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UK must adapt to climate change now | Letters

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 9:09am
Alastair Chisholm urges the UK government to strengthen its national adaptation policy; Robert McCartney writes that China produces twice the CO2 as the US

Your editorial warning that extreme events are likely to become a new and dangerous normal (The heatwave in Britain is part of a large and dangerous pattern, 10 July) highlights that what the UK can most effectively do in response is to plan to adapt. While decarbonisation across our economy and society is vital and the UK must improve its commitments on a range of fronts, we are also a highly populated island exposed to diverse and complex weather and climate risks from storms and floods to heatwaves and drought.

Tuesday’s report by the National Infrastructure Commission makes the economic case for early, planned adaptation clear: it is way cheaper than responding to emergencies. This summer the government publishes its latest national adaptation programme. The first programme was spread too thinly and progress against it was hard to quantify. The latest version must establish an ambitious, targeted and measurable plan of action which ensures society is resilient to the worst the weather can throw at us in coming decades.
Alastair Chisholm
Director of policy, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management

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Categories: Environment

Russian mining firm puts Trump's face on its asbestos products

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 3:00am

As US officials decide against banning product, producer Uralasbest puts Trump ‘seal of approval’ on pallets

Donald Trump’s environmental policies may have caused controversy in the US but the president’s stance has managed to get him a literal stamp of approval from a Russian mining company.

Uralasbest, one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of asbestos, has taken to adorning pallets of its product with a seal of Trump’s face, along with the words “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States”.

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Categories: Environment

End coal mining in the UK, environmentalists urge government

Wed, 2018/07/11 - 1:37am

Environmentalists have written to ministers, asking them to reform the planning system so that all future coal mines are automatically refused

Environmentalists have urged the government to kill off new coal mines in the UK, by reforming the planning system to block their development.

Friends of the Earth, along with the RSPB, WWF and a group of academics, said ministers should build on their international climate change leadership against coal by taking stronger action at home.

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Categories: Environment

Romans had whaling industry, archaeological excavation suggests

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 4:01pm

Ancient whale bones have been found on three Roman fish processing sites close to the Strait of Gibraltar

Ancient bones found around the Strait of Gibraltar suggest that the Romans might have had a thriving whaling industry, researchers have claimed.

The bones, dating to the first few centuries AD or earlier, belong to grey whales and North Atlantic right whales – coastal migratory species that are no longer found in European waters.

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Categories: Environment

Threatened species: nine mammals and mountain mistfrog could join extinction list

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 11:00am

Number of extinct species on EPBC fauna list will rise by almost 20% if species added to list

Ten species could soon be added to Australia’s list of extinct fauna, including a Queensland frog that was last seen in 1990.

The federal government’s scientific advisory body is assessing whether to add nine mammals and the mountain mistfrog to its list of native animal species considered extinct under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla to open Shanghai electric car factory, doubling its production

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 9:51am

Elon Musk says first facility outside the US will build 500,000 cars a year

Tesla is to open a new electric car production plant in Shanghai, its first outside the US, chief executive Elon Musk said from the city on Tuesday.

The new auto plant is slated to produce 500,000 cars a year, taking Tesla’s total global manufacturing capacity to 1m vehicles a year. Most automotive factories are tooled to produce 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles a year.

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Categories: Environment

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers whose case sparked 2016 militia standoff

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 8:28am

Dwight and Steven Hammond convicted of arson, which led ranchers and militia groups to occupy federal wildlife refuge in protest

Donald Trump on Tuesday issued full pardons to two Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment prompted a militia standoff with the federal government.

Related: 'I still don’t believe it': Hammond family feels forgotten in Oregon standoff

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits

Tue, 2018/07/10 - 6:41am

Study shows poor air quality leads to health problems and ‘should serve as a warning’

Air pollution leads to spikes in health problems and drives up hospital admissions and visits to the GP, according to a new study.

The report proves an “absolutely clear” link between poor air quality and health problems and researchers said it should serve as a warning to politicians about the serious impacts of toxic air on public health.

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Categories: Environment

Illegal ivory found on sale in 10 European countries

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 10:30pm

Europe must increase efforts to investigate and control the ivory trade, say campaigners

Illegal ivory has been found on sale in 10 European countries, contravening international efforts to cut down on the trade which campaigners say encourages the poaching of elephants.

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Categories: Environment

Nestlé products removed from Melbourne zoos over palm oil

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 7:17pm

Zoos Victoria made the decision after Nestlé lost its sustainable certification

Products from the food and drink giant Nestlé will no longer be stocked at the stores and food carts at Melbourne and Werribee zoos.

Zoos Victoria made the decision after the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspended Nestlé’s membership when the company failed to submit a 2016 progress report, and its 2017 report lacked a timetable for producing or buying certified sustainable palm oil.

