An Amazon environmental activist and his wife have been shot dead in Brazil, Al Jazeera reported. José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva, a rubber tapper, and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo were ambushed in the Amazon state of Pará. News of the killings came as the Brazilian congress wrangles over new laws that environmentalists say would reduce the amount of forest preserved from clear cutting.
In November, The Guardian noted, Ribeiro spoke of his determination to “protect the forest at all costs” from illegal loggers and cattle ranchers, adding: “That is why I could get a bullet in my head at any moment … because I denounce the loggers and charcoal producers”.
As the Australian government struggles to win support for a carbon price, top scientists warned of dire climate change and called for the nation’s energy sector to turn green, Reuters said. The government-appointed Climate Commission warned that major cities face a serious threat from rising sea-levels, while the Great Barrier Reef would suffer from rising ocean acidity.
Norway wants to channel billions of dollars to renewable energies in developing nations, officials told Reuters, building on a scheme to protect tropical forests to which Oslo has been the biggest donor. The world’s sixth-ranking oil exporter wants governments and private investors to join a plan it calls Energy+ to promote green energies.
The Mississippi River crest has passed through the US south, but the misery caused by flooding is far from over, the Associated Press reported. Amid a massive clean-up, farmers will have to scrub their fields of sandy sludge before trying to use what’s left of the growing season.
But the flooding could help Louisiana’s fragile wetlands recover from last year’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Time. Following the opening of two channels to divert part of the river away from New Orleans, sediment-rich waters are headed for the contaminated wetlands.
Meanwhile, The New York Times said, fear of a sudden thaw of the record snowpacks in western mountain states has US disaster experts on edge. As June approaches, the snow will melt -- mildly if conditions are right, wildly and perhaps catastrophically if not.
Turkish authorities say a May 19 earthquake rendered more than 2,000 homes uninhabitable in western Turkey, forcing nearly 7,000 people into tents, the Associated Press reported. Since some 18,000 people were killed in quakes in 1999 – with most of the deaths blamed on shoddy construction -- officials have struggled to enforce stricter building codes.
Hasankeyf, a town on the banks of the Tigris River dating to the bronze age, is facing the prospect of being flooded out of existence, The Guardian said, as Turkish authorities seek to speed up the Ilisu dam project. Legal challenges to the massive hydro-power project -- which would raise the river level by 60 metres -- continue.
The number of China's wild pandas has increased 17% to 1,864 in past decade, a government survey has found, but habitats have become increasingly fragmented and populations more dispersed