WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2018

Hotter, drier, hungrier: How global warming punishes the world’s poorest
A series of droughts with little recovery time in the intervals has pushed millions to the edge of survival in the Horn of Africa.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/climate/kenya-drought.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fclimate

Vietnam and U.N. to build storm-proof housing for coastal communities
A new housing scheme aims to increase resilience in Vietnamese coastal communities to the effects of climate change.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180312080130-dwbm2/

As urgency mounts, worry among climate scientists gets personal
“Every scientist has to find their own place in the spectrum of science and activism.”
http://news.trust.org/item/20180312234800-9tf1y/

Carbon taxes are coming, and we have colleges to thank
It turns out universities provide a fantastic model for how politicians should start thinking about this on a state or even national level.
https://www.wired.com/story/thank-colleges-for-imminent-carbon-taxes-no-seriously-thank-them/

The government is nearly done with a major report on climate change. Trump isn’t going like it
A dire federal climate report is scientifically accurate, experts say – and should be released later this year.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/12/the-government-is-close-to-finishing-a-climate-change-report-trump-wont-like-it/?utm_term=.c127c553c654

EPA youth advisors urge agency to act on climate change
Draft report recommends ways to engage young people on climate and environmental justice.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/epa-youth-advisors-urge-agency-to-act-on-climate-change/

22 national science academies urge their governments to address climate change
The scientists, from the UK, Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries, warn that stronger measures are needed to keep global warming under 2 degrees.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/12032018/climate-change-solutions-national-science-academies-commonwealth-of-nations-paris-agreement

Red Cross turns to climate attribution science to prepare for disasters ahead
Understanding how extreme weather and heat waves are changing helps relief organizations like the Red Cross determine where to stockpile emergency supplies.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/12032018/red-cross-disaster-relief-climate-change-attribution-studies-extreme-weather-science-trends

First-Annual Sea-Level Report Cards
Researchers are launching new web-based ‘report cards’ to monitor and forecast changes in sea level at 32 localities along the US coastline from Maine to Alaska.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312155421.htm

Powershop to tap customer battery storage in new virtual power plant
Powershop and Reposit Power join forces on new virtual power plant that taps customer battery storage at times of peak demand.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/powershop-to-tap-customer-battery-storage-in-new-virtual-power-plant-87498/

NEG needed for energy sector in ‘disruption central’
Energy policy supremo Kerry Schott has declared the “worst is over” on power price hikes, saying the Energy Security Board is well aware of the need for the National Energy Guarantee to ensure affordable, reliable power.
http://www.afr.com/business/energy/electricity/worst-is-over-on-electricity-price-hikes-says-esb-head-kerry-schott-20180313-h0xeu3

Warning Schott for energy
Electricity retailers will be hit with the cost of keeping the lights on if they fail to meet reliability targets.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/kerrie-schotts-warning-to-energy-retailers/news-story/4d212aeaa703fa4fa627b4633c928afb

‘Big Australia’ population growth: Can nation cope with 36 million people?
Massive tolls on our roads. Not being able to afford your own car. Being forced to live in a high-rise apartment with no backyard. Having to get a ticket just to go to the beach.
http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/what-would-australia-look-like-with-a-population-of-36-million/news-story/1a48f87cc69501242821a7c796f159e8

How to build a 3-D-printed house in the developing world
The non-profit New Story has successfully built the US’s first 3-D-printed home, and now plans to bring its design to the world’s poorest regions.
https://www.wired.com/story/new-story-3-d-printed-house/

Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Five year assessment – issues paper
Productivity Commission
This issues paper has been released to assist participants in preparing a submission to the inquiry to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the Basin Plan and water resource plans.
http://www.apo.org.au/node/136066

Health implications of Coalition’s energy policy
Christopher Juttner
The Turnbull Government’s NEG is causing deaths and illness, right now, in Australia and globally.
https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/health-implications-of-coalitions-energy-policy,11292

Driverless cars: will public transport be a winner?
Alan Davies
The prospect of autonomous vehicles causes worry but they might provide public and shared modes of transport with a big boost in competitiveness relative to private vehicles
https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2018/03/13/driverless-cars-public-transport-winner/

Our growing big cities need new centres of employment – here’s Melbourne’s chance
Rodney Maddock, Monash University
The population growth is in the west, but most of the jobs are still in the city centre. Three major development proposals could help reshape Melbourne in ways that help overcome this costly mismatch.
https://theconversation.com/our-growing-big-cities-need-new-centres-of-employment-heres-melbournes-chance-93067

Batman byelection: green groups savage Labor’s Adani stance in campaign’s final days
Robocalls began on Tuesday evening, with Labor and Greens accepting the coalmine issue has reached saturation point
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/14/batman-byelection-green-groups-savage-labors-adani-stance-in-campaigns-final-days

CFA to lose firepower
Victoria’s 64 Municipal Fire Prevention Committees are about to be abolished, sidelining hundreds of CFA volunteers from decisions on asset protection and local fuel reduction burns.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/cfa-sidelined-as-abolition-of-victorias-municipal-fire-prevention-committees-looms/news-story/ca099a3bdfe8d80595d42a081d3cb6da

Dry gardens, bush: State braces for fires over hot and windy weekend
Authorities are expecting wind gusts above 100km/h to rip across the state’s parched bushland over two hot days.
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/worst-fire-conditions-in-12-months-feared-for-this-weekend-20180313-p4z463.html

AGL: Still too much base-load in NSW after Liddell closure
AGL says there will still be too much “base-load” in NSW, even after Liddell closure. What’s needed is flexible capacity, but storage won’t be better bet than gas turbines until more there is more wind and solar.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/agl-still-much-base-load-nsw-liddell-closure-39008/

Western Harbour tollway: What makes up the toxic sediment in Sydney Harbour
There are toxic industrial by-products lying at the bottom of Sydney Harbour that could be disturbed if a plan to build another underwater tunnel is approved.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-13/western-harbour-tollway-what-makes-up-the-toxic-sediment-in-sydney-harbour/1741976

Queensland’s north counts cost of flooding as south prepares for storms
Damage bill expected to run well into millions but farmers welcome end to six-year drought
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/13/queenslands-north-counts-cost-of-flooding-as-south-prepares-for-storms

German experts recommend major revamp of Queensland’s public transport
German public transport experts have recommended an overhauled, integrated public transport system for south-east Queensland after they found a culture of mistrust between Queensland Rail and the transit authority TransLink.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/german-experts-recommend-major-revamp-of-queensland-s-public-transport-20180312-p4z402.html

Aurizon disputes coal decision 
Aurizon says a regulator’s draft ruling on the pricing of access for coal haulage to its rail network offers insufficient returns.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/aurizon-unhappy-with-regulator-decision-on-queensland-coal-haulage/news-story/42d85aac4c31d70c2f5d7bd6fcecd837

Return of waste levy appears inevitable
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told a packed Ipswich town hall meeting she would act to slash the rate of interstate dumping in Queensland – a week after a fellow Labor MP slammed the LNP for removing the waste disposal levy in 2012.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/waste-levy-inevitable-after-annastacia-palaszczuk-promises-to-stop-flow-of-nsw-rubbish/news-story/21dae9014300782629e114ee88d600ae

AGL switches to Tesla and LG Chem for virtual power plant
AGL chooses Tesla, LG Chem and SolarEdge as its new technology plants for virtual power plant in South Australia, much to relief of customers waiting for more than six months for their installation.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/agl-switches-to-tesla-and-lg-chem-for-virtual-power-plant-77717/

Wind farm proves it can provide cheaper, more precise grid security than gas generators
Trials by Hornsdale wind farm, next to the Tesla big battery, show that wind turbines can deliver cheaper and “more precise” grid security services than conventional gas generators.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/wind-farm-proves-it-can-provide-cheaper-more-precise-grid-security-than-gas-generators-55845/

South Australian mining baron attacks Labor and donates to Liberals and SA Best
Cartwheel Resources’s Rudy Gomez gave SA Best $50,000 despite Xenophon’s call for ban on large donations
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/13/south-australian-mining-baron-attacks-labor-and-donates-to-liberals-and-sa-best

Council urged to abandon Adelaide Free Bikes
The city council should abandon funding for the Adelaide Free Bikes scheme in favour of commercial bike-share services which are moving to expand across the metropolitan area, a staff report recommends.
https://indaily.com.au/news/local/2018/03/13/council-urged-abandon-adelaide-free-bikes/

FactCheck: does South Australia have the ‘highest energy prices’ in the nation and ‘the least reliable grid’?
Dylan McConnell, University of Melbourne
https://theconversation.com/factcheck-does-south-australia-have-the-highest-energy-prices-in-the-nation-and-the-least-reliable-grid-92928

Tassal, Bob Brown court action kicks off in Federal Court
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5281613/tassal-bob-brown-court-action-kicks-off-in-federal-court/?cs=95

Push to end glider’s protected status 
Wildlife experts are pushing for sugar gliders to be stripped of their protection under Tasmania’s Nature Conservation Act.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/calls-for-an-end-to-protected-status-for-sugar-gliders/news-story/61f02aa9c1cb0f5b9fddf9fecdcc69bb

More than a dozen WA animals saved from extinction
WA animals, including the western swamp tortoise, the western ground parrot and banded hare-wallaby are among almost 50 species reintroduced to former habitats across Australia.
https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/more-than-a-dozen-wa-animals-saved-from-extinction-ng-b88772711z

