The climate crisis is set to profoundly alter the world around us. Humans will not be the only species to suffer from the calamity. Huge waves of die-offs will be triggered across the animal kingdom as coral reefs turn ghostly white and tropical rainforests collapse. For a period, some researchers suspected that insects may be less affected, or at least more adaptable, than mammals, birds and other groups of creatures. With their large, elastic populations and their defiance of previous mass extinction events, surely insects will do better than most in the teeth of the climate emergency?

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Half the little penguin chicks from this year’s breeding season on Penguin Island in Western Australia have died, as the colony dwindles and researchers accuse the state government of failing to act.

It is thought up to 20 chicks, which represented 10% of the colony, were lost after New Year’s Day when their parents were unable to feed them, resulting in the worst breeding season since 2011.

A recent investigation of the California drift gill net swordfishery has revealed a stark discrepancy between fishers’ self-reported accounts of by-catch rates and independently verified figures. Though the examination is of just one fishery, the finding casts doubt on the value of commercial fishers’ self-reporting.

In the new report, based on data garnered through a public records request to the US National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists with the environmental nonprofit Oceana show that while independent observers assigned to monitor California drift gill net swordfishing boats reported 292 entangled marine mammals and four sea turtles between 2001 and 2018, fishers working other boats in that same fishery claimed to have caught fewer than 30 marine mammals and zero sea turtles over the same period.

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Jan 10

The irony is, the rush to “go green” carries with it the simple fact that the mining of this stuff is anything but. Yet because Western countries like Canada and the US haven’t bothered to develop their own mine to electric vehicle, or mine to renewable energy plant supply chains, they are dependent on imports. EVs and solar/wind sound green, but how green are they when the materials are being imported from places like Indonesia, which allows tailings to be dumped into the sea, and the extremely polluting HPAL method of separating laterite nickel into the end product used in batteries?

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A new, Yale-led study suggests the 21st century will see an expansion of hurricanes and typhoons into mid-latitude regions, which includes major cities such as New York, Boston, Beijing, and Tokyo.

Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the study’s authors said tropical cyclones—hurricanes and typhoons—could migrate northward and southward in their respective hemispheres, as the planet warms as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. 2020’s subtropical storm Alpha, the first tropical cyclone observed making landfall in Portugal, and this year’s Hurricane Henri, which made landfall in Connecticut, may be harbingers of such storms.

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  • Camera traps have confirmed suspicions that mona monkeys are eating the eggs of the critically- endangered Príncipe thrush.

  • The monkeys and several other invasive species were brought to the then-uninhabited islands of Príncipe and São Tomé by Portuguese sailors beginning in the 15th century.

  • Conservation authorities are considering allowing hunting of the monkeys in Príncipe Natural Park to reduce their numbers, but further research to understand their place in the ecology is needed.

  • A new report using core samples taken from the seabed has determined that the Humboldt Current system off the coast of Peru was home to smaller fish during the last interglacial period, 130,000 years ago.

  • The conditions back then — with little oxygen content in the ocean and temperatures about 2°C (3.6°F) warmer than the average temperature in the current Holocene epoch — mirror those that scientists have predicted for 2100.

  • While many studies have argued that warmer water and lower oxygen lead to smaller fish, the added pressure of industrial fishing has made it difficult to determine the threat that climate change will pose on fisheries.

  • The Humboldt Current system is one of the most productive fisheries in the world, contributing to more than 15% of the global annual fish catch, so significant changes to this system will threaten food security.

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  • Indonesia’s leading forestry university is making the case for oil palms to be classified as a forest crop — a move that would see existing plantations counted as forest, and the establishment of new ones as reforestation.

  • The proposal from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) also argues that oil palm plantations should count toward Indonesia’s carbon sequestration goals, despite studies pointing out that clearing rainforest for oil palms leads to vast amounts of emissions

  • The move has been criticized by other academics and NGOs, who say it could pave the way for the unfettered clearing of Indonesia’s remaining forests.

  • They also say that, if accepted by the government, the plan would legitimize the oil palm plantations currently operating illegally inside forest areas.

