TUESDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2018

Deposit schemes reduce drink containers in the ocean by 40%
Qamar Schuyler, Britta Denise Hardesty, and Chris Wilcox, CSIRO
https://theconversation.com/deposit-schemes-reduce-drink-containers-in-the-ocean-by-40-91897

Climate change spells turbulent times ahead for air travel
From rising temperatures preventing take-off to rising seas flooding runways, aviation needs to adapt to changes already grounding flights around the world
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/19/climate-change-spells-turbulent-times-ahead-for-air-travel

Pollen data shows humans reversed natural global cooling
Current temperatures are hotter than at any time in the history of human civilization
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/feb/19/pollen-data-shows-humans-reversed-natural-global-cooling

Fashion shines a light on climate change
From light clothes in medieval times to fur in the 1500s, fashion reveals how the climate has changed.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/19/weatherwatch-fashion-shines-a-light-on-climate-change

Foreign Donations Bill ‘Likely’ to be Struck Down by High Court
The controversial foreign donations bill is “unconstitutional” and there is a “reasonable likelihood” it will be struck down by the High Court, a constitutional law expert has told the parliamentary electoral matters committee.
https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/02/foreign-donations-bill-likely-struck-high-court/

GetUp targets Labor in ‘biggest ever’ week-long blitz over foreign donations law
Email asks members to take daily action until Labor decides its position on bill
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/20/getup-targets-labor-in-biggest-ever-week-long-blitz-over-foreign-donations-law

Echidnas help in fight against international wildlife traffickers
Australia’s echidnas are helping to pin-point the trail of international criminal groups engaged in the illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-19/echidnas-deployed-to-sniff-out-endangered-wildlife-trafficking/9461610

‘Fantasy documents’: recovery plans failing Australia’s endangered species
Expired, unfinished or undeveloped: conservationists call for more transparency and accountability in species management systems
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/fantasy-documents-recovery-plans-failing-australias-endangered-species

More gas needed: Beach
Beach Energy has warned of a looming east coast gas shortage, saying new discoveries will be needed.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/more-gas-needed-to-meet-demand-beach/news-story/b62531f1abd0a1a8048a746ce60c3522

Future looking bright for wind farm operator Infigen Energy
Wind farm operator Infigen Energy is betting on power and renewable generation prices remaining high, as it emerges from a long debt recovery with plans to play a bigger role in replacing coal-fired power plants.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/future-looking-bright-for-wind-farm-operator-infigen-energy/news-story/28c79212e28bfc83bd252dc1c3aac2b4

Elon Musk wants Australia to shake up its power grid
https://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/elon-musk-wants-australia-to-shake-up-its-power-grid-20180216-p4z0m1.html

Why Telstra could make $20 billion play in Australia energy markets
Analysts say Telstra may spend $20 billion to enter Australia’s energy markets as it looks to boost earnings and take on the incumbent utilities. Some smaller retailers have shown the path forward.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-telstra-could-make-20-billion-play-in-australia-energy-markets-20607/

ARENA backs app to help fast-charge EV uptake
ARENA backs research that will model the influence of rooftop solar, home batteries and electricity tariffs on a decision to buy EVs.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/arena-backs-app-help-fast-charge-ev-uptake-40320/

Turnbull slammed for “absolutely pathetic” electric vehicle vision
Greens senator Janet Rice says Turnbull government’s lack of policy and ambition on electric vehicle uptake is seeing Australia get left behind.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/turnbull-slammed-for-absolutely-pathetic-electric-vehicle-vision-93967/

A market no more? Why two state governments rebelled against NEM
Premiers and senior Ministers in two of the six states in the National Electricity Market are now actively campaigning against market outcomes.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/market-no-two-state-governments-rebelled-nem-20484/

Aussie surfers invent rubbish bin for sea
Two Aussie surfers have invented a rubbish bin for the sea and after finding success in Europe, will bring the you-beaut creation Down Under.
http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/aussie-surfers-invent-rubbish-bin-for-sea/news-story/84159eaf6ff085f74c1532ca71c4927f

