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Bald eagles: scientists decry overturn of ban that would save American symbol

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:01pm

The national bird is threatened by toxic bullets that wind up in the animals it eats, but the Trump administration overturned a rule to stop it

His head twisted almost upside down and his body all but paralyzed, the bald eagle sat on its haunches, talons clenching, while two humans neared to put him in a cage. They could not save the bird from lead.

The eagle was the third this year to die from lead poisoning at the Blue Mountain Wildlife center, in north-east Oregon, where Lynn Tompkins has helped rehabilitate sick and injured birds for 30 years. “They eat things that have been shot,” Tompkins said, “whether it’s big game like deer or elk or coyotes or ground squirrels.”

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Categories: Environment

Man found guilty of killing one of Britain’s rarest butterflies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 11:18am

Magistrates told that Phillip Cullen was spotted chasing large blues with a net at Gloucestershire reserve

A man has been found guilty of unlawfully collecting and killing specimens of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies, the large blue.

Phillip Cullen, 57, was spotted armed with a child’s shrimping net chasing the insects at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire and was seen the next day at another prime location for the butterfly in Somerset.

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Categories: Environment

Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 9:32am

The White House's proposed federal budget cuts everything from research to regulation, and makes clear that the administration doesn't view climate change as a priority.

(Image credit: NASA)

Categories: Environment

Trump budget would gut EPA programs tackling climate change and pollution

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 9:11am

Proposal would cut Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by nearly a third, as budget director calls money spent to combat climate change a ‘waste’

Dozens of programs that deal with climate change, pollution clean-ups and energy efficiency would be wiped out by by the Trump administration’s budget, which seeks to demolish parts of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The regulator’s funding would be cut by nearly a third under Trump’s “America first” budget proposal (the name borrows from a phrase denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for its links to 1940s Nazi sympathisers), which requests $5.7bn for the EPA in 2018 – a $2.6bn cut, or 31%, on its existing budget. Around one in five EPA employees would lose their jobs.

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Categories: Environment

Populism can be stopped, says jubilant Dutch GreenLeft leader

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 8:44am

Jesse ‘the Jessiah’ Klaver celebrates Netherlands poll wins with pro-refugee message before possible coalition deal

It is far too early to say whether Jesse Klaver’s GreenLeft will be a party of government for the first time in its history. But for the 30-year-old leader of a political party, the Netherlands’ youngest ever, it was not a bad election.

GreenLeft was the big winner in Wednesday’s poll, leaping from four MPs to 14 in the 150-seat parliament, topping the bill in Amsterdam and overtaking the stricken social democratic PvdA to become the largest party of the left nationally.

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Categories: Environment

BBC crew and tourists injured in lava explosion on Mount Etna

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 8:17am

Group pelted with boiling rocks and steam in incident triggered when lava came into contact with snow

BBC crew members were among 10 people injured when lava flow triggered an explosion as it came into contact with snow on Mount Etna in Sicily on Thursday.

Six of the crew were taken to hospitals in Catania and nearby Acireale. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.

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Categories: Environment

GreenLeft proves to be big winner in Dutch election

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 3:46am

Party forecast to boost its MPs from four to 14 after storming campaign by young leader Jesse Klaver

The big winner of Wednesday’s election – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – was GreenLeft, headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, hailed by his enthusiastic supporters as the “Jessiah”.

With more than 95% of votes counted, the party – formed 25 years ago by a merger of communists, pacifists, evangelicals and self-styled radicals – boosted its MPs from four to 14 after a storming campaign by Klaver.

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Categories: Environment

Study Finds High Temperatures Killing Large Parts Of Great Barrier Reef

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 1:49am

A new study looks at coral bleaching in 2015-2016. Mia Hoogenboom was a co-author, who says warming ocean temperatures are killing sections of the Great Barrier Reef faster than researchers expected.

Categories: Environment

Paichit – the baby elephant saved from a palm oil plantation in Indonesia

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/03/16 - 12:19am

Orphaned at a few months old and nursed back to health by a local wildlife centre, Paichit’s story has serious implications for critically endangered Sumatran elephants

Pushing on 400 kilograms, baby Paichit knows when it’s feeding time.

He lets out an appreciative bellow, a rumbling baby elephant purr from his patch in the Sumatran jungle, as soon as his mahout (keeper) Julkarnaini approaches bucket in hand.

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Categories: Environment

India fast-tracks Kashmir hydro projects that could affect Pakistan water supplies

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:55pm

The schemes could prove a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbours at a time when relations are tense

India has fast-tracked hydropower projects worth $15bn in Kashmir in recent months, three federal and state officials said, ignoring warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.

The swift approval of projects that had languished for years came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India militants that New Delhi says it shelters.

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Categories: Environment

Malcolm Turnbull says Snowy Hydro plan will outdo South Australian battery storage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:22pm

PM says plan would turn Snowy Hydro into energy storage system but Labor says proposal leaves unanswered questions

Malcolm Turnbull has used his expansion plans for the Snowy Hydro to try to outdo South Australia on battery storage, saying it would provide 20 times the capacity of the battery system proposed by the premier, Jay Weatherill.

