Climate changing 'too fast' for species
Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to survive climate change, say scientists. A study of more than 250 plants and animals suggests their ability to adapt to changes in rainfall and temperature will be vastly outpaced by future climate change. Amphibians, reptiles and plants are particularly vulnerable, according to US researchers. And tropical species are at higher risk than those in temperate zones. Some animals might be able to move geographically to cope with rising temper...World's largest marine protected area declared in Antarctica
Delegates from 24 countries and the European Union have agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica will become the world's largest marine protected area (MPA). Some 1.57m sq km (600,000 sq miles) of the Southern Ocean will gain protection from commerical fishing for 35 years. Environmentalists have welcomed the move to protect what's said to be the Earth's most pristine marine ecosystem. They hope it will be the first of many such zones in international waters. At this meeting in Hobart, Austral...Peru investigates death of 10,000 Titicaca water frogs
Peru's environmental agency is investigating the deaths of some 10,000 frogs whose bodies have been found in a river in the south of the country. A campaign group says pollution in the River Coata is to blame for the deaths. It says the government has ignored pleas for the construction of a sewage treatment plant in the area. The Titicaca water frog is an endangered species that is found only in the huge freshwater lake shared by Peru and Bolivia and its tributaries. The Committee Against th...China ratifies Paris climate agreement
China's top legislature has ratified the Paris global climate agreement, state news agency Xinhua reports. The country is the world's largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change. China and the US are expected to jointly announce ratification at a bilateral summit later on Saturday. In a landmark deal struck in December, countries agreed to cut emissions enough to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink'
A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin's carbon sink by killing trees and slowing trees' growth rates, a study has shown. The term carbon sink refers to the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees' mortality rate went up while growth rates declined. The findings have been published by the Global Biogeochemical Cycles journal. The Amazon Basin is a key player in the Earth's carbo...Fish eat plastic like teens eat fast food, researchers say
Young fish become hooked on eating plastic in the seas in the same way that teenagers prefer unhealthy fast food, Swedish researchers have said. Their study, reported in Science, found exposure to high concentrations of polystyrene makes perch larvae favour the particles over more natural foods. As a result of exposure to plastic, the young perch are smaller, slower and more susceptible to predators. The researchers called for plastic micro-beads to be banned in cosmetics. Concerns have...Great Barrier Reef: Bleaching 'kills 35% of area's coral'
At least 35% of corals in the northern and central parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef have been destroyed by bleaching, Australian scientists say. The experts from James Cook University (JCU) say it is the most extreme case of mass bleaching they have ever measured at the World Heritage Site. Bleaching occurs when warmer water causes coral to weaken and lose the colourful algae that provide oxygen and nutrients. It has been linked to climate change. "We found on average, that 35% of the...Glaciers with a flotilla of 'ice sails'
Rare and somewhat esoteric. These are the huge pyramids of ice that stand proud of the surface on some glaciers. To date, the phenomenon has only really been seen around the Karakoram mountain region of Pakistan. The Baltoro glacier, which begins life at the very summit of K2, has some particularly fine examples. Up to 25m in height and with widths of up to 90m, their triangular shapes when viewed from a distance give the impression of a flotilla of sail boats. Now, scientists are getting a ...Climate predicts bird populations
Populations of the most common bird species in Europe and the US are being altered by climate change, according to an international study. For the first time researchers showed climate to be having a similar, significant impact on bird populations in large, distant areas of the world. Their study used population-predicting models and three decades of field data, gathered by bird-watching volunteers. The findings are published in the journal Science. Led by Durham University scientists, the t...Australia's Great Barrier Reef hit by 'worst' bleaching (video)
Evidence that Australia's Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its worst coral bleaching on record has renewed calls for the UN to list it as "in-danger". The National Coral Bleaching Taskforce says 95% of reefs from Cairns to Papua New Guinea are now severely bleached. It says only four reefs out of 520 have no evidence of bleaching. Unesco voted not to put the reef on its World Heritage in Danger list last year, but green groups want the decision reassessed. Coral taskforce convener Professo...Ash tree set for extinction in Europe
The ash tree is likely to be wiped out in Europe, according to the largest-ever survey of the species. The trees are being killed off by the fungal disease ash-dieback along with an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer. According to the research, published in the Journal of Ecology, the British countryside will never look the same again. The paper says that the ash will most likely be "eliminated" in Europe. This could mirror the way Dutch elm disease largely wiped out the elm in the...Europe's rarest seabird 'faces extinction'
Europe's rarest seabird will be extinct within 60 years, according to a new analysis. Urgent action is needed to stop the Balearic sheerwater being drowned in fishing lines and nets, say scientists. The bird breeds in the Balearic Islands, sometimes stopping off in British waters as it migrates north. Research shows the global population is not sustainable in the long term. There are about 3,000 breeding pairs left. The main threat to the bird is becoming entangled in fishing gear, according...Hairy Nose film takes on China's pollution
Air pollution in China is no laughing matter, but one campaign group hopes its bizarre new film will provoke both laughs and action among urban Chinese. "Hairy Nose" depicts a bleak future where people have evolved lengthy nasal hair to filter out the smog. It ends with a warning that if people don't change their ways, pollution will change them. The charity, WildAid, told the BBC they wanted people to stop waiting for government action to fix the problem. "We wanted to find some humoro...Polluted air causes 5.5 million deaths a year new research says
More than 5.5 million people worldwide are dying prematurely every year as a result of air pollution, according to new research. Most of these deaths are occurring in the rapidly developing economies of China and India. The main culprit is the emission of small particles from power plants, factories, vehicle exhausts and from the burning of coal and wood. The data was compiled as part of the Global Burden of Disease Project. Scientists involved in the initiative say the statistics illus...
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