What To Do If You Come Across A Frozen Iguana

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 2:17pm

On Thursday, we reported iguanas were falling from trees in Florida. Now, we explain why it is happening and what citizens should do in reaction. Bottom line: don't touch them. They are not dead. They may thaw out and attack.

Categories: Environment

Reduce waste, recycle more, and stop the burning | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 11:26am
Jenny Jones says the UK must respond proactively to news that China has banned imports of millions of tons of plastic waste

This could be the year we start burning more of our waste than recycling it (China’s plastic waste ban ‘creates a crisis for UK local authorities’, 3 January). There are already three English regions where incineration (energy from waste) has become the most likely way for councils to dispose of our waste and the amount that we recycle has flatlined in all but one area of the UK. The exception to this is Wales, partly because they use the incineration ash to make concrete and count this as recycling. We need to urgently cut down on how much we use and build the recycling infrastructure to deal with the waste ourselves. We need regulation to ensure that what we use contains a minimum percentage of recycled materials, so that we can build up the market for such products. Most urgent of all is a charge on incineration to remove the perverse incentive for councils to burn, rather than recycle.
Jenny Jones
Green party, House of Lords

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Categories: Environment

South-east England at risk of water shortages this summer, officials warn

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 10:00am

A year of unusually dry weather means parts of England are facing summer drought with groundwater and some reservoirs well below normal

A year of dry weather, only slightly alleviated by recent storms, has left much of south-east England facing drought this summer.

Groundwater and some reservoir levels are well below normal and only above-average rainfall in the next three months will refill them, officials warned on Friday. One water company, Southern Water, has applied for a drought permit to allow them to take more water than normally allowed from the River Medway in Kent, to try to avoid water restrictions for households in the summer.

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Categories: Environment

Radical ecologists v Big Agriculture: the rival factions fighting for the future of farming

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 9:53am

The Oxford Farming Conference and its upstart sibling, the Oxford Real Farming Conference, seem poles apart. But faced with big changes, from Brexit to the future of meat itself, a united front may be the best option

It’s a brisk five minute stroll up the high street to get from the Oxford Farming Conference to its upstart younger sibling the Oxford Real Farming Conference – but a much longer mental leap.

Stately, careful and well-connected, the OFC has been going for 80 years. Sponsored by Big Agriculture businesses such as chemistry multinational BASF and farm machinery specialists Massey Ferguson, the cloakroom creaks with waxed cotton and quilted Barbours, while the audience is overwhelmingly male, white and upwards of 40. The great and good – royalty, government ministers, international politicians – come to speak to a polite, attentive audience; this is the thoughtful end of commercial British farming, brought together over bacon baps and craft beer.

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Categories: Environment

While The Eastern U.S. Freezes, It's Too Warm In Alaska

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 7:51am

"We're way behind on winter," one resident says. Higher than average temperatures in rural Alaska are being blamed for two deaths and are preventing people from hunting for food.

(Image credit: Katie Basile/KYUK)

Categories: Environment

UK government spells out plan to shut down coal plants

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 7:34am

Government unveils phase-out plan, with one of eight remaining power stations to stop generating electricity this year

One of the UK’s eight remaining coal power stations is expected to cease generating electricity this year, the government has said as it laid out new rules that will force all the plants to close by 2025.

The coal phase-out is one of the Conservative party’s flagship green policies, and the long-awaited implementation plan comes ahead of a speech by Theresa May on the environment next week.

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Categories: Environment

Quarter of British honey contaminated with bee-harming pesticides, research reveals

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 4:59am

Although the contamination rate has fallen from a half since a partial EU ban the insecticides remain in the farmed environment posing a serious risk to bees

Almost a quarter of British honey samples remain contaminated after a partial ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, new research has revealed.

The contamination rate has fallen – it was more than half before the ban – but the study shows that the potent insecticides remain prevalent in the farmed environment and still pose a serious risk to bees and other vital pollinators.

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Categories: Environment

Will a 25p charge change Britain's throwaway coffee cup culture?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 4:31am

On a busy Guildford high street reaction to the proposed ‘latte levy’ is mixed. While many welcome the move to change peoples’ habits, for some, already feeling the squeeze of a weak pound, the 25p hit is too high

Turn any corner in the busy town centre of Guildford on a weekday morning, and someone is carrying a disposable cup bearing the logo of one of the major chains.

Each minute in the UK about 500 of these used coffee cups are thrown away. Every year consumers use and dispose of 2.5bn of them. The vast majority are not recycled.

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Categories: Environment

Giant curtain erected in Peru in bid to reveal secrets of the cloud forest

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 4:20am

Global warming is predicted to push clouds higher in the sky. One scientist hopes to understand the future of our forests by suspending a vast fog-catching mesh in the Peruvian jungle

What will happen if climate change pushes clouds higher into the sky, as models predict? One ecosystem that will be seriously affected will be cloud forests – tropical jungles persistently bathed in fog.

