Guardian Environment News

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Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.
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John Setka abandons challenge to his expulsion from Labor party – politics live

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 8:53pm

Victorian CFMEU boss withdraws his legal appeal. All the day’s events, live

4.53am BST

Tony Burke to Christian Porter:

The Federal Court found Liberal Party Member and donor Gerry Hanssenwas driven by a blind hatred of unions when he blocked safety inspectors from a site where a worker had died.

4.48am BST

Move over latte sippers - you have officially been scrapped, according to Paul Fletcher:

That has been very well received in regional Australia because our members for Parliament on this side of the House don’t live inside the goat ‘s cheese circle like most of the people on the other side of the House.

It is estimated that Australian goat milk production is around 16 million litres per year with an estimated farm gate value of $20 million. There are approximately 68 dairy goat farms and 15 goat milk factories in Australia. A large portion of the dairy goat farms process their own milk and supply direct to wholesalers.”

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Categories: Environment

Australia’s hopes to expand coal exports in south-east Asia ‘delusional’, experts say

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 3:47pm

Region’s expected increase in coal-fired power plants could turn out to be ‘more fizz than boom’ as construction rates fall markedly

The number of new coal-fired power plants starting construction across south-east Asia has fallen markedly over the past two years as Australia has increasingly looked to the region to expand its thermal coal exports.

Analysis by US-based climate research and advocacy group Global Energy Monitor found work on only 1.5 gigawatts of new coal generation – equivalent to one large Australian plant – began in the region in the six months to June, all of it in Indonesia.

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Categories: Environment

Drought-hit farmers ask government to help pay council rates and offer exit packages

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 10:00am

National Farmers’ Federation sends a list of demands for immediate drought response to the commonwealth

Farmers have sent a list of key demands for immediate drought response to government, including a call for the commonwealth to pay council rates for affected businesses and to offer exit packages for those wanting to leave the land.

Releasing its national drought policy on Wednesday, the National Farmers’ Federation will outline its priorities for a new national framework, while also listing a set of demands for farmers affected by the current drought.

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Categories: Environment

At Ofgem, we ensure funding is justified | Letter

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 9:25am
Akshay Kaul of Ofgem defends the regulator’s decision to refuse Scottish Power’s request for electric car support

Your article (Scottish Power blames Ofgem ‘disconnect’ for stalling electric vehicle rollout, 19 October) does not fully reflect Ofgem’s position. Our statutory duty is to protect consumers now and in the future. We do this by helping to deliver, as one of our core priorities, a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050 at the lowest cost to consumers. This includes prioritising electric vehicle rollout.

We’ve already made sure that networks have £3bn of funding to reinforce their local grids, including to accommodate low-carbon demand for electric vehicles.

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Categories: Environment

ExxonMobil faces trial over allegations of misleading investors on climate crisis

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 9:02am

New York lawsuit alleges company was ‘exposed to far greater risk from climate change than investors were led to believe’

ExxonMobil is to face trial in New York City on Tuesday, accused of misleading investors over the business risks caused by regulations aimed at addressing the climate crisis.

The oil and gas giant has been taken to court by New York’s attorney general for allegedly covering up the costs it will incur from government rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Melting glaciers reveal five new islands in the Arctic

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 8:27am

Russian navy discovers yet-to-be-named islands previously hidden under glaciers

The Russian navy says it has discovered five new islands revealed by melting glaciers in the remote Arctic.

An expedition in August and September charted the islands, which have yet to be named and were previously hidden under glaciers, said the head of the northern fleet, Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists fired by Trump warn particle pollution standards don’t protect people

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 5:01am

Group was disbanded by the EPA, but continued its work anyway, as Trump agencies roll back environment and health protections

A group of scientist advisers dismissed by the Trump administration has concluded that national limits on fine particles of air pollution aren’t strong enough to protect people.

The expert panel of epidemiologists and toxicologists was disbanded by the Environmental Protection Agency but decided to continue its work anyway.

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Categories: Environment

UK to use finance meant for green energy to support fracking in Argentina

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 4:04am

Documents show government’s plans to use money from £1bn 2017 deal to prioritise support of major oil companies

The UK is planning to invest in Argentina’s controversial oil shale industry using a £1bn export finance deal intended to support green energy, according to government documents seen by the Guardian.

UK Export Finance, the government’s foreign credit agency, promised in 2017 to offer loans totalling £1bn to help UK companies export their expertise in “infrastructure, green energy and healthcare” to invest in Argentina’s economy.

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Categories: Environment

'It's where we come from': the River People in Mexico left without a river

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 3:00am

The loss of the Colorado River has destroyed the social fabric of the Cucapá tribe and is partly to blame for its population decline

They are called the River People, but they no longer have a river.

Inocencia González is the traditional tribal elder of the Cucapá – the River People – in northern Mexico. She spends her days beading traditional chaquira jewellery to sell at the community museum, and reminiscing about happier times spent fishing for tilapia and mullet.

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Categories: Environment

NSW moves to stop mine projects being blocked because of their overseas emissions

Tue, 2019/10/22 - 12:32am

State government wants to prevent the regulation of scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in mining approvals

The New South Wales government has announced it will introduce legislation to try to stop planning authorities from blocking mine developments based on emissions from coal once it is burned.

