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Latest Environment news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

Juliet and friends found for Romeo the lonely water frog

11 hours 52 min ago

Five frogs found on Bolivian expedition funded through lonely hearts profile

For 10 years, Romeo, the last known Sehuencas water frog on the planet, led a solitary life in a conservation centre in Bolivia. Now scientists have found him a Juliet.

The adult female was among five frogs found on an expedition into Bolivia’s cloud forest. The $25,000 search was funded by donations gathered after Romeo’s keepers posted a lonely hearts profile on the dating website Match.com on Valentine’s Day last year.

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The primacy of climate change | Letter

12 hours 11 min ago
All discussion of Brexit or any other issue should be in the context of the need for government to enter emergency mode, writes Caro New, campaigns co-ordinator of the Green party

The Guardian is the only newspaper to recognise the seriousness of the threat we face from accelerating climate breakdown. Yet you, like Labour, still treat it as an “add-on” – as a separate subject, not something that, in Naomi Klein’s words, changes everything. Thus Jonathan Haidt and Pamela Paresky (Opinion, 10 January) write about the mental effects of childhood stress, never mentioning how terrifying it is for children to live in an environment of existential threat coupled with denial. Thus Owen Jones (Opinion, 10 January) discusses Labour’s Brexit choices and the need to reverse austerity, with no recognition that redistribution must now be within an economy focused on reducing emissions to net zero by 2030, not on “good” growth. All discussion of Brexit or any other policy issue should now be in the context of the need for central and local government to enter emergency mode.
Caro New
Green party of England and Wales campaigns coordinator (jobshare)

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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EU glyphosate approval was based on plagiarised Monsanto text, report finds

12 hours 35 min ago

Study for European parliament ‘explains why EU assessors brushed off warnings of pesticide’s dangers’, says MEP

EU regulators based a decision to relicense the controversial weedkiller glyphosate on an assessment plagiarised from industry reports, according to a report for the European parliament.

A crossparty group of MEPs commissioned an investigation into claims, revealed by the Guardian, that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies.

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Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study

13 hours 41 min ago

Scientists say it may still technically be possible to limit warming to 1.5C if drastic action is taken now

Climate change could be kept in check if a phaseout of all fossil fuel infrastructure were to begin immediately, according to research.

It shows that meeting the internationally agreed aspiration of keeping global warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is still possible. The scientists say it is therefore the choices being made by global society, not physics, which is the obstacle to meeting the goal.

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'One fish at a time': Indonesia lands remarkable victory

Tue, 2019-01-15 20:40

Tuna fishery gains first MSC gold standard after nation’s huge push to boost stocks, protect livelihoods and ban foreign vessels

Indonesia, the world’s largest tuna fishing nation, has pulled out all the stops in recent years to transform the health of an industry blighted by depleted stocks and illegal poaching.

Measures by the government – which have even included the bombing of foreign vessels fishing illegally in Indonesian waters – have helped fish stocks more than double in the last five years.

But now the industry has reached another important milestone: one of Indonesia’s tuna fisheries has become the first in the country – and second in south-east Asia – to achieve the gold standard for sustainable practices.

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UK's first contact lens recycling scheme launches

Tue, 2019-01-15 17:01

Wearers of any brand of soft lens can now have them collected or drop them off at recycling bins

The UK’s first free national recycling scheme for plastic contact lenses – worn by an estimated 3.7 million people – is being rolled out this week.

Wearers of any brand of soft lens will have the option of either having their discarded items and packaging collected or dropping them off at a network of recycling bins at Boots Opticians and selected independent stores.

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Australia's first tufted duck sighting creates a 'mega-twitch' at sewage pond

Tue, 2019-01-15 16:46

Bird-watchers flock to Werribee treatment plant, near Melbourne, to see Eurasia native

The Werribee sewage ponds are one of the most popular bird-watching locations in Australia. On a good day, says Birdlife Australia’s Sean Dooley, you may see as many as five or six other cars there.

That was before the tufted duck arrived.

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Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

Tue, 2019-01-15 16:00

Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished

“We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

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Trump plans to relax Obama rules for oil companies put in place after BP disaster

Tue, 2019-01-15 16:00

Proposed revised rules include a change that would allow oil companies to select third party companies to evaluate the safety of their equipment

The Trump administration is expected to give BP and other big oil companies more power to self-regulate their offshore drilling operations, years after investigators found that lax regulatory oversight was one of the leading culprits behind the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst environmental catastrophe in US history.

The move to relax new rules that were put in place by the Obama administration after the BP disaster, which killed 11 workers, spewed 4m barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and cost BP $65bn, comes as the White House is seeking to open offshore oil and gas drilling to the vast majority of US coastal waters, including in the Arctic.

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Muck-spreading could be banned to reduce air pollution

Tue, 2019-01-15 04:00

New government strategy aims to reduce ammonia emissions by changing farming methods

Muck-spreading, the agricultural practice of spraying fields with liquid manure, will effectively be banned under government plans to reduce air pollution.

Animal manure is a key source of ammonia, a powerful pollutant that, combined with other chemicals in the air, form fine particles that can lodge deep in the lungs, harming human health.

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GM foods: scientific ignorance fuels extremist views – study

Tue, 2019-01-15 02:00

Opponents know least about the science but believe they know the most, surveys find

The most extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least about science but believe they know the most, researchers have found.

