Court orders UK to cut pollution
The UK's highest court has ruled that the government must take immediate action to cut air pollution. The ruling represents a significant victory for campaigners, who started legal action after the UK breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide in the air. NO2 is produced mainly by emissions from diesel vehicles and is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses. The Environment Department said work had already been started on revised plans to meet EU targets on NO2. In a unanimous ruling...Arctic sea ice extent hits record low for winter
Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has fallen to the lowest recorded level for the winter season, according to US scientists. The maximum this year was 14.5 million sq km, said the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This is the lowest since 1979, when satellite records began. A recent study found that Arctic sea ice had thinned by 65% between 1975 and 2012. Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London ...Mercury pollution threat to Arctic bird
Mercury pollution has risen nearly 50-fold in the feathers of a breed of Arctic bird over the past 130 years, say scientists. Analysis of museum specimens shows high mercury levels in the endangered ivory gull. It could have implications for the bird's ability to breed and raise chicks, says a Canadian team. Mercury levels are going up in other Arctic birds, fish and mammals, due to atmospheric pollution, they report. Biologists at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, say the ivory gu...Ice melting early in White Sea amid extremely warm weather, southern winds
Ice sheets have completely disappeared from the White Sea surface due to extremely warm weather and southern winds carrying ice floes out into the Barents Sea two months earlier than usual, the Russian Northern Department for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring non-commercial organisation told TASS on Friday. In February the ice situation in the White Sea happened to be so complicated that the Yamal nuclear icebreaker arrived to assist local icebreakers in convoying vessels from the...Chinese lust for ivory could kill of world's weirdest bird - the helmeted hornbi...
It is one of the world’s strangest birds, with a huge domed bill, a 6ft wingspan and a call that sounds like maniacal laughter as it echoes across the Borneo rainforest, The Daily Mail reports. But the helmeted hornbill is being driven towards extinction – by a surge in the black-market demand for its ivory in China. The bird – dubbed ‘the farmer of the rainforest’ for its vital seed-spreading role – has become the latest victim of organised wildlife crime, according to a report to be publ...Global CO2 emissions 'stalled' in 2014
The growth in global carbon emissions stalled last year, according to data from the International Energy Agency. It marks the first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable, in the absence of a major economic crisis, the agency said. Annual global emissions remained at 32 gigatonnes in 2014, unchanged from the previous year. But the IEA warned that while the results were encouraging, this was no time for complacency. "This is both a very welcome surprise an...China takes Under the Dome anti-pollution film offline
The authorities in China have a removed from websites a popular documentary which highlights the country's severe pollution problem. Under the Dome explains the social and health costs of pollution, and was watched by more than 100 million people online, sparking debates. It was removed just two days after Premier Li Keqiang called pollution a blight on people's lives. Mr Li had promised to fight it with all the government's might. The environmental issue has dominated the current sess...Global flood toll to triple by 2030
The number of people affected by river flooding worldwide could nearly triple in the next 15 years, analysis shows. Climate change and population growth are driving the increase, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). In the UK, about 76,000 people a year could be at risk of being affected by flooding if defences aren't improved, it says. The yearly cost of damage to urban areas could reach more than £1bn. The centre says this is the first public analysis of all world data o...Chile volcano Villarrica eruption spews ash and lava
The Villarrica volcano in southern Chile erupted in the early hours of Tuesday morning, spewing ash and lava up to 1,000m (3,300ft) into the air. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the volcano's vicinity. The mayor of the nearby town of Pucon said residents had left "calmly". President Michelle Bachelet said she would travel to the area on Tuesday to assess the situation. The 2840m-high Villarrica is an active volcano with a lava lake in its crater. It is a popular destina...Dutch town takes up umbrellas against rogue owl attacks
Residents in the northern Dutch town of Purmerend have been advised to take umbrellas out at night after a spate of attacks by an owl. Dozens of residents have suffered head injuries over the past three weeks at the claws of the rogue European eagle owl. Two runners were attacked on Tuesday, with one requiring stitches for five separate head wounds. The European eagle owl's usual prey are small mammals and birds.Evolution 'favours bigger sea creatures'
The animals in the ocean have been getting bigger, on average, since the Cambrian period - and not by chance. That is the finding of a huge new survey of marine life past and present, published in the journal Science. It describes a pattern of increasing body size that cannot be explained by random "drift", but suggests bigger animals generally fare better at sea. In the past 542 million years, the average size of a marine animal has gone up by a factor of 150. It appears that the expl...Carbon dioxide released from ocean floor triggered warming, claims study
Massive amounts of carbon dioxide released from the deep ocean brought an end to the last ice age, according to new research, The Daily Mail reports. A study examining fluctuations in ocean acidity recorded in the shells of ancient marine animals has shown how levels of carbon dioxide soared around 16,000 to 7,500 years ago. The scientists behind the research found the gas appears to have been released from hot spots in the Southern Atlantic Ocean and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, carr...Australian mammals on brink of 'extinction calamity'
Australia has lost one in ten of its native mammals species over the last 200 years in what conservationists describe as an "extinction calamity". No other nation has had such a high rate of loss of land mammals over this time period, according to scientists at Charles Darwin University, Australia. The decline is mainly due to predation by the feral cat and the red fox, which were introduced from Europe, they say. Large scale fires to manage land are also having an impact. As an afflue...East Antarctica's largest glacier melting: Totten region more vulnerable to clim...
The largest glacier in East Antarctica is melting due to warm ocean water, according to Australian scientists. Until recently, the 74-mile-long (120km) Totten Glacier was thought to be surrounded by cold waters and therefore very stable and unlikely to shrink. But now experts say that waters around the glacier are warmer than expected and are probably melting the ice from below. Scientists believe the glacier contains enough water to cause a 20ft (six-metre) rise in global sea levels if...
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