Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 19 hours 17 min ago

UK car buyers face ‘lottery’ with both ultra-clean and ultra-dirty diesels on sale

Wed, 2018/07/04 - 2:36am

New data suggests worst cars are now 32 times more polluting than the best – risking all diesels being banned from cities, say experts

Ultra-dirty new diesel engines are being sold alongside ultra-clean models in the UK, according to new data, leaving car buyers facing what experts call a “nightmare”.

On-the-road tests by testing firm Emissions Analytics found that new models of Mercedes-Benz CLS, Seat Arona and Citroen DS 7 produced tiny amounts of pollution, up to 75% below the official EU limit.

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Categories: Environment

Frydenberg tells Western Australia to pay for baited shark drumlines

Wed, 2018/07/04 - 12:49am

Conservationists criticise environment minister for pushing strategy that affects threatened species

Josh Frydenberg has challenged Western Australia over its management of sharks, proposing the state pay for a network of satellite-linked baited drumlines to protect high-traffic beaches.

Frydenberg said 176 of the Smart (shark management alert in real time) drumlines could be deployed along 260km of WA’s 12,000km coastline, covering both Perth beaches and popular surf beaches in the southwest.

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Categories: Environment

Does the moon hold the key to the earth’s energy needs?

Tue, 2018/07/03 - 10:00pm

Tidal power is the only renewable source derived from the moon. Now an extraordinary array of devices promise to unlock this vital energy potential

Using giant kites, blades and paddles, and mimicking pogo sticks, blowholes and even the human heart, groups around the world are on the cusp of harnessing the colossal power of the oceans.

The challenge is huge - seas have been battering coasts and sweeping sailors to their doom for millennia - but so is the prize: huge amounts of clean, reliable and renewable electricity for an energy-hungry world.

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Categories: Environment

Doug Ford scraps carbon tax plan and sets up climate fight with Trudeau

Tue, 2018/07/03 - 1:11pm

Decision to end program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions puts Ontario in line for showdown with federal government

Ontario’s new rightwing government has ended a carbon pricing policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada’s most populous province.

The move to scrap the cap-and-trade program puts the provincial Conservative government – led by Doug Ford – directly at odds with the federal government’s bid to ensure provinces have a price on carbon in place by the end of 2018.

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Categories: Environment

Is this the end of the yellow all-in-one recycling bin?

Tue, 2018/07/03 - 11:00am

Commingled bins cause contamination. Is it time to go for separate bins for glass and paper?

It was supposed to be the more efficient solution. Now as governments and local councils search for answers to Australia’s unfolding recycling crisis, the household yellow bin has emerged as both the prime culprit and a potential remedy.

The recycling industry has been in crisis mode since the beginning of the year. On 1 January, China stopped accepting 99% of Australia’s exported recycling due, in part, to their strict new rules on contamination.

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Categories: Environment

Scott Pruitt video: mother confronts EPA boss and urges him to quit

Tue, 2018/07/03 - 9:51am

Kristin Mink approached head of US Environmental Protection Agency while holding her son and listed reasons he should resign

“Hi! I just wanted to urge you to resign,” the schoolteacher Kristin Mink said as she approached Scott Pruitt at a Washington DC restaurant on Monday, apparently unfazed by Pruitt’s lunch partner and two security guards.

“This is my son,” Mink told the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency while holding her two-year-old in her arms.

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Categories: Environment

Australia needs tighter ivory sale laws to protect elephants, parliamentary committee hears

Tue, 2018/07/03 - 1:53am

Parliament looking at whether Australia’s regulations allow poached ivory and horns to be passed off as antiques

Australia’s failure to regulate the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns could be contributing to the demise of the animals, a parliamentary committee has heard.

The committee is looking into the country’s regulations and whether they allow newly-poached ivory and horns to be passed off as antiques.

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Categories: Environment

Chicken mega-farms are how we'll feed the UK, says poultry industry head

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 11:00pm

British consumers eat chicken twice a week. Are large farms the only way forward?

Britain will need to build more mega-farms to keep it supplied with chicken, according to the head of the UK’s influential poultry lobby.

But the biggest threat to UK consumers, he believes, comes from cheap imported meat – “chlorinated chicken” – produced to lower standards as a result of post-Brexit trade deals.

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Categories: Environment

Most of Europe's rivers and lakes fail water quality tests – report

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 10:30pm

Only 40% of waterways surveyed were in a good ecological state – with England one of the worst offenders

The vast majority of Europe’s rivers, lakes and estuaries have failed to meet minimum ecological standards for habitat degradation and pollution, according to a damning new report.

Only 40% of surface water bodies surveyed by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) were found to be in a good ecological state, despite EU laws and biodiversity protocols.

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Categories: Environment

Greens announce three sets of contenders for leadership contest

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 8:01am

Joint ticket of Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry favourite to lead after Caroline Lucas steps down

Three sets of contenders have put themselves forward to become the next leaders of the Greens, it was announced on Monday, with the joint ticket of Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry seen as the strong favourite to take over in the absence of Caroline Lucas.

Lucas, the party’s sole MP and best-known figure, has spent two years as joint leader with Bartley, a councillor in Lambeth, south London. In May, Lucas said she would not stand again with the aim of “making space for other people”.

