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Environment in multiple crises – report

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The “human footprint” is creating multiple challenges Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims. The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy. Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors. These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans. The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are…

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Science 

Too much salt: water desalination plants harm environment: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) – Almost 16,000 desalination plants worldwide produce bigger-than-expected flows of highly salty waste water and toxic chemicals that are damaging the environment, a U.N.-backed study said on Monday. FILE PHOTO: Workers walk outside a desalination plant, south of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 2011. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed Desalination plants pump out 142 million cubic meters (5 billion cubic feet) of salty brine every day, 50 percent more than previous estimates, to produce 95 million cubic meters of fresh water, the study said. About 55 percent of the brine is produced…

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Technology 

China hopes countries can provide fair environment for Chinese firms

BEIJING (Reuters) – Asked for comment on a Wall Street Journal report regarding China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], a foreign ministry spokesman on Friday said China hoped the relevant countries could provide a fair environment for its companies. Citing unnamed sources, the paper on Thursday said the U.S. government was trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in allied countries, including Germany, Italy and Japan, to avoid telecommunications equipment from Huawei. The spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a daily news conference in Beijing, the Chinese capital, that he was not aware of…

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UN environment chief Erik Solheim quits amid expenses row

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Erik Solheim was the executive director of UN Environment UN environment chief Erik Solheim has resigned amid a row over his travel expenses. A recent draft internal audit, obtained by Britain’s Guardian newspaper and seen by the BBC, said he had incurred costs of $488,518 (£382,111) while travelling for 529 out of 668 days. It said this harmed the reputation of UN Environment – a body that highlights green issues and sustainability. There was “no oversight or accountability” to monitor this travel. Mr Solheim,…

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Five products you didn’t know were harming the environment

Image copyright PA Image caption Research suggests sunscreen could contribute to coral bleaching Palau has become the first country to impose a widespread ban on sunscreen in order to protect its vulnerable coral reefs – but for many consumers this may be the first they have heard of the product’s harmful effects. Researchers believe 10 chemical ingredients found in sunscreen are highly toxic to marine life, and can make coral more susceptible to bleaching. But sunscreen is far from the only household product having an adverse effect on the natural…

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Technology 

Climate change: Is streaming a threat to the environment?

Image copyright Getty Images Watching your favourite show or listening to your playlist has never been easier. A virtually endless supply of film, music and TV can be streamed and downloaded almost instantly. But at what cost to the environment? Vast amounts of energy are needed to keep data flowing on the internet and demand will only increase as our reliance on digital services grows. Some of that energy is generated from clean energy sources, but much of it comes from burning carbon-based fossil fuels, which scientists believe is a…

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Disposable nappies: What’s the cost to the environment?

Image copyright Getty Images Disposable nappies have been in the firing line at the Conservative Party conference, as Environment Secretary Michael Gove hinted at a future ban. He later clarified his comments to say that nappies wouldn’t be banned but suggested they could be part of plans to “tackle waste better”. So what is the environmental cost of single-use nappies? An estimated three billion nappies are thrown away every year in the UK, accounting for 2-3% of all household waste, according to recycling charity Wrap. This is a fairly old…

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Science 

Is being vegan better for the environment?

An increasing number of people are choosing the plant-based diet and everyone has their own reason for doing it whether it’s for health reasons, to reduce animal cruelty or to protect the environment. But how environmentally-friendly is being a vegan? In this video we explore the impact some of the most popular vegan foods have on our planet, comparing them to the farming industry. Presented by Frankie McCamley. Produced by Phoebe Frieze Source link

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Science 

Report slams ‘high flying’ UN environment chief

Image copyright YASUYOSHI CHIBA Image caption UN Environment executive director Erik Solheim The head of the UN body that leads on sustainability and green issues has been criticised for extensive and expensive air travel. A draft internal audit, obtained by the Guardian and seen by the BBC, says that Erik Solheim’s actions risked the reputation of UN Environment. The report says he incurred costs of $488,518 (£373,557) while travelling for 529 out of 668 days. There was “no oversight or accountability” to monitor this travel. Mr Solheim says he has…

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