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Environment | The Guardian



Latest environmental news, opinion and analysis from the Guardian.



Published: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 02:24:41 GMT2017-10-17T02:24:41Z

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



This is what America's eco city of the future looks like

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:49:55 GMT2017-10-16T11:49:55Z

Georgetown mayor Dale Ross is ‘a good little Republican’ – but ever since his city weaned itself off fossil fuels, he has become a hero to environmentalists

When the caller said he worked for Harry Reid and the former Senate majority leader wanted a word, Dale Ross assumed it was a joke. “OK, which of my buddies are messing with me today?” he wondered.

He shouldn’t have been so surprised. Ross is the mayor of Georgetown, population 65,000, and he has become a minor celebrity in environmental circles as a result of a pioneering decision in 2015 to get all the city’s electricity from renewable sources.

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California wildfire death toll rises to 40 amid cluster of blazes 100 miles wide

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:49:03 GMT2017-10-15T04:49:03Z

  • 100,000 evacuated and 5,700 homes and businesses destroyed
  • wildfires race toward wineries and historic town of Sonoma

Three more deaths have been confirmed in the wildfires burning in northern California wine country, which were already the deadliest series of such fires in state history. By Saturday afternoon, the toll had reached 40.

Related: 'She was the love of my life': survivors mourn victims of California wildfires

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California wildfires: 29 dead as winds threaten to worsen out-of-control blaze

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:21:12 GMT2017-10-12T15:21:12Z

Unprecedented wildfires raging in California’s wine country leave enormous devastation as fire agency says situation still ‘very serious’

The death toll climbed to 29 on Thursday as wildfires continue to blaze almost completely out of control in California’s wine country and firefighters expect weather conditions to take a turn for the worse.

“Now the winds are going back up and the humidity is going back down,” said Heather Williams, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection. “We’re still not out of the woods. It’s a very serious situation.”

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Trump’s pro-coal agenda is a blow for clean air efforts at Texas' Big Bend park

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:34:45 GMT2017-10-11T17:34:45Z

For decades the national park’s stunning vistas have been compromised by poor air quality, and prospects of improvement were derailed by Trump Tuesday

Big Bend national park is Texas at its most cinematic, with soaring, jagged forest peaks looming over vast desert lowlands, at once haughty and humble, prickly and pretty. It is also among the most remote places in the state.

Even from Alpine, the town of 6,000 that is the main gateway to the park, it is more than an hour’s drive to one of the entrances.

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California fires: at least 15 killed in 'unprecedented' wine country blaze

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 19:42:11 GMT2017-10-10T19:42:11Z

Wildfires leave 150 missing and destroy 2,000 structures and large swaths of land, as powerful winds fuel ‘an inferno like you’ve never seen before’

At least 15 people have died in northern California after what officials are describing as an “unprecedented” wildfire that has already destroyed 2,000 structures and devastated large swaths of wine country.

“We often have multiple fires going on, but the majority of them all started right around the same time period, same time of night – it’s unprecedented,” Amy Head, the fire captain spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection, told the Guardian. “I hate using that word because it’s been overused a lot lately because of how fires have been in the past few years, but it truly is – there’s just been a lot of destruction.”

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Fightback begins over Trump's 'illegal and irresponsible' clean power repeal

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 17:20:38 GMT2017-10-10T17:20:38Z

  • NY attorney general to sue administration for scrapping Clean Power Plan
  • Major companies including Apple and Google support Obama-era initiative

The US is set for a fresh battle over climate change after the Trump administration moved to tear up the country’s primary policy to lower emissions and stave off dangerous global warming.

Related: 'The war on coal is over': EPA boss to roll back Obama's clean power rules

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'The war on coal is over': EPA boss to roll back Obama's clean power rules

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:14:48 GMT2017-10-09T16:14:48Z

  • Scott Pruitt says he will sign rule withdrawing policy on Tuesday
  • Plan imposed restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power stations

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that he would sign a new rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Related: Northern California wildfires force mass evacuations: 'Trees were on fire like torches'

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Trump EPA plan will roll back Obama standards on power plant emissions

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 13:15:09 GMT2017-10-07T13:15:09Z

  • Measures expected soon are part of promise to revive coal industry
  • Ex-EPA chief: ‘This administration has no intention of following the law’

The Trump administration is moving to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s attempt to slow global warming, seeking to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Related: Walruses face 'death sentence' as Trump administration fails to list them as endangered

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Walruses face 'death sentence' as Trump administration fails to list them as endangered

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 18:54:48 GMT2017-10-04T18:54:48Z

Fish and Wildlife Service decides Pacific walrus may be able to adapt to loss of sea ice and is unlikely to be seen as endangered ‘in the foreseeable future’

The Trump administration has declined to list the Pacific walrus as endangered after deciding that the huge tusked mammals may be able to adapt to the loss of the sea ice that they currently depend upon.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said that the walruses were unlikely to be considered endangered “in the foreseeable future”, defined as from now until 2060, adding: “At this time, sufficient resources remain to meet the subspecies’ physical and ecological needs now and into the future.”

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Los Angeles' legendary palm trees are dying – and few will be replaced

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:15:10 GMT2017-09-29T18:15:10Z

A beetle and a fungus are killing off the trees that have become synonymous with the city, making way for trees that give more shade and use less water

They are the sultry, swaying backdrop to countless films, posters and music videos, an effective way to announce: this is Los Angeles.

