Environment

'Extreme healt belt' to cover middle of US by 2053: report

An area of intensely warm weather -- a so-called "extreme heat belt" -- with at least one day per year in which the heat index hits 125 Fahrenheit (52C), is expected to cover a US region home to more than 100 million people by the year 2053, according to a new study.. A key finding from the study was that heat exceeding the threshold of the National Weather Service's highest category -- called "Extreme Danger," or above 125F -- was expected to impact 8.1 million people in 2023 and grow to 107 million people in 2053, a 13-fold increase.

Simon Stiell of Grenada named new UN climate chief

Grenada's former environment minister Simon Stiell was named Monday as the new UN Climate Change chief, replacing Patricia Espinosa of Mexico, the UN secretary-general's office said.. A member of Grenada's government from 2013 until June, Stiell has served as minister of environment and climate resilience for the last five years, calling relentlessly during COP summits for more progress in the fight against global warming.

Spain fights fierce fire fanned by winds

Firefighters were battling strong winds Monday as a huge forest fire burnt out of control in southeastern Spain while another blaze in the north was stabilised, officials said Saturday. . With the winds expected to drop during the day after a blustery weekend, civil protection officials said they were hopeful the stabilisation of the fire could see the 1,500 evacuees to return home. 

UN resuming talks on high-seas treaty amid growing concerns

After four inconclusive sessions, UN member states on Monday resume talks aimed at finally completing a treaty to protect the world's high seas, a vital yet fragile resource that covers nearly half the planet.. Even if the high seas represent more than 60 percent of the oceans -- and nearly half the planet -- they have long been largely ignored in favor of coastal zones, with protections extended only to a few vulnerable species.

Walrus that attracted crowds in Oslo fjord euthanised

A walrus nicknamed Freya that attracted crowds while basking in the Oslo fjord was euthanised on Sunday, with Norway officials saying it was the only option but experts slamming an "infinitely sad" decision.. - 'Incredibly sad' - Experts said the decision to euthanise Freya did not taking into account the animal's well-being.

Rain brings relief to France fires, but more evacuated in south

A forest fire that flared anew in southern France sent 1,000 more people fleeing while overnight rain brought blazes elsewhere in the country under control, officials said on Sunday.. Meanwhile in the southwestern Gironde region around Bordeaux, a huge fire that had flared on Tuesday was under control after rain fell overnight, a senior official said.

Iraq's Garden of Eden now 'like a desert'

To feed and cool his buffaloes, Hashem Gassed must cross 10 kilometres (six miles) of sunburnt land in southern Iraq, where drought is devastating swathes of the mythical Mesopotamian Marshes.. Like his father before him, Gassed raises buffaloes, but only five of the family's around 30 animals are left.

Wind, thunderstorms expected around contained French wildfire

French firefighters were keeping a wary eye on a huge blaze that appeared to be contained in the country's southwest, with thunderstorms and strong wind gusts expected in the area overnight.. "We remain vigilant" because "while we can't see huge flames, the fire continues to consume vegetation and soil," Arnaud Mendousse, lieutenant colonel of Gironde fire and rescue, told AFP. Weather forecasters are expecting thunderstorms with wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres an hour in the region in the evening.