Mauritius facing environmental crisis as shipwreck leaks oil

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/08/06 - 6:17pm

MV Wakashio breaking up after running aground at Pointe d’Esny near marine park

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is facing an environmental crisis after oil began leaking from a bulk carrier that ran aground in March and started to break up in rough seas.

“We are in an environmental crisis situation,” said the environment minister, Kavy Ramano, while the fishing minister, Sudheer Maudhoo, said: “This is the first time that we are faced with a catastrophe of this kind and we are insufficiently equipped to handle this problem.”

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Categories: Environment

Hybrid BMW can now auto-swap to battery power in London and Birmingham

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/08/06 - 4:01pm

German carmaker puts pressure on UK government over proposed ban on hybrids

More than 10,000 BMW plug-in hybrid cars on British roads will be able to automatically swap to battery power when entering low emissions zones in London or Birmingham city centres from Friday.

Newer BMW cars will be able to switch automatically from burning fossil fuels in internal combustion engines to using battery power with zero exhaust emissions as soon as the car’s GPS navigation system detects that it has reached an emissions zone.

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Categories: Environment

Sussan Ley urged to save Port Stephens koala habitat set to be destroyed by quarry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/08/06 - 10:30am

Residents call on the federal environment minister to rule out a development the NSW government wants fast-tracked

Residents of the New South Wales town of Port Stephens are calling on the federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, to save 52 hectares of koala habitat set to be destroyed by the expansion of a quarry.

The state’s independent planning commission recently approved the expansion of the Brandy Hill rock quarry in Port Stephens in the Hunter region, just two weeks after a parliamentary inquiry found koalas in the state would be extinct by 2050 without urgent government intervention.

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Categories: Environment

Extreme droughts in central Europe likely to increase sevenfold

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/08/06 - 8:00am

Researchers say moderate reductions in CO2 emissions could halve their likelihood

Extreme droughts are likely to become much more frequent across central Europe, and if global greenhouse gas emissions rise strongly they could happen seven times more often, new research has shown.

The area of crops likely to be affected by drought is also set to increase, and under sharply rising CO2 levels would nearly double in central Europe in the second half of this century, to more than 40m hectares (154,440 sq miles) of farmland.

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Categories: Environment

Why Sprawl Could Be The Next Big Climate Change Battle

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2020/08/06 - 6:00am

Zoning for single-family homes has been tied to racial inequity and climate change, but in California, efforts to pass new laws keep falling short.

(Image credit: ullstein bild/via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Parks In Nonwhite Areas Are Half The Size Of Ones In Majority-White Areas, Study Says

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/08/05 - 1:36pm

Amid high temperatures and a pandemic, green spaces are a lifeline. But new data shows parks in low-income and nonwhite areas are smaller and more crowded than those in high-income and white areas.

(Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

California Struggles To Fix Zoning That Promotes Racial Inequity And Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/08/05 - 1:01pm

Around the U.S., cities have been grappling with how single-family zoning can exacerbate racial inequity and climate change. States like California are struggling to fix that.

Categories: Environment

Queensland government was warned conservation underfunding 'not sustainable', leak reveals

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/08/05 - 10:30am

Exclusive: Queensland Treasury Corporation told Palaszczuk government the under-investment was costing tourism sector up to $3.3bn a year

The Queensland Treasury Corporation warned the state government that its ongoing under-investment in national parks and other protected areas was “not sustainable”, harmed conservation efforts and cost the tourism sector potential visitors worth up to $3.3bn each year.

Guardian Australia has obtained a leaked report from the QTC – the state’s central financing authority – from 2018, calling for a “bold” government strategy and significantly increased funding for protected areas.

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Categories: Environment

New Guinea has greatest plant diversity of any island in the world, study reveals

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/08/05 - 8:00am

The tropical island edges out Madagascar as botanists estimate that 4,000 new species could be discovered in the next 50 years

New Guinea is home to more than 13,500 species of plant, two-thirds of which are endemic, according to a new study that suggests it has the greatest plant diversity of any island in the world – 19% more than Madagascar, which previously held the record.

Ninety-nine botanists from 56 institutions in 19 countries trawled through samples, the earliest of which were collected by European travellers in the 1700s. Large swathes of the island remain unexplored and some historical collections have yet to be looked at. Researchers estimate that 4,000 more plant species could be found in the next 50 years, with discoveries showing “no sign of levelling off”, according to the paper published in Nature.

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Categories: Environment

Deadly diseases from wildlife thrive when nature is destroyed, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/08/05 - 8:00am

Rats and bats that host pandemic pathogens like Covid-19 increase in damaged ecosystems, analysis shows

The human destruction of natural ecosystems increases the numbers of rats, bats and other animals that harbour diseases that can lead to pandemics such as Covid-19, a comprehensive analysis has found.

The research assessed nearly 7,000 animal communities on six continents and found that the conversion of wild places into farmland or settlements often wipes out larger species. It found that the damage benefits smaller, more adaptable creatures that also carry the most pathogens that can pass to humans.

