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RBS cuts lending to new coal and Arctic oil projects

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/05/29 - 8:23am

Changes mean RBS has ‘strongest energy sector policies’ of top five UK banks

Royal Bank of Scotland will no longer fund Arctic oil projects and has pledged to cut lending to firms profiting largely from coal as part of an updated energy policy.

The changes cover the mining, power and oil and gas sectors and are aimed at taking a tougher line on climate change. They mean the bank will not provide “project-specific finance” to new coal-fired power stations, new thermal coal mines, oil sands or Arctic oil projects, or those involved in “unsustainable” vegetation or peatland clearing.

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Categories: Environment

Revealed: industrial-scale beef farming comes to the UK

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/05/29 - 7:00am

Investigation uncovers about a dozen intensive beef units, despite assurances that US-style practices would not happen here

Thousands of British cattle reared for supermarket beef are being fattened in industrial-scale units where livestock have little or no access to pasture.

Research by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has established that the UK is now home to a number of industrial-scale fattening units with herds of up to 3,000 cattle at a time being held in grassless pens for extended periods rather than being grazed or barn-reared.

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Categories: Environment

Trump administration refuses to consider that 97% of climate scientists could be right | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/05/29 - 3:00am

Even though smart climate policies could save tens of trillions of dollars

Last week, the Washington Post obtained a White House internal memo that debated how the Trump administration should handle federal climate science reports.

The memo presented three options without endorsing any of them: conducting a “red team/blue team” exercise to “highlight uncertainties in climate science”; more formally reviewing the science under the Administrative Procedure Act; or deciding to just “ignore, and not seek to characterize or question, the science being conducted by Federal agencies and outside entities.”

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Categories: Environment

Rescuers help 'distressed' 10m humpback whale entangled in nets at Bondi – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/05/29 - 1:09am

The whale was found entangled in netting off the Sydney beach on Tuesday afternoon. Passengers on a whale-watching cruise  spent several hours trying to help, and succeeded in cutting some of the netting before the operation had to be abandoned at nightfall

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand 'marine heatwave' brings tropical fish from 3,000km away

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 5:53pm

Out-of-place Queensland groper seen off New Zealand coast after water temperatures soared

Rare tropical fish from Australia have been spotted in New Zealand waters after a record-breaking hot summer and warm ocean temperatures lured the creatures across the Tasman sea.

The Queensland groper, also known as the giant grouper, is the aquatic emblem of the state and was spotted swimming around the wreck of the HMNZ Canterbury in the Bay of Islands on Sunday, more than 3,000 kilometres away from its usual cruising spots on the coral reefs and estuaries off the Queensland coast.

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Categories: Environment

Man missing after Maryland flash flood was helping woman rescue her cat

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 2:49pm
  • Ellicott City was devastated by floods only two years ago
  • Floods sent cars floating down Main Street; dozens rescued

A man who went missing when flash flooding hit a central Maryland city was trying to help a woman rescue her cat amidst the rising waters.

Howard county police chief Gary Gardner said witnesses saw the man go under the water on Sunday evening, and he did not surface. Police earlier identified him as 39-year-old Eddison Hermond of Severn.

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Categories: Environment

In Maryland, Ellicott City Gets Hit By Devastating Flash Floods, Again

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 1:18pm

People in Ellicott City, Md., are surveying the damage to their homes and businesses after a historic flash flood raged through the city — the second in as many years. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Mark Hemmis, whose restaurant Phoenix Emporium was badly damaged back in 2016 and again on Sunday.

Categories: Environment

At Least 2 Killed As Subtropical Storm Alberto Makes Landfall In Southern U.S.

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 11:02am

Two journalists who were covering the rainfall in North Carolina were killed, their newsroom reported. The National Hurricane Center warns the storm will bring heavy rains and flash flooding.

(Image credit: NOAA/NWS, Esri, HERE, Garmin, Earthstar Geographics)

Categories: Environment

Land-clearing wipes out $1bn taxpayer-funded emissions gains

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 11:00am

Official data shows forest-clearing released 160m tonnes of carbon dioxide since 2015

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More than $1bn of public money being spent on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees and restoring habitat under the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy will have effectively been wiped out by little more than two years of forest-clearing elsewhere in the country, official government data suggests.

The $2.55bn emissions reduction fund pays landowners and companies to avoid emissions or store carbon dioxide using a reverse auction – the cheapest credible bids win. The government says it has signed contracts to prevent 124m tonnes of emissions through vegetation projects – mostly repairing degraded habitat, planting trees and ensuring existing forest on private land is not cleared.

