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Updated: 12 hours 5 min ago

Third species of giant waterlily discovered at Kew Gardens

12 hours 10 min ago

The new species is also the largest giant waterlily on the planet, with leaves growing up to three metres in the wild

A giant waterlily grown at Kew Gardens has been named as new to science, in the first discovery of its type in more than a century.

Scientists at the south-west London garden suspected for decades there could be a third species of giant waterlily and worked with researchers in its native home in Bolivia to see if their thesis was correct.

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Categories: Environment

Australia live news: major rescue operation for cargo ship stranded in rough seas near Sydney; more evacuation orders amid NSW floods

Sun, 2022/07/03 - 8:59pm

Rescue of cargo ship crew stuck off NSW coast delayed due to weather; Murray Watt signals potential financial assistance for NSW floods victims; east coast low could bring flash flooding and landslides to city and surrounding regions, meteorologists warn; PM pledges more military aid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy; France’s warm response to new government; Victoria records 24 Covid deaths, NSW records one. Follow all the day’s developments

People downstream from Wiseman’s Ferry urged to evacuate

Those in the low-lying areas of the Lower Hawkesbury downstream from Wiseman’s Ferry are ordered to evacuate by 10am today, per the SES:

I understand it’s school holidays, but really have a look at your travel plans, if you do have any. If you don’t need to leave home, please, you know, bunker down at home if it’s safe to do so. Obviously, we’ve issued about 70 evacuation orders, mostly in the Hawkesbury-Nepean area.

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Categories: Environment

Poor households face having to help foot bill for building Sizewell C

Sun, 2022/07/03 - 8:15am

Funding model also criticised for letting factories ‘off the hook’ with planning decision due this week

The UK government has been criticised for exposing low-income households to the cost of building the Sizewell C nuclear power plant while letting factories “off the hook” as a crucial planning decision is due this week.

If given the green light, the government hopes to use a regulated asset base (RAB) funding model to finance the project, which is being proposed by the French energy firm EDF.

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Categories: Environment

‘It’s hot’: UK interest in solar power heats up as energy bills soar

Sun, 2022/07/03 - 5:11am

Boom clouded by supply chain disruption, a fragmented industry as well as ethical issues

“It’s hot,” says Steve Springett, a director of the renewable energy brand Egg, cheerily assessing the solar market. “There’s two key factors: people are understanding the environmental benefits of it better, and energy is really, really expensive at the moment.”

Consumer interest has increased in recent months as Britons hunt for ways to cut huge energy bills. A reduction in VAT on energy efficient systems from 5% to nothing this spring has added to the appeal of solar power.

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Categories: Environment

Sex on the beach: a beloved California fish wriggles ashore to spawn

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 10:00pm

Grunion run has fascinated scientists and locals for decades, but their future is threatened by the climate crisis

On certain nights on a quiet California beach, thousands of small, silvery fish gather in the moonlight to perform a unique mating ritual.

Known as the “grunion run”, the spectacle is one of the lesser known natural wonders of the US west coast. Grunion are a rare fish species that come ashore to spawn, and during the months of April to August they cover beaches from Baja California to Santa Barbara like a glittering carpet, wriggling in the sand to lay and fertilize eggs just after the highest tide of a full or new moon.

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Categories: Environment

Labour pledges to create 30,000 jobs at electric car battery gigafactories

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 2:30pm

Party makes promise amid reports UK is falling behind European rivals in production capacity for EVs

Labour has pledged to create at least 30,000 jobs by promising to build three gigafactories for electric car battery production in Britain by 2025, as it warned the country was falling behind its European competitors in the race to ditch petrol power.

Amid recent reports that Britain faces a battle to hold on to the production of electric vehicles (EVs) made by manufacturers already in the UK, the party has committed itself to a major expansion of the part-financing of gigafactories. It follows research suggesting countries such as Germany, which already has a huge car industry, are significantly ahead in establishing the plants.

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Categories: Environment

Environmentalists condemn Biden administration’s offshore drilling plan

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 1:43pm

Policy would ban new ocean drilling but allow up to 11 lease sales in Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s south coast

Joe Biden’s administration on Friday unveiled a five-year offshore oil and gas drilling development plan that blocks all new drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans within US territorial waters while allowing some lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s south coast.