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Categories: Environment

Chicken farmer given suspended sentence for free-range egg fraud

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 7:35am

James Gigg, from Dorset, was found guilty of overstocking his henhouses

A chicken farmer has been given a suspended jail sentence for falsely claiming that eggs produced in crowded henhouses were free-range.

Eggs from James Gigg’s farm in Dorset were sold to shops and delicatessens that marketed them to customers as free-range.

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Categories: Environment

Oil company's 'draconian and anti-democratic' injunction challenged

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 6:03am

Environmental campaigners appear in London’s high court to oppose UK Oil and Gas’s attempt to ban protests at three UK sites

Six environmental campaigners have taken legal action to overturn a broad injunction which is being sought by an energy firm against protesters.

The group went to the high court in London on Monday to oppose the injunction which is being sought by UK Oil and Gas (UKOG).

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Categories: Environment

UK nuclear cleanup contract back in public hands after £122m bill

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 5:25am

Botched tender was for the disposal of materials at 12 UK sites including Dungeness

The UK government has been forced to take a multibillion-pound nuclear cleanup contract back into public ownership, after a botched tender to the private sector landed the taxpayer with a £122m bill.

The government will take over the decommissioning of Britain’s 12 Magnox sites, including the former nuclear power stations at Dungeness in Kent and Hinkley Point in Somerset.

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Categories: Environment

Botanical life in close-up – in pictures

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 4:50am

Colin Salter’s new book is a selection of extraordinary electron microscopic images of the plant world around us, including seeds, pollen, fruiting bodies, trees and leaves, flowers, vegetables and fruit

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Categories: Environment

UK heatwave helps solar power to record weekly highs

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 3:45am

Hot weather saw solar briefly take over from gas as the number one energy source

Britain’s heatwave has helped break several solar power-generation records, and over the weekend the renewable energy source briefly eclipsed gas power stations as the UK’s top source of electricity.

While new solar installations have virtually flatlined over the past year, a run of largely cloudless days has seen a series of highs for power generation by the sector.

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Categories: Environment

Tesla finally hits weekly production target for Model 3 cars

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 3:41am

Firm builds 5,000 in a week but critics are sceptical over whether feat can be replicated

Tesla has finally hit its weekly target production rate of 5,000 of its “mass-market” Model 3 electric car thanks to a big tent.

Related: Tesla factory to be investigated over safety concerns

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Categories: Environment

Republicans try to save their deteriorating party with another push for a carbon tax | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 3:00am

Like opposing civil rights and gay marriage, climate denial will drive voters away from the GOP

The Republican Party is rotting away. The problem is that GOP policies just aren’t popular. Most Americans unsurprisingly oppose climate denial, tax cuts for the wealthy, and putting children (including toddlers) in concentration camps, for example.

The Republican Party has thus far managed to continue winning elections by creating “a coalition between racists and plutocrats,” as Paul Krugman put it. The party’s economic policies are aimed at benefitting wealthy individuals and corporations, but that’s a slim segment of the American electorate. The plutocrats can fund political campaigns, but to capture enough votes to win elections, the GOP has resorted to identity politics. Research has consistently shown that Trump won because of racial resentment among white voters.

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Categories: Environment

Oxford and Cambridge could become the UK's first true cycling cities

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 2:13am

Both cities are seeking ways to transport expanding populations without impacting their historic centres, yet the simplest solution is staring them in the face

Sometimes politics really does overlook the obvious, and there’s a fine example just now in those two great centres of clear thinking and clogged traffic, Oxford and Cambridge. Here is the problem. The country wants, and badly needs, to build on these cities’ success in tech, bioscience and other industries: 129,000 new jobs and 135,000 new homes are planned in and around them over the next decade or so. But first you have to plan how to transport all the new people, and none of the usual answers works.

Even if new roadbuilding were an answer in any city, it can’t be in these two. Their historic centres are inviolable, their electorates implacable. Gone, thank God, are the days when plans could be drawn up for a new highway through Christ Church Meadow. More buses? Both cities’ centres are already choked with them. Metros? Vastly expensive and disruptive, years to build, and couldn’t hope to serve most of the journeys people will need to make.

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Categories: Environment

The treasure hunters on a deadly quest for an eccentric's $2m bounty

Mon, 2018/07/02 - 1:00am

Four people have died seeking a bounty hidden in the Rockies, with only a riddle as a guide. As the casualties mount, the millionaire who concealed the treasure insists it’s not a hoax

Sacha Johnston was inching along a dirt road in a narrow canyon in northern New Mexico. “Just guide me,” Johnston said to her search partner, Cory Napier, who directed Johnston and her white Toyota 4Runner. “This road can be brutal.”

The pair had come to this starkly beautiful place, at the base of the Sangre De Cristo mountains, to hunt for a treasure rumored to be worth upwards of $2m.

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Categories: Environment

Tent spiders weave a spectacular display – video

Sun, 2018/07/01 - 11:31pm

The intricately-woven webs of a mass colony of tent spiders create an eye-catching display in a nature reserve at Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia.  Australian Museum arachnologist Graham Milledge told the ABC the webs were built over wet grassland and low-lying vegetation. 'At the top of the cone in the web is where the spider has its little retreat, that's where it sits waiting for prey and often there's a lot of detritus and leaves there to camouflage the spider'

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Categories: Environment