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Updated 2018-08-18 09:17
Kerala floods: death toll rises to at least 324 as rescue effort continues
220,000 people left homeless and thousands still trapped in southern Indian state after unusually heavy rainPressure intensified on Saturday to save thousands still trapped by devastating floods that have killed more than 300 in the Indian state of Kerala, triggering landslides and sending torrents sweeping through villages in the region’s worst inundation crisis in a century.Authorities warned of more torrential rain and strong winds over the weekend, as hundreds of troops and local fishermen staged desperate rescue attempts in helicopters and boats across the southern state. Continue reading...
UK public backs tough action on plastic waste in record numbers
Size of consultation response could lead to ‘latte levy’ and other fiscal measures in budgetAn unprecedented number of people have backed tough action against plastic waste in a government consultation that could pave the way for a series of fiscal measures in the autumn budget.The government will say response is evidence that there is broad public support for reducing single-use plastic waste through measure such as a “latte levy” on coffee cups, similar to the plastic bag charge, and tax incentives for recycling. Continue reading...
Great Barrier Reef grant risked delaying action, government was warned
Exclusive: Giving $444m to small foundation could delay on-ground work, documents revealThe government was warned that there was a “significant” risk that on-the-ground projects for the Great Barrier Reef could be delayed because of a $443.8m grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, documents reveal.The documents, obtained by the Guardian under freedom of information laws, also show the environment department and the office of the environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, discussing a $5m “reef islands” grant, but do not contain any mention of the much larger grant until after the 9 April meeting where it was offered. Continue reading...
Blow for EPA as court blocks bid to slacken safety rules for chemical plants
‘Capricious’ EPA forbidden from delaying the enforcement of chemical safety rule drawn up by Obama administrationA federal court has blocked an attempt by the Trump administration to delay safety regulations for chemical plants – the latest in a string of recent legal setbacks for the administration in its attempts to reverse environmental standards.Related: Weedkiller found in wide range of breakfast foods aimed at children Continue reading...
The week in wildlife – in pictures
An anaesthetised polar bear, a surprising pine marten and a potty-mouthed parrot are among this week’s images Continue reading...
Older than dinosaurs: last South African coelacanths threatened by oil exploration
Just 30 of the prehistoric fish known to exist, raising fears oil wells will push it to extinctionBright blue, older than dinosaurs and weighing as much as an average-sized man, coelacanths are the most endangered fish in South Africa and among the rarest in the world.Barely 30 of these critically-endangered fish are known to exist off the east coast of South Africa, raising concern that a new oil exploration venture in the area could jeopardise their future. Continue reading...
Turnbull ditches legislation for 26% emissions cut to head off backbench dissent
Government to set target by regulation in move to defuse internal opposition – and court LaborThe Turnbull government is preparing to set the emissions reduction target for the national energy guarantee by regulation rather than legislation in a move to court Labor’s support and defuse some internal tensions about enshrining the Paris climate commitments in Australian law.
US interior secretary's school friend blocking climate research, scientists say
Trump administration forces some scientific funding to be reviewed by adviser who was high-school football teammate of Ryan ZinkeProminent US climate scientists have told the Guardian that the Trump administration is holding up research funding as their projects undergo an unprecedented political review by the high-school football teammate of the US interior secretary.The US interior department administers over $5.5bn in funding to external organizations, mostly for research, conservation and land acquisition. At the beginning of 2018, interior secretary Ryan Zinke instated a new requirement that scientific funding above $50,000 must undergo an additional review to ensure expenditures “better align with the administration’s priorities”. Continue reading...
Kerala floods: death toll reaches 164 in worst monsoon in nearly a century
‘Extremely grave’ situation in southern Indian state as more than 150,000 people displaced from their homesThe death toll from floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala has jumped to 164 and could grow further, with more rain predicted and thousands of people still awaiting rescue.Roads are damaged, mobile phone networks are down, an international airport has been closed and more than 150,000 people have been left homeless after unusually heavy rain this month caused the most damaging floods in Kerala in a century. Continue reading...
Pilot dies after firefighting helicopter crashes on New South Wales south coast
The aircraft, which came down near Ulladulla, was involved in fighting the Kingiman fireA firefighting helicopter has crashed on the NSW south coast killing the pilot who was the only person on board.The chopper crashed near Ulladulla after 2pm on Friday, according to a Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman.
