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Updated 2018-12-10 00:17
Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors
UN summit urged to end all coal burning and introduce substantial taxes on emissionsGlobal investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers and marks the largest such intervention to date. They say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced. Continue reading...
BP faces shareholder challenge over carbon targets
Company is among energy firms being urged to set goals in line with Paris agreementBP, Chevron and ExxonMobil face a shareholder challenge to set carbon targets in line with the Paris climate agreement, as a green group seeks to repeat its success in pressuring Shell to set environmental benchmarks.When Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, laid out an ambitious long-term carbon target last year, he acknowledged the role played by a resolution on carbon targets submitted by Dutch activist shareholders Follow This. Continue reading...
Australia's silence during climate change debate shocks COP24 delegates
Country accused of tacitly supporting oil allies’ rejection of the latest scienceAs four of the world’s largest oil and gas producers blocked UN climate talks from “welcoming” a key scientific report on global warming, Australia’s silence during a key debate is being viewed as tacit support for the four oil allies: the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.The end of the first week of the UN climate talks – known as COP24 – in Katowice, Poland, has been mired by protracted debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” a key report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Continue reading...
Swift parrot habitat vital for survival of species could be destroyed by dam
Environment minister will rule if Tasmanian forest that is home to the critically endangered parrot can be bulldozedTasmanian forest considered important for the survival of the critically endangered swift parrot may be bulldozed to build a dam for a fish farm and golf course development.Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, on Tasmania’s east coast, wants to clear about 40ha of what scientists say is critical swift parrot breeding and foraging habitat to develop a 3,000m-litre-a-year dam near the town of Orford. The environment minister, Melissa Price, will now decide whether the proposal goes ahead. Continue reading...
Largest ever group of global investors call for more action to meet Paris targets
The group of 414 institutional investors with $31 trillion under management say governments must take serious steps to cut emissionsThe largest ever group of institutional investors has called on governments around the world to urgently increase their efforts to meet the Paris climate change agreement goals.The 414 global investors - which represent US$31 trillion of assets-under-management - say they are deeply concerned about the “ambition gap” that exists between governments’ commitments and what is needed to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels. Continue reading...
US and Russia ally with Saudi Arabia to water down climate pledge
Move shocks delegates at UN conference as ministers fly in for final week of climate talksThe US and Russia have thrown climate talks into disarray by allying with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to water down approval of a landmark report on the need to keep global warming below 1.5C.After a heated two-and-a-half-hour debate on Saturday night, the backwards step by the four major oil producers shocked delegates at the UN climate conference in Katowice as ministers flew in for the final week of high-level discussions. Continue reading...
'Park not paddock': bushwalkers complete epic 36-day protest over brumbies
Protesters walk from Sydney to Mt Kosciuszko to draw attention to increasing damage feral horses are doing to national parkIt is not a precise way to measure public sentiment. But as five seasoned bushwalkers made their way on foot through the New South Wales deputy premier John Barilaro’s electorate of Monaro, taking several days to reach Charlotte Pass before hiking up Mt Kosciuszko itself, they received more words of encouragement and support than opposition to their message.The walkers were walking in protest against legislation shepherded through the NSW parliament by Barilaro in June that declared feral horses, or brumbies, a protected heritage species in Kosciuszko national park. Continue reading...
Man in serious condition after shark attack on NSW mid-north coast
Man surfing at Nambucca Heads receives five deep lacerations to his leg when he is bitten by a sharkA man in his 30s is in a serious condition after a shark attack on the New South Wales mid-north coast.The man received five deep lacerations to one of his lower legs when he was bitten by a shark at Nambucca Heads after 7am on Sunday, an ambulance spokesman said. Continue reading...
Next election test of leadership on climate and the environment
Centrist voters are increasingly placing a priority on these issues at a federal level, according to researchThe next election could shape up as an important contest for centrist voters who consider climate and environmental concerns as a test of leadership according to leading social researcher Rebecca Huntley.Huntley says her work increasingly shows voters broadly connect environmental issues such as climate change, energy, clean air and water, food security and waste with capacity for leadership. Continue reading...
