Guardian Environment News

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Updated: 13 hours 40 min ago

Small whale ‘freed’ after getting stuck at lock on Thames in London

Sun, 2021/05/09 - 8:34pm

Rescuers worked during the night to free what is believed to be a 3-4 metre-long minke whale trapped in Richmond lock

A small whale has been stranded along the River Thames in south-west London.

Hundreds gathered at Richmond lock and weir on Sunday evening after the creature, believed to be a minke whale, became stuck.

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Categories: Environment

Not cricket? Scientists suggest bamboo bats are a match for willow

Sun, 2021/05/09 - 4:01pm

Researchers create bat with similar performance from what they say is cheap and sustainable material

Cricket has been bowled a googly by scientists who have suggested the traditional willow used to make bats could be replaced by bamboo to increase their sustainability and boost the sport’s reach.

“Willow has been the principal material for cricket bats for centuries,” said Dr Darshil Shah at the University of Cambridge, who co-authored the study.

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Categories: Environment

Electric cars ‘will be cheaper to produce than fossil fuel vehicles by 2027’

Sun, 2021/05/09 - 1:00pm

BloombergNEF forecasts result of falling cost of making batteries as well as dedicated production lines

Electric cars and vans will be cheaper to produce than conventional, fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2027, and tighter emissions regulations could put them in pole position to dominate all new car sales by the middle of the next decade, research has found.

By 2026, larger vehicles such as electric sedans and SUVs will be as cheap to produce as petrol and diesel models, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF, with small cars reaching the threshold the following year.

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Categories: Environment

The US restaurant industry is lacking in wages, not workers | Saru Jayaraman and Mark Bittman

Sun, 2021/05/09 - 3:00am

The industry bemoans benefits, but workers don’t want jobs where pay is low and risks high, say Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, and author Mark Bittman

Among the things Americans say they’re looking forward to most when pandemic-related restrictions ends is “having dinner in a restaurant with friends”. But if the restaurant industry doesn’t support higher wages, there will be fewer restaurants for customers to return to.

There is an unprecedented shortage of job applicants for restaurant jobs. In a new survey this week by One Fair Wage of more than 2,800 workers, more than half (53%) reported that they are thinking about leaving restaurants. More than three-quarters of workers surveyed (76%) said they are leaving restaurants because of low wages and tips – by far the most important reason for leaving – and a slightly higher percentage (78%) said that the factor that would make them stay in restaurants is a “full, stable, livable wage”.

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Categories: Environment

Bill seeks to make Louisiana ‘fossil fuel sanctuary’ in bid against Biden’s climate plans

Sun, 2021/05/09 - 2:30am

Republicans and Democrats are introducing bills to push against Biden’s new restrictions on oil and gas companies

Just south of Oil City, where Louisiana representative Danny McCormick is from, is the predominantly Black city of Shreveport. Residents there breathe some of the most toxic air in the country. Oil refineries owned by UOP and Calumet contribute to the town’s toxic emissions, according to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.

But McCormick, a Republican, introduced a bill at the Louisiana capitol last week that would protect oil companies and not residents in his district who have to breathe in that air. The bill would establish Louisiana as a “fossil fuel sanctuary state” and ban local and state employees from enforcing federal laws and regulations that negatively impact petrochemical companies.

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Categories: Environment

Life on the rocks in Brazil’s campo rupestre

Sat, 2021/05/08 - 3:00am

In a little-known region that calls to mind Tolkien’s Middle-earth, photojournalist Augusto Gomes marvels at one of the oldest, harshest, most biodiverse – and most threatened – ecosystems on the planet

When I was a child, my family would drive three hours from our home in Belo Horizonte to visit my grandfather’s ranch near the town of Santana dos Montes. On the way, we would cross the Espinhaço mountain range, which runs north to south in the central-eastern portion of Brazil.