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Categories: Environment

a monday matinee...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 10:47am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Dutch government appeals against court ruling over emissions cuts

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 9:48am

Judges ordered a 25% carbon emissions cut by 2020 in the first successful lawsuit against a government’s climate policy

The Dutch government has launched a bid to overturn a landmark climate ruling, arguing that judges in The Hague “sidelined democracy” when they ordered a 25% cut in carbon emissions by 2020.

Government plans for a lesser 17% cut in CO2 pollution were deemed unlawful three years ago, in the first successful lawsuit against a government’s climate policy.

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Categories: Environment

Flash Flood Tears Through Maryland Town For Second Time In Two Years

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 8:48am

Less than two years after what had been called a "once in a 1,000 years" flood in 2016, Ellicott City, Md., sees its historic downtown ravaged anew. One man remains missing.

(Image credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Invisible scum on sea cuts CO2 exchange with air 'by up to 50%'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 8:39am

Scientists say the findings have major implications for predicting our future climate

An invisible layer of scum on the sea surface can reduce carbon dioxide exchange between the atmosphere and the oceans by up to 50%, scientists have discovered.

Researchers from Heriot-Watt, Newcastle and Exeter universities say the findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Monday, have major implications for predicting our future climate.

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Categories: Environment

EU challenges UK to 'race to the top' on plastics reduction

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 7:58am

Brussels proposes ban on plastic straws and cutlery and calls out Brexiter Michael Gove

Brussels has challenged the UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, to try to outdo it in an environmental “race to the top” as it proposed a ban on plastic straws, cutlery, plates, cotton buds and balloon sticks.

Frans Timmermans, the European commission’s first vice-president, directly addressed Gove, a fervent Brexiter, as he unveiled details of the planned prohibition, along with measures designed to reduce the use of plastic takeaway containers and drinking cups.

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Categories: Environment

Great White Sharks Have A Secret 'Cafe,' And They Led Scientists Right To It

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/05/28 - 2:00am

These sharks have a hidden life that has becoming a lot less hidden, thanks to a scientific expedition that was years in the making.

(Image credit: Courtesy Stanford University — Block Lab Hopkins Marine Station)

Categories: Environment

'Unfortunate' the carbon tax coincided with soaring network costs, Rod Sims says

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/05/27 - 11:26pm

ACCC chair says electricity price spike due to network charges, not carbon tax or renewables

The timing of the carbon tax was “unfortunate” because it coincided with soaring electricity network costs that have underpinned increases to household bills, the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has told a forum in Brisbane.

The ACCC is next month due to hand to government its final report on the electricity market. The body’s chairman, Rod Sims, said on Monday he was unable to reveal specific details but gave some hints about the direction the inquiry had taken.

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Categories: Environment

Honduran villagers take legal action to stop mining firm digging up graves for gold

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/05/27 - 10:00pm

Families face pressure to decide the fate of their relatives’ grave, dividing the community of Azacualpa where as many as 350 bodies have already been exhumed

Nothing is sacred in the path of gold miners in northwestern Honduras – not even the dead.

A transnational mining company, Aura Minerals, has been digging up graves in the 200-year-old cemetery near the community of Azacualpa, La Union, to clear the way to dig for gold.

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Categories: Environment

Flash floods in Maryland leaves main street underwater – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/05/27 - 9:13pm

Flood waters and heavy rain has completely submerged the main street of the historic Ellicott City in Maryland. Authorities were assessing the damage after the flood waters swept away parked cars on Sunday.

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Categories: Environment

Return of the bison: herd makes surprising comeback on Dutch coast

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/05/27 - 9:00pm

Endangered species can thrive in habitats other than forests, paving way for their return

Eighty years after they were hunted to extinction, the successful reintroduction of a herd of wild European bison on to the dunes of the Dutch coast is paving the way for their return across the continent.

The largest land-living animal in Europe was last seen in the Netherlands centuries ago, and was wiped out on the continent by 1927. Despite successful efforts to breed the species again in the wilds of Poland in the 1950s, and renewed efforts in the last decade in western Europe, the European bison remains as endangered as the black rhino.

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Categories: Environment

BHP and Queensland reach 'in principle' agreement over $288m coal royalties

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/05/27 - 7:07pm

Mining giant BHP and the Queensland government have reached an “in principle” agreement to settle a long-running $288m coal royalty dispute, the state’s supreme court has heard this morning.

The case, which experts said would likely have broad implications about the way mining royalties could be calculated and levied, centres on a 2015 decision by the Queensland Office of State Revenue to hit BHP Billiton with a bill for what it claimed were unpaid royalties and interest.

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Categories: Environment
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