Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 6 hours 31 min ago

Vast clouds of flying ants deceive weather satellites

Wed, 2019/07/17 - 2:14pm

Experts believe false readings occurred because radar interpreted insects as raindrops

Huge swarms of flying ants that hit England’s south coast were mistaken by weather satellites in space for clouds of rain.

The Met Office’s radar captured what it described as “insect clutter” over the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and Dorset on Wednesday morning. They were also spotted in East Sussex and Kent.

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Categories: Environment

Manmade Antarctic snowstorm 'could save coastal cities from rising seas'

Wed, 2019/07/17 - 11:00am

Blowing trillions of tonnes of snow on to ice sheet could halt its collapse, researchers say

Spraying trillions of tons of snow over west Antarctica could halt the ice sheet’s collapse and save coastal cities across the world from sea level rise, according to a new study.

The colossal geoengineering project would need energy from at least 12,000 wind turbines to power giant seawater pumps and snow cannons, and would destroy a unique natural reserve. The scientists are not advocating for such a project, but said its apparent “absurdity” reflects the extraordinary scale of threat from rising sea level.

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Categories: Environment

'Not a dustbin': Cambodia to send plastic waste back to the US and Canada

Wed, 2019/07/17 - 7:38am

Country vows to return 1,600 tonnes of waste as south-east Asian countries revolt against an onslaught of rubbish shipments

Cambodia has announced it will send 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste found in shipping containers back to the US and Canada, as south-east Asian countries revolt against an onslaught of rubbish shipments.

China’s decision to ban foreign plastic waste imports last year threw global recycling into chaos, leaving developed nations struggling to find countries to send their trash.

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Categories: Environment

Zara clothes to be made from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

Wed, 2019/07/17 - 6:14am

Owner says its brands including Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear will all follow suit

The owner of high street fashion chain Zara has announced that all of its collections will be made from 100% sustainable fabrics before 2025.

Inditex – which was named the world’s third largest apparel company this year by Forbes – said its other brands, including Zara Home, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear, will also follow suit.

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Categories: Environment

He’s a Gulf war vet who stepped up during Katrina. Now he’s an environmental crusader

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 11:00pm

Retired Lt Gen Russel Honoré commands what he’s named the ‘Green Army’ against toxic pollution in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’

Retired Lt Gen Russel Honoré knows a stupid plan when he sees one.
It was the day after Hurricane Katrina had wrought catastrophic flooding in the city of New Orleans in August 2005, and Honoré – a veteran of Desert Storm in the first Gulf war – had just been appointed the commander of a joint taskforce to lead the recovery.

The heat was sweltering. There were some 16,000 residents stranded at the city’s Superdome football stadium and Honoré’s orders were to get them evacuated as soon as possible. The building had been compromised by the storm. It was overcrowded and supplies were spotty.

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Categories: Environment

Offshore wind auction could raise millions for Queen

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 11:00pm

Crown Estate holds rights to seabeds around British Isles for wind and wave power

The Queen’s property managers will this week set out terms for the world’s biggest offshore wind auction in a decade.

Industry experts expect the complex bidding process to raise record sums, which could increase energy bills and hand a windfall to the crown – potentially generating hundreds of millions for the Queen.

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Categories: Environment

Trump drilling leases could create more climate pollution than EU does in a year

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 10:00pm

US has offered close to 378m acres of public lands and waters for oil and gas leasing since Trump took office through April 2019

Donald Trump’s leases of public lands and waters for oil and gas drilling could lead to the production of more climate-warming pollution than the entire European Union contributes in a year, according to a new report.

The Wilderness Society estimates heat-trapping emissions from extracting and burning those fossil fuels could range between 854m and 4.7bn metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, depending on how much development companies pursue.

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Categories: Environment

NSW remaps old growth forests to open up reserves to logging

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 7:20pm

Exclusive: ‘Sneaky’ rezoning exercise now under way to address timber shortfall

The New South Wales government is considering reclassifying old growth forest to open up some protected reserves in the state’s north-east to the timber industry.

The Natural Resources Commission of NSW has been asked to remap and rezone old growth forest in state forest informal reserves that were previously off limits to logging. Environment groups are concerned the move is an attempt to unpick forest protections that have been in place for decades.

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Categories: Environment

July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 9:32am

If global trends continue for another fortnight, it will beat previous two-year-old record

Record temperatures across much of the world over the past two weeks could make July the hottest month ever measured on Earth, according to climate scientists.

The past fortnight has seen freak heat in the Canadian Arctic, crippling droughts in Chennai and Harare and forest fires that forced thousands of holidaymakers to abandon campsites in southern France and prompted the air force in Indonesia to fly cloud-busting missions in the hope of inducing rain.

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Categories: Environment

Italian forest rangers on the hunt of 'escape genius' bear

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 7:23am

Animal climbed over three electric fences and four-metre high barrier to escape

Italian forest rangers are on the hunt for a bear that has been described as an “escape genius” after managing to climb over three electric fences and a four-metre high barrier at a wildlife enclosure in the northern province of Trentino before disappearing into the woods.

Code-named M49, the 149kg (23 stone) brown bear fled the Casteller centre within hours of being captured with a tube trap overnight on Sunday in Val Rendena.

