Stephen Colbert: 'Those who fail to learn from history … are Donald Trump'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/07/25 - 7:25am

Comics, including Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers, discussed Trump’s increased brazenness and the rollback of environmental protections

Late-night hosts on Tuesday discussed reports that Donald Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of former government officials and the latest from the interior and education departments.

Related: Trevor Noah on the Michael Cohen tapes: 'The perfect audiobook for our road trip to hell'

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Categories: Environment

Gene-edited plants and animals are GM foods, EU court rules

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/07/25 - 7:08am

Landmark decision means gene-edited plants and animals will be regulated under the same rules as genetically modified organisms

Plants and animals created by innovative gene-editing technology have been genetically modified and should be regulated as such, the EU’s top court has ruled.

The landmark decision ends 10 years of debate in Europe about what is – and is not – a GM food, with a victory for environmentalists, and a bitter blow to Europe’s biotech industry.

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Categories: Environment

Heat Waves: A Global Sweat

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2018/07/25 - 7:06am

Is this just a particularly hot summer? Or are we experiencing a natural disaster?

(Image credit: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

British farmers fear fire as heatwave creates 'tinderbox'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/07/25 - 6:35am

Wildfire is now an over-riding concern for many farmers, who are taking extra precautions to stop fires spreading as the hot spell continues

“It’s like a tinderbox out here,” says Lesley Chandler, looking down at parched fields where bleached-out grass struggles through baked, stone-hard earth. “Just a spark could set it all alight.”

Chandler farms 200 acres of arable land in Oxfordshire, where there has been virtually no rain for weeks. Pastures that would normally boast grass nearly a foot tall have instead a thin cover of dried-out vegetation.

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Categories: Environment

Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/07/25 - 3:00am

Facebook is still struggling to contain its fake news problem

Marc Morano is the real-world fossil fuel industry version of Nick Naylor. His career began working for Rush Limbaugh, followed by a job at Cybercast News Service where he launched the ‘Swift Boat’ attacks on 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. In 2006, Morano became the director of communications for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who is perhaps best known for throwing a snowball on the Senate floor and calling human-caused global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

Thus it’s unsurprising that in 2009, Morano began directing fossil fuel-funded think tanks designed to cast doubt on the reality of and dangers associated with human-caused global warming. As he admitted in Merchants of Doubt, Morano frequently embodies the strategy of climate denial known as ‘fake experts’:

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Categories: Environment

UK theme parks to offer half-price entry in exchange for used plastic bottles

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 11:01pm

Legoland and Thorpe Park among the attractions that have joined Coca-Cola in a trial offering instant incentives for recycling

Visitors to some of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions are to be offered half-price entry in exchange for used plastic drinks bottles, as part of a trial starting on Wednesday which gives instant incentives for recycling.

In a tie-up between theme park operator Merlin and drinks giant Coca-Cola, a series of so-called “reverse vending machines” will be installed outside the entrances of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland.

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Categories: Environment

Frydenberg offers olive branch over controversial emissions target

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 7:16pm

Exclusive: Energy minister says targets can be reviewed in five years if states sign up to energy guarantee

Josh Frydenberg has offered an olive branch on the national energy guarantee, telling state energy ministers the emissions reduction target can be reviewed after five years – stepping back from an ambit claim that it be locked in for a decade.

The concession is flagged in a commonwealth paper circulated to the states late on Tuesday night. It sets out the Turnbull’s government’s position on how emissions reduction in the Neg will work.

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Categories: Environment

South Australia on track to meet 75% renewables target Liberals promised to scrap

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 6:38pm

Liberal energy minister, who inherited policy criticised as a mix of ‘ideology and idiocy’, says he’ll ensure it does not come at too high a price

South Australia’s energy minister says the state is on track to have 75% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 – the target set by the former Labor premier Jay Weatherill and once rejected by his Liberal government.

And Dan van Holst Pellekaan pledged to ensure it does not come at too high a price.

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Categories: Environment

(Voracious consumption) x (rising population) = planetary crisis | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 10:31am
Marcus Nield of the UN’s Climate Change Adaptation Unit says blaming China for is a case of ‘yellow peril’ hysteria, while Robin Maynard highlights the key role of population in depleting resources

Blaming China for climate change is a clearcut case of “yellow peril” hysteria (Letters, 12 July). On average, a person in China consumes less than half of the emissions of a person in the US (7.2 tonnes per capita annually compared with 16.5 tonnes). So why all the finger-wagging at China? There’s a blatant mistake recurring in carbon politics. Yes, as a nation, China emits the most carbon dioxide, but an astronomical volume of these emissions are to manufacture our goods in the west. Is it fair to maintain a voracious level of consumption in the US and UK while blaming China for producing the goods that we’re consuming? Don’t look at emissions in isolation. Look at them in tandem with consumption, and then we’ll see where to place the burden of blame. Also, China’s investments in renewables have caused the costs to plummet, from which the entire world can now benefit. China invests more than $100bn in domestic renewables every year – more than twice the level of the US, and more than the US and the EU combined.
Marcus Nield
Climate Change Adaptation Unit, UN Environment, Nairobi, Kenya

• Your article (23 July) accurately sums up the excellent work done by the Global Footprint Network regarding our depletion of the planet’s ability to support us. What, unlike GFN themselves, the article did not acknowledge is that the number of people consuming those resources is a critical, if not the critical, driver of the unfolding crisis. In 1970, our global population was less than half of the 7.6 billion we have presently. In 1970, Earth Overshoot Day fell on the 29 December: in 2018, on 1 August. Can anyone credibly claim that those two changes are not linked?

