WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2018

Some of the world’s biggest lakes are drying up. Here’s why
Warming climates, drought, and overuse are draining crucial water sources, threatening habitats and cultures.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/03/drying-lakes-climate-change-global-warming-drought/

Land use change has warmed the Earth’s surface
Natural ecosystems play a crucial role in helping combat climate change, air pollution and soil erosion. A new study by a team of researchers from the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, sheds light on another, less well-known aspect of how these ecosystems, and forests in particular, can protect our planet against global warming.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ecjr-luc022018.php

Climate projections show a warmer future for the Pacific northwest
In the midst of an unseasonably warm winter in the Pacific Northwest, a comparison of four publicly available climate projections has shown broad agreement that the region will become considerably warmer in the next century if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere rise to the highest levels projected in the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “business-as-usual” scenario.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/osu-cps021618.php

Checking sources should be as simple as ABC
Jennifer Marohasy
It would be ridiculous if some of the catastrophic global warming so often reported by experts via our ABC were just a consequence of a new method of recording temperatures!
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19580

Regulator cites Loy Yang B coal unit failure for price surge in January
Coal plant trip and low wind conditions provide perfect opportunity for gas generators to send prices sky-rocketing in January, but at least Tesla big battery kept them honest in FCAS markets.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/regulator-cites-loy-yang-b-coal-unit-failure-price-surge-january-12929/

Tesla battery + solar now “significantly cheaper” than grid power
Just 14 months ago, the writing was on the wall for grid-only electricity supply. Turns out the gap between grid only and PV+battery+grid is growing much more quickly than we imagined.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-battery-solar-now-significantly-cheaper-grid-power-51011/

Green capital fertilises Macquarie’s smart farms fund
http://www.afr.com/real-estate/green-capital-fertilises-macquaries-smart-farms-fund-20180219-h0wce1

Energy prices, broadband speeds in ACCC sights this year
https://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/energy-prices-broadband-speeds-in-accc-sights-this-year-20180220-p4z0xl.html

Joyce buys up land near Inland Rail project
Under-siege Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce did not declare during Cabinet deliberations over the Inland Rail project that he had bought five parcels of land near the planned route.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/deputy-prime-minister-barnaby-joyce-owns-several-parcels-of-land-20km-from-the-inland-rail-project/news-story/677e96e1ae43bd12ae03fb810b531893

Frydenberg, IPA trolling renewables on ABC’s Q&A – again
Giles Parkinson
The Coalition and IPA tag-team were at it again against renewables on Q&A. It’s disappointing enough that the country’s federal energy minister should have such a blind spot on new technology, but it appears to be a party-wide phenomenon. At least Catweazle was funny.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/frydenberg-ipa-trolling-renewables-on-abcs-qa-again-72662/

ALP’s game of Basin bluff
Peter Hunt
Reports of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s imminent death may be greatly exaggerated
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/murraydarling-basin-plan-labors-game-of-bluff/news-story/d2bfc9393b9e8c652da50399e831ce8d

Self-interest standing in the way of a fix for the Murray-Darling
Ross Gittins
Some people earn their living in ways that damage the environment, and don’t want their businesses and lives disrupted by being obliged to stop.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/selfinterest-standing-in-the-way-of-a-fix-for-the-murraydarling-20180220-h0wcxl.html

We must slow down immigration
Judith Sloan
Tony Abbott is really on to something when he calls for a significant reduction in the number of immigrants.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/judith-sloan/by-every-measure-we-need-to-give-immigration-a-brake/news-story/65d8ad68225ec792ebca2496f011ef16

Shorten shows his disregard for Batman by cosying up to coal
Guy Rundle
If Bill Shorten didn’t want to hand ammunition to Labor’s foes in the Batman byelection, he had a funny way of showing it in Townsville this week.
https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/02/20/shorten-shows-his-disregard-for-batman-by-cosying-up-to-coal/

Carp fishers ‘up creek’
Gippsland commercial carp fishers, father and son Peter and John Ingram, say they are going broke — and they blame the Federal Government’s National Carp Control Plan.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/sport/fishing/national-carp-control-plan-gippsland-fishers-up-creek/news-story/2b07a8266271c2564ff0eae073a86ed3

Down the gurgler
Victoria’s largest irrigation district is on the brink of collapse.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/goulburn-murray-water-under-threat-as-irrigation-network-struggles/news-story/a36ca3a27eae4e4836b5e789bdbc0953

Warning on tunnel vision costs
Victorian parliamentary intervention to block the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel would cripple confidence and cause higher costs, a leading business group has warned.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/bid-to-block-west-gate-tunnel-a-drain-on-the-state-business-group/news-story/f35ff9a9c1c2f9049dd0cbf79dc4ba92

Silence on deer cull
Parks Victoria will not say how many deer were killed in a cull, carried out by contract shooters, in the Alpine National Park, earlier this month.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/deer-cull-in-alpine-national-park-leaves-questions/news-story/78d90ff2de9ab1274a937bf5b9912bf6

Why orange-bellied parrots are being flown by helicopter
https://www.theage.com.au/national/with-a-little-help-most-threatened-parrot-might-have-turned-a-corner-20180219-p4z0ut.html

Chorus on roads failure
Victorian road funding has been defended by Roads Minister Luke Donnellan, with a commitment that the State Government “won’t stop investing” to keep drivers safe.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/victorian-roads-funding-defended-by-minister/news-story/dd437631e412547aa364ac671740b048

Senseless logging of Strathbogie Ranges is wiping out greater gliders
Ian Herbert
Endangered greater gliders are facing extinction following the relentless logging of Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges.
https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/senseless-logging-of-strathbogie-ranges-is-wiping-out-greater-gliders,11217

Labor sprayed over cut
Federal Labor has shown complete disregard for the people and businesses of the Murray Darling Basin, says Tocumwal rice grower Ted Hatty.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/murraydarling-basin-plan-labor-sprayed-over-cut/news-story/fc7f45cf11548e845d0c5f3073e68f33

The Sydney areas where you cannot offload your containers
Less than 500 of the promised 800 reverse vending machines in the state government’s cash for cans scheme have been rolled-out, with more than half of Sydney without a machine.
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-sydney-areas-cannot-offload-containers-20180220-p4z10z.html

Light rail a long time coming
Telegraph editorial
the summer, Sydney commuters have become increasing used to trains running late — and that is if they are running at all, what with a sustained ­period of cancellations due to widespread sick leave claims by Sydney Rail staff. Now it’s been revealed the whole project is late.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/editorial-light-rail-a-long-time-coming/news-story/f36cf0e5bf8f454076fbdfeb3c8e784f

Climate change no threat to cheap wind power – except in Sunshine State
Study finds wind power set to become more productive and cheaper in Australia’s southern states, even with climate change. Queensland, however, might want to focus on solar.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/climate-change-no-threat-cheap-wind-power-except-sunshine-state-26379/

Queensland’s energy sector records staggering $1.9b profit
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/queensland-s-energy-sector-records-staggering-1-9b-profit-20180220-p4z10f.html

Shared space for pedestrians and cyclists ‘narrow’ on Victoria Bridge
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/shared-space-for-pedestrians-and-cyclists-narrow-on-victoria-bridge-20180220-p4z11f.html

Mangroves to make way for new Brisbane River mooring
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/mangroves-to-make-way-for-new-brisbane-river-mooring-20180219-p4z0w3.html

Travellers’ solar jobs
Solar farms in Queensland are being built by backpackers, and qualified electricians are losing out, an inquiry has heard.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/backpackers-building-solar-farms-senate-inquiry-told/news-story/6213e8053bae6d31ad97f074cbc60563

Why Lakeland solar battery could be world leader in battery storage
It didn’t take less than 100 days to complete – it was closer to 100 weeks – but the newly opened Lakeland solar and storage facility in far north Queensland may be a world leader in battery storage, even if it doesn’t carry the cachet of the twitter-wise Tesla big battery.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-lakeland-solar-battery-could-be-world-leader-in-battery-storage-95287/

Nullinga plan not so sweet for MSF
The Far North’s largest sugar producer says mixed messages from the Palaszczuk Government about the Nullinga Dam are a “cause for concern” for the region.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/msf-sugar-hits-out-at-state-government-over-mixed-messages-in-nullinga-dam-report/news-story/df07f72579bcf2bdd0db60c0e5ed9335

Power plant on track
Construction of MSF Sugar’s first Green Energy Power Plant is on track for a mid-year completion at the Tableland Mill.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/bagassefuelled-station-hitting-construction-milestones/news-story/55baa3d4bcc36cb75c057a4352aa6901

Farming grant to reduce run-off
Innisfail cane farmer Peter Zahra is leading the way in adopting new farming practices looking at ways to apply fertiliser underground to help reduce run off and erosion.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/fnq-cane-grower-adopts-new-practices-to-reduce-run-off-and-erosion/news-story/0dffd823ec7f4a0a2f14c122f405971e

Bold plan for wildlife park
A Babinda man has some wild plans to bring more tourists to the area.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/babinda-man-makes-bold-plan-to-bring-tourists-to-the-region/news-story/f3fef5f608472432e8c48c62adca3658

Townsville isn’t an outlier. It shows with clarity what Australia could become
Jason Wilson
In Townsville, the biggest city on the Great Barrier Reef coast, a focus on jobs that are no longer there obscures the facts about the death of the reef
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/townsville-isnt-an-outlier-it-shows-with-clarity-what-australia-could-become

Federal $1m funding for two SA hydro energy storage projects to be unveiled in Adelaide
Electricity customers to avoid lengthy delays in getting a new or replacement smart meter.
http://www.news.com.au/national/south-australia/federal-1m-funding-for-two-sa-hydro-energy-storage-projects-to-be-unveiled-in-adelaide/news-story/3decf9de2056fc3f89a07cdb0866cead

