Environment

Australia’s fossil fuel industry admits it is harder to finance projects as climate concerns grow

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/05/14 - 1:00pm

Parliamentary inquiry told more than 40 underwriters refused to insure a rail line for the Adani coalmine

Fossil fuel producers and their contractors in Australia have admitted moves by major global investors and insurers to reduce their exposure to risks from the climate crisis are making it harder for them to insure and finance major projects.

One contractor building a 120km rail line for the controversial Queensland Adani coalmine said a global search for insurance had failed with more than 40 underwriters refusing to back it.

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Categories: Environment

Third of global food production at risk from climate crisis

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/05/14 - 9:28am

Food-growing areas will see drastic changes to rainfall and temperatures if global heating continues at current rate

A third of global food production will be at risk by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rate, new research suggests.

Many of the world’s most important food-growing areas will see temperatures increase and rainfall patterns alter drastically if temperatures rise by about 3.7C, the forecast increase if emissions stay high.

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Categories: Environment

Crying about hamburgers is dead-end on climate crisis, Republicans warned

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/05/14 - 8:17am

Congressman Peter Meijer, 33, warns that false claims of a burger ban or blaming immigrants risk losing the young generation

Lies that hamburgers will be banned, conspiracy-laden claims of government tyranny, blame for environmental degradation foisted upon immigrants – the Republican response to Joe Biden’s climate agenda suggests the base instincts of Donald Trump still strongly animate the party.

Related: Asia is home to 99 of world’s 100 most vulnerable cities

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Categories: Environment

Sightings and social media spark British whale-watching boom

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/05/14 - 6:02am

Marine life charities and wildlife tour operators observe growing interest in and empathy for whales

When a sick baby minke whale lost its way up the Thames earlier this week, hundreds of people gathered to watch the rescue efforts at Richmond and Teddington over the course of two days.

It was the furthest upriver a whale had ever ventured, a feat so out of the ordinary that the curiosity among the crowds flocking to the weir and those following the whale’s misguided journey on social media was matched by the outpouring of sadness when the little whale didn’t survive.

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Categories: Environment

Paradise found: London gallery showcases art inspired by Islamic garden design

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/05/14 - 6:00am

Nature-driven artist and environmentalist Clare Celeste Börsch among contributors to exhibition exploring concept of Eden

As in many paradise gardens, particularly those inspired by Islamic culture, a fountain lies at the heart of the quadrilateral garden created inside the Aga Khan Centre gallery in King’s Cross, London. This fountain doesn’t spout water, however, but beautiful, intricate strips of paper with laser-cut flowers made by Berlin-based American artist Clare Celeste Börsch.

The fountain is at the centre of Making Paradise, an exhibition exploring the concept of Eden through art and Islamic garden design. On display are numerous artworks depicting trees, flowers and fruits, including botanical illustrations from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley library collection, alongside contemporary works.

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Categories: Environment

UK insists Cop26 must be held in person if possible

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/05/14 - 5:22am

Alok Sharma is working with health experts and Scottish government on best way for climate summit to go ahead

The UK government is considering how to use Covid-19 vaccines and testing to try to ensure vital UN climate talks this year go ahead in person, rather than as an online event.

Alok Sharma, a former UK business secretary and now president-designate of Cop26, the climate summit to be held in Glasgow this November, said: “I have always been very clear that this should be the most inclusive Cop ever. I have been travelling around the world and it is very clear to me that people want to see a physical Cop, in particular developing countries want this to be face to face.”

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Categories: Environment

Last hope over climate crisis requires end to coal, says Alok Sharma

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 10:00pm

President-designate of Cop26 talks says tackling the fossil fuel is ‘a personal priority’

Coal must be consigned to history as the world faces its “last hope” of holding back climate breakdown, the president of the Cop26 climate summit says.

Alok Sharma, a former UK business secretary and now president-designate of Cop26, to be held in Glasgow this November, is expected to say this Friday morning: “This is our last hope of keeping 1.5C alive. Our best chance of building a brighter future … of green jobs and cleaner air. I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny.”

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Categories: Environment

Droughts can affect river flows permanently, Australian study suggests

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 6:08pm

Reason for lower flows was not clear, the research found, as it was not linked to land use or increased ground water

Australian researchers have warned that drought-affected rivers could experience reduced flows indefinitely even after the drought has broken in a study which found more than a third of Victorian water catchments have not fully recovered from the millennium drought.

The millennium drought ran from 1996 to 2010 and was the longest uninterrupted period of low rainfall in south-east Australia since 1900.

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Categories: Environment

Australia stands alone in not having a significant climate plan, says UK expert

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 4:08pm

Nigel Topping says the Morrison government will face ‘a certain amount of pressure’ at the G7 meeting in Cornwall in June

A leading UK climate official says Australia is alone among major countries in that neither its national government nor opposition have a significant climate plan, and frustrating local business leaders.

Nigel Topping, the UN’s “high-level champion” whose role involves global outreach to drive global ambition ahead of the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, said he had not seen another country in which no major political party had a plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Suspected Russia-led cyber campaign targets Germany’s Green party leader

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 11:38am

Annalena Baerbock faces social media onslaught after voicing opposition to Nord Stream 2 project

Fears are growing in Berlin of a Russian-led cyber campaign against the leader of Germany’s Green party after she pledged to block a gas pipeline project between Russia and Europe.

Annalena Baerbock, who is running to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in September’s election, has been targeted in recent days by an increasingly vicious campaign across social media.

