Environment

Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

PIARACU, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide”, indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies. Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rain forest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago. […]

Fires, then floods: How much can a koala bear?

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A week ago, koalas at an Australian wildlife park were in the path of raging bushfires. On Friday, they were soaking wet and being carried to safety from flash floods. Months of drought that have contributed to Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season have this week given way to huge downpours in some of the blaze-ravaged areas. At the Australian Reptile Park on the nation’s east coast near Sydney, heavy rains on Friday […]

Global decision-makers gather in Davos

PARIS, France (AFP) – Stuart WILLIAMS Global decision-makers gather in Davos starting Tuesday for their annual meeting, with challenges facing the planet — from climate change to conflict in the Middle East — as imposing as the Alps that surround the Swiss resort. Observers fear the annual World Economic Forum will serve only to again expose the differences between East and West, the US and the EU, and business and activists in combating the most […]

Heating woes fuel Balkan smog crisis

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZGOVINA (AFP) – Rusmir SMAJILHODZIC and Emmy VARLEY in Belgrade As winter grips the Balkans, the poor are caught in a cruel bind, being forced to light fires at home for heating while fuelling a pollution crisis smothering the region.   In recent weeks, Balkan capitals from Belgrade Sarajevo to Skopje and Pristina have been ranked among the world’s top 10 most polluted major cities, according to the monitoring application AirVisual. While […]

Solar-powered barge a key ‘interceptor’ for plastic waste

KLANG, Malaysia (AFP) – Patrick Lee Scooping waste from a Malaysian river to stop it reaching the sea, a solar-powered barge named the “Interceptor” is the latest weapon in a global battle to rid the world’s waters of plastic. Trash is being dumped into seas and rivers in enormous quantities, polluting vital habitats, endangering a kaleidoscope of marine life and sullying once pristine tourist spots. Some eight million tons of plastics enter the world’s oceans […]

Climate change linked heatwave caused mass starvation of seabirds

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Issam AHMED Around a million North Pacific seabirds known as common murres died during a 2015-16 heatwave that disrupted their food supply, scientists said Wednesday, the biggest mass mortality event ever recorded among avian species. Julia Parrish, an ecologist at the University of Washington and co-author of a paper on the subject published in the journal PLOS ONE told AFP that the increased frequency of such heatwaves appeared to […]

New UK deep coal mine ‘unnecessary’: Green Alliance

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Plans for new deep coal mining projects in Britain are “unnecessary” and incompatible with the country’s 2050 carbon-neutral target, a report by environmental think-tank Green Alliance said Wednesday. The report focused on Woodhouse Colliery in the county of Cumbria, in northwest England, which is the first deep coal mine project to be launched in Britain in 40 years. The mine was “unnecessary” for the local steel industry and would instead […]

UN warns of ‘much extreme weather’ ahead after hottest decade on record

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) – The past decade has been the hottest on record, the UN said Wednesday, warning that the higher temperatures were expected to fuel numerous extreme weather events in 2020 and beyond. The World Meteorological Organization, which based its findings on analysis of leading international datasets, said it also confirmed data released by the European Union’s climate monitor last week showing that last year was the second hottest on record, after 2016. “The […]

Makeshift koala hospital scrambles to save dozens injured in bushfires

KANGAROO ISLAND, Australia (AFP) – Dozens of injured koalas arrive at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park’s makeshift animal hospital each day in cat carriers, washing baskets or clinging to wildlife carers. Injured in bushfires that have ravaged the wildlife haven off the coast of South Australia state, there are so many marsupials currently requiring urgent treatment that carers don’t have time to give them names — they are simply referred to by a number. Among […]

James Murdoch blasts dad Rupert’s firm over climate ‘denial’

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – Rupert Murdoch’s younger son James has called out his father’s media empire for “denial” of climate change, calling it a disappointment in light of wildfires in Australia, a report said Tuesday. The Daily Beast reported that James Murdoch and his activist wife Kathryn had harsh words for his family’s company, which operates US-based Fox News as well as newspapers in the US, Britain and Rupert Murdoch’s native Australia through its […]

feral camel roaming the Australian wild

5,000 feral camels culled in drought-hit Australia

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) – Helicopter-borne marksmen killed more than 5,000 camels in a five-day cull of feral herds that were threatening indigenous communities in drought-stricken areas of southern Australia, officials said Tuesday. Aboriginal leaders in South Australia state said extremely large herds of the non-native camels had been driven towards rural communities by drought and extreme heat, threatening scarce food and drinking water, damaging infrastructure, and creating a dangerous hazard for drivers. The cull in […]

patch of amazon forest on a mountain side severely burned

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon up 85 percent in 2019

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) – Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil soared 85 percent in 2019, compared with the previous year, official data showed Tuesday. The 9,166 square kilometers (3,539 square miles) cleared was the highest number in at least five years, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. In 2018, the deforested area was 4,946 square kilometers. The sharp increase overlapped the first year in office of President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate […]