FRIDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2018

‘Huge loss’: more than 100,000 orangutans gone from Borneo in 16 years
About half of the orangutans on the island of Borneo were either killed or removed between 1999 and 2015, according to new research.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-02-16/orangutan-numbers-in-borneo-drop-more-than-100,000-in-16-years/9443326

Banks told they’re lagging on response to climate change risks
Fewer than half the world’s biggest banks are doing enough to forestall climate change that poses risks to their markets and economies.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-15/banks-told-they-re-lagging-on-response-to-climate-change-risks

Key to predicting climate change could be blowing in the wind, researchers find
Dust that blew into the North Pacific Ocean could help explain why the Earth’s climate cooled 2.7 million years ago, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/cu-ktp021518.php

A spy’s guide to climate change
Justin Gillis
The US government’s intelligence agencies warn of big problems ahead, despite what the president might say.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/opinion/guide-climate-change.html

Climate change won’t wait for political change
Linda McQuaig
While just about everyone acknowledges climate change is bad, actually taking action to stop it continues to be wildly controversial, and Big Oil remains hidden behind the curtain
https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/02/15/climate-change-wont-wait-for-political-change.html

Five-year target to cut emissions
The federal government will set five-year targets for emissions reductions under its proposed National Energy Guarantee.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/energy-policy-governtment-to-set-fiveyear-target-to-cut-emissions/news-story/a0b3a0733a3f59bf1d2a402da475c70b

German energy giant Innogy buys two huge Australia solar projects
German energy giant Innogy enters Australia market, buying two large solar projects and on the lookout for wind projects and battery storage.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/german-energy-giant-innogy-buys-two-huge-australia-solar-projects-23649/

Origin juggles profit with customer churn, coal with renewables
Origin results tell similar tale to AGL – a big utility making money out of rising prices, and battling a backlash from consumers.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-juggles-profit-with-customer-churn-coal-with-renewables-12131/

Graph of the Day: Australia’s grid-scale storage boom, mapped
New Climate Council report highlights growing number of large scale energy storage projects being rolled out across the east and west coast grids.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/graph-day-australias-grid-scale-storage-boom-mapped-70860/

IEA warns Australia not to miss window on cheap solar
IEA warns Australia not to miss the importance of solar, although it does suggest that Australia waste more money on CCS.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/iea-warns-australia-not-miss-window-cheap-solar-80856/

Electricity retailers could defer emissions reductions under Coalition plan
Discussion paper proposes national energy guarantee ‘flexibility’ by deferring proportion of obligations
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/15/electricity-retailers-could-defer-emissions-reductions-under-coalition-plan

No sunshine for poor power users
Politicians are devious on the cost of solar subsidies – but it is a real transfer from the poor to the better off.
http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/solar-subsidies-no-sunshine-for-poorest-power-users-20180214-h0w4a4

Thermal coal not for us: South32
South32 says it is getting out of thermal coal because it has an uncertain future and the world needs to decarbonise.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/south32-dumps-thermal-coal-citing-uncertainty-climate-change/news-story/1cd4ce1d8cc6c4eceac85eaca1676997

Coal subsidies ‘won’t stop exit’
Origin, Australia’s biggest electricity retailer, rejects calls for government to support development of clean coal technologies.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/origin-chief-delivers-cleancoal-slapdown/news-story/54f4a2fcdd9270dc8398aac1cf7bea31

Joyce kept land he vowed to sell
Barnaby Joyce owns land near a coal-seam gas project he promoted as resources minister, despite having vowed to sell it.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/barnaby-joyce-holds-onto-land-he-vowed-to-sell-near-big-gas-project/news-story/9397b0b85f10a07f4f1829779bec53db

Four Australian mammals deemed under greater threat of extinction
Status of northern hairy-nosed wombat, central rock-rat, numbat and Christmas Island shrew upgraded in latest threatened species list
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/15/four-australian-mammals-deemed-under-greater-threat-of-extinction

States’ dummy-spit over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan clouds the real facts
Quentin Grafton and John Williams, Australian National University
New South Wales has pledged to walk away from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, while Victoria’s water minister has declared the plan ‘over’.
http://theconversation.com/states-dummy-spit-over-the-murray-darling-basin-plan-clouds-the-real-facts-91913

