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Carbon bombs, whale worshippers, and the city that banned grass

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

An oil rig off the coast of California. Ira Bowman, Pexels
13 May 2022
Ming Chun Tang
13 May 2022
Ming Chun Tang

Fossil fuel companies are planning to drop hundreds of ‘carbon bombs’ – new oil and gas projects that will demolish the world’s climate goals by emitting billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

This week on Landscape News, we examine why these projects must be stopped at all costs. Also in this round-up: sinking cities, savior robots, solar-powered water treatment, and more.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

A forest in Foz do Igauçu, Brazil. Jonny Lew, Pexels
A forest in Foz do Igauçu, Brazil. Jonny Lew, Pexels

One of the world’s largest environmental funds has received a record USD 5.25 billion. We spoke to their CEO to learn how that money will be spent.

How are the Earth’s forests doing? There’s plenty of room for improvement, says the world’s leading forest report.

Up to 40 percent of the planet’s lands are degraded, and they could wreck the global economy by 2050 if we don’t act now. (More on that in our Q&A with a leading UN expert.)

One potential solution is improving land tenure rights. Here’s our exclusive preview of a new digital tool designed to protect those rights.

The sun always shines in Africa – so why is there so little solar power on the continent?

CLIMATE

Pixabay, Pexels
Pixabay, Pexels

Will we reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming within the next five years? It’s touch and go, scientists say.

That means the next pandemic may not be too far away, as the climate crisis could cause over 15,000 new virus transmissions between mammals in the next 50 years.

Rising sea levels aren’t the only threat facing coastal Asian cities like Karachi, Manila and Tianjin, which are also sinking.

The ‘Little Ice Age’ brought centuries of colder weather to most of humanity. How did our ancestors adapt – and what could we learn from them?

PEOPLE

Lake Mead has not been at full capacity since 1983 due to greater water demand and drought. Michael Yantis, Unsplash
Lake Mead has not been at full capacity since 1983 due to greater water demand and drought. Michael Yantis, Unsplash

The largest reservoir in the U.S. is drying up – revealing the bodies of murder victims who went missing decades ago.

Meet the fishers who worship whales in Vietnam, as well as the Indigenous influencers using the internet to call out illegal miners, loggers and land grabbers

What happens when fracking takes off in the world’s deadliest country for environmental defenders? Activists in Colombia have been forced to flee abroad after receiving death threats.

PLANET

The Ukrainian village of Demydiv, which was purposefully flooded to stop the advance of Russian troops to Kyiv. David Guttenfelder, The New York Times
The Ukrainian village of Demydiv, which was purposefully flooded to stop the advance of Russian troops to Kyiv. David Guttenfelder, The New York Times

Did these freshly restored wetlands protect Kyiv from the Russian invasion? Sadly, dolphins are the war’s latest victims.

One in five reptile species is threatened with extinction, including most turtles and crocodiles. A mass ocean extinction could be on the cards, too.

In Kenya, local communities have replanted 90,000 trees that were destroyed during civil unrest more than a decade ago.

Emperor penguins are in serious danger of extinction due to the climate crisis. Could robots save them?

BUSINESS

A building installed with an electric heat pump. FanFan61618, Flickr
A building installed with an electric heat pump. FanFan61618, Flickr

Could heat pumps help Europe reduce its reliance on Russian gas? The technology could slash the E.U’s gas consumption by almost 20 percent.

But Big Oil is more intent on cleaning up its image than its act: many oil and gas giants are simply transferring their assets to other companies with no climate targets.

In other fishy news, more than a third of all harvested fish and seafood is thrown away before it even reaches a plate.

What if you could turn seawater into clean, safe drinking water at the click of a button? This solar-powered device does exactly that.

POLICY

A thirsty lawn in Las Vegas, the kind soon to disappear there. Emily Orpin, Flickr
A thirsty lawn in Las Vegas, the kind soon to disappear there. Emily Orpin, Flickr

Grass lawns have officially been banned in Las Vegas. The drought-hit city will tear up all of its thirsty turf by 2027.

Norway’s capital, Oslo, has some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets. Here’s how it adopted them.

India is facing record-breaking heat, leading to power shortages amid surging demand for air conditioning. Its solution? Burn more coal.

But there’s a silver lining: coal-dependent countries like India could save money by transitioning directly from coal to renewable energy.


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