Environment

Dormant “zombie fires” scattered across the Arctic region – remnants of record blazes last year – may be coming to life after an unusually warm and dry spring, scientists warned Wednesday. “We have seen satellite observations of active fires that hint that ‘zombie’ fires might have reignited,” said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist and wildfire expert at
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Some of our weirdest and most wonderful species are likely next in line for the sixth mass extinction during the current human-fuelled crisis. From butt-breathing, punk-haired Mary River turtles (Elusor macrurus) to big-eyed aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) with their strange extra thumbs, our activities are decimating many remarkable living beings. “These are some of the most incredible
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Ocean heatwaves cause vast coral bleaching events almost every year due to climate change, threatening reefs around the world. The high water temperatures stress reef building corals, causing them to eject the photosynthetic algae that reside in their tissue. Losing these brownish-coloured plant cells lets the coral’s white limestone skeleton shine through, turning reefs ghostly
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An environmental silver lining is emerging amid the coronavirus pandemic: Many people have stopped flying and aren’t driving to work, leading to a drastic drop in carbon emissions. A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that global carbon emissions per day in April were 17 percent lower than the average daily emissions
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The next pandemic could come from the Amazon rainforest, warns Brazilian ecologist David Lapola, who says human encroachment on animals’ habitats – a likely culprit in the coronavirus outbreak – is soaring there because of rampant deforestation. Researchers say the urbanization of once-wild areas contributes to the emergence of zoonotic diseases – those that pass
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Renewable energy could power an economic recovery from COVID-19 by spurring global GDP gains of almost US$100 trillion (£80 trillion) between now and 2050, according to a report. The International Renewable Energy Agency found that accelerating investment in renewable energy could generate huge economic benefits while helping to tackle the global climate emergency. The agency’s
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Americans love their cars – their gas-guzzling, air-polluting, smog-producing cars. Although the vast majority agree that if we all drove electric vehicles we could reduce oil consumption and pollution, only a third would consider buying one anytime soon. Far fewer are actually making the switch. The adoption of all-electric and plug-in hybrids has been steadily
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An ambitious “cloud brightening” experiment has been carried out over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in an early-stage trial that scientists hope could become a futuristic way to protect coral from global warming. In an attempt to cool waters around the reef by making clouds reflect more sunlight, researchers said they used a boat-mounted fan similar
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Hundreds of firefighters on Monday battled a forest blaze in Ukraine’s Chernobyl exclusion zone while officials insisted there was no risk to the ruined reactor and nearby storage facilities for nuclear waste. “There is no threat to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the storage facilities,” Volodymyr Demchuk, a senior official from Ukraine’s emergency service,
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Flights are grounded. Fewer trains are running. Rush hour is gone. The world – particularly in cities – is looking drastically different during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to seismologists, that drastic reduction in human hustle and bustle is causing the Earth to move substantially less. The planet is ‘standing still’. Thomas Lecocq, a geologist
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If you’re not familiar with UN Sustainable Development Goal number 14, its aim is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” – and scientists just put together a 30-year plan to achieve that. Despite rapid warming, increasing acidification, plastic pollution, growing dead zones and other environmental concerns that humankind
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While the world rightfully focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record. Our research, published today in Global Change Biology, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the
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The ozone layer above Antarctica has recovered so much, it’s actually stopped many worrying changes in the Southern Hemisphere’s atmosphere. If you’re looking for someone to thank, try the world at large. A new study suggests the Montreal Protocol – the 1987 agreement to stop producing ozone depleting substances (ODSs) – could be responsible for
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