The findings from public surveys in the US, France and Germany suggest that rather than being a barrier to the possession of strongly held views, ignorance of the matter at hand might better be described as a fuel.

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City bees: allotments and gardens can help arrest decline – study

Tue, 2019-01-15 02:00

Experts hope cities can provide sanctuary for pollinators as rural populations decline

Allotments, weedy corners and fancy gardens are all urban havens for bees and other pollinators, a study has found.

The widespread decline of bees resulting from the loss of wild areas and pesticide use has caused great concern in recent years, but towns and cities have been suggested as potential sanctuaries.

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UK failed to enforce EU air quality standards – what will happen after Brexit?

Mon, 2019-01-14 16:00

Government has astonishing record of fighting demands to meet legal obligations

Air pollution was until recently regarded as a problem mainly for those whose health was already compromised or vulnerable in some way: the very old, the very young, and those with existing respiratory problems such as asthma. Thanks to groundbreaking research in the last few years, we now know the problem goes much further, to the root of human health: air pollution has been linked to miscarriage, dementia, heart disease and lower intelligence.

There is scarcely an aspect of human health that is not affected by the silent insinuation of this invisible killer into our lungs, our blood, our brains and every other organ.

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New air pollution plans improve on EU rules, government claims

Mon, 2019-01-14 16:00

UK proposals include new regulations on farmers, wood-burning stoves and diesel cars

The government has set out new plans on air pollution that ministers say go beyond existing EU rules, with a pledge to improve air quality nationwide to the standards the World Health Organization (WH0) recommends.

Farmers will be subject to air quality regulations for the first time to cut their growing contribution to pollution, under the government plans set out on Monday, while diesel vehicle drivers and owners of wood-burning stoves will also face restrictions.

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The 'no-buy' movement: could you give up buying clothes and beauty products?

Sun, 2019-01-13 23:00

With the fashion industry’s environmental impact under scrutiny, there’s a move to eschew new stuff and wear what you already own

Splashed out in the sales? Cashed in your Christmas gift cards? The average Briton spends more than £1,000 on new clothes and shoes each year, according to the statistics agency Eurostat – and many are shelling out much, much more. But with a focus now on the environmental impact of the fashion industry, some of the bloggers, vloggers and influencers who cut their teeth sharing details of an endless array of new clothes and products, are changing tack – enter the “no-buy” movement.

The idea is simple: instead of buying new clothes or beauty products, you make a commitment to use the things you already own. Some people, such as the beauty blogger Hannah Louise Poston, sign up to a “no-buy year” – and document their progress in much the same way that they once tracked their purchases. Others pledge not to buy for a few weeks or months or opt for “low-buy” options with a strict spending cap. A subreddit thread named MakeupRehab, offering tips and support for those undertaking not to buy new products, now has more than 50,000 subscribers.

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Shutdown halts key services – but Trump administration expands oil drilling

Sat, 2019-01-12 21:00

Interior department continues processing permits and moves forward with controversial plan to increase drilling in the Arctic

Three weeks into the longest US government shutdown in history, many important government services have been paused – but the Trump administration has continued efforts to expand oil drilling.

Despite the shutdown directive, which has seen national park staff furloughed and the parks suffering from neglect, the interior department has continued processing oil drilling permits and applications. It has also moved forward with a controversial plan to increase drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

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Air pollution 'as bad as smoking in increasing risk of miscarriage'

Sat, 2019-01-12 05:00

Scientists called study’s findings upsetting and said toxic air must be cut

Air pollution is as bad for pregnant women as smoking in raising the risk of miscarriage, according to a scientific study. They said the finding was upsetting and that toxic air must be cut to protect the health of the next generation.

Air pollution is already known to harm foetuses by increasing the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. Recent research has also found pollution particles in placentas.

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Greg Poole obituary

Sat, 2019-01-12 04:11
Wildlife artist whose skill derived from his deep understanding of the living world

The wildlife artist Greg Poole, who has died aged 58 after a heart attack, was among the best of a generation who revitalised a tradition always in danger of lapsing into decorative prettiness. His artwork is distinctive for its bold design and graphic verve, the confidence and intensity of his line, a vivid palette and the successful capture of the continuum of life. Snapshots of the natural world – otters, bees, curlews, bluebells – executed with speed and the intensity of field sketches, coalesce into fully realised pictures of nature at large.

His was a kind of subjective realism. He drew his animals and plants as they were (he was always interested in habitats too), but also as he experienced them. Many wildlife artists start out with art and find their subject; he began as a birdwatcher and wildlife observer and found art the only release for what nature stirred in him. He worked in the field, sprawled on the ground, with paper clipped to a card (no easel, no artist’s stool) and often used twigs as his pens or brushes. Encamped in a Norfolk saltmarsh, he requisitioned old cornflake boxes to print miraculous images of the samphire at his feet and the oystercatchers in a creek.

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Cloudy with a chance of arachnophobia: raining spiders in Brazil – video

Sat, 2019-01-12 02:01

Residents in a rural area of southern Brazil were rained on by spiders this week. Experts say it’s typical in Minas Gerais state during hot, humid weather. While it looks like the spiders are falling from the sky, they’ve actually created a huge web to catch prey. Scientists say the parawixia bistriata species builds a community web so fine that it’s nearly impossible to see with the human eye, giving the illusion that the spiders are floating on air

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Sat, 2019-01-12 01:02

An adopted leopard cub, a preening moorhen and tiny turtles feature in this week’s gallery

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