China ‘comprehensively’ bans illegal wildlife trade

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China on Monday declared an immediate and “comprehensive” ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice believed responsible for the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The country’s top legislative committee met on Monday and approved a proposal “on comprehensively prohibiting the illegal wildlife trade, abolishing the bad habit of overconsumption of wildlife, and effectively protecting the lives and health of the people,” state television reported. © Agence France-Presse

After backing HS2 rail, Johnson mulls Heathrow runway

By Ben PERRY Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Having backed Britain’s proposed high-speed railway HS2, Boris Johnson is under pressure to keep his pledge to scrap plans for a third runway at London Heathrow airport as climate fears intensify. Prime Minister Johnson, who wants big infrastructure projects to help drive Britain’s post-Brexit economy, said earlier this month that the country would shortly begin full construction work on HS2, dismissing soaring costs. The project, while […]

How climate change reduced the flow of the Colorado River

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The massive Colorado River, which provides water for seven US states, has seen its flow reduced by 20 percent over the course of a century — and more than half of that loss is due to climate change, according to new research published Thursday. Two scientists at the US Geological Survey developed a mathematical model of the water movements — snowfall, rainfall, run-off, evaporation — in the upper Colorado River […]

Uganda army fights voracious desert locusts

By Michael O’HAGAN Agence France-Presse OTUKE, Uganda (AFP) — Under a warm morning sun scores of weary soldiers stare as millions of yellow locusts rise into the northern Ugandan sky, despite hours spent spraying vegetation with chemicals in an attempt to kill them. From the tops of shea trees, fields of pea plants and tall grass savanna, the insects rise in a hypnotic murmuration, disappearing quickly to wreak devastation elsewhere. The soldiers and agricultural officers will […]

Mussels ‘cooked alive’ in balmy New Zealand ocean

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Up to half a million mussels were effectively cooked in the wild in unusually balmy waters on the New Zealand coast in a massive “die-off” that marine experts have linked to climate change. The dead mollusks were found by Auckland man Brandon Ferguson earlier this month at Maunganui Bluff Beach, near the northern tip of the North Island. Footage posted to social media shows a stunned Ferguson wading through rockpools choked […]

Bezos launches $10 billion fund to combat climate change

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — His company is often criticized for its environmental record, but Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and the world’s richest man, said Monday that he was committing $10 billion to a new fund to tackle climate change. In a post to his 1.4 million followers on Instagram, the e-commerce tycoon said the Bezos Earth Fund would “fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve […]

Flight of fancy? Aviation industry tries to go green

by Catherine Lai and Sam REEVES SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — From an emissions-reducing model jet that looks like something from a sci-fi movie to electric aircraft and sustainable fuel, the aviation industry is ramping up efforts to go green as consumer pressure grows. In an era when teen climate activist Greta Thunberg opts to travel on an eco-friendly boat and “flight-shaming” is all the rage in her native Sweden, air travel’s reputation has never looked […]

Jellyfish hurl venom ‘grenades’ to snare prey

PARIS, France (AFP) — A species of jellyfish hunts its prey by hurling venom grenades to create “stinging water”, researchers said Thursday, solving a long-standing mystery as to how they gather food without tentacles. The Cassiopea xamachana jellyfish, found in shallow waters around Florida, the Caribbean and Micronesia, is a frequent nuisance to snorkelers and surfers who appear to get stung without touching the creatures. It was thought that the stings came from detached tentacles […]

In Norway, bottles made of plastic are still fantastic

By Pierre-Henry DESHAYES Agence France-Presse FETSUND, Norway (AFP) — One at a time, the elderly lady places her empties into the gaping hole of a machine at the entrance to an Oslo supermarket. With a well-functioning deposit system, Norway recycles almost all of its plastic bottles. “You have to get rid of them, so you may as well do it intelligently,” says the woman in her 70s, as the machine spits out a bar-code ticket that […]

EU chief pleads to save green deal in budget holed by Brexit

By Marc BURLEIGH Agence France-Presse STRASBOURG, France (AFP) — European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen pleaded Wednesday to save her signature “green deal” in the longterm EU budget that has been left short by Brexit. “If we do not set aside the funds… we will simply fail to achieve a climate neutral Europe” by 2050 as planned, she told the European Parliament. Her warning was laid down a week before an extraordinary EU summit in […]

BMW aims to slash CO2 output by 20% in 2020

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) — German high-end carmaker BMW aims to slash the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by its cars sold in Europe this year by 20 percent, its chief executive said Wednesday. The pledge comes as new European Union regulations bite this year, requiring carmakers to sharply reduce fleet-wide emissions on pain of massive fines. “We will achieve an improvement of 20 percent in Europe this year alone” compared with 2019, CEO […]

Air pollution costs $2.9 trillion a year: NGO

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — The global cost of air pollution caused by fossil fuels is $8 billion a day, or roughly 3.3 percent of the entire world’s economic output, an environmental research group said on Wednesday. The report from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Greenpeace Southeast Asia is the first to assess the global cost of air pollution specifically from burning oil, gas and coal. “We […]