The push is a response to the historic Rocky Hill verdict delivered by the NSW Land and Environment court earlier this year and comes just days after the government launched a review of the state’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

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Categories: Environment

Ban on contentious tourism project in Tasmanian world heritage area overturned

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 7:14pm

Appeal tribunal reverses council decision to block luxury camp on Halls Island on Lake Malbena in Walls of Jerusalem national park

A contentious private tourism development with helicopter access in Tasmanian world heritage wilderness is a step closer to going ahead after a planning tribunal reversed a council decision to block it.

The luxury camp proposal for remote Halls Island on Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem national park was approved by the federal and state governments but rejected by the Central Highlands council in February.

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Categories: Environment

Australia is the only country using carryover climate credits, officials admit

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 7:11pm

More than half of Australia’s Paris emissions commitment will come from controversial credits from previous targets

The federal environment department says it is not aware of any countries other than Australia planning to use controversial “carryover credits” to meet international climate commitments.

The comment, at a Senate estimates hearing on Monday, comes as the Morrison government rebuffs calls from international leaders, analysts and activists for it to abandon the use the credits to meet its 2030 Paris emissions goal.

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Categories: Environment

BHP plans to replace coal with renewables at two huge copper mines in Chile

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 5:10pm

Mining giant says contracts will cut energy prices by 20% and save 3m tonnes of carbon

The mining giant BHP has signed four renewable energy contracts that will replace coal-fired power at two of its copper mines in Chile, a move it says will mean both sites are fully powered by renewables by the mid-2020s.

The company said on Monday it had signed the contracts for its Escondida and Spence copper mine operations. BHP’s Escondida mine, in Chile’s Atacama Desert, is the world’s largest copper producer.

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Categories: Environment

More than 50 elephants starve to death in Zimbabwe drought

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 4:20pm

Food shortages force animals into nearby areas which then suffer from overcrowding

At least 55 elephants have starved to death in the past two months in Zimbabwe’s biggest national park as a serious drought forces animals to stray into nearby communities in search of food and water, authorities say.

“The problem is real, the situation is dire,” said National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo. Other animals such as lions at Hwange National Park have been affected.

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Categories: Environment

Clive Palmer company reapplies for mine four times size of Adani's Carmichael

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 10:00am

Exclusive: public notice on proposal was placed in classifieds of paper in Queensland town of Emerald

A Clive Palmer-controlled company has applied for a mining lease and environmental authority to build a massive coalmine four times the size of Adani’s in the Queensland Galilee Basin.

The Galilee Coal project – formerly called China First – has not progressed since it gained federal environmental approval in late 2013.

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Categories: Environment

UK firm announces plans for first 'liquid to gas' cryogenic battery

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 9:42am

Highview Power claims device will be Europe’s largest energy storage project

British battery pioneers plan to build Europe’s largest energy storage project using a cryogenic battery that can store renewable energy for weeks rather than hours.

The device will be built on the site of an old fossil fuel plant in the north of England to power up to 50,000 homes for up to five hours.

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Categories: Environment

Tory boasts on climate action are full of hot air | Letters

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 9:41am
Michael Miller writes on the Conservatives’ record on tackling the climate crisis, while Dr Andy Higginbottom argues that both parties fail to acknowledge the real impact and Dr David Lowry says that nuclear power is not the panacea it’s made out to be

The letter from Conservative MPs listing their climate achievements makes rather sad reading (Letters, 17 October). Yes, they have done some positive things but the letter glosses over many problems.

The record investment in renewables and phase-out of coal power stations is largely a result of market forces because green measures have become much cheaper, and it was the Labour government that introduced the feed-in tariff leading to the huge growth in solar power. Setting a net-zero target is meaningless unless supported by action, and hosting the 2020 UN climate talks will probably simply produce more hot air than reduce CO2 .

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Categories: Environment

'Racism dictates who gets dumped on': how environmental injustice divides the world

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 3:00am

Five luminaries explain the concept of ‘environmental justice’ and reveal why, alongside the climate crisis, it is one of the most pressing issues of our time

Today the Guardian is launching a year-long series, Our Unequal Earth, investigating environmental injustices: how ecological hazards and climate disasters have the harshest impacts on people of color, native tribes and those on low incomes.

The most egregious examples include the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan, petrochemical pollution in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, and today’s series launch story, about an entire river that stops at the US-Mexico border, leaving ordinary Mexicans without water. Each of these cases has also prompted inspiring community activism.

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Categories: Environment

The lost river: Mexicans fight for mighty waterway taken by the US

Mon, 2019/10/21 - 3:00am

The Colorado River serves over 35 million Americans before reaching Mexico – but it is dammed at the border, leaving locals on the other side with a dry delta

The temperature is rising toward 45C (113F) as young brothers Daniel and Dilan Rodríguez skip towards a bridge over the Colorado River in the Mexican border town of San Luis Río Colorado. But there is no water flowing through the channel of one of the world’s mightiest waterways. The pair run down the river bank and cheerfully splash through stagnant puddles dotted about the riverbed.

“We wish we had a river, so we could swim, and jump and sail my cousin’s boat,” said Daniel, 12. “At least we have puddles to make mud balls, that can be fun.”

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Categories: Environment

Renewable energy to expand by 50% in next five years - report

Sun, 2019/10/20 - 10:00pm

Energy agency says solar power will drive faster than forecast growth in renewables

Global supplies of renewable electricity are growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, powered by a resurgence in solar energy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years.

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Categories: Environment