Environment and Climate Change

Nearly a billion people facing high exposure to climate change effects, Global Peace Index finds

Nearly a billion people are facing climate change hazards globally, with the Asia-Pacific region housing twice as many people living in areas with high exposure than all other regions combined, a… The World By Tracey Shelton and Yvonne Yong ABC In the annual Global Peace Index released on Wednesday, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said an estimated 971 million people — including more than 2.4 million Australians — live in areas with high or… The top nine countries ... Read More »

Not everyone cares about climate change, but reproach won’t change their minds

So much for Australia’s “climate election”. In the event, voters in last month’s federal poll didn’t put climate policy at the top of their wish list. Authors: The Conversation Contrary to opinion polls predicting a groundswell of support for Labor’s relatively progressive agenda on climate and economics, the election results revealed that Australians are more divided on climate change than we thought. Voters for progressive climate policy were dismayed at the re-election of a prime minister who famously brought a ... Read More »

The struggle to find silence in the ancient monastic world – and now

In our contemporary world, noise pollution has reached dangerous levels. The World Health Organization has argued that “excessive noise” is a serious threat to human health. Kim Haines-Eitzen The Conversation Studies have shown that excessive exposure to noise not only causes hearing loss but also leads to heart disease, poor sleep and hypertension. In some parts of the world, a mysterious “droning sound,” similar to a “a diesel engine idling nearby,” has been described as “torture” for the small percent ... Read More »

Meet the drain sock — a simple pollution solution taking the world by storm

Cities across the globe are looking to Australia for a simple pollution solution to stop rubbish from spoiling creeks and river systems. By Gian De Poloni ABC The City of Kwinana, south of Perth, has generated international interest for its drain socks. In March 2018, nets were fitted to the mouths of two local stormwater drains to trap litter and debris that washed into the system after a rain storm. Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said more than 25 million people ... Read More »

Russia fines ‘whale jail’ company White Whale

A Russian company that runs a so-called “whale jail” in the east of the country has been fined 28.1 million rubles ($433,000; £430,000). BBC White Whale is one of four firms holding killer and beluga whales in small enclosures on the Sea of Japan, which they say is legal. But a Vladivostok court on Friday ruled the company broke fishing rules. Cases against the other three companies are expected before the courts in the next week. Although Russia allows the ... Read More »

‘Why replace dolphins with oil drilling?’: the battle for Greece’s marine life

From sperm whales to dolphins, marine mammals in the eastern Mediterranean face a lethal threat from oil and gas exploration Helena Smith The Guardian Before the giants of oil and gas joined the litany of threats facing Greek sperm whales, the plight of the world’s largest-toothed animal was little known. Like the Hellenic trench, which was discovered only two decades ago and is the habitat most associated with the species, the mammals were once the preserve of dedicated oceanographers. Now ... Read More »

Many plant species at risk of extinction – and we’re blind to danger this poses to life on Earth

Up to a million species may go extinct due to human activity according to a recent report, some within decades. Authors: The Conversation We all know the mammals in trouble – polar bears, giant pandas and snow leopards – but how many of us could name an endangered plant? A 2019 report assessed 28,000 plant species and concluded that about half of them were threatened with extinction. This failure to notice and appreciate plants has been termed “plant blindness”, and ... Read More »

World Environment Day: How we can reduce air pollution

This year the theme for World Environment Day, June 5, is #BeatAirPollution. Air pollution not only impacts our health – about 6.5 million people worldwide die prematurely from air pollution every year – but also causes global warming. Mudgee Guardian The UN estimates that if we reduce emissions from air pollutants, we could slow global warming by up to 0.5 degrees celcius over the next few decades. According to UN Environment, over half of the world’s population live in urban ... Read More »

A quiet revolution sweeps Europe as Greens become a political force

Unexpected success in the EU elections has turned the erstwhile ‘fringe idealists’ into potential kingmakers in Brussels Emma Graham-Harrison The Guardian On election day in three European capitals at the end of May, voters swept an insurgent party to the top of the polls for the new European parliament. But, contrary to widespread media speculation in the run-up to the poll, it was not the far-right populists who triumphed at the ballot box in Brussels, Berlin and Dublin. Instead, in ... Read More »

To tackle climate change, immigration and threats to democracy, Europe’s fractious new Parliament will have to work together

The European Union has survived its latest contest between pro-EU and anti-EU forces. Garret Martin The Conversation Helped by high turnout, pro-EU centrist and leftist parties together won more than two-thirds of seats in the European Parliament elections held in 28 countries from May 23 to 26. Populist parties intent on destroying the EU from within made only modest gains, increasing their share from 20% to 25% of the 751 seats. The European Parliament – one of the three institutions ... Read More »

Maritime trials and tribulations

The guilty verdict handed down in a Sao Tome and Principe courtroom echoed across the globe. Africa Defense Forum © defenceWeb A Chilean captain and two Spanish crew members of the notorious fishing vessel the Thunder were sentenced to two to three years in prison and fined a total of $15 million. For the tiny Gulf of Guinea island that relies heavily on the sea economy, it felt like a rare win in a losing battle against illegal fishing. “This ... Read More »

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions up for four years in a row

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 rose for a fourth year in a row, an increase at odds with the country’s Paris climate pledge, according to a government submission to the… Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald The National Inventory Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change showed emissions last year were 537 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (which include… That tally, which includes changes to land-use and forestry, was up 0.4 per cent from 2017’s 534.7 million tonnes ... Read More »

Malaysia to send plastic waste back to Australia and other developed nations

Malaysia will send back some 3,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as Australia, the US, the UK and Canada to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations. ABC Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia and many developing countries had become new targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year, disrupting the flow of more than 7 million tonnes of plastic scrap a… Last week, the Philippines announced it would ship back dozens of ... Read More »

‘Death blow’: Corals, algae don’t acclimatise to more acidic seas

Coral and algae species subjected to more acidic seawater showed no acclimatisation to the new conditions for over a year, a new study has found, suggesting that vulnerable reefs may not be able adapt fast enough to cope with… Peter Hannam WAtoday With oceans absorbing about 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere a day, seas have already become about 30 per cent more acidic over the past two centuries. Shell-forming creatures from oysters to types of plankton are ... Read More »

‘I’m not Tony Abbott’: Albanese offers to work with Morrison on climate, Uluru Statement

Anthony Albanese has offered to work with the Coalition government on the constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians and a bipartisan approach to climate change in his first major outing as incoming federal Labor leader. Michael Koziol Brisbane Times The offer came as Mr Albanese’s incoming deputy, Richard Marles, made a mea culpa over his role in tarnishing Labor’s brand in coal-rich Queensland through “tone deaf” remarks welcoming the demise of the coal industry. Mr Albanese vowed to hold the re-elected Coalition ... Read More »

Coast Guard wages battle against illegal fishing boats

Out at sea, this border battle is fought in boats HARLINGEN — In the sun-blasted, wind-riven waters between the South Padre Island jetties and the mouth of the Rio Grande, a different kind of border crossing crisis is playing out. Rick Kelley Valley Morning Star Source: U.S. Coast Guard One side has spotter aircraft, radar and fully crewed patrol craft loaded with the latest technology. The other employs simple 20- to 30-foot boats with outboard motors, capitalizing on speed and ... Read More »