'This summer doesn't belong in Scandinavia': your stories of heat around the world
From Hawaii to the Netherlands and France to South Korea readers have shared their reactions to recent record temperaturesIn mid-July last year, Haythem Ayari, a 23-year-old engineering student in Nabeul, coastal Tunisia, caught a bus to travel the 10km to university. The vehicle, already overloaded with passengers, was caught in gridlocked traffic and sat static for nearly an hour. There was a heatwave, with a temperature of about 38C (100F) outside; inside the bus it was 42C (108F). “At a specific moment, I just snapped,” remembered Ayari. “I got out in the middle of traffic to finally breathe.” Since then, he has been inclined to panic attacks if in confined, crowded spaces during hot weather.A month earlier, approximately 2,000 km (1300 miles) away in Bristol, UK, Adam Corner was on a bus with his partner and their new baby, heading across the city to visit friends. The bus was held up in traffic – not for long, but long enough. “It became a kind of inferno,” said Dr Corner, research director at Climate Outreach; their baby, barely a month old, started screaming in a way Corner had never heard before. “We had a little insight into this immediate, visceral risk – you see it through the eyes of your newborn child.” He pulled the bus’s emergency cord and they jumped off into traffic. Continue reading...
Shark nets to be removed from all NSW north coast beaches
Minister says nets will stay between Newcastle and Wollongong but be removed further north after trialThere are calls for shark nets to be pulled from all New South Wales beaches after the state government announced it was removing the controversial mesh on the north coast following public opposition.On Friday the state primary industries minister, Niall Blair, said locals were unhappy about recent trials of the nets, which had proved to be less effective at catching target sharks and harmed more marine life than Smart drumlines. Continue reading...
Most-polluting wood burner fuels due to get the chop
Environment secretary Michael Gove to banish house coal to curb harmful emissionsMichael Gove, the environment secretary, is due to confirm plans to ban the sale of the most-polluting fuels for domestic wood burners in an attempt to cut harmful emissions.The sale of traditional house coal will be phased out under proposals set out in the government’s draft clean air strategy in May, which are expected to be confirmed by Gove’s department on Friday. Continue reading...
UK government drops fracking question from public attitude tracker
First fracking operation in seven years set to begin despite low public supportThe government has stopped asking the British public whether they are for or against fracking for shale gas just weeks before the first fracking operation in seven years is due to start.The number of people against extracting shale gas has outweighed those in favour since 2015, and the latest polling by officials found 32% opposed with just 18% in support. Continue reading...
Air pollution: London mayor backs new inquest into girl's asthma death
Khan writes to attorney general over girl who died during spikes in nitrogen dioxideThe mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has written to the attorney general asking him to back a new inquest into the death of a nine-year-old girl whose severe asthma attacks coincided with spikes in air pollution.The mother of Ella Kissi-Debrah has fought a long campaign to highlight the role she believes illegal air pollution played in her daughter’s death in 2013. Continue reading...
Green space in every schoolyard: the radical plan to cool Paris
Playground oases could benefit students and city alike, but will making them public prove too controversial in a city on high alert?
US poised to allow more mining on land Trump removed from monuments
Officials plan to sell some of the land that once belonged to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, despite pledge not toUS officials have announced plans to allow increased mining on land that once belonged to two national monuments Donald Trump shrank, and to sell off some of the land despite pledges not to do so.The two monuments, now significantly smaller in size, are both in Utah. The draft management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument includes a 98-page minerals report that outlines deposits of coal, oil and gas, tar sands and other minerals under the whole of the monument’s original 1.9m acres. Continue reading...
Bid to limit commercial fishing in marine parks defeated by Coalition
Government and Senate crossbench combine to reject Greens and Labor motions to disallow controversial management plansA push by the Greens and Labor to attempt to force greater protection of fisheries in Australia’s marine parks has failed for the second time.The parties had vowed to reject controversial management plans for the parks proposed by the Turnbull government. But on Thursday the Senate crossbench combined with the Coalition to defeat disallowance motions on the basis that the parks would then be left with no plans in place and no limits on fishing. Continue reading...
Hanson says Anning speech went too far, but wants ban on Muslim immigration – as it happened
Pauline Hanson wants five-year ban and a plebiscite on Muslim immigration to Australia8.25am BSTOn that note, we will also adjourn until Monday.This first week back went for eternities. Whole civilisations rose and fell while we were locked in this building. I never thought I would be so happy to return to talking energy policy deadlocks.8.12am BSTFrom Tony Burke’s office:The Australian Parliament has just locked in the largest removal of area under conservation in history. Continue reading...
Brazil: murder of indigenous leader highlights threat to way of life
Jorginho Guajajara’s killing is believed by members of his tribe to be the result of conflict with loggers in their Amazon territoryIndigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon are mourning the murder of a community leader who campaigned to protect the forest from logging amid escalating violence in the region.Jorginho Guajajara, a cacique, or leader, of the Guajajara people, was found dead near a river in the city of Arame, Maranhão state, at the weekend. Continue reading...
