Quantcast
On the way out: A curve-billed reedhaunter in Uruguay. Hector Bottai, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Tim Radford

There is only one Earth, but human growth is ensuring that it carries steadily more passengers. And that leaves less and less room for humanity's companions on board the planet.

The Nile lechwe is an antelope that lives in the swamps of Ethiopia and South Sudan. Its Linnaean name is Kobus megaceros and it stands a meter high (approximately 3.3 feet) at the shoulders so you couldn't miss it. Except that you could.

Read More Show Less
leonard_c / E+ / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

For forests, it really does help to be young. British scientists who have identified the vital factor that shows what makes a forest a good carbon sink say young forests use carbon best and absorb it most efficiently.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences seems on the face of it to settle an old puzzle with an unsurprising answer. New and young forests make the most efficient and effective carbon sinks.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hunting for food and medicine is driving pangolins towards extinction. Jabruson / Nature Picture Library / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The world's biggest animals—the largest birds, the bigger mammals and even reptiles, sharks and amphibians—are in increasing danger of extinction. Climate change, habitat loss and pollution may all be part of the problem, but the biggest and most direct threat is a simple one.

They are being hunted to death. They are being killed for meat, for trophies such as horns and tusks, and for body parts used in Asian medicine.

Read More Show Less
Methane bubbles trapped in ice in a Canadian lake. John Bakator on Unsplash

By Tim Radford

As the global temperature steadily rises, it ensures that levels of one of the most potent greenhouse gases are increasing in a way new to science: the planet will have to reckon with more methane than expected.

Researchers who monitored one bog for three years in the Alaskan permafrost have identified yet another instance of what engineers call positive feedback. They found that global warming meant earlier springs and with that, earlier spring rains.

Read More Show Less
"Dealing with these fires is like fighting a snarling dragon." Image courtesy of Mike Willson

By Kieran Cooke

Australia has been going through one of its hottest and stormiest summers on record and usually temperate Tasmania, its island state, has taken a battering.

Climate change-related weather events have brought cyclones and raging floods to the northeast of the country, while drought and temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) have resulted in parched lands and rivers drying up in areas of New South Wales.

Read More Show Less
Colorful, fresh organic vegetables. fcafotodigital / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, whole grains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor's orders, tomorrow's farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest area in SW Cameroon cleared for oil palm plantation. Mokhamad Edliadi / CIFOR

By Alex Kirby

Companies selling products which contain palm oil need to be upfront about where it comes from, so as to relieve consumers of the burden of making sustainable choices, a UK study says.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge say companies should not rely simply on purchasers' own awareness of the need to make environmentally responsible decisions, but should publicly disclose the identities of their palm oil suppliers.

Read More Show Less
Shanghai panoramic skyline at sunrise. zorazhuang / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

China's cities now have a better idea of what global warming is going to cost. New research warns that for every rise of one degree Celsius in global average temperatures, average electricity demand will rise by 9 percent.

And that's the average demand. For the same shift in the thermometer reading, peak electricity demand in the Yangtze Valley delta could go up by 36 percent.

Read More Show Less
Colored composite image of Earth, showing surface temperature and 3-D cloud cover. R.B.HUSAR / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

Humankind, in two centuries, has transformed the climate. It has reversed a 50-million-year cooling trend.

Scientists conclude that the profligate combustion of fossil fuels could within three decades take planet Earth back to conditions that existed in the Pliocene three million years ago, an era almost ice-free and at least 1.8°C and possibly 3.6°C warmer than today.

Read More Show Less
Black autumn truffles from France with leaves of oak, beech and hazel. kabVisio / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Tim Radford

Only a small percentage of the wild plant ancestors vital to human life can be considered safe from extinction.

Botanists who have monitored the conservation status of almost 7,000 species—the wild forerunners of plants that humans use for food, medicine, shelter, fuel and livestock feed—found that most could be counted as not properly conserved and protected.

Read More Show Less
The Atlantic wolffish is already at risk from oxygen depletion. Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons

By Tim Radford

Oceanographers have identified an act of slow suffocation, as oxygen loss grows near one of the world's richest fishing grounds, and are linking the change to human-triggered global warming.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored