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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Foreign donations prop up Australia's endangered parrot response

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 3:19pm

Western ground parrot needs millions spent on it, but volunteers say Coalition is trying to shift costs to not-for-profits

The Turnbull government helped broker a $200,000 agreement for a German not-for-profit to fund conservation work for a critically endangered Australian parrot, bolstering criticism it is shifting the cost of protecting threatened species to community and philanthropic organisations.

The western ground parrot is one of only three ground nesting parrots found in Australia and is one of 20 birds the government has committed to helping as part of its threatened species strategy.

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Categories: Environment

Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise? | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 2018/06/18 - 3:00am

Short answer: maybe

There’s recently been a spate of sea level rise denial in the conservative media, but in reality, sea level rise is accelerating and melting ice is playing an increasingly large role. In the first half of the 20th Century, average global sea level rose by about 1.4 millimeters per year (mm/yr). Since 1993, that rate has more than doubled to 3.2 mm/yr. And since 2012, it’s jumped to 4.5 mm/yr.

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Categories: Environment

UK pension funds get green light to dump fossil fuel investments

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 11:26pm

Government directive means trustees will be able to push harder for green investments

Managers of the £1.5tn invested in Britain’sworkplace pension schemes are to be given new powers to dump shares in oil, gas and coal companies in favour of long-term investment in green and “social impact” opportunities.

Government proposals published on Monday are designed to give pension fund trustees more confidence to divest from environmentally damaging fossil fuels and put their cash in green alternatives if it meets their members’ wishes. Until now many pension trustees have been hamstrung by fiduciary duties that they feel requires them to seek the best returns irrespective of the threat of climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 10:00pm

Climate change study predicts ‘staggering impact’ of swelling oceans on coastal communities within next 30 years

Sea level rise driven by climate change is set to pose an existential crisis to many US coastal communities, with new research finding that as many as 311,000 homes face being flooded every two weeks within the next 30 years.

The swelling oceans are forecast repeatedly to soak coastal residences collectively worth $120bn by 2045 if greenhouse gas emissions are not severely curtailed, experts warn. This will potentially inflict a huge financial and emotional toll on the half a million Americans who live in the properties at risk of having their basements, backyards, garages or living rooms inundated every other week.

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Categories: Environment

Money for old socks: John Lewis to buy back clothes to cut waste

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 10:00pm

Retailer offers incentive to send back worn and unwanted items instead of binning them

John Lewis is to buy back worn and unwanted clothing from its customers – including underwear and old socks – in a UK industry first that aims to reduce the 300,000 tonnes of fashion waste going into landfill each year.

Customers can arrange through an app to have any unwanted clothing that they bought from John Lewis collected from their home, and they will be paid for each item regardless of its condition.

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Categories: Environment

Country diary: bottlenose dolphin attack shatters Flipper illusions

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 9:30pm

Chanonry Point, Moray Firth: These cetaceans kill their porpoise cousins. Do they see them as competition for food? Or are they just killing for sport?

There are occasions when nature shatters our cosy assumptions. Last week we were watching the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) on the Moray Firth, much loved by tourists because they come so close to shore. They flip and leap, roll and dive, singly or in pods of a dozen or more, only a few yards from camera-clicking visitors thronging the shingle spit.

The dolphins gather in the Chanonry narrows to feast on salmon migrating upstream to spawn. We often see salmon being flung high in the air and swallowed whole. A feeding spectacle. We know dolphins eat fish and we are comfortable with it. But what we witnessed in front of our lenses that day spun us into shock. Forget film-star Flipper, forget frolicking Fungie in Dingle Bay, forget chummy Sebastian in Disney’s Shark Tale – these Moray Firth dolphins are killers.

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Categories: Environment

Cambridge zoology museum to reopen

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 4:01pm

Sir David Attenborough to tour new premises that showcase the extinct moa bird’s feathers

When Sir David Attenborough opens the University of Cambridge’s zoology museum this week, the proud curators will show him their fabulous discovery.

It’s fair to say the casual visitor might wonder why they are so excited by the scruffy frame containing a few cobwebby grey-brown wisps, discovered during a £4.1m redevelopment of the museum.

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Categories: Environment

An unconventional gas boom: the rise of CSG in Australia

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 11:00am

In two decades coal seam gas has come to account for 30% of gas production. Here’s how the picture varies state to state

• ‘Not safe, not wanted’: is the end of NT fracking ban a taste of things to come?

Australia’s production of coal seam gas has risen exponentially since 1995, going from zero to 30% of the country’s overall gas production in 2015-16.

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Categories: Environment

Australian firms told to catch up on climate change risk checks

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 11:00am

New report says Australian companies lag behind international organisations

Australian companies are not doing enough work to model the risks of climate change and how it will affect their profitability, a new report by a thinktank says.

Progressive thinktank the Centre for Policy Development says that while most companies have committed to considering what climate change and the Paris climate agreement means for their business strategy, too few have begun using scenario analysis techniques to model what its impacts could be and how to respond to it.

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Categories: Environment

'Not safe, not wanted': is the end of NT fracking ban a taste of things to come?

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 11:00am

The NT government has lifted its fracking moratorium despite fierce opposition, reflecting the war of attrition being waged by gas companies

• An unconventional gas boom: the rise of CSG in Australia

When the Northern Territory government announced a moratorium on fracking in 2016, it was a victory for those fighting the expansion of the unconventional gas industry.

That elation was replaced with shock and disappointment in April, when the chief minister, Michael Gunner, said the practice could resume following a 15-month scientific inquiry.

