Birdwatch: the chiffchaff, an early sign of spring, is 20 days late this year

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 1:30pm

Chiffchaffs usually arrive in March, ahead of many other migrants, but this year’s rotten spring has delayed them

Many birds are called after the sound they make, but few sing their name quite so persistently as the chiffchaff. From mid-March onwards, I hear them at the bottom of my garden; and occasionally catch a glimpse of a tiny, olive-coloured bird flitting among the foliage, pumping its tail up and down as it sings.

Related: Country diary: Wenlock Edge: A search for meaning in this chiffchaff pair raising their chicks in my garden

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Categories: Environment

The Menindee Lakes project: who loses and who really wins?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 11:00am

The Murray-Darling authority questions the plan to shrink Menindee Lakes and its impact on communities, the environment and those downstream

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has delivered a scathing assessment of a project New South Wales is relying on to find water savings for the environment: a plan to reduce the size of the Menindee Lakes.

The assessment contained in documents revealed today by Guardian Australia suggest the controversial Menindee Lakes project could do more harm than good.

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Categories: Environment

EU will seek 'non-regression' clause to tie UK to environmental standards

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 9:03am

Michel Barnier says any trade deal will not rely on the UK’s pledges, but should include a clause to uphold the bloc’s high standards

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has warned that Brussels will not rely on Michael Gove’s pledges over the environment but instead insist on a “non-regression” clause in any future deal after Brexit to tie the UK to the bloc’s high standards.

Barnier said he welcomed a 25-year plan published in January by the environment secretary, a fervent Brexiter during the referendum campaign, under which the UK vowed to be a “global champion” of greener policies after 29 March 2019.

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Categories: Environment

EDF warns of delays at Flamanville nuclear power station in France

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 6:50am

Experts fear UK’s planned Hinkley plant will face similar budget and deadline problems

EDF Energy has warned that a flagship nuclear power station it is building in France could run further behind schedule and over budget, after it detected faults at the €10.5bn ( £9.2bn) plant.

The French state-owned firm said inspections last month had uncovered problems with welding on pipes at the Flamanville plant in north-west France.

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Categories: Environment

Farming groups take steps to stop slaughter of male dairy calves

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 4:51am

Industry bodies and NGOs are planning to generate profitable new markets in British rosé veal to prevent rising numbers of bull calves being killed at birth

New initiatives to help end the practice of killing young male dairy calves in the UK are being planned by farming groups and NGOs.

A recent Guardian investigation found a rise in the numbers being disposed of at birth – 95,000 a year according to the most recent figures – due to the lack of viable markets for bull calves and public apathy towards consuming young beef and British rosé veal.

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Categories: Environment

Six Virunga park rangers killed in DRC wildlife sanctuary

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 3:40am

Latest ambush worst attack to date at home to world’s largest population of mountain gorillas

Five rangers and a driver have been killed in an ambush in Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

A sixth ranger was injured in the attack on Monday that took place in the central section of the vast reserve, known globally for its population of rare mountain gorillas.

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Categories: Environment

EPA’s war with California proves America needs a carbon tax | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 3:00am

Artificially low fuel prices are the root of the problem

Last week, Trump’s EPA announced that it will repeal the vehicle fuel efficiency standards set under the Obama administration and replace them with weaker requirements. EPA also threatened to revoke California’s ability under the Clean Air Act to impose its own greenhouse gas standards. If they do so, California’s attorney general will sue the EPA.

The Trump Administration’s assault on clean car standards risks our ability to protect our children’s health, tackle climate change, and save hardworking Americans money. We’re ready to file suit if needed to protect these critical standards: https://t.co/AqwDR9Js18 https://t.co/qBalA25Z2l

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Categories: Environment

Government Ethics Officials Raise Red Flags On EPA Chief Scott Pruitt

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 2:00am

With a president keeping a Cabinet-level official on the job despite a raft of scandals, ethics officials are spelling out why that might be a problem.

(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef: conservationists campaign for net-free zone to protect dugongs

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/04/10 - 12:19am

WWF-Australia wants to buy 600m net, which would effectively end gillnetting in area

Conservationists plan to establish a commercial fishing net-free zone in the northern Great Barrier Reef by buying and retiring the area’s last remaining licence.

WWF-Australia will launch a crowdfunding campaign to buy the 600m net operating out of Princess Charlotte Bay in the far north, which would effectively end gillnetting in an area spanning 700km from Cooktown to the Torres Strait.

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Categories: Environment

Waitrose to remove all disposable coffee cups from shops this year

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 10:01pm

Supermarket’s customers will still be able to claim free drink if they bring a reusable cup

Waitrose plans to remove all disposable coffee cups from its shops by this autumn as part of efforts to reduce plastic and packaging waste and stop millions going into landfill.

Customers who belong to the myWaitrose loyalty scheme will still be able to get free tea or coffee from the stores’ self-service machines but will be instead be asked to use a refillable cup, the company said.

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Categories: Environment

Raja Ampat survey reveals new species and key manta ray data

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 10:00pm

Raja Ampat is the global epicentre of marine biodiversity – and the species count is still rising, thanks in large part to two scientists ...

