THURSDAY 12 APRIL 2018

Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years, studies show
Warm current that has historically caused dramatic changes in climate is experiencing an unprecedented slowdown and may be less stable than thought – with potentially severe consequences
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/critical-gulf-stream-current-weakest-for-1600-years-research-finds

Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction
New geological research from Utah suggests the end-Permian extinction was mainly caused by burning coal, ignited by magma
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/mar/12/burning-coal-may-have-caused-earths-worst-mass-extinction

Tree rings provide vital information for improved climate predictions
Using a decade-long sequence of annual growth rings from pine trees, scientists at the NMR Centre at Umeå University’s Chemical Biological Centre in Sweden have introduced a highly advanced technique for tracking the carbon metabolism of plants and its environmental controls.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/uu-trp041118.php

Clean energy financier invests $150m in infrastructure fund to lower emissions
Move by CEFC designed to drive emissions reductions across Australia’s airports, ports and electricity infrastructure assets
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/12/clean-energy-financier-invests-150m-in-infrastructure-fund-to-lower-emissions

Josh Frydenberg makes peace offering to ACT before D-day for energy deal
Energy minister bows to territory’s call for emissions reduction in national energy guarantee to be reported nationally
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/11/josh-frydenberg-makes-peace-offering-to-act-before-d-day-for-energy-deal

Energy bosses told to drop power prices [PAYWALL]
Josh Frydenberg has told power retailers to lower prices to reflect a 20 per cent fall in the wholesale price.
http://www.afr.com/news/politics/josh-frydenberg-tells-energy-bosses-to-lower-power-prices-20180410-h0ylrb

Why do politicians think that there are votes in coal? [PAYWALL]
Coal-fired generation does not need to be saved by anyone. It will do its job – but renewables are the new normal already.
http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/why-do-politicians-think-that-there-are-votes-in-coal-20180411-h0ym5o

Mining company tax payments will fall and then climb to $12bn, research says
Report commissioned by Minerals Council of Australia predicts Treasury will get windfall in 2016-17
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/11/mining-company-tax-payments-will-fall-and-then-climb-to-12bn-research-says

Commercial battery boom headed for Australia, despite “outdated policy”
Survey finds 62% of businesses plan to invest in battery storage in next 18 months. But can governments and regulators keep up?
https://reneweconomy.com.au/commercial-battery-boom-headed-australia-despite-outdated-policy-16708/

Corruption probe: Snowy 2.0 lead contractor under cloud
Police have raided the headquarters of the lead contractor of the Prime Minister’s signature scheme, alleging a cover up of foreign corruption.
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/turnbull-s-energy-project-lead-contractor-under-corruption-cloud-20180411-p4z8zt.html

Like losing a city every 10 years [PAYWALL]
Cutting the immigration intake by tens of thousands a year would be the equivalent to losing a Wollongong every decade.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/immigration-cuts-just-like-losing-a-city-every-10-years-says-economist/news-story/178ff2d02c2f901cf530119b7fae5d99

Stunning four-fold increase in big rooftop arrays as business stampedes to solar
Clean Energy Regulator sees industrial and commercial solar adding a combined 100MW-plus to grid in 2018, as it sets off on a “j-shaped” growth curve.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/stunning-four-fold-increase-big-rooftop-arrays-business-stampedes-solar-40634/

Driverless cars still a long way off [PAYWALL]
Chanticleer
Only 20pc of cars on the road by 2035 will be driverless, says IAG, which is perhaps as expected given a fully autonomous vehicle requires more software code than a jet plane.
http://www.afr.com/brand/chanticleer/iag-research-says-automated-vehicles-decades-away-20180410-h0yk3i

We must fix the foundation of our energy policy to get out of the current mess
Frank Jotzo et al
The states should insist on a scheme that meets their objectives and ask hard questions about effectiveness and cost
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/we-must-fix-the-foundation-of-our-energy-policy-to-get-out-of-the-current-mess

Australia’s 2017 environment scorecard: like a broken record, high temperatures further stress our ecosystems
Albert Van Dijk, Australian National University and Madeleine Cahill, CSIRO
While rainfall conditions were generally good across Australia in 2017, record-breaking temperatures stressed our ecosystems on land and sea, according to our annual environmental scorecard. Unfortunately, it looks like those records will be broken again next year – and again in the years after that.
https://theconversation.com/australias-2017-environment-scorecard-like-a-broken-record-high-temperatures-further-stress-our-ecosystems-94114

Don’t underestimate Josh Frydenberg, but don’t underestimate the challenges ahead
Mark Kenny
How persuasive is Josh Frydenberg? The question holds the key to the government’s success on energy reform.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/federal/don-t-underestimate-josh-frydenberg-but-don-t-underestimate-the-challenges-ahead-20180411-p4z8zb.html

Frydenberg makes the case for coal
Terry McCrann
Josh Frydenberg is caught between a leader who won’t lead the country out of a policy morass, and legislation that mandates energy stupidity
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/terry-mccrann/terry-mccrann-josh-frydenberg-makes-the-case-for-coal/news-story/cca803464e97badce0d916c02a12ddce

Time for clear thinking on energy shambles
Courier Mail editorial
Australia has been cursed for almost a decade by a divisive and sometimes bitter debate over energy and climate policy which has created market uncertainty causing a lack of service reliability and unwelcome price increases. Now we have a chance for change.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/time-for-clear-thinking-on-energy-shambles/news-story/51fb0bb4a681672854b591c47955c69a

Frydenberg takes the low road: It’s a weak NEG or nothing
Giles Parkinson
Frydenberg calls for an end to ideology and culture wars on energy, while presenting – with breathtaking cynicism – a policy that panders to right wing ideology and culture wars. It’s the NEG or nothing, he warns. Many might suggest that nothing is more attractive.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/frydenberg-takes-the-low-road-its-a-weak-neg-or-nothing-78470/

Frydenberg speech: “Powering forward”
Josh Frydenberg
This is a speech made by energy minister Josh Frydenberg to the National Press Club in Canberra on April 11th, 2018
https://reneweconomy.com.au/frydenberg-speech-powering-forward-31293/

What is it about coal that makes old white men so crazy?
First Dog on the Moon
The angry clownbabies of the Monash Forum abandon their furiously held beliefs the nanosecond it suits, and their suits are empty
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/what-is-it-about-coal-that-makes-old-white-men-so-crazy

Greater glider hotspot logged against Victorian government’s own advice
State government-commissioned survey shows Strathbogie forest has very high densities of threatened species
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/greater-glider-hotspot-logged-against-victorian-governments-own-advice

Victoria to stand firm on energy agreement
Energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio says Victoria will refuse to sign any national agreement that undermine’s the state’s renewable targets.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/04/12/03/38/victoria-to-stand-firm-on-energy-agreement

Unambitious emissions target risk: report
The national energy guarantee would lock Australia’s emission reduction target in legislation, but a new report says with a low ambition target that’s a risk.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/04/12/03/34/unambitious-emissions-target-risk-report

Mouse woes mount [PAYWALL]
Mice are making themselves at home across large swathes of Victoria’s cropping regions.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/cropping/mouse-woes-mount-across-victorias-cropping-regions/news-story/5dfb1bbc4dc8b67f6e03438a4a59bfbd

Peat could burn for months [PAYWALL]
A fire burning underground in southwest Victoria could burn for months, with authorities not willing to say when they expect it will be extinguished.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/southwest-victorian-fires-peat-could-burn-for-months/news-story/11f1ca958f7e51951fa435d3872ac241

Hydrogen could be Latrobe’s $500m future [PAYWALL]
A major new $500 million energy supply deal could see the Latrobe Valley’s brown coal converted to hydrogen and shipped to Japan, creating 400 much-needed local jobs.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/hydrogen-could-be-latrobe-valleys-500m-future/news-story/d3bcb783617393a44fcdfef8cb3c4118

