Montreal snow-clearing: good for traffic, bad for environment

by Frédérique BÉRUBÉ / Frederique BERUBE Agence France Presse Montreal, Canada (AFP) — A choreographed ballet of massive trucks, snowplows and snowblowers takes over the streets of Montreal whenever it snows, an enormous logistical effort with a significant environmental cost. Hundreds of snow-clearing vehicles are deployed across the frigid Canadian city for 100 or more days each year on average, dusting the road with salt and belching emissions into the air. “The snow challenge in […]

Two missing Dallas Zoo monkeys found: police

HOUSTON, United States (AFP) — Two missing emperor tamarin monkeys turned up alive and well Tuesday, officials said, a day after disappearing from the Dallas Zoo in the latest of a string of bizarre incidents at the attraction. Dallas police had said the two animals, reported missing Monday, may have been intentionally taken out of the zoo and issued a photo of a man in a hoodie who may be linked to the monkeys’ disappearance. […]

Trees could cut urban heatwave mortality by a third: study

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Planting more trees in urban areas to lower summertime temperatures could decrease deaths directly linked to hot weather and heatwaves by a third, researchers said Wednesday. Modelling found that increasing tree cover to 30 percent would shave off 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) locally, on average, during hot summer months, they reported in The Lancet. Of the 6,700 premature deaths attributed to higher temperatures in […]

Is there life on Mars? Maybe, and it could have dropped its teddy

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) – Yogi, Paddington and Winnie the Pooh, move over. There’s a new bear in town. Or on Mars, anyway. The beaming face of a cute-looking teddy bear appears to have been carved into the surface of our nearest planetary neighbor, waiting for a passing satellite to discover it. And when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed over last month, carrying aboard the most powerful camera ever to venture into the Solar System, […]

‘Drought’ has New Yorkers asking: ‘Where’s the snow?’

by Peter HUTCHISON Agence France-Presse NEW YORK, United States (AFP)  — The idea of New York in wintertime conjures up images of Manhattan’s Times Square and Central Park shrouded in snow. Not this year. No snow Sunday meant the city broke a 50-year record for the latest first snowfall of the season. It is also close to recording its highest number of consecutive days without any measurable flakes. The snowless streak has New Yorkers puzzled, […]

One third of Amazon ‘degraded’ by human activity, drought: study

Washington, United States (AFP) — More than one third of the Amazon rainforest may have been degraded by human activity and drought, researchers said Thursday, and action is needed to protect the critically important ecosystem. In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers said the damage done to the forest which spans nine countries is significantly greater than previously known. For the study, they examined the impact of fire, logging, drought and changes […]

Endangered tree kangaroo born at UK zoo

London, United Kingdom (AFP) — Conservationists at a UK zoo have captured the moment a rare tree kangaroo popped out of its mother’s pouch for the first time, part of research aimed at helping the endangered species survive in the wild. The elusive Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is much smaller than the better known Australian kangaroo species. It is native to the mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea, where they are under threat from hunting and […]

Climate change increases human trafficking risks: UN

Vienna, Austria | AFP | Tuesday 1/24/2023  Evidence is emerging that climate-related disasters are becoming a cause of human trafficking as criminal gangs exploit a growing number of uprooted people, the UN said Tuesday. The continuing war in Ukraine is also another risk factor for increased human trafficking, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report. “Climate change is increasing vulnerability to trafficking,” the UNODC report said. “While a systematic […]

Earth’s inner core may have started spinning other way: study

by Daniel Lawler Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Far below our feet, a giant may have started moving against us. Earth’s inner core, a hot iron ball the size of Pluto, has stopped spinning in the same direction as the rest of the planet and might even be rotating the other way, research suggested on Monday. Roughly 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) below the surface we live on, this “planet within the planet” can […]

Sea spiders can regrow body parts, not just limbs: study

Washington, United States (AFP) — Sea spiders can regrow body parts after amputation and not just limbs, according to a study released on Monday that may pave the way for further scientific research into regeneration. “Nobody had expected this,” said Gerhard Scholtz of Humboldt University in Berlin, senior author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We were the first to show that this is possible.” It is well […]

Sudan’s prized gum trees ward off drought but workers wither

by Menna Zaki Agence France Presse Demokaya, Sudan (AFP) — A vast belt of trees vital for global production of fizzy drinks helps Sudanese farmers adapt to climate change, but in the harsh drylands many are reluctant to take up the trade. Gum arabic, golden blobs of resin tapped from thorny acacia trees, is an emulsifying agent virtually irreplaceable for global industry. The ingredient is used in everything from soft drinks to chewing gum and […]

Graves sink, fisheries shrink as climate change hits Fiji

Togoru, Fiji (AFP) by Steven TRASK The sea has already swallowed the village graveyard in Togoru, Fiji, and long-time resident Lavenia McGoon is dreading the day it claims her house. She piles old rubber car tyres under the coconut trees that line the beachfront, hoping this makeshift seawall will at least buy some time. The 70-year-old believes climate change, and the creeping ocean, will inevitably force her family to leave. “Nobody can stop it,” she […]