The power switch: tracking Britain's record coal-free run

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/05/31 - 8:46am

Britain has set a new record for going without coal-powered energy, but how long will it last and when will we ditch the dirty fuel entirely?

Britain is setting new records for going without coal-powered energy. In the latest milestone, it has gone for two weeks without using coal to generate electricity – the longest such period since 1882.

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Categories: Environment

Great Britain records two weeks of coal-free electricity generation

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/05/31 - 8:29am

England, Scotland and Wales went for two weeks without coal at 3.12pm on Friday

Great Britain has hit a new power milestone – lasting for a fortnight without using any coal power to generate electricity for the first time since the industrial revolution.

The system which supplies electricity across England, Scotland and Wales went for two weeks without coal at 3:12pm BST precisely, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator.

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Categories: Environment

'It's Never Done This': Arkansas River Keeps Flooding, Testing Levees And Patience

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2019/05/31 - 7:06am

The Arkansas River is rising well above its previous record, and it's forecast to stay that way for days. That's putting pressure on old levees and making it hard for some residents to evacuate.

(Image credit: Nathan Rott/NPR)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/05/31 - 6:30am

A frog, an albino panda and a ‘seabed garden’

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Categories: Environment

Gov. Jay Inslee Says Washington State Is A 'Template For Success' For The U.S.

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2019/05/31 - 2:01am

Inslee says the policies he's enacted in his state on the environment, the economy and health care are the same progressive actions he'd take if elected president.

(Image credit: Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Queensland signs off Adani's plan for endangered black-throated finch

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 5:58pm

Environment department says process has been rigorous but critics warn approved plan puts bird at risk of extinction

The Queensland government has signed off on Adani’s black-throated finch management plan, one of two state approvals the company needs to begin preparatory construction for its Adani coalmine.

Queensland’s coordinator general published the decision on Friday morning.

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Categories: Environment

'They've been killing us for too long': Louisiana residents march in coalition against 'death alley'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 4:00pm

Five-day marathon to state capitol leaves Reserve, where chemical factory presents greatest risk of cancer to surrounding community

Demonstrators in Louisiana stepped off on a five-day march on Thursday, demanding environmental justice for a region besieged by toxic pollution from chemical plants.

The protest began just a few hundred feet from a factory in Reserve, Louisiana, that presents the greatest risk of cancer to the surrounding community of any in the nation, according to government data.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's nature reserves being opened up for business use, global study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 3:46pm

Some 13,000 sq km removed from conservation areas since 1997, researchers say

Australian governments have slashed the legal protection of nature reserves in favour of business growth, a global study reveals.

The country is one of 73 dropping the ball on land protection, according to the study, which was published in the journal Science on Friday.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists Know How Tornadoes Form, But They Are Hard To Predict

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 2:37pm

Scientists know how the storms are created, but it's nearly impossible to predict where a tornado will touch down, says Patrick Marsh, an NOAA meteorologist.

(Image credit: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Adani still needs further federal approval despite pre-election green light

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 1:58pm

Work related to groundwater research will need to be signed off as opponents say new government papers show mine is ‘not ready to go’

Adani will not be allowed to dig any coal from its Carmichael mine until it gets further federal government approval – despite the Coalition’s pre-election green light for parts of the project.

With Adani’s controversial project looming as a central issue in the federal election campaign, the Coalition made political capital in Queensland out of the decision in April by former environment minister Melissa Price to approve Adani’s groundwater management plans.

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Categories: Environment

US rollback of protected areas risks emboldening others, scientists warn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 1:49pm
  • Trump slashed size of two protected wilderness areas
  • Pace of rollbacks for development projects accelerating

America’s reputation as an international conservation leader is under threat in the wake of unprecedented rollbacks, according to the most comprehensive effort yet to track the erosion of protected wilderness areas and national parks around the world.

The report, published on Thursday in the journal Science, found that the pace of proposed rollbacks in the US has accelerated, with 90% having taken place since 2000. Nearly all of those proposals (99%) were associated with industrial-scale development projects, including infrastructure construction and oil and gas extraction. The report specifically calls out Donald Trump’s downsizing of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, the largest protected area reductions in US history, as highlighting “the increasingly uncertain future of US PAs [protected areas]”.