I’m at five metres, clutching a rock outcrop on the seabed when the manta ray fixes me with its gaze. I’m free diving so there are no distracting bubbles - just the undulation of wings – four metres from tip to tip – as it passes close enough to touch, with a look that feels…nuanced. We stare at each other for a couple of moments before it wheels round, showing me a white belly scattered with dark spots and a couple of remora fish hitching a ride. Being that close to a manta is thrilling – but it’s the look that stays with me.

An archipelago of 1500 odd islands scattered over 40,000 square kilometres off the coast of West Papua, Indonesia, Raja Ampat is a great place to see manta rays – and indeed sea creatures in general. For one, these waters are home to more marine species than anywhere else on the planet: there are single reefs in Raja Ampat that contain more species than the entire Caribbean. And then there’s the fact that the entire region was declared a sanctuary for sharks and rays back in 2010 – a move that four years later led to the whole of Indonesia becoming a manta ray sanctuary – easily the world’s largest.

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Categories: Environment

Iceland to be first UK supermarket to cut palm oil from own-brand products

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 9:01pm

Frozen food specialist will reformulate own-label range to be free of controversial ingredient which drives deforestation by the end of 2018

Iceland is to become the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods, in a bid to halt the ongoing destruction of tropical rainforests in south-east Asia.

The frozen food specialist will reveal on Tuesday that the controversial ingredient has already been taken out half of its own-label range, with the rest being reformulated by the end of 2018.

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Categories: Environment

Weatherwatch: overheating cities take steps to cool down

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 1:30pm

Light-coloured roads and rooftop gardens are planning measures being employed to combat rising urban temperatures

With summer still apparently a long way off, it seems premature to be worrying about heatwaves but they are becoming as great a threat to life as winter cold. Predictions are that, in summer, most European cities could become as much as 10C hotter by the end of this century, testing the old and very young who both have trouble regulating body temperature.

Related: Urban heat islands: cooling things down with trees, green roads and fewer cars

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Categories: Environment

A Grass-Roots Movement For Healthy Soil Spreads Among Farmers

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 12:16pm

America's farmers are digging soil like never before. A movement for "regenerative agriculture" is dedicated to building healthier soil and could even lead to a new eco-label on food.

(Image credit: Dan Charles)

Categories: Environment

'It's our lifeblood': the Murray-Darling and the fight for Indigenous water rights

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 11:00am

Securing rights to cultural flows would provide employment and skills for Indigenous communities along river system

Murray-Darling: when the river runs dry

When the water levels of the Darling river fall, local elders in Wilcannia, New South Wales, say, the crime rate spikes, particularly juvenile crime.

It seems like an odd correlation until the elders explain just how important the river is to their everyday lives.

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Categories: Environment

Tree clearing, not urban sprawl, wiping out koalas in Queensland, WWF says

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 11:00am

Analysis shows 94% of the 5,000 estimated koala deaths due to habitat loss from 2012 to 2016 occurred outside the state’s heavily developed south-east

Environmentalists estimate that tree clearing in regional and rural Queensland is now 15 times more destructive to the state’s koala populations than urban sprawl.

Development, and the loss of koala habitat for housing and infrastructure, was considered a key reason why the koala was added to the “vulnerable” species list in 2012.

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Categories: Environment

‘Our territory is our life’: one struggle against mining in Ecuador

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 8:20am

The A’I Cofan in the Amazon fight back against small-scale gold-miners invading their land and new, large-scale concessions upriver

Three A’I Cofan men were staring down at a pit of rocks, dead foliage and filthy water where two gold-panners were working. Beyond was a sluice and hoses running down to the rushing, green waters of the River Aguarico. To the right, there was mud, more rocks, more equipment, a makeshift tent and camp. Behind, to the left, a Hyundai excavator and a track running downriver.

No more than two weeks before, no track had existed and all this had been primary forest. Now that was gone. Only an area about 110 x 50 metres, you might say, but this is how gold rushes start.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow third runway noise would affect 2.2m people, analysis finds

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 7:51am

Official files show government expects 973,000 households to face increased daytime noise

More than 2 million people would be exposed to additional aircraft noise if Heathrow builds a third runway, according to a government analysis.

Ministers have argued that Britain’s biggest airport will affect fewer people with noise in future, due to quieter planes. But government calculations suggest a new runway would still have a negative impact on nearly a million households, or 2.2 million people.

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Categories: Environment

BBC Radio 4 broke accuracy rules in Nigel Lawson climate change interview

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 7:40am

Ofcom says controversial claims, including on the frequency of extreme weather events, went unchallenged

BBC Radio 4 broke accuracy rules by failing to sufficiently challenge the climate change denier Nigel Lawson’s controversial claims in an interview, the broadcasting watchdog has ruled.

Lord Lawson appeared on a Radio 4 programme last summer denying the concept of climate change, which prompted complaints from the Green party and the prominent scientists Brian Cox and Jim Al-Khalili, who said it was “irresponsible and highly misleading” to imply there was still a debate around the science supporting it.

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Categories: Environment

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger: Why Scott Pruitt May Be Here To Stay

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/04/09 - 6:55am

If Pruitt's slavish devotion to deregulation has boosted his stock with Trump, it has also endeared him to an array of conservative activists and organizations who have been looking for heroes.

(Image credit: Pool/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment
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