Trump Administration Revises Conservation Plan For Western Sage Grouse

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 6:03pm

A task force lays out changes that could loosen protections for the bird species renowned for its elaborate mating dance. The rules take into account "local economic growth and job creation."

(Image credit: David Zalubowski/AP)

Categories: Environment

Canary Island tourists warned to avoid toxic 'sea sawdust' algae

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 5:34pm

Global warming helping spread of micro-algae, forcing the closure of several beaches including popular Teresitas at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Tourists have been warned to avoid blooms of toxic micro-algae that have been proliferating in hot weather in the sea off Spain’s Canary Islands.

Tenerife in particular is awash with visitors at this time of year but some of those having a dip in the Atlantic ocean have come out scratching themselves after brushing up against the tiny algae.

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Categories: Environment

Federal Report Calls For $275 Million To Stop Asian Carp

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 4:59pm

The invasive species have been caught mere miles from Lake Michigan. Scientists fear if they invade the lake, they could spread throughout the Great Lakes.

(Image credit: John Flesher/AP)

Categories: Environment

Syrian Refugee And German Scientist Make An Unlikely Team

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 1:40pm

In Leipzig, Germany, two scientists from very different backgrounds are working on a unique research project.

(Image credit: Erik Nelson Rodriguez for NPR )

Categories: Environment

New species of grass snake identified in England

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 12:17pm

Recognition of barred grass snake as distinct species different to common cousin increases native total to four

England is home to four kinds of wild snake, not three as was previously believed, according to scientists.

The barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica, is now recognised as a species in its own right distinct from the common or eastern grass snake (Natrix natrix).

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Categories: Environment

Time to face up to the electric car revolution | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 10:52am
We should beware of myths about electric vehicles, says David Bricknell; but John Richards still worries about the environmental impact of their batteries

Your editorial perpetuates a number of myths about electric vehicles (Car drivers are heading into a future far from their dreams, 7 August). You say “Tesla has just started selling its first electric car aimed squarely at the middle classes”, reinforcing the views recently posted online by fossil fuel lobby groups that EVs are only for the rich while being subsidised by the poorer. The Tesla 3 is directly cost competitive with similar cars with internal combustion engines and cheaper when including running costs, and there is now a growing second-hand market.

You say Tesla sales are “a remarkable figure for a machine with a fairly short range and a very limited number of specialised charging stations”. The Tesla 3 has an EPA rated range of 310 miles – this is not a “fairly short range”.

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Categories: Environment

It’s not just the ‘sea lice’ – other flesh-eating sea creatures lurk in the deep

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 9:22am

Carnivorous amphipods feasted on the legs of one unlucky Australian teenager, but they are not the only watery beasts with a taste for human flesh. Which ones should we really be afraid of?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, some mystery lice chow down on a boy’s legs in Australia. Sam Kanizay had been paddling at a Melbourne beach. Half an hour later, the 16-year-old reeled when the sand he thought was covering his legs turned out to be eating his flesh, leading to unstoppable bleeding.

Related: Tiny 'meat-loving' marine creatures 'eat' teenager's legs at Melbourne beach

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Categories: Environment

US federal department is censoring use of term 'climate change', emails reveal

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 8:43am

Exclusive: series of emails show staff at Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service advised to reference ‘weather extremes’ instead

Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Rare pine marten caught on camera in Yorkshire for first time in 35 years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 8:25am

Sighting of animal follows four-year project on the North York Moors carried out in partnership with Forestry Commission

One of England’s rarest animals has been caught on camera after a four-year stakeout by wildlife experts.

A male pine marten was captured on a wildlife camera in the North York Moors, the Forestry Commission said. Pine martens were last seen alive in Yorkshire about 35 years ago.

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Categories: Environment

Firefighters in Sicily accused of starting blazes for cash

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 6:31am

Fifteen volunteers held on suspicion of lighting or reporting non-existent wildfires in Italian region in bonus payments scam

Fifteen volunteer firefighters have been arrested in Sicily on suspicion of starting wildfires and reporting non-existent blazes so they could earn €10 (£9) an hour for putting them out.

Police in Ragusa province, in the south of the Mediterranean island, said the fire department became suspicious when it emerged that the auxiliary brigade had responded to 120 incidents compared with just 40 tackled by other volunteer teams over the same period.

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Categories: Environment

Questions Linger For Public Housing Residents Who Lived At A Superfund Site

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 4:25am

It's been a year since 1,100 residents of a public housing complex in Northwest Indiana learned they'd have to move due to high levels of lead in their soil. There still are contamination threats.

Categories: Environment

Tesco to end sales of 5p carrier bags

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 4:14am

Supermarket to stop selling ‘single-use’ bags but will offer customers ‘bags for life’ costing 10p

The UK’s largest retailer is to stop selling “single use” 5p carrier bags in its UK stores from the end of the month, instead offering shoppers reusable “bags for life” costing 10p.

The move by Tesco follows a 10-week trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich, which led to a 25% cut in bag sales as shoppers either brought their own or switched to the bags for life.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla drivers claim Model S distance record of 670 miles on one charge

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 4:13am

Elon Musk congratulates Italian owners club, which claims new distance record while consuming equivalent of only eight litres of petrol

Five members of the Italian Tesla owners club claim to have set a new distance record, travelling 670 miles on a single charge in a Tesla Model S.

