FRIDAY 23 MARCH 2018

Climate science on trial as high-profile US case takes on fossil fuel industry
Courtroom showdown in San Francisco pitted liberal cities against oil corporations, and saw judge host unusual climate ‘tutorial’
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/21/climate-science-lawsuit-san-francisco-sues-chevron

Report: Coal’s tipping point near, but climate goals are not
Declines in coal power plant construction in China, India and the U.S. are projected to push the heavily-polluting fuel over the edge— but not fast enough to meet international climate change goals, environmental groups said Wednesday.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/report-coals-tipping-point-climate-goals-53921540

Climate change may mean more spring snowstorms in the future
Jennifer Francis
Expect more extreme — and weird — weather.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/03/21/climate-change-may-mean-more-spring-snowstorms-in-the-future/?utm_term=.4f7389e8f6f6

Our population increases by one person every 86 seconds
Australia’s population grew by almost 400,000 in the 12 months to September. At that rate, we should have broken through 25 million sometime before last Christmas.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/australia-population-increases-by-one-person-every-86-seconds/9575262

Greens signal they may not back Labor in blocking Coalition’s marine park plans
Plans ‘woefully inadequate’, party says – but it fears replacing some protections with none at all
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/greens-signal-they-may-not-back-labor-in-blocking-coalitions-marine-park-plans

‘Leader to laggard’: the backlash to Australia’s planned marine park cutbacks
Conservation groups produce analysis showing protection for 35m hectares of ocean will be downgraded
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/leader-to-laggard-the-backlash-to-australias-marine-park-cutbacks

Why Aussie coal can boom through global ‘bust’
Matthew Stevens
The environmental defenders see more bust than boom in the thermal power business.
http://www.afr.com/business/us-anticoal-study-reveals-the-logic-of-glencores-42b-bet-on-australian-mines-20180322-h0xu8e

Why managing Australia’s grid is like driving a car with loose steering wheel
Bruce Miller
The East Coast power system of Australia has the worst frequency regulation in the developed world, putting it at risk whenever an event occurs which requires its fossil fuel generators to respond quickly. Because they can’t.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-managing-australias-grid-is-like-driving-a-car-with-loose-steering-wheel-20263/

The overpopulation of Australia: We’re running out of time
Michael Bayliss
Our nation is in danger of becoming overpopulated in the not-too-distant future, but the solution should be resolved at a community level rather than solely …
https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-overpopulation-of-australia-were-running-out-of-time,11319

Energy guarantee to light way [$]
Josh Frydenberg
We all understand sun and wind can’t be trusted to ensure dispatchable electricity.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/liddell-is-a-loss-but-energy-guarantee-would-light-the-way-forward/news-story/d4604b65dc5316e3bc86e5a0df22465d

Class action to be launched against power company over Victorian bushfire
Lawyers will launch a class action against power company Powercor over one of the devastating Victorian bushfires, as authorities confirm all four blazes were started by power assets.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/lawyers-launch-legal-action-against-powercor-bushfires-victoria/9575698

Tesla, Fluence to build two big batteries in Victoria
Tesla and Fluence to build two new big batteries in Victoria after ARENA stepped in to help Victoria government with funding for the projects. And having dissed the Tesla big battery in South Australia, Frydenberg says these smaller units will cut prices and improve stability.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-fluence-to-build-two-big-batteries-in-victoria-88655/

Tathra bushfire: NSW Rural Fire Service says power lines likely cause
Preliminary finding prompts questions about maintenance of infrastructure by government-owned Essential Energy
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/22/tathra-bushfire-nsw-rural-fire-service-says-power-lines-likely-cause

Blackout risk without better power plan
Energy firm AGL is facing further pressure by the Turnbull government to show how the closure of a coal-fired power station won’t lead to ongoing blackouts.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/03/23/00/02/blackout-risk-without-better-power-plan

More needs to be done to replace Liddell
The closure of AGL Energy’s Liddell power station may mean blackouts for about 200,000 NSW homes unless further commitments are made to replace the capacity, the energy market operator has warned.
http://www.afr.com/business/energy/electricity/closing-liddell-could-cause-blackouts-for-200000-homes-aemo-20180322-h0xtxe