Airlines ignoring efficient planes in blow to carbon targets – study
TUI Airways comes top of 2018 Atmosfair Airline Index while Virgin Atlantic ranks 83rdAirlines are failing to take up the most efficient planes in sufficient numbers to make a significant dent in their carbon dioxide emissions, a new study has found.The most efficient new aircraft models, such as the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 and A320neo, can achieve substantial carbon savings over older models, but no airlines have invested sufficiently in the new types to reach the top levels of energy efficiency, according to a ranking by Atmosfair, a German NGO. Continue reading...
'We live in a lobstocracy': Maine town is feeling the effects of climate change
When lobsters are life, environmental change affects livelihoods, and warming waters will ultimately bust the lobster industryThe American lobster is a symbol of Maine, central to the state’s ethos and economy.Its image appears on license plates, restaurant signs and clothing. It is sold alive, with its claws banded shut, on docks, at highway rest stops and supermarkets. Cooked, it is served everywhere from seaside shacks to the finest restaurants. Continue reading...
'It's a sad reality': a troubling trend sees a 97% decline in monarch butterflies
In the 1980s, roughly 4.5 million monarchs wintered in California, but at last count, there may be as few as 30,000The hillside groves of eucalyptus trees that tower over the Santa Cruz shoreline would, not so long ago, be teeming with monarch butterflies at this time of year.Boughs would be bent under the weight of black and orange clusters, as hundreds of thousands of the magical invertebrates nestled into the leaves, waiting out the frost on the California coast before returning north. Continue reading...
Any Trump infrastructure deal must tackle climate change, Democrats warn
The week in wildlife – in pictures
An African wild dog preparing for a hunt and a male mimic poison frog transporting a tadpole are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world Continue reading...
UK children face winter health crisis due to pollution, say doctors
Toxic air and cold weather could create deadly conditions and stretch NHS, medics sayThousands of children are facing hospital this winter as cold weather and the UK’s air pollution crisis combine to create potentially deadly conditions for young people, doctors have warned.The Royal College of Paediatricians, the Royal College of Physicians and children’s charity Unicef say that the UK’s toxic air and cold weather will leave a huge number of children extremely vulnerable this winter, creating an “overlooked” emergency for an already stretched NHS. Continue reading...
Deadly pig virus could hit US in a year, warn experts
African swine fever has been spreading rapidly in China and has also travelled from Russia and Eastern Europe to Belgium. Experts fear it is only a matter of time before it reaches the US.A global outbreak of African swine fever will reach the US within a year unless border protections are tightened and imports of high-risk pork products banned, warn biosecurity experts. It would cost the US economy $16.5bn (£12.9bn) in the first year alone, it has been estimated.An ongoing epidemic of the virus, which is deadly for pigs but cannot yet be transmitted to humans, has prompted the US Department of Agriculture to review and strengthen its border protections. After outbreaks in Belgium and China this year, the USDA has increased the use of sniffer dogs at major ports, airports, land borders crossings, and has also built quarantine stations and increased passenger and cargo inspections on flights from China and Russia, the worst hit countries. Continue reading...
'Grand Designs-style' barn in Herefordshire leads to hilltop protest
Objectors say so-called shed near Black Hill was built to take advantage of the viewsPeople who live in one of England’s most beautiful valleys are taking to the hills to protest against a new structure that its owners say is a barn but which critics fear is going to be turned into a country retreat.The structure has been built about half a mile from the summit of the Black Hill in Herefordshire, on slopes owned by the artist Christopher Brooks, brother of the racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks and brother-in-law of the former tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks. Continue reading...
