Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 19 hours 23 min ago

Scotland Yard defends response to climate change protests

Thu, 2019/04/18 - 11:05am

Met comes under pressure to crack down on the Extinction Rebellion demonstrators

Scotland Yard has defended its response to the rolling protests in London that have caused disruption to millions and pushed climate change towards the top of the national news agenda.

The Metropolitan police has come under increasing pressure to crack down on the Extinction Rebellion demonstrators who have blocked transport networks in the capital in recent days; not least from the home secretary, Sajid Javid, who has urged officers to “take a firm stance”.

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Categories: Environment

Sajid Javid calls for 'full force of law' against Extinction Rebellion protesters

Thu, 2019/04/18 - 10:30am

Home secretary asks police to be firm against demonstrators ‘disrupting the lives of others’

Sajid Javid has called on police to use the “full force of the law” against Extinction Rebellion protesters causing disruption in London to draw attention to the issue of climate change.

The home secretary, who is positioning himself for a run at the Conservative party leadership, made a series of tweets condemning “any protesters who are stepping outside the boundaries of the law”.

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Categories: Environment

We are not yet doomed: the carbon cutters determined to save the world

Thu, 2019/04/18 - 3:21am

An orchestra, a village, an entire country: the movement to rein in greenhouse gas emissions is growing

We are all doomed, it is said. Carbon dioxide is amassing in the atmosphere at levels not seen for millions of years when there were trees at the South Pole and Florida was under water. We have barely a decade to make amends. Protesters are on the streets.

But huge numbers of people have not given up. Not yet. Call them the carbon cutters. They are companies and cities, niche groups and nations. They are commuters and communes, off-gridders and off-setters, investors and institutions – and countless individuals, cutting their meat intake, installing solar panels, eschewing gas guzzlers and long-haul flights.

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Categories: Environment

Talking about climate change in conservative places is hard. But we can’t afford not to

Thu, 2019/04/18 - 2:00am

If Mississippi reflects on the deep, systemic inequalities its plantation economy created, perhaps it will see those inequalities are exacerbated by climate change

Climate change, I was told when buying a coffee, is not a “polite” topic of conversation in Natchez, Mississippi.

The city sits on the legendarily volatile Mississippi River, which is straining against an aging system of levees. Considered the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi, Natchez is perched on a bluff over the river’s eastern banks. Three hundred miles upriver from New Orleans, Natchez was once a bastion of the old south: steamships moved enslaved people and cotton to market, enriching planters who lived in “Natchez-over-the-Hill”.

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Categories: Environment

Trump policy of less safety and more offshore drilling is 'a recipe for disaster'

Thu, 2019/04/18 - 1:00am

Nine years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Trump administration is exacerbating the industry’s ‘systemic failures’, report warns

Offshore oil and gas drilling in the US is plagued by “systemic failures” in oversight that are being worsened by Trump administration attempts to expand drilling and roll back safety requirements, a new report has warned.

The analysis of public documents by the conservation group Oceana found that while some minor improvements have been made since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, a system of lax oversight, paltry fines and overstretched inspectors risks further major oil spills.

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Categories: Environment

'Malicious': Shorten and business groups defy Coalition's assault on climate policy

Thu, 2019/04/18 - 12:26am

High-quality international offsets should be part of any credible policy, industry says

Business groups are defying the Morrison government’s political assault on the use of international permits, arguing a credible climate policy should include access to high-quality international offsets, because they are a key mechanism to help Australia meet its Paris target.

With climate change persisting as a significant campaign flashpoint, the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, James Pearson, told Guardian Australia international permits were part of the toolkit for mitigating climate change in a cost-effective way.

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Categories: Environment

Briefing notes show Coalition approved Adani water plan despite knowing of risk

Wed, 2019/04/17 - 8:29pm

Company rejected scientific advice its groundwater modelling was ‘not fit for purpose’

The federal government approved groundwater plans for the Adani coal project despite acknowledging the risk that the project would breach environmental approvals and draw excessive water from an ancient springs complex.