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Categories: Environment

Siemens pilots the use of ammonia for green energy storage

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 6:01am

Firm hopes to better conventional batteries to store renewably generated power

A chemical compound commonly used to boost crop yields could be the answer to helping the world increase its consumption of renewable energy.

In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5m pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a new form of energy storage.

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Categories: Environment

Surfers Against Sewage ride the wave of the 'Harry and Meghan effect'

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 5:14am

In nearly 30 years, a bunch of surfers concerned about pollution have become a serious marine conservation force. An unexpected royal patronage has given them more funding and greater reach than ever to fight plastic pollution

Despite its eye-catching name, Surfers Against Sewage probably owes its existence to plastic. “The advent of panty-liners meant you could really see sewage slicks. Condoms, panty-liners and other plastic refuse made for a visceral, and visual, reminder of pollution,” Chris Hines, surfer and co-founder of this small charity in Cornwall, recalled in Alex Wade’s book, Surf Nation.

Sick of ear, throat and gastric infections, he and others called a meeting in St Agnes village hall. A who’s who of the most committed, passionate surfers in Cornwall – and just about the whole village – turned out. It was 1990 and Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) was born.

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Categories: Environment

High risk of food shortages without pesticides, says chemical giant

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 4:00am

Head of Syngenta, world’s biggest pesticide maker, says rejecting farming tech could have serious consequences within 20 years

The world is likely to face food shortages within 20 years if pesticides and genetically modified crops are shunned, according to the head of the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturer.

J Erik Fyrwald, CEO of Syngenta, also said the technologies to produce more food from less land are vital in halting climate change, but that better targeting will mean farmers around the world will use less pesticide in future.

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Categories: Environment

Where have all our insects gone?

Sun, 2018/06/17 - 1:00am
There is a crisis in the countryside – and a massive decline in insect numbers could have significant consequences for the environment

When Simon Leather was a student in the 1970s, he took a summer job as a postman and delivered mail to the villages of Kirk Hammerton and Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire. He recalls his early morning walks through its lanes, past the porches of houses on his round. At virtually every home, he saw the same picture: windows plastered with tiger moths that had been attracted by lights the previous night and were still clinging to the glass. “It was quite a sight,” says Leather, who is now a professor of entomology at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

But it is not a vision that he has experienced in recent years. Those tiger moths have almost disappeared. “You hardly see any, although there used to be thousands in summer and that was just a couple of villages.”

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Categories: Environment

How safe are savings as Fed rushes in where ECB fears to tread?

Sat, 2018/06/16 - 11:00pm
With the base rate in the eurozone still at 0%, funds are flowing back to the US using a myriad of financial instruments

While governments around the world contemplate the fallout from Donald Trump’s trade war with China, banks are wrestling with central bank moves that are likely to have a much more fundamental impact on the global economy.

On Wednesday the US Federal Reserve pressed ahead with its policy of raising interest rates, adding a seventh quarter-point rise since 2015 to leave the base rate at 1.75-2%. The Fed also pledged to continue selling back to the private markets loans it bought as part of a vast $4.5 trillion quantitative easing programme.

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Categories: Environment

The secret rainforest hidden at the heart of an African volcano - in pictures

Sat, 2018/06/16 - 10:00pm

A ‘dream team’ of international scientists scaled Mozambique’s Mount Lico and found a wealth of new species

Allianceearth.org

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Categories: Environment

Faecal transplants ‘could save endangered koala’

Sat, 2018/06/16 - 11:26am

Team of researchers changes microbes in koalas’ guts in order to improve type of food they consume

Scientists believe they have found a new weapon in the battle to save endangered species: faecal transplants. They say that by transferring faeces from the gut of one animal to another they could boost the health and viability of endangered creatures. In particular, they believe the prospects of saving the koala could be boosted this way.

The idea of using faecal transplants as conservation weapons was highlighted this month at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Atlanta, where scientists outlined experiments in which they used the technique to change microbes in the guts of koalas.

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Categories: Environment

UK cycling is worth more than the steel industry – where's the strategy?

Fri, 2018/06/15 - 11:30pm

A new report argues we’d all benefit if the government started taking the cycle industry seriously

If a country wants to make things, it needs a domestic steel industry. Our government considers this industry to be one of national strategic importance. But you would think it was also important to keep people moving, to make sure the air they breathe is clean and to look after their health.

It just so happens that cycling is one of the ways to unsnarl traffic congestion, reduce pollution and make folks hale and hearty. People who cycle to work even have fewer days off sick.

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Categories: Environment

'Dubai in Paris': French climate protesters fight plans for €3bn theme park

Fri, 2018/06/15 - 11:00pm

EuropaCity development on capital’s outskirts would feature ski slopes, waterpark, hotels and shops

Tending her rows of courgettes, leeks and potatoes, Cécile Coquel, a telecoms worker and guerilla gardener, stood firm despite local authorities’ recent warning that everything must be ripped up and the field vacated.

“These are the vegetables of the resistance!” she proclaimed. “We’ll fight to save this land.”

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Categories: Environment

Government faces growing pressure over Heathrow third runway

Fri, 2018/06/15 - 9:18am

Government faces criticism from its own advisors over failure to mention emissions targets as campaigners enter second week of hunger strike

The government is coming under growing pressure from environmentalists and its own advisers over its support for a new runway at Heathrow.

The Committee on Climate Change [CCC] has expressed its “surprise” that there was no mention of the government’s legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gases when it announced it was backing Heathrow expansion plans earlier this month.

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Categories: Environment