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Environment | The Guardian



Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.



Published: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:11:07 GMT2017-06-28T05:11:07Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:19:36 GMT2017-06-27T19:19:36Z

Environmental Protection Agency and army propose ending clean water rule to hold ‘substantive re-evaluation’ of which bodies of water should be protected

The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population.

The EPA, with the US army, has proposed scrapping the rule in order to conduct a “substantive re-evaluation” of which rivers, streams, wetlands and other bodies of water should be protected by the federal government.

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Rare spate of bear attacks leaves two dead in Alaska

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:50:11 GMT2017-06-27T17:50:11Z

Four people have been attacked in less than a week, resulting in two fatalities, in what wildlife experts are calling ‘a lightning strike’

Alaska is experiencing a spate of bear attacks, with four people attacked in less than a week, resulting in two fatalities.

Two men, Alex Ippoliti and James Fredrick, were cycling in a woodland near Anchorage on Saturday when Fredrick was attacked, causing him to suffer lacerations to his neck and lose part of his biceps muscle. Ippoliti managed to stave off the assailant, which may have been guarding a nearby cub, with bear spray.

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Hundreds of US mayors endorse switch to 100% renewable energy by 2035

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:53:48 GMT2017-06-26T14:53:48Z

Leaders from more than 250 cities unanimously back a resolution to reach clean energy goal at the US Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach

A bipartisan group of mayors from across the country has unanimously backed an ambitious commitment for US cities to run entirely on renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2035.

Related: The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era

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Invasive Asian carp found near Great Lakes beyond electrified barrier

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 16:26:35 GMT2017-06-24T16:26:35Z

The fish was found miles past a barrier designed to keep it from entering the ecosystem and wreaking the sort of damage seen elsewhere in the US

An Asian carp has been found just miles from the Great Lakes, beyond an electrified barrier designed to keep the invasive species from entering the ecosystem and wreaking the sort of damage seen elsewhere in the US.

The fish, weighing 8lbs and measuring 28in, was found by a monitoring team in a waterway nine miles from Lake Michigan, Illinois state officials said on Friday. The carp was sent to Southern Illinois University for further analysis.

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New Orleans mayor: US climate change policy cannot wait for Trump

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 14:00:15 GMT2017-06-24T14:00:15Z

  • Mitch Landrieu says cities will lead as federal government is ‘paralysed’
  • NYC’s de Blasio backs push as Miami Beach shows anti-sea rise work

US cities will lead national policy on climate change after the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, working to reduce emissions and become more resilient to rising sea levels, Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans said at an annual meeting in Florida.

Related: The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era

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Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax | Dana Nuccitelli

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:00:22 GMT2017-06-23T10:00:22Z

Nearly everyone other than science-denying Republican Party leaders understands the importance of a carbon pollution tax

What do ExxonMobil, Stephen Hawking, the Nature Conservancy, and Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Treasury and Chief of Staff have in common? All have signed on as founding members to the Climate Leadership Council, which has met with the White House to propose a revenue-neutral carbon tax policy.

The group started with impeccable conservative credentials, bringing on cabinet members from the last three Republican presidential administrations (Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and George W Bush): two former Secretaries of State, two former Secretaries of Treasury, and two former chairmen of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. It was founded by Ted Halstead, who explained the group’s proposed policy in a TED talk:

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Yellowstone grizzlies can be hunted after endangered protections lifted

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:34:46 GMT2017-06-22T19:34:46Z

Jurisdiction over estimated 700 bears will pass to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, which will allow limited hunts as long as total number stays above 600

Protections against hunting Yellowstone national park grizzly bears will be lifted this summer after US government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

The delisting of the bears as an endangered species means that states would be allowed to plan limited bear hunts outside the park’s boundaries. Hunting bears inside Yellowstone would still be banned. The bears roam both inside and outside the park, and their range has been expanding as their numbers have grown.

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Climate goals: inside California's effort to overhaul its ambitious emissions plan

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:23:13 GMT2017-06-20T17:23:13Z

In the wake of Trump’s Paris withdrawal, California is taking the lead to fight emissions – and it’s rethinking how to get more out of its cap-and-trade program

California has one of the world’s most sophisticated and ambitious cap-and-trade programs, which are designed to provide financial incentives to big polluters, such as electricity providers and oil refineries, to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.

The complex program, which began only in 2013, is a signature component of California’s plan to cut emissions in the midst of a controversial makeover by state policymakers, after they passed a landmark bill last year that created one of the world’s most aggressive climate change goals: to lower carbon emissions to 40% below the 1990 levels by 2030.

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Exxon, BP and Shell back carbon tax proposal to curb emissions

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:32:21 GMT2017-06-20T16:32:21Z

  • Oil giants among numerous firms to support conservative group’s plan
  • But Greenpeace says: ‘A PR exercise is no cure for decades of deception’

Oil giants ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total are among a group of large corporations supporting a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions in order to address climate change.

The companies have revealed their support for the Climate Leadership Council, a group of senior Republican figures that in February proposed a $40 fee on each ton of CO2 emitted as part of a “free-market, limited government” response to climate change.

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A third of the world now faces deadly heatwaves as result of climate change

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:00:39 GMT2017-06-19T15:00:39Z

Study shows risks have climbed steadily since 1980, and the number of people in danger will grow to 48% by 2100 even if emissions are drastically reduced

Nearly a third of the world’s population is now exposed to climatic conditions that produce deadly heatwaves, as the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere makes it “almost inevitable” that vast areas of the planet will face rising fatalities from high temperatures, new research has found.

Climate change has escalated the heatwave risk across the globe, the study states, with nearly half of the world’s population set to suffer periods of deadly heat by the end of the century even if greenhouse gases are radically cut.

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Storms cut Big Sur off from the world. But for a price, the trip of a lifetime awaits

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:00:35 GMT2017-06-19T12:00:35Z

Winter storms lashed this stretch of coastal California, rendering many parts inaccessible, but now wealthy tourists are helicoptering in to this exclusive idyll

When winter storms hammered the 90-mile ribbon of coastal California known as Big Sur, the results were calamitous.

A bridge collapsed in the north and landslides buried chunks of highway further south, cutting off segments totaling 35 miles in between. People fled, abandoning homes and businesses.

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Houston fears climate change will cause catastrophic flooding: 'It's not if, it's when'

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:00:06 GMT2017-06-16T10:00:06Z

Human activity is worsening the problem in an already rainy area, and there could be damage worthy of a disaster movie if a storm hits the industrial section

Sam Brody is not a real estate agent, but when his friends want to move home they get in touch to ask for advice. He is a flood impact expert in Houston – and he has plenty of work to keep him busy.

The Texas metropolis has more casualties and property loss from floods than any other locality in the US, according to data stretching back to 1960 that Brody researched with colleagues. And, he said: “Where the built environment is a main force exacerbating the impacts of urban flooding, Houston is number one and it’s not even close.”

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Flint officials may face jail for water crisis. That's bittersweet news | Douglas Williams

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:31:02 GMT2017-06-15T16:31:02Z

The water supply of an entire city was poisoned. None of this had to happen – and true justice is a long way off

The news that several state officials in Michigan have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to a death in the Flint water crisis is bittersweet. The thought that there might be some measure of justice in one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern American history is only matched by the sense that none of this had to happen in the first place.

