News briefs: Saving the moose, Bezos Earth Fund grants

Plus, October set heat records, and will people drive and fly more after pandemic?

Moose and ticks: Stemming the loss of an American icon 

The Morris Animal Foundation is funding two new studies to improve and save the lives of the iconic U.S. moose populations by focusing on the problem of winter tick infestations. The foundation notes moose are an important keystone species in their ecosystems, they also are critical to the ancient cultures of Native American and First Nations people. However, some moose populations have seen a dramatic decline in the northeastern U.S. in the past two decades. Evidence points to excessive winter tick infestation as a major cause of death, and milder and shorter winters in many states allow ticks to flourish and expand their ranges during months when they would normally be inactive, translating to heavy winter tick burdens that place stress on moose. Staggering numbers of ticks have been found on some animals, approaching 70,000 ticks per individual, the foundation repots. Calves are particularly susceptible to the effects of heavy tick burdens — the ticks literally drain them of blood to the point of death.

NRDC Receives $100 million from Bezos Earth Fund

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) announced that it has been selected to receive a $100 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund in recognition of the organization’s work to accelerate climate action. The organization says the grant will be used to help NRDC advance climate solutions and legislation at the state level, move the needle on policies and programs focused on reducing oil and gas production, protect and restore ecosystems that store carbon (like forests and wetlands), and accelerate sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s (AMZN) CEO and owner of The Washington Post, says climate change is the most urgent issue facing the planet, and this week it was announce his fund will give $791 million to 16 groups fighting climate change, the first grants from his Earth Fund. He was quoted in the Washington Post as saying the money is “just the beginning of my $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and others.”

NOAA: Warm October fuels march toward second-hottest year

Earth endured exceptional heat last month with October 2020 ranking fourth-hottest October on record. January through October of this year ranked second-hottest for the globe as Arctic sea ice coverage shrank to historic lows for the month, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The 10-warmest Octobers have occurred since 2005, and the seven warmest have all occurred in the last seven years (2014–2020). Europe had its warmest October on record, which surpassed its previous record set in 2001. South America had its second-warmest October since regional records began in 1910. Read more from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report.

People plan to drive more post-Covid, climate poll shows

People are planning to drive more in future than they did before the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests, even though the overwhelming majority accept human responsibility for the climate crisis, according to a report in The Guardian. Citing a poll of about 26,000 people in 25 countries in July and August by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, in a survey designed with The Guardian, the report says that a ratio of more than three to one, the respondents agreed humankind was mainly or partly to blame for the climate emergency. Furthermore, in some countries, people polled said they planned to use planes and drive more in the future.