Palm trees greet you outside the LAX airport, they line Hollywood Boulevard, stand guard over the Pacific and crisscross neighbourhoods poor and rich, a botanical army of stems and fronds which symbolise the world’s entertainment capital.

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Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint – where water is undrinkable

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:00:22 GMT2017-09-29T10:00:22Z

While Flint battles a water crisis, just two hours away the beverage giant pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles

Gina Luster bathed her child in lukewarm bottled water, emptied bottle by bottle into the tub, for months. It became a game for her seven-year-old daughter. Pop the top off a bottle, and pour it into the tub. It takes about 30 minutes for a child to fill a tub this way. Pop the top, pour it in; pop the top, pour it in. Maybe less if you can get gallon jugs.

Luster lives in Flint, Michigan, and here, residents believe tap water is good for one thing: to flush the toilet.

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Brazil's worst month ever for forest fires blamed on human activity

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 06:00:18 GMT2017-09-29T06:00:18Z

September saw more fires than any month on record, as experts say uptick is due to expansion of agriculture and reduction of oversight and surveillance

Brazil has seen more forest fires in September than in any single month since records began, and authorities have warned that 2017 could surpass the worst year on record if action is not taken soon.

Experts say that the blazes are almost exclusively due to human activity, and they attribute the uptick to the expansion of agriculture and a reduction of oversight and surveillance. Lower than average rainfall in this year’s dry season is also an exacerbating factor.

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Second rock fall shakes Yosemite as British victim is named

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 03:20:13 GMT2017-09-29T03:20:13Z

Welsh climber Andrew Foster, 32, was man killed on El Capitan, say authorities, and ‘substantially bigger’ fall has since taken place

A massive new rock fall hit Yosemite national park on Thursday, cracking with a thundering roar off the iconic El Capitan rock formation and sending huge plumes of white dust surging through the valley floor below. It came a day after another slab dropped from El Capitan, killing one British climber and injuring a second.

The climber killed by Wednesday’s rock fall has been named as Andrew Foster, 32, from Wales. National park authorities said on Thursday night that his wife was undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.

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Puerto Rico evacuates 70,000 after dam fails in Hurricane Maria's wake

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:55:57 GMT2017-09-22T20:55:57Z

  • National Weather Service says: ‘This is an extremely dangerous situation’
  • Maria knocked out island’s power and several rivers hit record flood levels

Officials are rushing to evacuate tens of thousands of people from their homes in western Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria inflicted structural damage on a dam and unleashed “extremely dangerous” flash floods.

Some 70,000 residents in the municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas were being evacuated by bus after a crack appeared in the nearly 90-year old Guajataca dam.

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Puerto Rico battered by Hurricane Maria: 'Devastation – it's everywhere'

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:06:56 GMT2017-09-21T18:06:56Z

  • Worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in 80 years felled trees and smashed buildings
  • Governor’s spokesman describes scene of ‘total devastation’

After hours of hurricane-force winds and torrential rain, Puerto Ricans emerged from shelters on Thursday morning to find that their island was still under threat from landslides, flash floods and crippled water and electricity systems.

Related: British Virgin Islands brave two storms in two weeks: 'Maria destroyed most of what was left'

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Trump's pick for chemical safety chief called 'voice of the chemical industry'

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:54:14 GMT2017-09-20T18:54:14Z

Michael Dourson, president’s nominee for EPA position, founded consultancy in which he was paid to criticize studies questioning safety of clients’ products

Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faces questions over his history as a close ally to the chemical industry and suitability to be its chief regulator.

Michael Dourson, the nominee, founded a consultation group in 1995, the Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, a private evaluation nonprofit organization that tests chemicals and produces reports on which chemicals are hazardous in what quantities.

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A million tons of feces and an unbearable stench: life near industrial pig farms

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:00:17 GMT2017-09-20T11:00:17Z

North Carolina’s hog industry has been the subject of litigation, investigation, legislation and regulation. But are its health and environmental risks finally getting too much?

Rene Miller pokes a lavender-frocked leg out of her front door and grimaces. It’s a bright April afternoon, and the 66-year-old Miller, with a stoic expression and a dark crop of curls, braces herself for the walk ahead.

Her destination isn’t far away – just a half-mile down a narrow country road, flanked by sprawling green meadows, modest homes and agricultural operations – but the journey takes a toll. Because as she ambles down the two-lane street, stepping over pebbles and sprouts of grass, the stench takes hold, an odor so noxious that it makes your eyes burn and your nose run. Miller likens it to “death” or “decomposition” to being surrounded by spoiled meat.

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Trump adviser tells UN the US is not looking to stay in Paris climate deal

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:39:41 GMT2017-09-18T15:39:41Z

Gary Cohn confirmed the US intends to withdraw from the agreement without a renegotiation, but declined to provide details

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said at the United Nations on Monday the US has not changed its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate pact without a renegotiation favorable to Washington, a step for which there is little appetite in the international community.

Related: Top Trump officials signal US could stay in Paris climate agreement

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Top Trump officials signal US could stay in Paris climate agreement

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 21:31:22 GMT2017-09-17T21:31:22Z

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster both indicated the US is open to negotiations on staying in the accord

Senior Trump administration officials on Sunday signalled a further softening of America’s resolve to leave the Paris climate accord, amid signs that the issue will be discussed at the United Nations general assembly in New York this week.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster both indicated that the US is open to negotiations on staying in the landmark international agreement to limit mankind’s role in global warming.

