WEDNESDAY 2 MAY 2018

Science can’t solve climate change — politics can
It’s not every day you hear that the climate change debate needs to be “more political and less scientific” — but that is exactly what former IPCC scientist Mike Hulme is calling for.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-05-02/why-science-cant-solve-climate-change/9711364

Can courts force action on climate change? Sixteen young Alaskans hope so
An Anchorage judge heard arguments today in a lawsuit brought by 16 young Alaskans who are suing the state over climate change.
https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/04/30/sixteen-young-alaskans-hope-courts-can-force-the-state-to-act-on-climate-change/

Speed Date a Sustainability Expert is coming to Port Phillip
The City of Port Phillip and the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) are conducting an event called Speed Date a Sustainability Expert on Sunday 6 May.  This is your opportunity to get free one-on-one advice from a wide range of experts, including sustainable architects/designers, solar/battery, energy efficiency, strata sustainability, low water garden and permaculture experts.
https://mailchi.mp/4e4b77fb77bd/sdse-wyndham-1026173?e=eac96b881a

Why more carbon dioxide may not lead to more-productive crops
New study challenges what we know about CO2’s affect on different plants.
https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/why-more-carbon-dioxide-may-not-lead-more-productive-crops

Climate change: Coping with extremes
We travel to southern Kenya and Myanmar to see how locals are coping with extreme weather conditions.
https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/earthrise/2018/04/climate-change-coping-extremes-180429112513988.html

Rocks could have a role in combatting climate change
German scientists propose using basalt and dunite to soak up carbon from the atmosphere.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/01/terrawatch-rocks-could-have-a-role-in-combatting-climate-change

Climate-Linked spending set to rise to a quarter of EU budget
The European Union’s executive is poised to propose spending 25 percent of funds available in next EU multiannual budget on activities related to climate protection, making sure new economic and political challenges don’t weaken the bloc’s resolve to fight pollution.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/climate-linked-spending-set-to-rise-to-a-quarter-of-eu-budget

Why blaming conflicts in Africa on climate change is misguided
Ore Koren
More often than not, climate change, which can trigger droughts and floods, is just one of many possible contributing factors.
https://theconversation.com/why-blaming-conflicts-in-africa-on-climate-change-is-misguided-94996

‘Captain Sunshine’ says Australia is not living up to its solar potential
Australia can be the first 100 per cent renewables-powered continent, but it needs the political will to do so, a global solar expert says.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/captain-sunshine-says-australia-is-not-living-up-to-its-solar-potential-20180426-p4zbr0.html

Liddell won’t rock market: Origin  [PAYWALL]
Origin Energy chief Frank Calabria says the electricity market will cope with the planned closure of AGL’s Liddell power station.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/liddell-closure-wont-rock-power-market-origin-ceo-calabria/news-story/bffeae9959f7e21d1037e012d3296ecb

Australia’s shipping industry to halve toxic emissions by 2050
The International Maritime Organisation plans to halve greenhouse gas and sulphur emissions by 2050.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-05-02/australia-shipping-industry-halving-toxic-fuel-emissions/9716812

Solar, wind farms hit as AEMO slashes output calculations
AEMO cuts estimated output from Broken Hill solar farm by 22%, and other solar farms in Queensland by to 12%, citing change in flows on the grid. The new calculations could affect the economics of many renewable projects and may be contested by developers.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-wind-farms-hit-as-aemo-slashes-output-calculations-18481/

Australia’s super nest-egg could deliver 100% renewables by 2030
New report says that using just a tiny fraction of Australia’s superannuation nest egg could fund a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-super-nest-egg-deliver-100-renewables-2030/

Coalition climate policy built on little more than “hope,” says BNEF
BNEF says Turnbull’s climate policy built on “hope” that economy could “accidentally” decarbonise. Penny Wong laments a lost decade.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/coalition-climate-policy-built-on-little-more-than-hope-says-bnef-56727/

Origin pushes for higher Co2 targets, as CEC lament’s “hysteria” over NEG
Origin puts pressure on Coalition to lift emissions targets, while CEC says its support for NEG is conditional on higher targets, but laments “hysteria” over the new policy instrument.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-pushes-for-higher-co2-targets-as-cec-laments-hysteria-over-neg-38044/

New Review Platform Highlights Charity Star Performers
A spokesperson for the Australian Conservation Foundation told Pro Bono Newsthey could not comment on the assessment by The Good Cause as they had had no direct interaction with the organisation and were unclear about the methodology behind their assessment.
https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/05/new-review-platform-highlights-charity-star-performers/