NSW, the sleeping giant of rooftop solar, is about to awake
NSW is expected to overtake Queensland as biggest market for rooftop solar and will have 50 per cent more capacity than any other state by the mid-2030s.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-sleeping-giant-rooftop-solar-awake-68621/

Arnhem Land to Cape York Peninsula braces for expected Tropical Cyclone Nora
Communities in north-east Arnhem Land and along the Cape York peninsula should prepare for a cyclone to hit this weekend.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/arnhem-land-communities-brace-for-expected-tropical-cyclone-nora/9576336

May day: Queensland’s population to reach 5 million
Queensland’s population is projected to reach the 5 million milestone in May, according to the latest population figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/CA1999BAEAA1A86ACA25765100098A47?OpenDocument

Rio offloads coal mine for $250m [$]
Rio Tinto has offloaded its entire 75pc stake in Queensland’s Winchester South coal mine to Whitehaven Coal for $US200m.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/rio-tinto-offloads-queensland-mine-to-whitehaven-coal-for-250m/news-story/0f1e5629bd858db129bf9dad243c5d3f

Conservationist in nod to crog egg harvest [$]
A crocodile conservationist supports the wild harvesting of croc eggs in Queensland but only if the practice is proven to have low impact on populations of the reptiles.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/wild-croc-egg-harvesting-proposal-has-merit-conservationist/news-story/c11bf954fe002ea0f7ebfec13b48508a

City’s new $11 million bikeway [$]
Brisbane City Council has announced plans for the city’s largest new bikeway, with construction on the 2.5km project expected to start within months.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbanes-new-11-million-bikeway/news-story/a9285ba1fd8199e0404baa89549f8cdf

Waste of time? Rubbish levy’s embarrassing gaffe [$]
After days of struggling to articulate their new waste levy, the Government has suffered another blow, forced to correct the record in parliament after an embarrassing gaffe.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/waste-levy-to-be-corrected-after-embarrassing-mistake/news-story/c74b9a0ab1079297328b5e8caf85af51

Waste plan stinks for householders [$]
Steven Wardill
A waste levy to stop NSW dumping is inevitable but after a couple of embarrassing stuff-ups, the government needs to carefully consider the model.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/waste-levy-plan-might-stop-nsw-dumpers-but-hiy-our-back-pocket/news-story/0754ba6901453444c4820e3d5f18fdae

Here’s the team steering SA’s first Liberal Government in 16 years
The same 14 people who served on Steven Marshall’s frontbench will be serving in the new ministry, but a few tweaks have been made to who looks after what.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/sa-liberal-government-sworn-in-whos-who-in-ministry/9575712

SA Water set to add another 5MW solar, including floating PV array
SA Water awards tender to install 5MW solar across various facilities, and to develop a floating solar PV array, on path to zero net energy.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/sa-water-set-add-another-5mw-solar-including-floating-pv-array-85781/

SA power cord could stop NSW blackouts [$]
South Australia can help keep the lights on in New South Wales amid warnings the state’s eastern neighbour faces widespread blackouts, new analysis reveals.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/australian-energy-market-operator-says-national-energy-guarantee-can-help-sa-add-power-to-nsw/news-story/baae05a36f59f3fd2c9650f82329d895

Tasmanian Government demanding millions in compensation over Basslink cable failure
After an energy crisis prompted by the failure of the Bass Strait power cable, the Tasmanian Government is demanding compensation from Basslink expected to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/tas-government-demanding-compensation-over-the-basslink-outage/9577092

Salmon future pondered in Macquarie Harbour expansion case
Justice Duncan Kerr has asked the state’s three major salmon companies to consider their future should he decide to find invalid a determination by the federal Environment Minister to allow salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour to be expanded.
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5301563/salmon-future-pondered-in-macquarie-harbour-expansion-case/?cs=95

Australia’s longest-running land claim clears final hurdle, but concerns NT anglers
The land gazetted this week now shows exactly where the public can continue to fish, and where it cannot. Off-limits is Quail Island, Djajalbit Islet and the northern beach of Indian Island, because they contain sacred sites.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/nt-fishing-community-to-be-locked-out-as-kenbi-land-claim-map/9576878

Barossa gas development moves ahead [$]
The leading candidate to supply backfill gas to Darwin LNG when Bayu Undan production ends in the early 2020s has taken another step in the development approval process with a national body approving a joint venture
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/barossa-gas-development-moves-ahead/news-story/22ec89b5459c61e954e7cdaa1459df19

Future of globally significant rock art still up in air
A senator involved in a long-awaited inquiry into the future of Australia’s globally significant rock art on WA’s Burrup Peninsula says she is deeply concerned it failed to reach a consensus agreement.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/senators-divided-over-protection-of-priceless-pilbara-rock-art/9575252

Indigenous owners ‘left out’ of rock art site’s world heritage listing talks
Inquiry finds Burrup peninsula discussions did not properly consult traditional owners
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/22/indigenous-owners-left-out-of-rock-art-sites-world-heritage-listing-talks

Community and connection at the heart of a Perth to Freo bike path
Why are a large group of councillors from a number of western suburbs councils joining together to push for completion of the shared walking and cycling path from Perth to Fremantle?
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/community-and-connection-at-the-heart-of-a-perth-to-freo-bike-path-20180322-p4z5p0.html

Global new coal plant pipeline keeps shrinking
Number of coal plants in permitting and planning process fell another 22% in 2017 – a 59% fall over the last two years.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/global-new-coal-plant-pipeline-keeps-shrinking-45886/

Bacteria eats greenhouse gas with a side of protein
With the ability to leech heavy metals from the environment and digest a potent greenhouse gas, methanotrophic bacteria pull double duty when it comes to cleaning up the environment. But before researchers can explore potential conservation applications, they first must better understand the bacteria’s basic physiological processes. Amy Rosenzweig’s laboratory at Northwestern University has identified two never-before-studied proteins, called MbnB and MbnC, as partially responsible for the bacteria’s inner workings.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/nu-beg032218.php

Bad news for the climate: Coal burning, and carbon emissions, are on the rise again
The increase came after three flat years for emissions, which had made observers hope that something had finally changed.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/21/bad-news-for-the-climate-coal-burning-and-carbon-emissions-are-on-the-rise-again/

Reactor’s neighbours alarmed over radioactive toxics in Ottawa River
The dumping of radioactive matter and other contaminants into the Ottawa River from an inactive nuclear reactor northwest of the capital is causing concern among Indigenous communities, environmental groups and others who monitor toxic waste.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/nuclear-contamination-plan-containment-rolphton-cnl-algonquins-1.4584336

In age of super-commutes, activists want condos, not parks
As the forces of population growth and gentrification in the Bay Area continue to send lower- and middle-class residents to the outer suburbs or to different cities altogether, the ranks of super-commuters are growing. The lack of housing is also testing California’s environmental goals.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060076895

Electric Textile Lights a Lamp When Stretched
Working up a sweat from carrying a heavy load? That is when the textile works at its best. Researchers have developed a fabric that converts kinetic energy into electric …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180322103303.htm

Laser-Based System Offers Continuous Monitoring of Leaks from Oil and Gas Operations
Researchers have conducted the first field tests for a new laser-based system that could one day be used to continuously …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180322103259.htm

Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral
A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/cioe-wpr032118.php

In field tests, device harvests water from desert air
You really can extract clean drinking water right from the air, even in the driest of deserts, MIT researchers have found. They’ve demonstrated a real-world version of a water-harvesting system based on metal organic frameworks, or MOFs, that they first described last year.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/miot-ift032118.php

Brazilian lawmakers funded by donors guilty of environmental crimes: Report
Nearly 50 percent of Brazil’s lower house of congress received political donations from companies and individuals who committed environmental crimes, raising questions about influence peddling.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/03/brazilian-lawmakers-funded-by-donors-guilty-of-environmental-crimes-report/

Lessons remain relevant today from decades of deadly pollution
The Japanese government turned a blind eye to the widespread environmental negligence which started in the mid-1950s and lasted for two decades
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803220035.html

The right way to remember Rachel Carson
Not until the end of her life did she write the work for which she is now known. Before then, she had always thought of herself as a poet of the sea.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/26/the-right-way-to-remember-rachel-carson

Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades.’
In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.
http://www.ehn.org/paul-ehrlich-collapse-of-civilisation-is-a-near-certainty-within-decades-cities-the-guardian-2551351075.html

Carl Lindner: The myth of clean coal
Coal causes disease and death. We Energies should switch to clean energy.
https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2018/03/21/op-ed-the-myth-of-clean-coal/

World Water Day: Deadly plight of Brazil’s river defenders goes unheard
At a high-level talking shop for the global water industry in Brazil, river defenders and community activists – who are often murdered or criminalised for trying to protect their resources – have set up an alternative forum to share their stories
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/world-water-day-deadly-plight-of-brazils-river-defenders-goes-unheard

Guyanese campaigners mount legal challenge against three oil giants
Crowdfunded case claims offshore oil licences were granted illegally by the Guyanese government
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/guyanese-campaigners-mount-legal-challenge-against-three-oil-giants

‘Great Pacific garbage patch’ sprawling with far more debris than thought
The patch of detritus is more than twice the size of France and is up to 16 times larger than previously estimated
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/great-pacific-garbage-patch-sprawling-with-far-more-debris-than-thought

Deep impact: Deep-sea wildlife more vulnerable to extinction than first thought
The existence of the unusual yeti crabs (Kiwaidae) — a family of crab-like animals whose hairy claws and bodies are reminiscent of the abominable snowman — since 2005, but already their future survival could be at risk. New Oxford University research suggests that past environmental changes may have profoundly impacted the geographic range and species diversity of this family. The findings indicate that such animals may be more vulnerable to the effects of human resource exploitation and climate change than initially thought.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/uoo-did032218.php

Because of agriculture, the Gulf of Mexico will suffocate for decades longer
Nitrogen runoff has created a massive oxygen-deprived ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico, but even if the runoff was completely eliminated, it would still take at least 30 years for the area to recover, a new study estimates.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/aaft-boa031918.php

Egypt’s Nile River pressured by population growth, rising sea level
Threats to the Nile and explosive population growth are pushing Egypt toward severe water scarcity.
http://www.circleofblue.org/2018/africa/egypts-nile-river-pressured-by-population-growth-rising-sea-level/

Designing marine protected areas in a changing climate
How can vulnerable marine species be protected when climate change is a reality?
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/designing-marine-protected-areas-in-a-changing-climate/

How an Indian guru cleans the world’s most polluted rivers
With a nationwide campaign, yogi Sadhguru raises awareness about India’s threatened waterways, from the Ganges to minor streams.
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/rally-for-rivers-un-world-water-day-spd/

Europe faces ‘biodiversity oblivion’ after collapse in French birds, experts warn
The “catastrophic” decline in French farmland birds signals a wider biodiversity crisis in Europe which ultimately imperils all humans, leading scientists have told the Guardian.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/21/europe-faces-biodiversity-oblivion-after-collapse-in-french-bird-populations

Even if you were the last rhino on Earth… why populations can’t be saved by a single breeding pair
Corey Bradshaw, Flinders University
Two days ago, the last male northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) died. His passing leaves two surviving members of his subspecies: both females who are unable to bear calves.
https://theconversation.com/even-if-you-were-the-last-rhino-on-earth-why-populations-cant-be-saved-by-a-single-breeding-pair-93733

We have monetised the end of the world
First Dog on the Moon
That male northern white rhino won’t be the last of the lasts, as right now humanity is surfing into the sixth mass extinction.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/21/we-have-monetised-the-end-of-the-world

What’s Wrong With Giving and How Do We Fix It?
Lawrence Jackson
It’s time to rewrite the donor/charity social contract to make giving more proactive, planned and deliberate
https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/03/whats-wrong-giving-fix/

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