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Categories: Environment

Cool down nuclear plan because renewables are better bet, ministers told

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 4:01pm

Government advisers say UK should back just one more new nuclear power station in the next few years

Government advisers have told ministers to back only a single new nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove a safer investment.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the government should cool down plans for a nuclear new build programme that envisage as many as six plants being built.

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Categories: Environment

Government needs U-turn over mania for nuclear plants

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 4:01pm

Its own infrastructure adviser says more renewables is the low-cost option

Here’s a report that must not be lost in the noise of Brexit. The National Infrastructure Assessment is a once-a-parliament affair from a body that was created to save us from the deadly combination of politicians’ machismo and the electoral cycle.

More prosaically, the National Infrastructure Commission’s job is to inject long-term strategic thinking into the critical business of building important stuff. Its first report contains a devastating conclusion: the government should drop its obsession with building more and more nuclear power stations.

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Categories: Environment

Japan: death toll climbs to 122 after 'historic' rain and landslides

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 3:32pm

Rescue workers search for survivors and 2 million people are subject to evacuation orders

The number of people who have died in floods and landslides triggered by “historic” levels of torrential rain in Japan has climbed to 122, with dozens of others still missing.

Almost 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders on Monday, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.

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Categories: Environment

Krill fishing firms back Antarctic ocean sanctuary

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 2:00pm

Creation of the world’s largest marine reserve comes a step closer as major companies add support

The creation of the world’s biggest ocean sanctuary, protecting a huge tract of remote seas around Antarctica, has come a step closer after major fishing companies came out in favour of the plan.

A global campaign – spearheaded by Greenpeace and backed by 1.7 million people – had put massive pressure on the krill fishing industry and retailers amid fears it was endangering one of the world’s last great wildernesses, undermining the global fight against climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Illegal land clearing in NSW may be accelerating, complaints data suggests

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 11:00am

Exclusive: Data obtained by the Guardian suggests land clearing may be accelerating under Biodiversity Conservation Act

Complaints about suspected illegal land clearing to a government hotline have increased sharply under the New South Wales government’s new Biodiversity Conservation Act, suggesting the rate of land clearing may be accelerating.

Data obtained by the Guardian under freedom of information laws after an eight month battle with the Department of Environment shows that reports of suspected illegal land clearing have increased by nearly 30% in the months since August last year when the new laws came into force.

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Categories: Environment

Banks court buyers for 49% stake in UK nuclear power stations

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 8:43am

EDF Energy thought to have piggybacked on plans by Centrica to sell off some of nuclear power stake

Three international banks have begun courting buyers for a 49% stake in Britain’s eight nuclear power stations, starting the process of a major shakeup of the sector’s ownership.

UK-listed Centrica said in February it was looking to sell its 20% stake in the nuclear plants, which UBS and Goldman Sachs are understood to be handling.

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Categories: Environment

Stunning coral forests discovered around Sicily's deep sea volcanoes – in pictures

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 5:26am

Scientists find a spectacular forest of bamboo coral, rare carnivorous sponges, and species never before seen in the region

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Categories: Environment

There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 3:00am

Deniers have conservative media outlets and control the Republican Party; climate alarmists are largely ignored

Those who debunk climate change misinformation often face a dilemma. We’re flooded with such a constant deluge of climate myths, where should we focus our efforts? Climate misinformation is propagated via congressional climate hearings, conservative media outlets, denial blogs, and even from some genuine climate alarmists.

Specifically, there has recently been a debate as to whether Skeptical Science – a website with a database of climate myths and scientific debunkings, to which I’m a primary contributor – would be more useful and effective if it called out misinformation from ‘alarmists,’ and if it eliminated or revised its Climate Misinformers page.

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Categories: Environment

One in three fish caught never makes it to the plate – UN report

Mon, 2018/07/09 - 12:00am

Global fish production is at record levels thanks to fish farming, says the UN FAO, but much is wasted and many species are worryingly overfished

One in three fish caught around the world never makes it to the plate, either being thrown back overboard or rotting before it can be eaten, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Its biannual report on the state of the world’s fisheries, released on Monday, also shows that total fish production has reached a record high thanks to more fish farming, particularly in China, with over half the fish eaten in the world now coming from aquaculture.

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Categories: Environment

Lost rivers could heat London to cut capital's emissions

Sun, 2018/07/08 - 4:01pm

Campaigners propose using buried rivers as source of fossil fuel-free heat

Boris Johnson’s team wanted to uncover them for Londoners. The Environment Agency explored turning them into wildlife paradises.

Now campaigners are targeting London’s lost rivers, water courses that have been gradually buried over the centuries, as a source of fossil fuel-free heat.

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Categories: Environment