Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 13 hours 20 min ago

Woodside applies to build big-polluting LNG plant – with no emissions plan

Thu, 2018/11/22 - 10:00am

Western Australian Browse project could emit more than 200m tonnes of CO2

Oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum has applied for environmental approval to build one of Australia’s biggest emitting industrial developments – a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant 425km north of Broome – without a plan to reduce or offset its greenhouse gas pollution.

Documents submitted to the federal government for the long-mooted $28bn Browse LNG project show the offshore part of the development alone is expected to emit up to 200m tonnes of carbon dioxide over 50 years, peaking at 7m tonnes a year.

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Categories: Environment

Swap gas boilers for hydrogen or miss emission targets, UK told

Thu, 2018/11/22 - 4:17am

Households need electric and hydrogen hybrid boilers sooner rather than later, climate advisers warn

Millions of gas boilers will need to be replaced with hydrogen alternatives and coupled with electric heating devices if Britain is to hit its carbon targets at the lowest cost, according to the government’s climate advisers.

In a report on the role hydrogen could play in the energy system, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) spelt out the huge but necessary cost the country faces to switch to green heating.

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Categories: Environment

California wildfires: smoke spreads to New York, 3,000 miles away

Thu, 2018/11/22 - 12:37am
  • Haze envelopes Washington DC and other east coast cities
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger visits firefighters in California

The US east coast has been provided a firsthand reminder of the deadly California wildfires after smoke swept across the country and caused a haze to envelop the eastern seaboard, including Washington DC and New York City.

Hazy skies were reported in several places on the east coast from smoke wafting from 3,000 miles further west, where wildfires in California have killed more than 80 people and razed more than 15,000 homes and other structures.

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Categories: Environment

NSW dust storm: spike in calls for breathing difficulties as front descends on Sydney

Wed, 2018/11/21 - 9:12pm

City’s skyline changes colour as line of dust more than 500km long sweeps east

A thick line of dust that has smothered much of New South Wales and Sydney has led to a spike in calls for help from people with breathing difficulties.

Strong winds from a low pressure system have whipped up masses of dirt across the drought-stricken state, which headed towards the coast on Thursday.

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Categories: Environment

Sir David Attenborough to speak for the people at UN climate summit

Wed, 2018/11/21 - 11:22am

Filmmaker takes new ‘people’s seat’ and will form speech with input from social media

Sir David Attenborough is to address the UN’s climate change summit in Poland in December, taking up a newly established “people’s seat” at the negotiations.

The people’s seat initiative, which launched on Wednesday, will give citizens around the world the opportunity to send their messages to leaders via social media, using the hashtag #TakeYourSeat. These views and information from opinion polling will then form the basis of Attenborough’s speech to leaders.

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Categories: Environment

Avoid London for days, police warn motorists, amid ‘swarming’ protests

Wed, 2018/11/21 - 10:03am

Disruption could continue until Saturday as Extinction Rebellion continues climate change protest

Climate activists have caused serious disruption to rush-hour traffic in London with a series of “swarming” roadblocks at several different locations around the capital as police warned motorists that more protests were expected.

From 8am on Wednesday groups of protesters coordinated by the group Extinction Rebellion walked on to roads in Westminster, Tower Bridge, Elephant and Castle, and Earl’s Court, blocking traffic for several minutes at a time in a plan to bring gridlock to the city.

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Categories: Environment

Ten everyday ways drivers make cyclists feel unsafe

Tue, 2018/11/20 - 11:30pm

From speeding and light jumping to parking in bike lanes and passing too close, driver behaviour is one of the main deterrents to widespread cycling

What prevents significantly more people in the UK from riding bikes for everyday transport? The primary answer is simple: a lack of safe infrastructure.

If cyclists are expected to share the roads with a tonne or so of speeding metal then, global experience shows, you won’t get more than a certain, small percentage of the population doing it, predominantly the young and gung ho.

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Categories: Environment

Labor to keep national energy guarantee in bid for climate truce

Tue, 2018/11/20 - 8:26pm

Shadow cabinet keeps Turnbull policy with a higher target, and formulates a plan B for renewables

Labor has resolved to keep the Coalition’s national energy guarantee with a higher emissions reduction target, and will propose a detailed plan B for renewables in the event it can’t be legislated.

The shadow cabinet on Wednesday took the decision to stick with the Neg developed by Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg, with an emissions reduction target for electricity of 45% by 2030, in an attempt to see whether the Liberals could be persuaded to vote for their own mechanism post-election.

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Categories: Environment

Newfoundland oil spill: biologists fear scale of devastation may never be known

Tue, 2018/11/20 - 1:24pm

Rough seas prevented crews from assessing damage to vulnerable wildlife caused by province’s largest-ever spill

Biologists are attempting to assess damage to vulnerable wildlife caused by Newfoundland’s largest-ever oil spill, amid fears that the full scale of devastation may never be known.

Intense storms battered offshore oil production areas late last week, with waves cresting as high as 28ft. On Friday, the SeaRose tanker attempted to restart production, but a faulty connection line pumped an estimated 250,000 litres of oil into the ocean.

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Categories: Environment

Tax 'virgin packaging' to tackle plastics crisis, says report

Tue, 2018/11/20 - 12:00pm

UK government called on to impose fee on new plastic packaging and offer rebate for recycled products

The government should introduce a new tax on virgin packaging to revolutionise the recycling system in the UK and tackle the plastics crisis, according to a new report.

