New Report Predicts Rising Tides, More Flooding

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 2:12pm

The report, obtained by NPR, shows that "sunny-day flooding" may be a regular occurrence in some areas. It sets out to give communities a clear guide to prepare for coastal flooding.

(Image credit: David L. Ryan/Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Grass Is Back In The Chesapeake, And Crabs Will Follow

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 1:01pm

In the Chesapeake Bay, underwater seagrass beds are growing, sheltering crabs and fish. The long-awaited recovery depends on efforts by farmers to prevent nutrients from polluting the giant estuary.

(Image credit: Peter Essick/Getty Images/Aurora Creative)

Categories: Environment

Jaguar Land Rover and Cadbury shut plants so water firm can fix burst pipes

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 12:23pm

Thousands sent home in West Midlands as Severn Trent prioritises households amid dwindling supply

Thousands of staff at two Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) car plants have been sent home, while chocolate production has been halted at Cadbury’s Bourneville factory, amid water shortages in the West Midlands caused by burst water mains after the recent cold weather.

The local water company, Severn Trent, said it had asked a “handful of big businesses” to shut down factories as it tried to prioritise household supplies.

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Categories: Environment

Latin American countries sign legally binding pact to protect land defenders

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 11:16am

New treaty compels states to investigate and punish killings and attacks on people defending their land or environment

Officials from 24 Latin American and Caribbean states have signed a legally binding environmental rights pact containing measures to protect land defenders, almost two years to the day since environmental leader Berta Cáceres was killed in her home in Honduras.

Last year almost 200 nature protectors were killed across the world, 60% of them in Latin America. The new treaty obliges states to “guarantee a safe and enabling environment for persons, groups and organisations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters”.

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Categories: Environment

Australia has 1,800 threatened species but has not listed critical habitat in 10 years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 10:00am

Only five habitats put on critical habitat register since national environmental laws enacted

Australia has not listed any critical habitat for the protection of threatened species on the federal critical habitat register for more than a decade.

And only five places have been registered on the database since Australia’s national environmental laws – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – were enacted.

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Categories: Environment

Mass die-off of sea creatures follows freezing UK weather

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 9:02am

Starfish and crabs among animals piled ankle-deep along parts of the North Sea coast

Massive numbers of starfish, crab, mussels and lobsters have been washed up on the North Sea coast of the UK, following the recent freezing weather and storms.

Tens of thousands of creatures are piled up ankle-deep in places along the Holderness coast in Yorkshire and similar mass mortality has been reported in Kent and Norfolk.

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Categories: Environment

In a laver: seaweed shuts nuclear reactor again in bad weather

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 4:46am

EDF’s Torness plant east of Edinburgh has previously been taken offline due to jellyfish

Roving jellyfish and seaweed have long been unwanted guests at Scotland’s last two nuclear power stations. Now the marine algae have hit again, forcing one of the plants to partially power down despite freezing temperatures pushing up demand for electricity.

During last week’s cold weather, excessive amounts of seaweed entered the cooling system of the Torness plant in East Lothian, causing one reactor to be closed on Thursday.

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Categories: Environment

Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 4:00am

The fault lies entirely with the GOP. Focus on fixing it, not laying blame where it doesn’t belong

Steven Pinker is a cognitive psychologist, linguist, and author of Bill Gates’ two favorite books. However, his latest – Enlightenment Now – has some serious shortcomings centering on Pinker’s misperceptions about climate change polarization. Pinker falls into the trap of ‘Both Siderism,’ acknowledging the Republican Party’s science denial, but also wrongly blaming liberals for the policy stalemate, telling Ezra Klein:

there is implacable opposition to nuclear energy in much of the environmental movement ... There are organizations like Greenpeace and NRDC who are just dead set opposed to nuclear. There are also people on the left like Naomi Klein who are dead set against carbon pricing because it doesn’t punish the polluters enough ... the people that you identify who believe in a) carbon pricing and b) expansion of nuclear power, I suspect they’re a tiny minority of the people concerned with climate … What we need are polling data on how many people really would support carbon pricing and an expansion of nuclear and other low carbon energy sources.

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Categories: Environment

Why what we eat is crucial to the climate change question | Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/05 - 1:00am

Our food – from what we eat to how it is grown – accounts for more carbon emissions than transport and yet staple crops will be hit hard by global warming

Did you know that what’s on your plate plays a larger role in contributing to climate change than the car you drive? When most wealthy people think about their carbon footprint, or their contributions to climate change, they’ll think about where their electricity and heat come from or what they drive. They’ll think about fossil fuels and miles per gallon, about LED lights and mass transit – but not so much about combine harvesters or processed meals or food waste. Few consider the impacts of the food they eat, despite the fact that globally, food systems account for roughly one quarter of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than the entire transportation sector, more than all industrial practices, and roughly the same as the production of electricity and heat.

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Categories: Environment

One-fifth of Europe's wood beetles at risk of extinction as ancient trees decline

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 11:30pm

Demise of the beetles, that need rotting wood to survive, could have devastating knock-on effect for other species, say scientists in a new report

Almost one-fifth of Europe’s wood beetles are at risk of extinction due to a widespread decline in ancient trees, according to a new report which suggests their demise could have devastating knock-on effects for other species.