States, Joyce in the frame for Murray-Darling collapse
Bernard Keane
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is falling apart as states back out, but were they doing much to begin with?
https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/02/19/states-joyce-in-the-frame-for-murray-darling-collapse/

Lights Out! Now who’s to blame?
Richard McIndoe
Blackouts in Victoria illustrate how networks and regulators have failed to change their business models, and failed to keep up with technology.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/lights-now-whos-blame-38129/

Should CBD parking be buried?
Alan Davies
Melbourne City Council wants to ban above-ground parking in new developments but doesn’t have a clue what the wider implications of such a change might be
https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2018/02/19/should-cbd-parking-be-underground/

‘Freedom to reject weddings’
Bakers, florists and photographers should be able to object to servicing same-sex weddings, the Archdiocese of Sydney says.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/protect-freedom-to-reject-weddings-say-catholics/news-story/edaf3b494db4bc4cf38897d9611057be

Transforming a dust bowl into a suburban food haven
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/kitchen-garden-former-dust-bowl-turned-suburban-food-haven-on-show-during-opens-gardens-canberra-20180209-h0vtvi.html

Labor MP says Adani mine would displace jobs and sabotage Paris targets
Mark Butler says development of Galilee basin is not in Australia’s national interests
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/19/labor-mp-says-adani-mine-would-displace-jobs-and-sabotage-paris-targets

Bill Shorten says there’s a ‘role for coal’ and Adani mine just ‘another project’
Labor leader’s comments come during visit to Queensland and follow CFMEU’s warning that ALP’s blocking of Carmichael mine would open divisive debate
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/19/bill-shorten-says-theres-a-role-for-coal-and-adani-mine-just-another-project

The top five suburbs where Brisbane’s graffiti problem is at its worst
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/the-top-five-suburbs-where-brisbane-s-graffiti-problem-is-at-its-worst-20180219-p4z0wb.html

Cyclists say next Brisbane bridge will be a big mistake
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/cyclists-say-next-brisbane-bridge-will-be-a-big-mistake-20180219-p4z0w7.html

QLD to develop world first energy Big Data system to cut power bills
https://www.theage.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/qld-to-develop-world-first-energy-big-data-system-to-cut-power-bills-20180214-p4z0be.html

Conservation group committed to wallaby relocation project
Conservationists are yet to submit an application to relocate dozens of wallabies from Trinity Beach — but they say they are still very much committed to the ambitious project.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/conservation-group-pushing-ahead-with-wallaby-relocation-project-for-trinity-beach/news-story/3fe14b7036f85ea990661137a755887b

Final dam study not due until 2019
A more detailed business case for the Nullinga Dam will not be released by the State Government at least for another 12 months.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/more-detailed-study-into-nullinga-dam-not-expected-until-2019/news-story/da86115611fa5c5ece2f2e48fca2bb86

Australia’s first large scale solar + storage plant connected to grid
Australia’s first large-scale solar and big battery storage installation – the Lakeland project near Cooktown in far north Queensland – officially connected to the grid.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-first-large-scale-solar-storage-plant-connected-to-grid-69396/

Spotlight on environment in SA election
Day four of the South Australian election campaign is set to be dominated by environmental issues.
https://au.news.yahoo.com/sa/a/39225318/spotlight-on-environment-in-sa-election/

Tasmanian Liberals vow to resurrect anti-protest laws to stop workplace ‘invasion’
Since the overturning of anti-protest laws in 2017, environmentalists think they have a “green light to invade workplaces”, the Liberals say — flagging a second attempt at legislation to combat logging opponents.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-19/anti-protest-law-to-be-attempted-again-by-hodgman-liberals/9461252

Cycling speed bumps brought in to force speeding riders to slow down
A trial of speed bumps on shared bike and pedestrian paths will be launched shortly in high-traffic areas in Perth, in response to complaints of cyclists riding dangerously on shared paths.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-19/speed-bumps-on-bike-path-trial-in-perth/9460750

