Newsdesk – October 27

Emaciated grizzly bears in Canada spark greater concerns over depleted salmon population. The heartbreaking images, captured by a Canadian photographer, have sparked concern from wildlife observers. They have drastically changed within a couple months,” Jake Smith, guardian watchman manager for the Mamalilikulla First Nation. Smith arranged for 500 salmon, donated on Vancouver Island, to be distributed along the shorelines that the grizzlies frequent. Volunteers on Sunday piled the fish in ice chests and delivered them by boat to the area. “The bears are in trouble. Their main food source, salmon, is at an all time low in the area,” Smith says. If salmon runs in the area are lower than expected, bears may have to travel further to find food. Grizzly bears hibernate for five to seven months each year and live off the fat built up during the summer and fall months, according to the National Park Service. If female bears go into hibernation leaner than normal, this might impact how many cubs she has.  In August, a report released by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada noted that Canada’s climate is warming twice as fast as the global average, drastically impacting the salmon’s ecosystems. Commercial fishermen in British Columbia are calling this the worst salmon season in nearly 50 years. The warmer weather has impacted the temperature of the water and drastically impacted the salmon run this year. “Everywhere in the world where there is salmon farming you have a decline in the wild salmon population,” said biologist Alexandra Morton, who has been researching the effects of farming for the past 30 years. This type of farming allows for waste to be added back into the water and exposes the wild salmon population to viruses. Canada isn’t the only area facing issues with wild salmon populations. This summer, the heat wave in Alaska resulted in scientist finding hundreds of dead salmon due to heat stress. The water temperatures broke records as it rose to 81 degrees in July in Cook Inlet – CNN

  • See which Halloween candy is contributing to child labor and deforestation – Fast Company
  • Glacial rivers absorb carbon faster than rainforests, scientists find – The Guardian
  • The Acid Sludge Streaming Out of Germany’s Coal Mines – Wired
  • Exxon’s Climate Fraud Trial Opens to a Packed New York Courtroom – Inside Climate News
  • Bonobo conservation stymied by deforestation, human rights abuses – Mongabay
  • Young Thais battle seniority culture to raise climate awareness – Thomson Reuters Foundation
  • Oktoberfest ‘produces 10 times as much methane as Boston’ – The Guardian
A Chilean army tank in the centre of Santiago on Tuesday before a curfew was put in place for the first time since the Pinochet dictatorship (Photo: Migrar Photo)

Massive protests and disruption in Chile ahead of trade and UN climate summits. Just weeks before Chile hosts two major global meetings, including the UN climate talks, civil unrest has cast a shadow over one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries and its ambitious billionaire president Sebastián Piñera, who made a fortune running a credit card company. The country has seen barricades in the streets, the army deployed in the capital, and subway stations burning with thousands of people banging cooking pots. Eighteen people have been killed in the uprising, according to the government, six killed by the military or police. The spark was a hike in metro prices. But the grievances on the streets are a long list of policies seen to benefit an economic elite: education debts, poor healthcare, privatised pensions, several cases of collusion, corruption and impunity among the political class and private ownership of the water system in the middle of a severe 10-year drought.  Another focus of anger are Chile’s ‘sacrifice zones’, areas where industry, in particular fossil fuel plants, are concentrated and public health impacted.  Manchester City and Chilean national football player Claudio Bravo said on Twitter last week, “We don’t want a Chile for a few, we want a Chile for everyone”.  The capital of Chile, Santiago, is due to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APec) forum on 16-17 November and the 25th UN climate talks (Cop25), which start on 2 December. Russian president Vladimir Putin has confirmed his participation in the APec meet, while the security teams of the US and Chinese leaders Donald Trump and Xi Jinping were in Chile last Friday to evaluate security conditions. The metro in Santiago has been severely damaged, with several stations attacked. The government has recognised the system won’t be completely restored for more than six months. Only three of the six lines are now functional and just a few stations are open – Climate Home News

Electric cars are plugged into a charging point in London, Britain, April 7, 2016. To match Insight ELECTRIC-CAR/COMMODITIES REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo – S1BEUFEHURAA

Can Green License Plates Help Plug Electric Cars? The U.K. government wants to boost sales for ultra-low-emission vehicles by offering special number plates—and perks—for EV drivers. The special number plates would be reserved for ultra-low emission vehicles such as electric or hydrogen-powered cars, making them instantly visible on the road. This should make it easier for civic authorities to give the greenest vehicles preferential treatment, such as allowing them to drive in bus lanes, use special parking spaces, or access areas that are barred to more polluting alternatives. The special green plate is also designed to be an incentive program to speed the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. The concept isn’t exactly new. Drivers of hybrid and electric vehicles in Ontario, Canada, for example, have been issued special green plates for the last decade. Paris has required cars to display a shield detailing its emissions grade since 2016, as a way of banning more polluting cars from entering the city. Many German cities have a similar system. Norway has gone a step further, by prefixing all registration numbers for battery-powered cars with an “E” to make them instantly identifiable. The Nordic nation leads the world in electric-vehicle adoption, thanks to a remarkable suite of government programs and incentives. But the U.K. proposal goes a bit further than these other existing schemes in Europe.  Britain’s yet-more-visible green plates represent an effort to tap into that success story, and stoke more EV enthusiasm among the British motoring public. At present, most of the greenest vehicles don’t look much different from regular gas-burning cars. The government hopes that making other drivers more aware of EVs—and the enviable perks their drivers enjoy—will encourage buyers to consider switching to an e-vehicle themselves. In the end, green plates might even become a form of chic signaling of a driver’s environmental conscience – City Lab