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Volkswagen car sales fall more than 5% in wake of emissions scandal

VW sales drop by 1.5% in Europe but rise in North America in October, a month after it admitted rigging nitrogen oxide tests

Volkswagen car sales fell worldwide last month as the German carmaker counted the cost of the emissions rigging scandal.

VW sold 490,000 cars of its namesake brand last month, 5.3% fewer than a year earlier, while its Czech brand Škoda was down 2.7% and Spanish marque Seat dropped 3.1%. Commercial vehicles registered a sharper decline of 9.8%. Audi sales held up with 2% growth, while Porsche raced ahead with an 18% increase.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Extreme weather, human error and why the world floods

Since 2007, Gideon Mendel has photographed lives turned upside down by floods. What do his latest images reveal?

See more images from Gideon Mendel’s flood project

Hein Thi Tran’s house in southern Vietnam floods several times a year. When she and her husband built it 15 years ago in Number 1 Village, Khanh Hoi, it was protected from the sea by a low dyke. But the land is slowly tilting, the storms in the gulf of Thailand seem to get stronger, and the village’s concrete and rock barrier is now regularly topped by waves. She is helpless, she says.

Number 1 village is a slow-motion crash. The seawater that intrudes on the community’s paddy fields from the tidal surges makes it impossible to grow rice, water supplies are becoming saltier and, little by little, the village is becoming uninhabitable. Hein Thi Tran can just about live with the waves and erosion now, but in a generation or two, scientists say, much of this part of the Mekong delta may have returned to the sea.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Launch of Tesco's frozen avocados could help reduce Britain's food waste

Tesco’s ‘fast-frozen’ de-stoned and peeled avocado packs could help to cut down on the 54,000 tonnes of stone fruit wasted in Britain each year, say experts

Too slow to ripen or too squidgy and brown inside, avocados often end up contributing to the UK’s food waste mountain. But Tesco believes it has the answer to our avocado woes: frozen ones, de-stoned, peeled and ripe when they thaw out.

On sale from this weekend, in what is believed to be a first for a UK supermarket, the frozen avocados will also be cheaper than the fresh fruit at £2.50 for nine halves.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Arnold Schwarzenegger terminates tusk for anti-poaching campaign

California senator and actor explodes tusk in video to draw attention to illegal wildlife trade that kills tens of thousands of elephants each year

The all-action movie star and former California senator Arnold Schwarzenegger has lent his weight to a campaign against ivory poaching by blowing up an elephant tusk on camera.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s ‘96 elephants campaign’ aims to draw attention to the daily death toll of the majestic animals.

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Source: Guardian Environment

False widow spider infestation closes two London primary schools

Hundreds of pupils in Tower Hamlets given next week off as pest control teams attempt to tackle outbreak

Two primary schools have been forced to close after they became infested with false widow spiders.

Hundreds of pupils who attend the Osmani and Thomas Buxton primary schools in Tower Hamlets, east London, have been told they won’t have to go in for the next week as pest controllers try to tackle the outbreak.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Christians set out on climate 'pilgrimage' from London to Paris

Members of different denominations embark on a two week long march to the Paris climate change talks to raise awareness of environmental issues

“Not getting lost in London will probably be the first hurdle,” laughed Jade Till, a teacher from Stroud, before adding that walking 19 miles on a cold November day will also be a challenge.

Sat in the crypt of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields on the edge of Trafalgar Square on Friday, Till was about to walk 200 miles to Paris on a two week “pilgrimage” to crunch UN climate change talks where world leaders aim to negotiate a new deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Tories push for climate change action abroad but back fossil fuels at home

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond tells US free-marketeers that climate action boosts economies, while at home George Osborne undermines the green economy

Perhaps it’s being forced to think about global matters and the dangers they pose, but the UK’s foreign secretary Philip Hammond, like his Conservative predecessor, both understands the risks of climate change and the urgent need to act.

In a powerful speechthis week, he said: “Taking action to combat climate change is the right thing to do – the conservative thing to do.” Hammond had deliberately picked a tough crowd: the American Enterprise Institute, the free-marketeers who have for years have turned ExxonMobil and Koch dollars into climate change denial.

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Source: Guardian Environment