Oceans key to global warming fight: US climate envoy

by Marlowe Hood Agence France-Presse LISBON, Portugal (AFP) — Safeguarding the world’s oceans will be fundamental to tackling global warming, US climate envoy John Kerry told AFP on Tuesday, warning that war in Ukraine and its economic fallout meant efforts to curb dangerous carbon pollution were facing “powerful headwinds”. The interview, on the margins of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, has been edited for length. Q. This meeting has no negotiating agenda. How will […]

No petrol, no cars: Cubans turn to electric transport

  by Leticia PINEDA Agence France Presse SANTA CLARA, Cuba (AFP) — There is a new sight on the streets of Havana: increasing numbers of electric vehicles whizzing among the old American cars so emblematic of the Cuban capital. As fuel shortages and US sanctions take their toll, and even though electricity generation can be spotty, Cubans are turning to smaller, cheaper, plug-in alternatives. “Gasoline? Imagine. After 50 years battling to get hold of it, […]

‘World’s biggest’ freshwater fish netted in Cambodia

  PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AFP) — A fisherman on the Mekong river in Cambodia has hooked the biggest freshwater fish ever recorded, scientists said — a 300-kilogram stingray. The giant freshwater stingray, which measured four metres (13 feet) from snout to tail, was caught last week and released back into the wild after being fitted with a tag to track its behaviour. The monstrous bottom-dweller beat the previous record for biggest recorded freshwater fish, held […]

Europe swelters in record-breaking June heatwave

by Stuart Williams with Mathieu Gorse in Madrid Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Spain, France and other western European nations sweltered over the weekend under a blistering June heatwave, with some wildfires still blazing even as the weather began to ease. The soaring temperatures were in line with scientists’ predictions that such phenomena will now strike earlier in the year thanks to global warming. Emergency services battled several wildfires Sunday in northern Spain. The […]

Manila Bay Dolomite beach reopens to public

Local and foreign tourists flocked to enjoy the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, which was reopened to the public on June 12. Even before the official opening of the dolomite beach at 4 pm, a long queue of excited visitors had already lined up. Net25 team went back to the place this morning and saw families and groups of friends who were already in the area. Some kids were seen playing in the artificial sand, while […]

Global plastic waste on track to triple by 2060

A world severely blighted by plastic pollution is on track to see the use of plastics nearly triple in less than four decades, according to findings released Friday. Annual production of fossil-fuel-based plastics are set to top 1.2 billion tonnes by 2060 and waste to exceed one billion tonnes, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Even with aggressive action to cut demand and improve efficiencies, plastic production would almost double in […]

Vietnamese police net biggest bear bile haul

Vietnamese police have arrested a bear owner for the first time after netting a record haul of hundreds of bile bottles in Hanoi, a wildlife protection organisation said Friday. The communist country is a major hub for the illegal trade in wild animals and bears are kept to drain the bile from their gallbladders for use in traditional medicine. Authorities outlawed bile extraction in Vietnam in 2005, but bear farms were allowed to keep the animals […]

Ecuadoran frogs Rocket and Harlequin taking on mining industry

  by Paola Lopez Agence France-Presse  JUNIN, Ecuador (AFP) — On the banks of a crystalline waterfall, biologist Andrea Teran lets out a yelp. She holds in the palm of her hand one of two frog species at the center of a legal battle against Ecuador’s mining industry. Teran, 37, is a specialist in the fragile existence of a creature called the Resistance Rocket Frog, which does not yet have a scientific name, and the […]

Unprecedented water curbs kick in for drought-hit Los Angeles

  by Laurent BANGUET Unprecedented restrictions on water usage went into effect Wednesday in the Los Angeles area, which like most of California is in the grip of severe drought for the third consecutive year. More than six million customers are affected by the new measures, which limit watering gardens to one day a week and only during the coolest hours, under penalty of a fine and reduced water flow. The goal is to reduce […]

Turkey black rose producers chase sweet smell of success

by Anne Chaon Agence France-Presse HALFETI, Turkey (AFP) — To the naked eye, the delicate velvet roses in southeastern Turkey appear black and overwhelm the senses with their irresistible sweet smell. The rosebuds are just as dark, and when fully developed, the flower takes on the color of an intensely rich red wine. These black roses, known as “Karagul” in Turkish and thornier than others, can only grow in the town of Halfeti with soil […]

The Arctic’s tricky quest for sustainable tourism

  by Pierre-Henry Deshayes © Agence France-Presse  Longyearbyen, NORWAY (AFP) — Home to polar bears, the midnight sun and the northern lights, a Norwegian archipelago perched high in the Arctic is trying to find a way to profit from its pristine wilderness without ruining it. The Svalbard archipelago, located 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from the North Pole and reachable by commercial airline flights, offers visitors vast expanses of untouched nature, with majestic mountains, glaciers and […]

Australia bidding to host UN climate summit, set new emissions target

Australia will present a more ambitious UN emissions target “very soon” and is bidding to co-host a COP summit with Pacific island neighbours, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Thursday, signalling a ground shift in climate policy. During a first solo overseas visit since her centre-left government was sworn in, Wong admitted that on the climate, “Australia has neglected its responsibility” under past administrations. She told hosts in Fiji’s capital Suva that there would be no […]