Huge pipeline built to extinguish long-burning Victorian peat fire
Four million litres of water are being pumped every day into a peat fire in south-west Victoria that has been smouldering at Lake Cobrico since St Patrick’s Day.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/pipeline-installed-to-extinguish-cobrico-peat-fire/9640128

Victorian bushfire victims take legal action against power company
Property owners in south-west Victoria launch a second class action against Powercor after power lines were blamed for fires that caused an estimated $40 million in damage.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/terang-class-action-launched-against-powercor-over-fires/9641226

Authority unable to say how much of $266m Hazelwood assistance fund spent
The authority established to manage $266 million of financial assistance to help the Latrobe Valley transition away from coal-fired power generation says it is unable to provide a figure on how much of that has been spent.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/how-the-hazelwood-transition-fund-has-been-spent/9591308

Turnbull announces $5bn funding for Melbourne’s airport-CBD rail link
A Melbourne airport train line has been debated and planned for decades, but the Prime Minister says his funding promise will ensure it becomes a reality.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/melbourne-airport-rail-link-gets-$5bn-from-federal-government/9643054

Hunting regulator ‘incapable, unwilling’ to investigate law breaches, whistleblower says
A senior staff member at Victoria’s hunting regulator has quit, claiming the organisation is poorly run and that he was discouraged from investigating alleged breaches of the hunting laws.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/victoria-hunting-regulator-incapable-whistleblower-says/9638674

No more single-use bags for shoppers at famous Melbourne market
A ban on single-use plastic bags at the famous South Melbourne Market could eventually be extended to other products like straws and coffee cups, management says, as shoppers and traders embrace the new environmental stance.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/plastic-bag-ban-at-south-melbourne-market/9641806

By all means ban the bag, but let’s hope it works
Trevor Thornton
So the plastic shopping bag ban has started in Victoria, and there are many different views as to whether we should or should not have it.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/by-all-means-ban-the-bag-but-let-s-hope-it-works-20180411-p4z8z7.html

Cut ideology, lower power prices [PAYWALL]
Josh Frydenberg
Removing ideology from the mix will allow us to start paying less for our power.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/energy-policy-if-governments-cooperate-we-can-lower-carbon-and-cut-power-prices/news-story/814619fedab13713f2b1040b26c91e11

Cotton v wetlands: three options for ambitious rehabilitation project
The Nimmie-Caira project could mean the restoration of one of the largest wetlands in the Murray-Darling basin
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/12/cotton-v-wetlands-three-options-for-ambitious-rehabilitation-project

Sydney is rebuilding tram systems ripped out in the 1960s
Was ripping out Sydney’s extensive original tram network in the 1960s one of the biggest mistakes the city ever made? Curious Sydney investigates if there were economic reasons or a conspiracy at play.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-12/sydneys-original-tram-network-what-happened-curious-sydney/9610328

Turnbull continues AGL power sale push
Malcolm Turnbull is set to continue his push for AGL to sell the NSW-based Liddell power station as he visits Victoria’s coal mining region.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/04/12/03/34/turnbull-continues-agl-power-sale-push

Sydney to be cooled by an extra five million trees by 2030
The NSW government has committed to planting five million trees by 2030 in a bid to reduce the heat island effect in Sydney
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/sydney-to-be-cooled-by-an-extra-five-million-trees-by-2030-20180411-p4z8x7.html

Restrictions on privatised ports adding to Sydney’s gridlock: Deloitte report
Hundreds of thousands of trucks could be shifted from Sydney’s roads by a new container terminal at Newcastle, but secret restrictions introduced during the privatisation of NSW ports are preventing its development.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/restrictions-on-privatised-ports-adding-to-sydney-s-gridlock-deloitte-report-20180411-p4z91q.html

Hopes lift for pact on power [PAYWALL]
ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury says he is ready to give ground on the national energy guarantee.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/act-gives-ground-on-national-energy-guarantee/news-story/0f34c32008107cfa466a563c99bd1b83

Wild-caught Queensland prawns off the sustainable seafood menu
Non-farmed bugs and scallops also listed as red in latest conservation guide
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/12/wild-caught-queensland-prawns-off-the-sustainable-seafood-menu

