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The U.N. climate chief says world leaders must recognize there is no option except to speed-up and scale-up action to tackle global warming, warning that continuing on the current path will lead to “a catastrophe.”

Patricia Espinosa stressed in two recent interviews with the Associated Press that climate scientists say there’s still a chance to make things right “but the window of opportunity is closing very soon” and the world has 12 years until carbon emissions reach “a point of no return” — something some top scientists say is an oversimplification of a U.N. report last year.

She said that means the world needs to accelerate all efforts to keep from reaching that level, “and therefore all efforts are absolutely indispensable” to cut carbon emissions and keep temperatures from rising.

Source: Fox News World

Over 150 indigenous leaders met with lawmakers to discuss land rights and the role of their communities in the protection of the environment Thursday amid protests against the policies of Brazil’s new far-right president.

The discussions in the Chamber of Deputies came on the second day of the Free Land Encampment, an annual three-day protest by indigenous groups held in Brazil’s capital.

Indigenous leaders from several regions attended the congressional hearing, many of them with traditional feathered headdresses and faces painted red or black. Marina Silva, a former environmental minister and presidential candidate, also attended the meeting.

More than 1,000 indigenous people set up tents on the lawn of the congressional building Wednesday and began demonstrating against President Jair Bolsonaro’s vow to encourage the expansion of mining and industrial farming in protected indigenous areas.

“What is being disputed is the land,” said Sonia Guajajara, an indigenous leader and former vice presidential candidate.

Bolsonaro “wants to give the indigenous territories to the United States, to foreigners, to explore our natural resources. We fight not only for our rights, our constitutional rights, but for our right to exist,” Guajajara told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

“Where indigenous lands are demarcated, registered and controlled by the peoples, these territories are preserved and cared for,” said Cleber Cesar Buzatto, secretary general of the Indigenous Missionary Council, a rights group linked to the Roman Catholic Church. “In some regions, in some states like Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Maranhao, these lands are like true oases in the middle of farming commodities fields, and of a lot of environmental destruction.”

Soon after being sworn in Jan. 1, Bolsonaro transferred the authority for designating indigenous land and granting environmental licenses for businesses on indigenous reserves from the government’s indigenous affairs agency to the Agriculture Ministry. He also shifted the indigenous affairs agency, FUNAI, from the Justice Ministry to a new ministry for family, women and human rights that is being led by an ultraconservative evangelical pastor.

During an earlier meeting with Chamber of Deputies Speaker Rodrigo Maia on Wednesday, Ivan Valente, a lawmaker who is part of an indigenous lobbying group, said the president’s changes were “leaving the fox taking over the chicken coop.”

Maia responded by saying that he would push to undo the changes when the proposals come up for debate.

Putting FUNAI back under the Justice Ministry “seems to me the most reasonable, the most rational (decision) that guarantees more security for each one of you,” Maia said.

Guajajara told a cheering crowd that indigenous leaders will continue to oppose Bolsonaro’s plans.

“We are in Brasilia to show that our resistance is strong and that our compromise with our peoples is bigger than any imposition. We are not going to accept these attacks with our arms crossed,” Guajajara said.

At a gathering in 2017, police shot tear gas at indigenous protesters who fired back with bows and arrows.

On Thursday, while the lower house commission was discussing the future role of indigenous communities in the protection of the environment, the Senate held a special session to honor the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

This year’s protest is to end with a group march Friday.

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Associated Press video journalist Renato Domingues reported this story in Brasilia and AP writer Diane Jeantet reported from Rio de Janeiro. AP video journalist Mia Alberti in Brasilia contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

Climate change protesters who have brought parts of central London to a standstill for days say they will lift their blockades.

The group Extinction Rebellion says it will end its remaining demonstrations at Marble Arch and Parliament Square on Thursday.

Last week, the protesters blocked Waterloo Bridge and major intersections including Marble Arch and Oxford Circus, snarling traffic and disrupting bus routes.