The study says 18% of saproxylic beetles – which depend on dead and decaying wood for some of their lifecycle – now exist on a conservation plane between “vulnerable” and “critically endangered”.

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Categories: Environment

Murray-Darling on alert over blue-green algae from water over-extraction

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 7:18pm

Murray-Darling Basin Authority report echoes farmers’ fears irrigators are causing the river to run dry, not the weather

Most of the Murray-Darling system has been placed on red or amber alert for outbreaks of blue-green algae as a new report finds that the increasing incidence in low-flow or no-flow events is due to irrigators extracting more water from the system.

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Categories: Environment

No big freeze in electric vehicles | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 10:49am
Cat Burton, Steve Emsley and Geoff Williams on using the car batteries to turn up the heat in their electric vehicles when needed

I had to laugh at John Richards’s worry about people freezing in stuck electric vehicles because their batteries would run down in “no time” while those in a petrol car could run their heater (Letters, 3 March). Running the heated seats and climate control for about seven hours costs about three miles of range for my Tesla and it’s probably something similar for a petrol or diesel car. The big difference is, the electric vehicle won’t be killing the occupants with carbon monoxide poisoning. Indeed, the advice has always been not to run the engine if stuck.

Teslas have a 12v battery for “domestic” uses and a 400v battery for motive power. The 400v kicks in to recharge the 12v when needed. Think of the 400v battery as the equivalent of running the engine to top up the battery.
Cat Burton
Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

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Categories: Environment

Lobbying by MPs forced government to back off on land-clearing enforcement

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 10:00am

Environment department originally wrote to landowners asking them to show why planned clearing was not illegal, but later reversed course

Attempts by the federal government to stop potentially unlawful clearing in Queensland were reversed after political intervention, with a highly unusual apology letter sent to every landholder suspected of planning unlawful clearing at the direct request of the minister, documents obtained by the Guardian under FOI laws reveal.

In December 2015 and January 2016, the federal department of environment took the exceptional step of asking 51 landholders with approval from the Queensland government to clear their land, to explain why the clearing wasn’t unlawful under federal environmental law.

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Categories: Environment

'Global deforestation hotspot': 3m hectares of Australian forest to be lost in 15 years

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 10:00am

Threatened species, pressure on Great Barrier Reef and climate change all worsened by full-blown land-clearing crisis

Australia is in the midst of a full-blown land-clearing crisis. Projections suggest that in the two decades to 2030, 3m hectares of untouched forest will have been bulldozed in eastern Australia.

The crisis is driven primarily by a booming livestock industry but is ushered in by governments that fail to introduce restrictions and refuse to apply existing restrictions.

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Categories: Environment

To Fight Pollution, He's Reinventing The Mongolian Tent

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 5:00am

A new UNICEF report warns that Mongolia's pollution is a very real danger to children's health. One man has a plan to create a green community.

(Image credit: Katya Cengel for NPR)

Categories: Environment

UK moves into warmer weather but flooding risk increases

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 4:01am

Environment Agency issues 16 flood warnings and 35 flood alerts as country thaws out

The cold snap, in which the UK has been hit by hazardous conditions and freezing temperatures, is coming to an end. But high tides and easterly winds could mean flooding for several parts of Britain, particularly in the coastal areas in the south-west and north-east.

Some areas will enjoy temperatures as warm as 10C (50F) on Sunday and Monday, although Scotland, parts of Northern Ireland and the north of England will remain cool for a few more days.

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Categories: Environment

Jaguars killed for fangs to supply growing Chinese medicine trade

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/04 - 12:00am
Demand from Chinese workers raises demand for skin and body parts of endangered species

Conservationists who have uncovered a growing illegal trade in jaguar fangs in South America are linking it to Chinese construction projects that could be threatening wildlife globally.

Experts say major Chinese power plant, road and rail works in developing nations are key stimulants of illicit trade in the skins, bones and horns of endangered animals.

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Categories: Environment

With more efficient homes, the UK would never fear running short of gas

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/03 - 11:59pm
Last week’s brief but unnerving shortfall was a reminder, if any were needed, of the central importance of energy efficiency

Carry on cooking as normal, the energy minister said. This is how the market works, said industry experts, as the wholesale price of gas rocketed 200% in the wake of National Grid’s warning on Thursday that the country was facing a gas shortfall. In other words, don’t panic, nothing to see here.

To an extent, they’re right. In the short term the UK was fine, despite huge demand fuelled by cold weather coinciding with a series of interruptions to supply. No domestic gas supplies were cut off and neither was National Grid forced to ask industrial users to stop using gas.

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Categories: Environment

Badger cull faces review as bovine TB goes on rising

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/03 - 5:05pm
Campaigners want inquiry into overall strategy to examine how effective culling has been

The government is to review the controversial badger cull as part of an inquiry into its strategy to clamp down on bovine TB.

The review raises the possibility that experts conducting it will examine disputed evidence about the cull’s efficacy, potentially paving the way for a change in policy.

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Categories: Environment

Unusually High Temperatures In Arctic Rise In Frequency

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/03/03 - 3:58pm

Weather patterns in the Arctic have been described as "freakishly warm." NPR's Michel Martin talks with climate science professor Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University about what's behind it.

Categories: Environment
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