The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

Preference for built-up habitats could explain rapid spread of tree bumblebee in UK

The strikingly rapid spread of the Tree Bumblebee in Britain could be occurring because the bees readily live alongside humans in towns and villages — according to research from the University of East Anglia.

A new study published today shows that Tree Bumblebees are associated with built-up areas and that these areas form a large part of their habitat use.

These markedly different habitat and foraging preferences set this species apart from other common British bumblebee species — which could explain how Tree Bumblebees have managed to colonize much of the UK while many other bumblebee species have been declining.

The Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) has spread to nearly all of England and Wales since its first appearance in southern England in 2001.

How Australia Became the Dirtiest Polluter in the Developed World

Australians like to think of themselves as green. Their island country boasts some 3 million square miles of breathtaking landscape. They were an early global leader in solar power. They’ve had environmental regulations on the books since colonial times. And in 2007 they elected a party and a prime minister running on a “pro-climate” platform, with promises to sign the Kyoto Protocol and pass sweeping environmental reforms. All of which makes sense for a country that is already suffering the early effects of global warming.

And yet, seven years later, Australia has thrown its environmentalism out the window—and into the landfill.

Floods, forest fires, expanding deserts: the future has arrived

Climate change is no longer viewed by mainstream scientists as a future threat to our planet and our species. It is a palpable phenomenon that already affects the world, they insist. And a brief look round the globe certainly provides no lack of evidence to support this gloomy assertion.

In Bangladesh, increasingly severe floods – triggered, in part, by increasing temperatures and rising sea levels – are wiping out crops and destroying homes on a regular basis. In Sudan, the heat is causing the Sahara to expand and to eat into farmland, while in Siberia, the planet’s warming is causing the permafrost to melt and houses to subside.

Or consider the Marshall Islands, the Pacific archipelago that is now struggling to cope with rising seas that are lapping over its streets and gardens. Even the home of the country’s president Christopher Loeak is feeling the effects. “He has had to build a wall around his house to prevent the salt water from inundating,” Tony de Brum, the islands’ foreign minister, revealed recently.

Fracking trespass law changes move forward despite huge public opposition

Fracking will take place below Britons’ homes without their permission after ministers rejected 40,000 objections to controversial changes to trespass laws.

The UK government argued that the current ability for people to block shale gas development under their property would lead to significant delays and that the legal process by which companies can force fracking plans through was costly, time-consuming and disproportionate.

There were a total of 40,647 responses to a consultation on the move to give oil and gas companies underground access without needing to seek landowners’ permission, with 99% opposing the legal changes. Setting aside the 28,821 responses submitted via two NGO campaigns, 92% of the remaining responses objected to the proposals.

Is Alaska the new Florida? Experts predict where next for America’s ‘climate refugees’

Alaskans, stay in Alaska. People in the midwest and the Pacific north-west, sit tight. Scientists trying to predict the consequences of climate change say that they see few havens from the storms, floods and droughts that are sure to intensify over the coming decades. But some regions in the US, they add, will fare better than others.

Forget most of California and the south-west (drought, wildfires). Ditto for much of the east coast and south-east (heatwaves, hurricanes, rising sea levels). Washington DC , for example, may well be a flood zone by 2100, according to an estimate released last week.

Instead, consider Anchorage. Or even, perhaps, Detroit.

 

At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

 

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