Fat-biking: the miracle solution to cycling on sand
Peter Kimpton finds a bike that’s perfect for riding on the beach and explores the Glamorgan coast near PorthcawlSmooth tarmac to rough, potholed roads, gravel tracks to mountain paths, cyclists encounter good and bad surfaces, but rarely do we ride on sand. Most bikes would get stuck and seize up in seconds. Beaches may be free of traffic, but they are the last place you think of for a bike ride. Yet a fat-bike defies the laws of traction and discomfort, and allows you to explore thousands of miles of coast in a fraction of the time it would take to do so on foot. But where best to try it?Porthcawl, near Bridgend station on the coast between Cardiff and Swansea, is a surprisingly underused and beautiful beach. It’s the nearest lengthy surf beach to London and several other cities, lies near world-class mountain bike trails, is home to the rarest flower in Britain, and was a film location for Lawrence of Arabia. And for one weekend a year, it’s the surreal home to 35,000 Elvis devotees. Continue reading...
Weedkiller found in wide range of breakfast foods aimed at children
Cancer-linked herbicide, sold as Roundup by Monsanto, present in 45 products including granola, snack bars and CheeriosSignificant levels of the weedkilling chemical glyphosate have been found in an array of popular breakfast cereals, oats and snack bars marketed to US children, a new study has found.Tests revealed glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller brand Roundup, present in all but two of the 45 oat-derived products that were sampled by the Environmental Working Group, a public health organization. Continue reading...
Pine marten spotted in Kielder forest for first time in 90 years
Fearsome predator was extinct in England but Scottish relatives have crossed the border and set up home in NorthumberlandThe pine marten, a fearsome but diminutive predator driven to extinction in England, has returned to the country’s largest forest for the first time since 1926.Stills and video from a camera trap have recorded a mature pine marten devouring peanut butter put out for red squirrels at a secret location in Kielder forest, Northumberland. Continue reading...
Badger campaigners lose high court battle to limit cull
Wildlife campaigner Tom Langton claims the culls themselves risk making bovine TB epidemic worseBadger culling will be extended across England on an open-ended basis, conservationists have warned, after the high court rejected a challenge to the legality of the government’s policy.Licences to allow badger culling to continue in particular areas beyond a four-year period are legal, ruled Mr Justice Cranston, rejecting a challenge brought by the independent ecologist Tom Langton. Continue reading...
Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff | John Abraham
A new study examines potential climate feedbacks that could push Earth into a ‘hothouse’ state
Warm weather brings freshwater jellyfish to Cheshire canal
Tiny jellyfish species normally found in the Yangtze basin in China sighted in British canalFirst came the wasps, exotic sharks and marauding seagulls. Now the long hot summer has revealed another initially alarm-inducing animal in British waters – or more precisely, in the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.Freshwater jellyfish normally native to the Yangtze basin in China have been spotted swimming in the waters near Bridge 23 of the canal between Middlewich and Winsford, according to the Canal & River Trust. Continue reading...
Nutria: the rodent wreaking havoc on California's landscape – video
The rapid influx of these beaver-like rodents has decimated parts of the Californian wetlands. They were introduced to the US for the fur trade and now share wetland areas with some of the west coast’s most endangered species. The California department of fish and wildlife has compared the threat of their presence to that of wildfiresCalifornia v nutria: state seeks to eradicate scourge of giant rodents Continue reading...
California v nutria: state seeks to eradicate scourge of giant rodents
As the dog-sized creatures destroy wetlands and dig through levees, officials have a goal: total exterminationThe call came from a wildlife trapper working in the wetlands of central California.“I think I caught a nutria,” the man said. Continue reading...
Josh Frydenberg under pressure over $444m reef foundation grant – as it happened
Labor pursues environment minister over grant to private foundation and fallout continues from Fraser Anning’s ‘final solution’ speech. All the day’s events, live• Fraser Anning calls for ‘final solution’ on immigration
Senate inquiry to grill Great Barrier Reef Foundation chairman over $444m grant
Foundation board members and government officials will also give evidence into the awarding of the grant
Sanjeev Gupta: $1bn South Australia renewable energy plan will mean cheaper power
UK industrialist’s plan features 780,000 solar panels, generating enough electricity for 96,000 homesBillionaire UK industrialist Sanjeev Gupta has launched a $1bn, one-gigawatt renewable energy plan based in South Australia’s mid-north that he says will lead Australian industry’s transition to more competitive power.In the first of a number of projects slated for the upper Spencer Gulf region, which will also include a lithium-ion battery bigger than Elon Musk’s, Gupta’s energy company Simec Zen has released details of its Cultana Solar Farm. Continue reading...
