Environment and Climate Change

New fountains and bottle-refill points to tackle London’s plastic waste

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Exclusive: Mayor of London announces scheme to reduce packaging waste and improve access to tap water Nicola Davis The Guardian A new network of drinking fountains and bottle-refill points is set to be rolled out across London this year as part of a plan to reduce the amount of waste created by single-use plastic, the Guardian has learned. Twenty new drinking fountains will be installed across London in a pilot scheme starting this summer, while a bottle-refill initiative, in which businesses make tap ... Read More »

Scientists Warns on Seabed Mining

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Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deepsea ecosystems, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Exeter and Greenpeace. By MarEx  The Maritime Executive The deep sea (depths below 200m) covers about half of the Earth’s surface and is home to a vast range of species. Little is known about these environments, and the researchers say mining could have “long-lasting and unforeseen consequences”– not just at mining sites but also across much larger ... Read More »

Toxic plastic waste is returning from sea to poison us

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Wet wipes, straws and ‘mermaids’ tears’: Jane Bradley on the marine plastic epidemic that’s poisoning our food. Jane Bradley The Scotsman ‘Ohhhh, it’s garbage,” said the fresh-faced American tourist, clearly relieved to realise that the giant bags we were lugging onto Cramond promenade did not actually contain dead bodies. His expression changed and he looked us straight in the eye, in that sincere way that only Americans can. “I thank you,” he said. It was a freezing Saturday morning and ... Read More »

Japan to step up patrol of N. Korean illegal fishing

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Japan’s fisheries ministry says it is going to step up a crackdown on illegal fishing by boats from North Korea and other countries. NHK World There have been an increasing number of cases of foreign boats including many from North Korea fishing illegally in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Yamatotai fishing grounds off the Noto Peninsula in the Sea of Japan. Ministry officials say they will set up a taskforce led by the Fisheries Agency chief to strengthen the ... Read More »

The Buzz Fades

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Under-resourced in an overworked agricultural system, honeybee colonies are gradually failing in most temperate regions. By Raúl Guillén The Nation Honeybees, or Apis mellifera, which are native to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, have been domesticated around the world, but since the 1980s their mortality has increased rapidly in most temperate regions (Europe, Japan, North and South America). The naturalist Jean-Pierre Rogel writes, of Canada: “The current losses of around 25% are exceptional, and would be disastrous economically if ... Read More »

The Daily Grind of Recycling

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Warm feelings about saving the planet have given way to the drudgery of sorting and rinsing and nagging from the government. Stephen L. Carter Bloomberg The other day, I had an epiphany: If recycling were not required by law, I probably wouldn’t bother. Okay, I’m a horrible person. But bear with me. In the wake of a blizzard, I was rolling the huge town-provided recycling bin to the curb for pickup. Downhill. Through the snow. On a steep driveway, imprecisely plowed. ... Read More »

Global warming will expose millions more to floods

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Global warming is expected to unleash more rain, exposing millions more people to river flooding particularly in the United States and parts of Asia, Africa and central Europe, researchers have said. MIAMI – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The study in the journal Science Advances calculates how much more flood protection will be needed to keep the risks of high-end floods constant in the next 25 years. Unless actions are taken – such as enhancing dykes, boosting building standards, relocating settlements and ... Read More »

Brexit bill may have broken international environment law, says UN

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Exclusive: compliance committee considers complaint alleging government breached Aarhus convention by not consulting public over withdrawal bill Laura Laker The Guardian The British government may have breached a major “environmental democracy” law by failing to consult the public when drawing up Brexit legislation. A UN-backed committee has confirmed it is considering a complaint from Friends of the Earth that the government’s EU withdrawal bill breached the Aarhus convention, which requires public consultation on any new environmental law. Most of the… Brexit bill may… Read More »

Winds of change: Britain now generates twice as much electricity from wind as coa

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Just six years ago, more than 40% of Britain’s electricity was generated by burning coal. Grant Wilson Iain Staffell The Conversation Today, that figure is just 7%. Yet if the story of 2016 was the dramatic demise of coal and its replacement by natural gas, then 2017 was most definitely about the growth of wind power. Wind provided 15% of electricity in Britain last year (Northern Ireland shares an electricity system with the Republic and is calculated separately), up from 10% in 2016. ... Read More »

Trump proposes massive expansion of offshore drilling

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The Trump administration is proposing to greatly expand the areas available for offshore oil and natural gas drilling, including off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Timothy Cama The Hill In the first major step toward the administration’s promised expansion of offshore drilling, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said nearly all of the nation’s outer continental shelf is being considered for drilling, including areas off the coasts of Maine, California, Florida and Alaska. The proposal, which environmentalists immediately panned as an environmental disaster ... Read More »

With Oceans Under Greatest Threat Ever, Trump Administration Urges Even Less Protection for Marine Life

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“It shouldn’t be too much to ask to protect two percent of the U.S.’s exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic coast for future generations.” Julia Conley Common Dreams With the world’s oceans more severely threatened than ever before, President Donald Trump’s Interior Department is recommending even less protection for the fraction of ocean life the U.S. has guarded from commercial fishing and other activities in recent years. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed that three ocean monuments in the Pacific ... Read More »

Earth Will Start Becoming a Desert by 2050 If Global Warming Isn’t Stopped, Study Says

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More than 25 percent of the Earth will experience serious drought and desertification by the year 2050 if the attempts made by the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming are not met, according to a new study by the journal Nature Climate Change. Leah Thomas Newsweek The study, which was published on Monday, claims that if the Earth’s average yearly temperature is raised by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 32 years, the areas of the world experiencing “aridification,” or ... Read More »

On its hundredth birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming

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Somebody cut the cake – new documents reveal that American oil writ large was warned of global warming at its 100th birthday party. Benjamin Franta The Guardian It was a typical November day in New York City. The year: 1959. Robert Dunlop, 50 years old and photographed later as clean-shaven, hair carefully parted, his earnest face donning horn-rimmed glasses, passed under the Ionian columns of Columbia University’s iconic Low Library. He was a guest of honor for a grand occasion: the ... Read More »

Droughts And Ecosystems Determined By Interaction Of Two Climate Phenomena

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What is causing the droughts that the Iberian Peninsula regularly endures? Why are the winters sometimes mild and rainy and other times cold and dry or cold and damp? Eurasia Review Is climate change of anthropogenic origin exerting an influence on these processes? How are these cycles affecting the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems? And finally, can these cycles be predicted and the economy thus adjusted to them? The work, published this week in Nature Communications, was led by the University ... Read More »

The Danger to the South China Sea Fishery

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For years, sovereign rights in the South China Sea have been an object of fierce contention among the states that border it: the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam, all members of the 10-nation ASEAN group, China, their giant neighbor to the north, and Taiwan as… David Brown Asia Sentinel But while the bordering states jockey for advantage, with China now clearly the dominant local power, scientists have been warning that the sea is fast becoming the site of an ... Read More »

UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas

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Waters outside national boundaries are currently unregulated, devastated by overfishing and pollution. 140 countries back the motion to establish a treaty Jonathan Watts The Guardian The world’s oceans are set for a long overdue boost in the coming days as the United Nations votes for the first time on a planned treaty to protect and regulate the high seas. The waters outside national maritime boundaries – which cover half of the planet’s surface – are currently a free-for-all that has led to ... Read More »