World's oldest known wild bird to become a mother for the 37th time
Wisdom, a 68-year-old Laysan albatross, has laid another egg with her longtime lover at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refugeIn sea mariner lore, an albatross is considered a good omen, and for almost seven decades, one bird has spread generations of blessings across the Pacific Ocean.Wisdom, a 68-year-old Laysan albatross believed to be the world’s oldest known wild bird, has returned to her home at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge for yet another winter – and laid yet another egg to add to the already impressive brood that she has built up over an impressive lifetime. Continue reading...
Queensland bushfires: Palaszczuk blasts Morrison government over land-clearing inquiry
Queensland premier says Coalition is ‘blaming the trees’ for the firesAnnastacia Palaszczuk has lashed out at the federal government after it announced an inquiry into land-clearing laws following the recent bushfires.“If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change,” the Queensland premier told reporters. “It is only the LNP who could watch Queensland burn and then blame the trees.” Continue reading...
Africa cocoa industry failing on deforestation pledge – campaigners
Tens of thousands of hectares cleared in Ghana and Ivory Coast since vow to end practiceThe cocoa industry is failing to meet a highly publicised pledge to stop deforestation in west Africa and eliminate tainted beans from supply chains, environmental campaigners say.Big chocolate companies and the governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast continue to be responsible for the deforestation of tens of thousands of hectares of land over the past year in former rainforest-covered nations, despite their solemn promises to end the practice last November, the campaigning organisation Mighty Earth said. Continue reading...
Scientists say most diverse coral site ever seen on Great Barrier Reef discovered
In a space no longer than 500 metres, researchers say they recorded at least 195 different species of coralsA team of researchers says it has discovered the most diverse coral site ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef.Great Barrier Reef Legacy, a non-profit organisation that conducts research trips on the reef, and scientist Charlie Veron, known as the godfather of coral, have identified the site on the outer reef. Continue reading...
Instacrammed: the big fib at the heart of New Zealand picture-perfect peaks
That beautiful getaway shot doesn’t often reveal the dozens queueing behind you for their own moment of peaceOne of New Zealand’s most scenic locations is buckling under the strain of selfie-seeking tourists, with lines of up to an hour to capture scenes of supposed isolation and peace.Roys Peak in Lake Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s most Instagrammed day walks, a three-hour hike that offers sweeping views towards Mount Aspiring and the Southern Alps. Continue reading...
Endangered Hawaiian monk seals face new challenge: eels stuck up their noses
Picture of monk seal with eel up its nose shared by Noaa was only latest episode to occur in the past two years, baffling researchersThe Hawaiian monk seal has become endangered due to a range of threats, from fishing net entanglements to disease. Now the beleaguered species is facing an unexpected new challenge – eels getting stuck up their noses.Related: Axolotls in crisis: the fight to save the 'water monster' of Mexico City Continue reading...
Trump rolls back climate change rule that restricted new coal plants
EPA says change to require efficiency efforts instead of carbon capture will encourage ‘clean coal’ in the US and worldwideThe Trump administration is rolling back a climate change regulation that restricted new coal plants.The change is mostly symbolic – but nevertheless sends a strong signal. Companies in the US are not building plants that burn coal because burning natural gas is cheaper and creates less pollution. Renewable power has also eaten into coal’s market share. Continue reading...
Trump administration plans to weaken protections for sage grouse
Under the new plan, the sage grouse’s protected area would shrink by about 9m acres to span just 1.8m acresThe Trump administration has unveiled plans to weaken environmental protections for sprawling areas of the western US considered important habitat for the sage grouse, a chicken-like bird known for its flamboyant courtship displays.The proposals, put forward by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), essentially dismantle much of a landmark 2015 compromise struck between states, oil drilling companies and environmentalists to create a network of protected areas for the sage grouse across 11 western states. Continue reading...
What you know about the American south and climate change is wrong
Southern states are not a uniform swath of white, populist, anti-science zealots. As climate is changing, so is the south – in this new column, Megan Mayhew Bergman goes back home to find out moreThere’s a Welsh word – hiraeth – which refers to a “homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, or a home which maybe never was”. Continue reading...
