TUESDAY 22 MAY 2018

Hurricanes: A bit stronger, a bit slower, and a lot wetter in a warmer climate
Scientists have published a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would change if they instead formed near the end of this century. While each storm’s transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower moving, and a lot wetter.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/ncfa-hab052118.php

Worried About Climate Change? Investing in Reproductive Health Must Be Part of the Solution
Chris Turner
By investing in family planning we can transform lives, improve health and economic outcomes, and help reduce our impact on the climate, but right now family planning is scarcely part of the conversation
https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/05/worried-climate-change-investing-reproductive-health-must-part-solution/

The ATA (Alternative Technology Association) is looking for Victorian households to participate in case studies that show the different ways households can use a Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard assessment. These assessments are available for a fee from accredited assessors, but a small number of homes who are selected will receive a free, expanded assessment that demonstrates real world applications of energy efficiency in homes and provides a roadmap of improvements that you can undertake to make your home more energy efficient, or to demonstrate the improvements realised from upgrades you have already made.
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If you are interested in applying you first need to fill out an online survey so we can determine your housing type and if you are eligible.We’re looking for a range of participants and housing types, including:

  • householders who own a home that’s been renovated or retrofitted to be more energy efficient
  • householders who own a home that they plan to make more energy efficient and who want to learn more about which measures will make the most difference to their energy use
  • modest homes and retrofits, modern family homes, apartments and units
  • tenants in rental properties
  • landlords who would like a Scorecard assessment of their investment property (with tenant permission)
  • families, single-occupants, seniors, first home buyers, apartment dwellers in a variety of locations in regional Victoria and inner and outer suburban Melbourne

All participating households must be willing to participate in the case studies, which may involve providing an interview, quotations, featuring in a short video or permitting photos for publication. All participating households must also agree to the assessments and relevant case studies, photos and videos being published in Victorian Government, ATA and other publications.
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How to apply
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Please tell us about your home via this online survey. Submissions close Monday May 28 at 5pm. Please contact us via scorecard@ata.org.au with any questions.
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More information
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Victorian Residential Energy Efficiency Scorecard website: www.victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/scorecard
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The ReNew magazine article Scoring Your Home: Energy Efficiency Scorecards describes a Scorecard assessment carried out during the program’s trial period. Please note that finished case studies will differ in style to this article: www.renew.org.au/articles/scoring-your-home-energy-efficiency-scorecards/

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Yes, EVs are green and global warming is raising sea levels
Dana Nuccitelli
It’s not a coincidence that arguments to the contrary are made by individuals whose paychecks and campaign donations are supplied by the fossil fuel industry.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/may/21/yes-evs-are-green-and-global-warming-is-raising-sea-levels

Why climate induced disasters don’t have to be inevitable
Andrew mafundo
Climate scientists as well as the Government’s own advisers have warned that climate change is set to greatly worsen the threat of flooding in the future.
https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1478134/climate-induced-disasters-inevitable

AGL’s Liddell grip sparks price warning [PAYWALL]
Electricity retailers are on notice to pass on sharp falls in the wholesale price of electricity after AGL Energy rejected the federal government’s preferred plan to inject more competition into the market by selling its Liddell power station to rival Alinta.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/agls-liddell-grip-sparks-price-warning/news-story/a4a08cf1c065d66bd066813ca0a1b9bd

Abbott blasts ‘anti-coal’ chiefs  [PAYWALL]
Tony Abbott has accusing top energy bureaucrats of being ‘biased against coal’.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/tony-abbott-blasts-turnbulls-anticoal-energy-chiefs/news-story/e104c8c0dba18d09d09a1d57cf650ed5

Birds are dropping dead off Australia’s coast, and it’s all our fault
Confronting new images reveal the cost of Australia’s obsession with plastic, with appalled scientists recovering hundreds of fragments from the stomachs of birds.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/birds-are-dropping-dead-off-australia-s-coast-and-it-s-all-our-fault-20180518-p4zg4t.html

Tough times for clean green cities  [PAYWALL]
Australia’s cities are ‘not well equipped’ to face the remainder of the century, a London professor says.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/tough-times-tipped-for-our-clean-green-cities/news-story/f233626c1b05412b47215fb2aea85c86

Increased agricultural water use in 2016-17
Australian farmers increased their water use in 2016-17, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/4618.0Media%20Release12016-17?OpenDocument

Absurdity of energy, climate plans  [PAYWALL]
Australian editorial
Governments should not interfere in market but it is too late.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/liddell-shows-absurdity-of-energy-and-climate-plans/news-story/b2807a0e6930e98b7917aab0f2e46ef0