Claimed power price cuts from energy guarantee are 'virtually meaningless'
Coal-fired power subsidies mean the projections relied on by Coalition are not credible, study saysThe Turnbull government is trumpeting power price reductions as a consequence of its national energy guarantee – but a new analysis says subsidies for coal-fired power stations will render those forecasts “virtually meaningless”.The government has failed to rule out the building of new coal plants as a consequence of its underwriting of new power generation, and Labor declaring that development a deal breaker. Continue reading...
Calls for environmental water entitlements to be sold to drought-affected farmers
Politicians and farmers say water should be diverted to crops to keep herds aliveThere are growing calls for the federal and state governments to start selling government-owned environmental water entitlements to farmers to alleviate the drought and to keep livestock alive.But the proposals would see wetlands and river courses starved of water with potential environmental stress from the drought exacerbated by the diversion of water onto farmland. Continue reading...
Stop climate change, don’t ‘adapt’ to it | Letters:
Judy Hindley says we must increase the price of fossil fuels, and Iain Climie raises the issue of climate change refugeesWhile I appreciate your work in keeping the spotlight on the global heatwave (World on fire: the rise of the 50C city, G2, 13 August), I’m scared by the emphasis of your correspondents and leader writers on “adapting” to climate change (Letters, 11 July). You don’t “adapt” to a raging fire, do you? You have to stop it. And the first thing you need to do is stop pouring fuel on it.Leading scientists worldwide now agree that the main cause of the climate crisis is the burning of fossil fuels, and leading economists agree that the solution is to price fossil fuels out of the market. Until that happens, we will be paying – with our health, our lives and our children’s future. Continue reading...
View the fat: Museum of London launches live stream of fatberg
Those interested in mass of oils and wet wipes can now watch a sample of it sweat and growThose who wish to watch the slow sweating of a disgusting, calcified mass of faeces, fats, oils, wet wipes and sanitary products can now do so at the click of a mouse.The Museum of London announced on Tuesday that it had permanently acquired samples of fatbergs and would livestream them to the world. Continue reading...
'It can’t get much hotter ... can it?' How heat became a national US problem
Heat now kills more Americans than floods, hurricanes or other natural disasters – but cities are facing it almost entirely aloneOn yet another day of roasting heat in Phoenix, elderly and homeless people scurry between shards of shade in search of respite at the Marcos De Niza Senior Center. Along with several dozen other institutions in the city, it has been set up as a cooling centre: a free public refuge, with air conditioning, chilled bottled water, boardgames and books. Last summer a record 155 people died in Phoenix from excess heat, and the city is straining to avoid a repeat.James Sanders, an 83-year-old who goes by King, has lived in the city for 60 years and considers himself acclimatised to the baking south Arizona sun. “It does seem hotter than it used to be, though,” he says as he picks at his lunch, the temperature having climbed to 42C (107F) outside. “Maybe it’s my age. Maybe the wind isn’t blowing. It can’t get much hotter than this though. Can it?” Continue reading...
Breakthrough as New Caledonia votes to protect coral reef
The Pacific Island is home to one of the world’s most pristine coral reefs, boasting more than 9,300 marine speciesNew Caledonia has agreed to tougher protections around a huge swathe of some of the world’s last near-pristine coral reefs, in a move conservationists hailed as a major breakthrough.The Pacific nation, a French overseas territory, is home to a rich array of wildlife including 2.5 million seabirds and more than 9,300 marine species such as dugongs and nesting green sea turtles, many of which thrive in and around remote zones off the island nation’s coast. Continue reading...
Scotland's mountain hare population is at just 1% of 1950s level
Culling and loss of moorland in favour of conifer forests blamed for severe decline in wildlifeCulling by grouse moor managers is being blamed for the drastic decline of mountain hares on eastern Scottish moorlands to less than 1% of the level recorded more than 60 years ago.A long-term study by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the RSPB analysed counts of the animals on moorland managed for red grouse shooting and nearby mountain land. Continue reading...
Venezuela crisis: Maduro to raise fuel prices to combat smuggling
President vows to curb fuel subsidies to prevent reselling in neighbouring countriesVenezuela’s heavily subsidised domestic fuel prices should rise to international levels to avoid billions of dollars in annual losses as a result of smuggling, Nicolás Maduro has said in a televised address.“Gasoline must be sold at an international price to stop smuggling to Colombia and the Caribbean,” the president said. Continue reading...