Rick Snyder, Michigan’s Republican governor, was not among those listed in the indictments. That’s a crime itself.

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Pipeline to the classroom: how big oil promotes fossil fuels to America's children

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:35 GMT2017-06-15T09:00:35Z

Documents show how tightly woven group of pro-industry organizations target impressionable schoolchildren and teachers desperate for resources

This story was a collaboration between the Center for Public Integrity and StateImpact Oklahoma, a reporting project of NPR member stations in Oklahoma.

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Dakota Access pipeline: judge rules environmental survey was inadequate

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 02:03:01 GMT2017-06-15T02:03:01Z

In what’s being hailed a ‘significant victory’ for pipeline’s opponents, a judge said he would consider whether operations must halt until assessment is redone

A federal judge has handed a lifeline to efforts to block the Dakota Access pipeline, ruling Wednesday that the US Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the possible impacts of an oil spill where the pipeline passes under the Missouri river.

US district judge James Boasberg said in a 91-page decision that the corps failed to take into account how a spill might affect “fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial”.

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EPA: air pollution rule should be delayed – despite its effect on children

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:07:51 GMT2017-06-14T16:07:51Z

Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges postponing Obama administration measure might have ‘disproportionate’ effect on young people

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed delaying a federal air pollution rule for two years, despite acknowledging that children will be disproportionately harmed by the decision.

The regulator plans to suspend standards aimed at preventing leaks from the oil and gas industry while it reconsiders the rule, which was introduced in June 2016 under Barack Obama’s administration.

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Meet the Virginia Democrat who may set a blueprint for the party against Trump

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 10:00:55 GMT2017-06-13T10:00:55Z

Tom Perriello’s progressive campaign for governor could be a model for Democrats preparing to run against Trump in the midterm elections

“The state ends at Roanoke, we are the forgotten corner of Virginia,” says local Democratic activist Oliver Keene of Tazewell, where 20% of the town lives in poverty. “In our eyes, past Roanoke, nobody cares about us. We don’t exist.”

Campaigning for statewide office, most Democratic candidates have typically ignored the deep red Appalachian corner of the state where Trump won many of the counties by 70% margins.

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The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:00:23 GMT2017-06-12T10:00:23Z

New York City, Houston, Miami and San Francisco have all taken steps to mitigate the risks associated with rising sea levels and global temperatures. Are their successes a blueprint for action at the state and local level?

Wholly unintentionally, Donald Trump may have sparked unprecedented determination within the US to confront the danger of climate change.

Following Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, the president was assailed by businesses ranging from Facebook to Goldman Sachs for risking America’s economic and environmental standing. The White House was choked by phone calls from irate voters.

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Trump's pitch for making the Mexico border wall 'beautiful': add solar panels

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 12:13:02 GMT2017-06-08T12:13:02Z

The president’s ‘put a solar panel on it’ policy to fund the wall may be expensive, impossible to build – and it’s unclear what the energy would be used for

The president this week proposed a radical way to fund his proposed Mexican border wall: covering it in solar panels.

The same Donald Trump who has spent years criticizing renewable energy as uneconomical and who has pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement has now floated the idea of adding solar panels to his proposed barrier along the the US–Mexico border.

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Rare US floods to become the norm if emissions aren't cut, study warns

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 11:10:11 GMT2017-06-07T11:10:11Z

  • Princeton-Rutgers study finds sharp increase in risk of frequent deluges
  • ‘Many cities are behind the eight-ball in terms of preparing for flooding’

US coastal areas are set to be deluged by far more frequent and severe flooding events if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t slashed, with rare floods becoming the norm for places such as New York City, Seattle and San Diego, new research has found.

Related: Climate change progress at Trump's EPA is grinding to a halt, workers reveal

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Climate change progress at Trump's EPA is grinding to a halt, workers reveal

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:39:53 GMT2017-06-06T12:39:53Z

Current and former staff say projects that mention climate change have been ‘de-emphasized and halted’ as EPA tears up key planks of emissions-lowering agenda

Current and former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees have described how work on climate change is grinding to a halt at the agency, with programs being scrapped and fears that staff may be reassigned away from climate-related tasks.

The Trump administration is tearing up key planks of Barack Obama’s emissions-lowering agenda, with the president withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement last week and tasking the EPA with rewriting the clean power plan, which aims to curb greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants.

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Liberals have a responsibility too: make climate change a top issue

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:37:49 GMT2017-06-06T12:37:49Z

For too long, liberals have been treating climate change as a third or fourth tier issue. As the US exits the Paris Climate Accord, it’s time for liberals to re-evaluate an issue that subsumes all others.

On Thursday when the announcement hit that Trump was taking America out of the Paris Climate Accord, my social media feed predictably blew up. As an environmental journalist with a lot of left-leaning friends, you can imagine what it looked like: anger, frustration, shock, sadness, another outrage from the world’s most outrageous leader. All of a sudden every one I knew was talking about climate change; I’ll admit it was a nice change of pace, but after nearly ten years of covering climate change I also knew it would be fleeting.

Liberals have been the champions of climate action for decades, but they’ve largely championed it as an after thought, something that comes near the end of a long to-do list, like the brussels sprouts you conveniently forget to pick up at the grocery store (polling bears this out). When I bring up climate change during chats with left-leaning friends, I often get that pause – that suspended moment – when I can see someone in the group look askance. I can see what they’re thinking, “Again, Jeremy, with the climate change?”

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'Cancer Alley' residents say industry is hurting town: 'We're collateral damage'

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 10:00:20 GMT2017-06-06T10:00:20Z

In Louisiana’s industrial heart, the shadow of Trump’s deregulation push looms as St James residents fight chemical plants, pipelines and laissez-faire policies

“We’re sick of being sick, we’re tired of being tired,” said Pastor Harry Joseph of Mount Triumph Baptist church, which serves this sleepy riverside town of about 1,000 residents, mostly poor and African American. Once a bucolic village of pasturelands and sugarcane fields on the banks of the Mississippi, St James, Louisiana, is now a densely packed industrial zone in the heart of Louisiana’s petrochemical corridor, commonly referred to as Cancer Alley.

It’s only anecdotal evidence of what life is like here, but Joseph says he has buried five residents in the past six months, all victims of cancer.

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Top US diplomat in China quits over Trump climate policy, sources say

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 21:49:01 GMT2017-06-05T21:49:01Z

Unnamed sources said David Rank had resigned as he could not support Donald Trump’s decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement

The most senior career diplomat at the US embassy in China has stepped down, amid reports that he opposes the Trump administration’s decision to quit the Paris agreement to fight climate change.

David Rank, a 27-year veteran state department officer, was appointed to serve as chargé d’affaires in Beijing in January last year.

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John Oliver on the Paris climate deal: 'Trump may have done us a tiny favor'

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 15:54:26 GMT2017-06-05T15:54:26Z

On Last Week Tonight, the host mocked the president for his decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement

John Oliver addressed Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, calling the president a “fucking egomaniac”.