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Our reliance on fossil fuels is harming marine ecosystems—but the platforms we use to extract oil are giving marine life new homes.

Dec 31, 2021

  • 2021 was a year where tropical forests featured more prominently in global headlines than normal thanks to rising recognition of the role they play in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

  • Despite speculation in the early months of the pandemic that slowing economic activity might diminish forest clearing, loss of both primary forests and tree cover in the tropics accelerated between 2019 and 2020. We don’t yet know how much forest was cut down in 2021, but early indications like rising deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon suggest that forest loss will be on the high end of the range from the past decade.

  • The following is a look at some of the major tropical rainforest storylines from 2021. It is not an exhaustive review.

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Dec 31, 2021

  • Volunteers cleaning up after the sinking of the X-Press Pearl in Sri Lanka say they’ve encountered a lot of burnt nurdles, the basic building block of plastic products, during the initial stages of the cleanup operation.

  • A newly published paper highlights how burnt nurdles complicate the environmental challenges — making cleanup operations harder and much more complex, besides proving highly detrimental to marine life.

  • The Sri Lankan government has called on the international community to enact new regulations in shipping transportation, landing and loading in order to reduce the risk of accidents like the X-Press Pearl disaster.

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Dec 27, 2021

  • Ankarafantsika National Park protects an oasis of dry forest in northern Madagascar, providing vital habitat to critically endangered lemurs and other wildlife.

  • In September and October, fires raged across the southern portion of the park, burning more than 40 square kilometers (15 square miles).

  • While fire is a natural part of Ankarafantsika’s ecosystems, researchers say fire on this scale is “unprecedented” and amounting to a “conservation crisis.”

  • The fires are also drying out the landscape and reducing neighboring communities’ crop yields, which conservationists warn could have knock-on effects for nearby forests as people turn to natural resources to survive.

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Dec 25, 2021

The area right next to a marine protected area is a prime fishing spot—and researchers think fishermen will pay to access it.

Dec 19, 2021

A new estimate puts the cost of adapting and repairing coastal infrastructure damaged by climate change in the United States at hundreds of billions annually. The sooner adaptation planning begins, the less expensive it will be.

Dec 17, 2021

In the early 2010s, garbage started falling out of the sand dunes in Lingreville, France. Beset by chronic coastal erosion, a long-forgotten landfill was spewing its rotten trove into the ocean. In 2016, a powerful storm dug into the site. The next year, cleanup crews stripped 14,000 cubic meters of sand mixed with waste—including asbestos—from the site. Now, researchers are warning that coastal communities around the world are set to face the same fate, with destabilized landfills on the verge of releasing large amounts of waste into the ocean.

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Dec 17, 2021

In the decade since the record-breaking use of oil dispersants in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, science shows they’re dangerous, potentially deadly, and rarely useful. A new court case is forcing the US EPA to reconsider their use.

Dec 14, 2021

Not surprisingly, given the myriad environmental threats they are facing, bird numbers continue to decline rapidly today across North America and beyond. Researchers at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology and Canada’s National Wildlife Research Centre found in a 2019 analysis that wild bird populations in the continental U.S. and Canada have declined by 29 percent—or a total net loss of around three billion birds—since 1970. Their landmark study is the first ever to perform a comprehensive assessment of wild bird net population changes across the continent.

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Dec 9, 2021

The only reliable snowy owl breeding site in the United States has a conspicuous shortage of owls.

Dec 5, 2021

“See this?” Paul Lynch, an affable middle-aged lawyer, asks the schoolkids gathered around him. He holds up a baseball-sized rock—a polymetallic nodule, so called because it contains multiple metals, among them cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, and rare earth elements. The nodule formed about five kilometers below the surface of the sea, where the pressure is intense enough to crack steel. This nodule, and others like it, grew as dissolved metals in the seawater arranged themselves around a nucleus at a rate of one to 10 millimeters per million years.

“This is our oil,” Lynch says. His eyebrows are raised, excited. “This is gonna make us rich. Like how oil made Saudi Arabia rich.”

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Environment

A community for discussions about the environment, and humanity's effects on climate change.

Created on Sep 18, 2020
By @gurlic