Through the lens | Global Ideas | DW | 22.12.2016
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Global Ideas

Through the lens

Join us as we take a look through the lens at some environmental events and moments from around the world over the past week. From beauty to tragedy, the natural world tells its own story.

The year 2016 has become a byword for bad news. And even in the realm of climate change, it's living up to its reputation. According to provisional data, 2016 will likely be the warmest year since records began in 1880. The global temperature is already 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times and the Arctic ice sheets are melting rapidly. At the same time, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is denying the concept of man-made global warming, tweeting that it is a hoax created by the Chinese.

In Brazil, the government is debating bills that would weaken laws protecting the environment and indigenous territories. Environmentalists and indigenous rights campaigners warn the initiatives could have devastating consequences, writes the Guardian. If the bills were to be approved, it could mean Brazil won't meet its Paris climate commitments.

Dynamite fishing can destroy a rich and colorful reef in a split second. The blast shockwave pops the air bladder of every living creature within a 5 to 20 meter radius. Fishermen then collect the dead fish. While it is also dangerous task, fishermen are willing to take the risk because of the rewards. In Tanzania, the practice is outlawed but fishermen still detonate around 50 bombs a day. Groups in the country are working to halt this form of fishing. 

Beijng and surrounding areas have been experiencing record levels of pollution. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have encountered extraordinarily high smog levels, with several lawyers filing lawsuits against city and provincial governments, in a bid to hold someone accountable for the toxic atmosphere. The northeast of the country is home to seven of China's smoggiest cities and is considered the front line in its "war on pollution." 

Two more cases of human bird flu infection have been discovered in China, as the country works to contain the outbreak alongside South Korea and Japan. The countries have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month. 

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