Espinhaço means “spine” in Portuguese, and the name could not be more apt. The range spans 1,200km (750 miles), its bony peaks reach as high as 2km, and the thriving, humid Atlantic Forest drops away to the east, foggy and dense with evergreens, ferns, mosses and bromeliads, the air bursting with the strange songs of birds you never see. On the west side of the mountains, the arid, savannah-like Cerrado stretches flat and exposed, with golden grasslands and small, twisted trees.

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Categories: Environment

‘It’s like a place of healing’: the growth of America’s food forests

Sat, 2021/05/08 - 1:30am

There are more than 70 ‘food forests’ in the US as part of a growing movement to tackle food insecurity and promote urban agriculture

America’s biggest “food forest” is just a short drive from the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, but there is a relative calm as you wander through the gravel paths that weave through its fertile 7.1 acres (2.8 hectares).

When the Guardian visits the Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill there are around a dozen volunteers working on a warm morning. Among them are a mother and son clearing weeds from a secluded area soon to become a yoga and meditation space. “I wanted to help,” Rina Saborio said. “I thought it was a really cool opportunity for the community.”

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Categories: Environment

AGL takes Greenpeace to court over use of its logo in ‘biggest climate polluter’ campaign

Sat, 2021/05/08 - 1:29am

Energy giant objects to use of its logo on posters and online advertising that use phrases like ‘generating pollution for generations’

Energy giant AGL has launched legal action against Greenpeace Australia Pacific over a campaign that targets the company as Australia’s biggest corporate greenhouse gas emitter.

It comes after the environment group launched a report and campaign with posters and online advertising that feature AGL’s logo and phrases such as “generating pollution for generations” and “Still Australia’s biggest climate polluter”.

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Categories: Environment

Electric car insurance in UK ‘is £45 less than for petrol or diesel vehicle’

Fri, 2021/05/07 - 11:00pm analysis shows electric car drivers were charged an average of £566

The average cost of insuring an electric car in the UK is £45 less than the cost of covering a petrol or diesel car, according to research from the website

Analysis of annual premiums in the first three months of the year showed electric car drivers were charged an average of £566, while petrol and diesel drivers paid £611.

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Categories: Environment

Labor renews calls for national integrity commission over Sydney airport offsets

Fri, 2021/05/07 - 1:00pm

Mark Dreyfus says corruption watchdog needed to investigate government buying $30m in offsets related to new airport

Labor has strengthened its call for a national integrity commission, saying it is needed to investigate the Morrison government’s purchase of more than $30m in environmental offsets related to the development of the western Sydney airport.

The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, made the call after the New South Wales transport department referred its purchases of $50.6m in offsets from the same western Sydney properties to the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption for investigation.

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Categories: Environment

Big cat comeback? Florida strikes bipartisan deal to help endangered panthers

Fri, 2021/05/07 - 3:30am

State lawmakers agree on $400m measure to expand ‘wildlife corridors’ in effort to help panthers and other endangered species

In a political culture where bipartisan legislation is a rare species, lawmakers in one state have come together to agree major new conservation efforts that will help that other endangered animal – the Florida panther.

The big cat, whose habitat has a history of being swallowed up and its numbers hunted by humans, is expected to benefit from a $400m cash boost.

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Categories: Environment

Wyoming stands up for coal with threat to sue states that refuse to buy it

Fri, 2021/05/07 - 2:00am

Republican governor says measure sends message that Wyoming is ‘prepared to bring litigation to protect her interests’

Wyoming is faced by a transition to renewable energy that’s gathering pace across America, but it has now come up with a novel and controversial plan to protect its mining industry – sue other states that refuse to take its coal.

A new state law has created a $1.2m fund to be used by Wyoming’s governor to take legal action against other states that opt to power themselves with clean energy such as solar and wind, in order to meet targets to tackle the climate crisis, rather than burn Wyoming’s coal.

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Categories: Environment

National Trust to recreate 19th-century Norfolk woodland using RAF photos

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 10:00pm

Oxburgh Hall project will replant native trees in Grade II-listed parkland with Edwardian survey map

The National Trust is reconstructing a 19th-century landscape in Norfolk using an Edwardian survey map and aerial photographs taken by the Royal Air Force after the second world war.

The £190,000 project at Oxburgh Hall, which will take a decade to complete, will replant native trees in the Grade II-listed landscape, making it one of the largest wood pastures the charity has ever created.

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Categories: Environment

Giant sturgeon caught in Detroit River may be 100 years old

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 1:24pm

The 7ft-long female lake sturgeon was released by a Fish and Wildlife Service team after being weighed and measured

The US Fish and Wildlife Service received quite a big surprise last week, when they caught a giant fish, estimated to be more than 100 years old, in the Detroit River.

The 240lb lake sturgeon was caught by a three-person crew on 22 April, just south of Detroit near Grosse Ile. The agency described the huge fish, which measured almost 7ft long, as “a real life river monster”.

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Categories: Environment

‘They’re chilling’: endangered condors take up residence outside California woman’s home

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 11:27am

More than 15 rare birds, whose population is at about 160 in the state, showed up at Cinda Mickol’s home – and they’ve made a mess

Giant California condors are rare – but not at Cinda Mickols’ home.

More than 15 condors, an endangered bird whose population hovers at around 160 in the state and under 500 in the US, have recently taken a liking to Mickol’s house in Tehachapi – and they’ve made quite a mess.

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Categories: Environment

NSW transport department refers its own western Sydney environmental offset purchases to Icac

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 10:30am

After Guardian investigation, department launched internal inquiry. Now it has referred matter to watchdog

The NSW transport department has referred its purchases of tens of millions of dollars in environmental offsets in western Sydney to the Independent Commission Against Corruption for investigation.

The referral to the state’s corruption watchdog follows a Guardian Australia investigation that revealed that a company known as Meridolum No 1 made more than $40m selling offsets for infrastructure projects that Eco Logical Australia, which employed two of Meridolum’s directors, provided offset advice on.

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Categories: Environment

Morrison government to pledge another $58.6m to ‘gas-fired recovery’ in budget

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 10:30am

Energy minister Angus Taylor will confirm the new funding, including up to $32m to support the Golden Beach project in Gippsland

The Morrison government will allocate another $58.6m to “gas-fired recovery” measures in Tuesday’s budget and is continuing to hold out the prospect of building a new power plant in the Hunter Valley despite experts questioning the need for it.

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, will confirm on Friday new funding to support gas infrastructure projects, including a short-term loan of up to $32m to support early works for the Golden Beach gas production and storage project in Gippsland in Victoria.

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Categories: Environment

Cut methane emissions to rapidly fight climate disasters, UN report says

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 10:20am

Fossil fuels, cattle and rotting waste produce greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global heating

Slashing methane emissions is vital to tackling the climate crisis and rapidly curbing the extreme weather already hitting people across the world today, according to a new UN report.

In 2020 there was a record rise in the amount of the powerful greenhouse gas emitted by the fossil fuel industry, cattle and rotting waste. Cutting it is the strongest action available to slow global heating in the near term, Inger Andersen, the UN’s environment chief, said.

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Categories: Environment

Killer whales spotted near Cornwall coast in rare UK sighting

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 8:17am

Sighting of two of UK’s resident orcas is ‘proof of the value of our coastal seas’, says expert

Two killer whales have been spotted off the Cornish coast.

Experts believe this is the first sighting of the UK’s only resident population of killer whales travelling this far south.

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Categories: Environment

Using hydrogen fuel risks locking in reliance on fossil fuels, researchers warn

Thu, 2021/05/06 - 8:14am

Electrification of cars and home boilers best choice to fight the climate crisis, say scientists

Using hydrogen-based fuels for cars and home heating risks locking in a dependency on fossil fuels and failing to tackle the climate crisis, according to a new analysis.

Fuels produced from hydrogen can be used as straight replacements for oil and gas and can be low-carbon, if renewable electricity is used to produce these “e-fuels”. However, the research found that using the electricity directly to power cars and warm houses was far more efficient.

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Categories: Environment