World’s oceans are heating up at a quickening pace: study

TAMPA, United States (AFP) — The world’s oceans are heating up at an accelerating pace as global warming threatens a diverse range of marine life and a major food supply for the planet, researchers said Thursday. The findings in the US journal Science, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, debunk previous reports that suggested a so-called pause in global warming in recent years. The latest technology shows no such hiatus ever existed, raising new […]

Singapore eco-tourism plan sparks squawks of protest

by Sam Reeves Agence France Presse SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Singapore is creating a vast eco-tourism zone in a bid to bring in more visitors, but environmentalists fear the development will damage natural habitats and are already blaming it for a series of animal deaths. While it may be best known as a financial hub with scores of high-rise buildings, tropical Singapore is still home to patches of rainforest and an array of wildlife, from […]

Energy-related carbon emissions rose in US in 2018: study

PARIS, France (AFP) — Carbon dioxide emissions significantly increased in the United States in 2018, according to a study released Tuesday by research firm Rhodium Group. Analysts estimate that energy-related CO2 emissions grew 3.4 percent from 2017 to 2018, which would be the largest increase in the United States since 2010. The estimate was based on US government energy statistics and other public and private data on oil consumption and power generation for the first […]

Iguanas reintroduced to Santiago Island in Galapagos

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) – A group of more than 1,400 iguanas have been reintroduced to an Ecuadoran island in the Galapagos archipelago around two centuries after they disappeared from there, authorities said on Monday. The Galapagos land iguanas from North Seymour Island were freed onto Santiago Island as part of an ecological restoration program, the National Galapagos Park authority said in a statement. The last recorded sighting of iguanas in Santiago Island had been made […]

Bolivian bees under threat from coca pesticides

by William WROBLEWSKI Agence France-Presse COROICO, Bolivia (AFP) — High up in the Bolivian cloud forest, a woman tends to her bees, smoker in hand, working from hive to hive under a canopy of leaves to delicately gather panels of honeycomb. It’s a bucolic scene that experts say won’t last, for the bees are dying. The culprit — as in so many other cases across the world — is pesticide. The difference in Bolivia is […]

Climate change takes toll on French oyster farmers

by Elia VAISSIERE Agence France Presse CANCALE, France (AFP) — Gulping down oysters has long been a favourite New Year’s Eve ritual for the French, but as winters get warmer and summers get drier many growers worry there will soon be fewer of the prized mollusks to go around. “Twenty years ago, we’d be shivering in the warehouse while preparing the holiday orders. Today it’s 15 degrees (60 Fahrenheit),” says Brittany oysterman Mathieu Le Moal, […]

Runaway lion, wounded elk find home in Russian shelter

by Marina KORENEVA Agence France-Presse RAPPOLOVO, Rusia (AFP) — A lion that escaped from an airport, a crocodile found at a rubbish dump and an elk attacked by stray dogs — all these animals have found refuge in an unusual private shelter in Russia. Dozens of bears have also passed through the Velez center, just outside Saint Petersburg, since it was opened in 2009 by businessman Alexander Fyodorov, who says he spent more than $1 […]

Japan bolts whaling commission, but tensions may ease

by Shaun TANDON Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Japan has made good on years of threats by bolting the International Whaling Commission, but its decision may also offer a way out of tensions that looked inextricable. Japan, which calls whaling part of its cultural heritage, said Wednesday it would withdraw from the seven-decade-old commission which since 1986 has banned commercial killing of the ocean giants. But while Japan vowed to forge ahead […]

American adventurer completes solo trek across Antarctica

by Chris Lefkow Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind. Colin O’Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) crossing of the frozen continent from coast to coast. In an Instagram post, he explained his journey ended upon crossing the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf: the point where Antarctica’s land […]

More bears needed to sustain Pyrenees population: activists

TOULOUSE, France (AFP) The release of additional bears into the Pyrenees mountains straddling France and Spain is needed to ensure the fledgling population’s survival, the activist group charged with the bears’ protection said Wednesday. “The good news of 2018 is without doubt the release of two bears in the Bearn region in October,” the Ferus association said, referring to the border region. “But there’s still a long road ahead of us,” it added. Government officials […]

Frenchman sets sail across Atlantic – in a barrel

BORDEAUX, France (AFP) — 71-year-old Frenchman set sail across the Atlantic on Wednesday in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, hoping to reach the Caribbean within three months thanks to ocean currents alone. “The weather is great — I’ve got a swell of one meter and I’m moving at two or three kilometers an hour,” Jean-Jacques Savin told AFP by telephone after setting off from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands. “For the time being my capsule […]