Sunday, 31 January 2016

South Africa Bans Leopard Hunts in 2016

Conservationists in South Africa are celebrating after the government announced a moratorium on leopard hunts in 2016. The Department of Environmental Affairs stressed that the ban only extended for one year – and will be reconsidered after studies on leopard populations were undertaken. Yet for many, this shows a positive step in the direction of stopping or limiting trophy hunting in Southern Africa.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Sea-level rise underestimated - study

The amount of sea-level rise that comes from the oceans warming and expanding has been underestimated, and is likely about twice as much as previously calculated, German researchers said yesterday.

The findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed United States journal, suggest that increasingly severe storm surges could be anticipated as a result.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Antarctic climate riddle could be solved by Kiwis

Want to hear something encouraging about climate change?

How about the reassuring fact that of total carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, about half gets re-absorbed by plants and seawater.

And it also seems positive that we New Zealanders have, "The Prince of all natural Carbon Sinks", right in our backyard.

This is the mysterious natural climate engine, located deep down in the Southern Ocean, which is called the "Antarctic Convergence".

Monday, 25 January 2016

Oceans' plastic rubbish forecast to outweigh fish by 2050

Oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 unless the world takes radical action to stop rubbish leaking into the seas, a major new report has warned.

At least 8 million tonnes of plastic already ends up in the ocean every year - the equivalent of a rubbish truck of waste every minute, according to the report from the World Economic Forum.

The rate of plastic pollution is only expected to increase as more and more plastic is used globally, especially in emerging economies with weaker waste and recycling regimes.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

'A picture of the future of climate change' - Bolivia's second-largest lake evaporates

Lake Poopo was officially declared evaporated last month. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have lost their livelihoods and gone.

High on Bolivia's semi-arid Andean plains at 3700 metres (more than 12,000 feet) and long subject to climatic whims, the shallow saline lake has essentially dried up before only to rebound to twice the area of Los Angeles.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Air pollution now a major killer

From Kabul in Afghanistan to Hong Kong and Shijiazhuang in China, and from Lima to Sao Paulo in Latin America, people are increasingly suffering in severe toxic smogs - leaving hospitals and health clinics flooded with people with respiratory and heart problems.

Foul air has blanketed much of urban Asia for many weeks already in the northern winter. In Delhi, where there are nearly nine million vehicles, the high court has compared conditions to "living in a gas chamber"; Beijing and 10 other Chinese cities have issued red alert warnings; in Tehran, where mayor Mehdi Chamran says air pollution kills up to 180 people a day, the smog has been so bad that schools have been closed and sports banned.

According to the World Health Organisation, the toxic fumes of growing numbers of diesel-powered vehicles are combining with ammonia emissions from farming, wood and coal fires, tyre burning, open rubbish dumps, and dust from construction sites and brick kilns.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dive deep with a yellow-eyed penguin

A video showing the deep-diving feeding habits of a yellow-eyed penguin is a "breakthrough" for marine conservationists.

Created using a high-definition camera attached to the penguin's back, the footage shows the animal scouring the ocean floor off the Otago peninsula for food before feasting on an unlucky opalfish.

It was created by the Tawaki Project, a group studying the population decline of penguins in the lower South Island.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Clean energy expanding even when fossil fuels are cheap

The latest evidence that 2015 was a breakout year for clean energy is in, and it's particularly telling.

In a new analysis, Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that 2015 was a record year for global investment in the clean energy space, with $ 329 billion invested in wind, solar panels, biomass plants and more around the world. (The number does not include investments in large hydroelectric facilities).

That's 3 percent higher than the prior 2011 global investment record of $ 318 billion -- and most striking is that it happened in a year in which key fossil fuels -- oil, coal and natural gas -- were quite cheap.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Benefits hidden deep in ice bergs

In November of 2013, a mind-bogglingly large iceberg split off of the front of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica - one of the world's fastest flowing glaciers. 

Dubbed B31, the iceberg was "roughly the size of Singapore", according to Nasa.

At the time, the massive iceberg was mainly viewed as yet another global warming sign - after all, the melting of West Antarctica, due to warm ocean waters that are reaching glaciers like Pine Island and melting them from below, is perhaps the world's No. 1 sea-level threat.

New research, however, suggests that while global warming is probably leading to more gigantic icebergs breaking off of Antarctica (and more icebergs in general), there could be a silver lining.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Japan – The Cherry Picking Rogue Nation

Commentary by Gary Stokes, Director of Sea Shepherd Asia

Imagine a world where criminals can decide which laws they’ll obey and from which they’ll be immune to prosecution. A world where profit and national pride can take precedence over science and world consensus. It would be a pseudo-lawless place where criminal organizations could literally be above the law.

Sadly, this world is the world we live in today. The criminals are the corporations who control the governments, the same governments that sign onto international agreements, treaties, moratoriums and conventions.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Elusive narwhal babies spotted gathering at Canadian nursery

A surprise nursery of one of the world’s most elusive whales has been spotted in photographs taken from planes.

Narwhals, the single-tusked whales of the Arctic that have been dubbed the “unicorns of the sea”, are classified as “near-threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. But protecting these animals is hard, partly because we don’t know how many there are.

The animals spend about 80 per cent of their time under the water’s surface, and more than half the year in deep offshore waters below dense pack ice during the dark Arctic winter.,narwal,SaveTheArctic&utm_campaign=Polar&__surl__=IgSfj&__ots__=1452136888244&__step__=1&&__surl__=IgSf4&__ots__=1452115652099&__step__=1

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Yogurt Cups, Food Wrappers and a Shoe Found in Stomach of Dead Orca

Another whale has been found dead with plastic trash filling its stomach. This time, a 5.7-meter (about 18-foot) female orca washed up on Plettenberg Bay in South Africa, as News24 reported last week.

Marine debris is a major threat to aquatic life. This female orca was found dead in Plettenberg Bay in South Africa with her stomach filled with trash. Photo credit: Plett Hope Spot
Sadly, it appears that the whale had been struggling for some time in the surrounding waters before it was finally found stranded.