Environmental News in Brief


New Lizard, Anolis Landestoyi, in Dominican Republic discovered – Credit: Miguel Landestoyi

European Commission were warned about emissions cheating five years before VW scandal

The Guardian has reported this morning that the European Commission were in fact told in 2010 that researchers had discovered a device that suggested a particular car maker could be cheating emissions tests. However, in April, it was claimed by the Director of the EU Enterprise that no such risks had ever been flagged. Researchers report that they were not given a mandate at the time to investigate the matter further. What’s more, an Air Quality report released in 2013 by the EU’s environment department stated, “Increasing evidence of illegal practices [by car manufacturers] that defeat the anti-pollution systems to improve driving performance or save on the replacement of costly components.” Kathleen van Brempt, the chair of the dieselgate inquiry, reported to the Guardian ‘that the papers were “shocking” and raised questions about the future of commission officials’. Read more about the Guardian’s findings in more detail here.

New species found in the Dominican Republic

A new type of Lizard has been discovered in a popular island in the Caribbean, supporting theories that Lizards on entirely separate islands can evolve almost identically. With research sourced by the University of Toronto, the team reported that no new species have been found on the island since the 1980s, and so this really is a rare find. Named Anolis landestoyi after the naturalist that found it, the Lizard exhibits chameleon type characteristics that are usually attributed to Lizards in Cuba. With so many protected species endangered or under threat, it’s certainly something to celebrate when a new species is discovered. Read more on Science Daily to find out more.

Experts at Reading University predict no record for Arctic Sea Ice this Summer

A melt pond is a pool of water that forms on top of Sea Ice in the Spring and Summer months. Despite record breaking temperatures being recorded earlier this year, polar experts at the University of Reading predict that based on the Arctic’s melt ponds, there will be no Arctic Sea Ice records set this year. Really interesting, mind boggling stuff – if you want to read about it in more detail, go to the BBC website to find out more.

Research shows dramatic decline in seabirds due to climate change

St Kilda, a world heritage site off the west coast of Scotland with globally significant seabird populations, has seen a dramatic decline in four seabird species since 1999. Conservationists believe that warming seas are to blame for the sharp fall in the availability of sandeels, one of the birds’ main food sources on the island. The National Trust have estimated that numbers have dropped between 50% and 90%, and are now asking for donations to help fund the £270,000-a-year costs of conserving the once-populated archipelago. To help raise funds or to find out more about St Kilda, go to the Guardian’s article to find out more.

Anolis Landestoyi