The study, presented to MPs and industry figures at Westminster on Tuesday evening, calls on ministers to impose a fee on packaging materials and offer a rebate for those products that use more recycled material.

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Categories: Environment

'Greenwash': oil giant under fire over plan to protect tropical forests

Tue, 2018/11/20 - 8:31am

Campaigners say move by Norway’s Equinor is an excuse to keep drilling for fossil fuels

One of the world’s biggest oil companies is set to join the fight against deforestation in the tropics as part of its climate change efforts – but the the move has been branded a “greenwash” by campaigners.

State-owned Norwegian firm Equinor has written to the UN’s climate chief to tell her it wants to invest in the protection of tropical forests.

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Categories: Environment

Crisis in our national parks: how tourists are loving nature to death

Tue, 2018/11/20 - 1:00am

As thrill seekers and Instagrammers swarm public lands, reporting from eight sites across America shows the scale of the threat

Just before sunset near Page, Arizona, a parade of humanity marched up the sandy, half-mile trail toward Horseshoe Bend. They had come from all over the world. Some carried boxes of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, others cradled chihuahuas and a few men hid engagement rings in their pockets. But just about everyone had one thing at the ready: a cellphone to snap a picture.

Horseshoe Bend is one of the American west’s most celebrated overlooks. From a sheer sandstone precipice just a few miles outside Grand Canyon national park, visitors get a bird’s-eye view of the emerald Colorado river as it makes a U-turn 800ft below. Hundreds of miles from any large city, and nestled in the heart of south-west canyon country, Horseshoe Bend was once as lonely as it was beautiful.

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Categories: Environment

Surge in marine refuges brings world close to protected areas goal

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 11:28am

Reserves cover more than five times area of US, says report, but enforcement is often poor

A record surge in the creation of marine protected areas has taken the international community close to its goal of creating nature refuges on 17% of the world’s land and 10% of seas by 2020, according to a new UN report.

Protected regions now cover more than five times the territory of the US, but the authors said this good news was often undermined by poor enforcement. Some reserves are little more than “paper parks” with little value to nature conservation. At least one has been turned into an industrial zone.

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Categories: Environment

Top film-makers back penguin intervention on Attenborough show

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 10:41am

Wildlife documentary experts defend crew’s decision to help trapped birds

Leading wildlife camera operators and film-makers have defended the film crew on David Attenborough’s latest BBC series over their decision to break with convention and intervene to save a group of penguins that had become trapped in a ravine.

Nature film-makers are discouraged from intervening in the events they are attempting to capture on film. While the general principle is to avoid interfering with the natural course of events, the crew on the Dynasties series stepped in when they saw the birds’ predicament.

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Categories: Environment

Importing gas to replace domestic supply could push emissions up 20%, AGL says

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 10:00am

Energy company says importing LNG will firm up renewable energy projects but critics say gas is already more expensive than clean alternatives

Controversial plans to import liquefied natural gas into Australia to fill a shortfall as domestic gas is exported to Asia would significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, AGL has conceded.

Energy companies have proposed four LNG import terminals for the east coast to ensure gas supply and ease high prices. The imported natural gas would effectively replace the two-thirds of gas sold overseas from export plants in Queensland.

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Categories: Environment

Dead fish to power cruise ships

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 8:19am

Norwegian company to fuel liners with biogas made from leftovers of fish processing

Waste fish parts will be used to power ships in a new initiative to use green energy for polluting cruise liners.

The leftovers of fish processed for food and mixed with other organic waste will be used to generate biogas, which will then be liquefied and used in place of fossil fuels by the expedition cruise line Hurtigruten.

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Categories: Environment

Manatees in peril as toxic red tide tests Florida's resources for rescued animals

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 7:51am

Resources to save manatee and other sea life nearing limit a year after toxic red tide bloom outbreak

At the peak of Florida’s red tide crisis this summer, Jon Peterson had to dig deep into Sea World’s storage warehouses to find enough portable pools to accommodate the dozens of sick manatees arriving at a rate of two or three a week.

The Orlando theme park’s manager for animal rescues even found himself forking out for air fares to send some of his younger manatee patients off to zoos in Ohio to free enough space in the rehabilitation centre for the newest victims of the toxic algae phenomenon that has killed thousands of fish and marine mammals.

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Categories: Environment

Body that rejected Iceland Christmas ad 'faced storm of abuse'

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 6:17am

Clearcast says it had to shut Facebook page after it rejected film for being political

The body responsible for rejecting Iceland’s Christmas ad had to remove staff pictures from its website, shut the company Facebook page and close its switchboard due to the level of abuse following the controversial decision.

As part of its festive campaign Iceland struck a deal with Greenpeace to rebadge an animated short film featuring an orangutan and the destruction of its rainforest habitat at the hands of palm oil growers.

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Categories: Environment

Rugeley coal plant to be transformed into a sustainable village

Mon, 2018/11/19 - 6:01am

Energy firm plans to build 2,000 homes powered by solar panels on the Staffordshire site

An old coal power station is set to be transformed into a “sustainable village” of 2,000 homes powered by solar panels, in the biggest redevelopment yet of a former UK power plant.

French firm Engie said it had decided against selling off the Rugeley site in Staffordshire and would instead build super efficient houses on the 139-hectare site as part of its bid to “move beyond energy”.

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Categories: Environment