Related: Late-night hosts on climate deal: 'Even Israel and Palestine are on the same side'

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As Trump moves to privatize America's national parks, visitor costs may rise

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:31:06 GMT2017-06-25T13:31:06Z

Some are concerned that the proposed privatization of some public park services would drive up costs for visitors and fail to raise enough for repairs

America’s national parks need a staggering $11.5bn worth of overdue road and infrastructure repairs. But with the proposed National Park Service budget slashed by almost $400m, the Trump administration says it will turn to privatizing public park services to address those deferred maintenance costs.

“I don’t want to be in the business of running campgrounds,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said at a meeting of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in Washington this month. This came after Donald Trump proposed cutting the Department of the Interior budget by 13%.

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Thank you: with your help, we raised $50,000 to cover America's public lands

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:38:51 GMT2017-06-07T17:38:51Z

In just 31 hours, Guardian US exceeded its target to support a new series on the threat to America’s public lands.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the more than 1,000 Guardian readers who made contributions to support This Land is Your Land, our series on the threat to America’s public lands. We launched our fundraising campaign on Monday morning, and hit our $50,000 goal at 1pm Tuesday, just 31 hours after the launch. When this article was published we had exceeded our goal by 20%, with $60,166 pledged. More than 1,000 readers have contributed.

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In Montana, land transfer threatens the American rancher's way of life

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:17:16 GMT2017-06-06T14:17:16Z

Ranchers in the west have been struggling for decades. Now a new threat looms: public land might be taken away from them

If you want to appreciate the prairie landscape that inspired President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside 230m acres as national land, you have to pull off the interstate somewhere in the Dakotas, or in the eastern third of Montana, Wyoming, or Colorado. Follow a dirt road for a few miles, roll down your windows, and shut off your engine. Do this almost any time of day, preferably in springtime. Above and below ground, the prairies are humming with life: birds, rodents, snakes, pronghorn, badgers and coyotes, rioting amid a landscape of grass and sagebrush.

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Grand Canyon is our home. Uranium mining has no place here | Carletta Tilousi

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:25:12 GMT2017-06-26T11:25:12Z

The Havasupai resided in and around Grand Canyon for many centuries. This region is sacred – that is why we oppose the pollution of our land and water

The Havasupai – “people of the blue-green waters” – live in Supai Village, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Today our lives and water are being threatened by international uranium mining companies because the US government and its 1872 mining law permit uranium mining on federal lands that surround the Grand Canyon.

In 1986, the Kaibab national forest authorized a Canadian-based uranium company to open Canyon mine, a uranium mine near the south rim of Grand Canyon national park. The Havasupai tribe challenged the decision but lost in the ninth circuit court of appeals. Miners were just starting to drill Canyon mine’s shaft in 1991 when falling uranium prices caused the company to shut it down for more than two decades.

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Trump urged to cut Bears Ears monument to 'smallest area' possible

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 20:22:36 GMT2017-06-12T20:22:36Z

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke urges president to shrink 1.3m-acre national monument as administration continues push against federal public lands

Ryan Zinke, the US interior secretary, has recommended to Donald Trump that Bears Ears national monument in Utah be reduced in size to the “smallest area compatible” with its conservation.

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New threats to public lands endanger America's unique wildlife corridors

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:00:25 GMT2017-06-12T11:00:25Z

Mule deer, pronghorn and other animals rely on unbroken migration routes for food and survival, a necessity in jeopardy as Trump pushes for development

The life of a Wyoming mule deer is a tough one. In order to survive, thousands of the deer undertake an arduous 150-mile migration twice a year to find food. Manmade and natural hazards abound on this two-month trek.

“It’s not just about getting from point A to B, they have to forage all along the way,” said Matt Kauffman, a University of Wyoming zoologist. “These animals are slowly starving to death all winter. If winter is long enough or they are held up, the animals will die.”

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In Utah, federal land opponent reverses stance on drilling near Zion national park

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:51:58 GMT2017-06-07T19:51:58Z

In a change of tone, Utah governor Gary Herbert has backpedaled and asked the federal government not to allow oil and gas drilling around the famous park

When Utah governor Gary Herbert changed his mind last week and decided oil and gas companies should not be allowed to drill near Zion national park, it seemed like a remarkable change of tone.

The Republican has been a staunch advocate for rolling back public land protections and had earlier endorsed the idea of drilling near the 229 sq mile park. In February, he signed a resolution urging Donald Trump to rescind national monument status for the 1.3m acres known as Bears Ears in south-eastern Utah. Doing so would allow expansion of current leases for oil and gas development and grazing.

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Call of the wild? Environmentalists livid over cellphone plan for national park

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:33:28 GMT2017-06-07T00:33:28Z

The famous Mount Rainier has prepared an environmental assessment to allow Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T to extend coverage, but some aren’t happy about it

They already paved Paradise and put up a parking lot. Now the famous site on the south slope of Mount Rainier National Park’s 14,410ft-tall volcano could be wired for cellular service.

The park, which encompasses 230,000 acres of the Cascades mountain range in Washington state, has prepared an environmental assessment for a proposal to allow Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T to affix a wireless antenna to the park’s Jackson visitor center.

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Ranching life on the high plains of Montana – in pictures

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:23:45 GMT2017-06-06T14:23:45Z

Elliott D Woods spent time in Phillips County in northern Montana, where public land is a source of life to which ranchers are intimately connected. If the plan to transfer lands to the states succeeds, it will mean a radical restructuring of the economy and the culture of the west

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Five politicians determined to give away America's public lands

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:18:44 GMT2017-06-06T13:18:44Z

A small but vocal cohort is leading efforts to transfer federal land to the states. Is your congressional representative on the list?

The Trump administration has so far attempted to shrink the federal government’s role in healthcare, environmental protection – and even Meals on Wheels. Some Republicans now see another area ripe for giveaway: public lands.

During the Obama administration, Republicans made numerous attempts to open up federal lands for development or cede control of areas to the states. This push was largely made by representatives from a few western states, where the federal government manages roughly half of all land.

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'Nebraska is the last hope to stop the Keystone XL pipeline' – video

Thu, 04 May 2017 07:09:09 GMT2017-05-04T07:09:09Z

After Trump’s revival of the Keystone XL pipeline project, some communities along its route are getting ready to fight back. Others see the US president keeping his promise to ‘make America great again’. The Guardian drove along the proposed route of the pipeline, through three red states – Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska – to hear what those who will be affected have to say about it

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Keystone XL: the final leg and the myth of Trump's job promise

Thu, 04 May 2017 07:00:02 GMT2017-05-04T07:00:02Z

Part three: The Guardian’s pipeline road trip ends in Nebraska, where Trump has sold the project as a creator of ‘a lot of jobs’, but facts don’t support his claims

“Nebraska is the last hope for stopping this,” says Art Tanderup, sitting on the lawn close to the solar panels that provide most of the energy to his farm. Spring comes a little earlier here than in South Dakota and Montana. The 2ft deep snow drifts that had blanketed the farmland melted a month ago, revealing acres of harvested corn stubble that is now being readied for replanting.