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Categories: Environment

Kenneth Hayne says Covid shows Australian politics can be more than a 'dialogue of the deaf'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/08/05 - 1:00am

The former high court judge urges politicians to defend their institution rather than prioritise partisan self-interest

Debates about climate change and the Indigenous voice to parliament have been hijacked by sloganeering and the “peddling of false and misleading ideas”, according to the former high court justice Kenneth Hayne, who has urged Australian politicians to defend their institution rather than prioritise partisan self-interest.

Giving the annual Sir Zelman Cowen Centre oration on Wednesday, Hayne reflected on the decline of trust in institutions, characterising hyper-partisan debate as a “dialogue of the deaf” in which slogans substitute for facts, and protagonists decline to acknowledge doubt, nuance or alternative points of view.

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Categories: Environment

China poised to power huge growth in global offshore wind energy

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 10:01pm

Report finds the offshore industry could create 900,000 jobs globally over next decade

The world’s offshore windfarm capacity could grow eightfold by the end of the decade powered by a clean energy surge led by China, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

A new industry report has revealed stronger than expected growth for the offshore wind industry, which could reach 234GW by 2030, from a global tally of just over 29GW at the end of last year.

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Categories: Environment

Julia Gillard says her government's carbon price proves climate policy isn't 'all too hard'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 8:45pm

Former prime minister says ‘helplessness’ is no answer and warns against increasing nationalism during coronavirus pandemic

Julia Gillard has warned against a feeling of “received helplessness” that policies to reduce greenhouse gases are “all too hard”, citing the carbon price legislated by her government as proof climate policy “can get done”.

Gillard, the former Australian prime minister and current Beyond Blue chair, made the comments on Wednesday in an Australia Institute webinar about the mental health impact of Covid-19 and the need to “build back better” with more early intervention on the other side of the pandemic.

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Categories: Environment

South Korea floods and landslides kill 14 after 42 days of rain

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 5:43pm

Three New Zealanders among dead after avalanche hits Gapyeong holiday cottages

Fourteen people have been killed and more than 1,000 forced from their homes as 42 consecutive days of rain, South Korea’s longest monsoon in seven years, triggered floods and landslides.

Heavy rain, which has also battered China, Thailand, Myanmar and India, inundated farmland and flooded parts of major highways and bridges in the capital, Seoul.

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Categories: Environment

Throng of new penguin colonies in Antarctica spotted from space

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 4:01pm

Satellite images reveal guano patches, boosting known emperor penguin colonies by 20%

Satellite images have revealed 11 previously unknown emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica, boosting the number of known colonies of the imperilled birds by 20%.

The discoveries were made by spotting the distinctive red-brown guano patches the birds leave on the ice. The finds were made possible by higher-resolution images from a new satellite, as previous scans were unable to pick up smaller colonies.

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Categories: Environment

BP's dividend cut puts firm on road to deliver green energy pledge

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 11:09am

Lockdown has hammered oil prices but it also offers a chance to refocus on clean energy

BP has set itself the target of shrinking its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050. To do that will require big investment in a whole range of green energy alternatives. It will be happening at a time when the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 has sent the oil price tumbling and threatens to leave the company with more stranded assets on its hands.

Something has to give in those circumstances, and that something is BP’s dividend, which was cut for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill a decade ago. In truth, the decision was a no-brainer, with perhaps the only surprise being that the payout to shareholders was reduced by half rather than by the two-thirds announced by Shell in April.

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Categories: Environment

BP enjoys share bounce after unveiling plans to shift away from fossil fuels

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 9:45am

Despite reporting one of its worst quarterly results on record BP shares closed up 6.5%

BP has won guarded praise from climate emergency campaigners and a hefty share price bounce by unveiling new plans to shift away from fossil fuels and towards low carbon energy within the next decade.

BP revealed the energy transition strategy alongside its first dividend cut since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, after plummeting to a record multibillion-dollar loss and slashing the value of its oil and gas assets due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane Isaias Dumps Heavy Rain And Possible Flooding On North Carolina

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 6:58am

Noel King speaks with Mike Sprayberry, the director of Emergency Management in North Carolina, about the flooding and heavy rain from Hurricane Isaias.

Categories: Environment

Rising temperatures will cause more deaths than all infectious diseases – study

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/08/04 - 12:00am

Poorer, hotter parts of the world will struggle to adapt to unbearable conditions, research finds

The growing but largely unrecognized death toll from rising global temperatures will come close to eclipsing the current number of deaths from all the infectious diseases combined if planet-heating emissions are not constrained, a major new study has found.

Related: Killer heat: US racial injustices will worsen as climate crisis escalates

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife forensics: how a giant pangolin named Ghost could help save the species

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/03 - 11:45pm

A new research programme in Gabon is identifying the ‘isotopic fingerprint’ of the world’s most-trafficked mammal in the fight to beat smugglers

After a two-week chase through Lopé-Okanda national park, a mosaic of rainforest and savannah in central Gabon, David Lehmann and his Wildlife Capture Unit were celebrating – they had caught a giant pangolin nicknamed Ghost, the biggest on record.

The team – consisting of eco-guards, an indigenous tracker, a field biologist and a wildlife vet – hope that Ghost, who weighs 38kg and measures 1.72m from nose to tail, will give valuable insights in their fight against poaching.

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Categories: Environment
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