Tagged With environment

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Floridians were spared the brunt of Hurricane Irma's destructive power last week, when the storm instead took direct aim at some of the most pristine sections of the Everglades. Early reports from scientists suggest that these ecosystems saw serious damage, and could face a long road to recovery.

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In what would be a world first, the government of President Emmanuel Macron wants to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production in France and its overseas territories by 2040. Sounds dramatic, but the EU nation has very little to lose as it sets its sights on a greener future.

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In 1989, amidst mounting scientific evidence, dozens of nations joined forces to sign a treaty aimed at halting the expansion of a massive hole in Earth's ozone layer. Nearly 30 years later, the Montreal Protocol has done just that. But it has also done something its architects never intended. It has become one of America's most effective tools in the fight against climate change.

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Sea snakes are a striking sight on the sun-dappled Pacific and Indian Ocean coral reefs they call home. They swim with deliberate, yet graceful winding movements above the reef, and they are often conspicuously-coloured, with many species sporting patterns flush with yellows, oranges and blues, broken up by stripes, blotches and spots. This scaly skin, delicately painted by evolution, is part of what makes encounters with them so memorable. However, one species of sea snake — the turtle-headed sea snake (Emydocephalus annulatus) — is losing its captivating stripes. The culprit behind this robbery? Pollution.

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A US company has sold nearly five tonnes of genetically-engineered Atlantic salmon fillets in Canada, marking the world's first sale of GM fish for human consumption. Sceptics of the futuristic food are crying foul, citing ecological and health concerns, but government scientists say folks eating the modified fish have nothing to worry about.

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It looks like President Donald Trump might get his stupid wall after all. Last week, the House approved a $US1.6 billion ($2 billion) spending bill that funds the construction of a "contiguous and impassable wall" along the Mexican border, and just yesterday the Department of Homeland security issued an environmental waiver to expedite border construction projects in the San Diego area. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan expressed his support via a tweet and a video, saying, "It is time for The Wall."

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It's a well-worn fact that our round Earth is warming, and that human carbon emissions are the cause. What's less well-known is how much warming we've already committed our planet to in the future. A new study crunched some numbers and came to an alarming answer — but other experts are already criticising its approach, reminding us that the course of climate change remains incredibly tough to predict.

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Well, a few of us, anyway.

If we don't address climate change, deaths caused by air pollution are expected to increase by about 60,000 globally by 2030, and 260,000 by 2100, according to a new study combining global climate models — including data from Australia.

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Aardvarks (Orycteropus afer) are probably the most endearingly doofy-looking animals ever to grace the African continent. These Seussian snufflers look like someone threw an anteater, a rabbit, a pig and an armadillo into a smelter. Aardvarks have entered the consciousness of millions of children as both the first animal in any alphabetic listing, and the species ID of the titular character of the animated series Arthur. This all makes findings in a new paper published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters particularly hard to hear: Climate change may kill off large numbers of aardvarks, to the point of regional extinction (or "extirpation") in many areas.

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There's no doubt that if we're going to stop or even slow down climate change, we have to get our collective crap together. But collective action starts with individual choices, and for all the data-driven decision makers out there, the path forward just got a bit more lucid. A new study in Environmental Research Letters has determined exactly which life choices reduce our carbon footprints the most.

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Negotiations over the wording of the final communique from the G20 meeting of the world's wealthiest nations carried on late into Saturday morning. The sticking point? Disagreements over the US's preferred phrasing for the group's position on climate change and renewable energy. Bafflingly, the US wanted to state that it will help other nations with access to fossil fuels.

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From 1347 to 1351, a nightmare disease ravaged Europe, afflicting victims with putrid black boils, fevers, vomiting, and in short order, death. Daily life ground to a halt as the Black Death spread along medieval trade routes, claiming an estimated 20 million lives with ruthless efficiency. Now, a team of researchers is asserting that the plague had an unexpected impact: Clearing the air of a toxic pollutant for the first time in over a thousand years.

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Like that painful hangnail you've been eyeing for days — except billions of times larger, made of ice not keratin, and studied by dozens of scientists worldwide — a Delaware-sized glacier along Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf is hanging by a thread, poised to break off into the ocean any day now.