Calls for inquiry into protected Queensland wetlands development assessment
FOI documents show Josh Frydenberg rejected department advice that developing the area was ‘unacceptable’Environment groups have called for an independent probe into the government’s assessment of an apartment and marina development on protected wetlands in Queensland.It comes after revelations the former environment minister Josh Frydenberg rejected advice from the environment department that the development was “clearly unacceptable”. Continue reading...
Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free
Government seeks to prioritise environment and end some of world’s worst traffic congestionLuxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday. Continue reading...
The Guardian view on climate change: too much, too soon | Editorial
We are losing the war against climate change; the use of fossil fuels is driving higher carbon emissions when they need to be coming downOutside of the desperate and the deluded, everyone knows that the world is in the early stages of a truly catastrophic climate change. As Sir David Attenborough told the UN climate change conference in Poland, “the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon”. We have even worked out, with scrupulous care, what we must do to avoid this or to mitigate the effects of climate change. We know what to do. We can see how to do it. There’s only one problem: we do almost nothing.Figures released today by the University of East Anglia for the conference in Katowice show that global carbon emissions will be higher than ever before this year. In fact they will rise by nearly 3%, an astonishing and terrifying annual figure at a time when the need to diminish them has never been more urgent. The main driver of this growth has been the increased use of coal, which is rapidly approaching its previous peak level, from 2013. There is a particular irony in that this conference is being held in Poland, a country that still derives 80% of its electricity from coal, even if this is less grossly polluting than it was in the Communist era. In fact emissions there are down 30% from their peak in 1988. But far more must be done. To limit global warming to the Paris agreement goal of 1.5C, CO emissions would need to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050. Continue reading...
Sea levels may rise more rapidly due to Greenland ice melt
Run-off from vast ice sheet is increasing due to manmade global warming, says studyRising sea levels could become overwhelming sooner than previously believed, according to the authors of the most comprehensive study yet of the accelerating ice melt in Greenland.Run-off from this vast northern ice sheet – currently the biggest single source of meltwater adding to the volume of the world’s oceans – is 50% higher than pre-industrial levels and increasing exponentially as a result of manmade global warming, says the paper, published in Nature on Wednesday. Continue reading...
'Brutal news': global carbon emissions jump to all-time high in 2018
Rapid cuts needed to protect billions of people from rising emissions due to increase in use of cars and coalGlobal carbon emissions will jump to a record high in 2018, according to a report, dashing hopes a plateau of recent years would be maintained. It means emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts urgently needed, say scientists, to fight climate change.The rise is due to the growing number of cars on the roads and a renaissance of coal use and means the world remains on the track to catastrophic global warming. However, the report’s authors said the emissions trend can still be turned around by 2020, if cuts are made in transport, industry and farming emissions. Continue reading...
'Drastic reductions' of Australia's northern bettong population reported
Scientists call for species to be listed as critically endangered after finding range reduced by 70%Researchers are calling for urgent measures to save the northern bettong from extinction after a five-year study found just two remaining populations of the animal in the wild.The research, led by WWF Australia working with the Queensland government and scientists from James Cook University, has recommended state and federal governments look to establish insurance populations for the small marsupial known as the “rat kangaroo”. Continue reading...
Funding Nemo: £600m power cable connects UK and Belgium
Energy link covers 80-mile route along seabed between Richborough and ZeebruggeA £600m cable connecting the UK and Belgium’s energy systems is about to be switched on, becoming the first of a new generation of interconnectors that will deepen the UK’s ties to mainland Europe just as it prepares to leave the EU.The Nemo link is in the final stages of testing and from early 2019 is expected to transmit power over an 80-mile route along the seabed between Richborough in Kent and Zeebrugge, becoming the first new electricity interconnector to the continent since 2011 and the first to Belgium. Continue reading...
