Brazil raises hopes of a retreat from new mega-dam construction

the itaipu dam is the world’s second biggest hydroelectric power plant
The Itaipu dam is the world’s second biggest hydroelectric power plant. Brazil gets more than 70% of its electricity from hydropower. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hydropower policy to be rethought in face of environmental concerns, indigenous sensitivities and public unease, says surprise government statement

January 4, 2018 — After swathes of forest clearance, millions of tonnes of concrete and decades of hydro-expansion, Brazil has raised hopes that it may finally step back from the construction of new mega-dams. Continue reading Brazil raises hopes of a retreat from new mega-dam construction

Trump administration plans to allow oil and gas drilling off nearly all US coast

offshore oil platform in the background in the santa barbara channel off the california
Pelicans float with an offshore oil platform in the background in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. The government plans to allow drilling in 90% of the outer continental shelf. Photograph: Mark J Terrill/AP

Ryan Zinke unveils plan to offer leases in Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic while environmental groups and some Republicans lead outcry

January 4, 2018 — The Trump administration has unveiled a plan that would open almost all US offshore territory to oil and gas drilling, including previously protected areas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans. Continue reading Trump administration plans to allow oil and gas drilling off nearly all US coast

Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

dead sardines in temuco, chile
A fisherman on a beach in Temuco, Chile that is blanketed with dead sardines, a result of algal blooms that suck oxygen out of the water. Photograph: Felix Marquez/AP

Areas starved of oxygen in open ocean and by coasts have soared in recent decades, risking dire consequences for marine life and humanity

January 4, 2018 — Ocean dead zones with zero oxygen have quadrupled in size since 1950, scientists have warned, while the number of very low oxygen sites near coasts have multiplied tenfold. Continue reading Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn

Severe coral reef bleaching now ‘five times more frequent’ than 40 years ago

scientific diver taking notes during coral bleaching event
Scientific diver taking notes during coral bleaching event at Alcatrazes island, Sao Paulo state shore, Brazil. Credit: Leo Francini / Alamy Stock Photo.

Mass coral reef bleaching events have become five times more common worldwide over the past 40 years, new research finds, with climate change playing a significant role in the rise

January 4, 2018 — The scale of bleaching has been rising steadily in the last four decades, a study author tells Carbon Brief, with the global proportion of coral being hit by bleaching per year rising from 8% in the 1980s to 31% in 2016. Continue reading Severe coral reef bleaching now ‘five times more frequent’ than 40 years ago