Environment

PG&E Power Lines Blamed For Northern California Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 6:49pm

A state report finds that the utility's equipment coming into contact with trees caused the fires that ravaged the region, including the wine country.

(Image credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Categories: Environment

Miami woman bitten and likely killed by alligator, officials say

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 6:23pm

Florida woman was identified from evidence collected from a necropsy after she disappeared while walking her dogs by a lake

A woman who disappeared while walking her dogs near a lake in Miami, Florida on Friday was bitten and likely killed by an alligator that was later captured, wildlife officials said.

A necropsy confirmed the alligator bit Shizuka Matsuki, 47, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said in a statement. They believe Matsuki was killed and were searching for her body. Commission spokesman Rob Klepper said they were able to positively identify the woman from evidence collected from the necropsy of the alligator, but he wouldn’t specifically say what that evidence was.

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Categories: Environment

Move over Elon: global energy prize goes to Australia's solar guru

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 3:18pm

UNSW professor Martin Green, who revolutionised photovoltaics, says sun’s power is ‘the best option out there’

The “father of PV” – University of New South Wales professor Martin Green – has become the first Australian to win the global energy prize from a shortlist that included Tesla’s Elon Musk.

UNSW said Green had been selected from 44 contenders from 14 countries by a committee of leading scientists to share the $820,000 prize with Russian scientist Sergey Alekseenko, an expert in thermal power engineering.

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Categories: Environment

Josh Frydenberg urged to step in to save national park from NSW brumby plan

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 3:00pm

Conservationists say federal environment minister has obligation to protect areas of national significance

Conservationists have called on the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, to intervene to protect the Kosciuszko national park from brumbies after a New South Wales bill was passed giving heritage protection to the feral horses.

The Australian Conservation Foundation says the federal government has an obligation under national environment law to protect areas of national significance, including the national heritage-listed Australian Alps national parks and reserves.

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Categories: Environment

Scott Pruitt's Ethical Missteps Don't Seem To Have Any Effect On His Standing With Trump

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 1:08pm

The list of alleged ethical missteps by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt just keeps growing longer, but they don't seem to be having any effect on his standing with President Trump.

Categories: Environment

Microplastics in our mussels: the sea is feeding human garbage back to us

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 9:28am
A new report found the seafood contains an alarming amount of plastic – and in fact no sea creature is immune. It’s as if the ocean is wreaking its revenge

Shellfish are the natural filter systems of our seas, mechanisms of purity. So, to discover in a report released on World Oceans Day that mussels bought from UK supermarkets were infested with microplastic seems like a final irony in the terrible story of the plasticisation of the sea. According to the study by the University of Hull and Brunel University London, 70 particles of microplastic were found in every 100 grams of mussels.

There’s a vital disconnection here – highlighted by the bottled water you drink to wash down your moules-frites, and the fact that 89% of ocean trash comes from single-use plastic. No sea is immune from this plague, nor any ocean creature, from the modest mussel or zooplankton to the great whales.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow and the ‘aviation mafia’ | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 8:36am
Readers look at past battles over the third runway and its likely future impact

The battle to construct a third runway has been going on for much longer than your estimate of 31 years (Editorial, 6 June). It first gained government approval as long ago as 1946 but was abandoned by the incoming government in 1952. Since then there have been further attempts and in 2009 it once again gained parliamentary approval. This was overturned by the coalition government one year later when David Cameron declared: “No ifs, no buts, no third runway.” This might have been the end of the matter but the ‘aviation mafia’ is nothing if not persistent and never gives up.
Philip Sherwood
Author, Heathrow: 2000 Years of History, Harlington, Middlesex

• There is one vital element of the Heathrow runway debate that has not been aired this time (again) and is surely the central point. In the 1970s, an energy study warned us of the finite nature of oil-based transport. According to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 2016, there are 1.3tn barrels of proven oil reserves left in the world’s major fields, which at present rates of consumption should last 40 years. So if it takes 20-30 years to build the third runway, that means just 10 years of use. And that does not take into account current population expansion rates and the likelihood of greater demand on oil reserves over the next 30 years. A third runway at Heathrow is utterly futile and pointless. Air travel in its current form is dying. We need new solutions, new energy sources – not tired out old arguments.
Nigel Cubbage
Merstham, Surrey

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Categories: Environment

Don't Touch! A Scientist's Advice For Spotting Poison Ivy Before It Ruins Your Summer

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 8:36am

The best way to treat poison ivy is to avoid touching it in the first place. But that's tricky, given the many faces the rash-inducing plant can have.

(Image credit: Courtesy of John Jelesko)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 6:32am

Foraging wood ducks, an adder taking a dip and a fearless baby rabbit are among this week’s pick on images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Britain’s nuclear U-turn puts us in a very lonely club | Fred Pearce

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 4:30am

Pumping £5bn into a new plant in north Wales as a way to fight climate change is a solution at odds with the rest of the world

For once, ministers have put their money where their mouth is – into taking another stab at nuclear power. This week the business secretary, Greg Clark, announced plans to pump £5bn into a new nuclear power station at Wylfa in north Wales. It was a reversal of a longstanding Conservative policy not to underwrite nuclear construction. So why the sudden enthusiasm? And what does Clark know that the rest of the world does not?