The civil disobedience movement saw tented protest sites sprouting around the capital. More than 1,000 people were arrested as police tried to clear the sites, though only about 70 have been charged.

Extinction Rebellion thanked Londoners in a statement Wednesday, saying: “We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.”

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Authorities in eastern Germany are canceling plans for traditional Easter bonfires because warm, dry weather has increased the risk of wildfires.

Firefighters managed to control a forest fire in Koenigs Wusterhausen near Berlin early Friday, one of several in the eastern state of Brandenburg in recent days.

Germany saw several large-scale wildfires last summer, which was exceptionally long and hot. Experts say climate change could make such blazes more likely in the country in future.

The government plans to pass a package of measures this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming.

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told weekly Der Spiegel in an interview Friday that the measures could include a carbon tax, with the revenues redistributed to citizens in some other form, as in neighboring Switzerland.

Source: Fox News World

Five years after one of the deadliest disasters on Mount Everest, three people from Nepal’s ethnic Sherpa community are preparing an ascent to raise awareness about the Nepalese mountain guides who make it possible for hundreds of foreign climbers to scale the mountain and survive.

Renowned climber Kami Rita lived through the 2014 ice avalanche on Everest’s western shoulder that killed 16 fellow Sherpa guides. He aims to break his own record this spring by reaching the mountaintop a 23rd time as a guide for foreign climbers.

Furdiki Sherpa lost her husband in a mountaineering accident, and Nima Doma lost hers in the 2014 avalanche. They are also attempting to scale Everest, to bring attention to the plight of Sherpa families living in the shadow of the world’s highest peak.

Source: Fox News World

Protesters who have blocked London roads and bridges for more than three days say they will escalate their civil disobedience campaign if the British government doesn’t step up action against climate change.

Hundreds of demonstrators have blocked sites including Waterloo Bridge over the River Thames and the Oxford Circus and Marble Arch intersections since Monday.

The protest sites have sprouted tents, sound systems and even an ice cream van. Traffic is snarled and bus routes have been disrupted, to the frustration of commuters.

Police have made more than 420 arrests.

Gail Bradbrook of protest group Extinction Rebellion said Thursday that “more people are joining us all the time.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid says protesters “do not have the right to break the law and significantly disrupt the lives of others.”

Source: Fox News World

The British-led Nekton scientific mission on Thursday completed a seven-week expedition in the Indian Ocean aimed at documenting changes beneath the waves that could affect billions of people in the surrounding region over the coming decades.

Little is known about the watery world below depths of 30 meters (yards), the limit to which a normal scuba diver can go. Operating down to 450 meters with manned submersibles and underwater drones off the island nation of the Seychelles, the scientists were the first to explore areas of great diversity where sunlight weakens and the deep ocean begins.

The oceans’ role in regulating climate and the threats they face from global warming are underestimated by many. Scientific missions are crucial in taking stock of underwater ecosystems’ health.

Principal scientist Lucy Woodall called the mission “massively successful,” saying that members believe they have found evidence near several coral islands of a so-called rariphotic zone, or “twilight zone,” located between 130 and 300 meters deep.

“The rariphotic zone has been shown in a number of papers in the Atlantic and Caribbean but has never previously been shown in the Indian Ocean,” Woodall said, adding that months of analysis will be needed to confirm the discovery.

In this twilight zone that sunlight barely reaches, photosynthesis is no longer possible and species that cannot move toward the ocean’s surface rely on particles falling from above for sustenance.

Woodall also said she was excited to see “vibrant” communities of fish during the mission.

“We’re seeing schools of small fish — that middle of the food chain — but we’re also seeing a large number of big predators — the sharks and all the other fish predators as well that are there. So this shows that protection works,” she said.

With the expedition over, the long work of analysis begins. Researchers conducted over 300 deployments, collected around 1,300 samples and 20 terabytes of data and surveyed about 30 square kilometers (11.5 sq. miles) of seabed using high-resolution multi-beam sonar equipment.

