Peter Garrett urges Bill Shorten to declare climate emergency if Labor wins

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 7:51pm

Exclusive: Former environment minister calls for creation of ‘war’ cabinet committee to plot transition to zero carbon

The former environment minister Peter Garrett has urged an incoming Labor government to convene a climate emergency summit to plot a transition to zero carbon, and create a super department aligned to Treasury, like the Department of Post War Reconstruction after the second world war, to implement the transition.

In a speech overnight in New Zealand, Garrett – a former environment minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments – said Bill Shorten should create a standalone “war” cabinet committee, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the new initiatives and ensuring Australia meets its emission-reduction goals.

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Categories: Environment

I have felt hopelessness over climate change. Here is how we move past the immense grief | Rob Law

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 5:01pm

My intellectual and rational understanding of it has shifted to much more of an emotional and personal one

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life.’ ‘The planet has seen sudden warming before, it wiped out almost everything.’

These are some of the headlines that bombard us at ever-increasing rates.

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Runaway consumption: 2tn drinks containers being used every year

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 4:01pm

Global sales of plastic and glass drinks bottles, cans and cartons are rising, report finds

People around the world are using almost 2tn plastic and glass drinks bottles, cans and cartons each year, according to research.

The findings, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), reveal that global sales of drinks containers are set to reach 1.9tn in 2019 – up from 1.6tn in 2015.

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Climate crisis: flooding threat ‘may force UK towns to be abandoned’

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 4:01pm

Environment Agency calls for urgent action to protect country from river and coastal floods

Entire communities might need to be moved away from coasts and rivers as the UK takes urgent action to prepare for an average global temperature rise of 4C, the Environment Agency warned.

The agency said on Thursday that difficult decisions would have to be taken in the coming years to make sure the UK was resilient amid flooding that would not be held back by higher land defences.

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Uber And Lyft Caused Major Traffic Uptick In San Francisco, Study Says

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 12:57pm

Researchers compared data from fall 2010 — before the companies made inroads in the city — and fall 2016. They found that the companies are to blame for more than half of a big increase in traffic.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant To Close, Latest Symbol Of Struggling Industry

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 12:34pm

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, site of the nation's worst nuclear accident, will shut down by the end of September. Backers failed to secure subsidies to keep the plant operating.

(Image credit: Jeff Brady/NPR)

Categories: Environment

California defies Trump to ban pesticide linked to childhood brain damage

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 12:06pm

The EPA had moved to ban chlorpyrifos under Obama, but the Trump administration reversed that effort

California is banning a widely used pesticide that has been linked to brain damage in children, a major victory for public health advocates who have long fought to outlaw the toxic chemical in the agricultural industry.

The state ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide used on almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, walnuts and other crops, follows years of research finding the chemical causes serious health effects in children, including impaired brain and neurological development. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had moved to ban the chemical under Barack Obama, but the Trump administration reversed that effort, rejecting the scientific conclusions of its own government experts.

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Categories: Environment

When '1-In-100-Year' Floods Happen Often, What Should You Call Them?

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 11:50am

The term "100-year flood" can be confusing and misleading, scientists, local emergency officials and homeowners all agree. Experts say there's a better way to communicate about flood risk.

(Image credit: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Categories: Environment

'Buses with fins': giant basking sharks reappear off California coast

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 11:08am

The marine behemoths, which can weigh more than 10,000 pounds, are returning in numbers not seen in decades

Giant basking sharks have reappeared off the coast of southern California in numbers not seen in decades.

“The sight just takes your breath away – it’s magic,” said Lotti Keenan, who saw nearly a dozen basking sharks while on a whale-watching cruise in April. Three of them circled the boat. “We knew this was such a rare thing. And people on the boat were screaming with excitement – it was like you were at a soccer game.”

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Britain passes one week without coal power for first time since 1882

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 6:05am

Landmark follows government pledge to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025

Britain has gone a week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since Queen Victoria was on the throne, in a landmark moment in the transition away from the heavily polluting fuel.

The last coal generator came off the system at 1.24pm on 1 May, meaning the UK reached a week without coal at 1.24pm on Wednesday, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator, which runs the network in England, Scotland and Wales.

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Categories: Environment

This Company Says The Future Of Nuclear Energy Is Smaller, Cheaper And Safer

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 3:02am

An Oregon company plans a new kind of nuclear power plant that many consider the future of the industry. It's smaller and cheaper and could work well with renewable energy.

(Image credit: NuScale Power)

Categories: Environment

Fresh mountain smog? 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality – study

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/08 - 3:00am

Report finds popular parks such as Yosemite and Joshua Tree have pollution at levels that threaten visitors and wildlife

Sign up for the This Land is your Land newsletter to get monthly updates on the threat to America’s public lands.