The feat, which they say beats the previous record set in Belgium in June by 110 miles, used a longest-range Tesla Model S 100D and required the five drivers to employ so-called “hypermiling” techniques, which saw them use as little energy as possible by maintaining a constant speed, using low rolling-resistance tyres and trying not to use the brakes.

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Categories: Environment

Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 3:00am

A new study finds 6.5% of global GDP goes to subsidizing dirty fossil fuels

Fossil fuels have two major problems that paint a dim picture for their future energy dominance. These problems are inter-related but still should be discussed separately. First, they cause climate change. We know that, we’ve known it for decades, and we know that continued use of fossil fuels will cause enormous worldwide economic and social consequences.

Second, fossil fuels are expensive. Much of their costs are hidden, however, as subsidies. If people knew how large their subsidies were, there would be a backlash against them from so-called financial conservatives.

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Categories: Environment

Diesel has to die – there is no reverse gear on this

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/06 - 11:30pm

Daimler says diesel is worth fighting for but there is no comeback for the toxic technology and the fight must now be to save lives

When the story of Volkswagen’s cheating on diesel emissions tests broke nearly two years ago, a number of reporters asked me if this spelled the end for diesel cars. My response was a confident, dismissive “no”. While dieselgate would cast a long shadow, there was no reason to write off diesel cars, at least in the short term. After all, the technology does exist to make clean diesel cars. It’s just a question of improving the existing regulations and enforcing them better.

I was wrong.

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Categories: Environment

Drunk bees incapable of flying: Guardian country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/06 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 7 August 1917

Almost every year I reply, early in August, to correspondents who, like the writer from Patterdale, have noticed dead and mutilated bees lying beneath the lime trees. Evelyn speaks of the lime, with “sweet blossoms, the delight of bees,” and in July and early August we have all noticed the happy hum of the bees as they boom round the limes, filling themselves with honey. But the bees, especially the drones of certain bumble-bees, are like many human drinkers; they do not know when to stop, and, soaking all day long, at last become so stupid that they cannot fly; they drop, intoxicated, to the ground beneath. Thus we find them, drunk and incapable, and often with ghastly wounds in their bodies, dead or only able feebly to move a limb.

Ten or a dozen years ago I spent some time watching the limes and examining the bodies of the slain. I failed to see tits actually kill the bees, but Mr Edward Saunders, to whom I submitted some of the bees, assured me that he had seen a bee drop and detected a great tit at work in the tree; the tits, he felt sure, emptied the bodies of the stupefied bees of their honied contents. This I do not doubt, but examination of the bodies and the ground beneath the trees caused me to think that possibly birds were not the only destroyers; the drunken bees were at the mercy of ants or carnivorous beetles, which the nature of the wounds of some of them suggested. The late Fred Enock, a wonderfully keen observer, found that an introduced lime was far more intoxicating than our native species – its honey was more heady, and consequently more bees which sipped its sweets fell victims than those which visited other plants. There is one other point from which we can draw a moral; it is at the present time, when bees are less busy on behalf of the full nests – when there are an abundance of workers to look after stocking the nests with food, – that the death-rate increases; the bees indulge to excess and pay the penalty.

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Categories: Environment

NSW accused of 'running scared' after postponing review of water regulations

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/06 - 11:00am

Greens’ Jeremy Buckingham says Coalition government frightened of public scrutiny following allegations of water theft in Murray-Darling basin

Water regulations due to be reviewed and updated on 1 September have been postponed for another year by the New South Wales government following the controversy over allegations of water theft in the Barwon-Darling region of the Murray-Darling basin.

The Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham accused the NSW Coalition of running scared over the recent scrutiny of state water management following the Four Corners program.

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Categories: Environment

Erratic Weather Threatens Livelihood Of Rice Farmers In Madagascar

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/08/06 - 4:51am

Climate change is complicating the lives of subsistence rice farmers in Madagascar. For years, the wet and dry seasons arrived predictably. No more. To survive, farmers are looking to diversify.

(Image credit: Samantha Reinders for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Mexico considers importing avocados as staple priced out of consumers' reach

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/06 - 4:00am

Country that produces almost half the world’s avocados contemplates the unthinkable as dietary staple becomes too costly for ordinary Mexicans

The growing global appetite for avocados has been blamed for a litany of sorrows, from self-inflicted stab wounds to stopping young people from buying their own homes.

But in Mexico, the world’s biggest producer, what used to be a dietary staple is now too expensive for many ordinary consumers. And, now the country where the avocado is believe to have originated is considering the unthinkable: importing avocados from abroad.

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Categories: Environment

The march of the exploding zombie caterpillar

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/08/06 - 4:00am
Those infected with the baculovirus – which causes them to lose control of their actions and explode – have been spotted in Lancashire

Name: Zombie caterpillars.

Age: Not very old, and dead before their time, after a tragic life in which their bodies were taken over by a malign force.

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Categories: Environment
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