Handwritten briefing notes, released publicly by Geoscience Australia and first reported by the ABC, detail how Adani rejected advice that its groundwater modelling was “not fit for purpose”.

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Categories: Environment

'Decades of denial': major report finds New Zealand's environment is in serious trouble

Wed, 2019/04/17 - 7:17pm

Nation known for its natural beauty is under pressure with extinctions, polluted rivers and blighted lakes

A report on the state of New Zealand’s environment has painted a bleak picture of catastrophic biodiversity loss, polluted waterways, and the destructive rise of the dairy industry and urban sprawl.

Environment Aotearoa is the first major environmental report in four years, and was compiled using data from Statistics New Zealand and the ministry of the environment.

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Categories: Environment

More than 400 arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests in London

Wed, 2019/04/17 - 4:46pm

Police cells filling rapidly, with reports of people being taken to Luton, Brighton and Essex

There have been more than 400 arrests linked to the Extinction Rebellion protests across London and reports suggest the capital’s cells are rapidly filling up.

The Metropolitan police would not release up-to-date figures on cell capacity, but data from two years ago showed they had 799 cells available across London. With cuts to policing budgets, this number is likely to have fallen, so reports that cell space is under pressure are credible.

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Categories: Environment

Critically endangered kākāpō – the world's fattest parrot – has record breeding season

Tue, 2019/04/16 - 7:56pm

Just 147 adult kākāpō are alive today in their native New Zealand, but scientists hope their fortunes are turning around

The world’s fattest species of parrot has had a record-breaking breeding season in New Zealand, with scientists saying the fortunes of the critically-endangered bird are finally turning around.

There are only 147 adult kākāpō alive today, although a few hundred years ago they were one of New Zealand’s most common birds, before being hunted to the brink of extinction, killed by introduced pests, and losing their forest homes to farming.

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Categories: Environment

Deer kills man and badly injures woman in Victoria

Tue, 2019/04/16 - 7:39pm

Pair sustained critical injuries in the attack, which took place on their property at Moyhu, near Wangaratta

A man has been killed by a deer in north-east Victoria and a woman has been seriously injured.

Paramedics were called to Moyhu, near Wangaratta, just before 8.30am.

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Categories: Environment

Extinction Rebellion vows to disrupt London rail and tube lines

Tue, 2019/04/16 - 4:07pm

Climate protesters warn they will escalate action despite almost 300 arrests in capital

Climate change protesters, who police say have caused “serious disruption” affecting half a million people in London over the past two days, have said they are planning to escalate their protests to disrupt rail and tube lines.

Thousands of people have taken part in the civil disobedience protests, blockading four landmarks in the capital in an attempt to force the government to take action on the escalating climate crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Pioneering golden eagle found poisoned in Yellowstone

Tue, 2019/04/16 - 3:00am

As bird is found with large amounts of lead in its body, a biologist asks ‘Is Yellowstone as protected as we once thought?’

The pioneering golden eagle took to the skies above Yellowstone national park in the fall and flew north, to areas where humans were hunting game. A few months later it returned to the park and was found on the ground, dead.

Scientists performing a necropsy on the creature, the first to be tagged with a radio transmitter in the park, made an unhappy discovery: it had been poisoned by lead. They are now raising concerns over whether US national parks are as safe for wildlife as they seem.

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Categories: Environment

The rare Republican who's actually worried about climate change

Mon, 2019/04/15 - 11:00pm

Garret Graves has seen the damage at home in Louisiana – but don’t expect him to embrace the Green New Deal

As the top Republican on a congressional climate change committee, Louisiana’s Garret Graves is a surprising pick. Other Republicans on the Democrat-initiated panel have publicly doubted climate change science. Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax and the party as a whole is seen by many as an obstacle to tackling climate change.

