Damian Carrington
Damian Carrington
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Microplastic pollution in oceans vastly underestimated – study

Microplastic pollution in oceans vastly underestimated – study

The abundance of microplastic pollution in the oceans is likely to have been vastly underestimated, according to research that suggests there are at least double the number of particles as previously thought.Scientists trawled waters off the coasts of the UK and US and found many more particles using nets with a fine mesh size than when using coarser ones usually used to filter microplastics. The addition of these smaller particles to global estimates of surface microplastics increases the range from between 5tn and 50tn particles to 12tn-125tn particles, the scientists say.Plastic...

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Damian Carrington
4d ago
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UK approval for biggest gas power station in Europe ruled legal

UK approval for biggest gas power station in Europe ruled legal

High court hears challenge after ministers overruled climate objections of planning officials Environment editorFri 22 May 2020 10.31 EDTThe UK government’s approval of a large new gas-fired power plant has been ruled legal by the high court. The legal challenge was brought after ministers had overruled the climate change objections of the country’s own planning authority.The plant, which is being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire, would be the biggest gas power station in Europe, and could account for 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to the...

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Damian Carrington
4d ago
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Insect numbers down 25% since 1990, global study finds

Insect numbers down 25% since 1990, global study finds

The biggest assessment of global insect abundances to date shows a worrying drop of almost 25% in the last 30 years, with accelerating declines in Europe that shocked scientists.The analysis combined 166 long-term surveys from almost 1,700 sites and found that some species were bucking the overall downward trend. In particular, freshwater insects have been increasing by 11% each decade following action to clean up polluted rivers and lakes. However, this group represent only about 10% of insect species and do not pollinate crops.Researchers said insects remained critically understudied in...

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Damian Carrington
Apr 23
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Air pollution may be ‘key contributor’ to Covid-19 deaths – study

Air pollution may be ‘key contributor’ to Covid-19 deaths – study

High levels of air pollution may be “one of the most important contributors” to deaths from Covid-19, according to research.The analysis shows that of the coronavirus deaths across 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and , 78% of them occurred in just five regions, and these were the most polluted.The research examined levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant produced mostly by diesel vehicles, and weather conditions that can prevent dirty air from dispersing away from a city. Many studies have linked to health damage, and particularly lung disease, which could make people more...

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Damian Carrington
Apr 20
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Polluter bailouts and lobbying during Covid-19 pandemic

Polluter bailouts and lobbying during Covid-19 pandemic

Polluting industries around the world are using the coronavirus pandemic to gain billions of dollars in bailouts and to weaken and delay environmental protections.The moves have been described as dangerous and irresponsible by senior figures. They say the unprecedented sums of money being committed to the global recovery are a historic opportunity to tackle the climate crisis, but such action has not been taken to date.The fossil fuel industry, which already benefits from a $5tn-a-year subsidy, according to the IMF, has had the biggest wins during the coronavirus pandemic in the US and .In...

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Damian Carrington
Apr 17
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Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

A mutant bacterial enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles for recycling in hours has been created by scientists.The enzyme, originally discovered in a compost heap of leaves, reduced the bottles to chemical building blocks that were then used to make high-quality new bottles. Existing recycling technologies usually produce plastic only good enough for clothing and carpets.The company behind the breakthrough, Carbios, said it was aiming for industrial-scale recycling within five years. It has partnered with major companies to accelerate development. Independent experts called the new enzyme...

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Damian Carrington
Apr 8
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New renewable energy capacity hit record levels in 2019

New renewable energy capacity hit record levels in 2019

Almost three-quarters of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 uses renewable energy, representing an all-time record. (Irena) shows solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world’s power, marking another record.Fossil fuel power plants are in decline in Europe and the US, with more decommissioned than built in 2019. But the number of coal and gas plants grew in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East, which owns half the world’s oil reserves, just 26% of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 was renewable.The world...

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Damian Carrington
Apr 6
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Scientists find bug that feasts on toxic plastic

Scientists find bug that feasts on toxic plastic

A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process.The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic is produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, nappies, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfill because it it too tough to recycle.When broken down it can release toxic and carcinogenic chemicals which would kill most bacteria,...

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Damian Carrington
Mar 27
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Revealed: Monsanto’s secret funding for weedkiller studies

Revealed: Monsanto’s secret funding for weedkiller studies

secretly funded academic studies indicating “very severe impacts” on farming and the environment if its controversial glyphosate weedkiller were banned, an investigation has found.The research was used by the National Farmers’ Union and others to successfully lobby against a European ban in 2017. As a result of the revelations, the NFU has now amended its glyphosate information to declare the source of the research.Monsanto was bought by the agri-chemical multinational Bayer in 2018 and Bayer said the studies’ failure to disclose their funding broke its principles. However, the authors of...

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Damian Carrington
Mar 12
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Polar ice caps melting six times faster than in 1990s

Polar ice caps melting six times faster than in 1990s

The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, according to the most complete analysis to date.The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is tracking the set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists say. Without rapid cuts to carbon emissions the analysis indicates there could be a rise in sea levels that would leave 400 million people exposed to coastal flooding each year by the end of the century.Rising sea levels are the one of the most damaging long-term impacts of the climate crisis, and the contribution of Greenland and Antarctica is...

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Damian Carrington
Mar 11
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This winter in Europe was hottest on record by far, say scientists

This winter in Europe was hottest on record by far, say scientists

This winter has been by far the hottest recorded in , scientists have announced, with the climate crisis likely to have supercharged the heat.The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) data dates back to 1855. It said the average temperature for December, January and February was 1.4C above the previous winter record, which was set in 2015-16. New regional climate records are usually passed by only a fraction of a degree. Europe’s winter was 3.4C hotter than the average from 1981-2010.The unseasonal heat has led to the failure of the ice-wine harvest in Germany and snow having to be...

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Damian Carrington
Mar 5
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Car ‘splatometer’ tests reveal huge decline in number of insects

Car ‘splatometer’ tests reveal huge decline in number of insects

Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades.The research adds to growing evidence of what some scientists have called an “”, which is threatening a collapse in the natural world that sustains humans and all life on Earth. A third study shows plummeting numbers of aquatic insects in streams.The survey of insects hitting car windscreens in rural used data collected every summer from 1997 to 2017 and found an 80% decline in abundance. It also found a parallel decline in the number of swallows and...

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Damian Carrington
Feb 13
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Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.The planet is at the in its history, with that are easier to study. But insects are by far...

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Damian Carrington
Feb 11
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Total ban on bee-harming pesticides likely after major new EU analysis

Total ban on bee-harming pesticides likely after major new EU analysis

The world’s most widely used insecticides pose a serious danger to both honeybees and wild bees, according to a major new assessment from the European Union’s scientific risk assessors.The conclusion, based on analysis of more than 1,500 studies, makes it highly likely that the neonicotinoid pesticides will be banned from all fields across the EU when nations vote on the issue next month.The (Efsa), published on Wednesday, found that the risk to bees varied depending on the crop and exposure route, but that “for all the outdoor uses, there was at least one aspect of the assessment...

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Damian Carrington
Mar 1
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