EU to lay out trillion-euro ‘Green Deal’

STRASBOURG, France (AFP) – Marine LAOUCHEZ Going green can be a costly business, as the EU’s executive body will make clear on Tuesday when it launches a one-trillion-euro plan to finance its goal of making the bloc carbon neutral by 2050. That figure represents a 10-year investment to be sourced from public funds and leveraged private sector money. It is part of Europe’s “Green Deal” — an ambitious rethinking of the economy, transport and energy […]

Protect 30% of planet by 2030: UN Nature rescue plan

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — Thirty percent of Earth’s surface across land and sea should become protected areas by 2030 to ensure the viability of ecosystems essential to human wellbeing, according to a UN plan released Monday. The draft proposal to halt the degradation of Nature and the gathering pace of species loss will be vetted by nearly 200 countries gathering in October for a make-or-break biodiversity summit, the 15th since 1994. Up […]

Siemens to remain in Australia mining project despite environmental concerns

BERLIN, Germany (AFP) – Siemens boss announced Sunday that the German conglomerate has decided to remain involved in a controversial Adani Carmichael coal mining project in Australia, despite massive environmental criticism as the country faces unprecedented bushfires. The contract for some 18 million euros ($20 million) calls for Siemens to supply rail infrastructure for the Carmichael mine in Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef. “We have just finished our special meeting…. We have evaluated all […]

Plea for New Zealand to house fire-threatened koalas

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Thousands of people have signed a petition for koalas to be introduced to New Zealand to escape Australia’s devastating bush fires, but the proposal has been given the thumbs down by officials. A group calling itself the Koala Relocation Society said koalas were “functionally extinct in Australia” but could thrive in New Zealand which has nearly 30,000 hectares planted in eucalypts. There have been estimates of up to a billion […]

Australia fires ‘long way from over’ but rain brings relief

by with Glenda Kwek in Sydney / Holly ROBERTSON Agence France Presse Massive bushfires in southeastern Australia still have a “long way to go”, authorities have warned, even as colder conditions brought some relief to exhausted firefighters and communities on Saturday. After a blustery night that saw a series of massive infernos in New South Wales and Victoria states merge into a mega-blaze four times the size of Greater London, temperatures dropped and rain fell […]

Citizens battle to save China’s sickly ‘mother river’

by Poornima WEERASEKARA HENAN, China (AFP) — Water has been a source of death as well as a source of life for a generation in Shenqiu, a region fed by a tributary of China’s heavily polluted Yangtze river and pockmarked with notorious “cancer villages”. Residents often faced a bitter choice: drink dirty, discolored water and risk sickness, or pay high prices for bottled water and risk poverty. But artist-turned-environmentalist Huo Yalun has been on a […]

Burned tigers, rescued kangaroos: Australia bushfire disinformation

by Johnny Lieu Agence France-Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Tiger burns in Australia’s bushfires? It’s a 2012 photo from Indonesia. Young girl rescues koala? Actually an artist’s impression. Social media is packed with powerful images of Australia’s bushfires — but many are fake. As deadly blazes tear across southeastern Australia, false or deliberately misleading images and claims have proliferated online, in languages from Arabic to Hindi. AFP Fact Check works to debunk online misinformation. Here […]

Snipers to cull up to 10,000 camels in drought-stricken Australia

  by Holly ROBERTSON Agence France Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Snipers took to helicopters in Australia on Wednesday to begin a mass cull of up to 10,000 camels as drought drives big herds of the feral animals to search for water closer to remote towns, endangering indigenous communities. Local officials in South Australia state said “extremely large” herds have been encroaching on rural communities — threatening scarce food and drinking water, damaging infrastructure, and […]

Firestorms: How Australia’s bushfires created their own weather

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s bushfires have burned so intensely that they have hurled smoke as far away as Chile. They have also created their own weather systems, including deadly “firestorms” that produce dry lightning and cannot be contained. – How do firestorms happen? – Scientists are still trying to understand how firestorms are created although weather, terrain, vegetation and the characteristics of the fire itself all play a role. But the basics are […]

JetBlue to go carbon neutral by July 2020

NEW YORK, United States  (AFP) — No-frills US airline JetBlue will go carbon neutral for all domestic flights starting this summer, the company announced Monday. The carrier said it will be the first major US airline to do so in a bid to reduce its contributions to global warming. The company also said it would begin using “sustainable aviation fuel” on flights from San Francisco later this year. “We reduce where we can and offset where […]

Australia’s ‘insurance’ koala population halved by bushfires

by Glenda KWEK Agence France-Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — At least half of Australia’s only disease-free koala population, a key “insurance” for the species’ future, is feared dead with more badly hurt after bush-fires swept through an island sanctuary, rescuers said Sunday. Kangaroo Island, a popular nature-based tourist attraction off the coast of South Australia state, is home to many wild populations of native animals including the much-loved koala, where the populated was estimated at […]

Barcelona bans older, most polluting cars

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Barcelona imposed a ban Thursday on older, more polluting vehicles during most of the day in a bid to reduce air pollution in Spain’s second largest city. Gasoline-powered cars registered in Spain before 2000, and diesel-powered cars registered before 2006 are now banned from most city streets on weekdays between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm and face a fine of at least 100 euros ($112) if they violate the rule. All banned vehicles […]