Environment

Microsoft joins group seeking to kill off historic climate change lawsuits

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/02 - 11:40am

Legal immunity would squash raft of climate lawsuits launched by cities and counties across the US seeking compensation for damages

Microsoft has joined a conservative-led group that demands fossil fuel companies be granted legal immunity from attempts to claw back damages from the climate change they helped cause.

The stated goals of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) include a $40-a-ton fee on carbon dioxide emissions in return for the gutting of current climate change regulations and “protecting companies from federal and state tort liability for historic emissions”.

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Categories: Environment

'Russian spy' whale has defected to Norway, locals claim

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/02 - 10:50am

As experts fear for its survival, Tufjord residents told not to feed beluga so that it can learn to forage

A beluga whale that may – or may not – have been trained to spy for Russia appears to have defected to Norway, refusing to stray more than a few miles from the small northern harbour where it was found on Monday and entertaining locals with tricks.

“He’s so comfortable with people that when you call him he comes right up to you,” Linn Sæther, a resident of Tufjord on the Arctic island of Rolvsøya, told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, which has launched a poll to find a name for the mammal.

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Categories: Environment

The Guardian view on net-zero carbon emissions: sooner is better | Editorial

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/02 - 10:29am

Government advisers have explained how to erase the nation’s carbon footprint. Science dictates that we do it as fast as we can

By the end of this year we should expect UK law to mandate net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Thursday’s report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises the government, sets out not only why this new target is needed, but how it can be achieved. Last year the UN warned of greatly increased dangers if countries do not stick to the lower end of the 1.5-2C of global warming mandated by the Paris agreement. Experts highlighted sea level rises and risks to insect and coral species among problems likely to be seriously exacerbated by an additional 0.5C rise.

This is the reason for governments to set new, tougher targets in advance of upcoming UN climate talks, at which they will be held to account and forced to decide what happens next. At the same time, dramatic falls in the cost of renewable energy and battery storage mean that cutting emissions has become cheaper. The CCC believes it is possible to eliminate the UK’s carbon footprint altogether without investing more than already planned: that is, between 1% and 2% of GDP. So there is some good news, along with the bad.

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Categories: Environment

'Shame on you': Chris Froome finds team not welcome in Yorkshire

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/02 - 8:51am

Cycling team Ineos face vocal anti-fracking protesters at start of Tour de Yorkshire

Across the Channel, the riders of Team Sky had become used to abuse – they were spat on, lashed out at and even forced to dodge the odd bottle of urine. After winning six out of the last seven editions of the Tour de France amid a series of (never proven) doping allegations, they won over few French fans.

But on home turf, Team Sky were usually guaranteed a warm reception – particularly at the Tour de Yorkshire, the brutal four-day stage race that grew out of 2014’s wildly successful Yorkshire Grand Départ.

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Categories: Environment

We can't save the planet with half measures. We need to go all the way | Varshini Prakash

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/05/02 - 7:46am

It is our duty as a generation to push against the limits of the possible and protect as many lives as we can from disasters that can be prevented

When Beto O’Rourke launched his presidential campaign, I was impressed. On multiple occasions, including as recently as April, O’Rourke backed calls to effectively zero out all domestic emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change by 2030, and said we’re screwed if we aim for anything less.

On Monday, he shifted the goalposts back. He released a detailed climate plan, his first policy proposal of his campaign. There’s a lot to like. He pledged to make climate action a day one priority and included an expansion of resources for climate resiliency and adaptation. But he also pushed back the timeline to achieve net-zero emissions to 2050. Our movement was sad to see him let up on his ambition as he rolled out the specifics, before we even give it a try.

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Categories: Environment

California's Latest Weapon Against Climate Change Is Low-Tech Farm Soil

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2019/05/02 - 2:00am

To help meet its ambitious climate goals, California is paying farmers to grow cover crops. The aim is to promote healthier soil that can absorb more carbon from the atmosphere.

(Image credit: Lauren Sommer/KQED)

Categories: Environment

Federal election 2019: Tony Abbott labels Labor's climate policy 'socialism' – politics live

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 9:00pm

Former PM burnishes his conservationist credentials – but says opposition measures risk damaging the economy. Follow all the updates, live

5.00am BST

Tanya Plibersek came in at the end of Labor’s press conference, after there were no questions on Jessica Whelan, the candidate Scott Morrison was referring to there, when he was talking about posts being referred to the AFP (she claims they are fake)

Plibersek:

4.57am BST

Hunt and King have closed the press club debate on health, with Hunt finishing where he started, on medicine affordability.

Medicines can only be made affordable and health services expanded when the economy is strong, he says. Meanwhile, King closes by reiterating Labor’s $7.5bn package to improve hospitals and cancer care, and by saying Labor will stop cuts to Medicare.

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Categories: Environment

Angus Taylor says he did not set up Caymans structure on $80m water buyback

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 7:01pm

Energy minister was a director of Eastern Australia Agriculture but says he only advised on the agricultural side

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, has denied he played a role in structuring the company which received an $80m government buyback of its water rights through the tax haven of the Cayman Islands.

Taylor, who was a director of Eastern Australia Agriculture between 2008 and 2009 and who described himself as a co-founder of the company, told ABC Radio National on Thursday morning he was involved only in advising on the agricultural side of the investment.

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Categories: Environment

Prawn to be wild: cocaine found in all shrimp tested in rural UK county

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 5:40pm

The recreational drug ketamine also turned up in samples of wildlife examined in Suffolk

Researchers have found cocaine in all samples of shrimp tested in a rural area of eastern England, with ketamine also widespread.

