A team of entomologists in full-body protective gear vacuumed Asian giant hornets out of a tree in Washington state on Saturday, eradicating the first nest of the so-called murder hornets found in the United States. The state’s agricultural department said it had spent weeks searching for and trapping the hornets, which attack honeybee hives and could pose a threat to humans, because they can sting repeatedly with venom that is stronger than a honeybee’s.
Nature & Environment
California power authorities are planning to cut power for residents across 38 counties – affecting nearly a million people – as extreme fire weather threatens the region again. Pacific Gas & Electric is attempting to avoid a repeat of a 2018 blaze sparked by damaged power equipment, leading to the destruction of much of the town of Paradise and the deaths of 85 people.
A meteorologist is disputing former Environment Minister Catherine’s McKenna’s 2019 claim Canada is being hit by more tornadoes now than in the past. Senior Department of Environment meteorologist Peter Kimbell made the comments while doing a podcast with the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. “It’s not clear at all whether we’re getting more tornadoes,” said Kimbell. “Possibly we’re not.” In fact, in his 2018 report on Ottawa-Gatineau Tornadoes of Sept. 21, 2018, Kimbell said the number of lightning strikes, used to gauge tornados, has been going down for decades in Canada. “All I’m showing you is the answer may not be necessarily it is. In fact, the answer may be that it is pretty static.”
A subsidiary of German chemical giant Bayer lost a legal battle on Wednesday after a French farmer argued one of its weedkillers seriously damaged his health. Paul François said he accidentally inhaled fumes from a Monsanto product known as Lasso, which led to neurological problems. The former US company is now owned by Germany’s Bayer. Lawyers for Francois argued the firm, which also makes the Round-Up weedkiller, failed to provide sufficient safety instructions. The farmer said he has suffered from memory loss, headaches and fainting since he first used the product in 2004. He was hospitalized several times and doctors said he nearly died. The Wednesday ruling could open the way for Paul Francois to receive compensation. His legal team have been seeking more than one million euros in damages since 2007.
Conservationists in Chile are celebrating after a group of critically endangered Loa water frogs produced 200 offspring in Santiago zoo. Fourteen Loa water frogs (Telmatobius dankoi) were airlifted to the zoo in 2019 after they were found in a muddy puddle, all that was left of their habitat in Chile’s Atacama desert. Herpetologists managed to nurse 12 of them back to health. Earlier this month, the frogs successfully mated.
Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast-food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. The subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International Inc. will instead provide customers with a cup sleeve, a thick paper material that protects hands from hot beverages.
On Nov. 1, your electricity bill is going up. At a time of serious economic instability for families and small businesses, Premier Doug Ford is hiking the cost of electricity, once again breaking his promise to reduce Ontarians’ hydro bills by 12%. In an op-ed published here in recent days, Energy Minister Greg Rickford bemoans the privatized, expensive mess the Liberals made of the hydro system. It’s true – the Liberals put shareholders ahead of everyday people, and we’re paying a hefty price for it. But Rickford glosses over the fact that his own government hasn’t done a thing to fix the problems, and people are paying even more for that.
Global carbon taxes are ineffective because their main purpose is to raise government revenues, not lower industrial greenhouse gas emissions linked to human-induced climate change, according to a new study by the Fraser Institute. The report by the fiscally-conservative think tank examined carbon taxes in 14 high-income countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including Canada.
Ontario’s Blue Box program is getting a complete overhaul. The province is putting the multi-million dollar cost that municipalities have been paying onto producers of packaged goods, CTV Toronto reports. Currently, municipalities are splitting the bill for Stewardship Ontario’s Blue Box recycling program. Doug Ford’s PC’s government says shifting the price onto producers of packaged goods will mean “estimated savings of $135 million annually for municipalities.”
Tropical cyclones draw their devastating power from the warmth of the ocean, but many of these storms can be traced back to a desert thousands of miles from where they cause damage. “If you have ever been in a car crash and remember the screeching of brakes, the impact of the metal scraping, the glass breaking, the groaning of objects smashing,” says Jane Higgins, from her home in the US Virgin Islands. “That is just a titbit of what Irma sounded like.”