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Flint water crisis: expert says lead levels normal but warns against celebration

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 18:33:56 GMT2017-09-15T18:33:56Z

Virginia Tech researcher who has tested city’s water supply says people should continue using water filters – and ‘crisis of confidence’ in government remains

An expert who has warned about dangerous lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water declared on Friday a qualified end to the crisis.

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards made the announcement at a news conference two years to the day after he stood in front of Flint’s city hall with residents and other researchers to highlight a serious lead contamination problem in the financially struggling industrial city’s water supply.

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National park ban saved 2m plastic bottles – and still Trump reversed it

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 09:00:38 GMT2017-09-26T09:00:38Z

  • Trump administration reversed ban in August despite environmental protest
  • Activists say plastic is biggest threat to environment after climate change

A ban on bottled water in 23 national parks prevented up to 2m plastic bottles from being used and discarded every year, a US national park service study found. That is equivalent to up to 326 barrels of oil worth of emissions, 419 cubic yards of landfill space and 111,743lb of plastic, according to the May study.

Despite that, the Trump administration reversed the bottled water ban just three months later, a decision that horrified conservationists and pleased the bottled water industry.

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Bears Ears is sacred to Native Americans. But heritage isn't all equal for Trump | Julian Brave NoiseCat

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:00:14 GMT2017-09-19T10:00:14Z

While Trump is quick to defend his Confederate forefathers, he has been equally swift to desecrate places held sacred by Native Americans

History and heritage are powerful words in American politics. In the United States, the Founding Fathers are second only to the apostles; the Constitution comes just after the Bible on the bookshelf and the Declaration of Independence is nearly as important an origin story as Genesis.

Just days after bloody white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville last month, Donald Trump argued that a growing chorus of voices calling for the removal of Confederate statues would inevitably lead to the removal of monuments honoring the Founding Fathers – tantamount to heresy.

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10 national monuments at risk under Trump's administration

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 20:22:05 GMT2017-09-18T20:22:05Z

The US interior secretary has identified a total of 10 national monuments to reshape or repurpose in order to allow for logging, mining and grazing

A total of 10 US national monuments are in the Trump administration’s sights to be either resized or repurposed, in order to allow activities such as mining, logging and grazing within their borders. Environmental groups have vowed legal action to stymie any alterations to the protected areas. Here are the 10 national monuments identified for change by Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior.

Related: The Trump administration's national monuments 'review' is a sham | Brian Calvert

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More national monuments should be opened for exploitation, Zinke says

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 18:37:46 GMT2017-09-18T18:37:46Z

In leaked memo, Trump interior secretary recommends 10 protected areas be modified to allow for ‘traditional uses’ such as mining, logging and hunting

The Trump administration faces a fresh legal battle from environmental groups after the interior department recommended that 10 national monuments be resized or opened up to mining, logging and other industrial purposes.

Related: The Trump administration's national monuments 'review' is a sham | Brian Calvert

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Patagonia joins forces with activists to protect public lands from Trump

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 11:00:34 GMT2017-08-26T11:00:34Z

Native Americans and environmental advocates get help from outdoor retailers as they battle proposal to change monuments’ boundaries

Environmental activists, Native American groups and a coalition of outdoor retailers have vowed to redouble their efforts to protect public lands, after the US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, recommended on Thursday that Donald Trump change the boundaries of a “handful” of national monuments.

Related: US public lands: Trump official recommends shrinking national monuments

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Under threat: the three national monuments in Trump's sights

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 21:59:49 GMT2017-08-24T21:59:49Z

As interior secretary recommends boundary changes to Donald Trump, three national monuments are reportedly at risk of being reduced in size

In April, Donald Trump ordered a sweeping review of 27 national monuments, from Maine to Oregon. The monuments were set aside over the last three decades by Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama. Trump’s review sought to explore whether the protected land should be opened up to create economic opportunities for industries such as oil, gas, mining and timber.

Related: US public lands: Trump official recommends shrinking national monuments

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The Trump administration's national monuments 'review' is a sham | Brian Calvert

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 18:41:32 GMT2017-08-24T18:41:32Z

The reasoning the president gave for the review, which could affect 27 national monuments, are demonstrably untrue

  • Brian Calvert is the editor-in-chief of High Country News, a Colorado-based magazine that covers the American West

I have been trying to find one good policy reason for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to go after national monuments, but the fact is, there are none.

Zinke, a pro-energy Montanan who speciously claims to be a conservationist, has undertaken an unprecedented review of national monuments dedicated under the Antiquities Act at the behest of Donald Trump. He delivered his recommendations for shrinking a hit-list of 27 monuments on August 24. But his review is a sham, and so is the presidential directive that ordered it.

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US public lands: Trump official recommends shrinking national monuments

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 16:10:42 GMT2017-08-24T16:10:42Z

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke says his recommendations include boundary adjustments for some locations among 27 national monuments

Conservation safeguards on a “handful” of national monuments across the US could be rolled back following the delivery on Thursday of the White House’s long-awaited review of such public lands, interior secretary Ryan Zinke said.

Related: The Trump administration's national monuments 'review' is a sham | Brian Calvert

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Trump's decision to allow plastic bottle sales in national parks condemned

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 19:25:49 GMT2017-08-20T19:25:49Z

Reversal of ban shows ‘corporate agenda is king and people and environment are left behind’, say campaigners

The Trump administration’s decision to reverse a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in some of America’s most famous national parks, including the Grand Canyon, shows “the corporate agenda is king and people and the environment are left behind”, campaigners have said.

Related: Day of doom for national monuments is approaching

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Trump's day of doom for national monuments approaches

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:13:33 GMT2017-08-20T17:13:33Z

Created by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the Cascade-Siskiyou monument protects Oregon’s extraordinary biodiversity, from butterflies to trout. But a Trump review threatens to open the landscape to the timber industry

Dave Willis, a grizzled woodsman and backcountry outfitter, has spent decades laboring to protect the mountains of south-western Oregon, one of the most beautiful, biodiverse regions in the country.

Through grassroots activism, Willis and his conservationist allies have won the support of two US presidents. In 2000, Bill Clinton created the roughly 52,000-acre Cascade-Siskiyou national monument, proclaiming it an “ecological wonder”. Located just outside of Ashland, it was the first such monument established solely for its extraordinary species diversity. It’s a place that harbors rare lilies and endemic trout, Pacific fishers and goshawks, black bears and a stunning array of butterflies.

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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 petrol demand 'likely to peak by 2030 as electric car sales rise'

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:04:21 GMT2017-10-16T16:04:21Z

Wood Mackenzie predicts global oil growth will plateau about 2035 – earlier than some previous forecasts

World petrol demand will peak within 13 years thanks to the impact of electric cars and more efficient engines, energy experts have predicted.

UK-based Wood Mackenzie said it expected the take-up of electric vehicles to cut gasoline demand significantly, particularly beyond 2025 as the battery-powered cars go mainstream.

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Indigenous rights "serious obstacle" to Kinder Morgan pipeline, report says

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:22:20 GMT2017-10-16T15:22:20Z

Pipeline company downplaying major legal and financial risks of crossing unceded First Nations territory in British Columbia

The controversial expansion of a pipeline that would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast will be doomed by the rising power of Indigenous land rights.

That’s the message that Kanahus Manuel, an Indigenous activist from the Secwepemc Nation in central BC, plans to deliver to banks financing the project as she travels through Europe this week.

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The war on coal is over. Coal lost | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:00:02 GMT2017-10-16T10:00:02Z

Coal can’t compete with cheaper clean energy. The Trump administration can’t save expensive, dirty energy.

Last week, Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced, “the war on coal is over.” If there ever was a war on coal, the coal industry has lost. According to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, many old American coal power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas, and new coal power plants aren’t being built because they’ve become more expensive than natural gas, wind, and solar energy:

The share of US electricity coming from coal fell from 51 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2016—an unprecedented change. New UCS analysis finds that, of the coal units that remain, roughly one in four plans to retire or convert to natural gas; another 17 percent are uneconomic and could face retirement soon.

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Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 13:00:31 GMT2017-10-15T13:00:31Z

Wind isn’t just mysterious, destructive and exhilarating – capturing just 2% of it would solve the planet’s energy needs at a stroke. And as the windiest country in Europe, Britain is at the forefront of this green revolution



The wind rips along the Humber estuary in Hull. It’s the kind that presses your coat to your back and pushes you on to your toes. “A bit too windy,” shouts Andy Sykes, before his words are swept away. He is the head of operational excellence at the Siemens Gamesa factory, which supplies blades – the bits that turn – to windfarms in the North Sea. At 75 metres long, they are hard to manoeuvre when it’s gusting.

Inside the vast factory hall, the blades lie in various states of undress. Several hundred layers of fibreglass and balsa wood are being tucked into giant moulds by hand. There are “naked” blades that require paint and whose bodies have the patina of polished tortoiseshell. Look through the hollow blades from the broadest part, and a pale green path, the tinge of fibreglass, snakes down the long tunnel, tapering to a small burst of daylight at its tip.

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'This is the future': solar-powered family car hailed by experts

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 06:39:40 GMT2017-10-15T06:39:40Z

As the annual solar race across Australia wraps up, a Dutch entry averaged 69kmh from Darwin to Adelaide and resupplied the grid

A futuristic family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia.

Related: How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?

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Hinkley nuclear site radioactive mud to be dumped near Cardiff

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 19:13:46 GMT2017-10-14T19:13:46Z

Critics say dredging of sediment could increase risks of contamination on Welsh side of Severn estuary

More than 300,000 tonnes of “radioactive” mud, some of it the toxic byproduct of Britain’s atomic weapons programme, will be dredged to make way for England’s newest nuclear power station and dumped in the Severn estuary just over a mile from Cardiff.

