Environment

Darling and Howard back call for post-Brexit carbon tax

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 4:01pm

Policy Exchange report calls for steadily rising levy to help tackle climate change

Companies selling fossil fuels in Britain should face a steadily rising carbon tax to tackle climate change after Brexit, according to the former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling and the Conservative party grandee Michael Howard.

In a cross-party campaign to ensure the government sticks to its commitment to cut carbon emissions after Britain leaves the EU, the two politicians said a tax should be introduced as soon as reasonably possible.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution linked to greater risk of mouth cancer, finds study

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:30pm

Research in Taiwan has show a link between very high levels of air pollution and oral cancer

High levels of air pollution are linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer, new research has revealed.

Scientists have previously linked high air pollution to a host of health problems, from an increased risk of dementia to asthma and even changes in the structure of the heart, with recent research suggesting there is no “safe level” of air pollution.

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Categories: Environment

There Is Good News In The Universe, You Just Have To Look At Some Dirt To Find It

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:38pm

Astrophysicist Adam Frank says you don't have to look to the stars to be impressed with the cosmic matter that binds us together. Pick up some dirt!

Categories: Environment

Hurricane Michael Heading Up Gulf Coast Toward Florida Panhandle

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:38pm

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for hundreds of thousands of people living near the coast on Florida's panhandle as Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.

Categories: Environment

Inside The EPA: How Employees Are Reacting To The U.N. Climate Report

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:38pm

The United Nations released a climate report on Monday, but how does it fit with EPA policies? NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Washington Post reporter Brady Dennis about how EPA employees are responding.

Categories: Environment

Trump quiet as the UN warns of climate change catastrophe

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 11:04am

President says he ‘will be looking at’ report warning ‘unprecedented’ changes needed to avoid extreme heat, floods and poverty

Faced with a major UN report that warns of floods, drought, extreme heat and increased poverty should the world not take radical action to address climate change, Donald Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet.

The US president was visiting Florida, a state particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and currently in the path of Hurricane Michael, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned on Monday that “unprecedented” changes were needed to stave off dire impacts if the world warms 1.5C beyond the pre-industrial period.

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Categories: Environment

Shell boss says mass reforestation needed to limit temperature rises to 1.5C

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:35am

Ben van Beurden says ‘another Brazil in terms of rainforest’ will help achieve UN target

The boss of Shell has said a huge tree-planting project the size of the Amazon rainforest would be needed to meet a tougher global warming target, as he argued more renewable energy alone would not be enough.

Ben van Beurden said it would be a major challenge to limit temperature rises to 1.5C (equivalent to a rise of 2.7F), which a landmark report from the UN’s climate science panel has said will be necessary to avoid dangerous warming.

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Categories: Environment

We must win the battle to limit global warming | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:28am
Readers including Fawzi Ibrahim and Caroline Lucas MP discuss ways to combat greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change

The “final tick box” to limit global warming is not just political (Global warming must not exceed 1.5C, landmark UN report warns, 8 October), it is also economic. Capitalism, the cause of global warming, cannot be its remedy. Industrial production came about when commodity production became dominant – an economic system in which commodities are produced for the sole purpose of being sold, upon which they return more money to the investors than their original outlay.

Related: Environmental warnings should stop drivers taking the road to ruin | Letters

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Categories: Environment

Environmental warnings should stop drivers taking the road to ruin | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:28am
Matt Wheeler, Chris Osman, Pam Laurance and Bill White on the changes that need to be made to road regulations and driver habits in order to avoid climate catastrophe

Following the UN’s report concluding carbon emissions need to be reduced massively and rapidly to prevent an average increase in global temperatures of more than 1.5C (Global warming must not exceed 1.5C, landmark UN report warns, 8 October), one quick and simple way in which the UK could make a start is by cutting the top speed vehicles can travel on motorways from 70 to 60mph. All cars operate most efficiently at a speed between 50 and 60mph. At the stroke of a pen we could ensure all vehicles on motorways are running far closer to their most efficient levels. It won’t save the world on its own, but it’s a cost-free and easy step to take that gets us moving in the right direction.
Matt Wheeler
Bushey, Hertforshire

• It is increasingly evident how difficult it will be to stop global warming; the need is pressing, obvious and requires strong leadership from governments. But, incredibly, our government is planning to build a major road (the so-called expressway) between Oxford and Cambridge. Painful as it might appear, the time has come when we have to stop building new major roads altogether, anywhere. We have to slash use of roads and fossil fuels, not encourage them.

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Categories: Environment

The time is now for a global pact for the environment | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:25am

We are calling for the adoption of a third pact, enshrining a new generation of fundamental commitments, write Yann Aguila, Antonio Herman Benjamin, Laurent Fabius and 128 others

On 10 April 2018, the United Nations general assembly adopted a resolution that paved the way for negotiations on a global pact for the environment. This international treaty would combine the guiding legal principles for environmental action into one single and far-reaching text. In 2015, the adoption of the sustainable development goals and the Paris climate agreement represented major progress. However, environmental damage persists and is more serious than ever before. The years 2017 and 2018 have seen record-breaking temperatures. Biodiversity continues to decline at a rapid pace.

With the global pact for the environment, the international community would be equipped for the first time with a treaty of a general nature that covers all environmental areas. It would be the cornerstone of international environmental law, therefore overseeing the different existing sectoral agreements (climate, biodiversity, waste, pollution, etc), filling the gaps and facilitating their implementation.

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Categories: Environment

The need to invest in renewables | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:24am

Feed-in tariff subsidies must not be abandoned, writes Sandra Walmsley, while Gaynor Adey says the UK government should look again at the Swansea Bay tidal project

Nicholas Stern suggests that strong political will is needed if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change (All leaders must recognise the choice: act decisively now or suffer the consequences later, Analysis, 8 October). Unfortunately, there no evidence of such will, and the rollercoaster of policy for renewables means that potentially thriving industries have faced uncertainty.

82% of UK citizens support renewables, yet the management of subsidies has already reduced the number of registered PV installers by more than 60%. Current proposals on abandoning feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidies will cause even more job and skills losses. Maintaining the current export tariff on FiTs is essential. Proposals for all suitable new buildings to have renewable energy systems would have a major effect on carbon emissions for a very small proportion of the costs.

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Categories: Environment

France offers lessons on plastic bags | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 10:21am
Ecosystems | Fossil-fuel adverts | Brexit | Fracking | Compostable bags

It is good to see that an appalling future awaiting the planet is being recognised (Huge risk if global warming exceeds 1.5C, warns landmark UN report, 8 October) and brought to light by the IPCC. Is there now any hope that the Convention on Biological Diversity can be jolted into comparable action that promotes the possibly more important and urgent demise facing biodiversity and ecosystems on our planet?
Dr Geoff Meaden
Canterbury, Kent

• Important coverage of the IPCC’s landmark report on pages 1, 12 and 13 of the Guardian (8 October). On page 14? A full-page advert offering 25% off on 100,000 seats for easyJet. Time to ditch the fossil-fuel advertising, surely?
Ian Sinclair
London

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Categories: Environment

UK fracking rules on earthquakes could be relaxed, says minister

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 5:57am

Exclusive: Claire Perry says level at which operations must be halted could be raised

Rules designed to halt fracking operations if they trigger minor earthquakes could be relaxed as the shale industry begins to expand, the UK energy minister, Claire Perry, has said.

A series of small tremors seven years ago prompted tough regulations that mean even very low levels of seismic activity now require companies to suspend fracking.

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Categories: Environment

Amazon at risk from Bolsonaro's grim attack on the environment | Fabiano Maisonnave

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:32am

Threats to the rainforest and its people and an end to the Paris agreement are among the promises of Brazil’s presidential hopeful, reports Climate Home

No more Paris agreement. No more ministry of environment. A paved highway cutting through the Amazon.

Not only that. Indigenous territories opened to mining. Relaxed environmental law enforcement and licensing. International NGOs, such as Greenpeace and WWF, banned from the country. A strong alliance with the beef lobby.

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Categories: Environment

Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 3:23am

The storm is forecast to be the most destructive to hit the Panhandle in decades and expected to send life-threatening surges of ocean water into coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.

(Image credit: NOAA/NWS, Esri, HERE, Garmin, Earthstar Geographics)

Categories: Environment

In Changing Climate, Endangered Right Whales Find New Feeding Grounds

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:56am

North Atlantic right whales used to turn up large numbers off Maine's coast, but now, adapting to climate changes, they are being spotted further north in Gulf of St. Lawrence.

(Image credit: Murray Carpenter for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Despite A Ban, Arkansas Farmers Are Still Spraying Controversial Weedkiller

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/10/09 - 1:53am

Many farmers are defying efforts by regulators to strictly limit the use of dicamba, a popular weedkiller that's prone to drifting into neighboring fields.

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Categories: Environment

America's first autonomous robot farm replaces humans with 'incredibly intelligent' machines

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

Iron Ox, based in California, aims to improve labor shortages and pressure to produce crops by using AI and heavy machinery

America’s first autonomous robot farm launched last week, in the hopes that artificial intelligence (AI) can remake an industry facing a serious labor shortage and pressure to produce more crops.

Claiming an ability to “grow 30 times more produce than traditional farms” on the strength of AI software, year-round, soilless hydroponic processes, and moving plants as they grow to efficiently use space, the San Carlos, California-based company Iron Ox aims to address some of the agricultural industry’s biggest challenges.

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Categories: Environment

Plastic bottle washes up looking 'almost new' after nearly 50 years at sea

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/10/08 - 6:43pm

Coastguard expresses shock after decades-old piece of debris ends up on UK beach

A plastic washing-up bottle that is at least 47 years old has been found washed up on a beach in the UK with its lettering and messaging still clear, prompting warnings about the enduring problem of plastic waste.

The item, found by a coastguard warden at a beach in Somerset, “still looks almost new”, said the organisation. “We were staggered yesterday by how much debris has washed up on the beach,” wrote the Burnham Coastguard on Facebook. “It’s shocking how long … rubbish can survive and ultimately harm nature.”

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Categories: Environment

What It Would Take To Avert The Dire Situation Described In The U.N. Climate Report

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/10/08 - 4:29pm

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Andrew Jones of the nonprofit Climate Interactive about why he thinks people should fight to reverse the climate change trend, despite recent bleak projections.

Categories: Environment
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