Conservationists decry NSW shark net trial after protected species caught and killed

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 7:13pm

One bull shark caught during November and December period along with marine turtles and rays

New South Wales shark nets caught just one targeted shark but continued to kill protected species this summer, a result environmentalists have described as “unfathomable”.

Figures released this week from a trial of shark nets on northern NSW’s beaches show they have caught a single bull shark in November and December.

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Categories: Environment

Brown snake bite kills man who tried to defend dog

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 5:23pm

Despite administration of antivenom, 24-year-old died within an hour of being bitten on the finger in NSW backyard

A man is dead after he was bitten by a brown snake while trying to help his dog in the north-west of New South Wales.

The 24-year-old was rushed to hospital by a family member but died within an hour of being bitten on the finger in a backyard in Tamworth on Wednesday night.

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Categories: Environment

How Firewood Is Faring In Vermont After Severe Cold Spell

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 2:16pm

When New England experiences severe cold weather, rural homes quickly burn through a precious wintertime commodity: firewood. After the latest cold spell, NPR looks at how Vermonters' woodpiles are faring, and what the rest of the the winter will hold.

Categories: Environment

Search Continues In California For Missing People After Mudslides

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 2:16pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Capt. Sara Rathbun of the Los Angeles County Fire Department's search and rescue team about the mudslides in Santa Barbara, Calif. The mudslides have killed at least 17 people.

Categories: Environment

'A really big deal': New York City's fossil fuel divestment could spur global shift

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 12:58pm

Economists say city’s status as financial and cultural giant means move to sever ties with fossil fuel will catalyze others in US and around the world to follow

New York City’s decision to sever ties with its fossil fuel investments is set to prove a catalyst to other cities in the face of the Trump administration’s staunch support for coal, oil and gas interests, according to several leading economists.

On Wednesday, city officials announced that New York was to divest its pension funds of about $5bn in fossil fuel-linked money over the next five years. New York’s total pension fund for its teachers, firefighters and other city workers is worth about $189bn.

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Categories: Environment

UK’s wasted chances to recycle and renew | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 12:15pm
Britain should follow China’s example on renewables, writes Feargal Dalton, and Ian Paul urges the UK to step up to the recycling challenge. Neil Sinclair wants a fossil fuel-free February, while Grace Hewson wants a plastic-free newspaper

In view of the appalling revelations that the UK has been shipping vast quantities of plastic to China for many years (Editorial, 8 January), would it not be a good idea to have the UK lead once more in something and have genuine recycling plants set up here in the country? I mean genuine plants to process plastic from the UK and the rest of Europe, not just depots for onward reselling as seems to have been the case. 

There are initiatives to use such waste plastic in innovative ways. For example there is a small startup company in Scotland, MacRebur, developing ways to reduce the amount of toxic bitumen in asphalt by substituting a proportion of waste plastic into the mix. Surely we should urge government and private industry to build and develop plants to deal with the problem now, before we are knee-deep in bottles?
Ian Paul

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Categories: Environment

May’s plastic plan is big on gimmicks, but it won’t cut waste | George Monbiot

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 10:56am
The strategy ignores a critical issue: the more our economy grows, the more we’ll inevitably consume

It’s as if it were written with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. In terms of rhetoric, Theresa May’s 25-year environment plan is in some ways the best government document I’ve ever read. In terms of policy, it ranges from the pallid to the pathetic.

Those who wrote it are aware of the multiple crises we face. But, having laid out the depth and breadth of our predicaments, they propose to do almost nothing about them. I can almost hear the internal dialogue: “Yes, let’s change the world! Hang on a minute, what about our commitment to slashing regulations? What about maximising economic growth? What would the Conservatives’ major funders have to say about it? Oh all right, let’s wave our hands around instead.”

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Categories: Environment

Priest to chain herself to tree at Euston in protest against HS2 felling plans

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 10:54am

Residents say they have been pushed into taking direct action to save the 200 trees around train station in central London

A priest is to chain herself to a tree outside Euston station in central London in a protest against the felling of more than 200 trees around the station to make way for the HS2 rail line.

Dozens of giant London plane trees in Euston Square Gardens are among those earmarked to be cut down to provide temporary sites for construction vehicles and a taxi rank displaced by work at the station.

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Categories: Environment

Government Scientists Say A Controversial Pesticide Is Killing Endangered Salmon

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 10:52am

The insecticide chlorpyrifos, already under attack for its risk to small children, may be killing salmon as well. The National Marine Fisheries Service is recommending restrictions on its use.

(Image credit: Thomas Kline/Getty Images/First Light)

Categories: Environment

Government indecision leaves £1.3bn Swansea tidal lagoon project in limbo

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 10:19am

Fresh offer of ‘substantial investment’ from Welsh first minister raises hope for clean energy plan getting a green light from Westminster

Plans for a £1.3bn tidal power lagoon in Swansea could still be backed by ministers despite government indecision on whether to support it, according to the author of an independent review on the project.