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Categories: Environment

Environment department tried to bury research that found huge underspend on Australian threatened species

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 10:30am

Exclusive: Briefing note prepared for a meeting with government-funded scientists suggested they ‘don’t publish the paper’

The federal government tried to stop the publication of an academic paper that found it needed to drastically increase its spending on threatened Australian wildlife.

Internal documents released to Guardian Australia under freedom of information laws show senior officials in the federal environment department spent months pressuring the scientists from the government-funded Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

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Categories: Environment

Colonial pipeline reaching full capacity after cyberattack, Biden says

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 10:30am
  • Colonial paid fee in ‘untraceable cryptocurrency’, report says
  • Pipeline carries 100m gallons per day of gas, jet fuel and diesel

Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the vast Colonial petrochemical pipeline stretching from Texas to New York was reaching full capacity again after resuming operations following a cyberattack.

“This is not like flicking on a light switch. It’s going to take some time, and there may be some hiccups,” the US president said, adding that services were expected to return fully to normal this weekend.

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Categories: Environment

Solar pushback: how US power firms try to make people pay for going green

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 4:00am

In states like Kansas, energy companies want to impose charges on people who produce their own power with rooftop arrays

Kevin Good is the president of a small solar power company in Kansas – a state that tends to be so sunny you’d think he’d have it made.

“I got into solar at maybe the worst point to do so in the last 50 years,” said Good, who runs Good Energy Solutions in Lawrence, a town of about 100,000.

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Categories: Environment

Meet the workers who put food on America’s tables – but can’t afford groceries

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 3:00am

Undocumented immigrants are doing the backbreaking farm work that keeps the US food system running but struggle to feed their families

Photographs by Encarni Pindado

In the piercing midday heat of southern Texas, farmhand Linda Villarreal moves methodically to weed row after row of parsley, rising only occasionally to stretch her achy back and nibble on sugary biscuits she keeps in her pockets. In the distance, a green and white border patrol truck drives along the levee beside the towering steel border wall.

For this backbreaking work, Villareal is paid $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage since 2009, with no benefits. She takes home between $300 and $400 a week depending on the amount of orders from the bodegas – packaging warehouses which supply the country’s supermarkets with fruits and vegetables harvested by crews of undocumented mostly Mexican farm workers.

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Categories: Environment

Chainsaw massacre: tree poaching hits Canada amid lumber shortage

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/05/13 - 2:45am

Officials on Vancouver Island say at least 100 trees have been illegally cut down, leaving one stump with a face carved into it

Two tree stumps signaled to Larry Pynn that something was wrong.

Jutting from a mossy forest floor in western Canada, the fresh stumps were the final remnants of two western red cedars that had been chopped down by chainsaw. Nearby, a set of deep tire tracks ran for nearly a kilometer in the mud before terminating at the main road.

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Categories: Environment

No visitors but teeming with life: what’s going on inside the Natural History Museum?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 10:00pm

While its doors have been closed to the public, scientists have been busy digitising its vast archive – from 100-year-old insects to rare minerals

The main exhibition room at the Natural History Museum in London is cathedral-like, with Hope the blue whale suspended mid-air like a demigod. Filled with specimens collected by explorers, this remarkable place teaches us about the evolution of life on our planet.

There is a “great unlocking” happening in this building, home to one of the world’s largest natural history collections. Insects on pins and old minerals that have been sitting in mahogany display cases for hundreds of years are being re-examined, digitised and brought into the 21st century.

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Categories: Environment

Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 10:00pm

Toxic chemicals known as PFAS found in all 50 samples tested at levels nearly 2,000 times what is considered safe in drinking water

A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water.

The findings “are cause for concern” and highlight a potential threat to newborns’ health, the study’s authors say.

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Categories: Environment

Huge marine parks off Christmas and Cocos islands target illegal foreign fishing

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 10:30am

Coalition will spend $5.4m creating havens in area more than twice size of Great Barrier Reef marine park

Australia is adding an area of the Indian Ocean bigger than France to its network of marine parks in an attempt to keep out international fishing boats and promote scientific discovery in two biodiversity hotspots.

The Morrison government announced $5.4m would be spent to create two marine parks around Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands covering 740,000 sq km – a huge expanse of ocean almost as large as the state of New South Wales.

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Categories: Environment

Climate emissions shrinking the stratosphere, scientists reveal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 7:00am

Exclusive: Thinning indicates profound impact of humans and could affect satellites and GPS

Humanity’s enormous emissions of greenhouse gases are shrinking the stratosphere, a new study has revealed.

The thickness of the atmospheric layer has contracted by 400 metres since the 1980s, the researchers found, and will thin by about another kilometre by 2080 without major cuts in emissions. The changes have the potential to affect satellite operations, the GPS navigation system and radio communications.

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Categories: Environment

Chemical giants hid dangers of ‘forever chemicals’ in food packaging

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/05/12 - 4:00am

The chemicals, called 6:2 FTOH, are now linked to a range of serious health issues, and Americans are still being exposed to them

Chemical giants DuPont and Daikin knew the dangers of a PFAS compound widely used in food packaging since 2010, but hid them from the public and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), company studies obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The chemicals, called 6:2 FTOH, are now linked to a range of serious health issues, and Americans are still being exposed to them in greaseproof pizza boxes, carryout containers, fast-food wrappers, and paperboard packaging.

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Categories: Environment
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