Save millions of lives by tackling climate change, says WHO
Global warming and fossil fuel pollution already killing many, UN climate summit toldTackling climate change would save at least a million lives a year, the World Health Organization has told the UN climate summit in Poland, making it a moral imperative.Cutting fossil fuel burning not only slows global warming but slashes air pollution, which causes millions of early deaths a year, the WHO says. In a report requested by UN climate summit leaders, the WHO says the economic benefits of improved health are more than double the costs of cutting emissions, and even higher in India and China, which are plagued by toxic air. Continue reading...
French journalists labelled spies over Indian mining investigation
Arthur Bouvart and Jules Giraudat took up assignment after Indian journalists threatenedTwo French journalists have been labelled spies and are the subject of a criminal investigation after they tried to report on sand mining in south India – an assignment they took up because Indian journalists had been threatened for reporting on the issue.Arthur Bouvart and Jules Giraudat arrived in Tamil Nadu state in November to investigate the environmental impact of mining sand, a resource that has become scarce and increasingly lucrative amid a decades-long Asian construction boom. Continue reading...
South Western Railway relents and allows use of reusable cups
Rail operator said ‘safety aspect’ was involved in giving those on board disposable cupsA rail operator has done a U-turn and agreed to let passengers use their own reusable cups for hot drinks bought on board its trains after criticism by environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.South Western Railway changed its policy after the chef complained on Twitter during a journey that buffet car staff – employed by catering company Rail Gourmet – had “refused” to pour tea into his refillable cup. Continue reading...
Barclays customers in switch threat over tar sands investment
Up to 30,000 account holders sign petition against pipeline projects in US and CanadaThousands of Barclays customers have threatened to switch to another bank unless it promises not to invest in pipelines for oil from tar sands, dubbed the “dirtiest fuel on the planet”.Greenpeace, which occupied a branch of Barclays on Wednesday morning and erected signs branding it “The Dirty Bank”, said 30,000 customers signed a petition calling on the lender to pledge never to fund controversial tar sands projects. Continue reading...
Iceland's banned palm oil advert should have aired, says ITV chief
Carolyn McCall said it was ‘ludicrous’ ad seen 65m times online could not run on TVThe chief executive of ITV has said she believes Iceland’s controversial anti-palm oil festive campaign should have been allowed to air on TV.As part of its festive campaign the discount supermarket struck a deal with Greenpeace to rebadge an animated short film featuring an orangutan and the destruction of its rainforest habitat at the hands of palm-oil growers. Continue reading...
Lost lands? The American wilderness at risk in the Trump era
Exclusive: a new study reveals the vast extent of public lands being opened up to the energy industry. The Guardian heard from three communities on the frontlines
Beef-eating 'must fall drastically' as world population grows
Current food habits will lead to destruction of all forests and catastrophic climate change by 2050, report findsPeople in rich nations will have to make big cuts to the amount of beef and lamb they eat if the world is to be able to feed 10 billion people, according to a new report. These cuts and a series of other measures are also needed to prevent catastrophic climate change, it says.More than 50% more food will be needed by 2050, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI) report, but greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will have to fall by two-thirds at the same time. The extra food will have to be produced without creating new farmland, it says, otherwise the world’s remaining forests face destruction. Meat and dairy production use 83% of farmland and produce 60% of agriculture’s emissions. Continue reading...
'We're sounding the alarm': half of Canada's chinook salmon endangered
Prospects for species look dire as federal science body finds that only one of the country’s 16 populations is believed to be stableHalf of Canada’s chinook salmon are endangered, with nearly all other populations in precarious decline, according to a new report, confirming fears that prospects for the species remain dire.The report by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada concluded that eight of the country’s 16 populations are considered endangered, four are threatened, one is of special concern and the health of two remain unknown. Continue reading...
Invest in Africa's youth before migration to Europe doubles, says UN official
With continent’s population set to soar, agriculture chief Gilbert Houngbo stresses need to make rural life profitableEconomic migration from Africa to Europe driven by poverty could double in the next decade unless urgent investment is made in job creation for young people in rural areas, the head of a UN financial body has warned.The global population is forecast to reach 9.9 billion by 2050 – a 29% increase – with most of that growth in Africa, where the population is expected to double to 2.6 billion. Continue reading...