Related: Electricity consumers 'to fund nuclear weapons through Hinkley Point C'

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Police show their true colours at fracking protest | Letters

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:18:19 GMT2017-10-13T17:18:19Z

Green peer Jenny Jones says the police’s actions at a fracking protest show they are helping impose government policy and defending corporate interests

When the police forcibly remove a 79-year-old woman for serving refreshments to fracking protesters, you know they have taken sides (Report, 11 October). Having wasted their time and our money dragging pensioners around, the Lancashire constabulary has asked the Home Office for an extra £3.1m to cover the cost of drafting in police from Somerset and Wales. It is time for the policing operation at New Preston Road to be scaled back, or called off altogether. The police are helping to impose a government decision to frack, which is opposed by local residents at every level of local government. The police should go back to patrolling the streets and arresting criminals, instead of defending corporate interests by harassing the protesters.
Jenny Jones
Green party, House of Lords

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Chevron abandons plan to drill for oil in Great Australian Bight

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 23:31:43 GMT2017-10-12T23:31:43Z

Environmentalists hail decision that comes almost exactly a year after BP ditched its own scheme for the untapped basin

Chevron has become the second big oil company to abandon plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, almost exactly a year after BP ditched its more advanced plans for the untapped basin.

Oil companies have compared the potential of the bight to the Gulf of Mexico, where there are thousands of oil rigs.

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New airplane biofuels plan would 'destroy rainforests', warn campaigners

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 17:17:56 GMT2017-10-12T17:17:56Z

Plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes would lead to clearing of rainforests to produce ‘vast’ amount of necessary crops

A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with an 8% leap reported in Europe last year and a global fourfold increase in CO2 pollution expected by 2050.

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Six missing after trawler capsizes, as storms and floods hit Queensland

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:19:24 GMT2017-10-17T00:19:24Z

  • One man survives 12 hours in heavy seas off central Queensland
  • Police find body of man swept off causeway near Gympie
  • Jogger critical after car knocks him into swollen creek in Brisbane

Six people were reported missing after their fishing trawler capsized in bad weather off the central Queensland coast on Monday evening. One of their crewmates survived for 12 hours in heavy seas before raising the alarm.

Torrential rain in the state also led to the death of a man caught in floodwater near Gympie and an incident in Brisbane in which a jogger was flung into a creek after being hit by a car that skidded off the road.

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Coalition balks on Finkel target but will unveil energy and emissions policy

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:00:06 GMT2017-10-16T17:00:06Z

Guardian Essential poll finds 65% support for doomed target recommended by the chief scientist Alan Finkel

The Turnbull government is poised to unveil a new energy investment framework that will impose obligations on the electricity sector to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris agreement. It will also create new reliability obligations to ensure there’s enough dispatchable power in the system.

Cabinet, and the government’s backbench committee on environment and energy, considered the government’s new policy on Monday night before a party room debate slated for Tuesday morning.

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'Hungry bear' crisis leaves two people dead in Russia's far east

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:02:03 GMT2017-10-16T15:02:03Z

Overfishing and fewer food sources making bears more aggressive, say officials, who have killed 83 on Sakhalin Island this year

Two people have been killed by bears in Russia’s far east as increasingly large numbers of the animals are approaching humans due to a lack of food sources.

Authorities on Sakhalin Island last week said 83 bears had to be shot dead because they were hostile. That figure is nearly three times higher than last year.

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Raw sewage 'flowing into rivers across England and Wales'

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 07:21:57 GMT2017-10-16T07:21:57Z

WWF analysis reports that 40% of rivers are polluted with sewage that can harm wildlife and put human health at risk

Raw sewage is flowing into rivers at thousands of sites across England and Wales, a report has warned, harming wildlife and putting human health at risk.

The total amount of raw sewage intentionally being put into rivers is unknown, which is a “huge concern”, according to conservation group WWF, which produced the analysis. The available data suggests that more than half of overflow sites spill sewage into rivers at least once a month and 14% at least once a week.

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Queensland Labor strategist announces he will stop lobbying for Adani

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:49:38 GMT2017-10-16T06:49:38Z

Cameron Milner says he will no longer represent Adani to government as ALP prepares for an election

A key Queensland Labor strategist who lobbied over a five-year period for Adani has parted ways with the Indian mining giant in a bid to stop controversy dogging Annastacia Palaszczuk’s re-election campaign.

Cameron Milner has confirmed to the Guardian that his firm Next Level Strategic Services would no longer represent Adani in dealings with government as it looks to make its contentious proposal for Australia’s largest coalmine a reality.

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'Land means life': Tanzania's Maasai fear their existence is under threat

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:00:51 GMT2017-10-16T06:00:51Z

Reports that homes belonging to Maasai people were torched have upped the stakes in their long-running land dispute with the Tanzanian government

For Lilian Looloitai, a Maasai woman from east Africa, “land means life”. For her nomadic tribe, who have grazed cattle in north Tanzania’s highlands for centuries, a bitter dispute playing out on the edge of the Serengeti national park brings not just uncertainty, but threatens their very existence. It is the latest example of the growing tensions between wildlife conservation, which brings revenue to the country, and the rights of nomads, who need land to survive.

“How long will the government continue to expand the national parks? It is for wildlife, but we are human beings,” said Looloitai, the managing director of Cords Limited, a rights group based in Arusha. “As pastoralists, we are being undermined.”

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High-street outlets move to ditch plastic amid environmental concerns

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:00:50 GMT2017-10-16T05:00:50Z

Pret A Manger becomes the latest to act by offering free filtered water and selling empty glass bottles

A growing number of outlets selling food and drink in the UK are taking action to ditch plastic amid deepening concern about its effect on the environment, with drinking straws and bottles among items being phased out.

