Breaking Waves: Ocean News

05/18/2021 - 01:00
Many swifts flying back to Britain will find their summer nests lost to building renovations. But bird bricks are offering them an alternative home Eagerly anticipated by many, it is a thrilling moment when you first hear the distinctive screech or catch sight of the long, tapered wings of the first swifts arriving for the summer. For thousands of years they have looped to the British Isles from Africa to raise the next generation, taking advantage of the long daylight hours in the north and the opportunity to scour the skies for insects from dawn to dusk. Since they left Britain’s shores in August last year, these remarkable birds will have flown some 14,000 miles without stopping; feeding, sleeping, drinking and preening themselves on the wing. The birds returning now are likely to be at least four years old – the breeders. They head straight back to their nesting holes under eaves or gaps in stone and brickwork that they claimed and defended last summer. Within a few days their mate will arrive and, having spent nine months living independently, they will start to preen each other’s feathers within the nesting hole, crooning softly and bonding once again. Continue reading...
05/18/2021 - 00:29
Agriculture minister says Australia will be the first to reward farmers for reducing emissions and improving biodiversity on their land The agriculture minister, David Littleproud, has declared Australian business is “hungry” to pay farmers to protect biodiversity under a “world-first” scheme designed to reward environmental improvements alongside emissions reduction. Last week’s federal budget included funding for a multi-stage agriculture biodiversity stewardship package that aims to make it attractive for farmers to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lift biodiversity protection on their land. Continue reading...
05/18/2021 - 00:00
Funding for restoration of peatlands and tripling of tree planting in England also announced Sales of peat compost to gardeners will be banned from 2024, the government has said. Ministers will also give £50m to support the restoration of 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025, about 1% of the UK’s total. The UK’s peatlands store three times as much carbon as its forests. But the vast majority are in a degraded state, and are emitting CO2, which drives the climate crisis. Continue reading...
05/18/2021 - 00:00
Governments must close gap between net zero rhetoric and reality, says International Energy Agency head Exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations can be built if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the world’s leading energy organisation has said. In its strongest warning yet on the need to drastically scale back fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) also called for no new fossil-fuel cars to be sold beyond 2035, and for global investment in energy to more than double from $2tn (£1.42tn) a year to $5tn (£3.54tn) The result would not be an economic burden, as some have claimed, but a net benefit to the economy. Continue reading...
05/17/2021 - 20:34
Audit underlines role renewables are playing in making coal-fired power unprofitable, expert says Pressure on the national electricity grid at the peak of last summer’s heat fell to its lowest level in five years due to the rising influence of household solar panels, a new analysis has found. Summer is usually the time of greatest strain on the electricity system due to the widespread use of energy hungry air-conditioners, but the demand on the hottest day dipped this year as more electricity came from decentralised rooftop solar systems, which sit outside the grid. Continue reading...
05/17/2021 - 19:00
Plastic Waste Makers index identifies those driving climate crisis with virgin polymer production Twenty companies are responsible for producing more than half of all the single-use plastic waste in the world, fuelling the climate crisis and creating an environmental catastrophe, new research reveals. Among the global businesses responsible for 55% of the world’s plastic packaging waste are both state-owned and multinational corporations, including oil and gas giants and chemical companies, according to a comprehensive new analysis. Continue reading...
05/17/2021 - 18:01
Thinktank says new strategy needed in face of Covid, Brexit, net zero, automation and demographic change Britain risks mirroring Italy’s economic woes unless it develops a strategy for tackling the five seismic changes that will shape a decisive decade for the country, a report has warned. A joint project by the Resolution Foundation thinktank and the London School of Economics said the UK was neither used to nor prepared for the challenges posed by the aftermath of Covid-19, Brexit, the net zero transition, automation and a changing population. Continue reading...
05/17/2021 - 14:06
Protest over proposed petrochemical complex in Louisiana is part of 400-mile march led by youth climate group Sunrise Movement On Monday, groups of climate activists protested against a proposed petrochemical complex an hour away from New Orleans, Louisiana, calling on the Biden administration to revoke the plastics company’s federal permit to start construction. The demonstration is part of a 400-mile march led by the youth climate group Sunrise Movement, which began last week and traces the path of environmental disasters in the Gulf coast from New Orleans to Houston. Roughly 20 participants are on the trek as part of the group’s “Generation on Fire” campaign. Continue reading...
05/17/2021 - 14:00
Scientists say ice equivalent to 1-2 metres of sea level rise is probably already doomed to melt A significant part of the Greenland ice sheet is on the brink of a tipping point, after which accelerated melting would become inevitable even if global heating was halted, according to new research. Rising temperatures caused by the climate crisis have already seen trillions of tonnes of Greenland’s ice pour into the ocean. Melting its ice sheet completely would eventually raise global sea level by 7 metres. Continue reading...
05/17/2021 - 14:00
University of NSW study suggests six times as many individual birds as humans but that many species are very rare There are about 50 billion individual birds in the world, according to new research that uses citizen science observations to try to estimate population numbers for almost 10,000 species. The paper, led by scientists at the University of New South Wales, suggests there are about six times as many birds on the planet as humans – but that many individual species are very rare. Continue reading...