For almost everywhere else, governments and corporations are pulling the plug on nuclear. Even in a world fearful of climate change, in which nations have promised to wean themselves off fossil fuels by the mid-century, almost no one wants to touch nuclear.

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Categories: Environment

Heathrow third runway protesters vow to step up campaign

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 3:01am

Activists to escalate action in opposition to environmental impact of proposed expansion

Activists opposed to the government’s Heathrow expansion plans have vowed to escalate their protests in the coming weeks to avoid what they say would be an “environmental catastrophe”.

The warning follows a week of direct action in which eight people have been arrested as environmental opposition to the a third runway proposal grows.

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Categories: Environment

Sadiq Khan plans to extend London's ultra-low emission zone

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/06/08 - 2:00am

Scheme will cover North and South Circular roads, as well as capital’s centre, in 2021

Sadiq Khan has unveiled details of his plan to introduce an “ultra-low emission zone” covering a huge swath of London in the next few years.

The scheme, which will see the most polluting vehicles charged for entering the centre of the capital from April next year, will be extended to the North Circular and South Circular roads in 2021.

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Categories: Environment

It's time for Ireland to deliver a credible climate plan | Peter Thorne

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 11:30pm

A recent Citizens’ Assembly ballot shows that there is a huge public appetite for strong action on emissions


Last week the Irish Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that Ireland will miss its 2020 international emissions target by a wide margin. The goal is 20% cuts on 2005 levels; in reality we’re on track for 1%.

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Categories: Environment

Plastic bag ban: What are the alternatives? – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 10:49pm

By the end of June, most of Australia’s major supermarkets will have stopped handing out single-use plastic bags.

Woolworths, Coles, and the Queensland and Western Australian governments are all phasing out lightweight plastic shopping bags, potentially preventing billions of bags from finding their way into landfill or oceans.

But what is and isn’t being phased out? What are the alternatives, and how effective will the policy be?

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Categories: Environment

Tourists to Med told to ditch plastic to avoid huge rise in beach litter

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 10:30pm

Summer tourists cause a 40% spike in plastic marine litter in the region, new figures reveal

Tourists are being urged to reduce their use of plastic as new figures reveal holidaymakers cause a 40% spike in marine litter in the Mediterranean each summer.

Nearly all the waste created by the surge in tourism over the summer months in countries like Italy, France and Turkey is plastic litter, says WWF in a new report.

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Categories: Environment

The week in plastic - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 10:00pm

This week marked World Environment day and World Ocean day, both of which highlighted plastic global pollution as the most urgent problem facing our planet. So as a parody of our popular Week in wildlife gallery, from dead pelicans to trapped turtles and garbage-eating cows, we bring you ... the Week in plastic.

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Categories: Environment

Coal comfort: Queensland budget to benefit from surging mining royalties

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 9:31pm

Windfall of $1bn shows state remains reliant on resources even amid renewables push

Surging coal prices will help to underwrite the upcoming Queensland budget. The state is expected to announce it has earned about $1bn more than initially forecast from royalties.

The windfall will help the Palaszczuk Labor government pay for infrastructure spending and handouts in next week’s budget, and will likely speed up the state’s projected return to surplus.

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Categories: Environment

Power from the sun for maritime warning lights - archive, 8 June 1961

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 9:30pm

8 June 1961: A light-buoy, or beacon, which derives its power from the sun is being developed with some success

A striking mark of faith in the British climate has been made by the engineers of Trinity House, who are developing with success a form of light-buoy or beacon which derives its power from the sun.

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Categories: Environment

Yellowstone boss: Trump officials forced me out over wildlife advocacy

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 5:16pm

Dan Wenk is being used as an example to undermine culture of conservation, say former park service workers

The superintendent of Yellowstone national park says he has been forced out of his job by the Trump administration over his wildlife advocacy.

“It’s a hell of a way to be treated at the end of four decades spent trying to do my best for the park service and places like Yellowstone, but that’s how these guys are,” said Dan Wenk, referring to the US interior department. “Throughout my career, I’ve not encountered anything like this, ever.”

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Categories: Environment

Domestic tourism to Great Barrier Reef falls in wake of coral bleaching

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/06/07 - 11:00am

Reef no longer among top 10 reasons for Australians to visit Cairns, says survey

The lure of the Great Barrier Reef to Australian tourists has “fallen dramatically” since the onset of successive coral bleaching events in 2016, according to a new report that reveals fewer domestic visitors are heading to north Queensland to visit the natural wonder.

The report, by the Centre for Tourism and Regional Opportunities at Central Queensland University, says towns should now develop “new tourism experiences” to compensate for lost visitors and the likelihood of further damage to the climate-threatened reef.

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Categories: Environment
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