Reformer or rogue? Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman – video profile

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/03/07 - 12:24am

Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi Arabian throne, grabbed the world’s attention with a series of reforms in the kingdom, pushing back against the highly conservative establishment. His aim is to make Saudi Arabia a more open nation. However, the war in Yemen and his diplomatic rivalry with Iran have caused the international community to question how radical his changes really are as he begins a series of diplomatic visits to the UK and US

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Categories: Environment

Norway boosts whaling quota despite international opposition

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 11:10pm

Fisheries minister announces 28% increase, but environmentalists say steep drop in number of minkes killed is sign of a dying industry

Norway has announced a 28% increase of its annual whaling quota to 1,278 whales in a bid to revive the declining hunt amid international controversy.

Whalers have for several years failed to meet the quotas set by Oslo and the number of whaling boats has plunged.

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Categories: Environment

Return of pine martens could save Britain's red squirrels, say scientists

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 11:01pm

Areas with growing pine marten populations have seen grey squirrel numbers fall as they provide easy prey for the predators – unlike native reds, a new study shows

The invasion of grey squirrels that has decimated native reds across the UK is reversed when pine martens prowl the woods, new research has shown. Unlike reds, grey squirrels appear to be easy meat for the predator.

Pine marten populations have also been drastically reduced in the past. But where they are recovering, they send grey squirrel numbers plummeting while reds thrive, according to scientists.

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Categories: Environment

Feed-in tariffs could be cut back due to high take-up of solar power

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 8:22pm

Experts warn the grid could be over-supplied during low demand periods

Governments should change the way feed-in tariffs are paid to homeowners or the high take-up of solar power might force them to be drastically cut back, one of Australia’s top energy experts says.

On Tuesday the Clean Energy Regulator released new data which showed a record 3.5m solar panels were installed on Australia rooftops last year.

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Categories: Environment

Trump Administration Quietly Decides — Again — To Allow Elephant Trophy Imports

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 5:17pm

Permits for sport-hunted elephant parts imported from some nations will be evaluated "on a case-by-case basis." The move ends an Obama-era ban on a practice President Trump has called a "horror show."

(Image credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Australia and Timor-Leste sign historic maritime border treaty

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 4:40pm

The treaty determines entitlement to Timor Sea oil and gas reserves, including in the Greater Sunrise basin

Australia and Timor-Leste have a permanent maritime border for the first time after the signing of a significant and unprecedented treaty in New York on Wednesday.

The treaty finally determines each nation’s entitlement and ownership of the rich oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea, including the untapped Greater Sunrise basin, estimated to hold $53bn worth of gas reserves.

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Categories: Environment

Arctic has warmest winter on record: 'It's just crazy, crazy stuff'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 3:46pm

Sea ice has hit record lows for time of year as experts say global warming probably fueled big storms in Europe and north-eastern US

The Arctic winter has ended with more news that is worrying even the scientists who watch the effects of climate change closely.

The region experienced its warmest winter on record. Sea ice hit record lows for the time of year, new US weather data revealed on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

Florida woman wins conch-blowing contest – and a marriage proposal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 1:39pm
  • Mary Lou Smith’s yes implied by blast on a large conch shell
  • Rick Race dropped to one knee as onlookers cheered in Key West

A Florida woman’s acceptance of her partner’s elegant marriage proposal was heard loud and clear by those gathered – and she didn’t need to say a word.

Mary Lou Smith’s yes was implied by her joyous, reverberating blast on a large conch shell.

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Categories: Environment

After Decades Of Air Pollution, A Louisiana Town Rebels Against A Chemical Giant

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 1:23pm

Neighborhoods around a Louisiana chemical plant have the highest cancer risk in the U.S. Residents felt powerless, until the Environmental Protection Agency released data on what they were breathing.

(Image credit: Julie Dermansky)

Categories: Environment

Australia and Timor-Leste to sign deal on contentious gasfield

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 12:56pm

New deal replaces previous attempt at treaty torn up after it emerged Timorese negotiators had been bugged

Australia and Timor-Leste are expected to sign a historic maritime border treaty in New York, after decades of talks dogged by acrimonious dealings and accusations of greed and espionage.

But negotiations remained bitter until the end, with former Timorese president and chief negotiator, Xanana Gusmao, accusing Australia of collusion and revealing no deal was reached on how to develop the resources.

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Categories: Environment

Scorched country: the destruction of Australia's native landscape

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 10:00am

Less than 50% of Australia’s original wilderness still exists, thanks to the colonialist view that development of land means eliminating native vegetation

Kate (not her real name) and her husband have run cattle grazing properties in central Queensland for more than 30 years. On remote and isolated properties like that, communities are close-knit and neighbours rely on each other to survive.