Don’t forget buses: six rules for improving city bus services
Jason Byrne and Emma Pharo, University of Tasmania
Trains and trams get most attention, but ‘tweaking’ bus transit can transform cities. Buses can be more cost-effective and deliver better service, especially for small to mid-sized cities.
https://theconversation.com/dont-forget-buses-six-rules-for-improving-city-bus-services-94984

Australia’s reptiles may be spreading rat poison through the food chain
Michael Lohr and Robert Davis, Edith Cowan University
Rat baits are widely used to keep rodent pests at bay. But many Australian reptiles are resistant to the poison, potentially spreading these deadly compounds up the food chain.
https://theconversation.com/australias-reptiles-may-be-spreading-rat-poison-through-the-food-chain-94922

Recent Australian droughts may be the worst in 800 years
Mandy Freund et al
Australia is a continent defined by extremes, and recent decades have seen some extraordinary climate events. But droughts, floods, heatwaves, and fires have battered Australia for millennia. Are recent extreme events really worse than those in the past?
https://theconversation.com/recent-australian-droughts-may-be-the-worst-in-800-years-94292

The government could be boosting the budget bottom line with a change to how it taxes gas
 Diane Kraal, Monash University
Resources usually give the budget a healthy boost in economic boom times but the government could be reaping more revenue if it changed the way it taxes gas projects, my new modelling shows.
https://theconversation.com/the-government-could-be-boosting-the-budget-bottom-line-with-a-change-to-how-it-taxes-gas-95782

Better to be long renewables than be short
David Leitch
Coalition’s emissions target makes Australia’s grid barely cleaner than a coal generator. Happily, the states will clean up, but Snowy Hydro needs to lift its game.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/better-long-renewables-short-98508/

The five-minute budget
The Andrews Government has unveiled a big spending budget. Here’s what it will mean for you.
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/victoria-state-budget-2018-19-a-five-minute-guide-20180501-p4zcpm.html

$18m push towards first treaty  [PAYWALL]
The Andrews government will spend $18m advancing Australia’s first indigenous treaty.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/victorian-budget-2018-18m-push-to-reach-first-treaty/news-story/d689b39a75852d5fdcc253653c7dde82

Cooper, Mitsui buy BHP gas plant  [PAYWALL]
Cooper Energy and Japan’s Mitsui have agreed to buy BHP’s Minerva gas plant near Port Campbell in Victoria.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/cooper-mitsui-in-bhp-gas-plant-deal/news-story/75fabb8e2eb25ddee3d324c5f82391af

The trick to avoid paying more on your power bill  [PAYWALL]
Half of all Victorians believe they’re getting a good deal on their electricity bills even though most would save by doing this one simple thing.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/origin-survey-shows-households-are-in-the-dark-on-their-pricey-power-bills/news-story/082aa5aa36661fb7f67e4ce1966b8efa

Smoke haze from controlled burns covers Melbourne  [PAYWALL]
The number of planned burns scheduled across the state today have been revised after a heavy smog blanketed Melbourne.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/smoke-haze-from-controlled-burns-covers-melbourne/news-story/3d927cae527abfe8c941203239570c4f

Melbourne residents face 40 per cent rubbish collection fee hikes as China recycling ban hits home  [PAYWALL]
Residents are being hit with ­garbage collection fee hikes of up to 40 per cent as councils tackle the ­recycling crisis.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melbourne-residents-face-40-per-cent-rubbish-collection-fee-hikes-as-china-recycling-ban-hits-home/news-story/a60b2b8ec1e6460bfc2cb82e6777903e

Government loses ‘David-and-Goliath’ battle over WestConnex land grab
A small company in Sydney’s inner-west who went head to head with the NSW Government to keep their land wins after a court rules the attempted acquisition “improper”.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-01/westconnex-land-acquisition-fails-after-court-ruling/9714466

Contentious Red Hill land could become massive storage facility
Community groups are concerned about possible contamination on the site as well as the loss of habitat for animals.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/contentious-red-hill-land-could-become-massive-storage-facility-20180426-p4zbsj.html

Water bills going down for Canberra households
A report from the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has set prices lower for Canberra households over the next five years.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/water-bills-going-down-for-canberra-households-20180501-p4zcn7.html

Death cap mushrooms spotted in Canberra
Canberrans are being warned not to pick or eat wild mushrooms after the sighting of death cap varieties.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/death-cap-mushrooms-spotted-in-canberra/news-story/86e92665d01b2fc3896a2067cac9d324

Do you know your rights around access to beaches in Queensland?
You’ve rolled out your towel, wiggled your toes in the sand and contemplated a dip in the cool blue waters. Here’s what you need to know if someone asks you to leave.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-01/can-you-own-a-private-beach-in-queensland/9714874

