Jay Weatherill's big energy call is a survivalist fix of last resort | Katharine Murphy

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 11:15pm

South Australia’s premier has committed to a high-stakes rebuild of the state’s energy market – but what choice did he have?

If you happen to be looking on at events in South Australia on Tuesday with confusion, let’s keep it simple.

Think of South Australia as an energy survivalist, battening down the hatches and hoarding the canned goods, and perhaps it will start to make more sense.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

World's first fluorescent frog discovered in South America

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 11:02pm

In normal light the polka-dot tree frog has a dull complexion – but under UV light it glows bright green

The world’s first fluorescent frog has been discovered near Santa Fe in Argentina.

Scientists at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires made the discovery by accident while studying the pigment of polka-dot tree frogs, a species common across the continent.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

A sudden threat scatters the downland birds

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 10:30pm

Wepham Down, West Sussex The hen harrier raises its wings as air brakes, using the wind to lift, stall and loop backwards

A skylark rises up in loud, breathless song, claiming its breeding territory. The bird hovers with vibrating wings, unmoved by the strong gusts of wind. It climbs into the air in steps, each new phrase propelling it further up into the sky, until I can no longer see it. Another skylark answers in the distance.

Fieldfares hop across the grass – they’ll be moving on, returning to northern Scandinavia to breed, within days. Black and white lapwing patrol a bare patch of soil. They feed in quick down-up motions, as if bowing to each other. This large flock will also soon disperse, many returning to the continent, but some will stay here to nest.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls loses seat to Labor after attack from mining lobby

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 9:24pm

Grylls thanks supporters on Facebook after Colin Barnett’s government loses Western Australian election

Brendon Grylls, the leader of the Western Australian National party, who spearheaded a campaign to increase charges paid by Australia’s two biggest mining companies, has lost his seat to Labor.

Grylls is yet to make a formal statement but told Australian Associated Press on Tuesday that he had conceded the seat, saying: “I can’t come back from this.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

South Australia to build battery storage and gas-fired power plant in $550m energy plan

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 5:56pm

Premier Jay Weatherill announces drastic measures for the state to take control of its energy sources, saying Australia’s energy market is ‘failing the nation’

• South Australia’s energy plan – as it happened

The South Australian government has announced it will intervene in the national energy market in a $550m plan that seeks to tame the state’s turbulent power supply and prices.

Launching the plan, the premier, Jay Weatherill, said it was “clear the national energy market is failing the nation, as well as South Australia. And this is pretty extraordinary given we are a country that has an abundance of solar, wind and gas resources. For a country of that sort to be facing an energy crisis is a disgrace.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Music to our ears: sustainability headlines Womadelaide festival

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 3:47pm

From encouraging bike riding and compostable plates to better recycling, organisers have diverted 98% of waste from landfill – and they want to do more

For all the good vibes and communal spirit, when it comes to environmental sustainability there isn’t a great deal to celebrate about the average music festival.

As anyone who has gazed upon the aftermath of one can attest, these orgies of consumption typically leave in their wake a trail of plastic cups and dumped tents strewn about a wasteland of churned earth.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

NT gas pipeline approval puts fracking moratorium in question

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 12:00pm

Pipeline from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa could bring gas from the territory into the eastern states market amid power crisis

An $800m gas pipeline from the Northern Territory to Queensland is one step closer after the federal government granted environmental approval for construction.

The approval, which carries conditions to protect the native death adder snake, had not been expected by the NT government for several weeks, and follows Malcolm Turnbull’s statement that his government will consider “all measures” to ensure energy security.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Why do we love Love Actually? | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 11:34am

Sharp intake of breath on reading Chitra Ramaswamy’s statement that Pembrokeshire is the only coastal national park (Last Night’s TV, G2, 8 March). True, it is the only fully coastal one, but here in North Yorkshire we have the best national treasure of all in a park with heather moors, beautiful villages nestling in valleys, heritage and craftspeople aplenty as well as a delightful varied coastline.
Felicity Brown
Nether Poppleton, North Yorkshire

• Why is Richard Curtis’s film so popular (Love Act-two-ally, G2, 13 March)? It features a prime minister who stands up to an American president. Could only happen in fiction.
John Loader
Leyburn, North Yorkshire

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Death toll from rubbish dump landslide in Ethiopia rises to 65

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 10:57am

Rescue workers search 74-acre site for survivors, with residents blaming construction of biogas plant for disaster

At least 65 people were killed in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump this weekend, officials said on Monday, with entire families including children buried alive in the tragedy.

“The rescue operation is still ongoing. Security personnel and rescuers are trying their level best to locate any possible survivors, while searching for the dead,” said communication minister Negeri Lencho.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The west’s throwaway culture has spread waste worldwide | Waste packaging

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 9:43am

Packaging – much of it single-use food wrapping – has created a rubbish problem that now pollutes every corner of the world. Manufacturers got us into this mess, but it’s up to us to dig ourselves out – and here’s how

In 2003, I was told by a restaurant owner on a Thai island that local fishermen used to wrap their lunch in banana leaves, which they would then casually toss overboard when done. That was OK, because the leaves decayed and the fish ate the scraps. But in the past decade, he said, while plastic wrap had rapidly replaced banana leaves, old habits had died hard – and that was why the beach was fringed with a crust of plastic. Beyond the merely unsightly, this plastic congregates in continent-scale garbage gyres in our oceans, being eaten by plankton, then fish; then quite possibly it’ll reach your plate ...