Until now, little research had been done on the likely impacts of rising clouds, but one scientist is planning to change that using an enormous curtain strung up in the middle of the forest.

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Categories: Environment

'Like thunder in the ground': Texans fear link between quakes and fracking waste

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/05 - 4:00am

Wastewater injection, a byproduct of fracking, is the likely culprit behind a surge of earthquakes in northern Texas – and residents want accountability

An earthquake, Cathy Wallace says, feels like “a rumble – it’s like thunder in the ground coming towards your house like a train and you can hear it and feel it coming”.

Wallace is not based in California, or in any of the US’s well-known seismic hot-spots. She lives in north Texas, historically one of the country’s least earthquake-prone regions – until the drillers came.

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Categories: Environment

MPs call for 25p charge on takeaway coffee cups ahead of possible ban

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 11:01pm

In UK 2.5bn disposable cups are thrown away each year, of which less than 0.25% are recycled, according to environmental audit committee report

MPs are calling for a 25p charge on takeaway coffee in a move that could see disposable cups banned in five years time.

In the UK 2.5bn takeaway coffee cups are used and thrown away each year – enough to stretch around the world five-and-a-half-times. The UK produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year, according to a report published by MPs on the environmental audit committee on Friday.

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Categories: Environment

Trump administration plans to allow oil and gas drilling off nearly all US coast

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 3:17pm
  • Ryan Zinke unveils plan to offer leases in Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic
  • Environmental groups and some Republicans lead outcry

The Trump administration has unveiled a plan that would open almost all US offshore territory to oil and gas drilling, including previously protected areas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans.

Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, said a new oil and gas leasing programme, which would run from 2019 to 2024, would make more than 90% of the outer continental shelf available for what would be the largest ever number of lease sales to fossil fuel companies.

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Categories: Environment

How China's Ivory Ban Could Affect Elephant Poaching In Africa

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 2:32pm

As China's ban on ivory goes into effect, NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to professor George Wittemyer of Colorado State University about the impacts on the global ivory trade and what it might mean for elephant poaching in Africa.

Categories: Environment

Winter Storm Stresses Energy Infrastructures Along The East Coast

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 2:32pm

A powerful winter storm is dropping up to a foot-and-a-half of snow in some parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Strong winds and cold temperatures are stressing the region's energy infrastructure.

Categories: Environment

Tips From Antarctica For How To Stay Warm During The Bomb Cyclone

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 2:32pm

The bomb cyclone has hit the eastern U.S. and already caused many flight cancelations and power outages, with more expected. From Antarctica, where temps can drop to minus 100, Palmer Station Manager Keri Nelson details how people can persevere in extreme weather.

Categories: Environment

Grand Designs £27,000 eco-home in Wales burns to the ground

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 2:13pm

Simon and Jasmine Dale spent six years building their home, which is now the subject of a crowdfunding appeal

An eco-home labelled the “cheapest house ever built in the western hemisphere” on the Channel 4 programme Grand Designs, has been destroyed by a fire.

The three-bedroomed house, which is based in the sustainable community of Lammas in rural Pembrokeshire, was featured on the TV programme in 2016 after its owners, Simon and Jasmine Dale, spent just £27,000 building it.

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Categories: Environment

Shellfish Industry, Scientists Wrestle With Potentially Deadly Toxic Algae Bloom

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 12:36pm

After decades with no sign of a lethal neurotoxin, the algae that produces it is now plaguing the warming waters of the Gulf of Maine, forcing unprecedented closures in shellfish harvesting.

(Image credit: Fred Bever/Maine Public Radio)

Categories: Environment

Trump Administration Opens Door To Dramatic Expansion Of Offshore Energy Leases

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 12:27pm

The proposal includes all but one of 26 "planning areas" in federal waters in the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic, comprising about 90 percent of the outer continental shelf.

(Image credit: Rob Carr/AP)

Categories: Environment

Coral reef bleaching 'the new normal' and a fatal threat to ecosystems

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 12:00pm

Study of 100 tropical reef locations finds time between bleaching events has shrunk and is too short for full recovery

Repeated large-scale coral bleaching events are the new normal thanks to global warming, a team of international scientists has found.

In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers revealed a “dramatic shortening” of the time between bleaching events was “threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people”.

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Categories: Environment

Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/04 - 12:00pm

Areas starved of oxygen in open ocean and by coasts have soared in recent decades, risking dire consequences for marine life and humanity

Ocean dead zones with zero oxygen have quadrupled in size since 1950, scientists have warned, while the number of very low oxygen sites near coasts have multiplied tenfold. Most sea creatures cannot survive in these zones and current trends would lead to mass extinction in the long run, risking dire consequences for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the sea.

Climate change caused by fossil fuel burning is the cause of the large-scale deoxygenation, as warmer waters hold less oxygen. The coastal dead zones result from fertiliser and sewage running off the land and into the seas.

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Categories: Environment
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