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Kerala floods: death toll rises above 324 as rescue effort intensifies

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/08/17 - 7:43am

220,000 people left homeless in southern Indian state after unusually heavy rain

More than 324 people have died in the worst flooding in nearly a century in the south Indian state of Kerala.

Roads are damaged, mobile phone networks are down, an international airport has been closed and more than 220,000 people have been left homeless after unusually heavy rain in the past nine days.

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Categories: Environment

Steven Pinker: Can Numbers Show Us That Progress Is Inevitable?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/08/17 - 7:04am

It might seem like the world is getting worse and worse. But psychologist Steven Pinker says that across the board, data suggests we've made a lot of progress. The question is — will it continue?

(Image credit: Ryan Lash /Ryan Lash/TED)

Categories: Environment

Paul Gilding: How Do We Continue To Grow If The Earth Has Reached Its Limit?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/08/17 - 7:03am

Environmental activist Paul Gilding says the world has been growing too fast for too long. And now...the Earth is full. The only solution, he says, is to radically change the way we consume.

(Image credit: James Duncan Davidson/TED)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/08/17 - 6:26am

An anaesthetised polar bear, a surprising pine marten and a potty-mouthed parrot are among this week’s images

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Categories: Environment

Older than dinosaurs: last South African coelacanths threatened by oil exploration

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/08/17 - 3:29am

Just 30 of the prehistoric fish known to exist, raising fears oil wells will push it to extinction

Bright blue, older than dinosaurs and weighing as much as an average-sized man, coelacanths are the most endangered fish in South Africa and among the rarest in the world.

Barely 30 of these critically-endangered fish are known to exist off the east coast of South Africa, raising concern that a new oil exploration venture in the area could jeopardise their future.

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Categories: Environment

US interior secretary's school friend blocking climate research, scientists say

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/08/17 - 3:00am

Trump administration forces some scientific funding to be reviewed by adviser who was high-school football teammate of Ryan Zinke

Prominent US climate scientists have told the Guardian that the Trump administration is holding up research funding as their projects undergo an unprecedented political review by the high-school football teammate of the US interior secretary.

The US interior department administers over $5.5bn in funding to external organizations, mostly for research, conservation and land acquisition. At the beginning of 2018, interior secretary Ryan Zinke instated a new requirement that scientific funding above $50,000 must undergo an additional review to ensure expenditures “better align with the administration’s priorities”.

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Categories: Environment

How Archaeologists Play A Role In The Forest Service's Response To Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 1:33pm

When wildfire starts, a lot of people decide what areas should burn, and where a fire should be fought. One of those people is an archaeologist from the U.S. Forest Service.

Categories: Environment

Monsoon Hammers India With 'Unprecedented Flood Havoc,' Killing Scores Of People

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 11:47am

The heavy rains hitting the popular tourist destination of Kerala have loosed deadly floods and landslides. "Never before had the State witnessed a calamity of this scale," says a local leader.

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Most-polluting wood burner fuels due to get the chop

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 11:08am

Environment secretary Michael Gove to banish house coal to curb harmful emissions

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is due to confirm plans to ban the sale of the most-polluting fuels for domestic wood burners in an attempt to cut harmful emissions.

The sale of traditional house coal will be phased out under proposals set out in the government’s draft clean air strategy in May, which are expected to be confirmed by Gove’s department on Friday.

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Categories: Environment

throwback thursday

The Field Lab - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 8:02am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

UK government drops fracking question from public attitude tracker

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 6:26am

First fracking operation in seven years set to begin despite low public support

The government has stopped asking the British public whether they are for or against fracking for shale gas just weeks before the first fracking operation in seven years is due to start.

The number of people against extracting shale gas has outweighed those in favour since 2015, and the latest polling by officials found 32% opposed with just 18% in support.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution: London mayor backs new inquest into girl's asthma death

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 4:38am

Khan writes to attorney general over girl who died during spikes in nitrogen dioxide

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has written to the attorney general asking him to back a new inquest into the death of a nine-year-old girl whose severe asthma attacks coincided with spikes in air pollution.

The mother of Ella Kissi-Debrah has fought a long campaign to highlight the role she believes illegal air pollution played in her daughter’s death in 2013.

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Categories: Environment

Green space in every schoolyard: the radical plan to cool Paris

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 2:30am

Playground oases could benefit students and city alike, but will making them public prove too controversial in a city on high alert?

It’s only 10am but the heat is already radiating off the asphalt at the École Riblette, a primary school on the outskirts of Paris. Sébastien Maire, the city’s chief resilience officer, points to the school’s lower courtyard, a classic heat trap: surrounded by concrete walls that reflect sunlight inside. Last June, the courtyard hit 55C (131F).