ACCC is Coalition’s energy plan B  [PAYWALL]
Dennis Shanahan
The Coalition is placing its faith in the competition watchdog to force producers to provide cheap gas.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/dennis-shanahan/accc-is-coalitions-energy-plan-b/news-story/f9aa1c31ca85955ad5cc53861b49df9a

AGL follows the money trail  [PAYWALL]
Judith Sloan
It’s hardly news that AGL would put its commercial interests before the interests of the nation.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/judith-sloan/agl-follows-the-money-trail-at-everyones-expense/news-story/83ffbe2d83e6eeb9fe16a7e1aeac74cb

We have no idea how much microplastic is in Australia’s soil (but it could be a lot)
Alisa Bryce et al
Ocean plastic has made a big splash, but there may be even more microplastic on land. The problem is that we have no idea exactly how much is in Australian soil, where it is, and what it’s doing.
https://theconversation.com/we-have-no-idea-how-much-microplastic-is-in-australias-soil-but-it-could-be-a-lot-96858

Australia’s green battery revolution will be a long time coming  [PAYWALL]
Chris Woods
The government is pulling out the stops to try and slow the effectiveness of energy storage. But change will come.
https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/05/21/australias-battery-revolution-will-be-a-long-time-coming/

Local industries probed as EPA assesses foam pollution
Environmental experts will start probing hundreds of local industrial businesses which could be linked to the leak of a chemical which turned a Melbourne creek into a river of white foam.
https://www.theage.com.au/melbourne-news/local-industries-probed-as-epa-assesses-foam-pollution-20180521-p4zgl5.html

AGL knocks back unsolicited Alinta offer for Liddell coal plan
The Turnbull Government has been pressuring AGL to keep the ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant open beyond its scheduled closure date of 2022, or sell the facility.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-21/agl-knocks-back-offer-for-liddell-coal-plant/9782252

Special exemption allows Liddell to pollute almost double other plants
The Liddell coal-fired power station was granted a special exemption allowing it to pump out toxic nitrous oxides at almost twice the rate allowed similarly aged plants, documents obtained under freedom of information show.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/special-exemption-allows-liddell-to-pollute-almost-double-other-plants-20180517-p4zfzb.html

AGL was never going to do anything but reject Alinta offer
Stephen Bartholomeusz
There was never a realistic prospect that AGL Energy would do anything other than reject Alinta Energy’s $250 million offer for its ageing Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/agl-was-never-going-to-do-anything-but-reject-alinta-offer-20180521-p4zgin.html

Alinta’s offer to buy Liddell was never serious and everyone knew it
Peter Hannam
AGL’s chairman Graeme Hunt phoned Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to tell him about the energy company’s rejection of Alinta’s bid.
https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/alinta-s-offer-to-buy-liddell-was-never-serious-and-everyone-knew-it-20180521-p4zght.html

The relentless rise of the entitled motorist
Jenna Price
Marked pedestrian crossings should be the safest place on earth for a pedestrian to walk.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/the-relentless-rise-of-the-entitled-motorist-20180521-h10ccu.html

NSW’s no-cull brumby bill will consign feral horses to an even crueller fate
Don Driscoll, Deakin University
Research suggests there is no “safe number” of brumbies that will avoid harm to mountain ecosystems.
https://theconversation.com/nsws-no-cull-brumby-bill-will-consign-feral-horses-to-an-even-crueller-fate-96905

Can Canberrans really live without fossil fuels?
Frank Jotzo, Penny Sackett & Will Steffen
The ACT government has announced new greenhouse gas emissions targets for the territory. The targets are for full carbon neutrality by 2045, and a rapid rate of decarbonisation over the coming three decades, with targets of 40 per cent reduction in 2020 (the existing target and on course to be met), 50 to 60 per cent reduction in 2025, 65 to 75 per cent reduction by 2030, and 90 to 95 per cent reduction by 2040, all compared to the ACT’s emissions in 1990.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/act/can-canberrans-really-live-without-fossil-fuels-20180520-p4zgen.html

No tender process for $444m Great Barrier Reef grant, Senate hearing told
Department says it approached the non-profit group just weeks before the budget and had still not signed an agreement
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/no-tender-process-for-444m-great-barrier-reef-grant-senate-hearing-told

Corporate figures to help decide Great Barrier Reef priorities under $444m grant
The chair of the charity given given funding to fix the reef says corporate interest will help decide the science strategy and funding priorities.
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/corporate-figures-to-help-decide-great-barrier-reef-priorities-under-444m-grant-20180521-p4zgkb.html