Charles Hendry, a Conservative politician and former energy minister, enthusiastically supported the scheme a year ago as a source of clean power and UK jobs.

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Categories: Environment

Environmentalists Warn Of Mediterranean Pollution From Lebanon Land Reclamation

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 8:04am

A land reclamation project that uses vast amounts of garbage extends hundreds of feet into the sea. "We are fishing plastic," says a fisherman. The country has long struggled to manage its waste.

(Image credit: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Montana Barley Fields Become Front Line For Climate Change And Beer

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 6:00am

Barley, the "king of malt," needs a precise recipe of water and sunshine to thrive — too much of either will cause it to wither and die. And amid a changing climate, that's exactly what's happening.

(Image credit: Tony Bynum/Food & Environment Reporting Network)

Categories: Environment

Theresa May defends green plan as critics say it is too slow and vague

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 5:56am

Environmental groups welcome ambition but say 25-year promises must be backed by force of law, money and new watchdog

Theresa May has said her government is serious about improving the environment after pressure groups gave a lukewarm response to a 25-year green plan, praising its ambition but warning that it lacked sufficient proposals for immediate action.

May’s proposals were also criticised by Jeremy Corbyn, who said her pledge to stop all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 was “far too long” to take action.

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Categories: Environment

New York City just declared war on the oil industry | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 5:24am

The home of Wall Street announced on Wednesday that it will be divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels. That hits fossil fuel giants where it hurts

Over the years, the capital of the fight against climate change has been Kyoto, or Paris – that’s where the symbolic political agreements to try and curb the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions have been negotiated and signed. But now, New York City vaulted to leadership in the battle.

On Wednesday, its leaders, at a press conference in a neighborhood damaged over five years ago by Hurricane Sandy, announced that the city was divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels, and added for good measure that they were suing the five biggest oil companies for damages. Our planet’s most important city was now at war with its richest industry. And overnight, the battle to save the planet shifted from largely political to largely financial.

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Categories: Environment

Theresa May proposes plastic-free supermarket aisles in green strategy

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 5:07am

PM declares war on scourge of plastic waste as she unveils much-heralded 25-year environmental plan

Theresa May has announced a war on plastic waste, with proposed policies including plastics-free aisles in supermarkets and a tax on takeaway containers.

The prime minister set out her ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years in a speech on Thursday in which she promised the UK would lead internationally on environmental issues. But campaign groups said the aspirations would need to be backed up by legislation.

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Categories: Environment

Florida Receives Offshore Drilling Exemption; Others Want It, Too

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 3:01am

In Florida, some are calling the Trump administration's announcement that the state is exempt from a plan to expand offshore drilling a political stunt to help Gov. Rick Scott.

Categories: Environment

California in revolt: how the progressive state plans to foil the Trump agenda

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 3:00am

From immigration to the environment and recreational cannabis, state leaders and activists are finding paths to circumvent the administration. Will it work?

California prides itself on being first with progressive laws on climate change, labor rights and marijuana. In 2018, the Golden State’s “firsts” are defensive – bold proposals and legal maneuvers to protect citizens from Donald Trump.

State leaders have pushed legislation and lawsuits to circumvent and undo Trump’s agenda on immigration, the environment, internet freedom and other liberal causes. One of the most consequential victories came Tuesday when a judge in San Francisco blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end a program that allows 800,000 undocumented people to study and work in the US.

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Categories: Environment

Insect declines: new alarm over mayfly is ‘tip of iceberg’, warn experts

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 11:30pm

Modest pollution in many English rivers is enough to kill 80% of eggs, increasing concerns over insects which are vital to all ecosystems

Modest levels of pollution found in many English rivers are having a devastating impact on mayflies, new research suggests, killing about 80% of all eggs.

Clouds of emerging mayflies were once a regular sight on English summer evenings and they are a key part of the food chain that supports fish, birds and mammals. The finding that even pollution well below guidelines can cause serious harm adds to concerns about plummeting insect numbers.

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Categories: Environment

Big new renewable projects planned across Australia as Tesla effect hits

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 11:20pm

Following the success of Elon Musk’s 100-megawatt battery in South Australia, another battery and renewable power plant are in the works

Australia’s renewable energy sector responds to the success of South Australia’s Tesla lithium ion battery. South Australia will build the world’s largest solar thermal plant, and a Queensland wind farm may be the site of a new record-breaking battery.

The Aurora solar plant in Port Augusta, SA, will begin construction this year, and is slated to provide 100% of the state government’s electricity needs by 2020, the state’s acting energy minister, Chris Picton, announced on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Beak fitness: New Zealand develops roadside gym for endangered keas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/10 - 7:05pm

Conservationists want to stop the birds – dubbed the world’s smartest parrot – from wandering onto roads and begging humans for food

Bird experts in New Zealand have designed a special gym for the country’s playful alpine parrot to keep them away from some of the nation’s most dangerous roads.

For the last couple of years contractors working on the road to Milford Sound in the South Island have captured footage of keas moving their road cones and equipment into the middle of the road when the workers knocked off overnight.

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Categories: Environment
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