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U-turn on onshore windfarms likely after Tory rebellion

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 3:35am

Culture secretary says potential ‘tweaks’ to levelling up bill will be considered because of MPs’ concerns

Ministers will make an announcement on a ban on onshore windfarms in the coming days, including potential “tweaks” to the levelling up bill, in the face of a growing rebellion by Conservative MPs.

The culture secretary, Michelle Donelan, gave the strongest hint yet that the government is preparing to lift the de facto onshore wind ban after the number of public rebels grew to 34 on Monday night.

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Categories: Environment

Here is what scientists are doing to save Florida's coral reef before it's too late

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 3:00am

Florida's barrier reef has lost 95% of its coral over the last half-century. Researchers, activists and government agencies are working to restore the reefs and ensure their long-term survival.

(Image credit: Zack Wittman for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Australia argues against 'endangered' Barrier Reef status

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 11:25pm

Australia's environment minister says her government will urge against the U.N. adding the Great Barrier Reef to a list of endangered sites, saying worries are a reflection of the previous government.

(Image credit: Sam McNeil/AP)

Categories: Environment

Australia politics live: Bridget Archer ‘inclined to’ support motion to censure Scott Morrison; Nationals MP breaks ranks to back Indigenous voice

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 9:54pm

The censure motion against Scott Morrison over multiple ministries scandal will be debated in House of Representatives tomorrow. Follow the day’s news live

Bipartisanship cedes to brinkmanship in battle over integrity commission

Meanwhile, Mark Dreyfus is preparing to stare down the Liberals and the Greens over an amendment to the national anti-corruption commission legislation which Dreyfus says risks establishing the commission and the Liberals and Greens say will ensure it won’t be political.

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Categories: Environment

too much traffic out here...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 4:03pm
All the stranded tourists are finally unstuck on and their way home - and my road is rutted out the worst it has ever been. When I moved here 15 years ago, I used to go up to 2 weeks without seeing a single vehicle. Now it seems I see at least 2 or 3 a day. 70,76,31,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Just Stop Oil activists face new penalties if they obstruct M25 motorway

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 3:16pm

National Highways has obtained an injunction to ‘prevent unlawful protests’ until November 2023

A high court injunction has been granted that would impose fresh penalties on Just Stop Oil activists for demonstrating on the country’s busiest motorway until November next year.

National Highways said it had secured the civil order to “prevent unlawful protests” on the M25, after a series of actions by the environmental group caused significant traffic disruption.

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Categories: Environment

Sunak searches for Tory compromise over onshore windfarm U-turn

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 2:38pm

PM is stuck between two wings of party and at risk of Commons defeat on pro-renewables amendment

Rishi Sunak is scrambling to find a compromise on permitting onshore wind amid a growing backbench Conservative rebellion, though No 10 remains fearful of a backlash from MPs who oppose windfarms.

The U-turn on backing onshore wind projects would directly contradict a pledge by Sunak during his leadership campaign but Downing Street has sought to frame it as government policy.

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Categories: Environment

Evidence grows of forced labour and slavery in production of solar panels, wind turbines

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 2:37pm

A ‘certificate of origin’ scheme could counter concerns about renewables supply chains, says Clean Energy Council

The Australian clean energy industry has warned of growing evidence linking renewable energy supply chains to modern slavery, and urged companies and governments to act to eliminate it.

A report by the Clean Energy Council, representing renewable energy companies and solar installers, has called for more local renewable energy production and manufacturing and a “certificate of origin” scheme to counter concerns about slave labour in mineral extraction and manufacturing in China, Africa and South America.

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About 2.6 million Uyghur and Kazakh people have been subjected to coercion, “re-education programs” and internment in the Xinjiang region of north-west China, which is the source of 40-45% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon. A report by the United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights three months ago found Xinjiang was home to “serious human rights violations”, and the US has listed polysilicon from China as a material likely to have been produced by child or forced labour.

On batteries, there were major issues with the mining of between 15% and 30% of the world’s cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Amnesty International found that children, some as young as seven, were working in artisanal cobalt mines, often for less than $2 a day. Mining conditions were reportedly hazardous, and workers often did not have adequate protective equipment and were exposed to toxic dust that contributed to hard metal lung disease.

