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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/13 - 6:36am

Orphaned baby elephants and mating hamlets are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

MPs to pressure government on backing for Swansea tidal lagoon project

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/13 - 5:35am

Committees seek clarity on indecision over taxpayer support and price guarantees for flagship tidal clean energy scheme to harness tide power

MPs are to press ministers on why they have left investors hanging in limbo over taxpayer support for a pioneering £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea.

The business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee and Welsh affairs committee will call on government to explain why no decision has been forthcoming on the flagship scheme. The government has still not indicated whether it is minded to support the lagoon, 15 months since an independent review told ministers to back the clean energy project.

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Categories: Environment

National Park Service To 'Modestly' Raise Entrance Fees In Plan To Cut Repair Backlog

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/04/13 - 5:28am

The National Park Service will increase entrance fees at 117 national parks by at least $5. The increases are far smaller than had previously been proposed by the Trump administration.

(Image credit: David Calvert/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Climate and the Cross: US evangelical Christians tussle with climate change

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/13 - 4:00am

An internal battle is simmering among evangelicals in the US over whether climate change is a call to protect the Earth, the work of God to be welcomed, or does not exist at all.

Evangelicals have traditionally been the bedrock of conservative US politics, including on climate change. But a heated debate is taking place across the country, with some Christians protesting in the name of protecting the Earth, seeing it as a duty to be done in God’s name. One group has even built a chapel in the way of an oil pipeline and a radical pastor has encouraged his congregation to put themselves in the way of the diggers.

But resistance remains – a climate scientist who denies the world is warming and a preacher in Florida who sees the fact his home was flood as a welcome sign of divine presence.

Could a surprising section of Christian Americans offer hope regarding the country’s attitude to climate change?

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Categories: Environment

Mike Pompeo is a disaster for the planet. Why do Democrats back him? | Sarah Meyerhoff

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/13 - 3:00am

Pompeo is extreme in his denial of climate change. We must pressure Democrats who have backed him to change course

“Ignorant, dangerous, and absolutely unbelievable.” This is how Mike Pompeo, then the nominee for CIA director, described the idea that climate change threatens our nation’s security in his 2017 Senate confirmation hearings. It’s also how our generation and many to come will remember any senator who votes to confirm Pompeo as our next secretary of state.

Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Pompeo to replace the former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson signals loud and clear that he wants fossil fuel barons to continue running our government and state department. Infamous as the “congressman from Koch”, Pompeo is the top all-time recipient of Koch Industries campaign contributions; he accepted nearly $1.5m from the fossil fuel companies between 2009 and 2017.

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Categories: Environment

Spikes in air pollution can heighten risk of chest infections, research suggests

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/13 - 2:55am

Study of PM2.5 levels in Utah suggests increase in diagnoses of viral infections such as bronchitis follows even brief upticks in pollution

Even short-term increases in air pollution are linked to a higher risk of developing viral chest infections that turn into conditions such as bronchiolitis, new research suggests.

The study, carried out by scientists in the US, looked at levels of tiny particles in the air known as PM2.5s across eight locations along the Wasatch Front in Utah, including Salt Lake City. This area features a string of towns and is home the majority of the state’s population and, due to various factors, experiences large variations in air pollution.

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Categories: Environment

Using cute animals in pop culture makes public think they're not endangered – study

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 5:38pm

Proliferation of giraffes, lions, tigers and elephants in toy shops and films creates ‘virtual population’ and skews our perception

Animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and panda bears are everywhere in movies, books and toy stores. But their wide pop culture presence skews public perception of how endangered these animals really are, researchers say.

Online surveys, zoo websites, animated films and school questionnaires were scoured by US and French researchers for the study, published in journal PLOS Biology.

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Categories: Environment

a little life...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 5:13pm
At least something is still alive in the greenhouse...  89,98,64,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Republican Farm Bill Calls On Many SNAP Recipients To Work Or Go To School

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 4:35pm

Republicans in Congress have released their version of a new Farm Bill. It imposes new requirements on low-income recipients of food assistance, but continues traditional subsidies for farmers.

(Image credit: Seth Wenig/AP)

Categories: Environment

Pollutionwatch: bicycles take over City of London rush hour

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 1:30pm

Traffic has fallen by 40% in the City since 1999 – good news for air pollution and people’s fitness

City workers are swapping their pinstripe suits for cycle helmets and hi-vis jackets. Since 1999, total traffic in the City of London has fallen by 40% and bicycles are now the dominant vehicle during the rush hour.