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Categories: Environment

What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil | Rev William Barber

Tue, 2019/07/16 - 3:00am

Politicians have chosen process over lives and the result has been rampant cancer in the region

“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people” (Isaiah 10:1). I was reminded of this verse from the Bible when I read about the town of Reserve in Louisiana. It is the place in America with the highest risk of cancer due to air toxicity, caused by a raft of government and corporate failure that has deprived residents – many of whom are poor and black – of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reserve is home to the Pontchartrain Works facility, the only chemical plant in America to produce chloroprene, a likely carcinogen, that has spewed from the plant for almost 50 years. US government science has indicated this makes the risk of cancer in that area 50 times higher than the national average.

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Categories: Environment

Daylesford cries fowl: locals warn of Instagram backlash if geese relocated

Mon, 2019/07/15 - 7:57pm

Council in Victorian town to vote whether to re-home birds popular on social media, following reports of ‘intimidating’ behaviour

A plan to relocate a flock of domestic geese in the Victorian tourist town of Daylesford has drawn concern from some local tourism operators, who say the geese are a popular Instagram drawcard.

The Hepburn shire council will vote on Tuesday night on whether to relocate the 30-odd domestic geese, which have been living on Lake Daylesford in increasing numbers for several years.

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Categories: Environment

Death toll from floods in south Asia rises to more than 100

Mon, 2019/07/15 - 5:20pm

Millions displaced in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, with Assam and Bihar among the worst-hit regions

Floods have forced millions of people from their homes across India, Nepal and Bangladesh and killed more than 100 people as torrential rains in the initial days of monsoons wreaked havoc.

The poor Indian states of Assam and Bihar have been among the worst hit. Some 4.3 million people have been displaced from their homes in Assam in the last 10 days due to rising waters across the mostly rural northeastern region, according to a government release on Monday.

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Categories: Environment

'Something fishy': penguins detained by New Zealand police after sushi shop stakeout

Mon, 2019/07/15 - 5:00pm

The flightless birds were found huddling near the grills under the shop, where it was warm

“Waddling vagrants” in the form of two little blue penguins have been released by police after they were detained for setting up home under a Wellington sushi outlet.

Their cover was blown after a shop worker heard them making a cooing, humming sound. It is understood that the penguins were hiding near the grills beneath the sushi shop, where it was warm.

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Categories: Environment

Bob Brown rebukes Tasmanian windfarm project as the new Franklin dam

Sun, 2019/07/14 - 10:48pm

Former Greens leader says Robbins Island proposal could harm critically endangered birds and affect landscape’s natural beauty

Bob Brown, one of Australia’s most prominent environmental activists, says he opposes a major windfarm development because its towers will affect Tasmania’s natural beauty and could kill endangered wildlife without any economic benefit for the state.

The former Greens leader said the $1.6bn Robbins Island development could harm migratory and critically endangered birds, and transmission lines to link the plant to a new power cable across Bass Strait would require a path to be cut through the Tarkine wilderness.

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Categories: Environment

Barry spares New Orleans but fuels fears of floods and tornadoes

Sun, 2019/07/14 - 1:19pm
  • Storm briefly attains hurricane strength before weakening
  • Authorities counsel continued caution

Tropical Storm Barry dumped rain as it slowly swept inland through Gulf coast states on Sunday, sparing New Orleans a direct hit but stoking fears elsewhere of flooding, tornadoes and prolonged power outages.

Though winds weakened steadily after the storm made landfall on Saturday in Louisiana, rain bands created a flooding and tornado threat from central Louisiana to eastern Mississippi and beyond. Several parishes or counties in both states were under flash flood warnings.

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Categories: Environment

New UK nuclear funding model could leave taxpayers liable

Sun, 2019/07/14 - 6:10am

Ministers are expected to announce plans to bolster nuclear industry this week

The government will set out plans to resuscitate the UK’s struggling nuclear ambitions with a new scheme which would leave taxpayers liable for rising costs or delays.

The funding model, expected this week, could help bankroll the multibillion pound plans for a follow-on to EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, which ministers aim to build at the Sizewell site in Suffolk.

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Categories: Environment

Permafrost thaw sparks fear of 'gold rush' for mammoth ivory

Sun, 2019/07/14 - 2:43am

Prospectors in Russia dig up remains of extinct animals for trade worth an estimated £40m a year

Activists and officials in northern Russia have warned of a “gold rush” for mammoth ivory as prospectors dig up tusks and other woolly mammoth remains that can net a small fortune on the rapacious Chinese market.

Melting permafrost from global heating has made it easier for locals to retrieve the remains of woolly mammoths, which have been extinct for thousands of years, and sell them on to China, where the ivory is fashioned into jewellery, trinkets, knives, and other decorations.

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Categories: Environment

Corbyn pledges Labour transparency on UK carbon footprint

Sat, 2019/07/13 - 10:30pm
Labour in power would change law to reveal imported emissions and ‘carbon leakage’

The UK will stop hiding its “true impact” on the climate by revealing its consumption of carbon emissions from across the world, Jeremy Corbyn was due to pledge on Sunday.

In an attempt to place his party at the forefront of the battle against the climate crisis, the Labour leader was due to say, is “even greater than we think” and demands an end to “passing the buck to poorer countries”.

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Categories: Environment

'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

Sat, 2019/07/13 - 6:52pm

Ambitious export plan could generate billions and make Australia the centre of low-cost energy in a future zero-carbon world

The desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and transmit Singapore’s future electricity supply. Though few in the southern states are yet to take notice, a group of Australian developers are betting that will change.

If they are right, it could have far-reaching consequences for Australia’s energy industry and what the country sells to the world.

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Categories: Environment