Environment

‘Down’ but not ‘out’: Growth needs fuel India’s coal addiction

by Abhaya SRIVASTAVA Agence France-Presse NEW DELHI, India (AFP) – Even as its capital was blanketed by toxic smog, India led the charge to weaken anti-coal pledges at the COP26 summit, with experts saying it is prioritising its economic growth over the planet’s future. The world’s third-largest emitter teamed up with China to water down language on fossil fuels at the Glasgow conference, forcing a compromise: a climate deal that bound countries to “phase down” […]

Drought, overpumping cut Morocco river link to sea

by Kaouthar Oudrhiri SAIDIA, Morocco (AFP) — Moroccan environmentalist Mohamed Benata stood taking photos of what should be the mouth of the Moulouya river — but after years of drought and over-pumping, it comes to a halt just short of the sea. One of the longest rivers in the North African kingdom and a vital lifeline for farmers in the area near the Algerian border, the final few paces of the 500-kilometre (310-mile) waterway are […]

Drought forces Iraqi farmers to leave their land

by Raad Al-Jammas Agence France-Presse Iraqi wheat farmer Khamis Ahmad Abbas lost it all when his battle with drought forced him to abandon his land, pushing him into unemployment. Experts have warned that record low rainfall, compounded by climate change, are threatening social and economic disaster in war-scarred Iraq. “Growing wheat and barley is a gamble. It all depends on the rain,” said the 42-year-old father of nine. Unable to make ends meet, Abbas quit […]

COP26 strikes hard-fought deal but UN says ‘not enough’

by Patrick GALEY, Jitendra JOSHI, Kelly MACNAMARA and Marlowe HOOD Agence France-Presse GLASGOW, United Kingdom (AFP) – Nearly 200 nations came together Saturday on a global deal to combat climate change after two weeks of painful negotiation, but fell short of what science says is needed to contain dangerous temperature rises. Rich countries stood accused of failing at the COP26 summit in Glasgow to deliver much-needed finance to vulnerable states at risk of drought, rising […]

Africa diabetes cases to soar: WHO

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AFP) — Africa is set to see diabetes cases more than double to 55 million by 2045, the biggest increase across the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Thursday. “The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually subside, but Africa is projected in the coming years to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. Twenty-four million people are living with diabetes today in Africa, which […]

World needs trillions to face climate threat: draft UN report

by Kelly MACNAMARA / Marlowe HOOD / Patrick GALEY GLASGOW, United Kingdom (AFP) — Helping vulnerable nations cope with the multiplier effect of climate change on droughts, flooding, heatwaves and tropical mega-storms will require trillions of dollars, not the billions now on the table at COP26, a draft UN report obtained by AFP reveals. The failure of rich countries to make good on a promise to deliver $100 billion a year for vulnerable nations has […]

Australia’s coal country looks to a less sooty future

by Andrew LEESON Agence France-Presse NEWCASTLE, Australia (AFP) – Australia’s conservative leaders have defied calls for urgent climate action, boasting they will sell coal for as long as anyone is buying. But in the country’s carbon heartland, locals are already preparing for life beyond fossil fuels. Two-hundred-and-thirty years ago, among the verdant outcrops that flank the southeastern coastal town of Newcastle, a band of escaped convicts made the first recorded discovery of coal on the […]

China says launched enhanced climate action plan with US

GLASGOW, United Kingdom (AFP) – China and the United States on Wednesday announced a joint initiative to deliver enhanced climate action, Beijing’s longtime climate envoy told the COP26 summit. “Both sides recognise that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris Agreement goals so we will jointly strengthen climate action,” Xie Zhenhua told reporters in a surprise announcement. China and US are the two largest emitters in the world and together account […]

Tunisia city on strike after landfill protest death

AGAREB, Tunisia (AFP) – Thousands of Tunisians went on strike and rallied Wednesday after a demonstrator died of tear gas inhalation during angry demonstrations over the reopening of a rubbish dump, as environmental crises mount in the North African country. Abderrazek Lacheheb, 35, died early Tuesday in Agareb, in the Sfax region on the central coast, after security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters. A medic and a family member said he had died of […]

Farm fires stoke Indian capital’s pollution crisis

AMRITSAR, India (AFP) – Crackling flames and plumes of smoke rise from the earth as farmers set their fields alight in northern India — an annual post-harvest practice that shrouds New Delhi in toxic smog. Tens of thousands of small farmers around the capital burn their crop residue at the start of every winter, clearing fields from the recently harvested paddy to make way for wheat. The practice was banned two years ago but enforcement is […]

Israel start-up offers virtual ‘Clean Coins’ for garbage

by Alexandra Vardi Agence France-Presse HAIFA, Israel (AFP) – As she walked her dog Luna near her northern Israel town, Elishya Ben Meir collected litter that had been reported through a new app which turns garbage into goods. For each bag she fills in the valley near her home, she receives around 10 “Clean Coins”, a virtual currency that can be redeemed for goods from participating businesses. The green scheme aims to encourage citizens to […]

Climate change and fires: Bolivia’s forests in peril

by Martín SILVA Agence France-Presse Santo Corazón, Bolivia (AFP) – The road through San Matias, Bolivia, is a no man’s land. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of once lush forest are now a wasteland of twisted, carbonized tree stumps. It is a protected area, but San Matias — which also hosts subsistence farmers, cattle ranches and quartz mines — burns every year as land is cleared for the next planting season. The practice is legal […]