We needed China deal to protect ‘domestic security’, says key Solomon Islands official

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 8:17pm

Exclusive: Collin Beck, who is believed to have been involved in negotiating the pact, offers most comprehensive defence yet of the controversial deal

The controversial security deal struck between Solomon Islands and China that caught the western world off guard was needed to maintain internal security and help fight climate change, a leading Solomon Islands official has said, defending his country’s right to choose its allies.

Speaking to the Guardian in his first interview since the deal between China and Solomon Islands was leaked, Collin Beck, the permanent secretary of foreign affairs and a senior figure in the Solomons government, also said Australia should question whether it had been “fair” to Solomon Islands in its intense scrutiny of the deal.

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Categories: Environment

Record flooding and mudslides force closure of Yellowstone national park

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 7:17pm

The entire park, spanning parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, will remain closed to visitors as officials assess damage to roads and bridges

Record flooding and rockslides following a burst of heavy rains prompted the rare closure on Monday of all five entrances to Yellowstone national park at the start of the summer tourist season, the park superintendent said.

The entire park, spanning parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, will remain closed to visitors, including those with lodging and camping reservations, at least through Wednesday, as officials assess damage to roads, bridges and other facilities.

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Categories: Environment

Yosemite officials seek witnesses after 30 park sites vandalized

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 3:21pm

Spray-painted graffiti measuring several feet square appears on boulders and other sites

Officials at Yosemite national park are appealing to the public for information and witnesses after more than 30 sites in the park were vandalized with spray paint last month.

Park officials are asking anyone who was on the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls on 20 May and who saw people carrying cans of spray paint and tagging the area to contact the National Park Service.

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Categories: Environment

Big electricity consumers in Queensland cut use to avoid blackouts as NSW faces shortages

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 3:06pm

Market operator in talks with large consumers as country faces energy crisis mainly due to poorly performing coal-fired generators

Some of Queensland’s biggest consumers agreed to cut their power use on Monday to help the grid avoid blackouts, and similar requests could be made in New South Wales on Tuesday if regulators maintain forecasts for potential electricity shortfalls.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo) on Monday afternoon started talks with big consumers under its Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (Rert) scheme to head off a gap projected at one stage to be 1,454 megawatts in Queensland at 5.30pm.

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Categories: Environment

Bolsonaro says ‘something wicked’ done to Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 11:00am

Brazil president comments on journalist and Indigenous expert’s fate amid unconfirmed claims bodies have been found in Amazon

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has said he believes “something wicked” was done to the missing British journalist Dom Phillips and the Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, amid unconfirmed claims their bodies had been found in the Amazon.

British relatives of Phillips said they had been contacted by the Brazilian embassy in London on Monday morning and informed that two unidentified bodies had been found during the search operation.

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Categories: Environment

Dutch group targets hydrogen-fuelled commercial flight in 2028

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 10:32am

Consortium plans to adapt turboprop aircraft with 40-80 seats to run on environmentally friendly fuel

The world’s first hydrogen-fuelled commercial flight of a passenger plane could take place between Rotterdam and London in six years’ time, under a plan to make short-haul air travel more environmentally friendly.

The 2028 target set by a Dutch consortium is ambitious. Airbus announced its intention 18 months ago to be the first to offer zero-emission commercial aircraft models running on hydrogen, by 2035.

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Categories: Environment

UK close to deal with EDF to keep coal-fired power station open

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 6:39am

French firm in talks to extend life of Nottinghamshire plant to shore up Britain’s winter energy supplies

The UK government is close to striking a deal to keep a coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire open longer than planned as ministers attempt to shore up Britain’s energy supplies.

UK officials are in negotiations with the French energy company EDF over plans to extend the operations of the West Burton A power station near Retford.