Related: Support the Guardian's climate change reporting: make a contribution now

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Keystone pipeline defiance triggers further assault on citizens' rights

Wed, 03 May 2017 11:00:29 GMT2017-05-03T11:00:29Z

Part two: In South Dakota, a law could ban protests amid opposition from Republican ranchers, as many fear a ‘serious threat’ to water

Bret Clanton might not belong to the most obvious group of opponents to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. But when a survey crew from TransCanada arrived on his property eight years ago, the rancher and registered Republican – worried they were cattle thieves – says he called the sheriff’s department, and marched out to confront them.

He says the encounter changed his life, and set up a battle that would come to dominate his existence.

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Keystone XL: Republican ranchers join the fightback in South Dakota – video

Wed, 03 May 2017 11:00:29 GMT2017-05-03T11:00:29Z

After Trump’s revival of the Keystone XL pipeline project, some communities along its route are getting ready to fight back. Others see the US president keeping his promise to ‘make America great again’. The Guardian drove along the proposed route of the pipeline, through three red states – Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska – to hear what those who will be affected have to say about it

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Keystone XL: fear and enthusiasm fill the plains of eastern Montana – video

Tue, 02 May 2017 07:00:21 GMT2017-05-02T07:00:21Z

After Trump’s revival of the pipeline project, some communities along its route are preparing to fight back while others see a promise kept by the US president to ‘make America great again’. The Guardian drove along the proposed route of the pipeline through three red states – Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska – to hear what those who will be affected have to say about it

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Nebraska to become battleground over fate of Keystone XL pipeline project

Tue, 02 May 2017 07:00:21 GMT2017-05-02T07:00:21Z

Landowners and activists expected to descend on town of York on Wednesday for first public meeting on proposed construction after Trump revived it

More than 100 landowners and environmental activists are expected to descend on the town of York, Nebraska, on Wednesday to voice opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline as the state holds its first public meeting on the proposed construction since the Trump administration revived it.

Related: How Keystone XL, the pipeline rejected by Obama, went ahead under Trump

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Life on the Keystone XL route: where opponents fear the ‘black snake’

Tue, 02 May 2017 07:00:21 GMT2017-05-02T07:00:21Z

Part one: In Montana, Native Americans fear a leak could destroy their way of life, but local politicians worry about the threat of protesters above all else

“Our people call it the black snake because it is evil,” says Tressa Welch, as thunder clouds steamroll the blue sky over the plains of Wolf Point. “And like snakes they come out of nowhere; they slither and strike unknown.”

Related: Nebraska to become battleground over fate of Keystone XL pipeline project

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Trump hails ‘most successful first 100 days in history’ – video

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:52:53 GMT2017-04-29T13:52:53Z

The US president gives his weekly address as he reaches 100 days in office, which he says have been the most successful in history. He refers to job creation in the automotive industry, the Dakota pipeline and the appointment of Neil Gorsuch as a supreme court judge as some of his most important achievements

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How Keystone XL, the pipeline rejected by Obama, went ahead under Trump

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:03:57 GMT2017-03-24T14:03:57Z

The expansion, which was originally proposed in 2008 and faced strong protest from environmental advocates, secures permit to start building from Trump

2008

TransCanada proposes expanding an existing pipeline to transport oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Port Arthur, Texas, to transfer Canadian tar sands oil to US refineries. It was scheduled to be completed by 2013.

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Keystone XL: Trump issues permit to begin construction of pipeline

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:31:37 GMT2017-03-24T12:31:37Z

President ushers in ‘new era of American energy policy’ Friday as environmental activists denounce revived oil pipeline as a ‘disaster for the planet’

Donald Trump announced a “new era of American energy policy” as he signed the presidential permit allowing TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It’s going to be an incredible pipeline. Greatest technology known to man. Or woman. And frankly, we’re very proud of it,” said Trump in the Oval Office on Friday morning.

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World's first floating windfarm to take shape off coast of Scotland

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:55:25 GMT2017-06-27T13:55:25Z

Turbines for £200m Hywind project will be towed from Norway across North Sea and moored to seabed off north-east Scotland

The world’s first floating windfarm has taken to the seas in a sign that a technology once confined to research and development drawing boards is finally ready to unlock expanses of ocean for generating renewable power.

After two turbines were floated this week, five now bob gently in the deep waters of a fjord on the western coast of Norway ready to be tugged across the North Sea to their final destination off north-east Scotland.

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Dutch companies set up giant bread bins to help cities tackle rat scourge

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:00:23 GMT2017-06-27T06:00:23Z

Businesses in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam are getting involved in efforts to collect waste bread and turn it into biogas and fertiliser

Once upon a time, you would throw your old bread to the birds. But in the Netherlands, where an excess of crumbs is feeding a growing scourge of rats, people are starting to turn to massive bread bins instead.

Rather than ending up in the street or the dump, collected bread waste is taken to anaerobic digesters and turned into biogas or made into fertiliser.

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Macron meets Schwarzenegger and vows to stop oil and gas licences

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:26:10 GMT2017-06-26T12:26:10Z

In a dig at Trump’s climate change inaction, French president welcomes the green campaigner and says there will be ‘no new exploration licences’

The new French government has sought to further burnish its green credentials with the announcement it is to stop granting licences for new oil and gas exploration.

In his first major intervention since Emmanuel Macron’s election victory, the ecological transition minister, Nicolas Hulot, told the broadcaster BFMTV there would be “no new exploration licences for hydrocarbons”.

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Tanzania presses on with hydroelectric dam on vast game reserve

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:39:44 GMT2017-06-26T10:39:44Z

Stiegler Gorge dam on the Selous park, a world heritage site listed as ‘in danger’, will cause irreversible damage, say conservationists

Plans to build a huge hydroelectric dam in the heart of one of Africa’s largest remaining wild areas have dismayed conservationists who fear that the plans will cause irreversible damage to the Selous game reserve in Tanzania.

After many years of delays and false starts, last week the president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, announced that he would be going ahead with the Stiegler’s Gorge dam on the Rufiji river. Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer”, was elected in 2015 in part on his record of successful road and infrastructure building. The dam will provide 2,100MW of electricity to a country that is currently extremely undersupplied: Tanzania, with a population of approximately 53m to the UK’s 65m, has just 1,400MW of installed grid capacity compared to the UK’s total grid capacity of 85,000MW.

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UK on track to miss carbon emissions target due to stalled energy policy

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:58:13 GMT2017-06-26T05:58:13Z

Survey by Energy Institute finds industry professionals think policy is ‘on pause’ and warn Brexit is ‘material concern’

The UK’s ambitious target of slashing carbon emissions by more than half within 13 years is at risk because of government dithering on energy policy, industry professionals have warned.

A survey by the Energy Institute, the professional body for the energy sector, has found that four fifths of its members believe the UK is currently on track to miss the 2030 goal.

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Hinkley Point C: watchdog confirms fears of political vanity project | Nils Pratley

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:38:23 GMT2017-06-23T06:38:23Z

NAO report condemns ‘risky and expensive’ nuclear project that went ahead despite the economic case crumbling

The National Audit Office does not use excitable phrases like “utter shambles.” But the spending watchdog’s verdict on Hinkley Point C, the nuclear power plant in Somerset that is supposedly inevitable, amounts to the same thing. The government “has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits”.

