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The Guardian Climate Change

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Latest Climate crisis news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 3 hours 8 min ago

I saw first-hand just how much fracking destroys the earth | Rebecca Solnit

June 30, 2024 - 06:00

We’ve been making short-term decisions about our planet for a long time. The consequences are horrific to behold

The slashing rain turned the dirt roads into muddy creeks, the bus’s wipers shoved the torrent back and forth across the windshield, and Don Schreiber handled the wheel like Sandra Bullock in Speed as he wisecracked from under a big gray moustache. The vehicle swerved and slid in the storm, lightning flashed on the horizon, thunder shook the air. Whether the old yellow bus would make it back to the ranch house, get stuck or slide and flip depended on his driving.

Don, in his white Stetson and a blue and white checked western shirt, was our tour guide on this land in northwestern New Mexico that he knew intimately and had dedicated his retirement to protecting. When he and his wife Jane Schreiber bought the ranchland about 200 miles north-west of Santa Fe in 1999 to retire to, they – like many westerners – found that they owned the land, but not the subsurface rights. The fracking boom came, and gas companies began gouging holes for gas wells, laying pipelines and cutting roads across the fragile desert soil. Big trucks rolled across the land night and day to service the wells that studded the landscape. At the well we stopped at, the pressure gauge was broken.

Rebecca Solnit is a Guardian US columnist. She is the author of Orwell’s Roses and co-editor with Thelma Young Lutunatabua of the climate anthology Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility

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Categories: Climate

‘War zone stuff’: women 14 times more likely to die in natural disasters

June 30, 2024 - 00:09

Women should be at centre of climate policies as they face increased rates of violence and homelessness after disasters, researchers say

One woman lived in fear when her husband started drunkenly punching his car and throwing glass bottles at her.

Another recognised her partner’s worsening violence when her young son abruptly told a stranger: “My dad is really mean to my mum.”

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Categories: Climate

‘It’s not beautiful, but you can still eat it’: climate crisis leads to more wonky vegetables in Netherlands

June 29, 2024 - 13:00

Crowdfunding scheme salvages ‘imperfect’ fruit and veg following the country’s wettest autumn, winter and spring on record

When 31-year-old Dutch farmer Bastiaan Blok dug up his latest crop, the weather had taken a disastrous toll. His onions – 117,000 kilos of them – were the size of shallots.

“We had a very wet spring and a dry, warm summer, so the plants made very small roots,” said Blok, who farms 90 hectares in Swifterbant, in the reclaimed province of Flevoland. “Half of them were less than 40mm and normally at this size they aren’t even processed. We would have probably sold them for very little for biomass, or maybe to Poland for onion oil. It’s either far too wet and cold, or far too warm and dry, and there’s no normal growing period in between.”

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Categories: Climate

AI drive brings Microsoft’s ‘green moonshot’ down to earth in west London

June 29, 2024 - 05:00

Tech firm’s bid to remove more CO2 than it produces is being tested as AI spawns new energy-hungry datacentres

If you want evidence of Microsoft’s progress towards its environmental “moonshot” goal, then look closer to earth: at a building site on a west London industrial estate.

The company’s Park Royal datacentre is part of its commitment to drive the expansion of artificial intelligence (AI), but that ambition is jarring with its target of being carbon negative by 2030.

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Categories: Climate

Caroline Lucas: Labour must pursue social justice while tackling climate crisis

June 29, 2024 - 03:00

Outgoing Green MP calls for combined strategy to ensure net zero will not be done ‘on the backs of the poor’

Labour must combine tackling the climate crisis with pursuing social justice, if elected, to show that achieving net zero will not be done “on the backs of the poor”, the UK’s outgoing Green party MP has warned.

Caroline Lucas, who has held the seat of Brighton Pavilion since 2010, said: “The biggest priority is to demonstrate that is not the case. We have to make sure that this is a strategy and a policy that is the opposite of being done on the backs of the poor.”

