The 1997 pact, which controls the greenhouse gas emissions of rich countries, expires this year.
Negotiators haggled through the night in Doha to finalize details of a deal that allowed Kyoto to live on for another commitment period.
The U.S. never joined Kyoto, partly because it didn’t include China and other fast-growing developing countries.
Countries aim to adopt in 2015 a wider treaty that would apply to all countries and enter force when the Kyoto extension expires.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- UN climate summit’s Qatari hosts under fire as talks drag on (guardian.co.uk)
- Déjà vu in Doha (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Climate change talks deadlocked on final day of UN summit (guardian.co.uk)
- Climate talks risk failure over aid row, lack of emissions goals (reuters.com)
- EU Agrees Rules on Emission Permits as UN Envoys Eye Kyoto Deal – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- At Doha Climate Talks, Modest Results At Best (npr.org)
- Poland to host UN climate talks in 2013 (worldbulletin.net)
- CII calls for extending Kyoto Protocol at Doha talks (vancouverdesi.com)
- New Zealand slams Kyoto extension (bigpondnews.com)
Previously unseen wildlife is colonising British cities but local authorities are concerned by the increase. The Guardian reports
First came the urban fox, then flocks of colourful tropical parakeets. But now deer, woodpeckers, hedgehogs, jackdaws, birds of prey and exotic spiders, fish and insects are colonising British cities, say wildlife experts.
Previously unseen muntjac, roe and fallow deer now boldly enter inner-city areas such as Finsbury Park in north London and have been seen in cemeteries, gardens and golf courses on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Sheffield, Bristol, Guildford and Newcastle, says the London Wildlife Trust’s deputy director, Mathew Frith.
He gave a warning that people could soon expect to see wild boar in suburban streets and gardens: “It will not be too long before they impact on our urban areas. They have no natural predators, it is complicated to hunt them, and their numbers are increasing. We can expect them soon.”
Birds of prey, once common in cities, have this year returned in numbers. Red kites, extinct in England and Scotland by the 1800s and down to just a few pairs 20 years ago, are now not just seen flying over London and other cities, but have been found feeding in gardens in places such as Reading, Frith says.
In a remarkable turnaround from the polluted wildlife deserts of the 1970s, inner-city parks and private gardens are now attracting creatures once practically extinct in urban areas and providing habitats for wildlife seldom seen before in Britain.
The invaders, which are mostly welcomed by ecologists but worry local authorities as their numbers increase, are becoming bolder every year as they fill ecological niches.
Jackdaws have been found raiding pigeons’ nests on the British Museum and the National Gallery, and peregrine falcons, which were almost exterminated by the use of pesticides after the second world war, have taken to nesting in the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern and the O2 arena, as well as on tower blocks and housing estates.
“They used to be persecuted, but now they are returning,” says Frith. “Twelve years ago there were no breeding pairs at all. But now we have eight to 10 pairs in London.”
Smaller animals and birds once rare in cities are also thriving, says ecologist Tony Canning, who works at the Camley Gardens nature reserve near King’s Cross in north London. He attributes some of the increase in urban wildlife to a declining use of pesticides by gardeners. “Sales shot up in the 1980s gardening boom, but people don’t use so much now,” he says.
Increasingly urbanised landscapes are thought to be of mixed value for birds, with species such as pigeons and chaffinches able to survive in these environments, while others, such as the swift, starling and song thrush, are in decline.
One of the most successful urban birds may be the tropical ring-necked parakeet, which colonised Esher in Surrey years ago and is becoming widespread in urban areas in the Midlands. “We now have great spotted woodpeckers right in the centre of cities. I saw one flying over London Bridge last week,” says Frith.
Exotic animals have often been brought to London and to British port cities on boats, but they seldom breed. But no one can explain how a self-sustaining colony of non-venomous metre-long Aesculapian snakes has come to live near the canal in Regent’s Park. They normally eat birds and eggs, but appear to be feeding on rodents.
Hundreds of terrapins, which can live for up to 60 years, are known to inhabit British cities following the craze over the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show in the 1990s. This year a mink was spotted in an artificial lake in Thamesmead, one of London’s most deprived communities. “What we are seeing especially is new insects. The red-eyed damselfly was virtually unknown a few years ago. Now it’s in central London. Wasp spiders are spreading everywhere,” says Canning.
Milder winters are thought to have extended the range of insects and spiders to London and southern England cities. Jersey moths and exotic, brightly coloured wasp spiders, almost unheard of a few years ago, have spread from the continent, and red-eyed damselflies, first spotted in Britain in 1999, are now common on London’s waterways.
In August a rarely seen long-tailed blue butterfly was found trying to establish a breeding territory in East India Dock. It is possible that it came off a boat, but just as likely that warmer winters have made it possible for it to survive.
Ecologists cannot say if the present boom in wildlife is because species are being driven out of the countryside or because cities are becoming more attractive. “We have lost some urban habitats, like old industrial sites, and a lot of front gardens have been concreted over,” says Canning. “But a huge amount of conservation work has been done in nature reserves in the past 20 years.”
Equally, thousands of ponds in the countryside have been filled, but frogs and newts now find it easier to live in cities because pesticides are used less.
The work of local authorities may also be encouraging wildlife. Tens of thousands of street and park trees were planted in the 1950s and 1960s in British cities and many of these are nearing maturity, offering new habitats for many types of birds such as magpies, which only nest above 25ft.
But not all new urban wildlife in urban areas is welcome. Last week scientists from Queen Mary College, University of London, said that almost 100 freshwater species not native to the UK have invaded the river Thames catchment area, costing hundreds of millions of pounds to eradicate. They include Chinese mitten crabs, zebra mussels, Asiatic clams and other species which can rapidly multiply and take over the habitats of native wildlife and infest waterways.
The recolonisation of British cities parallels what is happening elsewhere in Europe and also the US. Wolves have been found within 25 miles of Rome, and wild boars are now so common in Berlin that the city authorities have issued hunting licences.
American scientists warned last week that wolves, mountain lions and wild dogs could soon be a common sight in densely populated cities. “Raccoons, skunks, foxes – they’ve already been able to penetrate the urban landscape pretty well. The coyote is the most recent and largest. The jury’s out with what’s going to happen with the bigger ones,” said Dr Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University, who has been tracking the wild dogs.
“It used to be rural areas where we would have this challenge of coexistence versus conflict with carnivores. In the future, and I would say currently, it’s cities where we’re going to have this intersection between people and carnivores. Overall, I think it is amazing what is happening. If we give a bit of room here and there, nature does its own thing. We are finding many animals are surprisingly tolerant of what humans do.”
- Wildlife Update : More bad news : The little things that rule the world are facing disaster (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- WILDLIFE UPDATE : Fury at minister Richard Benyon’s ‘astounding’ refusal to ban deadly bird poison (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- A Golden Opportunity for Wildlife (theecologist.org)
- Hyderabad: A showcase of urban biodiversity (rtcc.org)
- WILDLIFE UPDATE : Attenborough – asking us to ‘learn from nature’ and not ignore the signs! (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Rhinestone Coyotes (& Other Urban Wildlife) (balloon-juice.com)
- Wildlife photographer awards 2012 (bbc.co.uk)
- ‘Eat UK oysters’ scientists urge (bbc.co.uk)
|Forest & Bird has joined forces with other groups to put an end to shark fining. So far, 98 countries have banned shark fining. NZ hasn’t. In NZ waters, it is completely legal to kill a shark only for its fins and dump the body overboard. We think this is an unsustainable and wasteful practice, especially as global shark numbers have|
|rapidly declined in recent decades. The government is reviewing the National Plan of Action for sharks. Please sign our petition and watch for updates on how you can have your say. Visitwww.nzsharkalliance.org.nz for more information.|
See new factsheet on shark fining here
- Costa Rica Bans Shark Finning (huffingtonpost.com)
- Costa Rica passes ban on taking of shark fins (reuters.com)
- Costa Rica officially bans shark finning (greenerideal.com)
- Applaud Costa Rica for Improved Ban on Shark Finning (forcechange.com)
- Call for Govt to help end shark finning (nzherald.co.nz)
- Thousands of Gulf Sharks Caught During Annual Fishing Ban (greenprophet.com)
- The truth behind Shark Week: They should be afraid of Us. (elephantjournal.com)
- Global shark conservation plan in the balance at landmark talks (guardian.co.uk)
- Hope for the shark (fijitimes.com)
- Calgary city council passes first reading of shark fin ban (cbc.ca)
One year on from the Rena disaster, independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is still concerned at the ongoing environmental impacts of the oil spill, unrecovered containers and the shipwreck.
Forest & Bird Central North Island Field Officer Al Fleming says 350 containers from the ship have not been recovered. “These containers are breaking down, possibly releasing debris and toxic chemicals into the marine environment.