Pret A Manger has become the latest to take action, announcing that it has installed taps dispensing free filtered water and started selling empty glass bottles in its three vegetarian stores. The scheme is due to be rolled out to branches in Manchester from the end of October.

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New HS2 fears as large crack opens up on land where train line will run

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 13:50:32 GMT2017-10-15T13:50:32Z

Residents claim high-speed rail company has not taken West Yorkshire area’s coal mining legacy into account

Residents in West Yorkshire have raised concerns about plans to build the HS2 rail line through a former mining area, after an eight-metre-long crack opened up in the ground along the proposed route.

Plans for the Yorkshire section of the high-speed train line were changed earlier this year, taking it to the east of Sheffield instead of through the Meadowhall shopping centre, on the city’s border with Rotherham.

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Our cities need fewer cars, not cleaner cars

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:30:52 GMT2017-10-16T06:30:52Z

Electric cars won’t eradicate gridlocks and air pollution, but carbon footprints could be cut by favouring pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit

The spectre of our cities choking with unhealthy air has prompted numerous governments to mandate a transition to electric cars. Their concerns are well founded, even if their proposals fall short of what is needed.

Over the past four decades, cars have become far less polluting. Their fuel efficiency has practically doubled and their tailpipe emissions have been reduced by more than 95%. Yet cities such as London and Paris are still battling smog and pollution. California has for decades demanded the toughest emission standards in the US, and yet Los Angeles heads the list of US cities for bad air quality. Moving to all-electric car fleets will be a positive step, albeit an inadequate measure.

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Elephants mourn. Dogs love. Why do we deny the feelings of other species?

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:00:14 GMT2017-10-11T15:00:14Z

Scientists are discovering more and more about the internal lives of animals. But what does this mean for the way humans behave?

Last week footage of five young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe to sell to zoos travelled round the world. Parks officials used helicopters to find the elephant families, shot sedatives into the young ones, then hazed away family members who came to the aid of the drugged young ones as they fell.

The film, shared exclusively with the Guardian, showed the young captives being trussed up and dragged on to trucks. In the final moments of footage, two men repeatedly kick a small dazed elephant in the head.

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Despite Trump, American companies are still investing in renewable energy | John Abraham

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:00:08 GMT2017-10-11T10:00:08Z

Surveyed corporations stated that Trump’s election had no impact on their decision to buy renewable energy

After the election of Donald Trump, many of us in the climate and energy fields were rightfully fearful. What would happen to international agreements to cut greenhouse gases? What would happen to funding for climate research? What would happen to the green energy revolution?

In most instances, Trump is worse than we could have imagined. But in one special area, Trump may not matter. That is in the growth of corporate purchasing of renewable energy. It turns out there are factors that even Trump cannot stop that make choosing renewable energy an easy decision for many companies.

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Trump’s plan to bail out failing fossil fuels with taxpayer subsidies is perverse | Dana Nuccitelli

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 10:00:16 GMT2017-10-09T10:00:16Z

Coal can no longer compete in the free market, so the Trump administration wants to prop it up with taxpayer subsidies

The conservative philosophy of allowing an unregulated free market to operate unfettered often seems to fall by the wayside when the Republican Party’s industry allies are failing to compete in the marketplace. Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently provided a stark example of this philosophical flexibility when he proposed to effectively pull the failing coal industry out of the marketplace and instead prop it up with taxpayer-funded subsidies.

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'Simply stunning': your favourite cycle rides around the world

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 07:27:18 GMT2017-10-09T07:27:18Z

Our readers on their most cherished cycling routes, from remote Scottish islands to Japanese mountain ranges

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The Tories must seize this chance to make UK homes energy efficient

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 14:56:01 GMT2017-10-06T14:56:01Z

Politicians may debate the merits of a cap on energy bills but making our leaky houses energy efficient is the solution that all political parties should unite behind

As the letters began to fall off the slogan behind Theresa May during her leader’s speech at the Conservative party conference, it was hard not to see symbolism. Not just of a premiership under threat, but also of a signature policy falling apart within hours of being announced.

The cap on energy bills was a pledge in the Conservative manifesto and the prime minister promised to introduce the legislation to make it happen. The Conservatives had at first dismissed an energy price cap as a reckless intervention in the market that would kill competition. But by the 2017 election the policy had been adopted by Theresa May and there was cross-party support.

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Climate change in the Caribbean – learning lessons from Irma and Maria

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:43:21 GMT2017-10-06T10:43:21Z

Increasingly unfamiliar and unpredictable weather events mean that business as usual is not an option for these islands to survive

As a Caribbean climate scientist, I am often asked to speak about how climate change affects small islands. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, one of two category five storms to batter the eastern Caribbean in just a week, three words resonate in my mind.

The first word is “unfamiliar”. Scientific analysis shows that the climate of the Caribbean region is already changing in ways that seem to signal the emergence of a new climate regime. Irma and Maria fit this pattern all too well. At no point in the historical records dating back to the late 1800s have two category five storms made landfall in the small Caribbean island chain of the eastern Antilles in a single year.

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Peru urged to ban oil firms from isolated indigenous peoples' land

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:25:53 GMT2017-10-06T10:25:53Z

Indigenous leaders say operations in the remote Amazon violate rights and risk fatal epidemics

There are more indigenous peoples living in “isolation” in Peru than any country in the world except Brazil. All live in the Amazon - the majority in poorly-protected reserves, or areas where reserves have been proposed but never established, or “protected natural areas” such as national parks.