Woodall estimated her team will need up to 18 months of lab work to process and make sense of the data gathered during the expedition.

The data will be used to help the Seychelles expand its policy of protecting almost a third of its national waters by 2020. The initiative is important for the country’s “blue economy,” an attempt to balance development needs with those of the environment.

On Sunday, President Danny Faure visited the Nekton team and delivered a striking speech broadcast live from deep below the ocean’s surface, making a global plea for stronger protection of the “beating blue heart of our planet.”

For Nekton mission director Oliver Steeds, Faure’s visit was a win for the ocean.

“I hope our ability to broadcast live from the ocean has helped put the oceans back on the map in the boardrooms, the corridors of power and in the classrooms,” Steeds said. “That’s where the decisions need to be made to fundamentally secure our future and the improved management and conservation of our ocean.”

He said mission members hope that nations across the Indian Ocean will have the political will to improve the management and conservation of their waters.

“It’s been an extraordinary aquatic adventure,” Steeds said. “We’re delighted that so many people around the world have been following our progress but it only really matters if the Seychelles can continue to take a lead on the world stage as a beacon of hope for ocean conservation.”

This is the first of a half-dozen regions the mission plans to explore before the end of 2022, when scientists will present their research at a summit on the state of the Indian Ocean.

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More on the mission at https://apnews.com/SeychellesOceanMission

Source: Fox News World

Two university students are accused of igniting a massive forest fire in northern Italy last December and they were hit with the bill for the damages: a cool $15.3 million each.

The two students – identified in the Italian press as Alessio Molteni and Daniele Borghi, both 22 – were having a cookout to celebrate the upcoming New Year at one of their grandparents’ mountain-side homes near Lake Como when the blaze broke out.

Molteni told La Stampa that he and Borghi immediately called the fire department and “threw ourselves into the flames to try to extinguish them.”

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He claimed they were “scapegoats” for the blaze and that their barbecue did not spark the forest fire because there were “many outbreaks.”

Prosecutors said they traced the path of the fire back to the mountain-side property and said it had started from the embers from the barbecue.

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The fire, which last several days, destroyed almost 2,500 acres of forest on Monte Berlinghera, the BBC reported

The fine was calculated by forest police based on an established formula under local laws, which calls for a fine of $135 to $670 per square meter. The estimated damage was calculated at some 6,840 square meters, La Stampa reported.

His attorney, Ivana Anomali, slammed the fine, telling La Stampa that fining the two students such a huge sum made no sense because they would never be able to pay it.

“What is the sense of imposing a sanction of €13.5 million ($15.3 million) each knowing that these two kids, who are still students, cannot pay it,” she said.

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Prosecutors told local outlet Il Giorno Como that the fine was a “signal that we need to push people to greater responsibility in protecting the environment.”

Source: Fox News World

Climate change protesters have glued themselves to a train and blocked major London intersections on the third day of a civil disobedience campaign.

Three demonstrators were arrested after stopping Docklands Light Railway services at Canary Wharf station on Wednesday.

Police have arrested more than 300 people since Monday during protests by the group Extinction Rebellion.

Demonstrators continue to block sites including Waterloo Bridge over the River Thames and the Oxford Circus and Marble Arch intersections. Many bus routes have been disrupted, to the frustration of commuters.

Lawyer Farhana Yamin, one of those arrested, apologized to public transit users. But she told BBC radio that “we need to take actions that are disruptive so everyone understands the dangers we’re facing right now.”

Source: Fox News World

Germany has officially switched on the biggest offshore wind park in the Baltic Sea, which will supply some 400,000 households with electricity.

The Arkona facility about 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Germany’s Baltic island of Ruegen went online Tuesday. It is operated by German utility company Eon and Norwegian energy giant Equinor.

More than 40% of Germany’s electricity was generated using renewable sources such as wind and solar last year. The country aims to get 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared with 1990 levels.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said over the weekend that the government will decide by the end of the year whether to set sector-specific emissions targets or focus more on carbon pricing.

Source: Fox News World


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