First commercial flight partly fuelled by recycled waste lands in UK

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/10/03 - 5:39am

Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando to Gatwick powered by blend of jet fuel and ethanol

The first commercial flight to use jet fuel partly made from recycled industrial waste has landed at Gatwick.

The Virgin Atlantic plane, travelling from Orlando to London, was powered by a new blend of normal jet fuel and ethanol produced from waste gases, which the airline says could significantly lower aviation’s carbon footprint.

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Categories: Environment

'You Just Don't Touch That Tap Water Unless Absolutely Necessary'

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/10/03 - 5:02am

America's water infrastructure is in need of a major upgrade. Leaks in the ailing system mean that across the U.S., places like Kentucky's Martin County lack clean drinking water, with no easy fixes.

(Image credit: Rich-Joseph Facun for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Trump races against clock to roll back major Obama-era environment rules

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/10/03 - 2:00am

The administration’s lengthy slate of rollbacks will slow progress on reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases that warm the planet, health experts say

Donald Trump’s administration is racing against the clock to rescind or rewrite every major pro-environment policy enduring from Barack Obama’s presidency – but the government will probably not be able to usher those changes through the courts before the next presidential election.

Green-minded states and advocates cannot sue until regulations are final, and it could take years for the courts to rule. In the interim, the lengthy slate of rollbacks will slow progress on reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases that warm the planet, health experts say.

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Categories: Environment

Decades-Old Chemicals, New Angst Over Drinking Water

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/02 - 8:14am

Around the country, communities are learning their drinking water is polluted with a potentially harmful group of chemicals. The Trump administration is working on a plan to manage them.

(Image credit: Matt Rourke/AP)

Categories: Environment

Death Toll Rises In Indonesia After Tsunami

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/02 - 8:06am

After a 7.5-magnitude earthquake catalyzed a tsunami, survivors in the coastal city of Palu, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, are struggling. The BBC reports that the death toll is

(Image credit: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Delays to energy efficient goods will cost EU consumers 'billions' in lost savings

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/02 - 7:53am

New eco-designs for products such as TVs and fridges are also crucial to Europe meeting its climate targets, say experts

New energy efficient eco-designs for 15 products including fridges, TVs and dishwashers have been delayed, EU diplomats say, even though experts consider them “crucial” to meeting Europe’s Paris climate pledge. The delays are also expected to mean consumers will miss out on lower energy bills.

The design revamps would have saved 62m tonnes of CO2 emissions – as much as Sweden’s annual primary energy consumption – but now look set to be dealt with by the next commission, in which far right parties may be more influential.

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Categories: Environment

The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn't care | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/02 - 7:02am

Trump’s team used last week to sneak in disastrous, linked policies on climate change and child refugee camps

In the cloud of toxic dust thrown up by the Kavanaugh hearings last week, two new Trump initiatives slipped by with less notice than they deserve. Both are ugly, stupid – and they are linked, though in ways not immediately apparent.

In the first, the administration provided the rationale for scrapping President Obama’s automobile mileage standards: because Trump’s crew now officially expects the planet to warm by 4C . In the environmental impact statement they say it wouldn’t make much difference to the destruction of the planet if we all keep driving SUVs.

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Categories: Environment

Shell approves $12bn liquefied natural gas project in Canada

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/02 - 6:10am

Scheme will send supercooled gas to Asia as countries switch over from coal

Shell has approved a $12bn (£9.3bn) investment in a mega energy project to send supercooled gas from Canada to China and other Asian countries as they turn from coal to gas.

The scheme will be Canada’s biggest ever infrastructure project and is the world’s first major liquefied natural gas project to be given the go-ahead in five years. Shell has a 40% stake in the $31bn Canada LNG joint venture, along with Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese and South Korean energy firms.

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Categories: Environment

Ikea says goodbye to plastic straws with display at London's Design Museum

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/02 - 5:10am

‘Last Straw’ installation aims to raise awareness of plastic waste as the firm bans single-use straws from UK and Irish stores

Ikea today symbolically unveiled its last single-use plastic straw in a display at London’s Design Museum, after it stopped serving or selling the items in any of its UK and Ireland stores, restaurants and bistros this week.

The so-called Last Straw installation will be on show to the public until Saturday and aims to inspire consumers to collectively take small steps that will have a positive environmental impact.

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Categories: Environment

Save us the smugness over 2018's heatwaves, environmentalists | Matt Hern and Am Johal

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 11:00pm

In this historically precarious moment, we need something more fundamental than climate strategies built on shame and castigation

There was a barely stifled schadenfreudian glee echoing across the liberal press through this burning hot summer. Environmentalists could scarcely disguise their we-told-you-so smirks as one suffocating heatwave after another rolled over the globe, wildfires savaged landscapes from Siberia to California and broken temperature records kept piling up.

But yearning for catastrophe is an ugly desire, and it is exactly the wrong way to think about global warming. Disasters always hit marginalised people first and worst, and as tempting as it might be to hope the calamities of 2018 bring new kinds of change, that desire only betrays how badly environmentalism needs to be overhauled.

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Categories: Environment

Warragamba Dam wall plan could cause 'irreversible' damage, NSW premier told

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 7:01pm

Letter from 20 scientists and ex-ministers, including Peter Garrett, condemns plan to raise dam wall

A group of prominent scientists, former environment ministers and conservationists have written to the New South Wales premier condemning legislation to raise the Warragamba Dam wall.