The 80-page report confirms one’s worst fears about how ministers fell in love with Hinkley. First, they wedded themselves to an inflexible financial model. Then they agreed commercial terms with developer EDF in 2013, when energy prices were sky-high, and ploughed on regardless when the economic case for Hinkley started to crumble.

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Spending watchdog condemns 'risky and expensive' Hinkley Point

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 23:01:08 GMT2017-06-22T23:01:08Z

Damning report says nuclear project is bad for UK consumers and governments failed to assess alternative finance models

Generations of British consumers have been locked into a “risky and expensive” project by the UK’s subsidy deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to a damning report by the spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office said the contract sealed by ministers last September with EDF to construct the country’s first new atomic reactors in two decades would provide “uncertain strategic and economic benefits”.

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Why the coal lobby's reverse auction push might be an attempt to 'blow up' the debate

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:54:00 GMT2017-06-22T04:54:00Z

Craig Kelly’s argument that a reverse auction would allow coal power plants to compete doesn’t stack up

The latest push by pro-coal lobbyists and some Coalition MPs – for the clean energy target proposal to be dropped in favour of a reverse auction that could be used to fund a new coal power station – has left analysts wondering if they are actually trying to “blow up” the debate.

The idea was raised, after the Minerals Council of Australia – the coal lobby – suggested it to Coalition backbenchers, as part of a campaign against chief scientist Alan Finkel’s clean energy target.

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Australian health groups urge coal phase-out and strong emissions reduction

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:10:21 GMT2017-06-22T00:10:21Z

World-first climate and health framework from 30 health and medical groups calls for recognition of citizens’ ‘right to health’

To save hundreds of lives and billions of dollars, Australia should rapidly phase out coal power stations and establish strong emissions reduction targets, according to a coalition of 30 major health and medical groups.

Related: Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat

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Global banks reduce lending to dirtiest fossil fuel companies by billions in 2016

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:00:18 GMT2017-06-21T21:00:18Z

World’s largest banks lent $87bn to oil, coal and LNG companies in 2016 – a 22% drop from a collective $111bn worth of lending in 2015

The world’s biggest banks have reduced their lending to some of the most carbon-intensive sectors of the fossil fuel industry by billions of dollars, marking a potentially seismic shift against coal investment, a new study says.

The report commissioned by environmental groups tracked the lending decisions of 37 banks across Australia, the US, Europe, Canada, China and Japan in the first calendar year since the signing of the Paris climate agreement.

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Agency ruling on federal loan to Adani cites cyberbullying as reason for secrecy

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:28:33 GMT2017-06-28T03:28:33Z

Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility denies freedom of information request for details of board meetings because of media attention and protests

The federal agency considering a $900m loan to Adani has cited “substantial cyberbullying” of its directors to justify refusing a freedom of information request for basic details of its board meetings.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif) also raised concerns about “attempts to trace board members through unofficial channels” and protests outside its Cairns office to argue the time and place of meetings should be kept secret.

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Boaty McBoatface submarine records successful maiden voyage

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 23:01:04 GMT2017-06-27T23:01:04Z

Robotic submersible probes depths of up to 4,000m near Antarctic Peninsula to obtain unprecedented data on how mixing ocean waters affect climate change

A yellow submarine dubbed Boaty McBoatface has obtained “unprecedented data” from its first voyage exploring one of the deepest and coldest ocean regions on Earth, scientists have said.

The robotic submersible was given the name originally chosen for a new polar research ship by irreverent contestants in a public competition. Embarrassed officials decided to ignore the popular vote and instead named the vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough in honour of the veteran broadcaster. A storm of protest led to a compromise that allowed the name to live on.

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Ozone hole recovery threatened by rise of paint stripper chemical

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:00:04 GMT2017-06-27T15:00:04Z

The restoration of the ozone hole, which blocks harmful radiation, will be delayed by decades if fast-rising emissions of dichloromethane are not curbed

The restoration of the globe’s protective shield of ozone will be delayed by decades if fast-rising emissions of a chemical used in paint stripper are not curbed, new research has revealed.

Atmospheric levels of the chemical have doubled in the last decade and its use is not restricted by the Montreal protocol that successfully outlawed the CFCs mainly responsible for the ozone hole. The ozone-destroying chemical is called dichloromethane and is also used as an industrial solvent, an aerosol spray propellant and a blowing agent for polyurethane foams. Little is known about where it is leaking from or why emissions have risen so rapidly.

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Plastic debris inundates remote UK coasts endangering wildlife

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:28:42 GMT2017-06-27T09:28:42Z

A Greenpeace research expedition into plastic waste finds devastating pollution on Scottish beaches and seabird colonies

Plastic bottles and packaging are overrunning some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches and remote coastline, endangering wildlife from basking sharks to puffins.

A Greenpeace research ship has spent the past two months touring the Scottish coast and islands assessing the impact of plastic waste.

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Vulnerable ‘chokepoints’ threaten global food supply, warns report

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:30:22 GMT2017-06-27T05:30:22Z

Fourteen critical bottlenecks, from roads to ports to shipping lanes, are increasingly at risk from climate change, say analysts

Increasingly vulnerable “chokepoints” are threatening the security of the global food supply, according to a new report. It identifies 14 critical locations, including the Suez canal, Black Sea ports and Brazil’s road network, almost all of which are already hit by frequent disruptions.

With climate change bringing more incidents of extreme weather, analysts at the Chatham House thinktank warn that the risk of a major disruption is growing but that little is being done to tackle the problem. Food supply interruptions in the past have caused huge spikes in prices which can spark major conflicts.

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Tony Abbott trumpets conservative manifesto: 'We need to make Australia work again'

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:21:39 GMT2017-06-27T05:21:39Z

Former prime minister warns his successor he has no intention of fading out of public life and will continue to stand for conservative values

Tony Abbott has warned his successor he does not intend to quit public life, declaring Australia needs “strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever”.

The former prime minister used a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs on Tuesday to dust off a conservative manifesto for government he first flagged in February, telling his audience: “I will do my best to be a standard bearer for the values and the policies that have made us strong.”

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Most Australians want renewables to be primary energy source, survey finds

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:00:07 GMT2017-06-26T18:00:07Z

Climate Institute survey points to overwhelming frustration with government’s inaction and lack of leadership on clean energy

The vast majority of Australians want to see the country dramatically increase the use of renewable energy, a new survey has found, despite attempts by the federal government to characterise renewables as unreliable and expensive.

The Climate Institute’s national Climate of the Nation survey, published on Tuesday, pointed to frustration with the government’s inaction and lack of leadership on clean energy.

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New study confirms the oceans are warming rapidly | John Abraham

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:00:02 GMT2017-06-26T10:00:02Z

Although there’s some uncertainty in the distribution among Earth’s ocean basins, there’s no question that the ocean is heating rapidly

As humans put ever more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats up. These are the basics of global warming. But where does the heat go? How much extra heat is there? And how accurate are our measurements? These are questions that climate scientists ask. If we can answer these questions, it will better help us prepare for a future with a very different climate. It will also better help us predict what that future climate will be.

The most important measurement of global warming is in the oceans. In fact, “global warming” is really “ocean warming.” If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established.

