Our global food supply is at risk when high gas prices limit the creation of fertiliser | Andrew Whitelaw

If water is the source of life, fertiliser is the source of scaleable food production. The increasing cost of fertiliser is one of the largest contributors to a “cost-price” squeeze affecting the farmers of major agricultural products in Australia and globally. The cost of food is increasing in step with the cost of producing that food and, in the past quarter in Australia, we have seen food inflation increase by 2.8% – the fourth-highest quarter since the turn of the century. The price of wheat, the main staple for much…

Chinese premier calls for more coal production as electricity demand soars

China’s premier has called for increased production of coal to stave off mass blackouts, as early summer heatwaves have prompted record electricity usage. On Friday authorities again issued high temperature warnings for about a dozen provinces across the central and northern provinces, after consecutive days in the high 30s. As people sought to escape the heat this week, state media reported that electricity demand was up 8.8% in north-west China compared with last year, and 3.2% in northern China, citing the State Grid Corp of China. Records for maximum electricity…

Ancient forest found at bottom of huge sinkhole in China

An ancient forest has been found at the bottom of a giant sinkhole in China, with trees up to 40 metres (130ft) tall. Scientists believe it could contain undiscovered plant and animal species. Cave explorers in the Guangxi region of southern China alerted scientists when they found the sinkhole, which had a primitive forest inside. Among 30 sinkholes in Leye County this is the largest, at 306 metres long, 150 metres wide and 192 metres deep. An aerial photo shows a different karst sinkhole in Leye County in 2020. Photograph:…

From India’s highs to Thailand’s lows, Asia’s weather is hitting extremes

The final days of April saw further unbearable temperatures recorded in India and Pakistan. Temperatures peaked at 49C in Jacobabad, Pakistan on 30 April, with a high of 47.2C observed in Banda, India. The Indian Meteorological Department confirmed that average temperatures in April were the highest for northern and central parts of the country since records began over 100 years ago. Heatwaves are a common occurrence at this time of year in India and Pakistan, but scientists believe the intensity, duration and arrival time of the conditions witnessed so far…

What really happened at Geneva’s crucial biodiversity negotiations?

For talks that are meant to be about halting the mass extinction of life on Earth, the slow pace of negotiations in Geneva ahead of Cop15, the major biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, later this year, was not a hopeful sign that meaningful action would follow. As discussions drew to a close this week, little progress was made on the targets and goals that are meant to herald nature’s “Paris moment”. Rhetoric from rich developed nations about the need for ambition on halting biodiversity loss was not being followed through…

Only 6% of G20 pandemic recovery spending ‘green’, analysis finds

Only about 6% of pandemic recovery spending has been “green”, an analysis of the $14tn that G20 countries have poured into economic stimulus. Additionally, about 3% of the record amounts governments around the world have spent to rescue the global economy from the Covid-19 pandemic has been spent on activities that will increase carbon emissions, such as subsidies to coal, and will do little to reduce greenhouse gases or shift the world to a low-carbon footing. The analysis of the G20 fiscal stimulus spending, published on Wednesday in the journal…

Bisquey business: Maine politicians bemoan China lobster deal flop

China has failed to live up to its promise to buy more Maine lobster under a deal that opened the door to an easing of a trade war under Donald Trump, Maine’s congressional leaders say. Maine’s lobster industry was hurt by retaliatory Chinese tariffs in 2018 but failed to see substantial export gains after China committed to buying an additional $200bn in US goods, the delegation contends. Under the “Phase One Agreement”, China was supposed to increase purchases above 2017 levels. But China has bought “almost no lobster above 2017…

Illegal overfishing by Chinese trawlers leaves Sierra Leone locals ‘starving’

Along Tombo’s crumbling waterfront, dozens of hand-painted wooden boats are arriving in the blistering midday sun with the day’s catch for the scrum of the market in one of Sierra Leone’s largest fishing ports. In a scrap of shade at the bustling dock, Joseph Fofana, a 36-year-old fisherman, is repairing a torn net. Fofana says he earns about 50,000 leone (£3.30) for a brutal, 14-hour day at sea, crammed in with 20 men, all paying the owner for use of his vessel. “This is the only job we can do,”…

Xi Jinping warns China’s low-carbon ambitions must not interfere with ‘normal life’

China’s ambitious low-carbon goals should not come at the expense of energy and food security or the “normal life” of ordinary people, president Xi Jinping said, signalling a more cautious approach to climate change as the economy slows. China, the world’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, has been under pressure to “enhance ambition” and take more drastic action to tackle global warming. But amid mounting economic challenges, China is worried about the risk to jobs and growth, especially as it prepares to hold a key Communist party conclave…

For the Climate, Biden Must Be More Aggressive in Ending New Truck and Bus Emissions

for the climate biden must be more aggressive in ending new truck and bus emissions scaled

At a gathering on the White House lawn last August, President Biden spoke of a future in which electric cars and trucks will be the only vehicles on the road. “The question,” he said, “is whether we’ll lead or fall behind” in the global race to achieve that vision. Mr. Biden has been vigorous in pushing for the end of the internal combustion engine for cars and light trucks. In August he signed an executive order that called on the federal government to do all it can to ensure that…

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