In the spotlight
Amazon countries sign forest pact, promising to coordinate disaster response
The presidents of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, the vice-president of Suriname and the natural resource minister of Guyana attended the one-day summit in the jungle city of Leticia in southern Colombia. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro participated by video link, while his foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, attended in person.
Amazon deforestation in Brazil triples, pointing to more fires to come
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest rose for the fourth straight month in August from a year earlier, according to preliminary government data released on Friday, adding to concerns over fires already ravaging the region.
Upset about Amazon wildfires? There’s something you can do
Over the past week, the world has watched with concern as flames lick at the lush forests of the Amazon and the smoke wafts across parts of South America. As of Wednesday, there were roughly 179,000 fires burning across the continent, with the vast majority in the Amazon rainforest.
NASA calls Africa fire continent, is home to 70 percent of all the world’s fires
As the world has watched with fear and fascination the fires burning in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, satellite images show a far greater number of blazes on the African continent.
Agriculture & Environment
Organic agriculture key to combat land degradation: UN officials
Hundred per cent organic agriculture is key to combat land degradation and desertification, officials of the United Nations said on Friday at the conference of parties to UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
What if we paid countries to protect biodiversity?
Researchers from Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the USA have developed a financial mechanism to support the protection of the world’s natural heritage. In a recent study, they developed three different design options for an intergovernmental biodiversity financing mechanism.
FAO highlights the great potential of genetic improvements in aquaculture for better food security
Launched today, a new FAO report – The State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – reviews our use of aquatic genetic resources both in capture fisheries and in aquaculture, in areas under national jurisdiction.
Transport & Energy
Germany mulls creation of new electric car battery consortium
The German economy ministry said on Friday a second European battery cell production consortium was being discussed and preliminary agreements were expected by this autumn. A spokeswoman declined to give names of potential companies taking part but added that German companies play important roles in both production consortia.
Putting a price on carbon pollution alone unlikely to help reach climate goals
Imperial researchers show that carbon taxes alone cannot reduce emissions enough to reach the Paris Agreement targets. The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, requires nations to collectively limit global warming to 2°C by 2100, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.
Get ready for low-carbon economy, businesses warned
Businesses must prepare for the move to a low-carbon economy or risk being left behind, the climate action minister has said. Richard Bruton said Irish that enterprise had “failed to break the link” between “economic prosperity and damaging greenhouse gas emissions”.
Will technology kill democracy — Or reinvent it?
Once upon a time, many thought the internet would spawn a digital democratic utopia : harmonious, boundary-spanning decision-making, reflecting liberty and equality in a global community of “ netizens .”
Google’s ‘secret web tracking pages’ explained
Google is to be investigated for its advertising practices. Google has been accused of using hidden webpages that are assigned to users to provide more information to advertisers about their every move online. added to a complaint lodged with the Irish Data Protection Commission.
Food & Health
High blood pressure treatment may slow cognitive decline
High blood pressure appears to accelerate cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults and treating high blood pressure may slow down the process, according to a preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.
Science policy & Communication
Russian protesters aided by digital tools, self-organizing
It’s a scene many Muscovites have grown used to seeing this summer as a new wave of anti-government demonstrations gripped the Russian capital: Two masked, heavily clad riot policemen drag away a shrieking teenager as the protesters around them try to free her. But then the two officers abruptly straighten up when she kicks and shouts.
New MIT paper published in Science outlines plan to fight election interference
One of the most urgent threats facing our democracy and other democracies abroad is the ability to detect and thwart foreign election interference.
Why social media can play a positive role in environmental action
Many people believe that social media is a waste of time, an exercise in narcissism. But it can also inspire you in surprising ways.
European citizens’ initiatives: Commission registers 3 new initiatives, and finds 1 inadmissible
Today the European Commission decided to register 3 new European citizens’ initiatives: ‘ Stop corruption in Europe at its root, by cutting off funds to countries with inefficient judiciary after deadline’ Actions on Climate Emergency ‘ and ‘ Save bees and farmers!
Wikipedia goes offline in several countries after ‘malicious’ attack
Popular online reference website Wikipedia went down in several countries after the website was targeted by what it described as a “malicious attack”. The server of the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the site, suffered a “massive” Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, the organisation’s German account said in a tweet late Friday.
Mystery swirls around missing underwater observatory after divers find shredded cable
A sophisticated underwater observatory has disappeared from the Baltic seabed, baffling scientists. The observatory, which was in a restricted area at the entrance to Eckernförde Bay off the German coast, made its last data transmission on Aug. 21.
Scientists discover mineral in meteorite never found in nature
Scientists have discovered a new mineral, one that has never before been seen in nature, lodged inside a meteorite found near Wedderburn in central Victoria, Australia. The Wedderburn meteorite is named for the remote gold rush town of Wedderburn in the state of Victoria, Australia, where it was found in 1951.