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The world needs wildlife tourism. But that won't work without wildlife

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:00:30 GMT2017-06-22T07:00:30Z

Habitat loss, pollution, climate change, over-exploitation and poaching are all threatening a lifeline for local communities

Wildlife-based tourism is growing rapidly worldwide as the number of tourists continues to grow and as we, as travellers, seek out new and more enriching personal experiences with local cultures and wildlife. This is what inspired me to take six months unpaid leave from the grind of legal practice many years ago and backpack around South America with my little sister. Experiencing the natural beauty of places like the Amazon rainforest, Iguazú Falls and Machu Picchu and the local people fighting to protect them was life-changing.

The UN World Tourism Organisation estimates that 7% of world tourism relates to wildlife tourism, growing annually at about 3%, and much higher in some places, like our Unesco world heritage sites. A WWF report shows that 93% of all natural heritage sites support recreation and tourism and 91% of them provide jobs. In Belize, more than 50% of the population are said to be supported by income generated through reef-related tourism and fisheries.

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Is TfL's new cycling plan revolutionary or a waste of time?

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:00:29 GMT2017-06-22T06:00:29Z

A data map of 25 London cycling corridors could be crucial for future superhighways, but critics say it’s a distraction from getting the job done

Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, once said “in God we trust; everyone else bring data”. London has moved towards the mantra of one man who transformed a city for cycling by using a major data analysis to show where cycling routes could be built to get the greatest number of people on to two wheels.

Transport for London (TfL) has taken census data, cycle counts, surveys and data from the city’s hire bikes to identify future urban development and growth hotspots and collision data. They have created a map of 25 corridors across London, along which the greatest number of cycling trips could be generated.

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To lead on climate, leave the ivy tower | Ralien Bekkers, Hillary Aidun, Emily Wier, Geoffrey Supran

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:00:27 GMT2017-06-21T10:00:27Z

On behalf of students and alumni from all Ivy-Plus universities, we call on our institutions to join the “We Are Still In” coalition

America’s top universities expend considerable efforts to lead in the rankings, but last week they fell short—missing a critical opportunity to show moral leadership on climate change. If top schools want to lead on climate action, they should join the “We Are Still In” coalition, a collection of states, cities, businesses, and universities promising to support the Paris Climate Agreement.

President Trump’s decision to pull out of the international climate accord was swiftly rejected by local and state officials, as well as members of the business and academic community. Over 1,000 leaders have signed on to the “We Are Still In” pledge—including mayors and governors representing about 120 million people. More than 200 colleges and universities have joined. Leadership from these institutions sends a powerful message to President Trump and the globe: even if the federal government reneges on its international commitments, Americans are stepping up to fill the gap.

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Heatwaves are national emergencies and the public need to know

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 06:00:22 GMT2017-06-21T06:00:22Z

Lethal risks of extreme weather are under-reported and government must stop cutting public awareness funds

Hundreds of people across the UK are likely to be killed by a natural disaster this week, but their deaths will not be the subject of ministerial statements or newspaper reports, even though a failure of government policy is partly responsible.

The heatwave conditions are causing preventable deaths partly because large swaths of the population wrongly believe that extremely hot days are becoming less common.

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Ten years ago Turnbull called out Peter Garrett on climate. What went wrong? | Graham Readfearn

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:00:09 GMT2017-06-20T19:00:09Z

After a decade of policy backflips and uncertainty, we are now being sold ‘technology neutral’ energy policy. But we need it to be discriminatory – and favour clean power

Ten years ago today Malcolm Turnbull was getting stuck in to a debate in Parliament House with Peter Garrett about climate change.

Climate change, said Turnbull, was “an enormous challenge and probably the biggest one our country faces, the world faces, at the moment.”

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How do we build an inclusive culture for disabled cyclists?

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:00:03 GMT2017-06-20T06:00:03Z

A new survey confirms the use of bicycles as mobility aids and the frustration felt when disabled cyclists are told to dismount

Last week, my charity Wheels for Wellbeing published the results of a national survey of disabled cyclists which is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind. The results largely confirmed our suspicions, including that disabled cyclists – though part of our cycling culture – remain excluded from it in a number of ways.

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Ecuadorians denounce foreign loggers in Yasuni national park

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 21:17:30 GMT2017-06-16T21:17:30Z

Interview with anthropologist José Proaño on dangers to indigenous peoples in “isolation” posed by timber trade

Three NGOs in Ecuador marked the UN’s World Environment Day last week by releasing a report alleging that illegal loggers are operating in the famous Yasuní National Park in the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The loggers are crossing the border from Peru and mainly extracting cedar from territories used by indigenous peoples living in “isolation”, according to the NGOs.

The report focuses on a reconnaissance trip made in May which documented illegal logging in the park, as well as “massive” commercial hunting and the abandonment of premises supposedly run by the Environment Ministry and military. The trip was made, the report states, after several government visits to the region in recent years which confirmed that illegal loggers and hunters were operating, but led to almost no action being taken to stop them. On one occasion illegal wood was confiscated, but it was recovered by Peruvian loggers, it is claimed, in a “possible violent attack against [an Ecuadorian] military post.”

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How should world leaders punish Trump for pulling out of Paris accord? | Wael Hmaidan

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:49:22 GMT2017-06-15T09:49:22Z

The international community must show Trump, and any other leaders that may follow suit, that other core diplomatic goals – such as Nato funding – will depend on honouring their climate commitments

World leaders’ response to Donald Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw the US from the Paris agreement was strong and unified. But did it sting the president and his administration? To deter other potential backsliders and maintain the integrity of the Paris agreement, the perpetrator of a defection of this magnitude should be made to feel the pain. But how?

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Hong Kong launches bill to ban domestic ivory trade

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:55:36 GMT2017-06-26T14:55:36Z

The move follows demonstrations in the city and the decision by China to ban their own trade

Hong Kong has launched a landmark bill to ban its domestic ivory trade, amid accusations that authorities were lagging behind China in phasing out the market.

Hong Kong is home to the world’s biggest retail ivory market, with more items for sale than anywhere else in the world. The majority of buyers are mainland Chinese, who smuggle the worked ivory across the border. Hong Kong is also perpetuating the illegal market: more than a third of licensed ivory dealers have been found to advise buyers on ways to smuggle ivory out of the city, according to a recent report by Traffic.

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Ten more elephants poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:00:01 GMT2017-06-20T05:00:01Z

The elephants were killed in the Hwange national park by what has become a common means of poaching

Ten elephants, including a mother and her young calf, have been found poisoned in and around Zimbabwe’s premier game reserve, Hwange national park. Six of the animals died in the south of the park last week; some had their tusks hacked off. The others were found outside the northern sector of the park in state forestry land.

Park rangers responded quickly. A bucket of poison was found near the gruesome scene in the north and three arrests were made over the weekend. One of those arrested was found in possession of ivory.

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'If we stopped poaching tomorrow, elephants would still be in big trouble'

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 05:00:18 GMT2017-06-14T05:00:18Z

Ivory poaching is the most immediate, urgent threat to Africa’s elephants. But even if that can be tackled, they will have to fight humans for land, food and water

It is the dead of night. The day’s red-dust heat has given way to a cooling breeze. A hundred frogs chirp urgently. Tim and his crew are preparing for another stealth raid. Their mission is highly dangerous and now there’s a new threat: armed men are following them.

