Back to Top

Conservation group challenges approval of Carmichael coalmine as ‘illegal’

Australian Conservation Foundation takes battle against Queensland mine to federal court, arguing Greg Hunt failed to consider the impact of climate pollution on the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Conservation Foundation has launched what it described as a historic bid to have the federal government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine declared illegal – but the action has prompted one Coalition senator to renew calls for a crackdown on so-called “green lawfare”.

The ACF on Monday lodged the challenge in the federal court in Brisbane, arguing the environment minister, Greg Hunt, failed to consider the impact of climate pollution from Australia’s largest proposed mine on the Great Barrier Reef.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Brazil dam burst: BHP boss to inspect disaster zone with dozens still missing

Shares in the mining multinational continued to fall amid calls for more regulation in the wake of the collapse of two dams at its co-owned iron ore mine

The boss of BHP Billiton will arrive in Brazil on Monday to see at first-hand the devastation wrought by the collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine co-owned by the company that has left at least two dead and dozens missing.

Three days after the rupturing of two dams unleashed a massive flood of mud on nearby villages, authorities were still struggling to determine the cause of the disaster or even recover the bodies of as many as 28 people lost in the torrent.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Why legendary science broadcaster Robyn Williams won't broadcast "shameless" climate science deniers

After 40 years of fronting ABC Radio National’s Science Show, Robyn Williams says climate science deniers have said nothing different ‘for bloody years’

To say that Robyn Williams is a bit of a legend of science broadcasting on the radio is a bit like saying David Attenborough is a dab hand at nature documentaries on the telly.

The “legend” epithet just feels a bit superfluous but is, in any case, annoyingly necessary to introduce a broadcaster to those not familiar.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Unmasked! The Mexico City superhero wrestling for pedestrians' rights

Clogged with traffic, crippled by poor infrastructure – the capital is notoriously hard to navigate on foot. Enter Peatónito, the activist fighting for safer streets

The traffic light turns red at the corner of Avenida Juárez and Eje Central, the busiest pedestrian crossing in Mexico City, used by around 9,000 people every hour. Tonight, a driver stops his grey Peugeot exactly on the crossing where the masses are trying to pass. His car is now a steel barrier for those trying to reach the Palacio de Bellas Artes. A masked man dressed in black makes his way through the river of people, walking purposefully towards the Peugeot. His black and white striped cape, reminiscent of a zebra crossing, flaps behind him. He goes to the car, flings his cape over his shoulder, and pushes the Peugeot backwards to make space.

“My name is Peatónito, and I fight for the rights of pedestrians,” he says, introducing himself. The driver smiles and reverses willingly and eventually the pair shake hands. With the pedestrian crossing again flowing as it should, Peatónito heads back to the pavement where he will wait until he is needed again. The traffic light turns green.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Rising temperatures could drive 100m into extreme poverty, World Bank warns

Efforts to curb climate change must be twinned with programmes to cut poverty, warns a study of the threat posed by global warming to food security

The world must pair efforts to stabilise climate change with programmes to eliminate poverty if vulnerable people are to be kept from falling back into hardship as rising temperatures wreak havoc on food security and livelihoods, a report has said.

As many as 100 million people could slide into extreme poverty because of rising temperatures, which are caused by greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank report said. The bank’s most recent estimate puts the number of people living in extreme poverty this year at 702 million, or 9.6% of the world’s population.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Ancient pear tree in path of HS2 rail route wins Woodland Trust prize

250-year-old Cubbington pear named tree of the year after public vote but is set to be felled to make way for transport scheme

There is good news and bad news for the 250-year-old Cubbington pear tree, one of the oldest and largest wild pears in Britain. The good news is that it has scooped the Woodland Trust tree of the year title after attracting more than 10,000 votes from members of the public. The bad news is that its hilltop site in Warwickshire is in the proposed path of the HS2 train line.

