Guardian Environment News

Syndicate content The Guardian
Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.
Updated: 14 hours 30 min ago

Frydenberg seeks review of four-wheel-drive tracks in Tasmania's Tarkine

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 7:29pm

Conservationists and Indigenous groups hail decision to examine plan to lay rubber matting over middens and heritage sites

The federal government has requested an independent assessment of an application to open four-wheel-drive tracks along Tasmania’s heritage-listed north-west coast, potentially delaying action until the state election.

Conservationists and Indigenous groups have been fighting the Hodgman government’s proposal to lay rubber matting over middens and other Aboriginal heritage sites along the Tarkine coast to allow four-wheel-drive access.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Remains found in crocodile believed to be missing Queensland woman

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 7:27pm

Anne Cameron’s remains and walking stick found at Craiglie Creek, south of Port Douglas, after 79-year-old went missing from her aged-care facility

Human remains have been found inside a large crocodile police believe killed an elderly woman in Queensland’s far north.

Remains believed to belong to Anne Cameron, her walking stick and other items were located at Craiglie Creek, south of Port Douglas, last week.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Six missing after trawler capsizes, as storms and floods hit Queensland

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 5:19pm
  • One man survives 12 hours in heavy seas off central Queensland
  • Police find body of man swept off causeway near Gympie
  • Jogger critical after car knocks him into swollen creek in Brisbane

Six people were reported missing after their fishing trawler capsized in bad weather off the central Queensland coast on Monday evening. One of their crewmates survived for 12 hours in heavy seas before raising the alarm.

Torrential rain in the state also led to the death of a man caught in floodwater near Gympie and an incident in Brisbane in which a jogger was flung into a creek after being hit by a car that skidded off the road.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

We can do without plastic packaging and supermarkets | Letters

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 10:16am
Instead shop in markets and smaller shops, which are less packaging obsessed and often use paper bags, says Rachel Meredith

The idea of increasing the use of aluminium and steel packaging, as proposed by Andy Clarke (Bring in plastic packaging ban, former Asda boss tells stores, 13 October), is not a sustainable solution. Both materials rely on finite substances and intensive energy to produce them, and there is no guarantee that they will be recycled and will avoid ending up in the sea as well. One possibility would be to increase the use of starch based “plastic”; it’s biodegradable and therefore matters less where it ends up. Obviously another solution is to avoid shopping in supermarkets as far as is possible and to instead shop in markets and smaller shops, which are less packaging obsessed and often use paper bags, as in the good old days.
Rachel Meredith

• Join the debate – email

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Coalition balks on Finkel target but will unveil energy and emissions policy

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 10:00am

Guardian Essential poll finds 65% support for doomed target recommended by the chief scientist Alan Finkel

The Turnbull government is poised to unveil a new energy investment framework that will impose obligations on the electricity sector to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris agreement. It will also create new reliability obligations to ensure there’s enough dispatchable power in the system.

Cabinet, and the government’s backbench committee on environment and energy, considered the government’s new policy on Monday night before a party room debate slated for Tuesday morning.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

World petrol demand 'likely to peak by 2030 as electric car sales rise'

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 9:04am

Wood Mackenzie predicts global oil growth will plateau about 2035 – earlier than some previous forecasts

World petrol demand will peak within 13 years thanks to the impact of electric cars and more efficient engines, energy experts have predicted.

UK-based Wood Mackenzie said it expected the take-up of electric vehicles to cut gasoline demand significantly, particularly beyond 2025 as the battery-powered cars go mainstream.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Indigenous rights "serious obstacle" to Kinder Morgan pipeline, report says

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 8:22am

Pipeline company downplaying major legal and financial risks of crossing unceded First Nations territory in British Columbia

The controversial expansion of a pipeline that would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast will be doomed by the rising power of Indigenous land rights.

That’s the message that Kanahus Manuel, an Indigenous activist from the Secwepemc Nation in central BC, plans to deliver to banks financing the project as she travels through Europe this week.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'Hungry bear' crisis leaves two people dead in Russia's far east

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 8:02am

Overfishing and fewer food sources making bears more aggressive, say officials, who have killed 83 on Sakhalin Island this year

Two people have been killed by bears in Russia’s far east as increasingly large numbers of the animals are approaching humans due to a lack of food sources.

Authorities on Sakhalin Island last week said 83 bears had to be shot dead because they were hostile. That figure is nearly three times higher than last year.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Are flatulent shellfish really contributing to climate change?

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 7:24am

Scientists investigating marine life in the Baltic Sea have found mussels, oysters and clams are emitting greenhouse gases – but cows still trump them

Swedish scientists have found that flatulent shellfish are creating vast amounts of greenhouse gases, leading to a predictable slew of comments about farting cockles and clams. But beneath the schoolboy humour, there is a serious point. The two gases in question – methane and nitrous oxide – are potent agents of climate change, with a warming potential 28 and 265 times greater than carbon dioxide respectively.

Scientists studying the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden have found that shellfish are producing one-tenth of all the greenhouses gases released there – the equivalent to the amount produced by 20,000 cattle. If the same situation is being replicated around the rest of the world’s seas and oceans, we have a serious problem.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

This is what America's eco city of the future looks like

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 4:49am

Georgetown mayor Dale Ross is ‘a good little Republican’ – but ever since his city weaned itself off fossil fuels, he has become a hero to environmentalists

When the caller said he worked for Harry Reid and the former Senate majority leader wanted a word, Dale Ross assumed it was a joke. “OK, which of my buddies are messing with me today?” he wondered.

He shouldn’t have been so surprised. Ross is the mayor of Georgetown, population 65,000, and he has become a minor celebrity in environmental circles as a result of a pioneering decision in 2015 to get all the city’s electricity from renewable sources.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The war on coal is over. Coal lost | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 3:00am

Coal can’t compete with cheaper clean energy. The Trump administration can’t save expensive, dirty energy.

