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Latest Environment news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 1 hour 4 min ago

Disastrous, dark shadow, destroys our economy: five climate elders on Peter Dutton’s emissions stance

2 hours 59 min ago

From Peter Garrett to Prof Lesley Hughes there is frustration, despair and ‘a towering sense of anger’ over the opposition leader’s shift on the 2030 target

Any sense of a ceasefire in Australia’s fractious climate wars was blown away this week after the Coalition said it would not back the country’s 2030 emissions reduction target at the next election.

Peter Dutton’s declaration would mean that, if elected, a Coalition government will seek to breach a central tenet of the global Paris climate accord that countries should not “backslide” on their climate ambition.

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Outdoor clothing brands still using ‘forever chemicals’ despite health risk

Sat, 2024-06-15 20:59

Campaigners find PFAS, which can contaminate the soil and water supply, in more than 80% of 27 companies’ products

Hikers may be inadvertently damaging the environment and risking their own health by wearing clothes made waterproof with “forever chemicals”, according to research by Ethical Consumer.

The campaigning magazine examined 27 companies that make outdoor clothing such as fleeces, waterproof jackets, walking boots and rucksacks, and found 82% were still using per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

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Alaska limits cruise ship passengers in capital city after 1.6m visitors last year

Sat, 2024-06-15 17:00

Juneau agrees deal with industry body to curtail visits but critics say it does not go far enough to protect quality of life

Alaska’s capital city is to limit the numbers of cruise ship passengers arriving at the port amid concerns over tourism’s growing impact, but a leading critic of the industry has said further measures to protect Alaskans’ quality of life are needed.

Located on the Gastineau Channel in southern Alaska, Juneau has a population of 32,000 and last year received a record 1.65 million cruise ship passengers – a 23% increase from the previous high.

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Germany’s top climate envoy says ‘this is the critical decade’ after Dutton ditches 2030 target

Sat, 2024-06-15 01:00

Representative from Europe’s biggest economy and key player in global climate talks says deep emissions cuts by 2030 ‘essential’ to limit climate heating to 1.5C

Germany’s climate envoy has dismissed claims the Paris agreement is only about reaching net zero emissions by 2050, warning that deep cuts by 2030 are “essential” and scientific evidence shows “this is the critical decade” to act on global heating.

Australia’s opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has refused to commit to a 2030 emissions reduction target prior to the next national election, prompting claims from Labor, the Greens and independents that the Coalition isn’t serious about acting on the climate crisis.

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Wildlife experts urge action on pesticides as UK insect populations plummet

Fri, 2024-06-14 21:00

Campaigners say next government must reduce use and toxicity of pesticides before it is too late

The UK’s insect populations are declining at alarming rates and the next government must put in place plans to monitor and reduce the use and toxicity of pesticides before it is too late, wildlife experts say.

In recent years, concerns have been raised over earthworm populations, which have fallen by a third in the past 25 years. A citizen science project that monitors flying insects in the UK, meanwhile, found a 60% decline between 2004 and 2021. The overall trajectory, as government monitoring figures show, has been downwards since the 1970s.

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Week in wildlife – in pictures: a comedy seal, a cricket-loving owl and hairy pigs on Exmoor

Fri, 2024-06-14 17:00

The best of this week’s wildlife photographs from around the world

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Cold enthusiasts and dampness stans it is your time to shine. Here are some handy tips for surviving winter | First Dog on the Moon

Fri, 2024-06-14 16:17

Find an empty investment property and move into it

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Children near Amsterdam airport use inhalers more, study finds

Fri, 2024-06-14 15:00

Results show increase in symptoms such as wheeziness in presence of high aviation-related ultrafine particles

As the public hearings for London Gatwick airport’s northern runway resume, researchers from the Netherlands have found greater inhaler use in children living near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Stand close to a large airport and, if the wind is in the wrong direction, each cubic centimetre of air that you breathe will contain tens of thousands of ultrafine particles (UFP).