The prime minister visited the Snowy Hydro power station on Thursday to spruik the benefits of the expansion plan on the same day his energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, had an onscreen altercation with Weatherill at the launch of a virtual power station.

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Categories: Environment

UK climate targets 'will raise household energy bills by £100 in a decade'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:01pm

But cost of green policies will be more than offset by savings in energy efficiency, say climate advisers

The cost of supporting new windfarms and nuclear power stations to meet the UK’s carbon targets will add nearly £100 to the average household energy bill by the end of the next decade, according to a government adviser.

But the Committee on Climate Change said it expected the increase to be more than offset by savings as people switched to more efficient fridge freezers, LED bulbs and better boilers.

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Categories: Environment

Record number of birds illegally killed on British military base, says RSPB

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 11:01pm

More than 800,000 songbirds were killed last autumn say charities calling for UK government to help embattled military police at the Cyprus base

More than 800,000 songbirds, including blackcaps, robins and garden warblers, are estimated to have been illegally killed last autumn on a British military base in Cyprus.

New research by the RSPB and BirdLife Cyprus identified a record number of illegal and virtually invisible “mist” nets set to trap migrating birds on British territory in the Mediterranean. The number of nets discovered on Ministry of Defence (MoD) land in Cyprus has increased by 183% since monitoring began in 2002.

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Categories: Environment

On the shore, casualties of a winter storm

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 10:30pm

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire Dead man’s fingers and a lumpsucker are marooned in seaweed along the strandline

At the bottom of the cliff, a two-minute walk from the high tide line, there is a small stone-built mortuary, constructed in 1881 and formerly the temporary resting place for the bodies of shipwrecked sailors washed up on the sands.

Today, by morbid coincidence, the strandline was littered with dead man’s fingers, Alcyonium digitatum. These soft corals live in deep water and are usually only seen by divers, but late winter storms had cast some ashore amid heaps of kelp.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's peak business lobby calls for emissions intensity scheme

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 7:24pm

Business Council of Australia joins growing push for ‘signal that will support the investment needed for the electricity system’

The nation’s peak business body has joined the growing calls for an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) and argued coal-fired power stations should give three years notice for closure in its submission to the chief scientist’s electricity review.

Jennifer Westacott, the chief executive of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) also called for no further changes to the renewable energy target (RET), given it was the foundation significant investments. She also said there was no need for state-based targets.

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Categories: Environment

Ian and Greg Chappell call on Adani to abandon Carmichael mine project

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 6:46pm

Former Australian test captains say opposition to mine in Australia could affect sporting ties with India, in letter directly appealing to Adani boss

Australian cricketing greats Ian and Greg Chappell have signed an open letter calling on Indian billionaire Gautam Adani to abandon his company’s proposed Queensland coalmine.

The Chappells, well-known through their sporting exploits in India where the Australian team is currently playing, joined 90 prominent Australians in the letter, which will be delivered to Adani’s head office on Thursday.

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Categories: Environment

Jay Weatherill gives Josh Frydenberg a serve at bizarre media conference – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 6:20pm

The South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, unloads on the federal energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, at a media conference in Adelaide. Frydenberg was launching a federally funded battery storage scheme. The two hosted a joint press conference where Frydenberg accused the state of trying to ‘go it alone’ and Weatherhill of ‘crash-tackling’ his event. Weatherhill hit back claiming the Coalition was the ‘most anti-South Australian commonwealth government in living history’ and that it was ‘galling’ to listen to Frydenberg’s claims

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Categories: Environment

the cleansing...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 4:30pm
Overdue supply run to Alpine (slight chance of rain coming up Saturday).  Took the first junk load out - the trash.  Recyclables will have to wait for the next trip.  As long as I was at it...decided a car wash would be a nice idea.  It has been over 5 years since I sprayed the truck down good.  Discovered you have to get the spray nozzle really close to remove dirt that old.  84,89,47,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

South Australia shows up the federal government ... and rightwing commentary | Jason Wilson

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 4:19pm

The reaction to the South Australian energy plan from the federal government and rightwing media shows just how out of touch with public opinion they are

The South Australian government announced on Tuesday that it would address market failure with the time-honoured measure of government intervention. In addition, the Weatherill government has chosen to continue to rely extensively on renewable energy. Together, these themes in the government’s announcement have provoked the kind of howling rightwing atavism that shows exactly why they are increasingly at odds with the Australian public on this issue.

Cast your mind back to 2016, when South Australia suffered from major power outages. The right took this as a propaganda opportunity for the promotion of dirty power. The problem, op-ed after op-ed from Einsteins like Chris Kenny proclaimed, was the reliance on wind. Magic words like “baseload” were relentlessly defecated into the pail of our energy debate. The verdicts of experts were roundly ignored, if not castigated. It was all of a piece with the madness that has produced Senate inquiries into imaginary ailments and the veneration of inanimate carbon in the parliament.

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Categories: Environment

Trump begins rollback of Obama's car pollution standards to curb emissions

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/03/15 - 3:22pm

Automakers welcome president’s plan for EPA to review fuel efficiency mandate while critics warn reversal would endanger health and environment


Donald Trump has begun the process of rolling back carbon pollution standards for vehicles following a meeting with automakers in Detroit, Michigan.

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Categories: Environment
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