Environment

About 200 pilot whales perish on Australian beach

About 200 pilot whales have perished after being stranded on an exposed, surf-swept beach on the rugged west coast of Tasmania, Australian rescuers said Thursday.. "The environmental conditions, the surf out there on the exposed west coast, Ocean Beach, is certainly taking its toll on the animals."

Swiss mull banning factory farms

The Swiss will vote Sunday on whether to ban intensive livestock farming in the largely rural country, which already has some of the world's strictest animal welfare laws.. The Swiss would also have to invest large amounts in costly inspections of foreign farms, it argues.

UN chief wants 'action' to address climate loss, damage payments

The United Nations chief said Wednesday it was time for "meaningful action" on the issue of compensation for damage wrought by the climate crisis, especially in developing countries.. Developing nations argue that historic polluters have a moral imperative to pay for the loss and damage, but the idea was shot down by rich nations at COP26, who offered only to start talking about the issue at COP27.

NASA says delayed Moon rocket passed fueling test

NASA said Wednesday it had successfully trialed the fueling process for its new rocket, after technical issues a few weeks ago halted two attempts to get the behemoth off the ground and headed towards the Moon.. The last attempt in early September to launch NASA's most powerful rocket yet had to be aborted because of a leak while its cryogenic fuels -- liquid hydrogen and oxygen -- were being pumped into the rocket's tanks.

Pressure grows after World Bank chief dodges climate questions

Climate groups called Wednesday for the World Bank's president to be removed after he refused multiple times to say if he believed man-made emissions contributed to global warming.. The Big Shift, a consortium of climate groups, called Wednesday for the World Bank's board to remove Malpass over the comments.

UN raises funds to salvage stricken oil tanker off Yemen

The United Nations said Wednesday it has raised the $75 million necessary to salvage a stricken tanker off Yemen, an emergency operation aimed at averting a disastrous Red Sea oil spill -- and a potential $20 billion cleanup.. The result would potentially be the fifth largest oil spill from a tanker in history, with the clean-up costs alone reaching $20 billion.

As tiny Tuvalu sinks, PM fights to save the archipelago's identity

The flag of Tuvalu contains nine yellow stars -- one for each of the islands that make up the tiny Pacific archipelago, home to some 11,000 people. . The circumstances are deeply inequitable: Pacific island nations are among the least responsible for planetary heating, accounting for just 0.03 percent of global emissions. 

Spain grants personhood status to threatened lagoon

Spain granted personhood status Wednesday to a large saltwater lagoon to give its threatened ecosystem better protection, the first time such a measure has been taken in Europe.. The initiative to grant the status to the Mar Menor -- one of Europe's largest saltwater lagoons -- was debated in parliament after campaigners collected over 500,000 signatures backing it.

Who wants to go to the moon? Europe names astronaut candidates

The European Space Agency announced a team of seven astronauts on Wednesday to train for NASA's Artemis mission to the moon -- but only one will have the chance to become the first European to walk on the lunar surface.. The next mission, Artemis 2, will take astronauts to the Moon without landing on its surface, while the third -- aiming to launch in 2025 -- will see the first people set foot on the moon since 1972.

Neptune's delicate rings captured in new Webb image

The James Webb Space Telescope has turned its gaze away from the deep universe towards our home Solar System, capturing an image of a luminous Neptune and its delicate, dusty rings in detail not seen in decades, NASA said Wednesday.. The telescope "takes all that glare and background away" so that "we can start to tease out the atmospheric composition" of the planet, McCaughrean, who has worked on the Webb project for more than 20 years, told AFP. Neptune appears as deep blue in previous images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope due to methane in its atmosphere.