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Solar Impulse 2 lands safely in San Francisco after historic flight over Pacific

The Guardian - Sun, 2016-04-24 23:40

Plane powered only by sun flies over Golden Gate Bridge after spending 56 hours coming from Hawaii on riskiest leg of its journey around the world

A solar-powered plane accomplished a 56-hour, record-setting flight over the Pacific Ocean, flying by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and landing in Mountain View, California late Saturday night.

Related: Solar Impulse: round-the-world flight to continue after raising €20m

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If consumers knew how farmed chickens were raised, they might never eat their meat again

The Guardian - Sun, 2016-04-24 18:00
The debate about animal welfare has intensified

The year 2012 marked a leap forward for animal welfare in the European Union. Farmers were no longer allowed to keep egg-laying hens in barren battery cages smaller than an A4 sheet of paper. Instead, the minimum requirement now is that hens are kept in a cage the size of an A4 sheet of paper, with an extra postcard-sized bit of shared space that allows them to scratch and nest. These are known as enriched cages.

Animal welfare campaigners would like to see them abolished too, saying they barely make a difference to the birds’ ability to express their natural behaviour and live free from stress. Around half of the eggs we eat are still produced in caged systems.

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River on fire in Greens MP's video is natural, not fracking, says CSIRO

The Guardian - Sun, 2016-04-24 16:40

Jeremy Buckingham says scientists ‘making excuses’ for CSG industry after footage shows him touching off sheet of flame on the Condamine river

The CSIRO has defended its independence after a Greens MP, whose footage of burning methane on a Queensland river went viral, accused the government-funded research body of “making excuses” for the coal seam gas industry.

Jeremy Buckingham, a member of the New South Wales parliament’s upper house, posted the video, which showed him lighting the surface of the Condamine river with a barbecue lighter and sending flames licking around the boat, on his Facebook page on Friday. By Sunday it had been shared 13,000 times and had 2.2m views.

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US moves to sell gene-edited mushrooms fuel doubts over British ban on GM imports

The Guardian - Sun, 2016-04-24 09:05
Approval for modified crops in America adds to confusion in UK on new-tech foodstuffs

American regulators have allowed the cultivation and sale of two crops modified with the gene-editing technique known as Crispr. The crops – a white button mushroom and a form of corn – are the first Crispr plants to be permitted for commercial use in the US.

The move is a boost for new technology in the creation of foodstuffs, but is expected to worsen the considerable confusion in Britain over the use of gene-editing in agriculture and the importing of crops created using such technology.

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Why it makes sense to burn ivory stockpiles

The Guardian - Sat, 2016-04-23 17:06

On 30 April Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will set fire to 105 tonnes of ivory in Nairobi National Park. Here are four reasons why it’s the right thing to do

By burning almost its entire ivory stockpile, Kenya is sending out the message that it will never benefit from illegal ivory captured from poachers or seized in transit. However, as the day of the burn approaches, commentators and experts have been lining up to condemn it. Some of the objections put forward are based on wrong assumptions; some deserve serious consideration.

Here I summarise four of the most frequent arguments being made against the burn and explain why, in my view, they are wrong.

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Tracking to 2020 - April 2016 update

Department of the Environment - Sat, 2016-04-23 06:54
Australia is now expected to surpass its 2020 cumulative abatement task by 78 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
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Huge coral reef discovered at Amazon river mouth

The Guardian - Sat, 2016-04-23 03:00

Scientists astonished to find 600-mile long reef under the muddy water in a site already marked for oil exploration

A huge 3,600 sq mile (9,300 sq km) coral reef system has been found below the muddy waters off the mouth of the river Amazon, astonishing scientists, governments and oil companies who have started to explore on top of it.

The existence of the 600-mile long reef, which ranges from about 30-120m deep and stretches from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhão state, was not suspected because many of the world’s great rivers produce major gaps in reef systems where no corals grow.

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Zero-waste bloggers: the millennials who can fit a year's worth of trash in a jar

The Guardian - Fri, 2016-04-22 20:00

These bloggers treasure taking a sleek, modern approach to reducing waste in their efforts to save the planet – but they face their fair share of criticism, too

In pictures: how to produce nearly zero waste

Kathryn Kellogg, a 25-year-old print shop employee, spends four hours a day on her lifestyle blog Going Zero Waste. She posts on Instagram, engages with Facebook followers, and writes about homemade eyeliner and lip balm, worm composting, and shopping bulk bins – anything to avoid unnecessary waste. Her trash for the past year – anything that hasn’t been composted or recycled – fits in an 8oz jar.

Kellogg is earnest, enthusiastic, and admittedly still figuring out what it means to be zero waste. The aspiring actor has also weathered her fair share of criticism. “I’m not even that big yet and I get so much hate mail,” says Kellogg, who draws 10,000 unique page views a month and has 800 subscribers.

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Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery - Application 2016

Department of the Environment - Fri, 2016-04-22 16:33
Agency application on ecological sustainability - public comment open from 22 April 2016 until 20 May 2016.
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Zac Goldsmith backs fossil fuel divestment movement

The Guardian - Fri, 2016-04-22 16:00

Tory London mayoral candidate supports pulling City Hall’s fund out of oil, coal and gas companies if elected

Zac Goldsmith has backed the fossil fuel divestment movement and said he would pursue efforts to pull London City Hall’s pension fund out of investments in oil, coal and gas if he was elected mayor.

