Indoor plant with four leaves sells for $8,000 in New Zealand

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 8:38pm

A buyer was willing to part with huge sum to secure the variegated minima amid a houseplant boom fuelled by the pandemic

An indoor plant with just four leaves has sold for more than NZ$8,000 (£4,000) in New Zealand, as the public’s passion for horticulture surges during the pandemic.

Houseplants have become especially popular among millennials, experts say, many of whom are unable to nurture babies or pets due to financial and property constraints.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland court overturns climate activists' conviction under anti-protest laws

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 7:42pm

Environmental protesters among the first to be charged under state’s ban on ‘locking’ devices

A Queensland court has thrown out the conviction and sentencing of two young climate activists, who were among the first to be charged with breaching controversial anti-protest laws passed last year.

The remarkable judgment in the Queensland district court found there was no evidence that the use of banned “locking” or “attachment” devices by the climate change protesters posed any risk of injury to others or damage to property.

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Categories: Environment

What has four years of Donald Trump meant for the climate crisis?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 7:00pm

Guardian US environment reporter Emily Holden looks at the Trump administration’s impact on the environment, and the consequences for the climate crisis if he wins another term

The United States is one of the most polluting nations in the world – its factories, power plants, homes, cars and farms pump billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. By the end of this century, the earth’s temperature will rise by several degrees, many scientists say, if highly polluting countries like the US don’t control their output now.

The Guardian’s US environment reporter, Emily Holden, tells Anushka Asthana about Trump’s environmental policies over the past four years, which have included reversing many of the pledges made by Barack Obama – most notably dropping out of the Paris climate agreement. She also looks at the proposals from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which include putting Americans back to work installing millions of solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines, making the steel for those projects, manufacturing electric vehicles for the world and shipping them from US ports. What the American people decide in November, Emily believes, is critical for the future of the planet.

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Categories: Environment

Activists sour on Oatly vegan milk after stake sold to Trump-linked Blackstone

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 5:17pm

The private equity firm that now has a stake in Oatly has been accused of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon

Vegan milk brand Oatly is facing protests by climate and political activists who say the decision to sell a stake in the company to a consortium that includes Blackstone, a powerful private equity firm headed by Trump donor Stephen Schwartzman, has left a sour taste.

The $200m deal for the Swedish oat milk brand, favored by many vegans and non-dairy drinkers and considered one of the most sustainable non-dairy milk brands, was agreed in July.

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Categories: Environment

Unilever plans to remove oil-based ingredients from all cleaning products

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 4:01pm

Consumer goods giant aims to develop renewable or recycled alternatives by 2030

The owner of Persil, Domestos and Cif is to invest €1bn in eliminating fossil fuel-based ingredients from its cleaning products by 2030.

Unilever’s “clean future” initiative aims to develop renewable or recycled alternatives to chemicals derived from the oil industry as part of the company’s pledge to eliminate carbon emissions from its products by 2039.

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Categories: Environment

Oil industry lobbies US to help weaken Kenya’s strong stance on plastic waste

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 1:17pm

Environmentalists fear changing Kenya’s resolve would lead to all of Africa becoming a plastics dumping ground

Major oil companies are lobbying the United States to pressure Kenya to change its world-leading stance against plastic waste, according to environmentalists who fear the continent will be used as a dumping ground.

The request from the American Chemistry Council to the Office of the United States Trade Representative came as the US and Kenya negotiate what would be the first US bilateral trade deal with a country in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Categories: Environment

Impact Of Climate Policy On 2020 Presidential Election

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 1:08pm

NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement and an adviser to Joe Biden's climate task force, about the impact of climate policy on this year's election.

Categories: Environment

Mining needed for renewable energy 'could harm biodiversity'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 8:00am

Study warns sites must be protected in search for materials to build infrastructure

The mining necessary for producing renewable energy could exacerbate threats to biodiversity, researchers have found.

The production of renewable energy requires metals and other materials which are mined. Researchers mapped the areas around more than 60,000 mining properties to assess whether they overlapped with biodiversity conservation sites.

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Categories: Environment

Lloyd’s of London reopens building for first time since March

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 6:14am

Insurance institution will run at 45% capacity to adhere to social distancing rules

The insurance market Lloyd’s of London has reopened its underwriting room for the first time since March, making it the latest City firm to inch towards normality amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 334-year-old institution welcomed underwriters and brokers back into the building on Tuesday morning, as part of a phased reopening that will mean running at 45% capacity until further notice to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

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Categories: Environment

DIY Firefighting In California

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 3:30am

Why people are buying their own firetrucks.

(Image credit: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Trump administration rule seeks to make drilling easier in national forests

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 3:00am

Proposal would eliminate key environmental reviews and public notice requirements, according to environmental advocates

The Trump administration is proposing to make it easier for oil and gas companies to drill on US forest service lands.

A proposed rule would eliminate key environmental reviews and public notice requirements, according to environmental advocates.

