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Adani won't get any taxpayers' money, Annastacia Palaszczuk says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 8:41pm

Coalmine controversy continues to haunt Labor in Queensland as One Nation creates potential post-election headache for LNP

Almost three weeks after the decision to veto the Adani rail line loan overtook Labor’s election campaign, Annastacia Palaszczuk hesitantly agreed not to fund any infrastructure for the mine on Wednesday.

Labor is seeking to strike a balance between opposition to the mine from voters in the state’s south-east and support for it in regional Queensland, which sees it as a much-needed economic boost.

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Categories: Environment

Australia facing climate disaster on its doorstep, government's white paper warns

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 7:44pm

Foreign policy paper says climate-related conflict and migration could put Australia’s economic interests under pressure

Climate change is creating a disaster on Australia’s doorstep, with environmental degradation and the demand for sustainable sources of food undermining stability in some countries, especially “fragile states”, according to the Australian government’s first foreign policy white paper in more than a decade.

The new white paper, released on Thursday, contains warnings over the disruptive effects of climate change in Australia’s immediate region, noting that many small island states will be “severely affected in the long term”, and the coming decade will see increased need for disaster relief.

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Categories: Environment

Why the nights are getting brighter – but not in a good way

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 7:16pm

Spread of light pollution is bad for the environment, animal life and humans, five-year study concludes

The world’s nights are getting alarmingly brighter – bad news for all sorts of creatures, humans included – as light pollution encroaches on darkness almost everywhere.

Satellite observations made by researchers during five consecutive Octobers show Earth’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2% a year from 2012 to 2016. So did nighttime brightness.

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Categories: Environment

Treasury backs electric cars but makes limited moves on diesel

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 10:30am

Funds set aside for national charging network and tech research, but lack of scrappage scheme disappoints

Electric cars have received a funding boost with the government earmarking £340m for a national charging network and subsidies for vehicle purchases.

However, further budget backing for greener vehicles was limited to a small rise in vehicle excise duty for new diesel cars that fail to meet rigorous emissions standards – disappointing campaigners who had hoped for a rise in fuel duty or a diesel scrappage scheme.

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Categories: Environment

Melbourne consortium underwrites windfarm in Australian-first deal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 10:00am

Some of Melbourne’s most recognisable sights will be powered by a new 39-turbine windfarm after 14 organisations agree to buy half its power output

Three Melbourne councils, two universities, Zoos Victoria, and half a dozen corporations have banded together to underwrite a windfarm in western Victoria that will power some of the city’s most recognisable buildings.

The group of 14 organisations, led by the City of Melbourne, has agreed to purchase half the power produced by a new 39-turbine, 80MW windfarm near Ararat, about 200km west of Melbourne.

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Categories: Environment

No subsidies for green power projects before 2025, says UK Treasury

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 9:48am

Government accused of ‘turning their back on renewables’ after saying there will be no more money for new low-carbon levies

Companies hoping to build new windfarms, solar plants and tidal lagoons, have been dealt a blow after the government said there would be no new subsidies for clean power projects until 2025 at the earliest.

The Treasury said it had taken the decision to “protect” consumers, because households and businesses were facing an annual cost of about £9bn on their energy bills to pay for wind, solar and nuclear subsidies to which it had already committed.

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Categories: Environment

Record numbers of rare migrant dragonflies spotted in the UK

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 9:36am

Conservationists believe global warming could be partly responsible for the influx of species such as the scarlet darter that have been seen this year

Record numbers of rare migrant dragonflies have been spotted in the UK this year, according to an analysis by volunteers from the Migrant Dragonfly Project.

The study recorded the first confirmed UK sighting of the scarlet darter for 13 years, at Longham Lakes in Dorset. It is only the eighth time this species has been spotted in Britain.

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Categories: Environment

'Looting' spree threatens wildlife and forests across eastern Europe

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 9:00am

UN report warns crimes such as logging and poaching are putting ‘high pressure’ on ecosystems in 15 countries in the Danube-Carpathian region

An environmental “looting” spree is threatening biodiversity and pristine forests across 15 countries in central and eastern Europe, the UN has warned.

Environmental crimes such as illegal logging, fishing, poaching and the caviar black market are putting “high pressure” on ecosystems in the Danube-Carpathian region, according to a report by the UN Environmental Programme (Unep) and WWF.

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Categories: Environment

New nuclear power cannot rival windfarms on price, energy boss says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 8:37am

Innogy Renewables chief claims future reactors will not be competitive as offshore windfarms become even cheaper

New nuclear power stations in the UK can no longer compete with windfarms on price, according to the boss of a German energy company’s green power arm.

Hans Bunting, the chief operating officer of renewables at Innogy SE, part of the company that owns the UK energy supplier npower, said offshore windfarms had become mainstream and were destined to become even cheaper because of new, bigger turbines.

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Categories: Environment

Picture It: Your Environment photo competition - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 7:31am

The Picture It competition organised by the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) asked budding photographers to explore how they interacted with or were inspired by the environment in everyday life.

Visitors to Nerc’s UnEarthed showcase in Edinburgh last weekend were asked to pick the winners from nine shortlisted images and more than 1,000 entries. The winners from the three categories will be invited to the official naming of Nerc’s new polar research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, next year

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Categories: Environment

Rangers’ lives would be put at risk if Trump reverses elephant trophy ban

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 6:31am

More than a thousand rangers have been killed in the line of duty over the last decade – and a corrupted legal market, operating for a few wealthy clients, exacerbates that risk

The announcement that the Trump administration is considering overturning the US ban on elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe is one that directly threatens the lives of African park rangers who are tasked with protecting elephants and their ecosystems.

Over the last 10 years, more than 1,000 rangers – who are employed by governments, NGOs and private companies – have lost their lives in the line of duty. Sadly, between July 2016 and July 2017, we know of 105 park rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

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Categories: Environment

Water firms backtrack on admissions that they use divining rods

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 3:22am

Some blame rogue engineers for continuing to use practice dismissed as witchcraft to find leaks

Water firms have hastily distanced themselves from their own admissions that they use divining rods to detect leaks amid widespread alarm at publicly listed companies using witchcraft.

Ten of the 12 water companies in the UK told the science blogger Sally Le Page, via Twitter, that they use the practice of water dowsing despite the lack of scientific evidence for its effectiveness.

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Categories: Environment

Renewables will drive 'steep decline' in wholesale electricity price in Australia – report

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 1:56am

Exclusive: Frontier Economics’ modelling commissioned by government says 6,000MW of renewable capacity entering market will reduce prices in 2018-20

Modelling commissioned by the Turnbull government as part of its efforts to back in the national energy guarantee says renewables will drive the first wave of price reductions under the policy. It also floats substantial regulatory intervention to stop the electricity market becoming even more concentrated.

The work by Frontier Economics, obtained by Guardian Australia, says a steep decline in wholesale electricity prices forecast between 2018 and 2022 is due to the entry of 6,000MW of renewable capacity which has already been incentivised by the existing renewable energy target.

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Categories: Environment

How the brown bear became public enemy number one in rural Romania

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 12:30am

Despite a national hunting ban, the attitude to bears has become increasingly hostile, with some remote villagers taking matters into their own hands

High up in the Carpathian mountains, a forest guard named Csaba Demeter was leaving the woods one evening early this summer when a brown bear attacked him from behind. It pinned him to the ground, sunk its teeth into his limbs and tore deep lacerations into his back with its claws. Demeter pulled his coat over his head and played dead, holding his breath and stiffening his limbs as the bear dug into his flesh. It was five minutes before the animal gave up and moved slowly back into the forest, leaving Demeter barely alive on the mountainside.

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Categories: Environment

Poor sperm quality linked to air pollution

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/11/22 - 12:00am

Study finds ‘strong association’ between high levels of fine particulate matter and abnormal sperm shape – but impact on wider fertility remains unclear

High levels of air pollution are associated with poor sperm quality and could be partly responsible for the sharp drop in male fertility, according to a new study.

A team of scientists, led by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studied the sperm of nearly 6,500 men and found a “strong association” between high levels of fine particulate air pollution and “abnormal sperm shape.”

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Categories: Environment

Australian bird of the year survey: new poll ruffles feathers in Canberra

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/21 - 10:17pm

Bill Shorten gives emu a leg up, Malcolm Turnbull takes flight and Scott Ludlam offers shock support for ibis

• Vote now for your favourite Australian bird

Forget Bennelong or New England, the battle for Australia’s favourite bird is on.

As the inaugural bird of the year poll launched on Monday, the nation’s celebrities, political leaders and media outlets immediately began their campaigns.

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Categories: Environment

Adani reportedly near deal with China to fund Carmichael rail line

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/21 - 7:20pm

Coal industry insiders reportedly told by Adani director that company had secured Chinese financing for the project

Adani is reportedly close to securing the loans it requires to build its railway from Abbot Point to the Galilee basin, allowing coal from the proposed Carmichael coalmine to be exported through the Great Barrier Reef, according to the ABC.

The news comes as preparations for construction of the railway pick up pace and protesters step up last-ditch efforts to stop it from proceeding.

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Categories: Environment

Danone invests in firm selling bottled water from ocean floor

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/21 - 6:08pm

Water comes from a deep ocean current off the coast of Hawaii and is desalinated using reverse osmosis

Evian and Volvic owner Danone has put money into a Hawaiian bottled water from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, showing the depths multinationals will now go to in the quest for more revenue.

The investment in Kona Deep, for an undisclosed sum, is the fifth in a year for Danone Manifesto Ventures, a fund the French food giant set up last year to invest in entrepreneurial companies, which are eating away at the dominance of big brands.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Tue, 2017/11/21 - 5:47pm
Follow up visits with my cardiologist and my primary care physician today...in Alpine.  Sure beats the hell out of that 7 hour round trip to Odessa.  Cardiologist says there is no reason for me to see him again.  Primary care physician was happy to see my slightly high cholesterol is back to normal with just a simple diet change and a couple of months on low dose atorvastatin.  Last on the list of diagnostics will be a colonoscopy.  I find out tomorrow if they can schedule the procedure before the end of the year (before my insurance deductible resets to zero).  66,82,45,0,W 
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

UK water firms admit using divining rods to find leaks and pipes

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/11/21 - 10:01am

Calls for regulator to stop companies passing cost of using discredited medieval practice on to customers

Ten of the 12 water companies in the UK have admitted they are still using the practice of water dowsing despite the lack of scientific evidence for its effectiveness.

The disclosure has prompted calls for the regulator to stop companies passing the cost of a discredited medieval practice on to their customers. Ofwat said any firm failing to meet its commitments to customers faced a financial penalty.

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Categories: Environment
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