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Updated: 1 hour 51 min ago

Improve water supply in poorer nations to cut plastic use, say experts

Wed, 2020-05-27 09:01

Report calls for urgent action to tackle developing countries’ reliance on bottled water

Focusing on improving the water supply in developing nations could be a powerful way to fight the scourge of plastic waste in the oceans, experts have said, highlighting that the issue has received little attention.

People in developing countries, and many middle-income countries, often rely on plastic bottles of water as their piped water supply can be contaminated or unsafe, or perceived as such.

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Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow likely to be delayed again

Wed, 2020-05-27 04:58

UK to ask for postponement to November 2021 because of coronavirus travel controls

Vital international climate talks due to be hosted by the UK are expected to be delayed until late next year because of the coronavirus crisis, it has emerged, dashing hopes they could be reconvened sooner.

The UN talks, known as Cop26, were to be held in Glasgow this November, but in early April they were postponed as governments around the world grappled with lockdown. At that time governments thought the summit could be reconvened within the first three months of 2021.

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Food-waste firm bags Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry as investors

Tue, 2020-05-26 23:00

US startup Apeel Sciences raises further $250m to help tackle supply chain disruption

A Californian startup that pioneered a high-tech solution to reducing food waste has secured personal investment from Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry in its latest fundraising drive.

Perishable produce such as avocados, lemons and limes stay ripe for twice as long as usual due to an edible spray-on coating on their skin made from plant materials and devised by Apeel Sciences.

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World health leaders urge green recovery from coronavirus crisis

Tue, 2020-05-26 15:00

Open letter to G20 leaders says addressing climate breakdown key to global revival

Doctors and medical professionals from around the globe have called on world leaders to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis that takes account of air pollution and climate breakdown.

More than 200 organisations representing at least 40 million health workers – making up about half of the global medical workforce – have signed an open letter to the G20 leaders and their chief medical advisers, pointing to the 7 million premature deaths to which air pollution contributes each year around the world.

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Climate change in deep oceans could be seven times faster by middle of century, report says

Tue, 2020-05-26 03:30

Uneven heating could have major impact on marine wildlife, as species that rely on each other for survival are forced to move

Rates of climate change in the world’s ocean depths could be seven times higher than current levels by the second half of this century even if emissions of greenhouse gases were cut dramatically, according to new research.

Different global heating at different depths could have major impacts on ocean wildlife, causing disconnects as species that rely on each other for survival are forced to move.

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Australia stalls on emissions target update as UN urges deeper cuts

Tue, 2020-05-26 03:30

Angus Taylor responds to question from Labor saying Australia is not due to update target until 2025

The Australian government has told parliament it does not intend to increase its climate change commitment before the next major international meeting, and is not due to set a new target until 2025.

The statement was made after the British host of the meeting, Boris Johnson, and United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, urged all countries to lift their targets to include net zero emissions by 2050, noting 121 nations had already done so.

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Hazelwood power station chimneys demolished – video

Mon, 2020-05-25 16:47

Eight chimneys at Victoria’s defunct, coal-fired Hazelwood power station have been demolished. Built in the 1960s, they operated for more than half a century before the brown coal-fuelled power station was shut down in March

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Hazelwood power station's eight chimneys demolished in live stream viewed by thousands

Mon, 2020-05-25 16:10

Built in the 1960s, each chimney contained around 50kg of asbestos but owner Engie says there is ‘no risk’ it will be airborne

Eight chimneys at Victoria’s defunct, coal-fired Hazelwood power station have been demolished.

The chimneys, which soared 137 metres above the town of Morwell in the Latrobe Valley, came down just before 12.30pm on Monday.

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Film-maker captures dust storm enveloping Western Australia beach – video

Mon, 2020-05-25 11:39

Film-maker Chris Lewis has captured a blaze of red dust covering a beach in Geraldton, Western Australia, as ex-Tropical Cyclone Mangga batters the southern part of the state. Lewis said the dust had travelled 'hundreds of kilometres away' to meet the sea. The ex-tropical cyclone has damaged homes and left thousands without power

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Surfers brave monster waves as 10-metre swells lash Sydney's coastline – in pictures

Mon, 2020-05-25 10:13

Over the weekend a low-pressure system hung over Sydney which created swells of up to 10 meters. Daredevils headed to ocean pools and beaches to take advantage of the wild weather

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Australia’s ‘failing’ environmental laws will fuel further public health crises, Nobel laureate warns

Mon, 2020-05-25 03:30

Bushfires and Covid-19 highlight connection between human health and natural world, states letter by almost 200 doctors and scientists

Leading health professionals, including a Nobel laureate and a former Australian of the Year, say the government must put human health “front and centre” in a new generation of environment laws in the aftermath of the Covid-19 and bushfire crises.

The Nobel prize-winning immunologist Peter Doherty and the epidemiologist and former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley are among 180 professionals who have warned the government that Australia’s “failing” environmental laws will fuel further public health crises.