But not Graves. The third-term lawmaker sees rising temperatures as a direct and urgent threat to his state and district, which stretches from the capital, Baton Rouge, to the Gulf coast. He acknowledges fossils fuels are heating the planet, though he thinks Democrats’ plans to quickly shift away from them are unrealistic, and he hasn’t yet offered alternative proposals of his own.

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Categories: Environment

'Body eruption': the aphids that sacrifice themselves for colony

Mon, 2019/04/15 - 12:00pm

Scientists study species that releases huge quantities of bodily fluids to plug nest holes

While humans might change their locks to deal with intruders, a species of aphid opts for a communal sacrifice, releasing huge quantities of a sticky bodily fluid to plug holes in their nests.

Researchers who studied the makeup of the fluid found the process for nest repair was similar to what happens when aphids are wounded, involving the release of substances that clot and form a scab. This means similar mechanisms underpin both individual immunity and so-called social immunity – when organisms work together to protect their communities from enemies and disease.

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Categories: Environment

'Environment crisis': Wilderness Society pursues parties over election commitments

Mon, 2019/04/15 - 11:00am

Exclusive: Green group’s intervention seen as a hurry up to Labor, which is yet to produce its final policy

An influential green group is seeking concrete commitments from the major parties and potential crossbenchers for an overhaul of environmental protection laws and the establishment of new independent regulatory agencies, before Australians cast their votes on 18 May.

Lyndon Schneiders, the national campaigns director of the Wilderness Society, wrote widely to politicians on Monday seeking agreement to an ambitious legislative and regulatory overhaul – but the hurry up is directed predominantly at Labor, which has offered an in-principle commitment but has not yet produced a final policy, and the people likely to form the crossbench in the next parliament.

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Categories: Environment

Thousands block roads in Extinction Rebellion protests across London

Mon, 2019/04/15 - 10:59am

Climate group occupies major landmarks in campaign that could last several days

Thousands of people have blocked well-known landmarks including Waterloo Bridge in central London, bringing widespread disruption to the capital in a “climate rebellion” that organisers say could last several days.

Parents and their children joined scientists, teachers, long-term environmentalists and other protesters both young and old to occupy major junctions and demand urgent action over the escalating ecological crisis.

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'We're not a dump' – poor Alabama towns struggle under the stench of toxic landfills

Sun, 2019/04/14 - 10:00pm

Imports of waste from across the country have turned parts of the state into ‘a toilet bowl’ – and residents are fighting back

West Jefferson, Alabama, a somnolent town of around 420 people north-west of Birmingham, was an unlikely venue to seize the national imagination. Now, it has the misfortune to be forever associated with the “poop train”.

David Brasfield, a retired coalminer who has lived in West Jefferson for 45 years, thought at first the foul stench came from the carcass of a shot pig. By the time he realized that human feces was being transported from 1,000 miles away to a nearby landfill site, a scene of biblical pestilence was unfolding upon West Jefferson.

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Categories: Environment

Fukushima: removal of nuclear fuel rods from damaged reactor building begins

Sun, 2019/04/14 - 9:31pm

Workers begin to empty storage pool – but more critical removal of melted fuel from reactors themselves will be more challenging

Workers at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have begun removing fuel rods from a storage pool near one of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns eight years ago.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said on Monday that work had begun to remove the first of 566 used and unused fuel assemblies in reactor building No 3.

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Categories: Environment

Tornadoes and flooding in southern US kill at least six, including three children

Sun, 2019/04/14 - 1:35pm
  • Nearly 90,000 customers left without power
  • At least 25 taken to hospitals in east Texas
  • 55 homes destroyed in town of Franklin

Powerful storms swept across the southern US on Sunday, after unleashing suspected tornadoes and flooding that killed at least six people, including three children, injured dozens and flattened much of a Texas town.

Nearly 90,000 customers were without power in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia as of midday Sunday.

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Categories: Environment