Guardian Environment News

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Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.
Updated: 19 hours 16 min ago

Mysterious source of illegal ozone-killing emissions revealed, say investigators

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

On-the-ground investigation finds use of banned CFC-11 is rife in China’s plastic foam industry

A mysterious surge in emissions of an illegal ozone-destroying chemical has been tracked down to plastic foam manufacturers in China, according to an on-the-ground investigation published on Monday.

The chemical, trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11, has been banned around the world since 2010 and is a potent destroyer of ozone, which protects life on Earth from UV radiation, and strong greenhouse gas. A shock rise in the gas in recent years was revealed by atmospheric scientists in May, but they could only narrow the source to somewhere in East Asia.

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Electric avenues: UK streets to get more car charging points

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

Chris Grayling to unveil plans to increase take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles

Plans to install hundreds of thousands of additional charging points for electric vehicles are to be announced by the transport secretary.

Chris Grayling will unveil proposals aimed at making it easier to recharge electric vehicles than refuel those running on petrol or diesel, in an attempt to increase the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles.

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Leadbeater's possum: conservationists say draft report proves endangered status

Sun, 2018/07/08 - 11:00am

Forestry industry and Barnaby Joyce have been pushing to downgrade species’ status

Conservation groups say the Leadbeater’s possum should retain its conservation status as a critically endangered Australian species, based on new advice from the government’s scientific advisory body.

In a draft consultation document, the threatened species scientific committee says the Victorian possum meets at least one of the criteria to make it eligible for listing as critically endangered.

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China looking to buy stake in UK nuclear plants, say reports

Sun, 2018/07/08 - 9:26am

Chinese state-run firm eyeing up multibillion-pound deal for majority share in eight sites

The Chinese government has emerged as a potential buyer of a multibillion-pound stake in Britain’s nuclear power plants.

The talks will reignite debate about China’s involvement in the UK nuclear power industry. Two years ago, the government paused approval for the £18bn Hinkley Point C project because of security concerns over China’s stake.

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Categories: Environment

High streets will go on suffering until the digital economy pays more tax

Sat, 2018/07/07 - 11:00pm
Shopkeepers are essentially correct: business rates are pre-internet and have become archaic

House of Fraser, Mothercare, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams. The list of major retailing names that have announced plans to close stores this year is long, and will undoubtedly lengthen. That is before you count the chains that have gone the way of Woolworths and packed up altogether – the likes of Toys R Us and Maplin. And nobody has a reliable tally of the independent shops that have disappeared.

No retailer has a right to survive and some of the headline-grabbing retreats owe much to outdated formats, lack of investment or bad management. Yet talk of a “crisis” on our high streets is legitimate. At least 35,000 retail jobs have been lost or put at risk of redundancy this year, which represents a brutal readjustment even at a time of high rates of general employment.

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Categories: Environment

Waste crisis: spot the excessive plastic packaging – in pictures

Sat, 2018/07/07 - 5:11pm

Australia is drowning in a tsunami of plastic pollution and excessive packaging is one of the culprits. Boomerang Alliance asked supporters to send in pictures of the worst examples

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Categories: Environment

Plastic packaging pictures – send us your best worst examples

Sat, 2018/07/07 - 5:08pm

Reducing and recycling our plastic waste will help the plastic crisis, but it won’t solve the problem. Corporations must take responsibility for the problems they are creating

Australia’s oceans, beaches and nature reserves are drowning in plastic pollution and excessive packaging is one of the culprits. While reducing our plastic consumption and recycling the waste will help, it won’t solve the problem. Corporations must take responsibility for the problem they are creating.

So this weekend we want to invite readers to snap and send us pictures of excessive plastic packaging. Apples in tubes, bananas in bags, and plastic in plastic in plastic. Send it through and we’ll publish the worst examples next week. See the images readers have contributed so far.

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Categories: Environment

National Trust buys two wildflower sites to protect wildlife

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 11:30pm

The £2.15m deal will protect 460 acres of nature-rich farmland in the Peak District

Hundreds of acres of flower-rich farmland have been bought by the National Trust to throw a lifeline to declining wildlife.

The £2.15 million deal to buy 186 hectares (460 acres) of land in the Peak District – an area equivalent to 260 football pitches – is the biggest farmland acquisition by the Trust since it bought Trevose Head in Cornwall in 2016.

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Categories: Environment

'In the days around Ella's death, there were big spikes in air pollution'

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 11:00pm

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah believes poor air quality in London contributed to her daughter’s death

The evening before she died, Ella Kissi-Debrah picked the outfit she wanted to wear to her primary school disco the following day: new jeans and a checked top. Her mother laid them out next to her school uniform, but a few hours later the nine-year-old suffered an acute asthma attack. She never made it to the party.

“We ended up burying her in the clothes instead,” said her mother, Rosamund. “I didn’t know whether it was the right thing to do, but it felt right at the time.”

