‘A possible extinction event’: the UK’s worst bird flu outbreak – podcast

Guardian Environment News - 20 hours 44 min ago

The UK is in the middle of its worst outbreak of bird flu. The current strain of H5N1 avian influenza has devastated wild bird populations, killing thousands and affecting threatened species such as puffins and hen harriers. Bird flu has also been wreaking havoc on poultry, and since 7 November, all captive birds in England have been kept indoors to prevent them catching the virus.

How are both wild and captive bird populations coping with the current strain of avian flu? And is the UK prepared to deal with another major animal disease outbreak? Ian Sample speaks with Phoebe Weston, a biodiversity writer for the Guardian, and Paul Wigley, a professor in animal microbial ecosystems at the University of Bristol.

Archive: BBC News, Sky News

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Categories: Environment

Australia politics live: question time tributes to ‘bravery’ of Sean Turnell after release from Myanmar

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 9:59pm

Follow the day’s news live

The government services minister Bill Shorten was on ABC radio RN Breakfast when he learned the Medibank hackers had released all the customer information on the dark web.

Josh Taylor has reported on that here.

Our democracy is precious, our federal government is crucial to the success of the nation, and I know, as you do, that trust in our parliament, in our commonwealth, in politicians, has been falling dramatically. That’s a real problem and I really hope this begins to restore the trust.

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Categories: Environment

Plibersek’s ‘determination’ alone won’t save the Great Barrier Reef – here’s what needs to happen | Temperature Check

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 9:08pm

And scientist Dr Peter Ridd from the IPA accuses the BoM and CSIRO of ignoring what he claims are the benefits of global heating

Keeping global heating as close to 1.5C as possible is critical for all ecosystems and societies, including the viability of Australia’s ocean jewel, the Great Barrier Reef.

The federal environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, this week launched a strong defence of the government’s climate targets after UN-backed scientists outlined the steps they said were needed to give the reef the best chance of retaining its status as a world heritage area.

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Categories: Environment

Homeless family who lost almost all their possessions in Victoria floods denied relief funds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 8:55pm

Jess Jeffery and family were looking for rentals when their belongings stored in Rochester were destroyed by floods, and have been excluded from relief as they lack fixed address

A homeless family who were keeping everything they owned in a shipping container in Rochester have been rejected from flood relief funding despite the recent disaster destroying all their possessions.

Jess Jeffery, 27, her partner, Aaron, and their young son had been living in the garage attached to her mum’s house about 25 minutes’ drive out of Rochester while they looked for rental properties.

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Categories: Environment

Skills shortage could hamper new mining developments in North Queensland, industry says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 6:48pm

Australia has 18% of the world’s supply of vanadium, an element used in steelmaking and battery storage, but lacks the workforce to expand

A plan to create a global minerals hub in north-west Queensland could be undermined by a lack of highly skilled workers, industry experts have warned.

Queensland resources minister Scott Stewart travelled to the UK last week with the aim of promoting Queensland as a global minerals hub to investors, focusing on the expansion of the vanadium industry, a mineral that is used in steel alloys and creating batteries for renewable energy.

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Categories: Environment

US justice department sues city of Jackson over water crisis

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 1:56pm

City and Mississippi health department sign order agreeing to federal oversight of the failing water system

The US justice department has taken drastic action regarding the crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, that has affected drinking water for its 150,000 residents for several months.

On Tuesday, the city of Jackson and the Mississippi health department signed an order agreeing to federal oversight of the failing water system, in an attempt to restore clean and safe drinking water.

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Categories: Environment

Citing risk to endangered whales, Whole Foods hits pause on Maine lobster — for now

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 11:39am

Two seafood monitoring groups downgraded Maine lobster's sustainability ratings, prompting Whole Foods to pause purchases. Here's how environmental groups and state leaders are reacting.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

MPs urge Rishi Sunak to attend biodiversity summit in Canada

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/30 - 10:35am

Tory backbenchers are among 40 parliamentarians who asked PM to ‘stand up for nature’ at talks

Forty parliamentarians, including seven Conservative MPs, have privately written to Rishi Sunak imploring him to attend the Cop15 biodiversity conference, which starts next week.

In the letter, seen by the Guardian and organised by the all-party parliamentary group on the environment, the parliamentarians warn that a million species are facing extinction globally and that lack of high-level political buy-in could spell disaster for nature.

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Categories: Environment

Giving up on 1.5C climate target would be gift to carbon boosters, says IEA head

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 11:00pm

Exclusive: Fatih Birol says claims that limit is dead are ‘factually incorrect and politically very wrong’

The world can still limit global heating to 1.5C, and to claim that the target is now out of reach is to play into the hands of fossil fuel proponents, the world’s leading energy economist has warned.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, the global authority on energy, slammed scientists and activists who have claimed that the recent Cop27 UN climate summit killed off hopes for the crucial 1.5C limit.

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Categories: Environment

‘A form of self-destruction’: Japan weighs up plan to expand nuclear power

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 9:07pm

Japan’s prime minister is pushing for as many as 17 nuclear reactors to be switched back on, more than a decade on from the meltdown at Fukushima

Look carefully through the trees, and it is just possible to catch sight of Onagawa nuclear power plant from its visitors’ centre, perched on a hill surrounded by thick woods.