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Britain's largest solar farm poised to begin development in Kent

Sun, 2020-05-24 20:04

Cleve Hill, the £450m project producing 350MW, expected to receive go-ahead this week

Britain’s largest solar farm, capable of generating enough clean electricity to power 91,000 homes, is poised to receive the greenlight from ministers this week.

The subsidy-free renewables park is expected to reach a capacity of 350MW by installing 880,000 solar panels – some as tall as buses – across 364 hectares (900 acres) of farmland in the Kent countryside.

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Thousands of run-down US dams would kill people if they failed, study finds

Sat, 2020-05-23 20:00
  • 17% of 91,000 US dams classified with ‘high hazard’ potential
  • Neglected infrastructure in focus after Michigan dam failures

More than 15,000 dams in the US would likely kill people if they failed, and at least 2,300 of them are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to recent data from the federal government’s National Inventory of Dams.

Related: When the '500-year flood' hit Michigan, residents had to weigh risk of escape in a pandemic

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Endangered shorebirds unsustainably hunted during migrations, records show

Sat, 2020-05-23 06:00

More than 30 species, including nine that are threatened, are being hunted unsustainably, report finds

More than 30 shorebird species that fly across oceans each year to visit Australia – including nine that are threatened – are being hunted during their long migrations, according to a study that analysed decades of records from 14 countries.

The study, which experts said filled a major gap in the world’s knowledge about the impact of hunting on declining shorebird numbers, found that more than 17,000 birds from 16 species were likely being killed at just three sites – Pattani Bay in Thailand, West Java in Indonesia and the Yangtze River delta in China.

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The Guardian view on climate and Covid: time to make different choices | Editorial

Sat, 2020-05-23 03:07

Despite some fine words about the environmental crisis, ministers are pushing ahead with a trade bill that threatens to damage the planet

The dust storms that devastated the US prairie during the Great Depression were the worst ecological disaster in American history. They were also, partly, manmade. Decades of farming in the Great Plains had rid the topsoil of its native grass, leaving nothing to prevent fields crumbling to dust when drought struck in 1931. Across the Dust Bowl in midwest America, millions of acres of farmland were swept away in brown blizzards. Forced off the land, hungry families headed west in search of new jobs and lives. The dust blew so far east that it settled on the White House lawn.

Almost 90 years ago the US president’s response was not to lie about the scale of disaster or blame others. Instead, Franklin D Roosevelt launched one of his New Deal’s signature relief programmes: the Civilian Conservation Corps. Its mission was to put unemployed Americans to work. More than 3 million people planted 3bn trees, built shelter belts across the Great Plains to reduce the risk of dust storms, and created 700 state parks. FDR’s legacy survives, but his policy is venerated more in name than in deed.

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‘Exploitative conditions’: Germany to reform meat industry after spate of Covid-19 cases

Sat, 2020-05-23 02:21

Ban on use of subcontractors and fines of €30,000 for slaughterhouses breaching new labour regulations a ‘historic moment’, say campaigners

The German government has announced a series of reforms of the meat industry, including a ban on the use of subcontractors and fines of €30,000 (£26,000) for companies breaching labour regulations, as slaughterhouses have emerged as coronavirus hotspots.

A number of meat plants across the country have temporarily closed after hundreds of workers tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks.

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Sat, 2020-05-23 01:45

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including rose-ringed parakeets and a poppy-loving bumblebee

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UK approval for biggest gas power station in Europe ruled legal

Sat, 2020-05-23 00:31

High court hears challenge after ministers overruled climate objections of planning officials

The UK government’s approval of a large new gas-fired power plant has been ruled legal by the high court. The legal challenge was brought after ministers had overruled the climate change objections of the country’s own planning authority.

The plant, which is being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire, would be the biggest gas power station in Europe, and could account for 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to the environmental lawyers for ClientEarth, which brought the judicial review.

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Humanity must take this chance to find a new 'normal' – and safeguard our planet

Fri, 2020-05-22 16:30

Climate risks and opportunities need to be incorporated into the financial system as well as public policymaking and infrastructure

There is a lot of talk about getting back to normal after the Covid-19 crisis is over. And yet normal – business as usual – is what has made our planet and our societies vulnerable to crises in the first place.

Normal means cutting down huge swathes of forest to plant crops. Normal means overgrazing livestock, destroying natural ecosystems at the expense of habitats for wild animals. Normal is driving climate change, which increases stress in wild species and their habitats and makes people more susceptible to zoonotic diseases (which spread from animals to humans).

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We now have the proof: greening the economy doesn't come at the price of prosperity

Fri, 2020-05-22 16:00

After the financial crisis, green investment paid dividends. Coronavirus presents an even greater opportunity

Everest is once again visible from Kathmandu, after decades shrouded in pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to levels last seen in 2006. Nature has returned to our streets with a quack and a flurry, and people are waking to birdsong in inner cities as the roar of traffic recedes.

Clear skies bring little cheer at the food bank, however. Birdsong might lift the heart, but it won’t pay the rent.

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