This is a worldwide problem – we can’t point the finger at Thai fishermen. The west started this. The developing world justifiably yearns for its living standards and, with it, its unsustainable convenience culture.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Boaty McBoatface Prepares For First Antarctic Mission

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 8:13am

After the Internet voted to name a U.K. research vessel "Boaty McBoatface," the results were overruled. But, as a consolation gesture, the name was given to a remote-controlled submersible.

(Image credit: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills)

Categories: Environment

The fossil fuel industry's invisible colonization of academia | Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 3:00am

Corporate capture of academic research by the fossil fuel industry is an elephant in the room and a threat to tackling climate change.

On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Turnbull under pressure as gas supply takes centre stage in power crisis

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 3:00am

Competition watchdog will urge companies to sell to the domestic market, as South Australia reveals its plan to head off further power cuts

The head of Australia’s competition watchdog will urge gas companies to support the domestic market to ensure struggling manufacturers don’t go to the wall, as the Turnbull government mulls options for boosting domestic gas supply to head off forecast shortages.

The chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, will outline his views on the east coast gas crisis in a speech in Sydney on Tuesday, as the South Australian government unveils a blueprint to shore up the state’s unreliable power network, perhaps including new investment in baseload power and storage.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

EPA's Chief Environmental Justice Official Steps Down

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 2:16am

One of the EPA programs the administration may eliminate is the office of Environmental Justice, according to The Washington Post. Steve Inskeep talks to Mustafa Ali, who helped found the office.

Categories: Environment

Kentucky Community Hopes Trump Infrastructure Plan Will Fix Water System

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 1:50am

In Martin County, the drinking water comes from a river contaminated by sewage and years of coal and gas extraction. Residents hope a new federal focus on infrastructure will help them fix the system.

(Image credit: Benny Becker/Ohio Valley ReSource)

Categories: Environment

Boaty McBoatface to go on its first Antarctic mission

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 12:29am

Robot submarine, named after competition, will collect data from depths of Southern Ocean

A small yellow robot submarine, called Boaty McBoatface after a competition to name a new polar research ship backfired, is being sent on its first Antarctic mission.

Boaty, which has arguably one of the most famous names in recent maritime history, is a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which will be able to travel under ice, reach depths of 6,000 metres, and transmit the data it collects to researchers via a radio link.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Battery-makers on Turnbull's Tesla chat: 'Give Australian companies a fair go'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/03/13 - 12:13am

Industry wants more support from federal government now prime minister has ‘taken interest in the tweets of an American billionaire’

Malcolm Turnbull should encourage Australia’s battery energy storage industry now he has “taken interest in the tweets of an American billionaire”, Zen Energy chairman Ross Garnaut says.

Garnaut was referring to Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of electric car giant Tesla, who tweeted that Tesla could solve the power shortage issue causing price spikes and blackouts in South Australia within 100 days by installing 100-300 megawatt hours of battery storage.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Low sunshine throws light on a complex past

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 10:30pm

Llanon, Ceredigion The paths retain their sense of age, hinting at centuries of daily journeys from homestead to field and back

Between the village of Llanon and the sea lies an area of flat land perhaps a kilometre wide, bordered to north and south by minor rivers. On the large scale maps of the area it is labelled Morfa Esgob – which translates roughly as Bishop’s Land. In contrast to the steep, thin-soiled hill pastures inland it is a favoured spot. Well-drained and quick to warm in spring, thanks to the great heat store of Cardigan Bay, the land is now mostly grazed, but both map and landscape hint at a more complex past.

The tithe map of the local parish, recently digitised and interpreted as part of the Cynefin project, captures a snapshot of the land as it was in the 1840s. It reveals Morfa Esgob as a collection of several hundred interlocking “slangs” – narrow strips of farmland – each of a size that could be managed by a single household.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Minister-turned-lobbyist Ian Macfarlane says mines need protection from native title

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 7:12pm

Macfarlane urges MPs to pass legislation to protect land use agreements as Indigenous leaders call for consultation

The former federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane has said the majority of 126 mining projects under Indigenous land use agreements could be shut down pending renegotiations following a federal court ruling on native title.

His comments come after a federal court ruling in the McGlade native title case found that an Indigenous land use agreement (Ilua) was invalid because not all Indigenous representatives had signed it.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

NSW thunderstorms: severe weather, hail and flash flood warnings

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/12 - 5:43pm

Damaging winds are forecast to hit parts of New South Wales on Monday, bringing large hailstones and heavy rain

Severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail and winds of up to 90km/h are forecast to hit parts of New South Wales on Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned people in the central west slopes and plains, and northern tablelands, to brace for large hailstones, damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content