacturers such as Ford, Renault and Vauxhall found there was a vast difference in nitrogen oxide emissions measured in the laboratory and under normal driving conditions.

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Categories: Environment

This smartphone-sized device can diagnose cancer in 20 minutes

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 11:45am

A startup has invented a DNA analyzer that could potentially revolutionize healthcare in the developing world

Advances in disease diagnostics now offer clinicians a staggering degree of accuracy. But access to results generally requires a well-equipped lab and a few weeks’ waiting time.

But that could soon change thanks to a new, low-cost diagnostic DNA analyzer the size of a smartphone.

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Categories: Environment

Perhaps unleaded petrol heads are less susceptible to dementia | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 11:24am

For a change it was nice to read good news (Fewer people developing dementia, says study, 20 April). Carol Brayne says “physical health and brain health are clearly highly linked” but only suggests at the nature of the link. The idea seems to be that for some reason men working independently of each other to improve their lifestyles over a number of years were acting in sufficient numbers to have a significant impact on the data as a whole. This seems somewhat surprising. However, there may be a more passive factor at work that correlates with the period of the study, 1990-2013. During the first part of this period the use of leaded petrol in cars was steadily being reduced, leading to a ban in 1998. The detrimental effect of lead in the environment on the developing brains of young people was well documented. Perhaps its long-term effect on the brains of older people was simply overlooked.
Ray Perham
Ilford, Essex

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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