On wind energy, there had been rapid growth in demand for balsa wood used in turbine blades that had reportedly led to workers in Ecuador’s Amazon region being subject to substandard labour conditions, including payment being made with alcohol or drugs. The demand for balsa has also reportedly increased deforestation, and affected the land rights of Indigenous people in Peru. Some balsa wood suppliers have more recently provided Forest Stewardship Council certifications, which verifies responsible forest management and fair wages and work environments.

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Categories: Environment

The world's largest volcano is erupting for the first time since 1984

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 2:25pm

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with volcanologist Wendy Stovall of the U.S. Geological Survey about the eruption of Mauna Loa in Hawaii.

Categories: Environment

Here are some crucial issues we’re covering in 2023 – with your help | Betsy Reed

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 12:28pm

The new Guardian US editor sets out some of our key priorities for 2023, including abortion rights, the climate crisis and investigations into the powers shaping American life

On election night this November, the Guardian’s reporters fanned out across the country, keeping close watch on key races targeted by the election-denial movement instigated by Donald Trump. Candidates who embraced Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election sought control over pivotal offices that would allow them to tip the balance toward Trump when he tries to reclaim the presidency in 2024.

To the relief of our readers, as well as millions of Americans, their efforts failed spectacularly.

Abortion rights. There are few areas where Trump’s damaging legacy is more evident than reproductive rights. His appointments to the supreme court, made with the intention of ending the constitutional right to abortion, will profoundly affect the health and freedom of people in this country for years to come. We’ll be reporting on the human impact of abortion bans – and the inspiring movement that is fighting back.

The climate crisis. Despite the Biden administration’s landmark law to decarbonize the US economy, fossil fuel emissions continue to rise, and Republican control of the House of Representatives will bring with it aggressive attempts to roll back progress. We’ll be closely tracking the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, including efforts by the fossil fuel industry and the right wing to stymie change. We will also double down on our groundbreaking environmental justice coverage, exposing how communities that lack racial and economic privilege bear the brunt of government and corporate negligence.

Investigations. In 2023, we’ll be digging deeper into the powers secretly shaping the contours of American life. We know a lot, for example, about the toxins tainting our food and water – but it takes a different kind of reporting to pin down the corporate actors responsible for spreading them, and the government regulators who have failed to protect the public. From police unions to gun manufacturers to crypto titans to rightwing pressure groups, we will reveal the influential networks whose machinations lie at the root of the crises we report on every day, whether it’s racism in the criminal justice system or soaring economic inequality.

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Categories: Environment

Robert Jenrick says migrants with diphtheria symptoms will no longer be dispersed around country – as it happened

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 10:40am

Immigration minister confirms 50 cases of diphtheria linked to Manston asylum accommodation. This live blog is closed

A House of Lords committee has delivered a withering assessment of the measures in the autumn statement for adult social care.

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, announced a further £4.7bn for adult social care by 2024-25. But, in an open letter to Hunt and Steve Barclay, the health secretary, the Lords adult social care committee chair, Lady Andrews, said that this was less than the £7bn that Hunt himself said adult social care needed when he was chair of the Commons health committee.

Increasing funding through council tax is a regressive solution, which will not allow for a properly and sustainably funded system. It does not translate as ring-fenced investment dedicated to adult social care. It is likely to create further inequalities from one locality to the next. In short, it is not a long-term plan for funding.

Equally regressive is the government’s decision to delay the long overdue cap on care costs and extension to the means test. Although this is intended to unlock more funding for local authorities and provide them with breathing space, it also reflects the lack of a coherent strategy across adult social care. Delaying one policy to support another will ultimately compound problems; and it certainly does not allow for any priority to be given to choice, control and equality in the provision of adult social care.

I suspect you may have identified a ninth [MP], although it hasn’t been announced, with my colleague, Matt Hancock.

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Categories: Environment

Houston places 2.2m people under boil water notice after plant power outage

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 10:02am

Residents in largest city in Texas express anger at alert which came hours after power outage at purification facility on Sunday night

The 2.2 million people in Texas’s largest city – and the US’s fourth most populous – have been placed under a boil water notice since Sunday night, after a power outage caused water pressure to drop at a purification facility earlier in the day.

Some residents expressed anger at being alerted of water safety issues several hours after the outage while others complained about finding out through social media. Officials are testing whether the outage at the facility let bacteria contaminate the local drinking water supply, and results are not immediate.

