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Environment

Northwest China's Qinghai Province has just run for seven straight days entirely on renewable energy.

From June 17 to midnight of June 23, Qinghai used only wind, solar and hydro power stations.

Quan Shengming, general manager of the provincial grid company, said during the period, electricity use was 1.1 billion kilowatt hours, equivalent to 535,000 tons of coal.

Hydro power plants supplied 72.3 percent of the electricity, with new energy like wind and solar supplying the remainder for the province, which is home to 5.8 million people, said Han Ti, vice general manager.

"Clean energy is the ultimate way. We need to reduce reliance on fossil fuel, improve our energy structure, and reduce carbon emissions," said Han.

China's enthusiasm for clean energy is pushing the global transition toward a low-carbon future with plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan (about 370 billion U.S. dollars) in renewable energy by 2020, creating more than 13 million jobs, according to the National Energy Administration. xinhuanet.com
Fishing fleets dump about 10 percent of the fish they catch back into the ocean in an "enormous waste" of low-value fish despite some progress in limiting discards in recent years, scientists said on Monday.

A decade-long study, the first global review since 2005 and based on work by 300 experts, said the rate of discards was still high despite a decline from a peak in the late 1980s and the discarded fish are usually dead or dying.

Almost 10 million tonnes of about 100 million tonnes of fish caught annually in the past decade were thrown back into the sea, according to the "Sea Around Us" review by the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia.

Industrial fleets often throw back fish that are damaged, diseased, too small or of an unwanted species.

Discards are an "enormous waste ... especially at a time when wild capture fisheries are under global strain amidst growing demands for food security and human nutritional health," they wrote in the journal Fish & Fisheries.

The scientists said discards were now highest in the Pacific, a shift from the Atlantic. reuters.com
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe weighed in on a row between his environment and agriculture ministers on Monday to rule that a pesticide found harmful to bees would be banned in 2018 as scheduled.

A ban on neonicotinoids, set down in a 2016 law on protecting biodiversity, has been fiercely opposed by cereal and sugar-beet farmers, who dispute research highlighting the chemicals' risk to bees.

Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot, a former activist and high-profile TV presenter, hit back that "where health is at risk, I won't make any concessions."

"We have made too many concessions" in this area, he said. "We will find out about the disaster soon enough."

It was left to Prime Minister Philippe to settle the issue as he released a statement saying: "The government has decided not to roll back the provisions of the 2016 law."

Philippe said the decision had been made on June 21. france24.com
Nearly nine in 10 people say they are ready to make changes to their standard of living if it would prevent future climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats found Wednesday.

The survey of more than 8,000 people in eight countries – the United States, China, India, Britain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany – found that 84 percent of people now consider climate change a "global catastrophic risk".

That puts worry about climate change only slightly behind fears about large-scale environmental damage and the threat of politically motivated violence escalating into war, according to the Global Challenges Foundation, which commissioned the Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 report.

But it indicates that many people now see climate change as a bigger threat than other traditional or rising concerns such as epidemics, population growth, use of weapons of mass destruction and the rise of artificial intelligence threats. trust.org
The central aim of the government’s plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is no longer achievable due to the dramatic impacts of climate change, experts have told the government’s advisory committees for the plan.

Environmental lawyers said the revelation could mean the Great Barrier Reef might finally be listed as a “world heritage site in danger”, a move the federal and Queensland governments have strenuously fought.

The federal and Queensland government’s Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan was released in 2015, with it’s central vision to “ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to improve on its outstanding universal values”.

The plan was created to satisfy the Unesco World Heritage Centre, which was considering adding the Great Barrier Reef to its list of world heritage sites in danger, that its condition could be improved.

But in a meeting of the Reef 2050 advisory committee, whose role is to provide advice to state and federal environment ministers on implementing the plan, two experts from government science agencies said improving the natural heritage values of the reef was no longer possible. theguardian.com
Royal Dutch Shell has been rapped over its climate change commitments, with shareholders criticising its rejection of emissions targets that would bring it in line with the Paris climate accord.

Shareholders at the oil giant's annual general meeting at The Hague spent hours questioning Shell's board members, who said that while the company supported the Paris agreement, setting company targets was "not in the best interest of the company".

However, in a vote, nearly 94 per cent of shareholders rejected the idea of setting and adhering to emissions targets.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden insisted Shell was making progress in lowering its emissions.

But he added that achieving Paris Climate Agreement goals, which aim to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, would require broader coordination, including active government support. independent.co.uk
Scientists and environmental campaigners have accused the Polish government of bringing the ecosystem of the Białowieża forest in north-eastern Poland to the “brink of collapse”, one year after a revised forest management plan permitted the trebling of state logging activity and removed a ban on logging in old growth areas.

Large parts of the forest, which spans Poland’s eastern border with Belarus and contains some of Europe’s last remaining primeval woodland, are subject to natural processes not disturbed by direct human intervention.

A Unesco natural world heritage site, the only one in Poland, the forest is home to about 1,070 species of vascular plants, 4,000 species of fungi, more than 10,000 species of insect, 180 breeding bird species and 58 species of mammal, including many species dependent on natural processes and threatened with extinction. theguardian.com
The withdrawal of United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change could be better for the world than if the US remains a signatory, because other countries could then impose a carbon tax on American imports, according to an expert.

The Trump administration is currently considering whether to leave the international agreement and there has been concern that the departure of the US, the second biggest source of carbon emissions, would be a major setback for attempts to reduce global warming.

However, writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Dr Luke Kemp, an expert in climate policy at the Australian National University, argued that this might not be as bad as if the US remained a signatory, but failed to live up to its commitments.

This, he warned, would provide cover for other “laggards” to backslide. independent.co.uk
The largest wind turbines in the world are now operating off the coast of the UK, one rotation can power a single house for 29 hours.

Dong Energy, the Danish company that installed them, confirmed that the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm extension in Liverpool Bay was now fully operational.

Made up of 32 8MW wind turbines, the extension will be able to power over 230,000 homes.

Towering at an incredible 640 feet and sporting blades some 262 feet in length these wind turbines are larger than some skyscrapers and have the ability to power a house for 29 hours through just a single rotation.

To put that into perspective, just one of these turbines produces more electricity than the whole of the world’s first offshore wind farm, installed by Dong energy more than 25 years ago. huffingtonpost.co.uk