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Author Archives: bobhollis

All Volvo cars to be electric or hybrid from 2019

Landmark move as first big manufacturer says it will stop making vehicles solely powered by internal combustion engine

All new cars launched by Volvo from 2019 onwards will be partially or completely battery-powered, in what the company called a “historic end” to building models that only have an internal combustion engine.

Between 2019 and 2021, the firm will introduce five 100% electric models, and ensure the rest of its conventional petrol and diesel range has a hybrid engine of some form. It is the first major manufacturer to make such a bold move.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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Volunteers will need to help preserve London's parks as funding is withdrawn – report

Volunteer army should act as caretakers and local authorities should consider crowdsourcing and philanthropy as alternative means of funding the capital’s green spaces, report says

An army of green volunteers should be recruited across London to protect and preserve parks as some local authorities plan to withdraw all funding by 2020.

Parks and green spaces make up half of the capital, but they face an uncertain future as funding is cut and their management is taken over by a diverse collection of organisations, a report said on Wednesday.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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Only the Tories can save our bees – by banning pesticides now | Hannah Lownsborough

Research has proved insecticides are a key culprit behind the decline of bees. People power, with this new evidence, can take on the agribusiness giants

• Hannah Lownsbrough is executive director of SumOfUs

It’s not often that a story starting with two global pesticides giants funding a huge research study ends with the same study reporting findings that could wipe out the profit margins of the corporations in question. But that is exactly the move that Syngenta and Bayer might just have pulled off, having covered the $3m cost of research that went a long way to proving their opponents’ claims that neonicotinoid-containing pesticides are a key culprit behind the decline of bees worldwide.

The study confirmed the claims that campaigners have been making for years: that the chemicals used in some pesticides hurt bee populations in the places where they are used. Previous research that confirmed the claims has been received with scepticism, because it tried to reproduce the effects of the pesticides in the lab.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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Latest legal challenge to Tory air pollution plans fails

High court instructs ministers to publish full proposals by the end of July

The government has won the latest court challenge over the UK’s air pollution crisis.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth had argued that ministers’ draft proposals to improve air quality – which contributes to tens of thousands of deaths each year – were unlawful.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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Climate Change Authority loses last climate scientist | Planet Oz

David Karoly says without an expert to replace him, the CCA will struggle to fulfil its legal mandate

Imagine, if you will, a government board to champion Australian arts without any artists on it, or an agency to advise on medical research without any medical researchers.

Or perhaps even, imagine a government authority set up to provide expertise on climate policy without any actual climate scientists.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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New Zealand's possum war: 'barbaric' drowning of babies at school fair sparks outcry

Rights group says widespread practice to kill pest species is desensitising children to acts of violence

An animal rights group is calling for an end to New Zealand’s “barbaric” war on possums after joeys were drowned in a bucket of water at a school fundraiser.

It said children were becoming desensitised to violence as a result of the method of killing an animal that is considered a pest in New Zealand. “It was clearly inhumane, it was appalling that children were witnessing this violence,” said Jasmijn de Boo, chief executive of animal rights group Safe.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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How Australia bungled climate policy to create a decade of disappointment | Mark Butler

Unlike the UK, Australia has never had climate consensus – and it’s been costly, argues Labor frontbencher Mark Butler in an extract from his book, Climate Wars

In the lead-up to the 2015 general election in the United Kingdom, the leaders of the three major parties sat down together and signed a statement on climate change policy that would seem unimaginable to Australians. They agreed that “climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today” and undertook to “to work together across party lines to agree carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act”. They pledged “to accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient, low-carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation”, meaning that the last coal-fired power station will be closed in the United Kingdom in 2025 at the latest.

The 2015 UK election – true to the pledge signed by party leaders – saw no real debate over climate change or energy policy, other than a minor skirmish over the balance between on-shore and off-shore wind power. In the context of the deep cuts in pollution and the profound transition in the energy sector agreed by the parties, the absence of bare-knuckled fighting over these policies was amazing for Australian observers. Within 12 months, UK politics was then thrown into turmoil by the referendum decision to terminate the nation’s membership of the European Union – Brexit. But in the wake of that momentous vote, the Committee on Climate Change still recommended an ambitious carbon reduction target for the five-year period 2028-32 that is equivalent to Australia committing to a 61% cut against the 2005 baseline used by the Australian government. The budget was quietly endorsed by both parties shortly after.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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Misunderstood molluscs: five reasons to love slugs

The slug has an impressive physiology, engages in acrobatic sex and is a handy scavenger of waste – TV naturalist Chris Packham is right to stick up for them

Slugs are much maligned. Having the temerity to wear their slime on the outside of their bodies, they are about as far removed from our notion of cute and cuddly as is possible without being tapeworms. But they are misunderstood and persecuted beyond necessity – with ecological knock-on effects for the slow-worms, thrushes, hedgehogs, badgers and other animals further up the food chain. True, some slugs will eat your plants, but naturalist Chris Packham recently made a plea for greater tolerance for the mollusc: with that in mind, here are five reasons to admire slugs:

1. Most slugs are scavengers, but that can be handy. They eat that catch-all substrate, “decaying organic matter”, which includes dead and rotting plants; leaf litter; fungoid wood; fallen fruit; animal droppings; carrion; deliquescent toadstools; and mouldering compost. If they sometimes nibble idly at a leaf, it is probably because the leaf is already damaged or diseased.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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中国禁售令造成亚洲市场象牙价格暴跌

最新调查显示,中国的象牙交易禁令的效果初步显现:越南象牙价格暴跌,而一些象牙贸易商也被迫退出。(翻译:子明/chinadialogue)

《卫报》拿到的一份最新研究显示,自从中国政府宣布计划取缔国内象牙交易之后,亚洲的象牙原料价格大幅走低。但是,偷猎现象目前并未因此减少。

过去三年,野生动植物正义委员会(WJC)的卧底调查员一直在走访河内的象牙贩子。2015年,他们了解到的象牙原料平均价格是每公斤1322美元,2016年10月降到了750美元,而到今年2月份价格再次下跌到660美元,比两年前降了一半。

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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I pick up plastic waste to save it from landfill. It's lonely but worth it

In my single-handed fight I have collected 180,000 items – 50 pieces of litter a day for 10 years. If only the world didn’t find this weird

Who’s that weirdo? Sadly, the answer is me. I can feel the question following me as I dive into the gutter or duck around the feet of my fellow Londoners to sweep up the bottles and cans and newspapers they have abandoned.

The question hasn’t changed in the the decade or so that I’ve been waging what seems a lone fight against the plastic tide threatening to engulf us. And I doubt it will change now, even as the Guardian reports that a million plastic bottles around the world are bought every minute – that’s a staggering 20,000 every second.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

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