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Categories: Environment

Greek wildfires: dry winter and strong winds led to tinderbox conditions

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 9:35am

Experts call for better forest management and focus on prevention after blaze that killed more than 70 people

An unusually dry winter, with less than average rainfall interspersed with localised flooding in some areas, is emerging as a major contributing factor to the wildfires that are ravaging the mainland of Greece.

Lack of the expected steady rainfall in the winter months meant groundwater sources failed to recharge and left vegetation unable to recover fully from the high temperatures of the 2017 summer. As a result, when temperatures topping 40C hit some areas during this summer’s heatwave and drought, the conditions were already in place for wildfires to take hold.

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Categories: Environment

Cuadrilla gets go-ahead to start fracking at Lancashire site

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 8:45am

Energy minister issues first permit since new regulatory regime introduced

Shale gas firm Cuadrilla has been given the green light by the government to start fracking at a well in Lancashire, after the energy minister issued the first fracking permit since a new regulatory regime was introduced.

Fracking is expected to begin in late August or early September at the Preston New Road site, between Blackpool and Preston, which has been the focus of 18 months of protests since work on the site started.

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Categories: Environment

The Endangered Species Act: On The Brink Of Extinction?

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 7:06am

The law celebrates its 45th birthday this year.

(Image credit: OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

'The US government has checked out on renewables': can cities fill the gap?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 4:00am

Burlington, the first US city to run entirely on clean power, is inspiring other cities to make progress on climate change

Burlington in Vermont has already given the world Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and provided the political launchpad for Bernie Sanders. Now the city’s successful switch to 100% renewable electricity is spurring US mayors to fill the gaping void on climate change action left by the Trump administration.

Burlington didn’t make a fuss when it switched on a new hydropower plant in late 2014 and became the first US city to run entirely on clean power. “We didn’t have parades. I don’t know why in retrospect we didn’t make more of it,” says Miro Weinberger, the wire-haired mayor of Burlington.

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Categories: Environment

Beavers released in Forest of Dean as solution to flooding

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 3:30am

Hope is that dams built by pair of beavers will hold back water and improve biodiversity

Four hundred years after the beaver was hunted to extinction in the UK, two of the mammals have been reintroduced on government land in an English forest as part of a scheme to assess whether they could be a solution to flooding.

Two Eurasian beavers were released on Tuesday into their new lodge within a large penned-off section of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. The hope is that the animals will build dams and create ponds on Greathough Brook, which feeds into the River Wye, and slow the flow of water through the steep-sided, wooded valley at times of torrential rainfall.

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Categories: Environment

We're Drowning In Plastic Trash. Jenna Jambeck Wants To Save Us

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 2:03am

The engineer views a landfill as a living ecosystem, and the plastic that clogs it as a serious threat that crowds out life and never goes away. Can we eliminate the waste before it smothers us?

(Image credit: Courtesy of Amy Brooks)

Categories: Environment

Trump officials may allow 'shaker machines' to search arctic refuge for oil

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2018/07/24 - 2:00am

Seismic testing plan would cause irreparable harm to Alaska national wildlife refuge, biologists say

The Trump administration has announced it is considering a proposal to conduct seismic testing for oil and gas in the Arctic national wildlife refuge, the largest such preserve in the US.

If the plan moves forward, vehicles with “shakers” – diesel-powered equipment that sends tremors through the landscape – will be deployed along Alaska’s northern coastal plain in an effort to map underground hydrocarbon deposits.

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Categories: Environment

Mary Robinson launches new feminist fight against climate change

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/23 - 10:30pm

Former Irish president’s initiative kicks off with podcasts pairing her with comedian Maeve Higgins

Women around the world who are leading the fight against climate damage are to be highlighted by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner, in the hopes of building a new global movement that will create “a feminist solution for climate change”.

Perhaps more revolutionary still, the new initiative is light-hearted in tone, optimistic in outlook and presents positive stories in what the originators hope will be seen as a fun way.

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Categories: Environment

Monsanto's 'cancer-causing' weedkiller destroyed my life, dying man tells court

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/23 - 5:38pm

Testifying in landmark trial, former school groundskeeper describes suffering allegedly caused by company’s chemicals

Dewayne Johnson said that if he had known what he knew now about Roundup weedkiller, “I would’ve never sprayed that product on school grounds … if I knew it would cause harm … It’s unethical.”

Johnson, a former school groundskeeper in northern California who is terminally ill, was testifying on Monday in his landmark suit against Monsanto about the cancer risks of the company’s popular weedkiller. He is the first person to take the agrochemical company to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer.

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Categories: Environment

Republican lawmaker pitches carbon tax in defiance of party stance

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/07/23 - 2:56pm

Representative Carlos Curbelo has proposed a tax on carbon dioxide emissions but Republicans are expected to block it

A Republican lawmaker has proposed that the US introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, in a departure from the party’s decade-long hostility toward any measure aimed at addressing climate change.

Carlos Curbelo of Florida, considered a moderate GOP member of Congress, said a carbon tax would avoid “saddling young Americans with a crushing environmental debt” and expressed his belief that “this bill or legislation similar to it” will become law one day.

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Categories: Environment

Why A Drop Of 4 Degrees Made A Big Difference For A Garment Maker's Bottom Line

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2018/07/23 - 1:27pm

Clothing factories in India can get pretty hot. How does that affect worker productivity? Researchers looked to the lights and gained an unexpected insight.

(Image credit: Francesco Zorzi for NPR)

Categories: Environment
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