German court backs city bans on diesel cars

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A top German court ruled on Feb. 27 in favor of allowing major cities to ban the most heavily polluting diesel cars, a move set to hit the value of 12 million vehicles in Europe’s largest car market and probably force carmakers to pay for costly modifications. LEIPZIG – Reuters Hurriyet There has been a global backlash against diesel-engine cars since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating U.S. exhaust tests, meant to limit emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide ... Read More »

A ghostly oil spill menaces Asia’s richest fisheries

Smoke is seen from the Panama-registered Sanchi tanker carrying Iranian oil, which went ablaze after a collision with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea, in this January 9, 2018 handout picture released by China's Ministry of Transport January 10, 2018. China's Ministry of Transport/Handout via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

ZHOUSHAN, China — A fiery collision that sank an Iranian tanker in the East China Sea a month ago has resulted in an environmental threat that experts say is unlike any before: an almost invisible type of petroleum has begun to contaminate some of the most important fishing grounds in Asia, from China to Japan and beyond. By STEVEN LEE MYERS and JAVIER C. HERNNDEZ Today It is the largest oil spill in decades, but the disaster has unfolded outside the ... Read More »

Scientists Watch Ocean Plastic Hotspots Form in Real Time

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Researchers tracked hundreds of buoys deployed in the Gulf of Mexico. Not only did the buoys not spread out – many concentrated into an area the size of a football stadium. Erica Cirino News Deeply The findings may help scientists pinpoint areas for plastic or oil-spill cleanup. I was at the wheel of a 54ft (16m) research sloop crossing the north Pacific Ocean through the heart of one of the most plastic-polluted parts of the sea, when I spotted my first ... Read More »

Giant ‘Dead Whale’ Is Haunting Reminder of Massive Plastic Pollution Problem

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Greenpeace Philippines recently created a real… whale of a public art piece (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves), to address one of the world’s most serious problems: plastic pollution. Expand Your Consciousness In an effort to motivate the public to consider the impact this plastic trash has on our planet and illustrate why we need to recycle, use alternative biodegradable containers (like hemp or glass) when possible, and participate in local clean-up projects, Greenpeace Philippines created a powerful visual and global message ... Read More »

Plastic pollution: Scientists’ plea on threat to ocean giants

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Scientists say there needs to be more research into the impact of plastic pollution on sharks, whales and rays Helen Briggs BBC A study, in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, says the creatures may be swallowing hundreds of tiny bits of plastic a day. Microplastic pollution has the potential to further reduce the population sizes of the large filter feeders, they say. Yet, there is very little research being carried out into the risks. Researchers from the US, Australia ... Read More »

We can still win the fight against climate change

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As 2017 drew to an end, becoming one of the three hottest years on record, my native United States conversely experienced dangerously frigid, Arctic weather, leading to intense debate about how climate change could also be the cause of extreme cold. Jennifer Morgan Al Jazeera Although the big freeze was predictably seized upon by climate sceptics to scorn the veracity of global warming, the jury on whether climate change triggered the extreme weather is far from out. Research into the ... Read More »

Coral reefs inundated with billions of pieces of plastic

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More than 11 billion pieces of plastic are stuck in coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region, according to an alarming new study. Tom Bawden The Scotsman The finding has raised concerns that the presence of so much plastic could considerably increase the risk of coral disease by blocking out light and depriving them of oxygen. The researchers estimate the increased chance of infection on the reefs affected could be as high as 89 per cent, in some… It is well ... Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Will a 25p charge change Britain’s throwaway coffee cup culture?

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On a busy Guildford high street reaction to the proposed ‘latte levy’ is mixed Sandra Laville The Guardian While many welcome the move to change peoples’ habits, for some, already feeling the squeeze of a weak pound, the 25p hit is too high. Turn any corner in the busy town centre of Guildford on a weekday morning, and someone is carrying a disposable cup bearing the logo of one of the major chains. Each minute in the UK about 500 ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

‘Death spiral’: half of Europe’s coal plants are losing money

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Air pollution and climate change policies are pushing coal-fired electricity stations to the brink, says a new report. Closing them would avoid €22bn in losses by 2030 Damian Carrington The Guardian More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. ... Read More »