Environment

Bolivia wildfires burn more than 4 million hectares: NGO

La Paz, Bolivia (AFP) — Wildfires in Bolivia have razed more than four million hectares (10 million acres) of forest and grassland since August, an NGO warned Wednesday, as a state of emergency spread to the country’s northeast. The fires have torched some of the country’s most environmentally sensitive areas for weeks, and the government of the northeastern department of Beni declared a red alert on Wednesday. “The area burned in the department of Santa […]

Earth warming more quickly than thought, new climate models show

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — Greenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere mainly by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth’s surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday. By 2100, average temperatures could rise 7.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue unabated, separate models from two leading research centres in France showed. That is up to […]

Greta Thunberg wins Amnesty’s highest human rights award

  by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future youth movement received Amnesty International’s “Ambassadors of Conscience” award on Monday for their work highlighting the need for urgent action to avert climate disaster. The 16-year-old, who is taking a year out of high school, received a standing ovation from students at The George Washington University in the US capital where the ceremony […]

Forest fires destroying vital buffer against climate change

PEKANBARU, Indonesia (AFP) — With fierce blazes raging in jungles from the Amazon to Indonesia, concerns are mounting about the impact as rainforests play a vital role in protecting the planet against global warming. The latest serious outbreak is in Indonesia, where smog-belching fires started to clear land for agriculture are burning out of control, blanketing the region in toxic smog. Why are rainforests important in fight against global warming? Mankind’s reliance on fossil fuels […]

Paris, four other French cities ban use of pesticides

  PARIS, France (AFP) — Paris and four other French cities on Thursday banned the use of synthetic pesticides within their boundaries as an anti-chemicals movement that began in the countryside gains momentum. Lille in the north, Nantes in the west, Grenoble in the southeast and the central city of Clermont-Ferrand joined Paris in implementing the ban, citing the need to safeguard biodiversity and public health. The move is mainly symbolic in urban areas given […]

World must adapt to ‘inevitable’ climate change, warns report

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) –Nations rich and poor must invest now to protect against destructive climate change impacts already in the pipeline or pay an even heavier price later, a global commission led by former UN head Ban Ki-moon warned Tuesday. Spending $1.8 trillion across five key areas over the next decade would not only help buffer the worst impacts of global warming but could generate more than $7 trillion in net benefits, […]

In Greenland village, shorter winters cast doubts over dog sledding

Able to pull a sled up to 120 kilometers per day, Greenlandic dogs have long been used by Inuit hunters on the sea ice tracking seals and whales in the winter. Now, as the effects of climate change are felt across the vast territory and winters become less predictable, there are concerns for the dogs’ future. Tom LITTLE / AFPTV / AFP

Brazil bans burning for two months to defuse Amazon crisis

  by Jordi Miro, with Allison Jackson in Rio de Janeiro Agence France Presse PORTO VELHO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree Wednesday to ban burning throughout the country for two months, government sources cited in local media said, as the authorities scramble to defuse the Amazon fires which have triggered a global outcry. The blazes that have engulfed parts of the world’s largest rainforest — which is crucial for maintaining […]

Amazon fires a ‘tipping point’: forestry group chief

Yokohama, Japan (AFP) — The fires tearing through the Amazon represent a “tipping point” for the health of the rainforest, the head of a top global forestry management body said Wednesday, urging the world to do more to save the trees. The situation in the Amazon is “very urgent,” stressed Gerhard Dieterle, executive director of the International Tropical Timber Organisation, an intergovernmental agency group that promotes sustainable forestry use. “This is something that might affect […]

Going ‘nude’: UK supermarkets test plastic-free zones

by Clara WRIGHT Agence France Presse London, United Kingdom (AFP) — British supermarkets are starting to go “nude”. Bowing to pressure from environmentally conscious consumers, big brand shops have begun taking steps to strip their shelves of plastic wrapping over concerns about saving the oceans from waste. “Nude zones” and “Food in the Nude” campaigns are already being rolled out in places such as New Zealand and South Africa, where many fresh fruits and vegetables […]

Poo to the rescue: how fecal transplants can save starving koalas

Washington, United States (AFP) — Scientists in Australia have discovered how to save starving koalas whose fussy eating habits make them vulnerable to habitat loss: by feeding them poo. A team of researchers used fecal transplants in the form of orally ingested capsules to alter the microbes in the marsupials’ guts, thus allowing them to eat a wider range of eucalypts. Their work was described in a study published in the journal Animal Microbiome on […]