Environment

US blockade: Oxen and horses put back to work in Cuba Maha Kamal 12/12/2019 - 10:36

LOS PALACIOS (Cuba), Dec 12 (NNN-AGENCIES) — A lack of fuel, in large part due to the US blockade, is forcing Cubans to return to horse and ox power for farming, transport and everyday travel.

In Los Palacios, 100km of the west of the capital Havana, Heriberto Piloto bellows at his oxen Montezuelo”and Pasajero as they plough a tobacco field at the La Juanita farm.

Once the fields were ploughed by tractors, plus some animal help, but now beasts of burden are the only option, meaning the job of ploughman has made a comeback too in Cuba’s fields.

India: 'Very poor' air quality in Delhi for 7th day

New Delhi, Dec 10 (PTI) The air quality remained in the "very poor" category in the national capital for the seventh consecutive day on Tuesday as the cold weather and calm winds allowed accumulation of pollutants.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city was recorded at 356 at 8.45 am.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor" and 401-500 "severe". An AQI above 500 falls in the "severe plus" category.

New Zealand Pledges To Take More Steps Against Plastic Wastes

WELLINGTON, Dec 8 (NNN-AGENCIES) – New Zealand will phase out more single-use plastics, the government announced today (Sunday).

A report, Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand, was released by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, Prof Juliet Gerrard, which highlighted New Zealand’s position in plastics use, and gave recommendations for further changes.

Zambia: Victoria Falls shrink to a trickle, feeding climate change fears

VICTORIA FALLS (Zambia), Dec 7 (NNN-AGENCIES) — For decades Victoria Falls, where southern Africa’s Zambezi river cascade down 100 metres into a gash in the earth, have drawn millions of holidaymakers to Zimbabwe and Zambia for their stunning views.

But the worst drought in a century has slowed the waterfalls to a trickle, fuelling fears that climate change could kill one of the region’s biggest tourist attractions.

Australia: ‘Mega fire’ forms north of Sydney

SYDNEY, Dec 6 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Several Australian bushfires have combined to form a “mega fire” that is burning out of control across a swathe of land north of Sydney, authorities said Friday, warning they cannot contain the blaze.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner, Rob Rogers said “there are probably more than eight fires in all” that have merged to form what has been dubbed a “mega fire” in an area of national park forest.

Drought-Stricken Australia Endures Driest Spring In 120 Years

SYDNEY, Dec 2 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Australia clocked its driest spring in 120 years of recorded history, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), revealed.

In its spring climate wrap-up, the BoM said, the majority of Australia received rainfall which was well below average, and that a number of recording stations, right across the country, observed their driest spring ever.

Spring 2019 was also Australia’s fifth hottest on record, with the highest temperature at 47.1 degrees Celsius, recorded in mid-Nov, in Western Australia.

Russia cements role as gas ‘kingpin’ with three new pipelines

MOSCOW, Dec 2 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping launch Monday a gas pipeline that is the first of three ambitious projects intended to cement Moscow’s role as top gas exporter.

Putin and Xi are to inaugurate by video link-up the “Power of Siberia” pipeline, sending Siberian gas to China in a move that will strengthen their ties amid Moscow’s confrontation with the West.

Russia is also planning to soon launch two more gas pipelines that will ramp up supplies to Europe while bypassing Ukraine.

Climate talks in Spain to open as ‘point of no return’ looms

MADRID, Dec 2 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Political leaders and climate diplomats are to meet in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis.

According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon”.

Meanwhile, Save the Children says that climate shocks have left millions in Africa facing hunger.

The charity says 33 million people are at emergency levels of food insecurity due to cyclones and droughts.

Tens of thousands rally in Europe, Asia before UN climate summit

Berlin, Nov 30 (AFP/PTI) Tens of thousands of protesters, primarily in Europe and Asia, hit the streets on Friday to make a fresh call for action against global warming, hoping to raise pressure on world leaders days before a UN climate summit.

Carrying signs that read "One planet, one fight" and "The sea is rising, so must we", thousands flocked to Berlin's Brandenburg Gate for the latest "Fridays for Future" protest inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg.

Revised data shows deforestation in Brazil Amazon at decade high

BRASÍLIA, Nov 29 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Brazil released revised statistics showing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest surpassed 10,000 sq km in the year to July 2019, the highest in more than a decade.

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said last week that satellite data showed 9,762 sq km were cleared of trees in the 12-month period, an increase of 29.5 per cent.

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