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False emissions ratings cost UK more than £2bn a year – report

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 1:01am

Some new diesel models emit 12 times legal limit, while others ‘are the cleanest cars on the road’

False emissions ratings for cars based on lab tests have cost the UK more than £2bn a year in lost tax revenue, according to the Green party.

With CO2 emissions exceeding official measures by an average of 42%, millions of vehicles have been placed in tax bands that do not reflect their true levels of pollution, according to new research published on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment

a friday night film

The Field Lab - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 4:00pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Green power and water recycling: be switched on by switching off

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 2:20pm

Each Australian uses an average of 100,000 litres of water a year, and our electricity use is extreme. Our series Life Swaps looks at ways to reduce the load

Despite living on Earth’s driest populated continent, Australians throw around water as though the supply were endless. We are the planet’s greatest per capita consumers of water, with each person using an average 100,000 litres a year. Much of that is invisible to consumers, expended on the food and products we buy.

Our electricity use isn’t much better. A recent Environmental Justice Australia investigation found east coast coal-fired power stations – where emissions limits trail places such as China – are responsible for deadly pollution that causes a suspected 130 premature deaths a year in Sydney alone. Yet oil and coal remain our primary energy sources, powering 70% of the nation.

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Categories: Environment

UK defies EU over Indonesian palm oil trade, leaked papers show

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 10:27am

UK is pushing for a deal that would boost imports linked to deforestation despite EU moves to ban unsustainable palm oil, diplomatic papers reveal

The UK is defying EU institutions to push for a hike in nominally “sustainable” Indonesian palm oil imports which have nonetheless been linked to deforestation, leaked documents show.

The European parliament is currently trying to force a ban on EU biofuels using palm oil, which have driven deforestation and contributed to the loss of 150,000 orangutans in Indonesia since 2002.

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Categories: Environment

Getting Climate Change Right: In Light Of The Stars

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 9:52am

When it comes to facing global warming, dealing with climate change and making informed choices for our cherished "project of civilization," we've been asking the wrong question, says Adam Frank.

(Image credit: Getty Images/WIN-Initiative RM)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 7:00am

Spinner dolphins and a rehabilitated owl are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

In The Recycling World, Why Are Some Cartons Such A Problem?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 6:00am

Because of layers of material that can be difficult to separate, many containers for juices and broths have traditionally been destined for landfills. But recycling them is getting easier.

(Image credit: KidStock/Getty Images )

Categories: Environment

Tories have cost households £1,000 in energy bills, says Labour

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 5:52am

Labour says Conservative government should have intervened earlier

Labour has accused the Conservatives of costing British households nearly £1,000 in extra energy costs over the past seven years by failing to stop electricity and gas firms raising prices.

While the government is now imposing an energy price cap, the opposition attacked what it said was a record of inaction by successive Tory governments.

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Categories: Environment

Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 4:00am

Exclusive: extractive industry companies who met with Kathleen Benedetto later saw direct benefits from administration decisions

A key Trump administration official scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed.

Further investigation shows that some of the firms she met later benefited directly from administration decisions that weakened wilderness and wildlife protections.

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Categories: Environment

UN moves towards recognising human right to a healthy environment

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 1:00am

Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment

It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the world body’s chief investigator of murders, beatings and intimidation of environmental defenders.

John Knox, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said the momentum for such a move – which would significantly raise the global prominence of the issue – was growing along with an awareness of the heavy toll being paid by those fighting against deforestation, pollution, land grabs and poaching.

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Categories: Environment

Bike safety consultation shows someone in government might understand cycling

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 12:00am

Amid plans for an unnecessary law change targeting cyclists, a parallel government consultation on safety makes some unexpectedly sensible points

For those interested in the many benefits that come from getting more people cycling, there’s some bad news and good news today – and in another minor compensation, at least the bad news was widely expected.

This is the confirmation from the Department for Transport (DfT) that, as widely trailed at the weekend, a review it commissioned has recommended there should be a new law about causing death or injury by dangerous cycling, as for driving.

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Categories: Environment

Tories lambasted for rejecting 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 11:01pm

Government accused of warm words but no action on reducing throwaway packaging waste

The government has rejected calls for a “latte levy” to be introduced on takeaway cups to reduce the amount of waste they create.

Mary Creagh, the chair of the environmental audit committee, accused ministers of being all talk and no action after they refused to adopt a charge on throwaway cups similar to the plastic bag levy.

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Categories: Environment

Nuclear fusion on brink of being realised, say MIT scientists

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 10:01pm

Carbon-free fusion power could be ‘on the grid in 15 years’

The dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised, according to a major new US initiative that says it will put fusion power on the grid within 15 years.

The project, a collaboration between scientists at MIT and a private company, will take a radically different approach to other efforts to transform fusion from an expensive science experiment into a viable commercial energy source. The team intend to use a new class of high-temperature superconductors they predict will allow them to create the world’s first fusion reactor that produces more energy than needs to be put in to get the fusion reaction going.

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Categories: Environment

Look, no lithium! First rechargeable proton battery created

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 9:46pm

Researchers say it’s a crucial step towards cheaper and more environmentally-friendly energy storage

Scientists have created the world’s first rechargeable proton battery, a crucial step towards cheaper and more environmentally-friendly energy storage.

While the battery is just a small-scale prototype, it has the potential to be competitive with currently available lithium-ion batteries.

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Categories: Environment

Rio Tinto won’t allow UK investors to vote on Mineral Council issue

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 9:04pm

Decision a blow to those wanting Rio to stop funding industry association memberships

A move urging Rio Tinto to rethink its funding of the fossil fuel lobby has suffered a setback – the Anglo-Australian mining company has refused to present a shareholder motion on the issue to its annual general meeting in the UK.

Last week, institutional investors who manage a combined $84bn in funds – and hold about $100m of Rio Tinto shares – filed a motion to the Australian arm of Rio Tinto, calling for a review of the company’s funding of industry association memberships.

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Categories: Environment

Town where nobody's home: Fukushima communities struggling to survive

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 8:36pm

Seven years after the nuclear disaster, 50,000 people have yet to return to their homes, but the dream of going back endures

Okuma, on Japan’s east coast, used to host a busy community of 10,500 people. But today the houses stand empty.

The town is empty because it is one of the closest to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and – seven years after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a triple meltdown – it remains under evacuation orders with decontamination still not finished.

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Categories: Environment

cryptantha crassipes under glass...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 7:34pm

Day long visit from a professor and 2 grad students from the University of Idaho here to study the Terlingua Creek Cat's Eye plants.  It was kind of like an episode of CSI Texas.  Dr. Mark Schwarzländer and Masters degree student Karuna Nepal and PhD student Jessica Fung were here to extract volatiles from the leaves and flowers of some select plants.  They did this by isolating plant parts with little bags and setting up pumps that would pull air through them to be collected in tiny chambers.  Each collection lasted 6 hours.  They have to FedEx the samples to their lab tomorrow to be deep frozen and run through a GC-MS instrument (gas chromatography - mass spectrometry) to reveal the organic compounds in the plants.  Chupa helped.  66,76,41,0,B

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Rising threat of transport emissions | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 11:30am
Harold Forbes says the principle of polluter pays is rarely implemented; Jeremy Tomkinson calls for clear policy on lowering petrol emissions; Chris Tidmarsh laments the sparsity of electric-car charging points in Southwark and Lambeth

Your article on carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles (Fall in CO2 output from new cars goes into reverse, 27 February) makes no mention of the eight-year freeze on fuel duty, which has contributed to UK fuel prices being 4% below their 2000 levels in real terms and 21% below the 2013 peak. The relative price of things is an enormously powerful driver of human choices and behaviour.

Dumping the economic assumption that nature is a limitless source of materials and services that can be considered to come for free would be the single biggest leap that humanity could make in securing its future. At present we have few monetary incentives to avoid excess greenhouse gas emissions, single-use plastics or even excess animal manure. In fact, the economy encourages us believe it is “cheaper” to do such things.

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Categories: Environment

Widow of jailed wildlife expert prevented from leaving Iran

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 11:14am

Seyed-Emami family were boarding plane to Canada when security forces stopped widow

The widow of an Iranian-Canadian environmentalist who died in a Tehran prison under disputed circumstances has been barred from leaving the country, according to one of her sons.

The family – all of whom are dual citizens of Iran and Canada – were boarding a Lufthansa flight for Canada on Wednesday when Maryam Mombeini, 55, was stopped by security forces and told she was forbidden from leaving the country.

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Categories: Environment

Landmark case challenges land clearing based on climate change impact

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/03/08 - 10:00am

Northern Territory government-approved land clearing likely to cause up to 3 megatonnes of C02-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions

A landmark court case in the Northern Territory is set to consider a challenge to a massive land-clearing approval based on its impacts on climate change.

The case, brought by the Environment Centre NT, is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, using the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions from clearing as a lever to seek to have an approval overturned.

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Categories: Environment
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