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Eco-news archive: November-December 2006

Arctic landscape
Huge Arctic ice break discovered
(Dec 30, 2006)

Scientists have discovered that an enormous ice shelf broke off an island in the Canadian Arctic last year, in what could be sign of global warming. It is said to be the largest break in 25 years, casting an ice floe with an area of 66 sq km (25 square miles). It occurred in August 2005 but was only recently detected on satellite images.

Read more. Source: BBC

Failure in Yangtze dolphin search
(Dec 18, 2006)

A freshwater dolphin found only in China is "effectively extinct", an expedition has declared following a fruitless six-week search. The Yangtze River dolphin, or baiji, was listed as "critically endangered" on the Red List of Threatened Species. It has been dying out due to habitat degradation, overfishing, pollution and ship traffic - which confounds the sonar the animal uses to find food.

Read more. Source: BBC

Arctic sea ice cover
Arctic sea ice 'faces rapid melt'
(Dec 12, 2006)

The Arctic may be close to a tipping point that sees all-year-round ice disappear very rapidly in the next few decades, US scientists have warned. The latest data presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting suggests the ice is no longer showing a robust recovery from the summer melt. Last month, the sea that was frozen covered an area that was two million sq km less than the historical average.

Read more. Source: BBC

Ebola virus threatens to wipe out gorilla population
(Dec 8, 2006)

The Ebola virus has killed more than 5,000 western lowland gorillas in the past four years according to scientists who warn that the world's largest ape is suffering a dramatic population decline that could soon lead to its total extinction. The virus is one of the deadliest infectious agents known to man. It also affects other primate species and its rapid spread among chimps and gorillas in parts of central Africa has alarmed conservationists.

Read more. Source: Independent

Rainforest gets protected status
(Dec 5, 2006)

Vast tracts of rainforest in Brazil are to get a new protected status. The segments of land in the northern Para state together cover 15 million hectares (57,915 sq miles), an area of land that is bigger than England. Thousands of wildlife species inhabit the pristine forest, including jaguars, anteaters and colourful macaws.

Read more. Source: BBC

power plants releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
Carbon emissions show sharp rise
(Nov 28, 2006)

The rise in humanity's emissions of carbon dioxide has accelerated sharply, according to a new analysis. The Global Carbon Project says that emissions were rising by less than 1% annually up to the year 2000, but are now rising at 2.5% per year. It says the acceleration comes mainly from a rise in charcoal consumption and a lack of new energy efficiency gains.

Read more. Source: BBC

Study hopeful for world's forests
(Nov 14, 2006)

A new technique for measuring the state of the world's forests shows the future may not be as bad as previously feared. An international team of researchers say its Forest Identity study suggests the world could be approaching a "turning point" from deforestation. The study measures timber volumes, biomass and captured carbon – not just land areas covered by trees.

Read more. Source: BBC

carbon emissions
Carbon emissions rising faster than ever
(Nov 12, 2006)

Far from slowing down, global carbon dioxide emissions are rising faster than before, said a gathering of scientists in Beijing on Friday. Between 2000 and 2005, emissions grew four times faster than in the preceding 10 years, according to researchers at the Global Carbon Project, a consortium of international researchers.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

mother carrying child through floodwater
Global climate efforts 'woeful'
(Nov 12, 2006)

Efforts to help developing nations adapt to the impacts of climate change have been called "woefully inadequate" by a UN-commissioned report. Rich countries have focused on ways to reduce carbon emissions but have largely ignored helping poor nations cope with the consequences, it says.

Read more. Source: BBC

'Only 50 years left' for sea fish
(Nov 2, 2006)

There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study. Stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Writing in the journal Science, the international team of researchers says fishery decline is closely tied to a broader loss of marine biodiversity.

Read more. Source: BBC


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