This is the scene repeated nightly on the eastern fringes of Amboseli national park in Kenya, close to the border with Tanzania. Tim is an elephant who, along with a group of up to 12 other males, has developed a taste for the tomatoes and maize growing on local farms on the outskirts of the park. The armed men are park rangers who have been tasked with keeping him from the crops – and saving his life.

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How can humans and elephants better coexist?

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:18:25 GMT2017-06-07T14:18:25Z

The human-elephant conflict plays a huge role in the rapid decline elephant numbers. A panel of experts share ideas on how to mitigate this problem

We need conservation (not just fighting the illegal wildlife trade which has captured the limelight more recently) to be far higher up the political agenda. For example, we in the UK could be much more effectively linking overseas aid (budget of £12bn this year) to poverty relief, sustainable development and environmental protection, ecosystem services and conservation priorities. Will Travers, president, Born Free Foundation

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Demand for elephant skin, trunk and penis drives rapid rise in poaching in Myanmar

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:21:44 GMT2017-06-07T06:21:44Z

A growth in demand for elephant parts to be used in traditional medicine in Asia means the number of elephants being killed in Myanmar is rising

Case files and laminated photos of poachers spill out of captain Than Naing’s folder. As the chief of police in Okekan township, one of Myanmar’s recent poaching hotspots, he is trying to track down the men who have killed at least three elephants in the area over the past year. So far, he has arrested 11 people suspected of having assisted the poachers. Meanwhile the poachers themselves remain at large.

“These are the two men who we believe killed one of the elephants,” he says, pointing to two photos. “They are still on the run.”

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Two rangers shot dead in Kenya’s Laikipia conservation area

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:09:17 GMT2017-06-06T13:09:17Z

The rangers, who are police reservists, were killed while trying to recover cattle stolen by nomadic herders

Two game rangers have been shot dead in Kenya’s restive north while on a mission to recover stolen cattle.

For the last year, Laikipia, one of Kenya’s most important wildlife regions, has been the scene of vicious farm invasions and battles between private ranch owners and communities bordering them.

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China's ivory ban sparks dramatic drop in prices across Asia

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 06:59:48 GMT2017-06-02T06:59:48Z

Prices of raw ivory in Vietnam have fallen, which traders are linking to China’s announcement of its domestic ivory ban, according to new research

The price of raw ivory in Asia has fallen dramatically since the Chinese government announced plans to ban its domestic legal ivory trade, according to new research seen by the Guardian. Poaching, however, is not dropping in parallel.

Undercover investigators from the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) have been visiting traders in Hanoi over the last three years. In 2015 they were being offered raw ivory for an average of US$1322/kg in 2015, but by October 2016 that price had dropped to $750/kg, and by February this year prices were as much as 50% lower overall, at $660/kg.

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Calls to reform food system: 'Factory farming belongs in a museum'

Wed, 24 May 2017 06:30:30 GMT2017-05-24T06:30:30Z

Stop the Machine aims to put an end to methods of farming that are endangering biodiversity and wildlife the world over

We can feed an extra 4 billion people a year if we reject the bloated and wasteful factory farming systems that are endangering our planet’s biodiversity and wildlife, said farming campaigner Philip Lymbery on Monday night, launching a global campaign to Stop the Machine.

At present, 35% of the world’s cereal harvest and most of its soya meal is fed to industrially reared animals rather than directly to humans. This is a “wasteful and inefficient practice” because the grain-fed animals contribute much less back in the form of milk, eggs and meat than they consume, according to Lymbery, the chief executive of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). “The food industry seems to have been hijacked by the animal feed industry,” he said.

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留住大象,哪怕为了这些“功利”的理由

Mon, 22 May 2017 15:59:31 GMT2017-05-22T15:59:31Z

大象的DNA里可能藏着抗击癌症、延年益寿的秘密,哪怕为了人类自身,我们也该好好对待大象。(翻译:子明/chinadialogue)

现在或许正是大象种群最黑暗的时代。中国正在取缔国内象牙贸易,欧盟也将着手对付象牙走私,但偷猎者们还在继续他们的血腥交易。与此同时,森林正遭到破坏,象群的迁徙路线被截断,人类和大象之间围绕土地、食物和水源的竞争愈演愈烈

所以,现在必须让大家明白:保留大象的生存空间对人类自身益处多多。并且人类根本不需要特别做什么,大象自会找到自己的领地。

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Powerhouse: the startup making solar the most accessible energy in the world

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 13:00:00 GMT2017-04-30T13:00:00Z

It’s one of the only incubators focused on solar companies – but Powerhouse is part of a larger movement to nurture new companies in the low-carbon future

It started with a crowdfunding startup, an investment from Prince, and the idea to help new solar companies tackle business challenges that can be hard to overcome on their own.

Now, four years later, the idea has morphed into a group called Powerhouse, and notably, in a world flush with tech startups, it’s one of the only incubators out there focused on launching and growing solar companies.

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Morning Routines – the making of long-distance runner Scott Jurek – video

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:11:15 GMT2016-12-13T17:11:15Z

What ingredients are required to make an ultramarathon runner? In Boulder, Colorado, Scott Jurek has concocted quite the recipe that has kept him going the distance for the past two decades. He runs anywhere between 50 miles to over 150 miles, and in his lifetime has won over 20 ultramarathons, smashing records along the way. His passion for running kickstarted his morning regimen in 1997, when he cut out meat completely. In 1999, he transitioned to a plant-based diet, which has since fueled his long-distance running career. On an average day, Scott runs about 10 miles, and this is typically before the sun rises over the beautiful Boulder Flatirons.

What we do when we wake up in the morning sets the tone for our days and ultimately shapes our lives. In this new series, we take a look at how the hyper-successful among us have leveraged rituals to create the trajectories they want.

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Businesses must promote diversity – not just because it's good for the bottom line | Tim Ryan

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:34:58 GMT2017-06-16T16:34:58Z

Too many of America’s workplaces are not representative of our communities. In a divided country, we have a duty to advance diversity and inclusion

We’re living in a country of growing division and tension, and it’s having an impact at work. But it’s often the case that when we walk into the office – where we spend the majority of our time – we don’t address these issues.

And yet there’s so much to talk about – from growing societal inequality and America’s racial divide to single-digit minority representation in corporate America. (Just 1% of the nation’s Fortune 500 CEOs are black, only 4% are women, and even fewer are openly gay).

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Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue and millions of jobs

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:39:10 GMT2017-01-19T14:39:10Z

Though recreation on public lands creates $646bn in economic stimulus and 6.1m jobs, Republicans are setting in motion a giveaway of Americans’ birthright

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

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The beauty industry now has its own green 'seal of approval'

Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:00:15 GMT2015-11-30T14:00:15Z

Environmental Working Group has launched EWG Verified, a label that will help consumers spot products that meet stringent ingredient and transparency requirements

It may soon be easier for shoppers to find beauty products without toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group nonprofit launched a new label this month called EWG Verified, which certifies personal care products as free from chemicals of concern.

