Environment

Adani knew of Abbot Point pollution risk before spill, conservationists say

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 11:40pm

It and the Queensland government were aware polluted water could spill during 2017 cyclone, says Mackay Conservation Group

Adani and the Queensland government were aware that polluted water could be released from the company’s Abbot Point coal terminal during cyclone Debbie in 2017, conservationists say.

Adani was granted a temporary emissions licence on 27 March last year, before cyclone Debbie made landfall, to pollute the nearby Caley Valley wetlands in an area referred to as W1.

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Categories: Environment

As panic about climate change sets in, I’m thinking about escape – to Canada | Emma Brockes

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 10:00pm

The summer of heatwaves and forest fires leaves my friends feeling helpless and a little hysterical. And who can blame us?

The New York Times has devoted an entire edition of its magazine, some 30,000 words, to a terrifying piece about climate change. With 2C warming – an unlikely best-case scenario at this point, scientists were quoted as saying – the planet faces “long-term disaster”. With 3C warming, we are looking at “the loss of most coastal cities”. The possibility that the Earth might warm by 5C, wrote the author, Nathaniel Rich, had prompted some of the world’s leading scientists to warn of the end of human civilisation.

Related: Huge rise of people at risk from wildfires as western US population grows

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Categories: Environment

Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will ban plastic bags

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 6:04pm

Retailers given six months to stop providing lightweight plastic bags or face fines of up to NZ$100,000

New Zealand will ban single-use plastic bags over the next year, the government has announced.

Retailers in the country will be given six months to stop providing lightweight plastic bags, or face fines of up to NZ$100,000 (£51,000).

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Categories: Environment

California Wildfires Set Off Political Fight Over Who Should Pay For Damage

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 2:32pm

One controversial topic is whether utilities should have to pay for damage their equipment causes — even if the companies followed state safety regulations and laws.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Cal Fire Chief Discusses How Firefighters Are Battling California Blazes

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 2:32pm

The Mendocino Complex Fire in California is now the state's largest wildfire ever recorded. NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Categories: Environment

Trump Claims California Is Wasting Water That Could Be Used To Fight Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 2:07pm

The president blamed the intensity of the fires on state environmental policies, incorrectly claiming water that could be used to fight the fires is being pumped into the Pacific Ocean.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

Categories: Environment

Man missing and 1,600 evacuated as floods hit southern France

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 12:32pm

Helicopters, divers and hundreds of firefighters involved in rescue after torrent swept through campsite in Gard region

A German man in his 70s, who was helping supervise children at a campsite in south-east France, was missing on Thursday after being swept away by floodwaters, police said.

The 75-year-old man was accompanying a group of around 100 German children who were evacuated from a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, some 60km (37 miles) north of Avignon in the Gard region.

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Categories: Environment

Colorado Voters May Get A Chance To Weigh In On Oil And Gas Issues

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 2:04am

Signatures for ballot initiatives — one by advocates for residents opposed to fracking; the other by advocates for landowners seeking to protect mineral rights — have been submitted to officials.

Categories: Environment

The vision splendid? A24 and its grassroots push for a new Australia

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/08/09 - 1:41am

A24’s pillars for a better society sound a little like the manifesto of a left-leaning Scandinavian nation

What would the Australia of your dreams look like? That was the question civil society groups, unions, welfare groups and Indigenous representatives asked themselves nearly three years ago.

Faced with competing world views of the US president, Donald Trump, One Nation, the Business Council of Australia, alongside the pragmatic visions of Australia’s major parties, the group – known as A24 – began asking themselves: why do we do what we do? What’s our common vision of society that underpins our daily activism?

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Categories: Environment

E-waste from drop-offs at Officeworks exported, possibly breaching treaty

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 6:57pm

NGO says it used GPS units to track waste from collection points at Officeworks to Hong Kong and Thailand

Electronic waste dropped at government-approved recycling points at Officeworks stores was allegedly exported to developing countries, potentially breaching a global waste treaty, a non-government organisation has said.

The US-based Basel Action Network (Ban) – which embeds GPS units inside discarded electronics and monitors them – said in a report to be released on Thursday that two LCD monitors the organisation placed at Officeworks’ “Bring IT Back” drop zones in Brisbane were tracked to an area of Hong Kong’s New Territories known for “e-waste trafficking”.

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Categories: Environment

Is There A Better Way To Fight Massive Wildfires?