The plan, which has not been finalized, could allow up to 11 lease sales but gives the interior department the right to make none. It comes two days after the US supreme court curbed the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to respond to the climate crisis.

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Categories: Environment

Air flows, draught sealing and double glazing: how homeowners can retrofit houses for warmth

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 1:00pm

Methods of keeping living spaces warm range from cheap gap-sealing to expensive double-glazing, but the first step is to find and see the problem

It’s minus four degrees when scientist Jenny Edwards arrives to inspect my bitterly cold Canberra home. Huddled inside with a coffee, dressed for an ascent to Everest base camp, I’m fretting over whether she’ll make it past the front deck. It’s iced over again.

I’m breathing fog in the kitchen and frost has covered the bay window in my bedroom.

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Categories: Environment

‘Kiwi can’t defend themselves’: New Zealand wrestles with how to save an icon

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 7:00am

Training programmes for working dogs and pets are aimed at protecting the flightless bird’s dwindling numbers, but they come at a cost

Tip, a young hunting dog, pads up a goat track through New Zealand’s damp forest undergrowth, alert and excited as her nose hoovers the ground for smells. She stops suddenly to investigate an irresistible scent – the sweet, musty aroma of kiwi.

Tip is allowed a moment to inhale before a low-level electric pulse, issued from a collar, warns her that this bird is out of bounds. She briefly recoils, the electric signal enough to form an immediate negative association with the smell.

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Categories: Environment

Could nuclear plant ruin Suffolk haven for avocets, bitterns and harriers?

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 6:32am

Sizewell C proposal will power 6m homes but could pose a threat to Minsmere nature reserve, the RSPB’s jewel in the crown

The Bittern Hide at the RSPB’s Minsmere reserve was doing steady business last Wednesday. More than a dozen birdwatchers were crammed into the elevated shelter which overlooks a broad band of heath, freshwater pools and reed beds stretching to the Suffolk coast. Marsh harriers swirled overhead and an occasional bittern swept across the landscape. In front of another nearby hide, avocets waded leisurely across a lagoon. Minsmere is an ornithologist’s paradise.

But a threat hangs over its wildlife glories. In a few days, the government is set to announce its decision on whether to allow the Sizewell C nuclear power plant to be built by EDF on land that overlooks the 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) reserve.

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Categories: Environment

Pearl Harbor water poisoning: US military families say they continue to fall ill

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 2:30am

When second world war-era storage tanks leaked into Hawaii residents’ water supply in December thousands got sick

Beginning in December, US army Major Amanda Feindt and her family found themselves in and out of Tripler army medical center in Honolulu. First, her husband for debilitating ocular migraines, then her four-year-old daughter, who was vomiting with severe abdominal pain, then her one-year-old for chemical burns, and later herself when she started experiencing crippling back pain that prevented her from being able to walk, among other troubling symptoms.

The Feindts were only four of thousands who reportedly sickened after 19,000 gallons of jet fuel from the US navy’s second world war-era underground fuel storage facility leaked into one of Oahu’s main drinking water aquifers. The contamination has led to a major water crisis in the Pacific, affecting more than 93,0000 people.

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Categories: Environment

‘Perfect storm’ of crises is widening global inequality, says UN chief

Sat, 2022/07/02 - 12:00am

Exclusive: António Guterres says growing north and south divide is ‘morally unacceptable’ and dangerous

Humanity is facing a “perfect storm” of crises that is widening inequality between the north and south, the UN secretary general has warned. The divide is not only “morally unacceptable” but dangerous, further threatening peace and security in a conflicted world.

The global food, energy and financial crises unleashed by the war in Ukraine have hit countries already reeling from the pandemic and the climate crisis, reversing what had been a growing convergence between developed and developing countries, António Guterres said.

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Categories: Environment

Australian company secures $700,000 deal for carbon capture and storage machine

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 1:00pm

AspiraDAC device can remove two tonnes of CO2 a year and store it underground using direct air capture technology

A solar-powered and tent-sized Australian prototype machine that can suck CO2 from the air has secured a $700,000 contract to capture and store carbon.

The deal, part of a project backed by corporates including the owners of Google and Facebook, is thought to be the first time an Australian company has secured a deal to remove CO2 using direct air capture (DAC) technology.