It’s getting quieter on the Barrier Reef — and that’s bad news
In a one-two punch, patches of the northern Great Barrier Reef damaged by bleaching and cyclones are unable to attract baby fish, which are crucial for their recovery.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-05-01/quiet-reefs-coral-bleaching-fish-stocks/9710348

‘Help the reef adapt to climate change’  [PAYWALL]
Great Barrier Reef Foundation chairman and businessman John Schubert said the reef will never return to its former condition before global warming.
http://www.afr.com/news/politics/great-barrier-reef-will-recover-from-coral-bleaching-says-john-schubert-20180501-h0zh9i

Don’t recycle? You’ll pay for that  [PAYWALL]
Ipswich residents who refuse to recycle their rubbish correctly could have their bins confiscated under a bin tagging program being considered by the council.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/fines-not-ruled-out-for-ipswich-residents-who-fail-to-recycle/news-story/1e4c32c8a3fee16aabd4bdc98528cb7f

Rescuers on Queensland coast say dredging ‘difference between life and death’
The Volunteer Marine Rescue is desperately requesting for the State Government to begin creek dredging to speed up their response time in emergencies.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-02/agnes-water-volunteer-marine-rescue-desperate-calls-for-dredging/9711776

Australia’s biggest solar farm about to begin commissioning
Sun Metals solar farm, the largest in the country, will begin commissioning in a few weeks and will supply 30% of electricity needs for major refinery.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-biggest-solar-farm-about-to-begin-commissioning-89615/

Why Adani won’t die
Richard Denniss
The Carmichael coalmine is as much about symbols and interests as it is about jobs and money
https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/may/1525096800/richard-denniss/why-adani-won-t-die

‘Real risk’ Murray-Darling Basin Plan is unlawful, commissioner warns
The legality of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is called into question by the royal commissioner in charge of investigating allegations of water theft levelled against upstream states.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-01/murray-darling-basin-plan-potentially-unlawful/9713534

Energy storage company 1414 launches IPO, plans 250MWh module
South Australian energy storage company 1414 degrees launches bid to go public
https://reneweconomy.com.au/energy-storage-company-1414-launches-ipo-plans-250mwh-module-71784/

Hodgman Government’s proposed $200m stake in TasWater a ‘humiliating backdown’
The Tasmanian Government ditches its controversial plan to take over the state’s water and sewerage utility and instead will spend $200 million to become a shareholder, a deal branded by Labor as “the most humiliating backdown in Tasmanian politics for over a decade”.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-01/govt-to-take-200m-stake-in-taswater-utility/9713862

‘Increased transparency’ for water quality throughout Tasmania
TasWater customers will have increased monthly access to information about their drinking water.
https://www.examiner.com.au/story/5368004/increased-transparency-for-water-quality-throughout-tasmania/?cs=95

Fresh accolade for Three Capes Track  [PAYWALL]
The Three Capes Track has been recognised for setting new eco-friendly benchmarks after being named Tasmania’s development of the year.
http://www.themercury.com.au/lifestyle/travel/another-feather-in-the-cap-for-three-capes-track/news-story/f089b0601a05df367f50ccd8d7ec1a16

New player to represent forestry industry  [PAYWALL]
A new body aimed at covering a broader cross section of the Tasmanian forestry industry will be launched soon.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/new-player-to-represent-workers-across-states-forestry-industry/news-story/5907893d63cee7942e5e0280b4626491

Lucky devils off on trans-Tasman trip  [PAYWALL]
Tasmanian devils Smiley and Levi are on their way to Auckland Zoo as part of a program which aims to raise awareness of the plight of the species.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tasmanian-devils-smiley-and-levi-on-way-to-auckland-zoo/news-story/2ca7a1c1e388b15b6d068b501097c5d1

NT’s mining royalty scheme criticised but population plan welcomed
The Northern Territory Government’s 2018-2019 budget draws a mixed reaction from industry stakeholders, with some concerned by cuts to health services while others applauded a strategy to increase population.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-01/nt-budget:-industry-pans-mining-royalty-scheme-but-population/9714606

Record exploration dollars in NT Budget  [PAYWALL]
The Territory Labor Government will invest $26 million in a bid to attract resources exploration over the next four years
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/record-exploration-dollars-in-nt-budget/news-story/216d0fff9c3c0f547c4dffbb1f13562c

People power saves Perth wetland from LandCorp housing development
People power has prevailed after a community group that began “sitting around a garage” succeeded in overturning a development threatening a sensitive Perth wetland
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/people-power-saves-perth-wetland-from-landcorp-housing-development-20180501-p4zcr6.html

Deadly rat poisons could threaten WA’s indigenous communities
A West Australian researcher has warned of potentially deadly consequences for Aboriginal people eating goannas that potentially harbour high concentrations of blood-thinning rat poisons.
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/deadly-rat-poisons-could-threaten-wa-s-indigenous-communities-20180501-p4zclq.html