But Kate says her neighbours hate her family. Their crime? Not cutting down enough trees.

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Categories: Environment

America's horrifying new plan for animals: highspeed slaughterhouses | Scott David

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 9:15am

There is still time to stop an imminent program that would allow facilities to increase slaughter speeds, while reducing the number of trained government inspectors

If you care about animal welfare or food safety, this news will concern you: the nationwide expansion of a risky US Department of Agriculture (USDA) high-speed slaughter program is imminent. But the good news is there is still time to stop it.

The USDA is now accepting public comments on its proposed rule that it euphemistically dubbed the “Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection”. As a former undercover investigator who worked inside a pig slaughterhouse operating under the pilot project that was, at the time, called HIMP, I’ve seen firsthand the hazardous and cruel nature of this controversial program and can say with certainty that it’s anything but “modern”.

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Categories: Environment

London black cabs hail Treasury for scrapping car tax

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 6:24am

Tax exemption for all-new zero-emission electric taxi brought forward in boost for new greener cabs

Prospects for London’s new electric taxi have been boosted after the Treasury brought forward a £1,550 tax exemption to this April.

The British-built, zero-emission capable taxi had been liable for a luxury car tax, introduced in 2017, of £310 per year for five years, deterring cab drivers from upgrading to the greener vehicle.

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Categories: Environment

Mysteries of the Moo-crobiome: Could Tweaking Cow Gut Bugs Improve Beef?

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 6:00am

Microbe-free bovine life would be rough. Cows rely on single-cell accomplices for their digestion, so scientists are looking for ways to use these bugs to improve cows' eating and burping habits.

(Image credit: Maskot/Getty Images/Maskot)

Categories: Environment

Environmental racism case: EPA rejects Alabama town's claim over toxic landfill

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 4:00am

Agency reports ‘insufficient evidence’ that Civil Rights Act was breached in case of huge landfill near mostly African American town

The US Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed a civil rights case brought by residents of a small, overwhelmingly African American town in Alabama who have spent much of the past decade battling a toxic landfill they blame for causing a myriad of physical and mental illnesses.

Related: A civil rights 'emergency': justice, clean air and water in the age of Trump

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Categories: Environment

NSW minister forced to correct record on number of water prosecutions

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/03/06 - 12:57am

Niall Blair corrects statistics provided to state parliament from WaterNSW

A New South Wales minister has been forced to correct the parliamentary record on the number of prosecutions by WaterNSW for breaches of water laws, saying that his department had provided him with figures found “not to be accurate”.

The Guardian revealed last week that the New South Wales ombudsman was investigating whether WaterNSW – the body responsible for compliance with the state’s water laws – had misled the ombudsman when it provided data last year on the number of prosecutions and enforcement actions it had taken in the previous 15 months.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's solar future bright as households install record 3.5m panels

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 7:55pm

2017’s energy output equivalent to a medium-sized coal-fired power station

The future of Australia’s solar industry is looking bright after a record 3.5m panels were installed on rooftops last year, giving the equivalent output of a medium-sized coal-fired power station.

The record 1,057 megawatts of capacity in small-scale systems installed across the country smashed the previous record set in 2012, figures from the Clean Energy Regulator showed on Tuesday. It equated to 9,500 installed every day.

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Categories: Environment

Land clearing in Australia: see how cleared areas compare with your home town

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 6:00pm

This map shows the scale of land clearing in Australia by visualising the extent of clearing in states where data is available

Australia is in the midst of a land clearing crisis. Some estimate that 3m hectares of woodland will be cleared between 2010 and 2030.

This is having a huge impact on the environment. Loss of habitat is one of the main threats to about three-quarters of Australia’s 1,640 plants and animals listed by the government as at risk. Land clearing, and land-use changes that follow it, have caused a fivefold increase in the sediment pollution pouring on to the embattled Great Barrier Reef, further diminishing its ability to deal with climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Exotic animals disappear from Florida wildlife sanctuary after fake ad

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 2:31pm

Owners fear for health of lemurs, marmosets, monkeys, birds and tortoises removed from site in incident police are treating as theft

The advertisement on Craigslist was specific: “Free exotic animals. We’re a sanctuary going out of business. Go around back and help yourself.”

Early on Sunday morning, somebody did just that, driving a truck up to the rear gate of the We Care Wildlife Sanctuary in Miami and loading up seven ring-tailed lemurs, five marmosets, four monkeys, seven birds and 13 tortoises.

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Categories: Environment

Long Lost Footage Of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Discovered On Film

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 2:18pm

A can of old film sold out of the trunk of a car turned out to contain long lost footage. The film shows some of the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Categories: Environment
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