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Not quite as good as hoped for

Fickle, unpredictable and not-quite-as-good-as-hoped for – it’s been a typical British summer and a typically topsy-turvy butterfly season.

The year began brightly with large numbers of overwintering brimstones, but the next generation didn’t make its presence felt in midsummer. It is a bit of a mystery why so few peacocks emerged, because their caterpillars were plentiful on nettles: some may have gone straight into hibernation, but it’s likely that others fell victim to parasitic wasps and flies.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Bolivia plans to build $300m nuclear complex with research reactor

President Evo Morales reassured public that controversial project, which will use Russian technology and help from Argentina, will not harm environment

Bolivia has announced plans to build a $300m nuclear complex, including a research reactor, with Russian technology and help from Argentina.

President Evo Morales told reporters the center will include a cyclotron for radiopharmaeuticals, a multi-purpose gamma irradiation plant and a research reactor.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Deforestation 'may have started west Africa's Ebola outbreak'

Environment ministers from all over the world attend one-day conference on deforestation and climate change in London

Deforestation may have triggered the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa, France’s environment minister Ségolène Royal told a London summit hosted by the Prince of Wales ahead of next month’s Cop21 conference.

Addressing the British energy and climate change secretary, Amber Rudd, representatives from forest nation governments and global companies, Royal said researchers believe the destruction of forest habitat brought bats, known to carry the virus, into greater contact with humans.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Prince Charles calls for focus on deforestation ahead of Paris climate talks

The Prince of Wales says forests are key to combating global warming as he confirms he will attend next month’s crucial summit

The Prince of Wales has said tackling deforestation will be central to combating global warming as he confirmed he will attend next month’s crucial climate change summit.

World leaders will gather in Paris in four weeks’ time to attend the COP21 conference and attempt to reach a new international agreement to help limit global warming to no more than 2C.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Environmentalists appeal to Spanish parties ahead of December elections

Spanish NGOs, incensed at the controversial ‘sun tax’ that charges citizens for creating their own energy, have called for a new ‘vice-presidency’ on sustainability, reports El Pais

The five main green organisations operating in Spain have launched an environmental appeal to political parties in the run-up to December’s general elections. 

Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, SEO/BirdLife and WWF have stressed the urgent need for any new government to create a vice-presidency for sustainability, that would be able to coordinate and oversee cross-sector policy making. 

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Source: Guardian Environment

Record hole in ozone layer 'no cause for alarm'

UN weather and climate agency says hole over Antarctica is larger due to colder stratosphere but will shrink again

The UN’s weather and climate agency said on Thursday there was no cause for alarm about a record-size hole this month in the ozone layer which shields life on Earth from the Sun, as it should shrink again.

The ozone hole that appears over Antarctica fluctuates in size, normally reaching its widest in the polar spring as extreme cold temperatures in the stratosphere and the return of sunlight unleash chlorine radicals that destroy ozone.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Scorchers v cycle haters: how Victorian cyclists were also vilified in the press

You might think the discussion of cycling in an era before cars were on the roads would be less judgmental – history shows us that is not the case

“The past is a foreign country: they cycle differently there”. Such an assumption is often close to the surface in any complaint about the activities of cyclists in present-day Britain. Take, for instance, Angela Epstein’s recent article in the Telegraph, which told us to:

Forget bucolic images of the village schoolboy poetically wheeling down country lanes. Or all those Call the Midwifestyle dramas where baskets are a vital part of the kit and protest is launched with little more than a chirp of the bicycle bell. Today’s cycling fraternity are aggressive, unreconstructed and utterly immutable when it comes to criticism of their form of transport.

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Source: Guardian Environment

How Tanzania plans to light up a million homes with solar power

In a country where only 40% of people have access to grid electricity, the government is looking to sunshine to power health centres and homes

Before solar panels were installed at Masaki village’s only health centre, doctors, nurses and midwives had to use dim flashlights or the glow from their cellphones to deliver babies and treat night-time emergencies.

In one case in 2010, a man arrived late after a motorcycle accident and needed a wound stitching. As the nurse began the procedure by the light of her torch, she felt a cold slithering sensation against her legs.

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Source: Guardian Environment

French wine industry's love affair with pesticides blamed for worker health problems

A growing number of lawsuits in France have begun to expose the serious risk faced by those working on non-organic vineyards

Wenny Tari knows a thing or two about wine. She and her husband Gabriel have been making it since 1982, when they inherited a vineyard in France’s picturesque Languedoc region in the south of the country.

Their 40 hectare Chateau de Brau vineyard is home to more than 170,000 individual vines, including some of the world’s best known grape varieties such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. They produce around 150,000 bottles of wine a year, 20,000 of which are exported to the UK.

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Source: Guardian Environment