Environment

Great Barrier Reef suffers worst-ever coral bleaching: scientists

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered its most widespread coral bleaching on record, scientists said Tuesday in a dire warning about the threat posed by climate change to the world’s largest living organism. James Cook University professor Terry Hughes said a comprehensive survey last month found record sea temperatures had caused the third mass bleaching of the 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) reef system in just five years. Bleaching occurs when healthy corals become […]

March 2020 among hottest on record: EU

PARIS, France (AFP) — Temperatures last month were among the hottest on record for March, the European Union’s satellite monitoring service said Monday, with particularly extreme warm weather over Russia, home to much of Earth’s permafrost. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said March 2020 was 0.68 degrees Celsius warmer than the average March from 1981 to 2010, and on par with March 2017 and 2019 — currently the second hottest on record after March […]

Bronx zoo tiger tests positive for coronavirus

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — A tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, the institution said Sunday, and is believed to have contracted the virus from a caretaker who was asymptomatic at the time. The four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia along with her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions all developed dry coughs and are expected to fully recover, the Wildlife Conservation Society that runs the city’s […]

Coronavirus casts shadow over Everest

by Paavan MATHEMA Pictures by PRAKASH MATHEMA Agence France-Presse KHUMJUNG, Nepal (AFP)  — The Himalayan hilltown of Khumjung should be bustling ahead of Everest’s climbing season, but the coronavirus has forced the shut down of the world’s tallest mountain and threatened the livelihood of the famed local Sherpas. While there are no reported cases in the town — home to many of the ethnic Sherpas who dominate the industry helping climbers — the Himalayas have been closed by […]

UN’s COP26 climate summit postponed due to coronavirus

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The UN’s COP 26 climate change summit due to take place in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the British government said on Wednesday. “In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible,” the government said in a statement, adding that dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021 would […]

Coronavirus having little impact on climate: UN agency

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Though factories have shut, planes have been grounded and cars left in the garage, the coronavirus pandemic is having very little impact on climate change, the World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday. Any reductions in pollution and carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be temporary, said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, from the infrastructure department of the WMO, a United Nations agency based in Geneva. “It does not mean much for climate,” he told […]

Nature takes back world’s empty city streets

by Laure FILLON / Julie Pacorel PARIS, France (AFP) — As humans retreat into their homes as more and more countries go under coronavirus lockdown, wild animals are slipping cover to explore the empty streets of some of our biggest cities. Wild boar have descended from the hills around Barcelona while sika deer are nosing their way around the deserted metro stations of Nara, Japan. Indian social media has gone wild about footage of a […]

Nature takes back world’s empty city streets

by Laure FILLON / Julie Pacorel Agence France-Presse Paris, France (AFP) — As humans retreat into their homes as more and more countries go under coronavirus lockdown, wild animals are slipping cover to explore the empty streets of some of our biggest cities. Wild boar have descended from the hills around Barcelona while sika deer are nosing their way around the deserted metro stations of Nara, Japan. Indian social media has gone wild about footage of […]

Peru saves bats blamed for coronavirus

LIMA, Peru (AFP) — Authorities called Wednesday for worried Peruvians to stop killing bats after rescuing 200 that was going to be burnt by peasants believing them to be spreading the coronavirus. “We must not distort the situation due to the pandemic. Bats are not our enemies,” the National Service of Wild Forests and Fauna (SERFOR) said in a statement on Wednesday. SERFOR called for calm after peasants in Culden, in the northern Cajamarca region, […]

Virus lockdown makes big dent in Paris air pollution: report

PARIS, France (AFP) — France’s stay-at-home orders to combat the coronavirus outbreak has produced a 20 to 30 percent decline in overall air pollution levels in Paris, according to a report from the region’s air quality monitoring agency. The lockdown has taken countless cars and delivery trucks off the roads since coming into effect on March 17, and massively reduced the number of flights at the two airports serving the capital. The Airparif report said […]

Air quality picking up in quarantined countries

  by Laure FILLON Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Air quality is improving in countries under coronavirus quarantines, experts say, but it is far too early to speak of long-term change. Images by the US space agency NASA are clear, in February the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) fell dramatically in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, passing from an indicator that was red/orange to blue. NO2 is mainly produced by […]