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UK government spent £105,000 in legal fees on lost air pollution case

Government is wasting time and taxpayers’ money as it faces a second court challenge over illegal air pollution, say green lawyers

The government spent at least £105,000 in legal costs while fighting and losing a court challenge over illegal levels of air pollution, according to data released through freedom of information rules, and now faces further bills from a new case it is contesting.

ClientEarth, the environmental lawyers who defeated the government, say the taxpayers’ money should have been used instead for early and effective action to cut air pollution, which causes 40,000 early deaths a year, according to government figures.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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Canada wildfire – what are the environmental impacts?

In addition to the estimated $9bn damage to Fort McMurray, ‘the beast’ will affect forests, carbon emissions, air and water pollution and waste

The explosive wildfire in Canada’s tar sands region that forced 90,000 people to flee last week is still burning. By Tuesday, “the beast” had grown to 230,000 hectares, but had moved into largely unpopulated regions east and south of the town of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Although officials have found 80-90% of the town undamaged, power and water is out, and about 2,400 homes and other buildings have been burned down.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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UN climate science chief: it's not too late to avoid dangerous temperature rise

Hoesung Lee, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, voices hope in battle against 2C increase in warming but warns of ‘phenomenal’ costs

The head of the United Nations climate science panel has declared it is still possible to avoid a dangerous 2C increase in global warming – despite more than a dozen record hot years since 2000. But the costs could be “phenomenal”, he said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Hoesung Lee, the leader of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), defied the bleak outlook of climate scientists who warn the world is hurtling to a 2C rise far faster than anticipated.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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Lake District road reopens after five months of misery

Cumbrians see length of time it has taken to repair crucial A591 link after floods as proof of lack of government interest

Its loss has cost businesses 60% of their trade, separated children from their schools and cut the Lake District in half. But five months after floods destroyed one of Cumbria’s key thoroughfares, the road between Grasmere and Keswick finally reopened on Wednesday.

That it took so long to repair the A591 after December’s Storm Desmond is seen by many in the Lake District as a sign of the government’s lack of interest in the north of England, despite its claim to want to build a “northern powerhouse”.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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Coal made its best case against climate change, and lost | Dana Nuccitelli

A Minnesota judge found the preponderance of evidence did not favor coal industry climate science denial

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company (now bankrupt), recently faced off against environmental groups in a Minnesota court case. The case was to determine whether the State of Minnesota should continue using its exceptionally low established estimates of the ‘social cost of carbon’, or whether it should adopt higher federal estimates.

The social cost of carbon is an estimate of how much the damages from carbon pollution cost society via climate change damages. In theory, it represents how much the price of fossil fuels should increase to reflect their true costs.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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We are mortgaging the future by scrapping zero-carbon home rules | Angus MacNeil

The UK government’s failure to build new homes that are energy efficient will see future generations dealing with our costly mistakes

From the Forth Bridge to our sewer system and the London Underground, we still rely on Victorian engineering every day in modern Britain. We all benefit from this inherited infrastructure, but we’re still paying the bills for the way it was built.

Our older homes are among the most energy-wasting the world. And as anyone who has lived in a draughty, single-glazed, Victorian terrace knows, they can be expensive to keep warm in winter.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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Fort McMurray wildfire cuts Canada's oil output by a third

Blaze that partly destroyed city has temporarily shut down Alberta’s oil sands production – a mainstay of the country’s petroleum industry

A wildfire that partly destroyed the city of Fort McMurray has cut Canada’s oil output by as much as a third after forcing the oil sands industry to effectively shut down in the province of Alberta.

Related: Fort McMurray evacuees caught in uneasy limbo week after wildfires

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Source: Guardian Environment

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CSIRO climate scientists earmarked for redundancy to finally learn their fate

Staff given two weeks to explain why their jobs should be saved, followed by a two-month process in which management tries to find them another role

Climate scientists at the CSIRO who are earmarked for redundancy will learn their fate this week.

Staff in the organisation’s oceans and atmosphere business unit began being told of their “potential” redundancies on Tuesday, and the process was expected to continue until Thursday. Last week a similar process occurred for scientists in the land and water business unit.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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Water management flawed owing to vastly underestimated drought risk, study finds

Thousand-year rainfall record shows weather in New South Wales over the past 100 years has been unusually stable and absent of mega droughts

Drought and flood risk in New South Wales is vastly underestimated, with weather in the past 100 years being unusually stable, according to a detailed reconstruction of rainfall over a NSW catchment for the past 1,000 years.

In a world first, scientists have used data drawn from an ice core to reconstruct the rainfall records for a particular catchment – in this case one in the Hunter Valley called the Williams river. Over the past 1,000 years they found droughts such as the millennial drought or worse occurred quite frequently, as did periods of very wet weather.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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Fossil fuel register shows more than a third of Australia earmarked for coal or gas

Interactive map commissioned by Lock the Gate shows fossil fuel claims cover 37% of Australia’s landmass

More than a third of Australia’s landmass is earmarked for coal or gas, according to a new analysis and interactive map commissioned by the community group Lock the Gate.

No single register of fossil fuel exploration and extraction licences and applications exists so, commissioned by Lock the Gate, Energy Resources Insights gathered spatial information on land earmarked for fossil fuels from state and federal regulators.

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Source: Guardian Environment

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