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Categories: Climate

By reflecting a world in crisis, art can be a powerful part of the climate solution

June 28, 2024 - 20:00

Artists can open hearts and minds to inspire environmental action, and help grieve the loss and damage already inflicted

The Climate Guardians appeared in Westernport Bay in southern Victoria in February 2021, standing in solidarity with the locals protesting plans by energy company AGL to build a new gas hub in nearby Ramsar-listed wetlands.

They appeared again in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris that same year defying the state of emergency ban placed on protesters around the Cop21 and then in the heart of Melbourne throughout Extinction Rebellion’s recent autumn activism.

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Categories: Climate

The week around the world in 20 pictures

June 28, 2024 - 14:48

War in Gaza, a failed coup in Bolivia, protests in Nairobi and Taylor Swift at Wembley: the last seven days as captured by the world’s leading photojournalists

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Categories: Climate

Journalists refused entry to Azerbaijan energy conference ahead of Cop29

June 28, 2024 - 11:44

Incident reignites concerns over crackdown on media before crucial UN climate talks in Baku later this year

Western journalists were refused entry to an energy industry conference in Azerbaijan earlier this month, reigniting concerns over the state’s crackdown on the media ahead of crucial UN climate talks in Baku later this year.

At least three journalists from the UK and France have told the Guardian that they felt “unsafe” after they were denied entry to the Baku Energy Week forum, despite registering with the event organisers weeks in advance.

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Categories: Climate

Richard Tice accused of hypocrisy over firm’s embrace of green tech

June 28, 2024 - 07:00

Reform chair is hostile to net zero but is CEO of company that boasted of ‘saving hundreds of tonnes of CO2’

Richard Tice’s property company has enthusiastically embraced green technologies despite his public hostility as Reform UK chair to net zero targets and some of the same initiatives.

The businessman, who led the populist rightwing party until Nigel Farage took over earlier this month, was accused of hypocrisy by opponents in Boston and Skegness, where he is running as a general election candidate.

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Categories: Climate

The vanishing ozone layer – archive, June 1974

June 28, 2024 - 01:00

On 28 June 1974, chemists at the University of California published the first report that warned that CFCs could damage the Earth’s ozone layer

1 July 1974

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Categories: Climate

Sinkhole appears in soccer field above an Illinois mine: ‘out of a movie’

June 27, 2024 - 13:05

No one was present when the sinkhole, 100ft wide and 30ft deep, suddenly collapsed the field

A vast sinkhole has dramatically appeared in middle of an Illinois soccer pitch that was laid above a limestone mine, just days after amateur teams stopped using the grounds for practice.

The collapse happened at Gordon Moore Park in Alton, Illinois, about 18 miles (30km) north of St Louis, Missouri, on Wednesday. The sinkhole appeared to be 100ft (30m) wide and 30ft (9m) deep. No injuries have been reported but all sports have been cancelled.

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Categories: Climate

AI will be help rather than hindrance in hitting climate targets, Bill Gates says

June 27, 2024 - 10:36

Microsoft co-founder says efficiencies for technology and electricity grids will outweigh energy use by datacentres

Bill Gates has claimed that artificial intelligence will be more of a help than a hindrance in achieving climate goals, despite growing concern that an increase in new datacentres could drain green energy supplies.

The philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder told journalists that AI would enable countries to use less energy, even as they require more datacentres, by making technology and electricity grids more efficient.

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Categories: Climate

Visualized: the parts of the US where summer heat has risen the most

June 27, 2024 - 06:00

More than a third of Americans endure summers at least 1.5C hotter than the 1895 average, analysis shows

An onslaught of record-breaking heat across much of the US has provided yet another indicator of a longer-term issue – summers are progressively getting hotter for Americans in all corners of the country.

The US climate scientist Brian Brettschneider has analysed almost 130 years of federal data and it shows that from New York to Los Angeles there are hotspots where summers have got significantly hotter in that time compared with the average levels of warming brought about by the burning of fossil fuels.

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Categories: Climate

Sharp rise in number of climate lawsuits against companies, report says

June 27, 2024 - 01:00

About 230 cases filed against corporations and trade associations around world since 2015

The number of climate lawsuits filed against companies around the world is rising swiftly, a report has found, and a majority of cases that have concluded have been successful.