Students left hanging during Canberra trip to confront Morrison on climate change
Group rallies outside Parliament House after being told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organisedHigh school students from across Australia calling for emergency action on climate change have travelled to Canberra to confront the prime minister after he criticised them for skipping school to stage national strikes.Students from Scott Morrison’s southern Sydney electorate of Cook – as well as Townsville, Melbourne and Brisbane – arrived at Parliament House on Wednesday morning to meet with him. Continue reading...
Australian mining giants 'may be breaking law' by ignoring climate change risks
Investor group finds most companies dismissing climate as a financial risk to their business, in breach of legal requirementsMore than a dozen of Australia’s largest mining and infrastructure companies may be in breach of their legal duties by refusing to consider the financial risks posed by climate change, an investor action group says.In September, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission published a report that said “the law requires” relevant companies to “include a discussion of climate risk” in their annual report. Continue reading...
Rightwing taskforce secretly approves anti-environment resolutions
In Washington last week, Alec, a group that links lobbyists with state lawmakers, approved measures to boost Donald Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agendaInside a little-known bulwark of conservative state policy, in a hotel conference room in Washington DC, state lawmakers and corporate lobbyists last week voted for a slate of anti-environment measures.Related: Progressive lawmakers call for climate change revolution Continue reading...
U-turn on eco-tax rise gives President Macron fuel for thought
Defeat by gilets jaunes will make others think twice before taking similar steps to cut emissionsEmmanuel Macron’s defeat by the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement over a proposed eco-tax rise is likely to come as a painful lesson for environmental policymakers at this week’s UN climate talks in Katowice.After the most violent protests in Paris for half a century, the French president has been forced to postpone a planned eco-tax rise on fuel, showing how ecological measures can have explosive consequences if there is any suggestion they are being used to “greenwash” austerity. Continue reading...
Swift parrot polyamory a new threat to critically endangered species' survival
Shortage of female swift parrots caused by sugar gliders wreaking ‘havoc’ on matingTasmania’s critically endangered swift parrots are facing a new threat to survival – polyamory.A study by researchers at the Australian National University, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, has found that a chronic shortage of female swift parrots caused by intensive predation by sugar gliders has wreaked havoc on the bird’s usually monogamous breeding habits and lowered the survival rate for young hatchlings. Continue reading...
Progressive lawmakers call for climate change revolution
Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez emphasized need to ‘transform our energy system’ but did not discuss how to pursue itA star-studded progressive town hall on climate change drew thousands of viewers online and hundreds in person – but offered little insight into how the US left might overcome Republican opposition and lay the groundwork to limit rising temperatures.Related: David Attenborough: collapse of civilisation is on the horizon Continue reading...
'Our leaders are like children,' school strike founder tells climate summit
Greta Thunberg, 15, told UN summit that students are acting in absence of global leadershipAction to fight global warming is coming whether world leaders like it or not, school student Greta Thunberg has told the UN climate change summit, accusing them of behaving like irresponsible children.Thunberg began a solo climate protest by striking from school in Sweden in August. But more than 20,000 students around the world have now joined her. The school strikes have spread to at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the US and Japan. Continue reading...
Court challenge launched over minister's 'flawed' decision on Adani water trigger
Melissa Price made an error of law in assessing pipeline plan, Australian Conservation Foundation will argueThe Australian Conservation Foundation has launched a federal court challenge to the environment minister Melissa Price’s decision not to apply the water trigger in assessing water infrastructure for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine.The court action, lodged on Tuesday, relates to the federal government’s assessment of Adani’s north Galilee water scheme, which would see a 100km pipeline constructed to transport 12.5bn litres of water a year from the Suttor River and Burdekin basin. The project would also expand an existing 2.2bn-litre dam to 10bn litres. Continue reading...
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