HS2 planners say that because the tree has a hollow trunk it would be impossible to move elsewhere, but promise that it will be propagated from cuttings.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Hampshire's great spaces of wild nature: Country diary 100 years ago

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 7 November 1915

Surrey
The plough has not intruded much on the broad heath and woodlands of North-east Hampshire where they abut on the outer Surrey commons. You can pick your way through miles planted here and there with small and now bare coppices, through great spaces where the ferns are brown and shrivelling, foot deep with the wasting leafage of many years, interspersed by big pools of clear water, dark and still, stirred only by the feet or wings of the wild fowl, before you come to the higher chalk measures where comfortable corn ricks stand in nearly every corner. There in place of wild nature you come across the home poultry wandering over the stubble, long distances from their roosting-place, searching about not only for stray ears of corn, of which there are yet some left, but for insects and worms.

In the root fields the sheep are folded between hurdles – kindly Down sheep with full faces and mild eyes, bleating occasionally as in a contented conversational way. A shepherd yesterday was shifting a fold partly for convenience in reaching the root fodder and partly to secure dry footing for his flock. “Not likely there will be one here to-day,” he said, “but a day or two ago in a close fold I came across a vixen; sharp faced as a sack needle she was, and how she got in and why she stayed was a mystery.” “Oh, yes, they are voracious (they in main hungry),” were his exact words, “sagging about with their cubs, and there’s enough of varmint astray without them,” It is a fine, broad, open hunting country here, with low thorn hedges and occasional cover, just spacious enough for a reasonable draw. But perhaps the fox will carry his brush for some weeks yet.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Cheeses are often best after their ‘best before’ date | Letters

I write as a retired food technologist who spent many years working in the food industry. Joanna Blythman’s article (Food labels have passed their sell-by date, 5 November) is the first sensible article on this subject that I have ever seen in the media.

The legislation which at first insisted that food had a “sell by” date started as a very laudable way of ensuring that retailers could not pass off old food as fresh. Enforcement agents (environmental health officers) could easily initiate prosecutions against cheats. However, more detailed good intentions soon led to “mission creep”, and with the introduction of “use by” and “best before” dates turned also into guidance to food consumers as to how to control the contents of their larders.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

'A one-off in human history': Stern's warning on climate change battle

Speaking before Paris summit, expert says Europe must take urgent steps such as ending fossil fuel subsidies and encouraging electric cars

Europe has to step up its effort to combat climate change and wake up to the urgency of the situation, the climate change expert Lord Stern has said before crunch UN talks in Paris later this month.

Europeans need to end subsidies for fossil fuels, multiply energy efficiency efforts, improve mass public transport systems and accelerate the roll-out of electric cars in order to live up to their commitments, Stern told the Guardian in an interview.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Coastlines review – accessible and poignant

Patrick Barkham’s guide to Britain’s Neptune Coast teems with characters, history and literary allusion

It is often said that Britain is a maritime nation but, writes Patrick Barkham in his new biography of the British shore, we might be more accurately described as “a coastal nation, happiest when looking seaward”.

Examining our enduring love of the seaside, Coastlines addresses themes of childhood, passion, war, industrialism, art and faith, and the ways in which each has coloured perceptions of the shore. Alongside lurid tales of Cornish wreckers and chronicles of the first saints of Lindisfarne sit skilful pen-portraits: an account of the painter Rex Whistler creating his grandiose symbolic panorama at Plas Newydd in Anglesey during the 1930s is brilliantly evocative, while one of the book’s most moving passages tells the story of Keith Lane, whose wife’s suicide at Beachy Head prompted him to become an unofficial counsellor to others he encountered on the Sussex cliffs. Barkham is adept at capturing the genius loci of a landscape, too: Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland, built by the Earl of Lancaster in the 14th century, is “a dark Avalon of colossal ambition”, while the dreadful “pagodas” at the abandoned MOD facility on Orford Ness are memorably described as “psychotic cathedrals of Mutually Assured Destruction”.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment