The week in science: 22–28 July 2016

From Nature:

Policy | Events | People | Research | Trend watch | Coming up

Porpoise protection Environmental groups have welcomed the latest attempts by Mexico’s National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing (Conapesca) to save the vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus), the world’s most endangered marine mammal. On 19 July, Conapesca announced rules banning ‘gill nets’ and night fishing in the northern part of the Gulf of California, where the animals live. Only 60 vaquita were thought to have been alive in the gulf in December 2015, down from 97 in 2014; gill nets are blamed for much of the decline.

Aircraft emissions The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paved the way for new climate regulations on 25 July by declaring that greenhouse-gas emissions from aircraft endanger public health and the environment. The finding comes five months after the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposed the first greenhouse-gas standards for aircraft. Environmentalists criticized the ICAO proposal as weak and are pressuring the EPA to suggest stronger regulations. The EPA said that its standards would be “at least as stringent” as those proposed by the ICAO.

Predator plan New Zealand hopes to be free of introduced predators — which include rats, stoats and possums — by 2050, according to a plan announced on 25 July. The government will invest an initial NZ$28 million (US$20 million) and work with the private sector to rid the country of the predators, which it says kill 25 million native birds each year. Conservation minister Maggie Barry says that the plan will need technology that does not yet exist.

Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty

Solar plane achieves historic global flight The world’s first fuel-free flight around the world, in a solar-powered aeroplane, concluded successfully on 26 July, when the Solar Impulse 2 craft landed in Abu Dhabi. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and André …

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