Fungal Enzymes Could Hold Secret to Making Renewable Energy from Wood
An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of York, has discovered a set of enzymes found in fungi that are capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood.
https://www.enn.com/articles/53893-fungal-enzymes-could-hold-secret-to-making-renewable-energy-from-wood

Farming crops with rocks to reduce CO2 and improve global food security
Minute rock grains added to crops dissolve chemically in soils taking up carbon dioxide and release plant-essential nutrients
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uos-fcw021618.php

Tesla’s ‘virtual power plant’ might be second-best to real people power
Hedda Ransan-Cooper, Australian National University; Archie Chapman, University of Sydney; Paul Scott, Australian National University, and Veryan Anastasia Joan Hann, University of Tasmania
Our energy system puts consumers more or less at the mercy of business and regulators. What if the future of energy meant putting the power back in the hands of households?
https://theconversation.com/teslas-virtual-power-plant-might-be-second-best-to-real-people-power-90319

Meet the new ‘renewable superpowers’: nations that boss the materials used for wind and solar
Andrew Barron, Swansea University
The fossil fuel era won’t last forever. And a new set of countries will find their reserves of lithium, copper and rare earth metals are in high demand.
https://theconversation.com/meet-the-new-renewable-superpowers-nations-that-boss-the-materials-used-for-wind-and-solar-91680

Nature play helping children run wild
Judy Barouch
In the era of helicopter parenting, it’s heartening that there are moves afoot to offer children a more ‘‘hummingbird’’ experience through unstructured nature
play.
https://www.theage.com.au/business/careers/nature-play-helping-children-run-wild-20180218-p4z0rf.html

Pushing the Limit: How demand flexibility can grow the market for renewable energy
Cara Goldenberg & Mark Dyson
As the share of U.S. electricity generated from coal plants continues its steady decline, the question remains as to what will ultimately replace this resource in meeting U.S. electricity demand.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/pushing-limit-demand-flexibility-can-grow-market-renewable-energy-58365/

World’s most controversial fruit depends on giant bats for pollination
While we debate whether the durian is the best or worst food on the planet, it turns out this wonderful oddity requires healthy populations of flying fox for survival
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2018/feb/19/durian-flying-fox-bats-pollination-pollinators-deforestation-hunting-conservation

Deforestation in the Tropics
Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have adapted a method from physics to mathematically describe the fragmentation of tropical forests.
https://www.enn.com/articles/53898-deforestation-in-the-tropics

Water levels in some of Mt Kenya’s key rivers have decreased significantly over the past few years
Rapidly declining water levels threaten the livelihood of some two million Kenyans that depend on the rivers.
https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001270225/water-levels-in-some-of-mt-kenya-s-key-rivers-have-decreased-significantly-over-the-past-few-years

With no sharks to fear, fish forgo defensive gear
Shark fishing on a coral reef drives evolutionary changes in fish.
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/with-no-sharks-to-fear-fish-forgo-defensive-gear/

Queen conch dying out in the Bahamas despite marine parks
It’s hard to adequately describe the importance of conch to the Bahamas. Conchs are ingrained in the culture; there are conch festivals, conch homecomings and conch-cracking competitions.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/02/queen-conch-dying-out-in-the-bahamas-despite-marine-parks/

More than? 70 percent of deep-sea fish have ingested plastic: Study
Irish-based researchers confirm plastic pollution is reaching deep into Atlantic Ocean
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/over-70-of-deep-sea-fish-have-ingested-plastic-study-finds-1.3396891

Biodiversity loss raises risk of ‘extinction cascades’    
New research shows that the loss of biodiversity can increase the risk of “extinction cascades”, where an initial species loss leads to a domino effect of further extinctions.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoe-blr021618.php

Global grazing lands increasingly vulnerable to a changing climate
Maps of worldwide precipitation trends show the impact on pasture — and people
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uom-ggl021618.php

End Great Lakes restoration rollercoaster
The rollercoaster ride continues, maddeningly, for funding for a federal program that actually has been making good progress in cleaning up the St. Louis River and other polluted “areas of concern” around the Great Lakes.
https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/editorials/4405589-our-view-end-great-lakes-restoration-rollercoaster