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 2:59pm

Massive wildfires in Western states are rapidly depleting funds set aside to fight fires. At the same time, many experts argue our priorities are wrong — we should be spending more on prescribed burns, and less on fighting fires in unpopulated areas.

Categories: Environment

Explore One Of The World's Largest Collections Of Bird Eggs And Nests

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 2:57pm

The Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, Calif., houses one of the largest collections of birds eggs and nests in the world. We meet the scientists who run the foundation.

Categories: Environment

California Company Reaches $119.5 Million Settlement Over Massive Gas Leak

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 1:13pm

For months, starting in late 2015, a gas leak in Los Angeles spewed methane into the air. The Southern California Gas Company has agreed to reimburse local governments and mitigate the damage.

(Image credit: Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Reflecting sun's rays would cause crops to fail, scientists warn

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 10:00am

Research shows geoengineering method intended to combat climate change would have adverse effect on agriculture

Proposals to combat climate change by reflecting the sun’s rays back into space would cause widespread crop failure, cancelling out any benefits to farming from the reduction in warming, according to new research.

By examining the effects of volcanic eruptions on agriculture – which has a similar effect to proposed artificial methods of scattering solar radiation through aerosols – scientists have concluded that such methods could have unintended consequences.

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Categories: Environment

Jimmy Kimmel on climate change: 'Somebody needs to get through to Trump'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 7:06am

Comics, including Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and Kimmel, discussed Paul Manafort’s trial and the threat of climate change

Late-night hosts on Tuesday discussed the trial of former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s approach to climate change.

Related: Trevor Noah: 'Trump gets a vacation, but we don't get a vacation from him'

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Categories: Environment

Sardinia sand thieves face fines of up to €3,000

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 4:56am

Italian officials and vigilantes tackle tourists taking souvenirs of island’s beaches

Sardinian authorities are getting tough with tourists who steal sand from the island’s pristine beaches as a souvenir and are issuing fines of up to €3,000 (£2,700).

Earlier this week, a 40-year-old Italian who lives in the UK but is originally from Naples, was fined €1,000 after police caught him in possession of a bottle of sand from Gallura beach, on the island’s north coast.

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Categories: Environment

For Berlin, Invasive Crustaceans Are A Tough Catch And A Tough Sell

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 2:19am

Louisiana crawfish have invaded waterways in Germany's capital. Wildlife officials licensed a fisherman to catch them for chefs, hoping a taste for "Berlin Lobster" might control the invasive species.

(Image credit: Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Firefighters battle to contain historic California blaze as political tensions rise

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/08/08 - 2:00am

Distrust in government mingles with fears for cannabis industry while fires spread across hundreds of square miles

Haze from the largest fire in California history filled the air near the town of Clearlake on Tuesday as Jim Steele, a local supervisor, drove his pickup truck through a landscape of smoldering hillsides and charred trees to check on the homes of citizens in his district.

Related: Largest wildfire in California's history expected to burn for rest of August

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Categories: Environment

The era of megafires: the crisis facing California and what will happen next

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/08/07 - 10:00pm

Three scientists explain the unprecedented danger facing the western US and call for new solutions to a growing threat

California is no stranger to fire. The temperate winters and reliably dry summers that make the Golden state such an attractive place to live are the same conditions that make this region among the most flammable places on Earth.

But even for a region accustomed to fire, the continuing wildfire siege has proven unprecedented. Although it is only early August, numerous very large, fast-moving, and exceptionally intense fires have already burned vast swaths of land throughout the state – consuming hundreds of thousands of acres and thousands of homes and claiming at least nine lives, including four firefighters. State and national firefighting resources are stretched to their limits; choking smoke inundated the state capital of Sacramento; and much of Yosemite national park is closed indefinitely.

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Categories: Environment

The story of a recovery: how hurricane Maria boosted small farms

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/08/07 - 9:00pm

Puerto Rico’s small farms – aided by outside groups such as World Central Kitchen – have seized a post-disaster opportunity to challenge the island’s import-reliant food economy

Nestled between a chemical factory and sparkling blue ocean sits a wonderland filled with rowdy goats, sturdy passionfruit plants and tiny chive blossom flowers that when bitten, erupt with garlicky flavor 50 times more potent than their size.

That this farm in Manatí, Puerto Rico, exists at all is a marvel, considering owners Efrén Robles and Angelie Martínez could not enter the property after Hurricane Maria tore through on 20 September. The couple said the hurricane destroyed 80% of the farm’s infrastructure and leveled its production capacity to zero.

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Categories: Environment
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