An orangutan stole my camera and took close-up selfies – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/12/06 - 4:42am

Wildlife photographer Ian Wood has been capturing great apes in the wild for decades, but when a young orangutan discovered his hidden camera on a recent Borneo trip he got some truly unexpected results

One of the challenges of wildlife photography is trying to come up with ways to take images that haven’t been shot before. Through my conservation work with orangutans I’ve had numerous opportunities to photograph these great apes over the last couple of decades, but on a recent annual fundraising trip to Tanjung Puting national park in Borneo I got some unexpected, close-up results.

I had decided to hide a GoPro camera near to where orangutans often appear, hoping to get some close-up wide-angle images of them in the forest. I figured that in the worse case, if an orangutan found my camera it would realise it wasn’t food and discard it.

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Categories: Environment

US government report finds steady and persistent global warming | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/12/06 - 4:00am

All of nature’s thermometers indicate a rapid rise in global temperatures.

The US Global Change Research Program recently released a Climate Science Special Report. It is clearly written – an authoritative summary of the science, and easy to understand.

The first main chapter deals with changes to the climate and focuses much attention on global temperatures. When most people think of climate change, they think of the global temperature – specifically the temperature of the air a few meters above the Earth surface. There are other (better) ways to measure climate change such as heat absorbed by the oceans, melting ice, sea level rise, or others. But the iconic measurement most people think of are these air temperatures, shown in the top frame of the figure below.

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Categories: Environment

BMW electric car ad banned over misleading 'clean car' claims

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/12/06 - 3:46am

Ruling by advertising watchdog could have knock on effect on other electric car advertising

The car company BMW has been censured by the UK’s advertising watchdog for claiming an electric car equipped with a small petrol engine was “clean” and “zero emissions”, in a ruling that could have a knock-on effect on other electric car advertising.

The advertising was published in the form of a Facebook post that used testimonials from real customers to extol the virtues of the BMW i3. That model is unusual among electric vehicles, as in addition to the electric drive, it also has a small petrol engine. However, unlike “hybrid” cars, which have a petrol-driven engine that can take over from the electric system when it runs out of charge, on longer journeys or at higher speeds, the i3’s petrol engine is only used to maintain the charge on the electric drive.

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Categories: Environment

Traffic fumes in city streets 'largely wipe out exercise benefits for over-60s'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 4:30pm

Groundbreaking study reinforces urgent need to reduce emissions, and advises over-60s to avoid polluted air by walking in parks and green spaces

The over-60s should stick to green spaces and parks when they go for a walk and avoid the city streets, according to a groundbreaking study that says air pollution from traffic fumes largely wipes out the health benefit from the exercise.

Walking is often recommended for older people, but the study from Imperial College London and Duke University in the USA suggests that the over-60s and those with lung and heart problems should steer clear of urban areas with heavy traffic. The negative effect may well be the same in younger people, say the authors, and it reinforces the urgency of reducing emissions in city streets.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution harm to unborn babies may be global health catastrophe, warn doctors

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 4:30pm

New UK research links toxic air to low birth weight that can cause lifelong damage to health, raising fears that millions of babies worldwide are being harmed

Air pollution significantly increases the risk of low birth weight in babies, leading to lifelong damage to health, according to a large new study.

The research was conducted in London, UK, but its implications for many millions of women in cities around the world with far worse air pollution are “something approaching a public health catastrophe”, the doctors involved said.

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Categories: Environment

Tens Of Thousands Evacuated As Wildfire Grows In Southern California

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 2:42pm

A fast-moving wildfire in Southern California has burned more than 70 square miles north of Los Angeles. Santa Ana winds are fanning the flames and about 30,000 people have been evacuated.

Categories: Environment

Future of Adani coalmine hanging by a thread after Chinese banks back out

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 2:27pm

Bob Carr says decision could be the end for controversial Carmichael project, adding: ‘It couldn’t have been more emphatic’

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine project will not be funded by Chinese banks, the Chinese embassy has said, in a move some see as dooming the project, and potentially Adani’s operations in Australia.

Bob Carr, the former New South Wales premier and former foreign minister, told the Guardian he had been lobbying Chinese businesses and government for three weeks before receiving confirmation from the Chinese embassy in Australia that no Chinese bank would be financing the controversial project.

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Categories: Environment

Ryan Zinke recommends Trump shrink two more US national monuments

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 2:17pm
  • Interior secretary aims to reduce Cascade-Siskiyou and Gold Butte monuments
  • Zinke hits back at Patagonia after ad said ‘the president stole your land’

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke has announced recommendations to shrink two more national monuments in the western US – Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California, and Gold Butte in Nevada.

Related: Trump slashes size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments in Utah

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Categories: Environment

Turnbull’s department head says Tony Abbott damaged public service

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 12:00pm

Martin Parkinson says Abbott sacked him for following legally mandated directions of Rudd and Gillard governments

The head of Malcolm Turnbull’s department says he has no “personal animus” towards Tony Abbott, but he says the former prime minister damaged the public service when he sacked him for following the legally mandated directions of the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Martin Parkinson was sacked by Abbott from the Treasury department after he came to power in 2013, alongside a handful of other departmental heads. He was brought back to the public service by Turnbull to be secretary of the department of prime minister and cabinet.

