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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Environment News Headlines – Yahoo! News UK

Melting Glaciers Add 350 Gigatonnes of Extra Freshwater into Antarctic Sea

Melting Glaciers Add 350 Gigatonnes of Extra Freshwater into Antarctic SeaMelting glaciers have contributed an extra 350 gigatonnes of freshwater to the Antarctic Sea, scientists have found. Researchers from the University of Southampton discovered the sea level around the coast of Antarctica has risen by 8cm in the last 19 years, 2cm more than the average rise of 6cm. Data from satellite scans from the region, which spans over a million square kilometres, was supported by computer simulations of the effect of melting glaciers on the Antarctic Ocean. Craig Rye, lead author of the study, said: "Freshwater is less dense than salt water and so in regions where an excess of freshwater has accumulated we expect a localised rise in sea level.

Posted on 2 September 2014 | 10:44 am

Neanderthal Art Discovered for the First Time Shows the Species was Complex

Neanderthal Art Discovered for the First Time Shows the Species was ComplexThe first piece of art by Neanderthals discovered in a cave seems to prove the species' capacity for complex symbolism and abstract expressions. A study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, discusses the art which adds another dimension to a species known to bury their dead, adorn themselves with jewels and eat a varied diet, reports Reuters. The art discovered in Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar overlooking the Mediterranean Sea may not seem complicated given that it displays eight partially crisscrossing lines with three shorter lines on the right and two on the left.

Posted on 2 September 2014 | 9:08 am

Texas lawmaker Barton backs lifting oil export ban despite peers’ misgivings

Congressman from Texas has come out in full support of the United States lifting the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, putting him at odds with fellow House Republicans wary of weighing in on the controversial issue. Rep. Joe Barton, who until now has maintained a relatively neutral public stance on a topic that has divided Republican members of the House energy and commerce committee, told Reuters in a statement that the time was right for the United States to overhaul its long-standing restrictions on exporting crude oil. It is time to change our laws to match this new reality,” said Barton, who represents Texas’ sixth Congressional district just southwest of Dallas, several hundred miles from the burgeoning oil patches of the Eagle Ford and Permian. “I’m in favour of overturning the ban on crude oil exports.” Barton chairs the energy task force of the Republican Study Committee, which will continue to debate the ban and issue position papers.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 9:16 pm

Under Putin’s gaze, Gazprom starts mega-pipeline to China

General view shows the headquarters of Gazprom on the day of the annual general meeting of the company's shareholders in MoscowBy Vladimir Soldatkin US KHATYN Russia (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on Monday oversaw the start of construction on a giant pipeline that is due to ship $400 billion (240.78 billion pounds) worth of Russian gas to China in the three decades after flows begin in 2019. The 4,000 km (2,500 mile) "Power of Siberia" pipeline, being built by state-controlled Gazprom , forms a key part of the Kremlin's energy strategy, symbolising Russia's attempts to wean itself off dependence on European markets that account for most of its exports. "Just now, we along with our Chinese friends are starting the biggest construction project in the world," Putin told a Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and a group of Gazprom workers in Russia's far east. He said the first gas pipeline between Russia and China: "Will not only allow us to export gas, but to develop gas infrastructure in our country, to speed up (economic) development, not only in this region, but in the whole country." Putin also told Zhang that he welcomed the idea of Chinese investors joining the Vankor oil project in east Siberia, owned by Russia's Rosneft Flows through the "Power of Siberia" will start at 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in 2019, ramping up to 38 bcm under a deal signed by the two countries in May. The long-awaited deal with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) was a diplomatic coup for the Kremlin after a decade of difficult negotiations, and a symbol of its efforts to strengthen economic ties with Asia as Russia's economy faces the effects of Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 3:45 pm

Libyan parliament reappoints PM as government loses grip on ministries

Secretary Kerry meets with Prime Minister of Libya Abdullah al-Thinni in WashingtonBy Ayman al-Warfalli and Ahmed Elumami BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) – Libya's parliament reappointed Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni on Monday as the government lost control of ministries in the capital where armed groups have taken over and a separate parliament has claimed legitimacy. In another sign of the oil producer sliding deeper into anarchy, Islamist militants launched a new attempt to seize Benghazi's civilian and military airport from army forces allied to a renegade general. The reappointment of Thinni, a former defence minister and career soldier who has been prime minister since March, sets him the challenge of reasserting government control over a country where many fear a descent into full-scale civil war. Foreign Minister John Kerry called Thinni before his appointment to give his support, the Libyan government said in a statement.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 2:48 pm

