Breaking Waves: Ocean News

09/05/2015 - 00:11
The town’s 7,400 residents are allowed to return to their homes after the four-year-old evacuation order was lifted on Saturday Related: Japan restarts first nuclear reactor since Fukushima disaster The Japanese town of Naraha has lifted a 2011 evacuation order that sent all its 7,400 residents away after the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled by a tsunami that led to a meltdown and contamination. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 23:59
Almost a decade after banning the veterinary drug diclofenac, the Indian government has banned large vials of the drug meant for human use The government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare finally issued a directive banning multi-dose vials of the non-steroidal pain-killer diclofenac in the last week of August. For a decade, numbers of three species of vultures had been in a precipitous decline throughout the subcontinent. Millions of white-backed vultures shrank in number by 99.9% reduced to a mere 11,000 by the early 2000s. Populations of two other species – long-billed vulture and slender-billed vulture – dropped by 97%. All three are listed as critically endangered in the IUCN’s Red List.  Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 23:30
Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire Thunderous and dark, it’s one of those places where the forces of landscape are gathered into fearsome expression The lane from Ffarmers descends to the afon Cothi and turns sharply north-east towards Rhandirmwyn. Every verge, every marshy field corner hereabouts billows with creamy blossom of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). The air is heavy with its honeyed astringency – the defining smell of summer and Wales, lingering into autumn, carrying a powerful synaesthetic charge. Salicylic acid was first identified from meadowsweet root, and synthesised as aspirin in 1897. Far back beyond that date, the plant’s alternative name – meadwort – suggests its old usage. Traces of it have been found at beaker burials, in bronze age tombs. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 23:00
Taking a cue from pope’s call to action, bishops ask wary legislators to say yes to proposed legislation that would reduce emissions and residents’ energy use Citing Pope Francis’s recent encyclical on the environment, leaders of the Catholic church in California spoke out this week to encourage wavering lawmakers to vote in favor of proposed sweeping climate change legislation that is struggling for passage in the final days of this session of the California legislature. Speaking about SB 350, a bill that would reduce petroleum emissions by 50% in coming years along with restrictions on other kinds of energy use, Bishop Jaime Soto of the Sacramento diocese urged tentative lawmakers “to really think about the future of California and the future of Californians and what is the legacy we want to leave them. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 12:21
‘I think we should all be concerned’ says special representative for the region Robert Papp amid fears that warming effects will lead to scramble for resources Climate change is exerting “really scary” impacts on the Arctic with far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world, Barack Obama’s envoy for the region said on Friday. Those changes, from melting sea ice to thawing permafrost and more frequent and severe storms, were leading the US and other countries to step up their presence in the remote and mineral-rich region, said Admiral Robert Papp, the State Department special representative for the Arctic. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 12:08
The Conservative government’s fortress-style border policies at home and its wars abroad are a lethal contribution to a global refugee crisis Undeserving people exploiting the generosity of a benevolent government. Cheating an application process. Taking advantage of welfare. Stealing our jobs. That is the image of “bogus refugees” that Canada’s Conservative government has spent years carefully cultivating. But a single photo of a drowned child has shattered all the stories meant to harden Canadians. 3-year old Alan Kurdi’s fate off Turkey’s shore has seared the reality of a refugee crisis into our consciousness and left Canadians stunned about our complicity in the death of a child. Those now putting Canada’s refugee policies under scrutiny will realize that this much else is clear: the Harper government has more than one refugee’s death on its hands. It is not simply that Alan Kurdi’s family’s attempt to reach Canada was dismissed by the government. Nor that Canada’s Immigration Minister ignored a hand-delivered plea. Under the Harper government’s overhaul of the immigration and refugee system, those fleeing war, poverty or persecution arrive not to a haven but a hazard. Never has this country been more unkind and unwelcoming. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 11:50
Solar trade body chief claims energy secretary Amber Rudd told him the impact on jobs was not part of the consultation The potential loss of thousands of jobs will not be a factor when the government decides whether to implement its proposed heavy cuts to solar power subsidies, according to the chairman of a solar trade body who met energy secretary Amber Rudd on Wednesday. By contrast, recent government announcements on North Sea gas field development and the fast-tracking of shale gas exploration have highlighted the potential jobs created. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 10:51
Fishing leopards of Botswana, brown bears of Belarus and wildbeests of Masai Mara are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 10:33
Act now to remove roadblocks and lay the groundwork for Paris climate deal, say experts including Kofi Anan as Bonn talks stumble World leaders must step into the ongoing UN climate change negotiations, to remove roadblocks and ensure their negotiating teams can lay the groundwork for an agreement at landmark talk in December, an influential group of former leaders has urged. Continue reading...
09/04/2015 - 09:40
Tory supporters more in favour of wind than shale, despite Conservatives moving to curb onshore windfarms and encourage fracking for shale gas People would much rather have wind turbines near their house than fracking wells, a survey suggests. Asked if they would prefer a wind turbine erected or a shale gas well drilled near their home, 65% of more than 2,000 people polled favoured the turbine, with just 14% backing the shale gas operation. Continue reading...