Archive | December 2015

“Lake Poopo in Bolivia, the country’s second largest, dries up completely”

Boats of fishermen are seen on the dried Lake Poopo in Bolivia. (David Mercado/Reuters)

Lake Poopo in Bolivia, the Andean nation’s formerly second largest after the famed Titicaca, has dried up entirely. With the water now gone, animals have died off in the millions, according to studies. And the local families, having lost much of their sustenance, have been forced to migrate.

“Study Shows Coral Reefs Can Be ‘Incredibly Resilient’ To Warming Events”

Coral reefs have had a tough time in the last two decades as warming temperatures, overfishing, chemical runoff, and disease have sparked massive coral die-offs. But reefs in the Indian Ocean show that substantial recovery is possible, a study released Wednesday found.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, looks at 28 reefs in the remote Chagos Archipelago, an area that lost 90 percent of its corals in 1998 after an unprecedented rise in sea temperatures. Nearly 20 years later, coral reefs there are back to optimum health, demonstrating that reefs can bounce back “rapidly” from major climate-driven disturbances.

“Decline in over three-quarters of UK butterfly species is ‘final warning’, says Chris Packham”

The endangered white admiral butterfly

More than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic declines for once common farmland species such as the Essex Skipper and small heath, according to the most authoritative annual survey of population trends.

But although common species continue to vanish from our countryside, the decline of some rarer species appears to have been arrested by last ditch conservation efforts.

“Climate deal: the pistol has fired, so why aren’t we running?”

What it requires is devoting yourself single-mindedly to the task. You don’t get to drink beer with dinner and run a three-hour marathon. You don’t get to skip training days. You go to bed early every night, because you’re bone-tired. You have to run even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.

Translated into carbon terms: you don’t get to go drilling or mining in new areas, even if you think it might make you lots of money. The Arctic will have to be completely off limits, as will the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The pre-salt formations off Brazil, and the oil off the coasts of north America too.

“Paris climate pact looks pretty but smells bad”

Between the Ice Age and pre-industrial times, global mean temperature rose by about 6°C. But earth is now warming at a fearfully faster pace, so that temperature rose by about 0.7°C in the 20th century alone.

This is why there’s cause to cheer the Paris pact – where more than 190 countries have agreed to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial level. Make no mistake, this is a very ambitious pledge for the 21st century.


“Climate Diplomats Have 940 Decisions to Make in Three Days”


With three days left in their marathon negotiating sessions and 940 decisions still to be made, envoys at the United Nations climate summit are advancing toward a deal that would limit fossil fuel pollution everywhere.

“Two Lions From BBC’s ‘Big Cat Diary’ Killed by Poison in Kenya”

A pride of eight lions made famous by the BBC’s ‘Big Cat Diary’ have been poisoned in Kenya’s Maasai Mara game reserve and two of them, including a lioness named Bibi, have died.

“G20 sets up task force to get firms to disclose climate risks”

Bank of England governor Carney speaks during a news conference at the Bank of England in London–sector.html

A global task force is to encourage businesses to make voluntary disclosures to help investors compare the risks that they face from climate change, Financial Stability Board Chairman Mark Carney said on Friday.

“People’s beliefs and motives influence the effectiveness of green policies”

In December talks in Paris involving more than 200 countries may result in a new agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions. In the months leading up to the conference, The Economist will be publishing guest columns by experts on the economic issues involved. Here, Céline Nauges, of the Toulouse School of Economics, and Sarah Ann Wheeler, of the University of Adelaide, warn governments to be conscious of unintended side effects of policies designed to encourage green behaviour.