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Categories: Environment

Weather tracker: heatwaves could add to energy problems across Europe

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2022/06/13 - 1:30am

Analysis: high temperatures will lead to a surge in energy demand for cooling but drought in Spain has reduced energy from hydropower

The extreme heat affecting Iberia this week has led to temperatures peaking at over 40C in some parts of Spain over the past days – that’s 7-9C above the seasonal average in some locations like Andalucia.

The hot and dry weather has worsened the drought issues across the region, with many water reservoirs recording extremely low levels of storage at the start of the summer season, following a very dry winter (especially January/February) and a very dry May too. Spain generates more than 10% of its electricity from hydropower plants, so this will have some serious implications for energy production and availability/prices.

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Categories: Environment

Ukraine helps feed the world – but its farmers, seeds and future are in danger | Michael Fakhri and Sofia Monsalve

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 11:25pm

Even in the midst of war, we have to think about recovery. Seeds are what make future life possible. Without seeds, it is very difficult to rebuild a food system

The war in Ukraine has made the food crisis triggered by the pandemic worse. People in Ukraine not only fear for their lives but are facing possible food shortages. Because Ukraine and Russia are major producers and exporters of agricultural commodities, the conflict is also having major impacts on global supply chains. The Ukrainian government has said that 22m tons of grain are stuck in the country due to the Russian blockade of its ports. Traders and financial speculators have further driven up wheat and cooking oil prices.

Not only are Ukrainian farms and fields being destroyed by Russian forces, but we are also very troubled by reports that Ukraine’s national seed bank has been partly destroyed amid fighting in Kharkiv in the north-east, where almost 2,000 crop samples rest in underground vaults. If Ukraine’s farmers cannot farm and the country’s seed banks are destroyed, its future is in peril.

Michael Fakhri is UN special rapporteur on the right to food and a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. Sofia Monsalve is secretary general of the food rights organization Fian International

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Categories: Environment

As Phoenix swelters, the nights are even worse than the boiling days

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 11:00pm

Temperature topped 110F on four consecutive days and has not fallen below 80F at night-time for the past week in the Arizona city, breaking several records

After a record-breaking daytime temperature in Phoenix last Friday, the onset of night offered little relief from the sweltering heat. As the clock struck midnight it was still a staggering 100F (38C) outside and just a few degrees cooler inside 60-year-old Sareptha Jackson’s home.

Jackson lay naked and as still as possible on the bed next to an old portable air conditioning unit in the bedroom window, but couldn’t relax or get comfortable. She eventually got up around 2am to make rice and beans for the following day because the air conditioner and electrical appliances won’t run together, so it’s too hot to cook during the day.

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Categories: Environment

Freezing indoors? That’s because Australian homes are closer to tents than insulated eco-buildings | Philip Oldfield

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 7:18pm

Our national building standards need to be overhauled to fight climate change and energy poverty – and improve our lives

As winter sets in, and temperatures plummet, it can sometimes feel as cold inside as it does outside. The reason for this is the poor thermal performance of houses in Australia. Our homes need to be rapidly improved to combat climate change, tackle energy poverty and improve our everyday lives.

Minimum building standards for energy and comfort in Australian houses lag far behind many regions. Fifty years ago, it was the oil crises of the 1970s that triggered the creation of building energy standards across Europe and North America, and a widespread switch to double-glazing, increased insulation and concern for energy efficiency. In Australia, it wasn’t until the 1990s that minimum insulation requirements emerged. Only in 2003 did the Building Code of Australia set housing energy efficiency standards across the country.

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Categories: Environment

Malcolm Turnbull calls for gas export limits as energy regulator caps prices in Queensland

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 5:53pm

Former PM says state and federal governments should ‘make sure all the gas we need is available here’

Malcolm Turnbull has said governments should limit gas exports to ease the energy crisis in the eastern states, hours after regulators intervened to cap electricity prices in Queensland.

On Sunday night, the Australian Energy Market Operator limited Queensland wholesale prices at $300 per megawatt hour, the first time such a move has been made in Queensland, according to the Wattclarity website. Aemo said the caps were last imposed in the National Electricity Market in Victoria and South Australia in 2019.