The plant’s supporters may have had its remote location, on a rugged peninsula in Japan’s north-east, in mind when they campaigned to bring nuclear power – and the promise of subsidies – to the town more than 40 years ago.

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Categories: Environment

‘They’ll swim, they’ll climb trees’: experts hissue warning over snakes on the flood plains

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 5:45pm

As flood waters surge into South Australia, ecologists say locals should give fleeing snakes a wide berth

Snakes on the plains will seek shelter in back yards and homes as the flood waters from the eastern states surge down the system into South Australia.

The state’s flood plains and relatively flat topography will slow the advance of the water from New South Wales and Victoria, before it is channelled into the River Murray.

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Categories: Environment

US to spend $250m on cleanup at California’s toxic Salton Sea

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 2:49pm

Move could help restore drying lake, a former resort destination that has deteriorated into an environmental crisis amid drought

The US government said on Monday it will spend up to $250m over four years to help mitigate an environmental health disaster that has been brewing in California’s Salton Sea for nearly two decades.

The inland lake, which is fed by agricultural runoff and wastewater, has slowly been shrinking, exposing a powdery shoreline laced with arsenic, selenium and DDT. Dust from the drying lake has wafted into surrounding communities, exacerbating pollution and consequently respiratory conditions in one of California’s poorest and most environmentally burdened regions.

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Categories: Environment

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano is erupting. What do you need to know?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 12:41pm

Lava, volcanic gas and smog are the main hazards from eruption of the world’s largest active volcano

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years – causing spectacular scenes, casting an eerie red glow over the island and shooting lava up to 200ft (60 metres) in the air.

Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. Its smaller, more active neighbor, Kilauea volcano, has been erupting continuously for more than a year since September 2021.

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Categories: Environment

Tyre Extinguishers deflate tyres of 900 SUVs in ‘biggest ever action’

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 11:28am

The climate activists claim to have targeted 4x4 owners in eight European and US cities

Guerrilla climate activists Tyre Extinguishers have claimed their “largest ever night of action against SUVs”, with 900 of the vehicles targeted around the world.

“Last night (the evening of Monday 28 November and early morning of Tuesday 29 November), citizens in eight countries deflated tyres on nearly 900 polluting SUVs,” the activist group said in a statement.

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Categories: Environment

UK faces ‘big, big shortages’ of free-range Christmas poultry

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 11:12am

Half of free-range turkeys and geese grown for festive period have died or been culled due to bird flu, MPs told

Half of the free-range poultry grown for Christmas in the UK have died or been culled because of the bird flu epidemic, an industry leader has told MPs.

The British Poultry Council chief executive, Richard Griffiths, told the environment, food and rural affairs committee on Tuesday that free-range poultry had been hit “very, very hard”.

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Categories: Environment

Just Stop Oil activist jailed for six months for M25 disruption

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 11:10am

Magistrate reportedly speaks of using Jan Goodey’s case as a ‘deterrent’ during court proceedings

A climate activist who disrupted traffic on the M25 has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Jan Goodey, 57, from Brighton, was jailed after pleading guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance after taking part in Just Stop Oil’s campaign of disruption on London’s orbital motorway earlier this month.

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Categories: Environment

Energy suppliers risk failing with taxpayers’ cash onboard, Centrica chief warns

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 9:43am

Chris O’Shea said the government handing energy companies money in advance presents a big risk

The chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica has warned that more energy suppliers could go bust this winter – with million of pounds of taxpayer cash on their balance sheets.

Chris O’Shea said he believed that some suppliers were “poorly capitalised”, and risked going bust and “taking taxpayer money with them”.

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Categories: Environment

Northern long-eared bat, devastated by a fungus, is now listed as endangered

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 8:12am

The Biden administration declared the northern long-eared bat endangered on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to save a species driven to the brink of extinction by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease.

(Image credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/AP)

Categories: Environment

Big polluters given almost €100bn in free carbon permits by EU

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 6:00am

Free allowances ‘in direct contradiction with the polluter pays principle’, WWF report says

Big polluting industries have been given almost €100bn (£86bn) in free carbon permits by the EU in the last nine years, according to an analysis by the WWF. The free allowances are “in direct contradiction with the polluter pays principle”, the group said.

Free pollution permits worth €98.5bn were given to energy-intensive sectors including steel, cement, chemicals and aviation from 2013-21. This is more than the €88.5bn that the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) charged polluters, mostly coal and gas power stations, for their CO2 emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Sizewell C nuclear plant confirmed with £700m public stake

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/29 - 5:30am

EDF’s Suffolk plant will create 10,000 highly skilled jobs and help ensure UK energy security, ministers say

The government has confirmed the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk will go ahead, backing the scheme with an investment of nearly £700m that will end China’s controversial involvement.

Ministers said the move to take a 50% stake in the project’s development, first announced in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement, would create 10,000 highly skilled jobs, provide “reliable low-carbon power” to the equivalent of 6m homes for more than 50 years, and help boost UK energy security. The government also said it would set up an arm’s-length body, Great British Nuclear, to develop further nuclear projects.

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