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Categories: Environment

How SUVs conquered the world – at the expense of its climate

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/09/01 - 12:00am

Exclusive new emissions analysis shows how much more dangerous for the climate SUVs are than smaller vehicles, and how embedded they have become in our lives

They are the hulking cars that have conquered the world. Spreading from the heartlands of the US to a new generation of eager buyers in China to dominate even the twisting, narrow streets of Europe, the sports utility vehicle, or SUV, has bludgeoned its way to automobile supremacy with a heady mix of convenience and marketing muscle.

The rise of the SUV as the world’s pre-eminent car has been so rapid that the consequences of this new status – the altered patterns of urban life, air quality, pedestrian safety, where to park the things – are still coming into focus.

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Categories: Environment

'We’ve covered huge swathes of the UK in tarmac': how roads affect birds

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 11:00pm

Rarer birds suffer the most from the network that criss-crosses the country, finds study, but kerbside life appears to suit some

In 1925, ecologist Dayton Stoner drove 632 miles through Iowa, making a note of all the dead animals he saw en route. There were 225 pieces of roadkill in total, including red-headed woodpeckers, painted terrapins and blue racer snakes – once-common species that are now rare. The paper, called The Toll of the Automobile, was the first study of “road ecology” – a growing area of research that looks at the many ways tarmac dissects habitats.

In Britain, dead pheasants, foxes and badgers are common roadside sightings, but much of the environmental damage is hidden and hard to measure – roads fragment habitats and damage them through noise, chemical and light pollution. There are an estimated 28m miles (45m km) of paved roads on our planet, set to increase to about 43m miles by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.

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Categories: Environment

Trump weakens Obama-era rules on toxic wastewater from coal plants

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 2:49pm
  • Steam-based plants third biggest source of toxic wastewater
  • Pollutants released into water linked to cancer and other illness

The Trump administration is loosening rules for toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Related: White House spokeswoman refuses to say if Trump condemns Kenosha shooting suspect – live

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Categories: Environment

Only one in 10 utility firms prioritise renewable electricity – global study

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 8:00am

Vast majority of world’s electricity companies remain heavily invested in fossil fuels

Only one in 10 of the world’s electric utility companies are prioritising investment in clean renewable energy over growing their capacity of fossil fuel power plants, according to research from the University of Oxford.

The study of more than 3,000 utilities found most remain heavily invested in fossil fuels despite international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and some are actively expanding their portfolio of polluting power plants.

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Categories: Environment

Satellite images show rapid growth of glacial lakes worldwide

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 8:00am

Number of glacial lakes rose by 53% in 1990-2018 to reveal impact of increased meltwater

Glacial lakes have grown rapidly around the world in recent decades, according to satellite images that reveal the impact of increased meltwater draining off retreating glaciers.

Scientists analysed more than quarter of a million satellite images to assess how lakes formed by melting glaciers have been affected by global heating and other processes.

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Categories: Environment

Involve local groups in protecting biodiversity, conservationists urge

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 4:51am

Edinburgh declaration calls on leaders to work far more closely with communities

The worldwide effort to combat critical levels of biodiversity loss will fail without far greater involvement from local communities, according to an international declaration.

The “Edinburgh declaration”, published on Monday, urges leaders to work more closely with sub-national governments, indigenous peoples, national parks, local councils and wider society in meeting 20 biodiversity goals set out in the Aichi accord, signed in Nagoya, Japan, 10 years ago.

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Categories: Environment

'A sacred spot': why goldmining threatens Nova Scotia's 'wildest' river

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 3:00am

Concern grows over proposal to open three mines along Nova Scotia’s longest single waterway that supports both endangered species and ecosystems

The extractive industries have their sights set on Nova Scotia as a literal goldmine, and decades of conservation efforts – as well the future of a beloved river – hang in the balance.

Three years after Atlantic Gold opened a goldmine north-east of Halifax, the mining company intends to open three more across Nova Scotia. One of the mines has been proposed alongside the St Mary’s River, Nova Scotia’s longest single waterway – and in the opinions of many, its wildest, supporting both endangered species and ecosystems. This, the so-called Cochrane Hill goldmine, has become the focal point of mounting public opposition to goldmining in Nova Scotia.

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Categories: Environment

Recycling rates lower in England's poorest areas

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/08/31 - 2:53am

Birmingham and Liverpool among local authorities with lowest rates, analysis shows

Recycling rates for household waste are significantly lower in the most deprived areas of England, a Guardian analysis has found.

A breakdown of data from 303 local authorities in England has found that for 2018-19 85% of local authorities that are among the top 20% most deprived have household recycling rates below the overall average of 42%.

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Categories: Environment

GB carbon emissions from electricity hit record low in lockdown – report

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/08/30 - 4:01pm

Electricity demand fell by 13% in second quarter which helped renewables grow to 40% of energy mix

Carbon emissions from Great Britain’s electricity system plunged by more than a third during the coronavirus lockdown after renewable energy played its largest ever role helping to keep the lights on, according to a report.

During the spring bank holiday weekend in May, the energy grid’s carbon intensity reached a record low of 21 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour due to a slump in energy demand triggered by lockdown measures and a surge in renewable energy.

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Categories: Environment
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