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Categories: Environment

Shop around, switch things off and seal the gaps: a renter’s guide to energy efficiency

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 1:00pm

For renters, who can’t make big changes such as solar installations, there are still lots of ways to reduce your energy bill and stay warm

Home energy assessor Adam Corrigan is knelt down by my rental property’s pool pump, and he’s not impressed.

Beside him, the pool and attached “spa” – a huge drawcard for Sydney’s trendy inner west – sits in all its share house glory, icy cold, with grime slowly multiplying.

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Categories: Environment

Pearl Harbor’s toxic water caused by shoddy management, navy finds

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 10:37am

US military investigation points to human error after fuel leak that poisoned thousands

A US navy investigation has revealed that shoddy management and human error caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year, poisoning thousands of people and forcing military families to evacuate their homes for hotels.

The investigation, released on Thursday, is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility, a huge second-world-war-era military-run tank farm in the hills above Pearl Harbor, leaked into a well that supplied water to housing and offices in and around the sprawling base.

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Categories: Environment

Just Stop Oil activists glue themselves to Turner painting frame in Manchester

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 10:08am

Supporters of group say young people have ‘nothing to lose any more’ as they call for end to new oil and gas projects

Two young supporters of Just Stop Oil have glued themselves tothe frame of a JMW Turner painting at Manchester Art Gallery.

It is the third time this week that supporters of the group, which is calling for a government-imposed moratorium on new oil and gas extraction projects, have glued themselves to major works in UK galleries.

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Categories: Environment

The Guardian view on Biden’s risky gamble: betting on lowering oil prices | Editorial

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 10:05am

The climate agenda risks being derailed by energy market disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine

Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia this month highlights the paradox of American power. The US has the economic heft to punish an opponent – but not enough to alter the behaviour of a determined adversary. Sanctions will see Russia’s economy contract by 9% next year. But Washington needs more nations to join its camp to halt Moscow’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Mr Biden has been forced to prioritise war objectives over ethics in meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA says ordered the barbaric murder of the prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The havoc that Russia’s war has caused on the world’s energy markets is contributing to an economic crisis that is playing into the hands of Mr Biden’s domestic opponents. This highlights the west’s failure to confront the climate emergency with a less carbon-intensive economic model. The green agenda risks being derailed by sky-high hydrocarbon prices. This scenario could have been averted if western nations had accelerated their net zero agendas by driving down energy demand – the lack of UK home insulation is one glaring failure – and spending on renewables to achieve energy security. Instead, this week the G7 watered down pledges to halt fossil fuel investment over fears of winter energy shortages as Moscow squeezes supplies.

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Categories: Environment

Woodland Trust calls for protections for England’s 2.1m ancient trees

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 8:52am

Conservation group wants to ‘drive cultural shift’ to designate trees and woodlands ‘as fundamental to quality of life’

She would never have dreamed of it a few years ago, but when lockdown came and she found herself separated from family and friends, “I’m not ashamed to say I hugged a tree or two if I was feeling sad,” says Jane Barber. “When you couldn’t hug people – and I didn’t have a partner at the time – it was really challenging for people who lived alone.

“We need connection, to feel connection with another living being. To connect with the tree’s history and reflect on what it might have witnessed is wonderful.”

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Categories: Environment

Rare wild ancestors of domestic pigeon found on Scottish islands

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 8:04am

Small populations of wild rock doves discovered in places including Outer Hebrides

Colonies of extremely rare and endangered birds that are the wild ancestors of domestic and feral pigeons have been found on secluded Scottish islands.

Researchers have spoken of their excitement and surprise at discovering small populations of wild rock doves in places that include the Outer Hebrides.

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Categories: Environment

There are good reasons for a double shampoo – if you can avoid waste

Fri, 2022/07/01 - 6:59am

An Italian town has banned the practice during a heatwave, but if done right it benefits hair and scalp

Global consumption of water is growing twice as fast as the world’s population and droughts are affecting swathes of the planet. So it was no surprise that this week the mayor of an Italian town in Emilia-Romagna, which is experiencing a severe heatwave, banned hairdressers from shampooing their customers’ hair twice, saying it would save thousands of litres of water a day.

As we all attempt to reduce waste, that additional shampoo at home or in the salon can seem like overkill. So is what is known in the trade as “double cleansing” really necessary? No, but every hairdresser and trichologist is seemingly in agreement that the second shampoo has distinct benefits to scalp and hair, regardless of skin and hair type.

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Categories: Environment