Sanitary bins could come to men's toilets in war on wet wipes
London Assembly call for bins to be placed in men’s toilets so items that could cause blockages are not flushed awayMen using public toilets in London may soon be confronted with an unusual new arrival in their cubicles.Sanitary bins, familiar for years in female loos, are poised to be introduced into male conveniences in an attempt to cut down on fatbergs in the capital’s sewers, if Greater London Assembly members have their way. Men use wet wipes too, as well as other products that can clog the sewers if they are flushed, not binned. Continue reading...
Don't blame wildfires on climate change – it's environmentalists' fault, says Zinke
US interior secretary Ryan Zinke blames environmentalists for the devastation in California and calls for an increase in loggingThe US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, has blamed environmentalists for California’s ferocious wildfires and claimed, contrary to scientific research, that climate change had “nothing to do” with them. Instead, he said the fires were worsened because of limits on logging.“America is better than letting these radical groups control the dialogue about climate change,” Zinke told KCRA, a TV station in northern California, on Sunday. “Extreme environmentalists have shut down public access. They talk about habitat and yet they are willing to burn it up.” Continue reading...
CSIRO unaware of $444m reef grant before announcement
Staff at government scientific agency will likely be seconded to help administer funds, documents showThe CSIRO was not aware a $443.8 m grant would be offered to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and staff at the agency are likely to be seconded to the charity to help administer the funds, according to documents tabled in the Senate.The documents, tabled on Monday, show the agency “didn’t have visibility” before the government announced the grant on 29 April, with correspondence from senior staff noting the prime minister’s office appeared to be involved. Continue reading...
Dirty coal: health fears of a town covered in dust from disused power station
Senate inquiry to visit Port Augusta to investigate mistakes made after the closure of the Northern power plantFor the residents living near the site of South Australia’s demolished coal-fired power plant, the coming months could be their third straight summer of dust.A flawed rehabilitation of an ash dam has led to potentially hazardous particles being blown across Port Augusta and its 14,000 residents for the last two years. Continue reading...
Tax havens shielding companies responsible for deforestation and overfishing
70% of vessels implicated in illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing are registered in tax havens, report findsMoney channelled through secretive tax havens has been used to fuel deforestation in the Amazon and illegal fishing around the world, racking up a heavy environmental toll but leaving few ways for businesses to be held to account.Billions of pounds worth of finance has travelled through countries internationally recognised as tax havens, and has been traced by researchers to activities that contribute to environmental destruction, such as growing soy and beef in deforested areas of the Amazon, and expanding a network of largely unregulated fishing vessels operating under “flags of convenience”. Continue reading...
'Urinoir' furore: Paris residents peeved at eco-friendly urinals
Île Saint-Louis residents demand removal of bright-red receptacles with no stallA set of eco-friendly but completely exposed urinals that have been introduced to the streets of Paris are provoking uproar among residents.
Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned | Dana Nuccitelli
Trump is trying to accelerate the key contributor to California’s expanding wildfires – climate change
Josh Frydenberg says two-stage due diligence conducted before reef grant
Under pressure from Labor, minister proffers timeline of grant decision-makingThe environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, says his department conducted two stages of due diligence on the Great Barrier Reef Foundation before he approached the organisation on 9 April to offer $443.8m in funding.Under pressure from Labor in the House of Representatives on Monday, the environment minister proffered a timeline of his decision making. It came after Frydenberg said on Sunday extensive due diligence had been done ahead of awarding the controversial grant, and the managing director of the foundation said on Monday she was unaware of that due diligence process and no one from the government had contacted her. Continue reading...
'Due diligence' on $444m Great Barrier Reef grant was for separate project
Foundation’s timeline appears to contradict Josh Frydenberg’s assurance that ‘extensive due diligence’ took place before grantDue diligence the government says it conducted before announcing a $443.8m grant to a not-for-profit group was actually conducted as part of an application for funding for a separate project, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation says.The environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, says “extensive due diligence” took place before awarding the foundation almost half a billion dollars of taxpayer money. Continue reading...
Australia urged to restrict Monsanto's Roundup after US court rules it caused cancer
Greenpeace says government should be ‘exercising the precautionary principle’ until more studies conductedGreenpeace has called on the Australian government to suspend the sale of the weedkiller Roundup after a US court ruled it had caused the terminal cancer of an American man.On Friday, the San Francisco superior court of California ruled that Roundup caused school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a fatal blood cell cancer. Continue reading...
AI identifies heat-resistant coral reefs in Indonesia
Coral Triangle could be key to conserving the world’s reefs as Indonesia corals survive worst coral bleaching event in history.
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