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Categories: Environment

More than 15,000 sheep drown after live export ship sinks in Sudan

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 4:54pm

Ship Badr 1 sank in Red Sea port of Suakin early on Sunday, prompting environmental concerns

A ship crammed with thousands of sheep sank on Sunday in Sudan’s Red Sea port of Suakin, drowning most animals onboard but with all crew surviving, officials said.

The livestock vessel was exporting the animals from Sudan to Saudi Arabia when it sank. “The ship, Badr 1, sank during the early hours of Sunday morning,” a senior Sudanese port official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It was carrying 15,800 sheep.”

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Categories: Environment

Food plan for England condemned by its own lead adviser

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 4:01pm

Henry Dimbleby says government’s response to his review of food system shows no vision and ‘is not a strategy’

The government’s lead adviser on food issues has condemned what ministers have billed as a landmark national plan to combat food poverty and obesity, saying it is “not a strategy” and warning it could mean more children will go hungry.

Henry Dimbleby’s verdict is further bad news for Boris Johnson as the white paper is a direct response to last year’s wide-ranging review of Britain’s food system, which was led by the restaurateur.

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Categories: Environment

A Hispanic community teams up with activists to demand protection from pollutants

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 2:10pm

Residents say a steel mill in Pueblo, Colo., has received preferential treatment for decades as it polluted the creek that runs along their neighborhood.

Categories: Environment

Wallabies, coal and a town called Dingo: the battle over a Queensland mine proposal

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 10:30am

A mining lease being sought for a proposed coalmine is being challenged in the state’s land court

A bid to dig a coalmine on some of the last remaining habitat of an endangered wallaby near a central Queensland town called Dingo has been withdrawn.

But the mood among neighbouring landowners who opposed the Walton Coal proposal is far from celebratory.

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Categories: Environment

Hope of finding Dom Phillips alive has gone, say mother-in-law and wife

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 8:50am

The British journalist was travelling in the Amazon with Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira when they went missing

The wife and mother-in-law of the missing British journalist Dom Phillips have said their hopes of finding him alive had gone, in a heartfelt and heart-breaking message that paid tribute to him and his travelling companion Bruno Pereira.

Phillips, a longtime contributor to the Guardian, and Pereira, an experienced Indigenous advocate, went missing on 5 June in a remote part of the western Amazon.

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Categories: Environment

US temperatures hit record levels as south-west bakes in heatwave

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2022/06/12 - 5:34am

Phoenix reported 114F, Las Vegas soared to 109F and Denver hit 100F, while inland areas of California reached triple digits

A dangerous heat swept across the American south-west over the weekend as potentially deadly heat set temperatures soaring to record levels in numerous major US cities in the region.

Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and California’s Death Valley all posted record temperatures on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment

Biden faces anger over huge New Mexico wildfire sparked by federal burns

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2022/06/11 - 1:36pm

President visits state beset by Hermits Peak Calif Canyon fire, result of two accidental fires that merged

Joe Biden landed in New Mexico on Saturday amid anger and frustration from wildfire survivors as he visited the state to review efforts to fight its biggest blaze in recorded history – which was started by federal officials.

Driven by drought and wind, the fire has destroyed hundreds of homes in mountains north-east of Santa Fe since two controlled burns by the US Forest Service went out of control in April.

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Categories: Environment

‘Secretive, adorable weirdos’: rare possum caught in the Northern Territory for first time

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2022/06/11 - 1:00pm

Ecologists say discovery of scaly-tailed possum at Bullo River Station is a sign of positive benefit of private land conservation

A rare scaly-tailed possum has been caught in the Northern Territory for the first time in what scientists say is a sign that private land conservation is having a positive effect.

The scaly-tailed possum, also known as the Wyulda, is a rock-dwelling marsupial with stout limbs and a “grippy” tail it uses to hang from branches and rock ledges to reach for seeds, fruits and flowers.

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