About 230 climate-aligned lawsuits have been filed against corporations and trade associations since 2015, two-thirds of which have been initiated since 2020, according to the analysis published on Thursday by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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Categories: Climate

As the Coalition goes nuclear, Labor is free to ensure fossil fuels are burned with abandon and little scrutiny | Greg Jericho

June 26, 2024 - 11:00

How can Australia get to net zero by 2050 while approving projects that will run for decades beyond that date?

The sham of Australia’s climate change policy has been made clear in the past two weeks. No, not nuclear power. Last Friday, while everyone was racing down nuclear-powered rabbit holes, the environment department (led by the environment minister, Tanya Plibersek) approved a coal seam gas pipeline in Queensland. This approval “has effect until 30 June 2069”. And on Tuesday the department approved the Atlas stage 3 gas project in Queensland out to June 2080.

Those dates are rather beyond 2050 when we’re supposed to be at net zero emissions. They are also when temperatures will be well over 2C above the preindustrial average.

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Categories: Climate

Lawyers could charge big oil with homicide after 2023 Arizona heatwave

June 26, 2024 - 10:00

Charges are reasonable after July 2023 extreme weather event, prosecutors write in new memorandum

Prosecutors in Arizona could reasonably press homicide charges against big oil for deaths caused by a July 2023 heatwave, lawyers wrote in a new prosecution memorandum.

“[T]he case for prosecuting fossil fuel companies for climate-related deaths is strong enough to merit the initiation of investigations by state and local prosecutors,” the document says.

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Categories: Climate

Flatulent livestock to incur green levy in Denmark from 2030

June 26, 2024 - 09:55

World’s first emissions tax on agriculture will require farmers to pay for greenhouse gas pollution from livestock

Farmers in Denmark will have to pay for planet-heating pollutants that their cattle expel as gas, after the government agreed to set the world’s first emissions tax on agriculture.

The agreement – reached on Monday night after months of fraught negotiations between farmers, industry, politicians and environmental groups – will introduce an effective tax of 120 kroner (£14) per ton of greenhouse gas pollution from livestock in 2030, which will rise to 300 kroner per ton in 2035.

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Categories: Climate

Air freight greenhouse gas emissions up 25% since 2019, analysis finds

June 26, 2024 - 08:00

Boom in air cargo due to shoppers’ expectations of speedy delivery and shift in post-pandemic economy, researchers say

Air freight operators have increased their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% compared with 2019, analysis has found.

In 2023, air freight operators ran about 300,000 more flights than in 2019, an increase in flight volume of almost 30%. The US accounted for more than 40% of global air freight emissions, according to the report by campaign group Stand.earth.

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Categories: Climate

German activists take government to court over climate policy

June 26, 2024 - 07:24

New law is too weak and has been made harder to enforce, while transport ministry has not taken sufficient action, groups say

German climate activists are taking the government to court for “unconstitutional” climate policy, seeking to build on a landmark victory three years ago that they had hoped would force Europe’s biggest polluter to clean up quickly.

The activists argue that the new climate law is too weak, that a recent update makes it harder to enforce, and that inaction from the transport ministry, which has repeatedly failed to meet its emissions targets, will force tough measures on poor groups in the future.

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Categories: Climate

Sarah Finch: climate activism ‘early adopter’ behind supreme court win

June 26, 2024 - 07:02

UK campaigner who fronted lawsuit on future impact of fossil fuel projects says she fears for future despite ruling

Sarah Finch considers herself an early adopter of environmentalism, even if she is not quite sure what the initial spark was. “I was only ever interested in the environment,” she says. “That’s all I wanted to do.”

She never expected her name to become part of legal history. Last week, the supreme court handed down a landmark ruling in a lawsuit that Finch fronted, ruling that the climate impact of burning coal, oil and gas must be taken into account when deciding whether to approve projects. It set an important legal precedent and threw doubt on the approval of new fossil fuel projects in the UK.

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Categories: Climate