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Categories: Environment

Hadrian's Wall joins forces with China's Great Wall to promote heritage sites

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 10:01am

‘Wall to Wall’ project will see heritage experts from the UK and China work together to increase understanding of both sites and boost tourism

One is 13,171 miles long and, contrary to popular belief, cannot actually be seen from space. The other is 73 miles long and cannot be seen from Sunderland.

But now the Great Wall of China is joining up with its much tinier British counterpart, Hadrian’s Wall, to encourage more tourism and increase the historical and cultural understanding of both great barriers.

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Categories: Environment

Selling this cherished Arctic landscape to the highest bidder is a grievous mistake | Trip Van Noppen

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 7:55am

Part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest US wilderness, risks being transferred to the hands of the fossil fuel industry. Join the fight against this

• Trip Van Noppen is president of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last intact wild landscapes on Earth – and the largest wilderness left in the US. The 19.6m-acre swath of mountains and tundra is publicly owned and ecologically unique. Now, thanks to the Republican tax bill making its way through Congress, a part of the refuge we’ve long fought to protect risks being transferred to the hands of the fossil fuel industry.

History will judge the decision as an egregious error.

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Categories: Environment

Overuse of antibiotics in farming is a major new threat to human health, says UN

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 6:57am

Antibiotics that has spilled from farms into the natural environment may be a bigger factor in spreading resistance to life-saving drugs than previously thought, report says

The overuse of antibiotics in farming has been highlighted as one of the biggest emerging threats to human health, spreading resistance to vital drugs and endangering millions of lives.

Antibiotics used on farms can spill over into the surrounding environment, for instance through water run-off and slurry, according to a report from the UN’s environment body, with the potential to create resistance to the drugs across a wide area.

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Categories: Environment

Penzance wins first plastic-free status award to help clean up beaches

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 6:49am

Surfers Against Sewage charity lauds town after community beach cleans and businesses reduce single-use plastics

A Cornish town has become the first community in the UK to be awarded “plastic-free” status after dozens of residents and business people backed a grassroots scheme aimed at helping clean up oceans and beaches.

As part of a campaign being run by the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), Penzance has been given “plastic-free coastlines approved” status.

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Categories: Environment

Red list: thousands of species at risk of extinction due to human activity

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 3:56am

Unsustainable farming, fishing and climate change has intensified the struggle for survival among vulnerable animals and crops, says IUCN at the release of its latest list of endangered species

Thousands of animal species are at critical risk of going extinct due to unsustainable farming and fishing methods and climate change, a conservation group has warned as it released the latest red list of endangered species.

In a rare piece of good news, the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] praised New Zealand for its success in turning around the fortunes of two species of kiwi, prompting it to upgrade them from endangered to vulnerable.

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Categories: Environment

Wildfires In Southern California Force Thousands Of People To Flee

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 3:53am

The blazes in four counties come just weeks after the deadliest wildfires in the state's history killed dozens in Northern California's wine country.

(Image credit: @knowpoliticsnow via Reuters)

Categories: Environment

Sri Lankan bowler vomits in Delhi cricket match due to polluted air

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 3:32am

Bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage are forced to take a break as harmful pollutants reach 12 times WHO safe limit

A Sri Lankan player vomited on the field and was escorted off the ground as heavily polluted air continued to plague an international cricket test match in Delhi.

The fast bowler Suranga Lakmal was seen doubled over and retching on Tuesday afternoon as levels of the most harmful pollutants hovered at about 300 micrograms per cubic metre in parts of the Indian capital – 12 times the World Health Organisation safe limit.

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Categories: Environment

Brexit poses huge risk to Britain's food standards, report says

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/12/05 - 3:20am

Rush to secure trade deals could lead to a lowering of standards and poorer quality food in supermarkets

Brexit poses huge risks to food standards in the UK and will have “seismic implications” for its food and farming systems, according to a new report.

Author Dan Crossley, executive director of the Food Ethics Council, said that the UK faced a stark choice between promoting a high quality, ethical and sustainable system and “a race to the bottom” driven by a desire to secure post-Brexit trade deals “at any cost”.

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Categories: Environment

Oceans under greatest threat in history, warns Sir David Attenborough

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/12/04 - 11:30pm

Blue Planet 2 producers say final episode lays bare shocking damage humanity is wreaking in the seas, from climate change to plastic pollution to noise

The world’s oceans are under the greatest threat in history, according to Sir David Attenborough. The seas are a vital part of the global ecosystem, leaving the future of all life on Earth dependent on humanity’s actions, he says.

Attenborough will issue the warning in the final episode of the Blue Planet 2 series, which details the damage being wreaked in seas around the globe by climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and even noise.

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Categories: Environment

Trump slashes size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments in Utah

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/12/04 - 6:34pm

President signs two proclamations slashing protections for Utah monuments, representing a triumph for fossil fuel industries, ranchers and Republicans

Donald Trump was widely condemned on Monday for drastically shrinking two national monuments, representing the biggest elimination of public lands protection in US history.

Related: 'We'll see the battle lines': Trump faced by Native American alliance over Bears Ears

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Categories: Environment

Native Americans React To Cuts To Bears Ears National Monument

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/12/04 - 2:41pm

The Trump administration has decided to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Shaun Chapoose, one of the Native American tribal leaders who fought for the monument's protections in the first place.

Categories: Environment
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