Millions of tourists will head out into America’s national parks this summer in search of fresh mountain air. But according to a new report they should instead expect dangerous levels of pollution; roughly 96% of the nation’s parks are struggling with significant air quality issues.

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Categories: Environment

US is hotbed of climate change denial, major global survey finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 11:00pm

Exclusive: Out of 23 big countries, only Saudi Arabia and Indonesia had higher proportion of doubters

The US is a hotbed of climate science denial when compared with other countries, with international polling finding a significant number of Americans do not believe human-driven climate change is occurring.

A total of 13% of Americans polled in a 23-country survey conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project agreed with the statement that the climate is changing “but human activity is not responsible at all”. A further 5% said the climate was not changing.

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Categories: Environment

Nearly two dozen Democrats want to be president. Only two have a climate change plan

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 11:00pm

Scientists have warned that governments have about 11 years to enact large-scale climate legislation to stop global warming

Of the nearly two dozen Democrats running for president, only two campaigns have so far laid out deadlines for transforming American life to slash the pollution that is warming the planet’s climate.

The world’s scientists warn that governments have about 11 years to put in place strategies to cut emissions from power plants, cars, buildings, factories and land use. Once the next US president takes office, they will have nine years.

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Categories: Environment

'We are hammering the last nail in the coffin of the fracking industry'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 10:00pm

Direct action has spooked the government, shackled the shale gas companies and raised public awareness. Are protesters winning the fight against the frackers?

It was always a poisoned chalice, mediating between multinational fracking firms and the local communities dead set against the extreme form of energy extraction in their backyards. Nonetheless, it still shocked many when the government’s “shale commissioner”, the former Labour MP Natascha Engel, resigned at the end of last month after barely six months in the job.

The role was impossible, despaired Engel, who lost her seat in North East Derbyshire in 2017 after coming out in favour of fracking in the constituency. The government, she complained, was “choosing to listen to a powerful environmental lobby campaigning against fracking rather than allowing science and evidence to guide our policymaking”.

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New Zealand introduces bill for zero carbon emissions by 2050

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 6:07pm

Jacinda Ardern says law will address climate change but faces opposition from farmers over plans to reduce methane emissions

A landmark bill which would set a target of zero carbon emissions for New Zealand by 2050 has been tabled in the New Zealand parliament.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday that the bill, which would introduce targets for carbon and biogenic methane emissions and would establish an independent climate change commission, was aimed at addressing the “long-term challenge of climate change” – the biggest single challenge facing the world.

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Australians overwhelmingly agree climate emergency is nation's No 1 threat

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 5:52pm

Lowy poll showing two-thirds of people say global warming is serious problem comes as shock UN report finds 1 million species at risk of extinction

New polling from a respected foreign policy thinktank underscores the point that 2019 is the climate change election, with a majority of Australians saying global warming is a critical threat.

The poll undertaken for Lowy says 64% of adults rank climate change number one on a list of 12 threats to Australia’s national interests, up six points from last year’s survey and a jump of 18 points since 2014.

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Categories: Environment

'Not adequate': experts rate Australian political response to extinction crisis

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 3:00pm

Following the publication of the UN’s shocking report, we ask three experts to review and rank commitments from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens

The United Nations’ global assessment of environmental health is grim: biodiversity declining at an unprecedented rate, one million species at risk of extinction, human populations in jeopardy if the trajectory is not reversed.

With the election less than two weeks away, Guardian Australia asked the Coalition, Labor and the Greens to explain how they planned to respond to the crisis. Three of the country’s leading scientists assessed what the parties had to say.

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Chernobyl review – chaos reigns in confusing nuclear disaster epic

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 2:00pm

With Jared Harris starring, this miniseries about the 1986 meltdown should be gripping – but instead strands viewers in a bewildering cloud of unanswered questions

Chernobyl is like the 80s nuclear horror-drama Threads crossed with the disaster-movie classic The Towering Inferno – but delivers neither the shocking realism of one nor the schlocky flair of the other. Sky Atlantic’s five-part miniseries (co-produced with HBO) dramatises the 1986 disaster at the nuclear power station in what is now Ukraine.

It is – at least so far – a confusing sprawl for anyone not au fait with the details of the catastrophe itself, the workings of nuclear reactors generally, or with a very good eye for faces obscured by dust and smoke, and a knack for remembering complicated names drowned out by the sound of reactor cores exploding.

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Mike Pompeo rejects Canada's claims to Northwest Passage as 'illegitimate'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/05/07 - 10:04am

Speech to Arctic Council delegates prompted frustration and surprise among experts and government officials

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has rejected Canada’s claims to the Northwest Passage as “illegitimate”, in a high-profile foreign policy speech that prompted frustration and surprise among experts and government officials.

Related: US warns Beijing's Arctic activity risks creating 'new South China Sea'

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