Green-haired turtle that breathes through its genitals added to endangered list
With its punky green mohican the striking Mary river turtle joins a new ZSL list of the world’s most vulnerable reptiles
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/green-haired-turtle-that-breathes-through-its-genitals-added-to-endangered-list

Synthetic clothes adding to microfibre pollution on reef
A survey of pollution on the Great Barrier Reef finds microfibres from clothing to be an increasing problem, making up nearly 70 per cent of samples collected.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/microfibres-increasing-on-barrier-reef-due-to-synthetic-clothes/9642240

10yo wins battle to save the stomachs of turtles
A 10-year-old girl helps convince a local government on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef to phase out using plastic straws in its council operations for the first time in Queensland.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/girl-wins-straw-phase-out-cairns-council-agree-ditch/9640522

Fires and temperatures flare in SA, but cool change is on the way
Emergency services battle multiple fires across South Australia, with successive days of strong winds and high temperatures coming to an end.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/sa-fires-wind-and-dust-ahead-of-a-cool-change/9642468

Marshall still open to nuclear power
Premier Steven Marshall says establishing a nuclear generation industry in South Australia is not on his “short-term” radar but it could “come back onto the agenda further down the track” as he considers “every option to ensure we have lower energy prices”.
https://indaily.com.au/news/local/2018/04/11/marshall-still-open-nuclear-power/

Residents hopping mad over hills rabbit infestation [PAYWALL]
Rabbits have taken over a suburb in the Adelaide foothills and left behind something far worse than Easter eggs.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/absolutely-devastating-rabbit-plague-is-destroying-gardens-and-properties-in-a-foothills-suburb/news-story/0d43cb1d2003ed28e04bff9cff3c4574

Show me the water, SA Senator says [PAYWALL]
A vote on critical water to save the money is in limbo as the bigger states have failed to show how they would deliver the water to save the environment.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/centre-alliance-senator-rex-patrick-demands-details-holding-vote-hostage/news-story/7f3e22b5c54e42f5b8871924ecea2d31

Decade-long fracking ban may not need law change, SA Premier says
SA Premier Steven Marshall says his Government may not need to enshrine a 10-year moratorium on fracking in the south-east in law, after being advised the ban is already in effect.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-12/decade-long-fracking-ban-may-not-need-law-change/9642876

Communities on the coal face need certainty about energy policy – not political warfare
Sam Johnson
The evidence that renewable energy with storage and reducing pollution is the best outcome for consumers mounts daily. In Port Augusta, this isn’t an ideological debate, we are living it.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/federal/communities-on-the-coal-face-need-certainty-about-energy-policy-not-political-warfare-20180411-p4z917.html

Rezoning of World Heritage zone needed to boost Tasmanian eco-tourism: Premier
A second area of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area is put forward as a candidate for rezoning to allow more people to “experience these magnificent areas”, the Government says — in a move that has alarmed conservation and bushwalking groups.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/wha-rezone-draft-plan-announced-at-frenchmans-cap-unveiling/9640630

Questions over plans for luxury camp venture in Tasmania’s Central Highlands
Anglers and the Wilderness Society are raising questions about a fly-fishing company’s plans for a luxury camp venture on Halls Island in Tasmania’s Central Highlands.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/concerns-fly-fishing-operator-halls-island-proposal-in-wha/9636466

Experts mystified as Perth bird populations struck down by paralysis
Wildlife centres across Perth are being inundated with sick magpies, mudlarks, and ravens afflicted by a mystery illness.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-11/mystery-illness-strikes-down-perths-birds/9639086

‘Day zero’ water crises: Spain, Morocco, India and Iraq at risk as reservoirs shrink
A new early warning satellite system reveals countries where shrinking reservoirs could lead to the taps completely drying up
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/day-zero-water-crises-spain-morocco-india-and-iraq-at-risk-as-dams-shrink