Charging ahead: how Australia is innovating in battery technology
Jonathan Knott, University of Wollongong
Demand for energy storage is increasing – both in Australia and around the world. But issues with the production of lithium-ion batteries mean the search is on for alternatives.
http://theconversation.com/charging-ahead-how-australia-is-innovating-in-battery-technology-90169

Why solar households should learn to love demand tariffs
Mark Byrne
Demand tariffs are controversial, but if properly done they could work for everyone. We just need the network owners to do the right thing.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-solar-households-should-learn-to-love-demand-tariffs-74238/

Origin Energy: How to manage its exit from coal
David Leitch
Origin is earning itself the right to grow by performing better, but the trick will be to sell the interest in APLNG in the next few years, and to replace Eraring with competitive dispatchable renewable generation
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-energy-how-to-manage-its-exit-from-coal-90265/

Fake Left appalled at its own environmental destruction
Leith van Onselen
It beggars belief that in all the hand-wringing over Australia’s biodiversity loss, The Guardian failed to mention the primary driver: Australia’s rapid population growth.
https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/02/fake-left-appalled-at-its-own-environmental-destruction/

The Senate was right on the Murray-Darling proposal. Here’s why
Jamie Pittock
The amendment to the Murray-Darling basin plan would have compounded the inequality that already exists
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/15/the-senate-was-right-on-the-murray-darling-proposal-heres-why

Despite a $62m injection, Victoria’s native timber industry faces fresh crisis
Victoria’s native timber industry is facing a fresh crisis, despite a $62 million injection from the Andrews Government to keep a Gippsland mill with its 250 jobs afloat.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-16/victoria-ash-timber-facing-fresh-crisis-supply-issues/9424290

Green ‘juggernaut’: Labor fears another thrashing in key inner-city seat
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/labor-s-batman-beating-could-be-worse-than-northcote-20180215-p4z0et.html

Passengers first ride on the new sky rail. And the verdict?
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/passengers-get-their-first-chance-to-ride-on-melbourne-s-new-sky-rail-20180215-p4z0ea.html

Stone Coal Crazy: Seismic Testing Off The Australian Coastline
Erin Foster
The fight by big miners to keep burning coal is even impacting on our oceans
https://newmatilda.com/2018/02/14/stone-coal-crazy-seismic-testing-off-australian-coastline/

Minister moves to suspend Blue Mountains Council over asbestos investigation
The Blue Mountains City Council has seven days to explain why it should not be suspended over alleged “conflicts of interest” during an investigation into serious asbestos safety breaches.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-15/blue-mountains-council-facing-suspension-asbestos-breaches/9449678

GetUp! protest over Murray Darling stance
Protesters angry about the NSW Government’s threats to walk away from the Murray Darling Basin plan will gather at state parliament to pressure MPs to do more to protect the river system.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/02/16/05/50/getup-protest-over-murray-darling-stance

Rattenbury slams National Energy Guarantee’s ‘weak’ targets
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-minister-shane-rattenbury-slams-weak-targets-in-national-energy-guarantee-20180215-h0w4oh.html

Locals scratching their heads as rubbish disappears in the middle of the night
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/locals-scratching-their-heads-as-rubbish-disappears-in-the-middle-of-the-night-20180215-h0w4td.html

Qld turns to jet-fuel and imports as coal plants wilt in face of record demand
Queensland turns to jet-fuel and imports from NSW wind farm as soaring temperatures pushed demand to a new peak, and its big coal generators wilted in the heat. Fortunately, it also had heaps of rooftop solar.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/qld-turns-to-jet-fuel-and-imports-as-coal-plants-wilt-in-face-of-record-demand-99167/

Aurizon ‘aggressive and unconstructive’: coal miners
Coal miners have fired off a letter to Aurizon from lawyers Freehills as tensions escalate over a Queensland regulatory decision.
http://www.afr.com/business/aurizon-aggressive-and-unconstructive-coal-miners-say-in-freehills-letter-20180214-h0w4dq

Adani mining world for coal
Global infrastructure company Adani is scouting the world looking for coal, as its Carmichael megamine in central Queensland remains without financing and faces a growing tide of environmental and political opposition.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/local-roadblocks-so-adani-now-on-worldwide-hunt-for-coal/news-story/344e5c4f277064a2bfda264a386b3832

Greenie caught in grab for cash
The former boss of a Far Northern conservation group “succumbed to misguided temptation” when he misappropriated grant funding of $44,551.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/crime-court/cairns-conservation-group-boss-sentenced-to-12-months-jail/news-story/8629f79185c13f19542e937f6f4ba329

Warmer weather to blame for blue-ringed octopus, jellyfish sting spike
Surf lifesavers report a higher-than-normal number of deadly blue-ringed octopus and jellyfish stings on Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches, with 273 jellyfish stings reported during summer so far.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-15/blue-ringed-octopus-numbers-and-jellyfish-stings-in-adelaide/9449882

Labor, Greens river deal ‘frightening for SA’
Sheradyn Holderhead
One side of politics is celebrating a great victory — they stopped greedy irrigators from holding on to millions and millions of litres of water bound for the Murray-Darling. The other side warns the deal will be frightening for SA.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/labor-and-the-greens-claim-victory-over-the-murray-while-coalition-predicts-disaster/news-story/268d006c59441dcff75a1e2cc6cd033d

Tasmanian Labor’s energy policy sets ‘120 per cent’ renewable target
Labor pledges focus on renewable energy technology, setting a target to generate more than “120 per cent” of Tasmania’s energy needs.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-15/labor-sets-120-per-cent-renewable-energy-target/9451088

Labor reveals energy policy, attracting scepticism from experts
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5231299/labor-reveals-energy-policy-attracting-scepticism-from-experts/?cs=95

Devils learn to live with disease
Researchers have discovered the facial tumour disease devastating Tasmanian devils is in fact triggering evolutionary responses in the species that may help them to coexist with the cancer.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/research-shows-tasmanian-devils-adapting-to-coexist-with-facial-cancer/news-story/b553e2e1623faf9fc03e7171fc96f1e3

Twelve projects identified in $94.6m clean-up of Tamar River
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5231606/twelve-projects-identified-in-946m-clean-up-of-tamar-river/?cs=95

Action plan welcomed to address river woes
Examiner editorial
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5229748/action-plan-welcomed-to-address-river-woes/?cs=97

Traffic woes need fixing
Mercury editorial
Striking the right balance between progress and lifestyle is possibly the biggest issue facing Hobart right now. And that’s because with our population ballooning, the planning required to ensure our services keep pace has so far been lacking.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/leaders-need-to-take-reins-to-finds-solutions-to-congested-city-streets/news-story/e16fada2ac3d8daa7a91b3c34692718f

NT Government approves restart of defunct Roper Bar iron ore mine
The Northern Territory Government gives a defunct iron ore mine project in the Roper River region the green light to restart operations.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-15/nt-government-approves-restart-of-roper-bar-mining-project/9448190

Call for anti-frackers to apologise to public servants
Mines Minister Ken Vowles has called on anti-fracking activists to apologise to public servants in the wake of “scandalous accusations” levelled during the inquiry
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/call-for-antifrackers-to-apologise-to-public-servants/news-story/fc79df616a5c9df221e5887e87128ee0

George Brown Botanic Gardens to get $9.9mil facelift
George Brown Botanical Gardens will get a facelift as part of the Turbocharging Tourism stimulus package
http://www.ntnews.com.au/lifestyle/government-tourism-package-to-include-upgrading-george-brown-botanic-gardens/news-story/b95e34221d651552bf707d9a11724b14

Record numbers of cats dumped in WA
A cat shelter in Perth received more cats last year than the previous seven combined, due to an increase in people suffering economic hardship and homelessness.
https://au.news.yahoo.com/wa/a/39032041/record-numbers-of-cats-dumped-in-wa/

Another Perth wetland to bite the dust – unless state steps in
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/another-perth-wetland-to-bite-the-dust–unless-state-steps-in-20180214-h0w3mw.html

WA electricity customers paying nearly true price of power
https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/wa-electricity-customers-paying-nearly-true-price-of-power-ng-b88746142z

Water closely linked to world’s refugee crisis
The world’s refugee crisis, which is intimately linked with water availability both in the homelands that people escape and in the camps where they find shelter, is large and growing.
http://www.circleofblue.org/2018/world/water-closely-linked-worlds-refugee-crisis/

2018 could be a big year for state-level toxics legislation in US
On the heels of a Trump Administration budget that proposes further cuts to environmental protection, a new analysis finds that states are taking up the slack in protecting people from toxic chemicals.
http://www.ehn.org/states-toxic-chemicals-legislation-epa-2534500012.html

State ban renews debate on harmful pesticides in India
Punjab’s action outlawing 20 pesticides is part of a nationwide re-evaluation
https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/state-ban-renews-debate-on-harmful-pesticides-in-india/3008659.article