“For three days, school activities stopped,” Maire says. “It was not possible for the children to study, nor to go into the schoolyard. We would forbid them because it’s 55 degrees – you can fry an egg on the ground.”

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Categories: Environment

US poised to allow more mining on land Trump removed from monuments

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 2:00am

Officials plan to sell some of the land that once belonged to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, despite pledge not to

US officials have announced plans to allow increased mining on land that once belonged to two national monuments Donald Trump shrank, and to sell off some of the land despite pledges not to do so.

The two monuments, now significantly smaller in size, are both in Utah. The draft management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument includes a 98-page minerals report that outlines deposits of coal, oil and gas, tar sands and other minerals under the whole of the monument’s original 1.9m acres.

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Categories: Environment

Bid to limit commercial fishing in marine parks defeated by Coalition

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/16 - 12:41am

Government and Senate crossbench combine to reject Greens and Labor motions to disallow controversial management plans

A push by the Greens and Labor to attempt to force greater protection of fisheries in Australia’s marine parks has failed for the second time.

The parties had vowed to reject controversial management plans for the parks proposed by the Turnbull government. But on Thursday the Senate crossbench combined with the Coalition to defeat disallowance motions on the basis that the parks would then be left with no plans in place and no limits on fishing.

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Categories: Environment

Fat-biking: the miracle solution to cycling on sand

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/15 - 11:30pm

Peter Kimpton finds a bike that’s perfect for riding on the beach and explores the Glamorgan coast near Porthcawl

Smooth tarmac to rough, potholed roads, gravel tracks to mountain paths, cyclists encounter good and bad surfaces, but rarely do we ride on sand. Most bikes would get stuck and seize up in seconds. Beaches may be free of traffic, but they are the last place you think of for a bike ride. Yet a fat-bike defies the laws of traction and discomfort, and allows you to explore thousands of miles of coast in a fraction of the time it would take to do so on foot. But where best to try it?

Porthcawl, near Bridgend station on the coast between Cardiff and Swansea, is a surprisingly underused and beautiful beach. It’s the nearest lengthy surf beach to London and several other cities, lies near world-class mountain bike trails, is home to the rarest flower in Britain, and was a film location for Lawrence of Arabia. And for one weekend a year, it’s the surreal home to 35,000 Elvis devotees.

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Categories: Environment

Brazil: murder of indigenous leader highlights threat to way of life

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/15 - 11:30pm

Jorginho Guajajara’s killing is believed by members of his tribe to be the result of conflict with loggers in their Amazon territory

Indigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon are mourning the murder of a community leader who campaigned to protect the forest from logging amid escalating violence in the region.

Jorginho Guajajara, a cacique, or leader, of the Guajajara people, was found dead near a river in the city of Arame, Maranhão state, at the weekend.

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Categories: Environment

Weedkiller found in wide range of breakfast foods aimed at children

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/15 - 10:00pm

Cancer-linked herbicide, sold as Roundup by Monsanto, present in 45 products including granola, snack bars and Cheerios

Significant levels of the weedkilling chemical glyphosate have been found in an array of popular breakfast cereals, oats and snack bars marketed to US children, a new study has found.

Tests revealed glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller brand Roundup, present in all but two of the 45 oat-derived products that were sampled by the Environmental Working Group, a public health organization.

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Categories: Environment

Capitalism can crack climate change. But only if it takes risks | Larry Elliott

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/15 - 10:00pm

Anglo-Saxon capitalism’s drive to maximise profits in the short term won’t save the planet. Perhaps the Chinese model can?

This summer’s heatwave has provided a glimpse of the future, and it is not a pretty one. On current trends, the years to come will see rising temperatures, droughts, a fight to feed a growing population, and a race against time to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

The struggle to combat climate change brings out the best and worst of capitalism. Decarbonisation of the economy requires alternatives for coal and cars that run on diesel, and that plays to capitalism’s strengths. Innovation is what capitalism is all about, and there has been staggeringly rapid progress in developing clean alternatives to coal, oil and gas. The cost of producing solar- and wind-powered electricity has collapsed. Great advances are also being made in battery technology, which is vital for the new generation of electricity-powered vehicles. Humans are endlessly creative. In the end, they will crack climate change.

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Categories: Environment

'Not under investigation': Michaelia Cash denies being interviewed by AFP – politics live

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/15 - 8:54pm

Jobs minister says she is ‘not a party to those proceedings’. All the day’s events, live

4.52am BST

Over on ‘Who’s that MP’

It’s ...

4.45am BST

We are sliding towards question time.

Which strangely, always feels the same as my slow descent into madness.

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Categories: Environment
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