Xenophon under fire at environment debate
SA Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has used an environmental debate to attack SA-BEST Leader Nick Xenophon for a lack of policies, while trading barbs with Labor over renewables.
https://au.news.yahoo.com/sa/a/39231051/xenophon-under-fire-at-environment-debate/

Can we run on 75 per cent green power — Jay says yes
Can South Australia run on 75 per cent renewable energy? Premier Jay Weatherill seems to think so and will unveil how it’s to be achieved on Wednesday, adding it will be his party’s target within eight years — if re-elected next month.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/sa-election-2018/election-2018-jay-weatherill-sets-eightyear-target-for-sa-to-run-on-75-per-cent-renewable-energy/news-story/b244dce21801d52135d0c5942d3ba958

Government bid to keep energy records secret
Taxpayers are footing State Government legal action to stop the public release of potentially embarrassing records over how the power crisis has hit South Australia’s largest private employer.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/sa-election-2018/secret-state-new-freedom-of-information-cover-up-row-on-power-crisis/news-story/5c082295f6c2b01c03aadf67f07c6de4

Marine park put me out of business
The marine parks scheme in South Australia has “reduced a proud multi-generational fisher to a welfare recipient”, says the lawyer leading one of the first compensation claims resulting from the redesignation of fishing zones.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/proud-multigenerational-fisher-to-welfare-recipient/news-story/c9dd86655698f0cef1e687b3669e5c7f

South Australian power: pay most to buy, or most to supply. Why?
Geoff Carmody
If so, by ‘squeezing’ any generators into even more intermittent supply, are they making the whole SA power supply system more expensive.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19578

Fighting words at Greens campaign launch but party faces battle in key seats
The Greens say there is still wilderness battles to be fought in Tasmania, but concede the fight is on to stay alive in knife-edge electorates at next month’s poll.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-20/tasmanian-greens-launch-state-election-campaign/9465040

Overland Track hut renovations on cards if Liberals re-elected
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5240389/overland-track-hut-renovations-on-cards-if-liberals-re-elected/?cs=95

‘Much work needed’ to make digital economy environmentally sustainable
UK MPs cast doubt on whether energy efficiency gains can keep offsetting rising power demand
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/much-work-needed-to-make-digital-economy-environmentally-sustainable

When a city runs out of water
In South Africa, dams are running low in the midst of an extreme three-year drought. Cape Town residents are stockpiling bottled water.
http://www.afr.com/business/infrastructure/water/expecting-the-unthinkable–when-a-city-runs-out-of-water-20180219-h0walu

No plastics left behind: study confirms plastic beach debris a danger to ocean life
At current rates of plastic production, by 2050 the total mass of plastics in our oceans will outweigh the biomass of fish.  — World Economic Forum
https://www.enn.com/articles/53901-no-plastics-left-behind-study-confirms-plastic-beach-debris-a-danger-to-ocean-life

The dirty little deals that would foul the environment
Republicans are adding measures to appropriations bills that would gut protections of the air, water and landscape.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/opinion/republican-environment-policy.html

Why Bengaluru may run out of drinking water in 12 years
On February 11, 2018, the British Broadcasting Corporation put Bengaluru on a list of 11 major cities in the modern era likely to run out of drinking water.
http://www.sify.com/news/why-bengaluru-may-run-out-of-drinking-water-in-12-years-news-national-scum6qdccehjd.html

The plastics industry is leaking huge amounts of microplastics
The problem of plastic pellets in marine environments has been reported since the 1970s and the first recommendations for legislation were introduced in the USA back in the 1990s. However, in Sweden, these spills have only received attention in recent years.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uog-tpi022018.php

Stable gas hydrates can trigger landslides
‘Cement of continental slopes’ effect slope stability differently than previously thought
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/hcfo-sgh022018.php

Faster reproduction could hold key to saving critically endangered frog
Researchers believe introducing frogs to lower elevation areas would help them reach sexual maturity earlier
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/moving-endangered-northern-corroboree-frogs-may-help-save-species

Scientists race to explore Antarctic marine life revealed by giant iceberg
British Antarctic Survey is trying to reach a newly revealed ecosystem that had been hidden for 120,000 years below the Larsen C ice shelf
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/scientists-race-to-explore-antarctic-marine-life-revealed-by-giant-iceberg

Most sunscreens can harm coral reefs. What should travelers do?
Avoiding non-biodegradable sunscreen may be the one solution to coral bleaching travelers have the most immediate and direct influence over.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/travel/most-sunscreens-can-harm-coral-reefs-what-should-travelers-do.html

‘Demographic compensation’ may not save plants facing changing climate
An in-depth look at how plants respond to climate change shows mixed results for the phenomenon of “demographic compensation” as a way for plants to avoid severe population declines.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ncsu-cm022018.php

The eerie glow of biofluorescence — and how it can help us conserve fish
Maarten de Brauwer, Curtin University
Researchers have developed an easier and less harmful way of studying the cryptic species that keep the rest of our marine life alive.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-20/eerie-glow-of-biofluorescence-fish-conservation/9466960

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