Rain or shine: new solar cell captures energy from raindrops
New device is designed to prevent power output plummeting when the sun isn’t shining – but practical application is still some years off
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/13/rain-or-shine-new-solar-cell-captures-energy-from-raindrops

Toilet-to-tap: Gross to think about, but how does it taste?
Researchers at University of California, Riverside, asked 143 people to express a preference among recycled water, bottled water, and tap water. They hypothesized that all three would score similarly. In fact, tap water was the least popular among the tasters; recycled water and bottled water scored about the same.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/uoc–tgt030918.php

Four years after declaring war on pollution, China is winning
China is winning, at record pace. In particular, cities have cut concentrations of fine particulates in the air by 32 percent on average, in just the last four years.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/upshot/china-pollution-environment-longer-lives.html

World’s largest cities depend on evaporated water from surrounding lands
A study found that 19 of the 29 largest cities in the world depend on evaporation from surrounding lands for more than one-third of their water supplies.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/csu-wlc031218.php

Lead exposure may be linked to 412,000 premature US deaths yearly, study says
Figure is 10 times larger than previous reports have suggested, potentially pointing to threat on par with smoking.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/12/lead-exposure-premature-deaths-us

Is coal waste leaching into America’s drinking water?
Coal ash ponds are contaminating groundwater across the country, but the consequences are unclear because the government doesn’t monitor them.
https://newrepublic.com/article/147298/coal-waste-leaching-americas-drinking-water

Fracking increases risk of asthma, birth defects and cancer
The most authoritative study of its kind reveals how fracking is contaminating the air and water – and imperiling the health of millions of Americans
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/fracking-health-risk-asthma-birth-defects-cancer-w517809

Decade-long study helps 21 million Chinese farmers cut fertilizer use
Millions of Chinese farmers have cut fertilizer use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and increased crop yields after adopting new region-specific
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/decade-long-study-helps-21-million-chinese-farmers-cut-fertilizer-use

Scientists just showed what building a new suburb does to the atmosphere
It’s the latest evidence highlighting the environmental consequences of suburban expansion, often accompanied by more miles driven by cars and larger free-standing homes that require more energy for heating and cooling.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/08/scientists-just-showed-what-building-new-suburbs-does-to-the-atmosphere/?utm_term=.72343026b34c

SOS carved into Indonesian palm oil plantation to highlight ‘magnitude of the problem’
The giant SOS carving, completed last month by a Lithuanian artist, runs for about half a kilometre inside a plantation in North Sumatra and can be seen from the air.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-13/sos-carved-into-indonesian-palm-oil-plantation/9544106

Krill fishing poses serious threat to Antarctic ecosystem, report warns
Greenpeace finds industrial fishing taking place in the feeding grounds of whales and penguins, with vessels involved in oil spills and accidents
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/13/krill-fishing-poses-serious-threat-to-antarctic-ecosystem-report-warns

Cerrado: Appreciation grows for Brazil’s savannah, even as it vanishes
Conservationists recently awoke to the extraordinary value of the Cerrado – a biodiverse biome long outshone by the Amazon and a key carbon sink; but agribusiness is fast destroying it.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/03/cerrado-appreciation-grows-for-brazils-savannah-even-as-it-vanishes/

Oil palm, rubber could trigger ‘storm’ of deforestation in the Congo Basin
Thousands of square kilometers of the world’s second-largest rainforest, the Congo Basin, sit on the verge of destruction, according to a new report released today by Earthsight, the London-based non-profit that investigates global environmental issues.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/03/oil-palm-rubber-could-trigger-storm-of-deforestation-in-the-congo-basin/

Climate change? Almost all sea turtles born in Florida are female
Hot sand makes for fewer male sea turtles. And we don’t know how long current ones can keep breeding.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/03/13/almost-all-sea-turtles-born-florida-female-and-researcher-thinks-she-knows-why/419140002/

The race for adaptation in an increasingly acidic Salish Sea
Underneath the picturesque Salish Sea there are churning currents, with water swooshing in from the open ocean and surges of nutrient-rich fresh water from creeks and rivers that alter the sea’s chemistry — and can make life tough for species trying to survive in a rapidly changing environment.
https://www.desmog.ca/2018/03/12/race-adaptation-increasingly-acidic-salish-sea

Areas where homes, forests mix increased rapidly over two decades
From 1990 to 2010, the nation’s wildland-urban interface grew rapidly, increasing from 30.8 to 43.4 million homes (41 percent growth) and expanding in area from 143,568,227 acres to 190,271,144 acres in area, or 33 percent. The vast majority of new WUI areas were caused by new housing (97 percent), not an increase in wildland vegetation.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/ufs–awh031218.php

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