For years indigenous federations and other civil society organisations in Peru and abroad have worked for the territories of indigenous peoples in “isolation” to be made off-limits, citing Peruvian and international laws, emphasising their rights to self-determination, and stressing their vulnerability to contact because of their lack of immunological defences and the risk of epidemics and fatalities. The biggest dangers - in terms of outsiders entering their territories, exploiting resources and/or actively seeking contact - are oil and gas companies, loggers and logging roads, narco-traffickers, evangelical missionaries, Catholic priests, artisanal miners and highways.

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2017 on course to be deadliest on record for land defenders

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:35:06 GMT2017-10-11T10:35:06Z

Deaths of environmental activists locked in conflict with mining, logging and agricultural companies across three continents has passed 150

Interactive: recording the deaths of environmental activists around the world

The number of people killed this year while defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife has passed 150 – meaning 2017 is on course to be the deadliest year on record.

Environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders are locked in fierce conflicts with mining, logging and agricultural companies in hundreds of places around the world. The Guardian is working with watchdog Global Witness to record all the deaths in 2017, and this week that figure reached 153 with a spate of killings across three continents.

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The day we witnessed wildlife rangers being gunned down in Congo

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:05:13 GMT2017-10-04T11:05:13Z

When two Dutch journalists travelled to the DRC to report on illegal gold mining in the vast Okapi wildlife reserve, they ended up running for their lives

Conflict is never far away in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a country rich in natural resources such as gold, diamonds, coltan and tin – and the country is on the brink of a new civil war. Tensions have been rising since December, when President Joseph Kabila postponed the elections.

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Cameroon palm oil campaigner arrested in crackdown on activists

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 17:03:17 GMT2017-09-29T17:03:17Z

Nasako Besingi has been jailed after opposing a US-funded palm-oil plantation and supporters say this is linked to Cameroon’s ‘anglophone crisis’

A prominent campaigner against palm oil plantations has been arrested amid a growing crackdown on environmental and human rights activists in Cameroon, according to local lawyers and NGOs.

Nasako Besingi, who has led opposition to a US-funded 73,000 hectare farm in a biodiverse rainforest, is among more than 100 individuals who have been detained during an escalation of tension between the predominantly French-speaking authorities and the country’s large English-speaking minority.

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The defenders: recording the deaths of environmental defenders around the world

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 11:00:06 GMT2017-07-13T11:00:06Z

This year, in collaboration with Global Witness, the Guardian aims to record the deaths of all people killed while protecting land or natural resources. At the current rate, about four defenders will die this week somewhere on the planet

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Protect indigenous people to help fight climate change, says UN rapporteur

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:53:11 GMT2017-10-06T08:53:11Z

World leaders must do more to defend custodians of natural world whose lives are at risk from big business, says UN rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Global leaders must do more to protect indigenous people fighting to protect their land and way of life if the world is to limit climate change, according to the UN special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

Speaking ahead of key climate talks in Bonn next month she urged politicians to recognise that indigenous communities around the world were the most effective custodians of millions of hectares of forest “which act as the world’s lungs”.

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'Our desire for goods is at the heart of this': Why Bruce Parry wants us all to live more sustainably

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:03:52 GMT2017-09-29T12:03:52Z

In his new documentary, the explorer joins Borneo’s Penan tribe to see what the world’s indigenous people can teach us about our own survival and that of the planet

Bruce Parry has made a career out of going native. The Royal Marine-turned-celebrity explorer may not yet be as fully-fledged an institution as David Attenborough, but if the British public were to nominate anyone to paddle up a crocodile-infested creek, tuck into a wriggling dinner or liberate their mind with shamanistic drugs, Parry would surely rank near the top.

So it is worthy of note that this affable and – until now – mainstream film-maker has been forced to part ways with the BBC for his latest project, a documentary that stresses environmental defence begins on the home front.

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Land defenders call on UN to act against violence by state-funded and corporate groups

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:12:56 GMT2017-09-21T10:12:56Z

Fight to protect natural resources has become too dangerous in the face of violence from state forces, private security groups and state-sponsored vigilantes, say groups from 29 countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia

Land rights defenders from 29 countries have written to the UN asking it to act against violent corporate and state-sponsored groups which they say are threatening their lives and trashing the environment.

Thirty nine grassroots groups from Africa, Latin America and Asia, many of whose leaders have been killed or forced to flee for protesting the theft of land, big dams mines and forest destruction, say their fight to protect natural resources is becoming too dangerous.

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Brazil investigates alleged slaughter of Amazonian tribespeople by gold miners

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:41:19 GMT2017-09-12T09:41:19Z

Eight to 10 members of a remote indigenous group were allegedly killed by men working for illegal prospectors in Javari Valley

Brazilian authorities are investigating reports of a massacre of up to 10 people from an isolated tribe in the Amazon by illegal gold miners.

The killings, alleged to have taken place in Javari Valley, are claimed to have been carried out by men working for gold prospectors who dredge illegally in the region’s rivers.

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'They lied': Bolivia's untouchable Amazon lands at risk once more | Myles McCormick

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-09-11T06:00:00Z

Locals blame coca interests for the state’s broken promise on protecting Tipnis national park, biodiversity hotspot and home to thousands of indigenous people

When Ovidio Teco’s Amazon homeland was declared “untouchable” by the Bolivian government in 2011, his war had been won.

