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Ireland's staggering hypocrisy on climate change

The national climate policy is a greenwash – the country is certain to miss its 2020 emissions target and still handing out drilling licences

On the face of it, Ireland appears to be acting on climate change. Last year it appointed its first ever “climate action minister”, and in June it outlawed onshore fracking. What’s more, the telegenic new taoiseach Leo Varadkar dedicated much of the first day of his Cabinet retreat to discussing climate change.

Last week Varadkar introduced Ireland’s first national mitigation plan (NMP) in more than a decade, and said that addressing climate change would “require fundamental societal transformation and, more immediately, allocation of resources and sustained policy change.” If success could be measured simply by repetition – the word “sustainable” appears no fewer than 110 times in the NMP – Ireland would undoubtedly be among the world’s leading countries.

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Man arrested for smuggling king cobras to the US in crisp canisters

California man faces up to 20 years in prison after the three live snakes were illegally shipped from Hong Kong

A man has been arrested on federal smuggling charges after customs officers intercepted a shipment with three live king cobras hidden inside potato chip canisters that were being mailed to his California home, US prosecutors said.

Rodrigo Franco, 34, was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles on a charge of illegally importing merchandise. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

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Climate change threatens ‘Himalayan Viagra’ fungus, and a way of life

Valuable fungus, prized as a reputed aphrodisiac, is disappearing due to warming temperatures, reports Climate Home

A Himalayan fungus used in Chinese medicine, which underpins the livelihoods of communities of harvesters in Nepal, is under the threat due to climate change.

Harvesting the Cordyceps sinensis fungus, called ‘yarsha gumba’ in Nepal, provides a livelihood for Himalayan dwellers. The fungus fetches up to Rs 2,800,000 (£20,000) per kg in raw form. During the peak season of yarsha collection, locals drop everything to pursue fungus hunting, including their usual profession. Even schools remain closed during yarsha collecting seasons.

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UK-US trade deal would not allow chlorinated chicken imports – Gove

Environment secretary responds to Liam Fox’s remarks by saying UK would avoid deal requiring it to accept lower standards

The UK would back out of any trade deal that required it to accept lower standards, such as allowing imports of chlorinated chicken from the US, the environment secretary has said, deepening the cabinet split over the issue.

Michael Gove has opposed the suggestion by the trade secretary, Liam Fox, that the UK should be open to the prospect of allowing poultry treated with a chlorine wash process, which is banned by the EU, as part of a trade deal with the US.

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Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

Plans follow French commitment to take polluting vehicles off the road owing to effect of poor air quality on people’s health

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s much-anticipated clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a protracted high court legal battle.

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