The program is an extension of the group’s work with the Skin Deep database, which for more than a decade now has given tens of millions of visitors information on the chemical contents and relative safety of their favorite cosmetics and shampoos.

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Amid California’s historic drought, ancient sequoias show signs of stress

Sat, 05 Sep 2015 12:00:00 GMT2015-09-05T12:00:00Z

California’s giant trees are showing unprecedented die-back, and land managers who are already battling drought, warming and fire are racing to save them

Last September, US Geological Survey ecologist Nate Stephenson hiked into Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest to look for dying seedlings. California was suffering through its third year of severe drought, and trees were dying in the park in greater numbers than usual. The roadside leading up to Giant Forest was pincushioned with trees faded brown – dead oaks, sugar pine, fir, incense cedar. But the forest’s namesake trees, which are among the world’s oldest and largest, were faring better. They’re tough – they have to be to live for thousands of years – and tend to grow in the wettest parts of the landscape.

Related: World view: free climbing a giant redwood, Eureka, northern California, US

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Will China's children solve its crippling water shortage problem?

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:35:00 GMT2017-03-22T10:35:00Z

China is home to 21% of the world’s population but just 7% of its freshwater. One NGO teaches young people to make tackling water scarcity a priority

In Beijing’s Tongzhou Number Six school, around 100 impeccably-behaved middle school students are being lectured about water.

The visiting teacher tells them that, among other things, they should take shorter showers, buy less clothes, eat less meat and drink tea rather than coffee, to help alleviate China’s water scarcity problems.

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How a student's death highlighted our reliance on companies for health advice

Sun, 12 Jun 2016 07:00:17 GMT2016-06-12T07:00:17Z

The death of Wei Zei, a student seeking cancer cures online, raises questions about the responsibility of tech companies for the health data they provide

China’s equivalent of Google is under fire. Search engine Baidu has been criticised following the death of 21-year-old student Wei Zai, who used the search engine to research esoteric treatments for his cancer.

After Wei Zai’s death, the state-run People’s Daily attacked Baidu, claiming it was ranking search results in exchange for money. “There have been hospitals making profits at the cost of killing patients who were directed by false advertisements paid at a higher rank in search results,” the article claimed, adding, “profit considerations shall not be placed over social responsibility”.

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Topshop owner worth £4.3bn; store cleaners say wages don’t cover rent and food

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:45:27 GMT2016-03-24T12:45:27Z

As contracted cleaners demand fairer pay, fashion chain removes document supporting living wage from website after Guardian inquiry

For the past six and a half years, Susana has cleaned Topshop’s flagship store for a living. For the past hour, the Ecuadorian single mother of three has been pouring out stories of low pay, bullying and excessive workloads in breathless Spanish. The words flow effortlessly until she starts to talk about the seven months she had to take off work for stress and anxiety. At that point her pace slows and her voice breaks as she tries to hold back tears.

It happened in 2011, after she says her manager at Britannia Services Group – the company contracted to clean Topshop’s Oxford Street branch – kicked a bucket at her in the store. Speaking to the Guardian through a translator, she says: “That was the final straw. I was depressed and humiliated.” She was admitted to hospital for stress.

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Behind the label: can we trust certification to give us fairer products?

Thu, 10 Mar 2016 06:00:09 GMT2016-03-10T06:00:09Z

It began with Fairtrade. Almost 30 years later, with hundreds of different certifications is it time to question what they all do and who benefits?

In 1988, the first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, was applied to packs of Mexican coffee sold in Dutch supermarkets. At the time, using a product label to say something about standards in a supply chain was revolutionary, but today it is routine. The Ecolabel Index currently lists 463 certifications in 199 countries.

On the face of it, certifications on everything from fish to timber can be seen as progress, promising higher standards and transparency in the pursuit of sustainability. But what purpose are the certification labels actually serving? Can we assume that they are beneficial to producers? Do consumers understand what’s behind a certification label, and does it even matter if they do? These were some of the questions asked at a recent roundtable discussion hosted by the Guardian and supported by Mondelēz International.

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Greener pastures: the dairy farmers committed to sustainability

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 23:41:20 GMT2016-09-22T23:41:20Z

Biological farming, conservation planning and water recycling are part of a concerted push to make the milk industry more ‘carbon confident’

It was a soil bacteria course in New Zealand that convinced Reggie Davis to change his farming methods.

The fourth-generation Victorian dairy farmer had become increasingly concerned by the costs, chemicals and time involved in the use of nitrate fertilisers to maintain – what was considered to be – high-quality pasture for his dairy herd.

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Have we reached the tipping point for investing in renewable energy?

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 15:00:07 GMT2016-02-13T15:00:07Z

As oil prices bottom out and fossil fuels no longer offer strong returns, investment dollars are starting to move to renewable energy

Divestment – the decision to voluntarily reduce one’s fossil fuel investments – has been a hot button topic of discussion since 2011, when university students began calling on their institutions to remove fossil fuels from their portfolios. Divestment arguments have often focused on the morality of investments, but the economic value of divestment has recently become hard to ignore.

In January, portfolio planner Advisor Partners reported that, between 2014 and 2015, New York City’s biggest pension fund lost $135m because of its fossil fuel holdings. And, earlier this month, Market Forces, an activist group that works in environmental finance, reported that fossil fuel investments cost 15 of Australia’s top funds an estimated $5.6bn. On average, this cost each member of these funds $1,109.

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Can solar cookstoves help reduce greenhouse emissions in developing countries?

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 17:58:08 GMT2015-10-30T17:58:08Z

An Ohio startup is disrupting the clean cookstove industry with the introduction of a solar powered cookstove - but not everyone is convinced

Since Hillary Clinton announced the creation of a Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in 2010, the public-private partnership has helped raise more than $400m for cleaner stoves and cooking fuels, enlisted more than 1,300 partners and, by its own accounting, helped drive about 28m cookstoves into the world’s poorest countries.

The vast majority of those cleaner cooking devices are powered by biomass – wood, charcoal, dung and agricultural waste. Millions more are powered by cleaner fuels like liquid propane gas (LPG), ethanol and electricity. At most, the alliance reported, 2% of the stoves distributed in 2013 relied on solar power, the cleanest fuel of all.

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:22:40 GMT2017-06-23T13:22:40Z

Bison, bluebells, bumble bees and beavers are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:00:09 GMT2017-06-16T13:00:09Z

A great white pelican, a slow loris and wildebeest on migration in the Masai Mara are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 13:00:02 GMT2017-06-09T13:00:02Z

A stalking tiger, playful long-eared owl chicks and a rare dormouse are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 13:00:25 GMT2017-06-02T13:00:25Z

A Sumatran tiger cub, giant panda and a ‘faceless’ deep-sea fish are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 26 May 2017 13:00:12 GMT2017-05-26T13:00:12Z

Herons in flight, an inquisitive marmot and a blue whale are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:00:08 GMT2017-05-19T13:00:08Z

Tasmanian devils, a Saimaa ringed seal and a white wolf are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 12 May 2017 13:00:19 GMT2017-05-12T13:00:19Z

A Sumatran tiger, an alligator and a humpback whale are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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