Breaking Waves: Ocean News

04/14/2024 - 09:00
Indigenous groups see hope in the environmentally friendly process of bioremediation. But will cities pay attention? It almost looked like a garden. In Taylor Yard, a former railyard near downtown Los Angeles, volunteers knelt down to tend to scrubby plants growing in neat rows under the sweltering sun. But beneath the concrete of the 60-acre site overlooking the Los Angeles River, the soils were soaked with an assortment of hazardous heavy metals and petrochemicals like lead, cadmium, diesel, and benzene. As the volunteers worked to dig up entire plants for closer study – some with roots nearly 12ft deep – they wore protective gear and carefully avoided inhaling or touching the toxic soil. Even a brief exposure to the contaminants could cause serious health consequences. Continue reading...
04/14/2024 - 08:00
Hairy-nosed otters and cats that catch fish are among the startling diversity of creatures making their home in threatened habitats One of the most comprehensive biodiversity surveys ever carried out in a mangrove forest has revealed that an astonishing array of wildlife makes its home in these key, threatened habitats. Hundreds of species – from bats to birds and fish to insects – were identified during the study of the Peam Krasop sanctuary and the adjacent Koh Kapik Ramsar reserve in Cambodia. Hairy-nosed otters, smooth-coated otters, large-spotted civets, long-tailed macaques and fishing cats, as well a wide range of bat species, were among the residents recorded by the survey, which was funded by the conservation group Fauna & Flora International. The variety of wildlife has staggered biologists. Continue reading...
04/14/2024 - 05:00
Paris agreement negotiator Todd Stern attacks premiers who say that decarbonisation programmes are unrealistic and should be slowed down Political leaders who present themselves as “grownups” while slowing the pace of climate action are pushing the world towards deeper catastrophe, a former US climate chief has warned. “We are slowed down by those who think of themselves as grownups and believe decarbonisation at the speed the climate community calls for is unrealistic,” said Todd Stern, who served as a special envoy for climate change under Barack Obama, and helped negotiate the 2015 Paris agreement. Continue reading...
04/14/2024 - 05:00
Amy Westervelt and Kyle Pope have covered climate disinformation for a combined 20-plus years – here’s their guide on how to decode it Increasingly sophisticated and better-funded disinformation is making climate coverage trickier both for journalists to produce and for the public to fully understand and trust. But telling the story, and understanding it, has never been more urgent with half of Earth’s population eligible to vote in elections that could decisively impact the world’s ability to act in time to stave off the worst of the climate crisis. Continue reading...
04/14/2024 - 04:00
The tree all but vanished in the 1970s. Now, thanks to two amateur nature lovers, it may soon grace our landscapes again Constable painted them. Shakespeare wrote of them. And Francis Drake sailed the world in a ship made from them. English elms were a mainstay of England’s landscape and culture – until they all but disappeared to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Since that devastation, when 25m elms were felled, enthusiasts and academics have searched for varieties resistant to the fungus spread by Scolytus beetles that kills the trees. Continue reading...
04/14/2024 - 00:13
Treasurer offers more detail on forthcoming Future Made in Australia plan after concerns raised by productivity commissioner Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast Tax breaks and subsidies may be offered to industry as part of the government’s yet-to-be-detailed Future Made in Australia plan – but Jim Chalmers says there will be “strict tests” on public funding for the green energy strategy. The treasurer says there must be “generational change” in Australia to match similar major green economy programs being undertaken by other nations including the US. Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup Continue reading...
04/13/2024 - 08:42
The marine mammals are increasingly endangered as warmer waters push them into ship traffic and fishing gear A North Atlantic right whale has been spotted entangled in rope off New England, worsening an already devastating year for the vanishing animals, federal authorities said. Right whales number less than 360 and are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with ships. The entangled whale was seen on Wednesday about 50 miles (80km) south of Rhode Island’s Block Island, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. Continue reading...
04/13/2024 - 01:00
Bulldozed tracks and informal byways in tropical forests and palm-oil plantations ‘almost always’ an indicator of future deforestation, say researchers A vast network of undocumented “ghost roads” is pushing into the world’s untouched rainforests and driving their destruction in the Asia-Pacific region, a new study has found. By using Google Earth to map tropical forests on Borneo, Sumatra and New Guinea islands, researchers from James Cook University in Australia documented 1.37 m kilometres (850,000 miles) of roads across 1.4m sq kilometres of rainforest on the islands – between three and seven times what is officially recorded on road databases. Continue reading...
04/12/2024 - 23:00
Decision by European court of human rights around vulnerability of older women to heatwaves marks significant shift A landmark legal ruling at the European court of human rights could open the floodgates for a slew of new court cases around the world, experts have said. The Strasbourg-based court said earlier this week that Switzerland’s failure to do enough to cut its national greenhouse gas emissions was a clear violation of the human rights of a group of more than 2,000 older Swiss women. The women argued successfully that their rights to privacy and family life were being breached because they were particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of heatwaves. Continue reading...
04/12/2024 - 19:00
Alliance says there’s not enough ambition in proposed laws to prevent extinctions, as promised by the environment minister Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast The Albanese government is backing away from a promise to substantially transform how nature is protected in Australia and is planning some changes that would make things worse, according to eight of the country’s top environment groups. The conservation organisations said they were concerned the government planned to break up promised legislation for new environmental laws and defer some difficult reforms until after the next election, if it wins a second term. Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup Include a “call-in” power that allowed the minister to take over a decision from a proposed environment protection agency (EPA) “at any time and for any reason”. Allow developers to make payments to a new “restoration contributions” fund to compensate for damage their projects caused to the environment. This would remove a requirement that environmental offsets provide a “like-for-like” replacement for ecosystems or species affected by a development. Fail to give the new EPA the “teeth” it needed to be an independent and effective environmental regulator. Continue reading...