Last week, Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced, “the war on coal is over.” If there ever was a war on coal, the coal industry has lost. According to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, many old American coal power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas, and new coal power plants aren’t being built because they’ve become more expensive than natural gas, wind, and solar energy:

The share of US electricity coming from coal fell from 51 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2016—an unprecedented change. New UCS analysis finds that, of the coal units that remain, roughly one in four plans to retire or convert to natural gas; another 17 percent are uneconomic and could face retirement soon.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Photographers against wildlife crime – in pictures

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 2:00am

In a new project, an international group of photographers have joined forces to use their powerful images to raise awareness and funds to help stop the illegal wildlife trade

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Raw sewage 'flowing into rivers across England and Wales'

Mon, 2017/10/16 - 12:21am

WWF analysis reports that 40% of rivers are polluted with sewage that can harm wildlife and put human health at risk

Raw sewage is flowing into rivers at thousands of sites across England and Wales, a report has warned, harming wildlife and putting human health at risk.

The total amount of raw sewage intentionally being put into rivers is unknown, which is a “huge concern”, according to conservation group WWF, which produced the analysis. The available data suggests that more than half of overflow sites spill sewage into rivers at least once a month and 14% at least once a week.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Queensland Labor strategist announces he will stop lobbying for Adani

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 11:49pm

Cameron Milner says he will no longer represent Adani to government as ALP prepares for an election

A key Queensland Labor strategist who lobbied over a five-year period for Adani has parted ways with the Indian mining giant in a bid to stop controversy dogging Annastacia Palaszczuk’s re-election campaign.

Cameron Milner has confirmed to the Guardian that his firm Next Level Strategic Services would no longer represent Adani in dealings with government as it looks to make its contentious proposal for Australia’s largest coalmine a reality.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Our cities need fewer cars, not cleaner cars

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 11:30pm

Electric cars won’t eradicate gridlocks and air pollution, but carbon footprints could be cut by favouring pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit

The spectre of our cities choking with unhealthy air has prompted numerous governments to mandate a transition to electric cars. Their concerns are well founded, even if their proposals fall short of what is needed.

Over the past four decades, cars have become far less polluting. Their fuel efficiency has practically doubled and their tailpipe emissions have been reduced by more than 95%. Yet cities such as London and Paris are still battling smog and pollution. California has for decades demanded the toughest emission standards in the US, and yet Los Angeles heads the list of US cities for bad air quality. Moving to all-electric car fleets will be a positive step, albeit an inadequate measure.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

'Land means life': Tanzania's Maasai fear their existence is under threat

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 11:00pm

Reports that homes belonging to Maasai people were torched have upped the stakes in their long-running land dispute with the Tanzanian government

For Lilian Looloitai, a Maasai woman from east Africa, “land means life”. For her nomadic tribe, who have grazed cattle in north Tanzania’s highlands for centuries, a bitter dispute playing out on the edge of the Serengeti national park brings not just uncertainty, but threatens their very existence. It is the latest example of the growing tensions between wildlife conservation, which brings revenue to the country, and the rights of nomads, who need land to survive.

“How long will the government continue to expand the national parks? It is for wildlife, but we are human beings,” said Looloitai, the managing director of Cords Limited, a rights group based in Arusha. “As pastoralists, we are being undermined.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

High-street outlets move to ditch plastic amid environmental concerns

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 10:00pm

Pret A Manger becomes the latest to act by offering free filtered water and selling empty glass bottles

A growing number of outlets selling food and drink in the UK are taking action to ditch plastic amid deepening concern about its effect on the environment, with drinking straws and bottles among items being phased out.

Pret A Manger has become the latest to take action, announcing that it has installed taps dispensing free filtered water and started selling empty glass bottles in its three vegetarian stores. The scheme is due to be rolled out to branches in Manchester from the end of October.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The world is going slow on coal, but misinformation is distorting the facts

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 4:38pm

A recent story on 621 plants being built globally was played up in various media – but the figure is way off the mark

• Support our independent journalism and critical reporting on energy and the environment by giving a one-off or monthly contribution

This is a story about how misinformation can take hold. It’s not always down to dishonesty. Sometimes it’s just a lack of time, a headline and the multiplying power of ideological certainty.

Last week, China announced it was stopping or postponing work on 151 coal plants that were either under, or earmarked for, construction.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Birdwatch: On the trail of the elusive buff-breasted sandpiper

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 1:30pm

It never occurred to me, peering through rain-soaked binoculars, that I would have to wait 43 years to see another one

It was late September 1974. Manchester United led the old Second Division, Kung Fu Fighting was top of the pop charts, and the BBC had just launched its Ceefax service. Meanwhile, I was birdwatching on the Isles of Scilly, thanks to my mother’s far-sighted decision to take me out of school for a fortnight, slap-bang in the middle of the migration season.

We saw some good birds, including Iceland gull, scarlet rosefinch and a sharp-tailed sandpiper from Siberia. But nearly 50 years later, those I remember best were three buff-breasted sandpipers, plump little waders that had flown all the way across the Atlantic, driven off course by the tail end of a hurricane.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

New HS2 fears as large crack opens up on land where train line will run

Sun, 2017/10/15 - 6:50am

Residents claim high-speed rail company has not taken West Yorkshire area’s coal mining legacy into account

Residents in West Yorkshire have raised concerns about plans to build the HS2 rail line through a former mining area, after an eight-metre-long crack opened up in the ground along the proposed route.

Plans for the Yorkshire section of the high-speed train line were changed earlier this year, taking it to the east of Sheffield instead of through the Meadowhall shopping centre, on the city’s border with Rotherham.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment