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Why Is China Snatching Up Australian Farmland?

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 1:40pm

In the past year, Chinese investment in Australia's overall agricultural sector has skyrocketed, from $300 million to $1 billion. It's all to feed the world's largest, fastest-growing consumer class.

(Image credit: Auscape/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

London mayor issues emergency air quality alert amid heatwave

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 12:24pm

Rising temperatures and southerly winds expected to bring toxic air to large parts of England and Wales on Wednesday

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has triggered the capital’s emergency air quality alert as soaring temperatures combined with southerly winds are expected to bring dangerously toxic air to large parts of England and Wales on Wednesday.

The emergency alerts will see warnings displayed at bus stops, on road signs and on the underground.

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Categories: Environment

Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 12:01pm

Senate inquiry starts as report into political, military and humanitarian risks of climate change across Asia Pacific released

As the Senate launches an inquiry into the national security ramifications of climate change, a new report has warned global warming will cause increasingly regular and severe humanitarian crises across the Asia-Pacific.

Disaster Alley, written by the Breakthrough Centre for Climate Restoration, forecasts climate change could potentially displace tens of millions from swamped cities, drive fragile states to failure, cause intractable political instability, and spark military conflict.

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Categories: Environment

Ten years ago Turnbull called out Peter Garrett on climate. What went wrong? | Graham Readfearn

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 12:00pm

After a decade of policy backflips and uncertainty, we are now being sold ‘technology neutral’ energy policy. But we need it to be discriminatory – and favour clean power

Ten years ago today Malcolm Turnbull was getting stuck in to a debate in Parliament House with Peter Garrett about climate change.

Climate change, said Turnbull, was “an enormous challenge and probably the biggest one our country faces, the world faces, at the moment.”

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Categories: Environment

Closure of UK’s largest gas storage site ‘could mean volatile prices’

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 11:32am

Shuttering of Rough facility off Yorkshire coast by British Gas owner Centrica will increase dependence on imports, say critics

The closure of the UK’s largest gas storage plant has prompted warnings that the country faces more volatile winter gas prices and is becoming too dependent on energy imports.

British Gas’s owner, Centrica, said it was permanently closing the Rough facility off the Yorkshire coast because it had become unsafe and uneconomic to reopen the facility, which had been temporarily shut over safety fears.

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Categories: Environment

London mayor considers pay-per-mile road pricing and ban on new parking

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 10:36am

Sadiq Khan wants to cut 3m car journeys a day and encourage cycling and walking in effort to reduce congestion and air pollution

London is to consider pay-per-mile road pricing and banning car parking in new developments under plans to cut 3m car journeys a day in the capital.

A transport strategy to be published on Wednesday by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, will set targets to ensure 80% of journeys are made by public transport, walking or cycling.

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Categories: Environment

Climate goals: inside California's effort to overhaul its ambitious emissions plan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 10:23am

In the wake of Trump’s Paris withdrawal, California is taking the lead to fight emissions – and it’s rethinking how to get more out of its cap-and-trade program

California has one of the world’s most sophisticated and ambitious cap-and-trade programs, which are designed to provide financial incentives to big polluters, such as electricity providers and oil refineries, to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.

The complex program, which began only in 2013, is a signature component of California’s plan to cut emissions in the midst of a controversial makeover by state policymakers, after they passed a landmark bill last year that created one of the world’s most aggressive climate change goals: to lower carbon emissions to 40% below the 1990 levels by 2030.

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Categories: Environment

Brazil's president announces plan to protect forest – after plea from Gisele

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 9:58am

Michel Temer replies to message from Brazilian supermodel to announce he will veto plans to cut conservation in the Amazon

The Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen appears to have succeeded where conservationists and scientists have failed: by persuading the president, Michel Temer, to veto legislation that would have slashed protected reserves in the Amazon.

In a Twitter post last week, Bündchen urged Temer to block a bill that would have opened up 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of forest to development. The model – who has long been a supporter of WWF – tweeted: “It’s our job to protect our Mother Earth.”

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Categories: Environment

Exxon, BP and Shell back carbon tax proposal to curb emissions

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 9:32am
  • Oil giants among numerous firms to support conservative group’s plan
  • But Greenpeace says: ‘A PR exercise is no cure for decades of deception’

Oil giants ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total are among a group of large corporations supporting a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions in order to address climate change.

The companies have revealed their support for the Climate Leadership Council, a group of senior Republican figures that in February proposed a $40 fee on each ton of CO2 emitted as part of a “free-market, limited government” response to climate change.

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Categories: Environment

New 'disturbance map' shows damaging effects of forest loss in Brazilian Amazon

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 7:00am
  • Silent Forest Project map reveals urgent need for conservation protections
  • ‘It is terrifying to see the Amazon degraded to this extent,’ scientist says

As Brazil’s government steps back from Amazon conservation, the urgent need for stronger protection has been made more apparent by a new data map that highlights the knock-on effect of the forest’s capacity to absorb carbon, regulate temperatures and sustain life.

Related: Wild Amazon faces destruction as Brazil’s farmers and loggers target national park

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Categories: Environment

UK heatwave triggers air pollution alert as people flock to beaches

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 5:17am

Teenager and woman drown in separate incidents as sweltering heat forces Royal Ascot to consider relaxing dress code

The heatwave that has brought the longest spell of high June temperatures for two decades has also triggered an air pollution alert in London, with southerly winds due to bring toxic air to large parts of England and Wales on Wednesday.

Thousands of people flocked to the coast to enjoy the sunshine and temperatures of more than 30C (86F) on Tuesday, but experts warned that poor air quality would reach dangerous levels on Wednesday as temperatures are forecast to top 33C in the capital.

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Categories: Environment

Not so green: how the weed industry is a glutton for fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 4:00am

Producing a few pounds of weed can have the same environmental toll as driving across America seven times – harming cities’ and states’ plans to curb emissions

As he opens the steel door to the jumble of his office, located in a cloistered warehouse on the west side of Denver, Paul Isenbergh is barking down the phone about a duplicitous business rival. He’s wearing a shirt and rust-colored tie. Yards from his desk, rows of drying cannabis plants are strung up on two clothes lines.

Isenbergh spent 30 years as a real estate broker in Florida. When he moved to Denver in 2011, he didn’t even know medicinal marijuana was legal in Colorado.

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Categories: Environment

How Your Sandwich Changed The World

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 3:00am

What road did your lunch travel before it reached your plate? NPR's latest animated video follows a BLT from the fields where it began its journey.

(Image credit: Skunk Bear/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Unregulated vegetation 'thinning' adds up to land clearing on a huge scale

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/06/20 - 12:33am

Substantial areas are being cleared under the guise of ‘thinning’, which does not require a permit. Landholders need to be rewarded for preserving native vegetation

Land clearing is accelerating across eastern Australia, despite our new research providing a clear warning of its impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, regional and global climate, and threatened native wildlife.

Policies in place to control land clearing have been wound back across all states, with major consequences for our natural environment.

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Categories: Environment

Malcolm Turnbull leaves open alternative to clean energy target after internal criticism

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/19 - 11:58pm

Prime minister says he will restrict gas exports and ask Aemo for advice on ‘optimising affordability for consumers’

The Turnbull government has moved to hose down intensifying internal concerns about rising power prices by confirming its intention to restrict gas exports, and by opening the way for an alternative to the clean energy target proposed by Australia’s chief scientist.

The prime minister confirmed on Tuesday the government would proceed with its previously telegraphed export controls forcing gas companies to supply the domestic market and would also unilaterally abolish limited merits review – a controversial legal mechanism that contributes to high power prices.

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Categories: Environment

How do we build an inclusive culture for disabled cyclists?

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/19 - 11:00pm

A new survey confirms the use of bicycles as mobility aids and the frustration felt when disabled cyclists are told to dismount

Last week, my charity Wheels for Wellbeing published the results of a national survey of disabled cyclists which is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind. The results largely confirmed our suspicions, including that disabled cyclists – though part of our cycling culture – remain excluded from it in a number of ways.

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Categories: Environment

Worst global coral bleaching event eases, as experts await next one

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/19 - 10:14pm

US researchers believe worst event on record is ending but fear coral won’t recover in time before oceans warm again

The worst coral bleaching event in recorded history, which has hit every major coral region on Earth since 2014, appears to be coming to an end, with scientists now worrying how long reefs will have to recover before it happens again.

After analysing satellite and model data, and finding bleaching in the Indian ocean no longer appeared widespread, the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) has announced the event is no longer occurring on a global scale, and appears to be coming to an end.

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Categories: Environment

Ten more elephants poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/19 - 10:00pm

The elephants were killed in the Hwange national park by what has become a common means of poaching

Ten elephants, including a mother and her young calf, have been found poisoned in and around Zimbabwe’s premier game reserve, Hwange national park. Six of the animals died in the south of the park last week; some had their tusks hacked off. The others were found outside the northern sector of the park in state forestry land.

Park rangers responded quickly. A bucket of poison was found near the gruesome scene in the north and three arrests were made over the weekend. One of those arrested was found in possession of ivory.

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Categories: Environment

This tree was young when Culloden was fought

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/06/19 - 9:30pm

Aigas Field Centre, Beauly, Highlands I am struck by the way the willow expresses the richness entailed in a drawn-out death

Just 10 minutes down the valley from this outstanding educational institute is the largest goat willow in Britain. The veteran is tucked away at the roadside amid a line of alders and so sunk in a deep and almost subaquatic gloom that you could easily miss it. A visit also requires a minor girding of loins to brave the midge-laden atmosphere, although meeting the tree on intimate terms is worth any amount of insect nuisance.

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Categories: Environment

Ethiopia's Coffee Farmers Are 'On The Front Lines Of Climate Change'

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/06/19 - 5:17pm

A new study says that Ethiopia could lose more than 50 percent of its coffee growing regions to climate change. But, higher altitude areas could become more suitable for coffee in the coming decades.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Alan Schaller)

Categories: Environment
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