YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
Remember last week when we had over a decade to save the world from climate change? It’s now looking more like 18 months, according the BBC. Following recent statements by Prince Charles, government officials, campaigners and climate scientists, they report on the growing “sense that the end of next year is the last chance saloon for climate change.”
With the Arctic currently on fire and record heatwaves gripping Europe, the need for urgency is building. One of the understated headlines in last year's IPCC report was that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 to keep the planet below 1.5C. Current plans are nowhere near strong enough to keep temperatures below the so-called safe limit.
Panama has become the first Central American nation to ban single-use plastic bags to try to curb pollution on its beaches and help tackle what the United Nations has identified as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges. The isthmus nation of roughly 4 million people joined more than 60 other countries that have totally or partially banned single-use plastic bags, or introduced taxes to dissuade their use, including Chile and Colombia in the region.
THE DEEP SEA
The fate of deep sea creatures that live in unearthly habitats targeted for industrial mining might rest on a trove of scientific data collected by mining companies, but long kept secret. That’s about to change. As the International Seabed Authority meets this month to draft regulations to allow mining to begin, it is set to unveil a public database that contains all environmental data reported by the miners since 2001.
The world’s oceans are acidifying rapidly as they soak up massive amounts of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released from burning fossil fuels. That’s bad news for tiny marine critters like coral and sea urchins that make up the base of the ocean food chain: Acidic water not only destroys their shells, but it also makes it harder for them to build new ones. Now, scientists studying sea snails have discovered an unexpected side effect of this acid brew—it can help some of them build thicker, stronger shells by making their food more nutritious.
Scientists have identified a tiny new species of pocket shark from the Gulf of Mexico which secretes a glow-in-the-dark liquid as a method to attract prey. Researchers found that the shark has ‘pockets’ which contain glands that release a luminous fluid to attract prey animals. They are then conveniently distracted, giving the shark the perfect opportunity to pounce. The original pocket shark specimen was caught off the Chilean coast at a depth of around 1,080 feet, so this new find shows they are more widely distributed than first thought.