Narwhals’ climate-vulnerable winter feeding crucial for survival: study

by Linnea Pedersen Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Narwhals are likely more dependent on fat reserves and abundant prey in climate-threatened winter habitats than previously thought, researchers said Wednesday, warning of severe risks posed by global warming. Scientists studying the long-horned marine mammals in the fjords off the eastern coast of Greenland during the summer found narwhals were largely unsuccessful in capturing prey. “(This) suggests that they could actually rely on the wintering […]

Jane Fonda warns oceans are ‘dying’ amid UN treaty talks

United Nations, United States (AFP) — Actor and activist Jane Fonda on Monday warned that humanity is “losing the ocean,” as two weeks of negotiations begin at the United Nations on a treaty to protect the high seas. “The ocean provides us with 50 percent of our oxygen, and it feeds billions of people — and it’s dying,” the 85-year-old American icon told AFP in an interview. She is in New York to deliver a […]

Two endangered pink dolphins rescued from shallow Colombia river

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) — Two pink river dolphins, a mother and her calf, were rescued from a Colombian river where the endangered mammals were trapped in shallow water, the navy said. A navy video released on Monday shows several officers carrying the dolphins in a makeshift hammock, others checking the mammals’ condition and spraying them with water. Timing was critical. Experts moved the dolphins out of the river, quickly checked their condition on the riverbank, […]

Alligator captured in New York park, possibly ‘cold shocked’

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — A “very lethargic” alligator was captured in a New York park, city officials said Monday, likely released by its owner far away from the species’ warmer habitat in the southeast United States. The reptile was spotted Sunday morning in Prospect Park, a favorite place for Brooklyn residents to picnic and stroll with their pets, especially when winter temperatures are in the 50s Fahrenheit (10-15 Celsius) like over the holiday […]

Regions in US, China most at risk for climate damage: report

PARIS, France (AFP) — Major industrial and economic centers in China and the United States are among the most vulnerable regions in the world to the increasingly destructive power of climate change-driven weather extremes, according to a comprehensive analysis Monday. The new findings underscore the urgent need for governments to focus on decarbonization and adaptation measures such as flood-proofing — and show the economic fallout from climate change could be grave and widespread. Nine of […]

Too warm in Canada: world’s largest ice rink may not open

by Michel COMTE / Mathiew LEISER Agence France-Presse Ottawa, Canada (AFP) — The Canadian capital’s iconic Rideau Canal Skateway — the largest outdoor rink in the world and a UNESCO heritage site — may not open this winter for the first time in five decades, due to a lack of ice. Ottawa is in the grips of its third-warmest winter ever recorded, according to Environment Canada, with temperatures hovering just below freezing through most of […]

Rising seas threaten exodus of ‘biblical’ scale, warns Guterres

United Nations, United States (AFP) — The UN Secretary-General warned Tuesday that global warming could force a mass exodus “on a biblical scale” as people flee low-lying communities and called for legal frameworks to be implemented in preparation, especially for refugees. “The danger is especially acute for nearly 900 million people who live in coastal zones at low elevations — that’s one out of ten people on Earth,” Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council. […]

Sri Lanka bans single-use plastics to save elephants

Colombo, Sri Lanka (AFP) — Sri Lanka will ban single-use plastics, the government said Tuesday, in a move that follows a series of wild elephant and deer deaths from plastic poisoning. Cabinet spokesman and media minister Bandula Gunawardana said the manufacture or sale of plastic cutlery, cocktail shakers and artificial flowers will be prohibited from June. The move was recommended by a panel appointed 18 months ago to study the impact of plastic waste on […]

Climate: Could moon dust keep Earth cool?

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France-Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Whether out-of-the-box thinking or a sign of desperation, scientists on Wednesday proposed the regular transport of moon dust to a gravity point between Earth and Sun to temper the ravages of global warming. Ideas for filtering solar radiation to keep Earth from overheating have been kicking around for decades, ranging from giant space-based screens to churning out reflective white clouds. But the persistent failure to draw […]

Peru reports hundreds of sea lion deaths due to bird flu

LIMA, Peru (AFP) — Peru said Tuesday that 585 sea lions and 55,000 wild birds have died of the H5N1 bird flu virus in recent weeks, the latest report on the disease’s impacts. Following the discovery of 55,000 dead birds in eight protected coastal areas, rangers found the bird flu that killed them had also claimed 585 sea lions in seven protected marine areas, the Sernanp natural areas protection agency said. The dead birds included […]

Endangered monarch butterflies face perilous storm

by Julie JAMMOT Agence France-Presse Santa Cruz, United States (AFP) — As devastating storms pounded California, nature lovers feared for endangered monarch butterflies that winter there as part of a seemingly magical migration pattern. The colorfully winged insects that travel vast distances over the course of generations have been closely watched in the US state since they neared extinction just three years ago. As the sun rose one January morning, volunteers began counting monarch butterflies, […]

Montreal snow-clearing: good for traffic, bad for environment

by Frédérique BÉRUBÉ / Frederique BERUBE Agence France Presse Montreal, Canada (AFP) — A choreographed ballet of massive trucks, snowplows and snowblowers takes over the streets of Montreal whenever it snows, an enormous logistical effort with a significant environmental cost. Hundreds of snow-clearing vehicles are deployed across the frigid Canadian city for 100 or more days each year on average, dusting the road with salt and belching emissions into the air. “The snow challenge in […]