Environment

Pincered at sea, lobsters get new hope on land in UK

by Sylvain PEUCHMAURD Agence France-Presse WHITBY, United Kingdom (AFP) — The tiny lobsters are safe from predators — including each other — as they eddy in large white plastic tanks swirling with artificial currents. In a few weeks’ time, as part of a conservation project, they will leave their small shed in the northeastern English port of Whitby for the open sea. Whitby, whose dramatic abbey ruins were an inspiration for “Dracula” author Bram Stoker, […]

Cow manure fuels French tractors

by Myriam LEMETAYER Agence France Presse Beaumontois-en-Périgord, France (AFP) — A French farmer steps away from his barn and fills up a tractor with fuel made from the manure of his cows, an attempt to put their climate-damaging methane to good use. Anchored by a stone farmhouse, much has changed on the Guerin family farm in the southern Dordogne region since its founding in 1926. The cow barn is largely automated, and features two huge, […]

Colombia hopes to remove dead drug lord’s hippos

Bogotá, Colombia (AFP) — The governor of a region of Colombia where a herd of some 150 hippos — descendants of animals once owned by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar — are breeding out of control said Monday he hopes for the greenlight to send half of them to sanctuaries in India and Mexico. “We hope that the permits required by the national institutions can be approved in the first half of this year, so that […]

Ten deadliest quakes of the past 100 years

Paris, France (AFP) — With a death toll standing at more than 50,000, the massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6 and its numerous aftershocks are among the 10 deadliest of the past century. – 1976: 242,000 dead, China – A quake measuring 7.8, according to the Chinese authorities, (7.5 according to the US Geological Survey), strikes near the industrial city of Tangshan in northeastern Hebei province. The official death toll is […]

Long lost Madagascar songbird seen again in wild

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France-Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Conservationists were celebrating Wednesday the first sightings in 24 years of the dusky tetraka, a yellow-throated songbird native to Madagascar for which ornithologists had feared the worst. A expedition to remote regions of the island nation confirmed two recent sightings of the bird. Scientists also learned something about the petite bird’s behaviour that could help explain how it escaped notice for so long, even if it […]

La Nina ending but warming El Nino may strike soon: UN

Geneva, Switzerland | AFP | by Robin MILLARD An exceptionally long La Nina weather phenomenon that intensified drought and flooding is finally ending, the United Nations said Wednesday — but what comes next might bring its own problems. The outgoing La Nina phenomenon, a cooling of surface temperatures that can have a widespread impact on global weather conditions, started in September 2020. However, despite La Nina’s cooling effect, both 2021 and 2022 were warmer than […]

Carbon credits: a contested tool to fight deforestation

by Mathilde DUMAZET Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Planting trees or safeguarding tropical rainforests have become popular tools for companies seeking to offset their carbon emissions and proclaim their commitment to the environment. However, recent scandals have cast a shadow over the carbon credit industry, revealing a landscape rife with opportunities for greenwashing. Walt Disney, JP Morgan Bank and other major corporations have been accused of purchasing carbon credits from forest protection projects […]

Blame the warmth: Famed skating rink in Ottawa won’t open this year

Montreal, Canada | AFP | The Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest open-air ice rink and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will not open this year for the first time in its history because of a mild winter, managers confirmed Friday. “Despite our best efforts, the weather got the best of us for the first time in our history,” the Ottawa facility said on its Twitter account. “We share everyone’s disappointment,” it added in a […]

First blizzard in a generation in Los Angeles

Heavy snow fell in southern California on Friday, as the first blizzard in a generation pounded the Los Angeles area, with heavy rains threatening flooding in other places. Breathless television weather presenters more used to delivering a same-every-day forecast of warm sunshine found themselves knee-deep in the white stuff as the region grappled with its worst winter storm for decades. Major roads were closed as ice and snow made them impassable, including sections of Interstate […]

Global wildlife contaminated by ‘forever chemicals’

by Linnea Pedersen Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — From pandas to sea lions to tigers, hundreds of wildlife species across the globe are contaminated by potentially harmful “forever chemicals”, according to a review of hundreds of peer-reviewed studies. Over 300 wildlife species showed traces of the nearly indestructible synthetic chemicals, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) PFAS Project Lab. The mapping of over 125 peer-reviewed scientific studies is the […]

Death toll from China mine collapse rises to four, dozens still missing

Beijing, China (AFP) — The death toll from a collapse at a coal mine in northern China rose to four on Thursday, state media reported, as the search for dozens still missing resumed after a massive landslide hindered progress overnight. More than 50 people were trapped when a 180-metre-high slope gave way at the open-pit mine in the Inner Mongolia region’s Alxa Left Banner area at around 1:00 pm (0500 GMT) on Wednesday, according to […]

Heavy snow snarls travel as winter storms hit US

by Huw GRIFFITH Agence France-Presse LOS ANGELES , United States (AFP) — Powerful winter storms lashed the United States on Wednesday, with heavy snow snarling travel across wide areas, even as unusual warmth was expected in others. Blizzards expected to dump up to two feet (60 centimeters) of snow swept across a vast band of the country from the West Coast to the Great Lakes, grounding flights and knocking out power to tens of thousands. […]