Explainer: This is where your money goes when you tick the carbon offset box
When you buy an airline ticket, you can spend a few extra dollars to offset your share of emissions produced by your air travel. But these “carbon offsets” aren’t what they seem.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-04-11/carbon-offsets-worth-buying-air-travel-tourism-emissions/9638466

Swamp microbe has pollution-munching power
Sewage treatment may be an unglamorous job, but bacteria are happy to do it. Sewage plants rely on bacteria to remove environmental toxins from waste so that the processed water can be safely discharged into oceans and rivers. Now, a bacterium discovered by Princeton researchers in a New Jersey swamp may offer a more efficient method for treating toxins found in sewage, fertilizer runoff and other forms of water pollution.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/pues-smh041118.php

New technology could wean the battery world off cobalt
A research team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has opened the door to using metals other than cobalt in lithium-based batteries, and have built cathodes with 50 percent more lithium-storage capacity than conventional materials.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/uoc–ntc041018.php

UK could create 5,000 jobs by moving to sustainable fishing, says report
Sustainable catch limits on key species after Brexit would also boost the economy by more than £300m a year as stocks recover, analysis shows
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/uk-could-create-5000-jobs-by-moving-to-sustainable-fishing-says-report

Raja Ampat survey reveals new species and key manta ray data
Raja Ampat is the global epicentre of marine biodiversity – and the species count is still rising, thanks in large part to two scientists …
https://www.theguardian.com/global/the-coral-triangle/2018/apr/10/raja-ampat-survey-reveals-new-species-key-manta-ray-data

Drug waste clogs rivers around the world, scientists say
Large numbers of pharmaceuticals found at levels dangerous for wildlife and the environment
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/drug-waste-clogs-rivers-around-the-world-scientists-say

Sperm whale dies after swallowing 29kg of plastic
In a heartbreaking illustration of the dangers of plastic in our oceans, a young male sperm whale was found washed up in Spain with 29 kg of plastic debris in its stomach.
https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/39800595/sperm-whale-dies-after-swallowing-29-kilograms-of-plastic/

New Zealand bans deep sea exploration
New Zealand says it will not grant any fresh permits for deep-sea oil and gas exploration as part of efforts to protect against climate change.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/new-zealand-bans-deep-sea-exploration/news-story/e90c3ac047a035fb4b729c270051cfc9

Conservationists plot a food drop to save migratory shorebirds from starvation
Huge numbers of migratory shorebirds could starve without human intervention in China and conservationists say they’re planning to put out 500 tonnes of small clams to help.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-12/food-drop-to-save-migratory-shorebirds-from-starvation-in-china/9640988

Nature-based solutions can prevent $50 billion in Gulf Coast flood damages
While coastal development and climate change are increasing the risk of flooding for communities along the US Gulf Coast, restoration of marshes and oyster reefs are among the most cost-effective solutions for reducing those risks, according to a new study.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/uoc–nsc040918.php

New method prioritizes species for conservation in the face of uncertainty
A new way to prioritize species for conservation efforts outperforms other similar methods, according to research presented in PLOS ONE by Rikki Gumbs of Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues at the Zoological Society of London, UK.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/p-nmp040518.php

Did deforestation cause the Ebola outbreak?
Katie McQue
From 2014-16, an unprecedented Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,000 people across West Africa. Now scientists have linked the outbreak to rapid deforestation. Was this wave of death triggered by environmental destruction?
https://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2018/04/10/deforestation-ebola-outbreak

Death by chocolate: A not-so sweet treat?
Marlene Cimons
Chocolate production generates a lot of pollution and consumes precious resources. So how can you indulge, and keep a clear conscience?
https://reneweconomy.com.au/death-chocolate-not-sweet-treat-32086/

What’s the optimal temperature for your office? It’s higher than you think
Dian Tjondronegoro, Christhina Candido, Fan Zhang and Shamila Haddad
If you’re reading this article in your office, chances are the air conditioning is set to about 22 degrees Celsius. It’s the office standard, but it’s not the ideal.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-12/optimum-air-condition-temperature-for-office-workplaces/9641934

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