The concerns of people like him had been listened to: their beautiful and ancient land would not be carved in two by a 190-mile highway.

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Six farmers shot dead over land rights battle in Peru

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:04:37 GMT2017-09-06T17:04:37Z

The victims were targeted by a criminal gang who wanted to use their lands to grow lucrative palm oil, according to local indigenous leaders


Six farmers have been shot dead by a criminal gang who wanted to seize their farms to muscle in on the lucrative palm oil trade, according to indigenous Amazon leaders in Peru.

Local leaders in the central Amazon region of Ucayali say the victims were targeted last Friday because they had refused to give up their land.

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'We'd rather die than lose': villagers in Indonesia fight for a land rights revolution

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 06:00:05 GMT2017-09-04T06:00:05Z

A small community on the island of Sumatra is at the heart of a battle for traditional territories that could finally resolve the muddled and exploitative system of laws governing land ownership in Indonesia

It is cold and late on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Huddled around a map, a group of elders are planning their battle strategy. In a milestone victory last year, they were promised rights to the land their village has controlled for generations, but today they have had bad news. The local inspector wants to slice off a piece of the forest where they harvest benzoin – a substance like frankincense – and give it to a large pulp company. They see this as a betrayal.

The elders debate in a mix of languages – Batak and bahasa Indonesia – while sipping tea and planning how they will resume the fight the next day. For years now, almost every day has involved this kind of planning.

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Tributes paid to 'silent hero' wildlife conservationist killed in Tanzania

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 16:25:05 GMT2017-08-23T16:25:05Z

Government officials and fellow conservationists paid tribute to Wayne Lotter at a special memorial yesterday

Hundreds of people gathered at Baobab Village in Dar es Salaam to pay tribute to Wayne Lotter on Tuesday evening, as tributes continued to come in from around the world.

Lotter, 51, was shot and killed last week while travelling in a taxi from the airport to his hotel on Dar es Salaam’s Msasani Peninsula. Lotter, who co-founded PAMS Foundation, a conservation nonprofit, was responsible for supporting anti-poaching efforts that had led to the arrests of more than 2000 ivory poachers and traffickers, and had taken down several key poaching syndicates in the country. He had received numerous death threats since starting the organization in 2009.

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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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Welcome to the future, where your phone can fix its own smashed screen

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 06:00:22 GMT2017-08-30T06:00:22Z

From self-healing phone screens to concrete that repairs itself, businesses are investing in futuristic materials. But can it curb our throwaway habits?

Smashed screens, broken circuits, water damaged keyboards – we send millions of tonnes of broken electronics to the dump every year. But what if our phones and laptops could fix themselves?

This month, it emerged that smartphone company Motorola had filed a patent for a self-healing phone display. The design includes a “shape memory polymer”, which the patent application says would at least partly reverse damage when exposed to heat. In theory, at least, users could hit a “repair” button and wait for their cracked screens to mend.

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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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Google launches new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones - video

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 22:08:53 GMT2017-10-04T22:08:53Z

In a direct challenge to Apple, Google’s new high-end smartphones have 64GB of storage, front-facing speakers and 12-megapixel cameras supported by machine learning. In a swipe at its rival, Google’s vice-president product manager Mario Queiroz said: ‘We don’t save cool features just for the large device. You get all the goodness with both phones, so the only choice you have to make is what size you want.’ Here’s a look at some of its coolest products

Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: an AI-infused challenge to the iPhone

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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, 13 Oct 2017 13:00:33 GMT2017-10-13T13:00:33Z

A wild boar, clown fish and two rhinoceros calves are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 13:29:44 GMT2017-10-06T13:29:44Z

A lost leopard, a wounded rhino and a sunbathing iguana are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 15:04:52 GMT2017-09-29T15:04:52Z

Bearded tits in Norfolk, rutting deer in Dublin, and a hungry polar bear in Alaska are among our pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:37:01 GMT2017-09-22T13:37:01Z

A rare rhinoceros under constant protection, an albino orangutan, and protected pandas are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:58:05 GMT2017-09-15T14:58:05Z

Rescued Sumatran orangutans, a stranded manatee, and brown bears near Ljubljana, Slovenia, are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 12:36:59 GMT2017-09-11T12:36:59Z

Stag deers in London’s Richmond Park, elks in east China, and Bactrian deer in central Asia are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Celebrating wildlife in pictures

Sat, 02 Sep 2017 10:25:38 GMT2017-09-02T10:25:38Z

Guardian picture editor Eric Hilaire explains the success behind one of our most-loved galleries – the week in wildlife

Every week the Guardian’s environment desk publishes the week in wildlife on theguardian.com. This picture gallery, featuring the best flora and fauna shots from around the world, has a loyal readership, garnering tens of thousands of views every week. Here, we chat to Eric Hilaire, the Guardian picture editor who has compiled the gallery since it launched eight years ago.

How did you become the editor of the week in wildlife gallery?

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 13:07:53 GMT2017-09-01T13:07:53Z

Marabou storks, Kamchatka brown bears and playful lion cubs are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 06:23:05 GMT2017-08-25T06:23:05Z

A shag in the Farne Islands, coral reefs in recovery in Belize, and a fox near Chernobyl are among this week’s images from the natural world

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