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Environment

Amazon fires show world heading for point of no return, says UN

The Guardian reports: The fires in the Amazon are “extraordinarily concerning” for the planet’s natural life support systems, the head of the UN’s top biodiversity body has said in a call for countries, companies and consumers to build a new relationship with nature. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said the destruction of the world’s biggest rainforest was a grim reminder that a

EPA to remove regulations on methane, a potent greenhouse gas

The New York Times reports: The Trump administration laid out on Thursday a far-reaching plan to cut back on the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency, in its proposed rule, aims to eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. It will also reopen the question of whether

Trump pushes for new logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

The Washington Post reports: President Trump has instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions imposed nearly 20 years ago, according to three people briefed on the issue, after privately discussing the matter with the state’s governor aboard Air Force One. The move would affect more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, opening it to potential logging, energy and mining

Trump’s trade war tied to Amazon rainforest destruction

HuffPost reports: As unsold U.S. soybeans are stored in silos across the farm belt, Brazilian farmers and corporations scramble to satisfy the voracious Chinese market. The push to break new ground amid President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is putting increasing pressure on the Amazon rainforest and is likely linked to the region’s devastating fires, according to experts. “There is concern that market pressures related to the disruptions in

A top financier of Trump and McConnell is a driving force behind Amazon deforestation

The Intercept reports: Two Brazilian firms owned by a top donor to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are significantly responsible for the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, carnage that has developed into raging fires that have captivated global attention. The companies have wrested control of land, deforested it, and helped build a controversial highway to their new terminal in the one-time jungle, all to facilitate

Bolsonaro ‘most detested’ leader as he neglects the Amazon, says Brazil’s former environment minister

The Guardian reports: Jair Bolsonaro’s neglect of the Amazon has made him “the most despised and detested leader” on earth, Brazil’s former environment minister has claimed, as the far-right leader again rebuked French president Emmanuel Macron for challenging his environmental record. Rubens Ricupero warned Bolsonaro was wreaking havoc on both Brazil’s environment and its global standing, as Bolsonaro used Facebook to scold Macron’s “inappropriate and gratuitous attacks” over the Amazon

The Amazon is burning because the world eats so much meat

CNN reports: While the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest may constitute an “international crisis,” they are hardly an accident. The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s populist pro-business president, who is backed by the country’s so-called “beef caucus.” While this may be business as usual for Brazil’s

Global leaders urged to divert Brazilian government from ‘suicide’ path as Amazonian rainforest burns

The Guardian reports: International pressure may be the only way to stop the Brazilian government from taking a “suicide” path in the Amazon, one of the country’s most respected scientists has said, as the world’s biggest rainforest continues to be ravaged by thousands of deliberate fires. The large number of conflagrations – set illegally to clear and prepare land for crops, cattle and property speculation – has prompted the state

Climate change may change the way ocean waves impact 50% of the world’s coastlines

By Mark Hemer, CSIRO; Ian Young, University of Melbourne; Joao Morim Nascimento, Griffith University, and Nobuhito Mori, Kyoto University The rise in sea levels is not the only way climate change will affect the coasts. Our research, published today in Nature Climate Change, found a warming planet will also alter ocean waves along more than 50% of the world’s coastlines. If the climate warms by more than 2℃ beyond pre-industrial

Fires in the Amazon, the planet at risk

Tierra Curry writes: In Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is now burning at a record rate. The greedy, short-sighted policies of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro are jeopardizing indigenous peoples and countless plants and animals. Indeed, in the midst of a climate emergency, Bolsonaro’s policies to slash environmental protections and develop the Amazon for mining, ranching and farming jeopardize the future of life on Earth as we know it. North America

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate, research center says

CNN reports: Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and scientists warn that it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change. The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (known by the abbreviation INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday. There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil

How the auto industry is challenging Trump’s effort to weaken pollution regulations

The New York Times reports: The White House, blindsided by a pact between California and four automakers to oppose President Trump’s auto emissions rollbacks, has mounted an effort to prevent any more companies from joining California. Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors were all summoned by a senior Trump adviser to a White House meeting last month where he pressed them to stand by the president’s own initiative, according to

Amazon deforestation and Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s attack on science

Doug Boucher writes: Science is always a potential threat to authoritarian rulers, because it uncovers truths that contradict their lies. Recently we’ve seen a dramatic example of this conflict in Brazil, where the director of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has been fired by the country’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro, for releasing data showing a substantial increase in Amazon deforestation. INPE has been providing the world with measurements

Huge wildfires in the Arctic and far North send a planetary warning

Smoke from wildfires in Siberia drifts east toward Canada and the U.S. on July 30, 2019. NASA By Nancy Fresco, University of Alaska Fairbanks The planet’s far North is burning. This summer, over 600 wildfires have consumed more than 2.4 million acres of forest across Alaska. Fires are also raging in northern Canada. In Siberia, choking smoke from 13 million acres – an area nearly the size of West Virginia

Nations gather to tackle the world’s sixth mass extinction

The Guardian reports: From giraffes to sharks, the world’s endangered species could gain better protection at an international wildlife conference. The triennial summit of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), that began on Saturday, will tackle disputes over the conservation of great beasts such as elephants and rhinos, as well as cracking down on the exploitation of unheralded but vital species such as sea cucumbers, which clean ocean

The latest threat to endangered species: The Trump administration

Carl Safina writes: Endangered species come on lists. But lists obscure relationships. What can it mean that a few mussels, some snails we’ve never heard of, obscure crayfish in marginal headwaters and some island-confined songbirds are vanishing? Some 1,650 species of animals and plants in the United States are listed under federal law as endangered or threatened. But when they are reduced to a line item on a list, their