Foreign embassies in China that issue air-pollution readings online are acting illegally and interfering in the country’s internal business, deputy environment minister Wu Xiaoqing warned, according to The Guardian. Air-quality monitoring and release of information involve the public interest and are up to the Chinese government, Wu said.
Environment authorities in Beijing will no longer use the method of counting “blue sky days” as a gauge of air quality, China Daily said. Yu Jianhua, a Beijing environmental protection official, said the concentration indices of major pollutants – including particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide – for various areas of the city are to be used instead.
Warmer water and reduced river flows will cause more power disruptions for nuclear and coal-fired power plants in the United States and Europe and lead to a rethink on how best to cool power stations in a hotter world, Reuters reported scientists as saying. In a study published in Nature Climate Change, the authors projected that the likelihood of extreme drops in power generation would nearly triple.
A project in Germany aims to feed growing urban populations by bringing aquaculture into town centres, putting tanks of fish on rooftops and car parks and using their waste to grow organic vegetables, The Guardian said. Efficient City Farming, which has a small prototype in operation in Berlin, is promoting it as a basis for large aquaponic farm systems; two are in the planning stages.
As the number of animal species at risk of extinction grows, zoo officials are increasingly having to make cold calculations about which animals are the most crucial to save, according to The New York Times.
For Britain’s agricultural sector, renewable energy is promising to overtake rural tourism as a secondary income source, The Guardian reported, citing research by the National Farmers’ Union and NatWest Bank. Some 15% of UK electricity from renewable sources could come from the land by 2020, they say, if the trend among farmers for solar-energy systems and clean-energy production continues.
A survey by the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme reveals devastating declines in the number of farmland birds in Europe, The Observer said. Because of major changes in farming policies enforced by the EU during the last 30 years, according to the study, overall farmland bird populations declined by 50% from 1980 to 2009.
In the latest milestone in the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) campaign to reverse the decline of wild salmon stocks in northern Europe and the US, the Icelandic organisation has bought out the ancient fishing rights of net fishermen in a south-western English village. Under the pact, the wild salmon will gain free passage to their spawning grounds in two rivers.
The remote Alaskan isle known for two centuries as Rat Island has returned to its Aleutian name – Hawadax – to celebrate its hard-won rodent-free status, Reuters reported.
Singapore’s leaders realised 40 years ago that it is much more expensive for a society to live in a polluted environment than a clean one