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Categories: Environment

Tories will not reach ‘embarrassingly poor’ nature targets by 2030, Labour says

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 7:13am

Opposition to unveil plan to reverse biodiversity loss rather than simply halting it, which is government’s current target

The government will not be able to achieve its nature targets by 2030, even though they are “embarrassingly poor”, the shadow environment minister and leading wildlife groups have said.

Next week at the Cop15 biodiversity conference in Montreal, Alex Sobel will be discussing Labour’s “science-led, joined-up plan to tackle the climate and ecological emergency”. The plan will aim to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, rather than simply halting it, which is the government’s current target.

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Categories: Environment

The swan: would it seem so perfect if there were not usually a goose hissing nearby? | Helen Sullivan

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 7:00am

Swans don’t sing, they honk – like clowns hitting the horn on their unicycles

When I think of a swan I think of an ostrich; when I think of a swan and an ostrich, I think of an ostrich swimming, its long legs waving around beneath the surface as it blinks its giant, vague eyes. But of course the most common comparison is with a goose – would a swan seem so perfect if there were not usually a goose hissing somewhere nearby?

The composer Orlando Gibbons (great name), born in England in 1583, wrote a swan song-themed madrigal. As the bird dies, she sings, “Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes! / More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.”

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Categories: Environment

‘Still creeped out’: Queensland activist asks Adani to destroy surveillance photos taken of family

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 7:00am

Ben Pennings says matter continues to cause ‘anxiety’ after nine-year-old photographed, according to letters

The environmental activist Ben Pennings says covert surveillance of his family members by a private investigator – hired by the mining giant Adani – continues to cause “concern” and “anxiety”, according to a letter requesting the company hand over and destroy any photographs of them.

Guardian Australia revealed in 2020 that a private investigator working for Adani took photographs of Pennings walking his nine-year-old daughter to school.

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Categories: Environment

Whole Foods decision to pull Maine lobster divides activists and politicians

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 3:00am

Company cites decisions by pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the US lobster fishing industry

Environmental groups are once again at loggerheads with leading politicians and fishing businesses in New England in the wake of a decision by the high-end US retail giant Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster.

Whole Foods recently said that it will stop selling lobster from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country. The company cited decisions by a pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the US lobster fishing industry.

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Categories: Environment

Cop15 essential reading: seven books that explain the biodiversity crisis

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 2:30am

Ahead of December’s conference our writers select titles that explain the issues at stake, from animal extinction to marine degradation and loss of habitat

Chosen by Patrick Barkham

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Categories: Environment

No 10 set to allow new onshore wind projects in England in U-turn

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/11/28 - 1:38am

Grant Shapps says there will be more onshore wind projects ‘where communities are in favour of it’

Downing Street appears likely to allow new onshore wind projects in England after years of an effective ban, Grant Shapps has indicated, with ministers giving way in the face of a growing backbench Conservative rebellion.

Shapps, the business and energy secretary, said there would be more onshore wind projects “where communities are in favour of it”, which would mean the end of a de facto block on such projects since 2014 under planning rules.

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Categories: Environment

Top-flight recovery: the inspiring comeback of the California condor

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/11/27 - 11:00pm

Nearly extinct in the 1980s, an intensive programme to reverse the bird’s decline has made it a conservation success story

Despite being the largest flying bird in North America, with a wingspan of up to three metres, you would have been hard pushed to see a California condor in the wild in the 1980s. In a last-ditch effort to save the birds, after decades of persecution and population collapse, the few remaining were captured in 1987 for a multimillion-dollar intensive conservation programme.

Today, there are more than 200 in the wild, and local people are already starting to notice. In May 2021, about 10% of the entire population of the birds in the Golden State decided to roost on a woman’s home in Tehachapi, southern California, damaging her decking with “concrete-like” excrement, an incident that went viral on Twitter when her daughter posted photos.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland will continue coal exports ‘as long as the market dictates’ despite emissions targets

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/11/27 - 7:45pm

Annastacia Palaszczuk says demand for steelmaking metallurgical coal will drive its production in the state

Queensland carbon emissions targets will dramatically change in coming years, but coal exports will continue for “as long as the market dictates”, Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

The premier has promised to slash her state’s emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050.

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Categories: Environment
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