More radioactive contamination spread at Hanford
More radioactive contamination found outside an office at the Hanford nuclear reservation’s Plutonium Finishing Plant. Number of workers with internal contamination increases to six. Total of 36 vehicles contaminated.
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article200202639.html

Survey says: The American public is souring on coal
Opinion on energy topics is usually stable, but on coal, it’s shifting quickly.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/14/17006680/survey-american-public-souring-on-coal

Feed the world: Scientists have a plan to save chickpeas from destruction
Ten thousand years ago, farmers set this legume up for a fall.
http://www.newsweek.com/feed-world-scientists-have-plan-save-chickpeas-destruction-806925

Tiny Membrane Key to Safe Drinking Water
Using their own specially designed form of graphene, ‘Graphair’ scientists have supercharged water purification, making it simpler, more effective and …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180214181846.htm

15 Facts That Will Make You Never Use Plastic Bags Again
If we continue at the rate we’re going, studies estimate that there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
https://www.buzzfeed.com/ishabassi/guys-this-is-serious-lets-reduce-plastic-bags

Clean Plates Much More Common When We Eat at Home
When people eat at home, there’s typically not much left on their plates – and that means there’s likely less going to landfills, according to new …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180214145739.htm

Cleaning products a big source of urban air pollution, say scientists
Research shows paints, perfumes, sprays and other synthetic items contribute to high levels of ‘volatile organic compounds’ in air
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/15/cleaning-products-urban-pollution-scientists

UK fracking industry would need strict controls to minimise spill risk
Strict controls would be “a necessity” to minimise the risk of spills and leaks from any future UK shale gas industry, according to new research.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/du-ufi021518.php

Utopia or nightmare? The answer lies in how we embrace self-driving, electric and shared vehicles
Jake Whitehead, The University of Queensland and Michael Kane,Curtin University
http://theconversation.com/utopia-or-nightmare-the-answer-lies-in-how-we-embrace-self-driving-electric-and-shared-vehicles-90920

I’ve always wondered: do fluorescent lights emit UV, and can it harm me?
Noushin Nasiri, University of Technology Sydney
The internet conspiracists are half right: most lights we have inside do emit UV, but not enough to harm us.
http://theconversation.com/ive-always-wondered-do-fluorescent-lights-emit-uv-and-can-it-harm-me-90317

Semitransparent solar cells: a window to the future?
Matthew Wright and Mushfika Baishakhi Upama, UNSW
Solar windows would need to trap enough light to generate power, while letting through enough to keep buildings light. Thankfully, newly developed semitransparent cells offer to do just that.
http://theconversation.com/semitransparent-solar-cells-a-window-to-the-future-90839

Can free public transport really reduce pollution?
Oded Cats
Germany is reportedly mulling plans for fare-free public transport. But to reduce pollution, it might be better off investing in improved services and penalizing car use.
http://www.dw.com/en/can-free-public-transport-really-reduce-pollution/a-42584328

Why the oilsands era Is over
Ian Hussey
Carbon pricing and low energy costs spell economic doom for Alberta megaprojects.
https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2018/02/15/Why-Oilsands-Era-Is-Over/

What’s actually behind Cape Town’s water crisis
Richard Poplak
Blame austerity-obsessed technocrats, irresponsible development, and willful ignorance.
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/cape-town-water-crisis/553076/

Seaweed and seagrass buffer the acidity of the nearby ocean
Oysters, mussels, and corals can especially benefit from marine vegetation’s ability to limit ocean acidification.
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/seaweed-and-seagrass-buffer-the-acidity-of-the-nearby-ocean/

Canada, UK brace for war on marine plastics pollution
Marine plastic pollution counts for billions of dollars in waste and kills turtles, dolphins and albatrosses in the South Atlantic and on Pacific atolls.
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/02/14/news/canada-uk-brace-war-marine-plastics-pollution

Research identifies ‘evolutionary rescue’ areas for animals threatened by climate change
As winters arrive later and snow melts earlier, the worldwide decrease in snow cover already may have dramatic impacts on animals that change coat colors with the seasons. An international scientific team led by University of Montana Professor L. Scott Mills has set out to discover whether adaptive evolution can rescue these animals in the face of rapidly changing climate.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/tuom-ri_1020818.php

Hunting Is Changing Forests, but Not as Expected
In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180215125022.htm

 

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