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Declining Arctic sea ice may increase wildfires in the western US - & Canada?

Nature Declining sea ice in the Arctic may contribute to increased wildfire activity in the western United States, suggests a modelling study published in Nature Communications . The finding demonstrates the influence that human-induced climate change can have on extreme weather events in the region. Wildfires in the western US (& Canada) have become more frequent and severe in recent years. Although there is some evidence that Arctic sea ice declines can influence extreme weather conditions in temperate and subtropical regions, the impact on wildfires has been unclear. Yufei Zou, Hailong Wang and colleagues combined data on wildfire incidence, sea ice concentrations and weather conditions over the past 40 years and conducted model simulations to investigate the relationship between these factors.  The authors identified an association between declining Arctic sea ice concentrations from July to October and the increasing probability of large wildfires in the western US during the

Major toilet paper brands are flushing our forests down the drain

The National Observer What runs through your mind when you’re deciding which toilet paper to buy? Sale price, roll size, pitiful single-ply or luxurious triple? Climate change might not make your list of considerations, but it should. Story here. Please also watch this video. "Truth in Advertising - a TV commercial as it should be"

Australian bushfires triggered prolific phytoplankton blooms vast distances away

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Nature Bushfire East of Lake Dundas, Western Australia. Photo by Pierre Markuse The 2019–2020 Australian wildfires released more than twice as much CO2 as previously reported on the basis of different fire inventories, reports  a Nature paper.   An independent study  also published in Nature ,  suggests that aerosol emissions from these wildfires are likely to have fuelled vast plankton blooms thousands of kilometres away in the Southern Ocean.  The findings highlight the complex links between wildfires, ecosystems and the climate.  Climate-change-driven droughts and warming play a role in increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires, which release CO2 into the atmosphere, potentially driving further climate change and increasing the risk of wildfires.  In the summer season of 2019–2020, around 74,000 km2 — an area roughly equivalent to 2.5 times the area of Belgium — burned in the eucalyptus forests in the coastal regions of Victoria and New South Wales, Australia. These wildfi

Deforestation and fires are shrinking Amazonian habitats

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Nature  The Amazon - Manaus, Brazil. Photo by  Bruno Kelly The Amazon Basin has a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate and is home to 10% of all known species. Degradation of the forest threatens the resilience of this ecosystem; around 21–40% of the forest cover is predicted to be lost by 2050, which will have large impacts on Amazonian biodiversity.  To better understand these impacts, Xiao Feng and colleagues investigate how forest fires have been affecting the geographic range of 11,514 plant species and 3,079 animal species over the past two decades.Up to 85% of species listed as threatened in the Amazon may have lost a substantial portion of their habitat owing to deforestation and fires in the past two decades, a study in Nature indicates. It is estimated that for every 10,000 km2 of forest that is burned, about 27–37 additional plant species and about 2 or 3 more vertebrate species that have more than 10% of their range in the Amazon will be affected. As fires move clos

Nearly Half the World's Children at 'Extremely High Risk' for Facing Effects of Climate Crisis, Report Finds

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Common Dreams  OCHA/Giles Clarke.  Displaced children stand in the shredded remains of tents in Abs settlement, Yemen, for internally displaced persons. Located just 40 km from the frontlines, the settlement is regularly damaged by passing sandstorms. "Virtually no child's life will be unaffected" by the climate emergency, said the director of UNICEF. Story here.

New polling shows Canadian voters are very concerned about the impact of industrial farming

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PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire TORONTO - The global charity World Animal Protection commissioned a public opinion poll to find out where Canadians stand on issues related to our food system, including animal welfare, the environmental impacts of industrial animal agriculture and the overuse of antibiotics. An EKOS research online survey of 2,143 Canadians conducted last month shows that Canadians have many concerns about the harmful effects of industrial animal agriculture. And with a potential election looming, the charity hopes all political party leaders will address such issues on the campaign trail. When it comes to safeguarding human health, 60 per cent of Canadians agreed with many experts who have identified antibiotic overuse on farm animals as contributing to a rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria (aka "superbugs"). Superbugs make it harder for humans to respond to treatment from antibiotics. A recent report from the charity even found antibiotic resistance genes (whic

Loophole keeps bee-killing pesticides in widespread use, two years after EU ban

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Unearthed Investigation finds EU countries have issued at least 67 different 'emergency authorisations' for outdoor use of three neonicotinoids since ban came into force in 2018. Story here.