Kenyan commandos on frontline of poaching war

A family of white rhinos is pictured at the Ol Jogi rhino sanctuary in Nairobi on August 7, 2014With camouflage uniforms, assault rifles, night vision goggles, thermal imaging devices and radios, wildlife rangers in Kenya's Ol Jogi rhino sanctuary prepare for night patrol in the "war" against poaching.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 1:57 pm

Europe drafts emergency energy plan with eye on Russia gas shut-down

European flags are hung outside the European Commission headquarters in BrusselsBy Henning Gloystein LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union could ban gas exports and limit industrial use as part of emergency measures to protect household energy supplies this winter, a source told Reuters, as it braces for a possible halt in Russian gas as a result of the Ukraine crisis. Russia is Europe's biggest supplier of oil, coal and natural gas, and its pipelines through Ukraine are currently the subject of political manoeuvring – not for the first time – as Europe and Moscow clash over the latter's military action in Ukraine. Kiev is warning that Russia plans to halt gas supplies while Moscow says Ukraine could siphon off energy destined for the European Union – which has just threatened new sanctions if Moscow fails to pull its forces out of Ukraine.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 1:36 pm

Libyan government says has lost control of most Tripoli ministries

Plumes of black smoke is seen after war planes struck Misrata positions in Tripoli, in an attack claimed by renegade general Khalifa HaftarLibya's government said it has lost control of most ministries and state institutions located in Tripoli after rival armed groups took over the capital. Last month, senior officials and the elected parliament moved to the remote eastern city of Tobruk as an alliance of armed factions led by forces from the western city of Misrata took control of Tripoli, having expelled a rival group. Libya is descending into anarchy as former rebels who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 have turned their guns on each other as they seek to set the country's political agenda and control its vast oil reserves. "We announce that most ministries, institutions and state bodies in the capital Tripoli are out of our control," the government said in a statement late on Sunday.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 10:21 am

EU’s next foreign policy chief says Putin hurting his own

By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) – The European Union’s newly nominated foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine policy had resulted in economic sanctions that were hurting his own people. Speaking in her first newspaper interview since being tapped for the job on Saturday, Mogherini told Italy’s Corriere della Sera on Monday that sanctions remained “a tool” in brokering what had to be a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine fighting. “At the moment, the Kremlin is acting against the interests of its people.” On Sunday, EU leaders threatened Russia with more trade sanctions if it failed to start reversing its actions in Ukraine, asking officials to draw up a new list of measures that could hit a range of sectors within the week. The EU, along with the United States, first imposed sanctions on Moscow in March for annexing Crimea, and imposed trade restrictions on Russia’s financial and oil industries after a Malaysian airliner was shot down in July over separatist territory in the Ukraine, killing nearly 300 people, most of them Dutch.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 10:09 am

Activists held after trying to halt Faroe Island dolphin hunt

A dead pilot whale is seen in the water before being transported to a facility for a necropsy by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service on January 21, 2014 in Estero, FloridaFourteen activists from the radical animal rights group Sea Shepherd have been arrested in Denmark's Faroe Islands while trying to halt a traditional dolphin hunt, their organisation said Sunday.

Posted on 31 August 2014 | 8:52 pm

Green News – Environment and climate change news

Earth news from Telegraph Earth – your source for environment and green news and environment and green issues, with information on farming, climate change, global warming, pollution, green living and recycling, and all other environment issues.

Pictures of the day: 2 September 2014

A dashing dachshund, rutting deer and a mariachi Barbie doll

Posted on 2 September 2014 | 10:38 am

Sheep herded from summer grazing grounds in Swiss Alps, in pictures

Sheep herded from summer Alpine grazing grounds along perilous paths

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 2:18 pm

Pictures of the day: 1 September 2014

A photobombing fish, a posing poodle and Japanese superhero Chibatman

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 12:20 pm

The badger cull: round two in a rural struggle for survival

Britain’s badgers are in farmers’ sights again as another cull is announced

Posted on 31 August 2014 | 6:00 am

Briton Lewis Pugh becomes first person to swim the Seven Seas

After completing long-distance swims in each of the Seven Seas, Lewis Pugh says we must protect our oceans or we will “miss the tide”.

Posted on 30 August 2014 | 3:48 pm

Locust swarm hits Madagascar’s capital

Watch as the view of Antananarivo is obscured by a biblical swarm of locusts

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 3:15 pm

Pictures of the day: 29 August 2014

A human catapult, a surprised squirrel and Nasa’s new rocket

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 10:40 am

Leprosy threat to red squirrels

The red squirrel population is facing threat from their grey cousins, squirrel pox and now leprosy

Posted on 28 August 2014 | 11:37 am

Fearless elephant calf is picked up and headbutted by angry buffalo, in pictures

Fearless elephant calf is picked up and headbutted by angry buffalo

Posted on 28 August 2014 | 11:34 am

Pictures of the day: 28 August 2014

Lion pulls a funny face, a 103-year-old sprinter and an impressive Punjabi turban

Posted on 28 August 2014 | 10:30 am

Earth & Climate News — ScienceDaily

Nature’s tiny engineers: Corals control their environment, stirring up water eddies to bring nutrients

Conventional wisdom has long held that corals — whose calcium-carbonate skeletons form the foundation of coral reefs — are passive organisms that rely entirely on ocean currents to deliver dissolved substances, such as nutrients and oxygen. But now scientists have found that they are far from passive, engineering their environment to sweep water into turbulent patterns that greatly enhance their ability to exchange nutrients and dissolved gases with their environment.

Posted on 2 September 2014 | 1:14 am

Plant life forms in the fossil record: When did the first canopy flowers appear?

Most plant fossils are isolated organs, making it difficult to reconstruct the type of plant life or its ecosystem structure. Botanists have now used leaf vein density, a trait visible on leaf compression fossils, to document the occurrence of stratified forests with a canopy dominated by flowering plants.

Posted on 1 September 2014 | 1:01 pm

Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change, researchers say

Healthier diets and reducing food waste are part of a combination of solutions needed to ensure food security and avoid dangerous climate change, say the team behind a new study.

Posted on 31 August 2014 | 7:02 pm

Antarctic sea level rising faster than global rate

A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting glaciers has caused the sea level around the coast of Antarctica to rise by 2cm more than the global average of 6cm. Researchers detected the rapid rise in sea-level by studying satellite scans of a region that spans more than a million square kilometers. The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet and the thinning of floating ice shelves has contributed an excess of around 350 gigatonnes of freshwater to the surrounding ocean.

Posted on 31 August 2014 | 7:02 pm

Giant balloon may soon rise over the desert, carrying aloft cutting-edge telescope

In a few days, a balloon-borne telescope sensitive to the polarization of high-energy “hard” X rays will ascend to the edge of the atmosphere above Fort Sumner, N.M., to stare fixedly at black holes and other exotic astronomical objects. It will be carried aloft by a stratospheric balloon that will expand to a sphere large enough to hold a 747 jetliner the float height of 120,000 feet, three times the height at which commercial aircraft fly and on the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. Launching the balloon is not child’s play.

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 9:53 pm

New biodiversity metric defined by researchers

To understand how the repeated climatic shifts over the last 120,000 years may have influenced today’s patterns of genetic diversity, a team of researchers developed a new biodiversity metric called ‘phylogeographic endemism.’

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 5:54 pm

Hydrogen powers important nitrogen-transforming bacteria

Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria can use hydrogen as an alternative source of energy, an international team of researchers has found. The oxidation of hydrogen with oxygen enables their growth independent of nitrite and a lifestyle outside the nitrogen cycle.

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 3:59 pm

Reducing water scarcity possible by 2050

Water scarcity is not a problem just for the developing world. Increased water-recycling and improved irrigation techniques are among many strategies identified in North America as key to successfully reducing global water scarcity. But despite what some may see as an insurmountable problem, it is possible to turn the situation around and significantly reduce water scarcity in just over 35 years, according to researchers.

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 3:57 pm

Not all phytoplankton in the ocean need to take their vitamins

Some species of marine phytoplankton, such as the prolific bloomer Emiliania huxleyi, which can grow so big it can be seen from space, can grow without consuming vitamin B1 (thiamine), researchers have discovered. Until now, many marine microbes with cells that have a nucleus — eukaryotes — were thought to depend on other organisms to produce thiamine. If this were the case, B1 would be a major factor in controlling the growth of algae such as E. huxleyi.

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 2:34 pm

Managing coasts under threat from climate change, sea-level rise

Coastal regions under threat from climate change and sea-level rise need to tackle the more immediate threats of human-led and other non-climatic changes, according to a team of international scientists. The team of 27 scientists from five continents reviewed 24 years of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments. They focused on climate change and sea-level rise impacts in the coastal zone, and examined ways of how to better manage and cope with climate change.

Posted on 29 August 2014 | 12:39 pm