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Categories: Environment

Pope Francis warns against turning Earth into vast pile of 'rubble, deserts and refuse'

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 5:17pm

Francis also denounces ‘sterile hypocrisy’ of those who turn a blind eye to the world’s poor

Pope Francis urged governments on Friday to make good on their commitments to curb global warming, warning that climate change, continued unsustainable development and rampant consumption threatens to turn the Earth into a vast pile of “rubble, deserts and refuse”.

Francis made the appeal at a Vatican conference marking the third anniversary of his landmark environmental encyclical “Praise Be.” The document, meant to spur action at the 2015 Paris climate conference, called for a paradigm shift in humanity’s relationship with Mother Nature.

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Categories: Environment

Adani says it could start works at Abbot Point without traditional owners' input

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 4:29pm

Exclusive: new construction work at coal terminal scheduled to begin as Juru group of traditional owners seeks stop order

Adani says it will proceed with new construction work at its Abbot Point coal terminal with or without the involvement of Juru local traditional owners, amid an escalating dispute about the protection of sacred sites.

On Thursday a group of traditional owners, Juru Enterprises Ltd, lodged an application for a stop order that could force Adani to cease work in the vicinity of Abbot Point and along part of the proposed rail link to the Carmichael mine.

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Categories: Environment

Is it a panther? Is it a puma? No, just a cat and a huge claws of frustration

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 3:26pm

Rangers are sick of mistaken panther sightings, which detract from the fight against feral cats

A large cat in Western Australia that was mistaken for a panther is the latest in a long line of mythical big cat sightings that wildlife rangers say are unhelpful.

The large black feline – estimated to be 50% larger than a house cat – was spotted in the town of Coorow, 275km north of Perth, in late June, and reported to wildlife authorities as a potential panther or big cat.

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Categories: Environment

Gulls in Devon and Dorset 'showing signs of drunkenness'

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 10:48am

RSPCA has collected a large number of gulls exhibiting signs of disorientation, confusion and loss of balance

Gulls in Devon and areas of Dorset have been portraying signs of drunkenness, the RSPCA has said.

The animal welfare charity has collected a large number of gulls exhibiting signs of disorientation, confusion and loss of balance. The first incidents were reported on 21 June.

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Categories: Environment

Andrew Wheeler: 'point man for Trump' focused on undoing Obama's EPA agenda

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 10:20am

Scott Pruitt’s replacement may be a more frightening prospect for those dismayed with the Trump administration’s attitude to the environment

Scott Pruitt, who on Thursday resigned as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was a firm favourite of Donald Trump. But Pruitt was plagued by scandal and faltered in carrying out the president’s agenda of peeling back clean air and water regulations. His replacement is likely to be far more adept.

Related: Goodbye to the worst EPA administrator of all time | Richard Wolffe

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Categories: Environment

'Drunk' gull stumbles in footage released by RSPCA – video

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 10:19am

RSPCA staff have been left scratching their heads after a string of callouts to collect 'drunk' gulls. The animal welfare charity is concerned the birds have been gaining access to waste products from a local brewery or alcohol producer, making them disoriented and confused.

Jo Daniel, an RSPCA officer, said 'the birds absolutely stink of alcohol' when they collect them

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Categories: Environment

Frustration as single right whale prompts fishing ban at Canadian island

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 8:17am

Fishing is temporarily halted at Grand Manan Island after the sighting of an endangered whale, to the dismay of fishermen

In 30 years of fishing for lobster in the Bay of Fundy between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Laurence Cook has been forced off the water by high winds, winter storms and icy conditions.

But until this summer, he had never had to stay home because of a whale.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 6:00am

A rare shark sighting, flying ants and a saltwater crocodile are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

UK fishing fleets unlikely to gain from Brexit despite Gove's claims, say experts

Fri, 2018/07/06 - 3:02am

New government white paper states that Britain is planing no major changes to catch quotas

British fishing fleets will face a tough struggle to wring a substantial advantage from Brexit, despite the prime minister’s promises, owing to key concessions in the government’s fishing proposals and the difficulty of persuading other EU member states to give up their current rights in British and shared waters, the Guardian has found.

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, published a white paper on Wednesday setting out the UK’s approach to fisheries after 2020, when the Brexit transition period is likely to end. He hailed “a sea of opportunity … we can take back control of our waters and revitalise coastal communities”.

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Scott Pruitt, Trump's embattled EPA chief, resigns amid ethics scandals

Thu, 2018/07/05 - 11:32pm

Donald Trump announces Pruitt’s departure on Twitter and praises him for doing an ‘outstanding job’

Scott Pruitt, the hugely controversial administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has resigned.

Related: A scandal for all seasons: Scott Pruitt's ethics violations in full

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Suspected rhino poachers eaten by lions at South African reserve

Thu, 2018/07/05 - 7:44pm

Remains of two or three people found near pride with an axe – commonly used to remove horn

At least two rhino poachers were eaten by lions on a South African game farm, according to the reserve’s owner.

A ranger taking guests on a safari drive at the Sibuya game reserve in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday afternoon discovered human remains near a pride of lions.

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Categories: Environment