This is good news for air pollution in an area that breaches EU limit values for nitrogen dioxide, but an increase in active travel has many other benefits: less road traffic noise, fewer climate change emissions and people benefiting from more exercise.

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Categories: Environment

EPA aide says he was forced out after questioning Scott Pruitt's spending

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 11:38am

Kevin Chmielewski told lawmakers he faced retaliation after pushing against outsized spending demands from EPA chief and his top aides

A high-ranking political staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency has told lawmakers he faced retaliation after pushing back against outsized spending demands from administrator Scott Pruitt and his top aides.

House and Senate Democrats sent letters on Thursday to Donald Trump and Pruitt describing a meeting they had with Kevin Chmielewski, who was recently placed on involuntary, unpaid leave from his position as EPA’s deputy chief of staff for operations.

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Categories: Environment

No plan to protect Queensland's green-haired turtle from extinction

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 11:00am

The Mary river turtle is just one of many endangered Australian reptile species which have fallen between the conservation cracks

The Australian government does not have a plan to save an endangered Australian turtle species that received global attention on Thursday for its green mohawk and its ability to breathe through its genitals.

The Mary river turtle, found only in that one river in Queensland, attracted worldwide headlines as one of the standout species on a new list of the most vulnerable reptile species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

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Categories: Environment

'Cash-for-ash' inquiry: Arlene Foster says she regrets spiralling costs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 9:45am

DUP leader says she believes Sinn Féin protests over RHI costs were an excuse to bring down power-sharing executive

Northern Ireland’s former first minister Arlene Foster has told the inquiry into the green energy scheme that resulted in the collapse of the power-sharing government that she deeply regretted its spiralling costs.

The renewable heat incentive (RHI) programme was championed by Foster when she was the devolved enterprise minister but its costs ran into hundreds of millions of pounds.

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Categories: Environment

World's first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in Sweden

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 8:55am

Stretch of road outside Stockholm transfers energy from two tracks of rail in the road, recharging the batteries of electric cars and trucks

The world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks driving on it has been opened in Sweden.

About 2km (1.2 miles) of electric rail has been embedded in a public road near Stockholm, but the government’s roads agency has already drafted a national map for future expansion.

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Categories: Environment

How world's first electrified road charges moving vehicles – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 8:54am

Sweden has opened the world's first electrified road. The 1.2-mile route, between Stockholm Arlanda airport and a logistics site, will now actively charge cars and lorries as they travel along it using an innovative energy transfer system 

World's first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in Sweden

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Categories: Environment

New satellite to spot planet-warming industrial methane leaks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 8:15am

Multimillion dollar project will scan and make public methane leaks from oil and gas plants that are a major contributor to global warming

Methane leaking from oil and gas facilities around the world – a major contributor to global warming – is set to be spotted from space.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has announced it aims to launch a satellite called MethaneSAT by 2021 to scan the globe and make major leaks public. That information will then enable governments to force action, EDF hopes. Building and launching the satellite will cost tens of millions of dollars, but EDF says it has already raised most of the money.

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Categories: Environment

A Thank You To NPR's Science Commentary Readers

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 5:27am

For 6 1/2 years, Barbara J. King has written commentaries for NPR on everything from animals and anthropology to gender and higher education. Here, she offers up some of her favorite pieces.

(Image credit: Mark Mawson/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Unforgettable underwater photography - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/12 - 2:36am

A new book published by the Natural History Museum showcases some of the most memorable underwater photographs taken over the last few decades in its annual wildlife photographer of the year competition. The stories behind the pictures - about both the behaviour and the photographers’ experiences - are often as interesting as the pictures themselves

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Categories: Environment

Court rejects challenge to salmon farm near Tasmanian world heritage area

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/11 - 8:03pm

Environmentalists plan to appeal decision as fish farm on Tasmania’s east coast gets green light

Legal action by environmentalists against a controversial salmon farm on Tasmania’s east coast has been dismissed in the federal court.

In 2017 the Bob Brown Foundation and tourism businesses owned by the millionaire environmentalist Graeme Wood challenged the decision by the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, to approve Tassal’s 28-pen fish farm in Okehampton bay, near a world heritage area.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand bans all new offshore oil exploration as part of 'carbon-neutral future'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/04/11 - 6:17pm

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says move ‘will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time’

The New Zealand government will grant no new offshore oil exploration permits in a move that is being hailed by conservation and environmental groups as a historic victory in the battle against climate change.

Related: Jacinda Ardern on life as a leader, Trump and selfies in the lingerie department

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Categories: Environment
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