Firefighters battle forest blazes in Argentina

BARILOCHE, Argentina (AFP) – With temperatures climbing upwards, firefighters were deployed ahead of the weekend to forest fires in nine of Argentina’s 23 provinces, including one blaze that has been active for more than a month. Nearly 100 firefighters and support staff, reinforced by planes and helicopters, were fighting the largest of the fires in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the fire management service (SNMF) said. The park is located near the tourist city of […]

Ecuador expands sea life protections around Galapagos

PUERTO AYORA, Ecuador (AFP) – Ecuador created a massive new marine reserve Friday north of its Galapagos islands, forming a Pacific corridor up to Costa Rica’s Cocos Island National Park to preserve species of migratory fauna, such as sharks. President Guillermo Lasso, on board a scientific vessel from the Galapagos National Park (PNG) anchored in the bay of Puerto Ayora off Santa Cruz Island, signed the decree creating the new reserve called “Hermandad” (Brotherhood). To […]

Two women drown in Peru due to Tonga volcanic eruption

LIMA, Peru (AFP) – Two women drowned on a beach in northern Peru due to “anomalous waves” registered after the volcanic eruption in Tonga, more than 10,000 kilometers away, local emergency services said on Sunday. The two women drowned on Saturday in Lambayeque. Peru’s government on Saturday closed 22 Pacific ports in the country’s north and center due to the waves. The Center for national emergency operations said the unusually strong waves were “due to […]

US bill aims to end China’s ‘chokehold’ on America’s rare earth supplies

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Two US senators have proposed a law aiming to end China’s alleged “chokehold” on rare-earth metal supplies, a statement by the lawmakers said Friday. The law — proposed by Democrat Mark Kelly and Republican Tom Cotton — would aim to ensure the United States can guarantee its supplies of rare-earth minerals. “The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries […]

Europe eyes lithium ‘white gold’ rush as cars go green

by Isabel MALSANG Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) – Europe is seeking to expand its lithium mining and refining capacity and wean itself off imports as the “white gold” becomes a vital resource in the fight against climate change. Alongside nickel and cobalt, lithium allows electricity to be stored and transported, making them essential in electric battery production as car manufacturers move away from polluting fossil fuels. But Europe mostly depends on external sources for […]

Last nine years all among 10 hottest-ever: NOAA

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – The nine years spanning 2013-2021 all rank among the 10 hottest on record, according to an annual report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published Thursday, the latest data underscoring the global climate crisis. For 2021, the average temperature across global surfaces was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average, making the year the sixth-hottest in the overall record, which goes back to […]

Israel govt seeks ‘compromise’ after Bedouin unrest

ISRAEL (AFP) – Israel’s government on Wednesday sought to ease tensions with Bedouin over a tree-planting project in the Negev desert, where unrest has continued for days in the latest test for a fragile coalition. About 200 Bedouin protesters in southern Israel’s arid Negev desert on Wednesday clashed with security officers, who tried to disperse them with stun grenades, an AFP journalist said. “Sixteen suspects who threw stones at the police have been arrested and […]

Beijing’s smog woes cast pall over ‘green’ Winter Olympics

BEIJING, China (AFP) – Beijing’s air pollution is far below acceptable World Health Organization levels with the Chinese capital a month away from hosting the Winter Olympics –- but environmental data shows its skies have improved dramatically in recent years. The city declared a “war on pollution” after winning the Olympics bid in 2015, shutting down dozens of coal plants and relocating heavy industries in order to shed its status as one of the world’s […]

Jaguar released in Argentina to help endangered species

by Liliana SAMUEL Agence France-Presse BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) – A jaguar named Jatobazinho was released into a national park in Argentina Friday as part of a program to boost the numbers of this endangered species. This was the eighth jaguar freed this year into Ibera National Park but the first adult male, said the environmental group Rewilding Argentina, which is behind the project. Jatobazinho weighs about 90 kilos (200 pounds) and has brown fur […]

EU moves to label nuclear, gas energy as ‘green’

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) – The European Union is planning to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources for investment despite internal disagreement over whether they truly qualify as sustainable options. The proposal, seen by AFP on Saturday, aims to support the 27-nation bloc’s shift towards a carbon-neutral future and gild its credentials as a global standard-setter for fighting climate change. But the fact the European Commission quietly distributed the text to […]

Philippines lifts ban on new open-pit mines

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) – The Philippines has lifted a four-year ban on new open-pit mines, an official said Wednesday, in a bid to revitalise the country’s coronavirus-battered economy slammed by activists as “short-sighted”. The move sees the Philippine government reverse a ban imposed in 2017, when the then-environment minister blamed the sector for widespread ecological damage. Manila has since reversed course, encouraging mining investments to shore up government revenues as lockdowns and quarantine restrictions ravaged […]

‘A little aid would help’: Philippine typhoon survivors beg for food

by Ron LOPEZ Agence France-Presse SURIGAO CITY, Philippines (AFP) – Jennifer Vetonio stands on a road in the southern Philippines begging for money and food from passing drivers. A week after Super Typhoon Rai destroyed her house, she has not received a scrap of government aid. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless after Rai cut a swathe through the vast archipelago last Thursday, knocking out power across entire islands and leaving desperate survivors pleading […]