Nature

Paris readies for floods as Seine surges higher

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Riverside homes and businesses in Paris are on high alert as the swollen River Seine threatens to overflow its banks Some basements in the city have already sprung leaks after the river surged following heavy rainfall, reports said. BBC The Seine is forecast to swell even further this weekend, adding several metres of water above its normal level. Many roads in the region are already waterlogged. Boat traffic – including the capital’s famous tourist cruises – has also been interrupted. ... Read More »

Coral reefs inundated with billions of pieces of plastic

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More than 11 billion pieces of plastic are stuck in coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region, according to an alarming new study. Tom Bawden The Scotsman The finding has raised concerns that the presence of so much plastic could considerably increase the risk of coral disease by blocking out light and depriving them of oxygen. The researchers estimate the increased chance of infection on the reefs affected could be as high as 89 per cent, in some… It is well ... Read More »

Scientists Warns on Seabed Mining

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Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deepsea ecosystems, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Exeter and Greenpeace. By MarEx  The Maritime Executive The deep sea (depths below 200m) covers about half of the Earth’s surface and is home to a vast range of species. Little is known about these environments, and the researchers say mining could have “long-lasting and unforeseen consequences”– not just at mining sites but also across much larger ... Read More »

The Buzz Fades

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Under-resourced in an overworked agricultural system, honeybee colonies are gradually failing in most temperate regions. By Raúl Guillén The Nation Honeybees, or Apis mellifera, which are native to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, have been domesticated around the world, but since the 1980s their mortality has increased rapidly in most temperate regions (Europe, Japan, North and South America). The naturalist Jean-Pierre Rogel writes, of Canada: “The current losses of around 25% are exceptional, and would be disastrous economically if ... Read More »

Global warming will expose millions more to floods

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Global warming is expected to unleash more rain, exposing millions more people to river flooding particularly in the United States and parts of Asia, Africa and central Europe, researchers have said. MIAMI – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The study in the journal Science Advances calculates how much more flood protection will be needed to keep the risks of high-end floods constant in the next 25 years. Unless actions are taken – such as enhancing dykes, boosting building standards, relocating settlements and ... Read More »

Brexit bill may have broken international environment law, says UN

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Exclusive: compliance committee considers complaint alleging government breached Aarhus convention by not consulting public over withdrawal bill Laura Laker The Guardian The British government may have breached a major “environmental democracy” law by failing to consult the public when drawing up Brexit legislation. A UN-backed committee has confirmed it is considering a complaint from Friends of the Earth that the government’s EU withdrawal bill breached the Aarhus convention, which requires public consultation on any new environmental law. Most of the… Brexit bill may… Read More »

Trump proposes massive expansion of offshore drilling

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The Trump administration is proposing to greatly expand the areas available for offshore oil and natural gas drilling, including off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Timothy Cama The Hill In the first major step toward the administration’s promised expansion of offshore drilling, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said nearly all of the nation’s outer continental shelf is being considered for drilling, including areas off the coasts of Maine, California, Florida and Alaska. The proposal, which environmentalists immediately panned as an environmental disaster ... Read More »

With Oceans Under Greatest Threat Ever, Trump Administration Urges Even Less Protection for Marine Life

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“It shouldn’t be too much to ask to protect two percent of the U.S.’s exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic coast for future generations.” Julia Conley Common Dreams With the world’s oceans more severely threatened than ever before, President Donald Trump’s Interior Department is recommending even less protection for the fraction of ocean life the U.S. has guarded from commercial fishing and other activities in recent years. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed that three ocean monuments in the Pacific ... Read More »

Earth Will Start Becoming a Desert by 2050 If Global Warming Isn’t Stopped, Study Says

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More than 25 percent of the Earth will experience serious drought and desertification by the year 2050 if the attempts made by the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming are not met, according to a new study by the journal Nature Climate Change. Leah Thomas Newsweek The study, which was published on Monday, claims that if the Earth’s average yearly temperature is raised by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 32 years, the areas of the world experiencing “aridification,” or ... Read More »

Chinese ban on ivory sales goes into effect

Seized elephant ivory tusks are seen during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong on July 6, 2017.
Hong Kong Customs have seized 7.2 tonnes of ivory tusks with an estimated market value of HKD 72 million (9.2 million usd) in the city's largest bust in three decades. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE

China’s complete ban on ivory trade went into effect on Dec. 31, officials said, a major step forward in Beijing’s efforts to rein in what was once the world’s largest market for illegal ivory. BEIJING – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “From today… the buying and selling of elephant ivory and goods by any market, shop or vendor is against the law!” the forestry ministry said on its official account on Chinese social media platform Weibo. “From now on, if a merchant ... Read More »

Droughts And Ecosystems Determined By Interaction Of Two Climate Phenomena

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What is causing the droughts that the Iberian Peninsula regularly endures? Why are the winters sometimes mild and rainy and other times cold and dry or cold and damp? Eurasia Review Is climate change of anthropogenic origin exerting an influence on these processes? How are these cycles affecting the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems? And finally, can these cycles be predicted and the economy thus adjusted to them? The work, published this week in Nature Communications, was led by the University ... Read More »

It’s now colder than Mars in parts of North America

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If you live in North America, you don’t need a news website to tell you: It’s cold out. It’s really, really cold out. NIGEL RODDIS/REUTERS Newsweek As CTV News reported, the Canadian government issued weather alerts for “extreme cold” in much of the country on Thursday. The network also put together a list of places that were warmer than Canada, including Hell (the one in Norway), Antarctica and, yes, parts of Mars. The daily high on Mars reached -9.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, which, ... Read More »

Stop the slaughter of whales

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Japan must heed the voice of global concern and put an end to its whaling expedition in the Antarctic waters Hiranmay Karlekar  The Pioneer India’s name is sadly missing from the list of countries — members of the European Union and 12 others — that have condemned Japan’s whaling expedition in the Antarctic waters launched recently. The plan is to kill 333 Minke whales in four months. Ever since the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) imposition of a moratorium on hunting ... Read More »

The Rise of the Flesh-Avoiders

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Modern vegetarianism is concerned largely with issues of animal welfare but its roots are to be found in the early-modern desire to promote spirituality by curbing humanity’s excessive appetites Erica Fudge History Today Published in Miscellanies. An English translation of the essay De esu carnium, written by the first-century Greek philosopher Plutarch, was published in 1603. Translated by Philemon Holland, the text was given the title ‘Whether it be lawfull to eate flesh or no’ and opens with a bang: ... Read More »

Sowing the Seeds of Sustainable Forest Restoration

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The benefits of restoring damaged and degraded landscapes go well beyond the territory itself, helping mitigate climate change and provide other ecosystem services, and offering more tangible impacts such as food, fuel, jobs, and income for rural communities. Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD It is estimated that more than 2 billion hectares of the world’s degraded landscapes have potential for forest and landscape restoration, providing opportunities for combating poverty and hunger, reviving biodiversity, and building the resilience of ... Read More »

UNGA Adopts Resolutions on Oceans

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6 December 2017: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two resolutions that aim to advance implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and support the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks and marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Catherine Benson Wahlén SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD Member States also discussed an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS, and other documents related to the law of the sea.   A ... Read More »