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Brazil wildfires killed an estimated 17 million animals

Brazil wildfires killed an estimated 17 million animals

Science
CENAP-ICMBioAmid the bleakness of 2020, scientists in Brazil concluded a particularly grim conservation study - attempting to count the animals killed by huge wildfires in the Pantanal wetlands. They estimate that as many as 17 million vertebrates - including reptiles, birds and primates - died. Wildfires burned between January and November, destroying 30% of the world's largest tropical wetland.This estimate of the loss is published in the journal Scientific Reports. AFPDr Mariana Napolitano Ferreira, head of science at WWF-Brazil explained that there were 22,000 separate fires recorded during that year. This new research highlights, the researchers say, the importance of preventing such disasters in the future. Body countThe Pantanal does burn naturally, but the 2020 wildfires were "apoc...
Global computing’s carbon footprint is bigger than previously estimated

Global computing’s carbon footprint is bigger than previously estimated

Science
Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The world is more online than ever before, and as the digital economy continues to expand, so does the Internet's carbon footprint. According to a new study, published Friday in the journal Patterns, information and communications technology, or ICT for short, is responsible for a greater share of greenhouse gas emissions than previously estimated. When researchers at Lancaster University analyzed earlier attempts to calculate ICT's carbon footprint, they determined scientists had failed to account for the entire life-cycle and supply chain of ICT products and infrastructure. This would include, for example, the emissions produced by makers of ICT components, or the emissions linked with the disposal of ICT products. Scientists have previously pegged ICT's s...
Fracking: UK shale reserves may be smaller than previously estimated

Fracking: UK shale reserves may be smaller than previously estimated

Science
Previous projections of the potential amount of shale gas under the UK may have been significantly overestimated, according to a new study.Instead of 50 years of gas at the current rate of consumption, this new research suggests there are just 5-7 years' supply. But the UK's fracking industry, which represents companies like Cuadrilla, dismissed the report. The said the sample size was too small to draw serious conclusions.The recovery of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing or fracking has been a slow moving and controversial affair in the UK over the past decade. Attempts by oil and gas companies to drill wells and extract gas have been held up by planning issues, concerns about earth tremors and public displays of disaffecti...
Tourism's carbon impact three times larger than estimated

Tourism's carbon impact three times larger than estimated

Science
A new study says global tourism accounts for 8% of carbon emissions, around three times greater than previous estimates. The new assessment is bigger because it includes emissions from travel, plus the full life-cycle of carbon in tourists' food, hotels and shopping.Driving the increase are visitors from affluent countries who travel to other wealthy destinations. The US tops the rankings followed by China, Germany and India. Tourism is a huge and booming global industry worth over $ 7 trillion, and employs one in ten workers around the world. It's growing at around 4% per annum.Previous estimates of the impact of all this travel on carbon suggested that tourism accounted for 2.5-3% of emissions. However in what is claimed to be the most comprehensive assessment to date, this new study exa...
Raw waste water use on farms is '50% higher' than estimated

Raw waste water use on farms is '50% higher' than estimated

Science
The global use of untreated waste water from cities to irrigate crops is much more widespread than previously estimated, says a new report.According to this updated assessment, nearly 30 million hectares are now using untreated water within 40km of an urban centreSome 800 million people, including farmers, vendors and consumers are said to be exposed to serious health risks.China, India, Pakistan, Mexico and Iran account for most of the treated land.The huge populations in big cities across the developing world make very attractive markets for farmers. The lack of refrigeration and transport means that crops need to be grown close to these consumers. Being close to cities also provides a key element for the crops - plentiful amounts of nutrient-rich waste water."Some might call it sewage, ...