The $670m plan to raise the dam wall by 14 metres was announced by the NSW government in 2016 as a strategy to prevent catastrophic flooding in outer-western Sydney.

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Categories: Environment

Victoria's renewable energy boom set to create thousands of jobs

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 1:11pm

Green Energy Markets predicts more than 6,000 annual jobs will be created but urges federal policy intervention

The renewable energy construction boom in Victoria is on track to create more than 6,000 annual jobs, according to a new analysis.

As of August 2018, large-scale wind and solar projects under construction in Victoria had created 5,169 job years of employment – meaning one person working full time for one year – overtaking Queensland with 5,156, according to an analysis by Green Energy Markets released by GetUp on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

Supreme court rejects California billionaire's 'private beach' case

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 12:14pm

Vinod Khosla bought $32.5m property south of San Francisco and cut off public access to popular surf spot

Beach lovers were celebrating on Monday after the US supreme court declined to hear a case brought by the billionaire Vinod Khosla that threatened the public’s right to access beaches across California.

Related: 'Privatizing the coast': are wealthy Californians seizing public beaches?

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Categories: Environment

Grand Canyon uranium mining ban upheld as supreme court declines to hear challenge

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 12:13pm

Court says extraction ban is among cases it refuses to review, in victory for environmental groups and Native American communities

The ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon implemented by the Obama administration was effectively upheld on Monday when the US supreme court declined to hear a challenge from the industry.

Environmental groups and Native American communities declared victory when, on the first day of its fall season, the bench announced that the uranium extraction ban was among cases it refuses to review.

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Categories: Environment

German energy secretary backs forest clearance to build coal mine

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 8:45am

Thomas Bareiß says use of polluting fuel at RWE plant is needed to keep the lights on

Controversial plans to chop down a German forest to build a vast coal mine should proceed because Germany needs the polluting fuel to keep the lights on, according to the chief of the country’s state secretary for energy.

Dozens of treehouses built and occupied by campaigners for years have been recently cleared by police to make way for plans by energy firm RWE, which owns Hambach forest near Cologne, to expand its nearby opencast coal mine.

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Categories: Environment

New study finds incredibly high carbon pollution costs – especially for the US and India | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 3:00am

As a wealthy, warm country, the US would benefit from implementing a carbon tax to slow global warming

The social cost of carbon is a measure of the economic damages caused (via climate change) by each ton of carbon pollution that we produce today.  It’s difficult to estimate because of physical, economic, and ethical uncertainties.  For example, it’s difficult to predict exactly when various climate tipping points will be triggered, how much their damages will cost, and there’s also a question about how much we value the welfare of future generations (which is incorporated in the choice of ‘discount rate’).

In 2013, the Obama administration set the federal social cost of carbon estimate at $37 per ton of carbon dioxide (up from the previous estimate of $22).  That was a conservative estimate – in recent years, research has pegged the value closer to $200 because recent research has shown that global warming slows economic growth, which makes it quite expensive.  A majority of economists in a 2015 survey believed the federal estimate was too low, but Republicans have recently been trying to dramatically lower it anyway.

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Categories: Environment

Scott Morrison says $444m Great Barrier Reef grant 'right financial decision'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/01 - 12:54am

PM says he and Mathias Cormann were responsible for awarding the money to foundation in one year

Scott Morrison has said he and the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, were responsible for the government’s decision to give $444m to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation in one year.

At a doorstop in Perth on Monday the prime minister said that the pair, as the Coalition’s economic team before the 2018 budget, had worked out “the best way to do [the grant] financially”, and argued it was the right decision because it helped the reef without “blowing the budget”.

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Categories: Environment

'We've bred them to their limit': death rates surge for female pigs in the US

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/09/30 - 11:00pm

With sows producing 23 piglets a year on average, intensive farming is called into question over rise in animals suffering prolapse

Death rates for female pigs in the US are rising fast, sending alarm bells ringing throughout the farming industry.

The mortality rate rose from 5.8% to 10.2% on farms owning more than 125 sows between 2013-2016, according to one organisation that collects data across 800 companies.

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Categories: Environment

Activists call for halt to 'nuclear mud' dumping off Wales

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/09/30 - 11:00pm

Campaigners say sediment has not been tested properly and may do ‘irreversible harm’

An eclectic group of activists including scientists, surfers and a member of the Welsh band Super Furry Animals is attempting to halt the dumping of “nuclear mud” excavated as part of the vast Hinkley Point C construction project.

The activists are appearing in court in Cardiff on Tuesday to try to obtain an injunction to stop 300,000 tonnes of sediment from the power station site in Somerset being disposed of a mile and half from the Welsh capital.

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Categories: Environment

Dumping 15m tonnes of salt at Queensland creek 'considerable' risk to water

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/09/30 - 11:00am

Study concludes considerable likelihood waste from coal seam gas operations could contaminate Stockyard Creek in headwaters of Murray-Darling Basin

Plans to dump up to 15m tonnes of salt and other waste near a creek in drought-stricken Queensland carry a “considerable” risk of water contamination, a new study has found.

Approved plans to expand a dump near the town of Chinchilla allow salt waste from coal seam gas operations to be stored fewer than 100 metres from Stockyard Creek, in the headwaters of the Murray-Darling Basin.

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