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Categories: Environment

Renewable energy jobs in UK plunge by a third

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 6:31am

Exclusive: report reveals investment in the sector has halved in recent years

The number of jobs in renewable energy in the UK has plunged by nearly a third in recent years, and the amount of new green generating capacity by a similar amount, causing havoc among companies in the sector, a new report has found.

Prospect, the union which covers much of the sector, has found a 30% drop in renewable energy jobs between 2014 and 2017, as government cuts to incentives and support schemes started to bite. It also found investment in renewables in the UK more than halved between 2015 and 2017.

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Categories: Environment

Epic floods and trade wars – the US farmers battered by politics and climate

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 6:20am

The weather is wild, the tariffs are rising, and as frustration ripples through the Iowa corn fields, rural America is ready to confront its 2020 candidates

Aaron Heley Lehman listened to the rain tap his window pane in the machine shed for two weeks, wondering when he would ever finish planting corn on his central Iowa farm, and watched the markets tank as Donald Trump blustered on in his trade war with China.

Related: Robert Mueller breaks silence to insist he did not exonerate Trump

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Categories: Environment

Oregon's Cap On Greenhouse Gas Emissions Opposed By Groups On Both Sides

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 4:22am

Oregon wants to reduce carbon emissions by adopting a cap-and-trade system, which would raise the cost of fossil fuels. But critics complain that the idea is poorly conceived.

Categories: Environment

Safe Or Scary? The Shifting Reputation Of Glyphosate, AKA Roundup

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 2:00am

The world's most widely used weed killer was once seen as one of the safest pesticides. Now it is blamed for causing cancer. Yet the scientific evidence remains disputed.

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Categories: Environment

A Sea Of Sagebrush Disappears, Making Way For Fire-Prone Cheatgrass

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/30 - 2:00am

In the past two years, more than 800,000 acres in northern Nevada have burned. The traditional sagebrush rangeland is being replaced by cheatgrass that burns hotter and more frequently.

(Image credit: Ashley Ahearn for NPR)

Categories: Environment

A secretive marsh bird faces existential threat from rising seas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 11:00pm

Louisiana wetlands are eroding faster than almost anywhere in the world – and endangering the wildlife that call them home

Biologists crouched in the mud squint past their headlamps at the secretive marsh bird.

They have tramped through tall cordgrass for two hours, trying to stir the creature up by shaking cans of bolts and metal pellets. A few hundred feet away, the stretch of Louisiana marshland gives way to the Gulf of Mexico. Closer to their faces, mosquitoes swarm.

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Categories: Environment

The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 10:51pm

Without efforts to rebuild soil health, we could lose our ability to grow enough nutritious food to feed the planet’s population

The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system. But thanks to conventional farming practices, nearly half of the most productive soil has disappeared in the world in the last 150 years, threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution, dead zones and erosion. In the US alone, soil on cropland is eroding 10 times faster than it can be replenished.

If we continue to degrade the soil at the rate we are now, the world could run out of topsoil in about 60 years, according to Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Without topsoil, the earth’s ability to filter water, absorb carbon, and feed people plunges. Not only that, but the food we do grow will probably be lower in vital nutrients.

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Categories: Environment

I’m the gutter gourmet: how I spent a month eating other people's leftovers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 10:00pm

We don’t talk enough about the street food scandal – leftovers chucked away without a second thought

Every day for the past month complete strangers have bought me lunch. And breakfast. And dinner. And they don’t even know it.

I have been living high on the hog, and it hasn’t cost me a penny – because I have been dining out on the half-eaten fast food and takeaways thoughtfully abandoned by my fellow Britons on pavements and park benches and tube platforms all over the city. Sometimes they even leave them in bins.

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Categories: Environment

How Oklahoma Is Coping With Devastating Floods Across The State

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/29 - 1:28pm

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Col. Christopher Hussin, of Army Corps of Engineers in Oklahoma, about the state's levee system and the threat it faces from historic flooding.

Categories: Environment
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