The Conservative mayoral candidate’s support for moving the £4.8bn London Pension Authority Fund (LPFA) out of fossil fuel investments is at odds with Boris Johnson, who last year rejected a motion calling for divestment.

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European commission plans to relicense 'carcinogenic' weedkiller

The Guardian - Fri, 2016-04-22 15:00

Leaked proposal on glyphosate seen by the Guardian has few substantive changes from the one that was blocked last month

The European commission is planning to relicense a controversial weedkiller that the World Health Organisation believes probably causes cancer in people, despite opposition from several countries and the European parliament.

In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer – WHO’s cancer agency – said that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide made by agriculture company Monsanto and used widely with GM crops around the world, was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans.

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What is behind the diesel cars emissions scandal?

The Guardian - Fri, 2016-04-22 06:08

All 93 vehicles tested in Germany and UK exceeded EU-set limits on air quality and pollution in real-world situation

The air pollution scandal that hit front pages around the world last year with VW’s admission it had been cheating emissions tests has got much bigger.

A UK government-sponsored trial launched in the wake of the VW revelations has found that every single one of the diesel-fuelled vehicles tested had higher emissions of nitrogen oxide pollutants than permitted under EU laws. For some models emissions were 12 times the legal limit.

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Study reveals greater climate impacts of 2C temperature rise

The Guardian - Thu, 2016-04-21 22:00

Analysis of difference between 1.5C and 2C of warming finds extra 0.5C would mean longer heatwaves, greater droughts and threats to crops and coral reefs

A difference of half a degree centigrade may be barely noticeable day to day, but the difference between 1.5C and 2C of global warming is a shift into a new, more dangerous climate regime, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the issue.

The scientists found the additional 0.5C would lead to longer heatwaves, greater droughts and, in the tropics, reduced crop yield and all coral reefs being put in grave danger.

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Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths

The Guardian - Thu, 2016-04-21 20:16

Authorities are looking into whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast

Vietnam said on Thursday it was investigating whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast after huge amounts of marine life washed ashore in recent days.

Tonnes of fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been discovered on beaches along the country’s central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.

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New Zealand conservationists celebrate rare parrot breeding success

The Guardian - Thu, 2016-04-21 19:27

The kākāpō has had its most successful breeding season since conservation efforts rescued it from the brink of extinction in the 1970s

The world’s heaviest parrot, a critically endangered bird that only lives in a remote part of New Zealand, has had its most successful breeding season since conservation efforts began more than two decades ago.

Thirty-seven kākāpō chicks are currently surviving, providing a much-needed boost to the population of 123 adult kākāpō which live on predator-free islands.

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Mourning Loomis Reef - the heart of the Great Barrier Reef's coral bleaching disaster

The Guardian - Thu, 2016-04-21 15:53

Corals on Loomis Reef are dying as one veteran scientist lets the “veil” of academia drop to reveal anger and frustration

Stretching for half a kilometre or so, Loomis Reef is the place where the alarm bells started going off.

Prof Justin Marshall has been diving this reef, about 270km north of Cairns, for 30 years. Right now he is, to say the least, angry.

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More than 1,000 species have been moved due to human impact

The Guardian - Wed, 2016-04-20 22:37

Animals and plants are increasingly being ‘translocated’ from their native areas to survive effects of climate change, poaching and habitat loss, says top conservationist

More than 1,000 species have had to be relocated because of climate change, poaching and humans taking their habitat, according to a top conservationist.

Dr Axel Moehrenschlager said cases of “translocation”, such as India’s plan to relocate tigers to Cambodia or South Africa’s scheme to airlift rhinos to Australia, have increased exponentially in recent decades and will become more common due to human pressures driving species closer to extinction.

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EU dropped climate policies after BP threat of oil industry 'exodus'

The Guardian - Wed, 2016-04-20 21:42

Oil giant warned industry would pull out of EU if laws to cut pollution and speed clean energy take up were passed, letter obtained by the Guardian reveals

The EU abandoned or weakened key proposals for new environmental protections after receiving a letter from a top BP executive which warned of an exodus of the oil industry from Europe if the proposals went ahead.

In the 10-page letter, the company predicted in 2013 that a mass industry flight would result if laws to regulate tar sands, cut power plant pollution and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy were passed, because of the extra costs and red tape they allegedly entailed.

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More than half US population lives amid dangerous air pollution, report warns

The Guardian - Wed, 2016-04-20 20:00

American Lung Association’s ‘state of the air’ report finds 166 million Americans are living in unhealthy ozone or particle pollution with serious health risks

More than half of the US population lives amid potentially dangerous air pollution, with national efforts to improve air quality at risk of being reversed, a new report has warned.

A total of 166 million Americans live in areas that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association, raising their risk of lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart disease, reproductive problems and other ailments.

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Working together to protect and restore floodplains in the Renmark Irrigation district

Department of the Environment - Wed, 2016-04-20 10:47
Floodplains within the Renmark area, South Australia, will be protected and restored under a landmark Partnership Agreement agreed today between the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Renmark Irrigation Trust.
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