Hiroko Yoshii, Unsplash

Sponge cities, coral reefs, and what leather not to wear

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

Is the climate crisis endangering your marriage? Albatrosses are some of the world’s most monogamous animals, but warmer sea temperatures might be causing them to ‘divorce’.

As the dust settles after COP26, here are your latest headlines from across the climate and environmental realms, from blossoming corals to wireless-charging highways.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

Ruminant livestock are a major source of methane emissions. Fred Davis, Flickr
Ruminant livestock are a major source of methane emissions. Fred Davis, Flickr

For all the talk about cutting carbon emissions, it’s easy to forget that other greenhouse gases pose a threat to the climate, too – especially methane and nitrous oxide.

In South Africa, activists planted over 1,000 trees during a week-long restoration festival that also promoted permaculture, biomimicry and many other aspects of green living.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, 8 December, when GLF Live returns with a primer on how to stop the decline of the ocean, featuring ocean policy expert Dorothée Herr.

PEOPLE

Testing for COVID-19 in Madagascar. Henitsoa Rafalia, World Bank
Testing for COVID-19 in Madagascar. Henitsoa Rafalia, World Bank

Vaccine inequity helped cause the Omicron coronavirus variant, experts say. To date, just 7.5 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The far right is finally stepping away from climate denial. Its latest tactic: fearmongering over climate migration.

As Tanzania’s rivers run dry, its largest city Dar Es Salaam is running out of water. Experts are pointing the finger at both the climate crisis and overexploitation.

Here is a just transition conundrum: Senegal will outlaw single-use plastic bags in 2022, but the ban could put 30,000 women out of work and deprive many urban residents of clean water.

CLIMATE

Even breakfast is ruined by climate change. Benjamin DeYoung, Unsplash
Even breakfast is ruined by climate change. Benjamin DeYoung, Unsplash

The climate crisis is making breakfast more expensive. After a triple whammy of wildfires, frost and drought in Brazil, prices of coffee, sugar and orange juice have been sent soaring.

It turns out the Arctic Ocean has been warming since as early as 1900. As rain falls on the summit of Greenland for the first time, that trend looks set to continue.

As Western Canada reels from its latest series of floods and landslides, is poor forestry to blame for the region’s climate woes?

PLANET

A clownfish at home in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Giorgia Doglioni, Unsplash
A clownfish at home in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Giorgia Doglioni, Unsplash

The Great Barrier Reef isn’t dead yet: last week, its corals erupted in color as they spawned billions of sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean.

But the world’s coral reefs are still on the brink. Could this Nobel Prize-winning stock market theory help bring them back?

The Brazilian Amazon has seen its highest level of deforestation in 15 years, but there’s hope in neighboring Guyana, which has enlisted an army of Indigenous volunteers to patrol its forests.

BUSINESS

An aerial view of what was once part of the Amazon rainforest. Alexander Gerst, Flickr
An aerial view of what was once part of the Amazon rainforest. Alexander Gerst, Flickr

Speaking of the Amazon, if you’re wearing leather products from any of these 50+ major fashion brands, chances are your clothes might be contributing to deforestation of the rainforest.

Can tourism survive the climate crisis? Here’s how five tourist destinations are adapting to the disruptions caused by wildfires, coral bleaching and melting permafrost.

Electric cars might soon be able to recharge on the go. Engineers are designing the world’s first wireless-charging highway in the U.S. state of Indiana.

POLICY

Next year’s climate summit will take place in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh. Irina Nakonechnaya, Unsplash
Next year’s climate summit will take place in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh. Irina Nakonechnaya, Unsplash

Egypt is set to host next year’s COP27 climate summit, but will protesters will be allowed near the event this time?

U.S. President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure bill includes USD 50 billion to build resilience against climate disasters like floods, wildfires and drought.

Public transport use will have to double by 2030 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, says a climate-focused network of global mayors.

And meet the architect of China’s sponge cities, which will be designed to prevent floods not through drainage but by soaking up rainfall.

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