Park’s missing mulgaras, bashful bilbies and long-lost lizards’ return catered for
Sturt National Park is counting mammals, lizards and building little fences in preparation for the return of seven locally extinct creatures.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-02/sturt-national-park-prepares-return-of-locally-extinct-creatures/9715434

Macquarie signs up to co-develop Japanese floating wind farm
Macquarie unit partners with French company Ideol to develop the first major floating wind farm off Japan.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/macquarie-signs-co-develop-japanese-floating-wind-farm-70385/

Environmental impact of electric vehicles in China? It depends on how they are charged
Electric vehicles play a key role in China’s plan to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions but, with the majority of China’s electricity still coming from coal-fired power plants, many question just how effective this strategy will be. Now, researchers have found that how electric vehicles are charged — whether in the low-energy slow mode or high-energy fast mode — plays a significant role in the reduction of CO2 and the integration of wind energy.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/hjap-eio050118.php

Research team engineers a better plastic-degrading enzyme
A breakthrough in enzyme research led by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the United Kingdom’s University of Portsmouth has led to an improved variant of an enzyme that can break down ubiquitous plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/drel-rte050118.php

Air pollution inequality widens between rich and poor nations
Rich cities have improved, but pollution in poorer countries is still rising and kills 7 million people a year globally, WHO data reveals.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/01/air-pollution-inequality-widens-between-rich-and-poor-nations

Businesses are buying more renewable power than ever before
Companies are buying renewable power at a record pace.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/businesses-are-buying-more-wind-and-solar-power-than-ever-before

This plastic can be recycled over and over and over again
A new kind of polymer is fully recyclable: It breaks down into the exact same molecules that it came from.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plastic-polymer-recyclable

U.S. moves up to second most attractive renewables market after China: Report
The United States moved up to second place in a ranking of the most attractive countries for renewables investment, after China, a report by UK accountancy firm Ernst & Young showed on Tuesday.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-renewables-investment/u-s-moves-up-to-second-most-attractive-renewables-market-after-china-report-idUSKBN1I2352

Instead of more dams, communities turn to reusing wastewater
With the era of dam building coming to an end in much of the developed world, places such as California and Australia are turning to local and less expensive methods to deal with water scarcity, including recycling wastewater, capturing stormwater, and recharging aquifers.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/instead-of-more-dams-communities-turn-to-reusing-wastewater

Greece kicks off $3.6 billion program for solar, wind projects
Greece is preparing to auction 2.6 gigawatts of solar and wind projects to attract investment and beef up the Mediterranean country’s clean-energy credentials.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/greece-kicks-off-3-6-billion-program-for-solar-wind-projects

Fracking chemicals “imbalance” the immune system
Chemicals commonly found in groundwater near fracked oil and gas wells appear to impair the proper functioning of the immune system, according to a lab study released today.
http://www.ehn.org/fracking-chemicals-harm-immune-systems-2564666233.html

Understanding energy blockchain opportunities, risks and value streams
Matthew Grantham
The big opportunity for blockchain in the generation value stream lies in the ability to bring together lots of small amounts of capital.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/understanding-energy-blockchain-opportunities-risks-and-value-streams-99505/

Scientists discover balance of thermal energy and low climate stress drive coral species diversity
Marine scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), University of Warwick, and University of Queensland have identified two key factors that create the ideal conditions needed for high species diversity in coral reefs: thermal energy in the form of warm water and low climate stress.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/wcs-sdb050118.php

American pikas tolerate climate change better than expected
The American pika, a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America. It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change. But is there more to the story?
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/tfg-apt042618.php

First increase in Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins in 20 years
Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River could be making a comeback.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/04/first-increase-in-mekong-river-irrawaddy-dolphins-in-20-years/

Study shows sea turtle nesting beaches threatened by microplastic pollution
Tiny pieces of plastic could be jeopardizing sensitive sea turtle nesting beaches.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/fsu-sss050118.php

Brazil’s lawmakers renew push to weaken environmental rules
Legislation includes proposals to open up the Amazon rainforest to agriculture.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05022-2

‘We are going to self-destruct’: Development plans threaten Malaysian island
Critics say little has been done to upgrade the island’s basic infrastructure, adding to the strain on an already fragile environment.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/04/we-are-going-to-self-destruct-development-plans-threaten-malaysian-island-ecosystem/

Windows 10 released third major update: Here’s what you need to know
There is a new Windows 10 update that will be rolling out worldwide from next week. Here’s everything you need to know about all the new features.
http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/computers/windows-10-released-third-major-update-heres-what-you-need-to-know/news-story/b1a13149306d190edcd6182e80476293

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