Two white snakes, first of their species in the world, found in Nepal
One of the leucistic kraits discovered in Nepal. Photo by Dev Narayan Mandal and Ganesh Sah. Used with permission.According to a research paper published in October 2020, two white-coloured kraits (of the genus Bungarus) discovered during rescue calls in Nepal's southeastern region of Province No. 2, are the first such recorded cases in their species. Kraits are known to be some of the most venomous snakes found in the Indian subcontinent.On April 25, 2020, a pink-skinned, black-eyed wall’s krait (Bungarus Walli) was found in the Dhanushadham municipality in the province's Dhanusha District.“T...
New rule puts Indonesia’s protected forests up for grabs for agribusiness
JAKARTA — Indonesia’s dwindling forests may be cleared for farmland under a government-led program to boost domestic food production, raising fears of a surge in deforestation.The government’s “food estate” program calls for establishing millions of hectares of new farmland, mostly for rice and other staple crops. To ensure there’s sufficient land for the program, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry issued a regulation on Oct. 26 permitting protected forest areas to be cleared for that purpose on a “large scale.”Under existing laws, forest areas in Indonesia are off-limits for plantations...
Editorial: For Biden, ending US climate retreat is just a start
President-elect Joe Biden has made plenty of promises related to climate change and the environment. He has vowed to rescind or reverse some of the Trump administration’s moves to weaken regulations, which Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has numbered at 159. The president-elect proposes a $2 trillion “Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice” plan that’s been described as historic, despite being far less ambitious than the Green New Deal authored by progressive Democrats. And Biden plans to deeply embed what could be called climate change consciousness into f...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Landmark Flint water crisis settlement grows to $641 million as it moves to court
DETROIT — A landmark settlement in the Flint water crisis came a step closer to reality late Tuesday, when attorneys in the class-action lawsuit presented the agreement to a federal court with an additional $41.2 million.The $641.25 million settlement, if approved by the court, would largely go to victims of the water crisis that emerged after Flint residents learned their drinking water had been contaminated with lead after a source switch to river water in 2014.“After years of hard-fought litigation and extensive negotiations, plaintiffs have reached an agreement to resolve claims against th...
The Detroit News
State climate action unlikely after Democrats fail to flip legislatures
Amid predictions of a November Democratic election sweep, climate leaders in states including North Carolina, Arizona and Pennsylvania were hopeful they could finally pass legislation to bolster clean energy, cut emissions and limit fossil fuel development.But while President-elect Joe Biden found success at the top of the ticket, Democrats down ballot were unable to flip a single legislative chamber held by Republicans. Meanwhile, the GOP seized power in New Hampshire’s legislature and expanded majorities in other states.After Democratic gains failed to materialize, the prospects of sweeping ...
Minnesota deer opener was poor for harvest and CWD sampling
MINNEAPOLIS — Bagging a buck on the opening weekend of the Minnesota firearms deer season proved more difficult than usual in conditions that were windy and unseasonably warm, state officials said.The important two-day harvest plunged 21% in comparison to last year’s opener and ranks well below average. In addition, hunting license sales were flat and too few hunters complied with chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing.“We did not have a great opening weekend,” said Barbara Keller, big-game program leader for the Department of Natural Resources.Keller said hunters took 59,711 whitetails Saturda...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Dennis Anderson: Deer camp's solitude broken by a lost voice
MINNEAPOLIS — Dan Pidde hunts the same northern Minnesota country his grandfather first hunted in 1941.Deer aren’t overly abundant in this woodsy location north of Grand Rapids, though Pidde and his small bunch of hearty souls do manage a good buck now and then.But every year they bag their limits of tradition.“We camp in tents in the same spot for the deer opener that we do for the fishing opener,” said Pidde, 39, an engineer who lives in the Twin Cities. “We also come to the same place at the end of September to fish and camp.”Often on the deer opener ice will greet them when they launch boa...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
‘CSI Amazon’: Epic study looks at what’s killing Amazon trees
As more trees die in the Amazon Basin, the forest’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide weakens. However, the main drivers of tree death across the region have been largely unknown, until now.A newly published study in the journal Nature Communications provides insight into why trees die in the Amazon, and why the rate of tree death may be increasing.According to the study, the main risk factor explaining tree death is the mean growth rate of species. Faster-growing tree species tend to have shorter life spans, and thus record more deaths over a given period.As climate change progresses, these f...
Bezos Earth Fund gives nearly $800 million to climate groups in first round of grants
SEATTLE — In its first round of grants, the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund will award $791 million to 16 environmental organizations largely focused on researching and implementing ways to reduce carbon emissions, build green jobs and restore wildlife.The funding round announced Monday was remarkably large for an organization that does not have a website and has not published a list of staff, named a director or released instructions on how to apply for grants.Five big-name environmental nonprofits — the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, World Res...
The Seattle Times
With climate challenges looming, new head of Philadelphia's gas utility faces a tough balancing act
Philadelphia Gas Works got its start in 1836 manufacturing gas for public street lights. The production of gas from coal was a foul business, but one could argue that it was an environmental trade-off since fossil fuels eventually displaced whale oil in the lighting market. Whales were spared from extinction, but the whaling industry was not.In the 20th century, electric lighting eclipsed gas lamps. Companies like PGW began selling gas as a cooking fuel, making wood stoves obsolete. PGW later shifted to “natural” gas extracted from the earth — not manufactured from coal — allowing it to expand...
The Philadelphia Inquirer