“The wreck is still on the reef, and Forest & Bird is concerned at possible pollution of Bay of Plenty waters from this. Before deciding on whether the Rena wreck should remain, we would like to see an assessment of the environmental impacts,” Al Fleming says.
The loss of an estimated 20,000 birds when 350 tonnes of heavy fuel leaked from the grounded ship has had a terrible effect on populations of many species of birds that live in the Bay of Plenty and further afield. “Bay of Plenty beaches, estuaries and harbours are important nesting sites for many of our shorebirds, including oyster catchers and terns,” Al Fleming says.
The impact of the oil spill on the local New Zealand dotterel population has been of most serious concern. “Dotterels are a threatened species with a population between 1500 and 1800,” says Al Fleming. “After the Rena disaster, 60 adults were removed from Bay of Plenty beaches. Five died from a lung infection while in captivity. No eggs or chicks were removed from the beaches so they were lost as well. This is a significant loss when you’re talking about a small population of birds.”
Forest & Bird is working with central government, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and WWF-NZ on a three-year Bay of Plenty Shorebird Protection Programme to re-establish shorebird populations devastated in the oil spill.
Work has already started on pest control, habitat restoration, an education programme in schools, and raising public awareness of threats to our native shorebirds.
“This year’s breeding season and the success of the shorebird protection programme is critical to the long-term recovery of bird populations,” says Al Fleming.
Forest & Bird is continuing to work with Rena operator Costamare and insurer the Swedish Club to create a fund for the long-term recovery of the region’s environment.
Al Fleming says the oil spill was a tragedy for nature, and Forest & Bird supports the independent review being launched to ensure our environment is safeguarded from future disasters. “I hope the lessons from the Rena can teach us how to avoid other potential environmental catastrophes if we pursue offshore oil and gas drilling.”
Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide, is one of Australia‘s most popular tourism destinations, thanks to its profusion of native wildlife, which includes koalas, kangaroos and the world’s smallest penguin species.
But lately there have been dark goings-on in the animal kingdom: the New Zealand fur seals have been devouring the fairy penguins.
Penguin numbers have dropped by half on the island, according to some locals, who want the seals to be sterilised, relocated or even culled. Now they have come up with a new suggestion: shoot them with beanbag rounds – a method more commonly used to control riots – if they approach penguin colonies.
John Ayliffe, who runs nightly penguin-spotting tours, said five penguins had been taken by seals near the town of Kingscote in recent weeks. He warned that the seal population was booming and that, unless drastic measures were taken, the penguins on the rocky island could be wiped out. The lead shot “hits the seals like a punch and it will not penetrate the skin provided it’s fired from sensible distances”, he said, after which the seals would simply move away.
Conservationists, however, are horrified, and the state environment department says that “interactions between New Zealand fur seals and penguins are a natural phenomenon over which humans have little control”. It adds that the seals – a protected species native to Australia as well as New Zealand – are only now recovering from commercial sealing in the past.
Sealing, which was Australia’s first major industry after colonisation, nearly eradicated the fur seal. Although it was banned in the 1830s, fishermen were still allowed to kill seals deemed to be “interfering with fishing operations” until 1983.
In recent decades, the Kangaroo Island population has bounced back to about 25,000 – and the number of penguins has declined in tandem, claim tourism operators. One of these, Simone Somerfield, told The Australian last year that visitors to her penguin viewing centre had seen the birds ambushed by seals in the shallows and even chased on to the shore.
“Every now and again you would see one penguin being taken, and I would say, ‘Gee, that’s amazing, it’s like David Attenborough‘,” she said. “But then it was more and more and more, and then mass kills in which the seals were not even eating them. It was happening within a hundred metres and you have a complete view – it was like watching a horror movie.”
Seal populations are believed to have grown partly because of a decline in numbers of sharks and killer whales, their natural predators. Mr Ayliffe, manager of the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre, said that in South Africa and Namibia seals were “harvested” because there was not enough food for them. “Harvesting is a major tool used internationally to manage numbers. It’s only a matter of time before we implement some control measures here.”
However, measures such as culling and relocation have been rejected by environmental authorities, who say they have proved expensive and largely ineffective elsewhere. New seals move into areas from which others have been removed, and relocated seals swim long distances to return to familiar feeding grounds. Moreover, penguins form only a small part of the fur seal’s diet, according to marine biologists.
Tim Kelly, of the Conservation Council of South Australia, said while he could understand the frustration of tour operators, the growth in seal numbers was a welcome development. He added there were other threats to the penguins, such as attacks by dogs and nest predation, which also had to be taken into account.