Scientists from King’s College London, in collaboration with the University of Suffolk, made the “surprise” discovery after taking samples from 15 locations across the mostly rural county of Suffolk.

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Categories: Environment

‘This report will change your life’: what zero emissions means for UK

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 4:01pm

Committee on Climate Change sets out how UK can reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050

‘Do it now’: UK told to set zero-carbon target for 2050
Four charts that show how the UK stacks up on climate change

“Make no mistake, this report will change your life,” says Prof David Reay at the University of Edinburgh. “If the meticulous and robust expert advice here is heeded it will deliver a revolution in every facet of our lives, from how we power our homes and travel to work to the food we buy.”

The government’s official advisers the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said on Thursday that the UK’s net greenhouse gas emissions should fall to zero by 2050, emphasising that the transformation is necessary, affordable and desirable.

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Categories: Environment

‘Do it now’: UK must set zero-carbon target for 2050, say official advisers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 4:01pm

Committee says legally binding target is necessary, achievable and could spur global action

The UK government must immediately set a legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, its official advisers have said, signalling an end to the nation’s role in driving climate change.

Doing so will be challenging, said the Committee on Climate Change, meaning the end of petrol and diesel cars and gas boilers, less meat on plates, quadrupling clean electricity generation and planting an estimated 1.5bn trees.

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Categories: Environment

Trump administration to roll back rare beetle protections opposed by oil lobby

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 12:39pm

Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to ‘downlist’ the burying beetle, which would allow drilling in Oklahoma and nearby states

The Trump administration plans to weaken protections for a beetle threatened by extinction from climate change, lifting restrictions on oil and gas drilling in Oklahoma and surrounding states.

The American burying beetle, a shiny black bug covered with orange splotches, feeds it young from carcasses it buries, making it vulnerable to disruptions in soil. The species was listed as endangered in 1989.

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Categories: Environment

AGL sought Victorian rule change to clear way for controversial gas terminal

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 11:00am

Wastewater policy a ‘significant hurdle’ to company’s plans for Crib Point

The gas company AGL asked the Victorian government to change a wastewater policy that could be used to block the proposed Crib Point gas import terminal.

AGL made the request in a public submission on a draft environmental regulation. The company wants to build a 290 metre-long floating storage and regasification unit at Crib Point in Western Port Bay, 80km south-east of Melbourne.

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Categories: Environment

The Curious Ways We Find (And Lose) Our Way

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 8:05am

Thanks to smartphone technology, a sense of direction is just a click away. But what happens to the brain when we outsource our navigational skills? Do apps gained mean literacy

(Image credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Mmmmm...(Meatless) Burger

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 7:06am

A meatless burger? Some might call it impossible!

(Image credit: Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Dutch court will hear widows' case against Shell over deaths of Ogoni Nine

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 5:33am

Judges order oil firm to release confidential documents as wives of late Nigerian activists get go-ahead to pursue claim

A Dutch court has ruled that it has jurisdiction to determine whether Royal Dutch Shell was complicit in the Nigerian government’s execution of the Ogoni Nine, environmental protesters who fought against widespread pollution in the Niger Delta.

In a 50-page ruling hailed by campaigners as an “important precedent” for global human rights cases, judges at The Hague’s district court said on Wednesday that they would allow the case to go forward, also indicating that the claimants – widows of four of the activists – would be able to bring further evidence to prove their case.

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Categories: Environment

Lifetime of drinking California water could raise cancer risk, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 3:00am

Researchers find arsenic and other contaminants that could lead to almost 15,500 cases of cancer

Drinking California tap water over the course of a lifetime could increase the risk of cancer, according to a study published on Tuesday.

Researchers with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy non-profit, studied the combined health impacts of contaminants found in 2,737 community water systems throughout California and calculated that prolonged consumption of the contaminated water could cause almost 15,500 new cases of cancer.

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Categories: Environment

Sorting Out Plastics At The Grocery Store

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/05/01 - 2:10am

Every visit to the grocery store it seems we're faced with more and more plastic packaging. We visit a grocery store with a recycling expert who has some tips.

Categories: Environment

Jared Harris: My wife can't believe how I keep getting bumped off!

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/04/30 - 10:00pm

From Mad Men to The Crown, the actor is used to big exits. As new disaster drama Chernobyl launches, he talks about cover-ups, climate change shame – and his hellraising dad Richard

Jared Harris says that if only he had played Lane Pryce as he was meant to, he would have probably lasted the duration of Mad Men. Pryce, the financial executive at the TV drama’s advertising agency, was supposed to be a right bastard – and the show’s creator Matthew Weiner famously said baddies don’t get written out. But Harris doesn’t do bastards. He will always find a way to humanise a character – a sprinkling of vulnerability here, a dash of tenderness there. And sure enough, three seasons down the line, Lane departed.

Harris is getting used to being bumped off. His quietly dignified George VI in The Crown was inevitably done for by a coronary thrombosis. In his latest TV drama, Chernobyl, Harris’s investigative scientist has died before the opening sequence is done and dusted. (Don’t worry, he’s still the lead.)

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Categories: Environment

Corbyn to tell MPs: Do your duty, and declare a UK climate emergency

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/04/30 - 2:30pm

Labour leader urges emissions cuts and boost for renewables in ‘green industrial revolution’

Jeremy Corbyn will urge MPs to take on their “historic duty” over climate change and back a Labour motion calling for the UK to declare a national environmental and climate-change emergency.

Speaking in the wake of climate strikes by young people and the wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the Labour leader will open an opposition day debate on Wednesday by also seeking a so-called green industrial revolution to transform the economy.

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