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Clean v green: ‘disgust wins out’ over eco ideals when doing laundry, study finds

Fri, 2024-06-14 04:00

Fear of being seen as unclean drives overwashing of clothes at expense of environment, Swedish scientists say

How often should you wash your clothes? Doctors don’t really know, but the decision is more cultural than medical, anyway. Worried about leaving the house in sweaty shirts or stained shorts, people often chuck clean clothes in the laundry basket after wearing them just once.

But the urge to avoid whiffy garments carries a climate cost that has largely been ignored. New research shows that feelings of disgust and shame encourage excessive clothes washing even among those who care about their carbon footprint.

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Unexpected number of whales currently swimming off the coast of New England

Fri, 2024-06-14 03:13

Researchers made 161 sightings of whales – some of them endangered – south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

An unexpected number of whales is visiting the waters off New England, including an unusually high number of an endangered species, said scientists who study the animals.

A research flight made 161 sightings of seven different species of whale on 25 May south of Martha’s Vineyard and south-east of Nantucket, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said on Thursday. The sightings included 93 of sei whales, one of the highest concentrations of the rare whale during a single flight, the agency said.

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Humpback whale tangled in rope rescued off New South Wales coast - video

Thu, 2024-06-13 15:04

Members of the public and wildlife organisations spot a whale entangled in two buoys and a rope off the coast of NSW. A rescue team locates the humpback in the water off Fingal Heads with help from a helicopter, before successfully removing the rope that is lodged in its fin

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Russia’s war with Ukraine accelerating global climate emergency, report shows

Thu, 2024-06-13 14:00

Most comprehensive analysis ever of conflict-driven climate impacts shows emissions greater than those generated by 175 countries in a year

The climate cost of the first two years of Russia’s war on Ukraine was greater than the annual greenhouse gas emissions generated individually by 175 countries, exacerbating the global climate emergency in addition to the mounting death toll and widespread destruction, research reveals.

Russia’s invasion has generated at least 175m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), amid a surge in emissions from direct warfare, landscape fires, rerouted flights, forced migration and leaks caused by military attacks on fossil fuel infrastructure – as well as the future carbon cost of reconstruction, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever of conflict-driven climate impacts.

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The Guardian view on Europe’s imperilled green deal: time to outflank the radical right | Editorial

Thu, 2024-06-13 03:44

The burden of transition on economically insecure voters must be eased via a more ambitious fiscal approach by governments

Following the European parliament elections of 2019, the newly elected president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told MEPs: “If there is one area where the world needs our leadership, it is on protecting our climate … We do not have a moment to waste. The faster Europe moves, the greater the advantage will be for our citizens, our competitiveness and our prosperity.”

Five years on, all that remains true, and the urgency of taking decisive action is even greater. Last week, the United Nations general secretary, António Guterres, warned that the world faced “climate crunch time”, referring to new data revealing that the crucial 1.5C threshold for global heating was breached over the past year. But the politics of climate action in Europe is lurching in the wrong direction at alarming speed.

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Who should hold the next prime minister to account? Our best hope lies with the Green party | George Monbiot

Thu, 2024-06-13 01:54

The party’s manifesto, which pledges to use a wealth tax to revitalise our public services, shows it can push Labour to raise its ambitions

All governments betray the hopes of their supporters. But Labour is getting its betrayal in early. By ruling out a wealth tax and other measures that could fund our collapsing public services and our increasingly desperate care and welfare needs; by failing to denounce the unfolding genocide in Gaza; by remaining silent about the curtailment of our rights to protest; by breaking its promises on everything from a national care service to the abolition of the House of Lords and a right to roam, Keir Starmer’s party appears to wear betrayal as a badge of honour. This country is desperate for change, but while Starmer mumbles the word in every sentence, he offers as little as he can get away with.

Why? Labour’s anticipatory betrayal is motivated by anticipatory compliance. This means avoiding conflict with billionaire-owned media, the financial, property and fossil fuel sectors, by giving them what they want before they ask. You could call this approach “political realism”. But the “realistic” result is a politics dominated by the sinister rich. Dysfunction and misrule are baked in.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

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Wreck of Shackleton’s ship Quest found, last link to ‘heroic age of Antarctic exploration’

Wed, 2024-06-12 22:44

The vessel, which sank off the coast of Canada in 1962, was used by the explorer on his final voyage to the continent

The wreck of the ship on which renowned Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton died has been found off the coast of Labrador, Canada, searchers have announced.

Locating the Quest – a schooner-rigged steamship which sank on a 1962 seal hunting voyage – represents a last link to the “heroic age of Antarctic exploration”, said search leader John Geiger.

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Can Labour clean up England’s dangerously dirty water?

Wed, 2024-06-12 19:43

Party has vowed to end sewage scandal if it wins power, but experts say it will have to act quickly and ambitiously

Since the UK’s general election was called, the Labour party has been seeking to capitalise on voters’ fury over the sewage filling England’s rivers and seas.

The debt-ridden, leaking, polluting water industry, owned largely by foreign investment firms, private equity and pension funds, has overseen decades of underinvestment and the large-scale dumping of raw sewage into rivers. It has become one of the touchstone issues of this election, with voters across the political spectrum angry at the polluting of waterways treasured by local communities. Groups have sprung up to look after rivers and lakes; protests pop up most weekends along the coast.

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Rare birds at risk as narco-gangs move into forests to evade capture – report

Wed, 2024-06-12 19:00

Cocaine traffickers have put two-thirds of Central America’s key habitats for threatened birds under threat, study finds

Cocaine consumption is threatening rare tropical birds as narco-traffickers move into some of the planet’s most remote forests to evade drug crackdowns, a study has warned.

Two-thirds of key forest habitats for birds in Central America are at risk of being destroyed by “narco-driven” deforestation, according to the paper, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature Sustainability.

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Azerbaijan accused of media crackdown before hosting Cop29

Wed, 2024-06-12 14:00

State reportedly arrested at least 25 journalists and activists in last year as it prepares for September climate summit

Azerbaijan’s government has been accused of cracking down on media and civil society activism before the country’s hosting of crucial UN climate talks later this year.

Human Rights Watch has found at least 25 instances of the arrest or sentencing of journalists and activists in the past year, almost all of whom remain in custody.

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Peter Dutton’s energy policy is a political death wish – and utterly irresponsible in the face of the climate emergency | Ian Lowe

Wed, 2024-06-12 11:03

As well as spending billions subsidising fossil fuels, we are spending billions more repairing the damage global heating is doing

Peter Dutton’s proposed energy policy, in the face of our climate emergency, is utterly irresponsible. Not just irresponsible environmentally, but also economically. Given community attitudes, it looks like the silliest political death wish in recent history.

Joëlle Gergis’s recent Quarterly Essay, Highway to Hell, was a frightening reminder of the price we are already paying for climate change. In property damage from floods and fires as well as lost agricultural production, the bills keep rolling in. As well as spending billions subsidising fossil fuels, we are spending billions more repairing the damage global heating is doing. It would be in our direct interest to be urging a rapid increase in ambition from the inadequate Paris targets. Becoming the first country in the world to weaken our response would undermine the growing impetus for a concerted program of action. We should be increasing the rate of decarbonisation, not slowing it.

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‘Magical’: 17m insects fly each year through narrow pass in Pyrenees, say scientists

Wed, 2024-06-12 09:00

Exeter University study has origins in 1950 discovery by ornithologists who ‘chanced upon a spectacle’

It is a weird and wonderful sight: millions of migratory insects funnelling through a single narrow pass high in the Pyrenees, looking like a dark flying carpet and emitting a low, deep hum.

A team of scientists from a British university that has been studying the phenomenon for the last four years has now concluded that more than 17 million insects fly each year through the 30 metre-wide Puerto de Bujaruelo on the border of France and Spain.

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