Native geckos with tattoos and GPS backpacks thriving against the odds on cattle station
Tree-dwelling lizards are helping scientists investigate the impact of cattle grazing on biodiversity in northern Queensland — in a project where farmers and ecologists work side by side.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-05-21/native-geckos-with-tattoos-and-gps-thriving-on-cattle-station/9776670

Premier gives protesters the slip  [PAYWALL]
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has dodged irate farmers as she encountered a second protest over tree clearing laws this month.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/tree-clearing-protesters-disappointed-as-premier-gives-them-slip/news-story/899802483b04c575e56a346469296a7a

Stopping Adani mine would pose no ‘sovereign risk’ to Australia, says economist Saul Eslake
Stopping the Adani coal mine would pose no “sovereign risk” to Australia, and politicians on both sides have willingly misled people into thinking otherwise, says respected economist Saul Eslake.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/stopping-adani-mine-would-pose-no-sovereign-risk-to-australia-says-economist-saul-eslake-20180520-p4zgea.html

Cattle station taken to court over 500-hectare land clearance on Indigenous site
The owner of a Cape York cattle station is accused of clearing 500 hectares of land, including a potential burial site, without properly consulting with the traditional owners of the area.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/cattle-station-taken-to-court-over-500-hectare-land-clearance/9784476

Neoen wins approval for huge wind and battery plant near Cairns
French renewable energy developer Neoen has won approval for another major wind farm and battery storage project, this time near Cairns in far north Queensland.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/neoen-wins-approval-for-huge-wind-and-battery-plant-near-cairns-61770/

Neoen wins council approval for 500MW solar farm and storage
French renewable energy developer Neoen has received council planning approval for a solar farm of up to 500MW, along with battery storage, in south west Queensland.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/neoen-wins-council-approval-for-500mw-solar-farm-and-storage-40750/

Adelaide jail project giving women skills and a bit of luxury
A unique recycling project is helping female prisoners get back on their feet.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-21/program-for-women-in-prison/9775858

No threat to homes, lives after South West bushfire downgraded
A watch and act alert was issued on Monday afternoon for residents around the Shire of Capel.
https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/homes-and-lives-under-threat-as-out-of-control-fire-burns-near-capel-20180521-p4zgmr.html

Autism is not linked to eating fish in pregnacy
A major study examining the fish-eating habits of pregnant women has found that they are not linked to autism or autistic traits in their children. Scientists at the University of Bristol looked at the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism using evidence from nearly 4,500 women who took part in the Children of the ’90s study.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uob-ain052118.php

Advanced biofuels can be produced extremely efficiently, confirms industrial demonstration
Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have developed new technologies that can be used to convert industrial plants to produce fossil-free heat, electricity, fuel, chemicals and materials. The technical potential is enormous — using only Sweden’s currently existing power plants, renewable fuels equivalent to 10 percent of the world’s aviation fuel could be produced.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/cuot-abc052118.php

Mediterranean Diet May Blunt Air Pollution’s Ill Health Effects
Eating a Mediterranean diet may protect people from some of the harm of long-term exposure to air pollution, and reduce their risk of dying from heart attacks, stroke and other causes of death, …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180521131837.htm

Don’t wait for a unicorn: Investing in low-carbon tech now will save money
Waiting for a ‘unicorn technology’ that provides green energy at low cost could be more expensive than adopting low-carbon energy technologies now.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/icl-dwf051818.php

Feeding the world of the future: is hydroponics the answer?
Earth’s population is soaring and climate change threatens to make farming in many regions even tougher. Growing plants without soil could be a solution.
http://www.dw.com/en/feeding-the-world-of-the-future-is-hydroponics-the-answer/g-43838731

How zero-waste people make only a jar of trash a year
The growing zero-waste community is radically slashing their waste output, while living more fulfilling lives.
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/zero-waste-families-plastic-culture/

Solar and wind power are growing. Grid managers need to get ready
The rise in renewable energy will scramble the decision making of grid managers.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/5/18/17359730/wind-solar-power-grid-electricity-managers

Mayor Khan out to make London greenest city in the world?
Joshua S Hill London Mayor presented his Environment Strategy last week, setting out his vision to make it the greenest city in the world.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/mayor-khan-make-london-greenest-city-world%e2%80%a8-19643/

Jakarta’s water woes
Febriana Firdaus
A court victory has rewarded civil society efforts to end water privatization in the Indonesian capital but many questions remain unanswered.
https://newint.org/features/2018/05/21/ending-jakartas-water-woes

California leads way with cleaner grid, lower bills
David Leitch
Data from California Public Utilities Commission clearly shows that energy efficiency and decarbonisation don’t have to mean higher consumer costs. You pay more, use less, and end up better off.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/know-nem-california-leads-way-cleaner-grid-lower-bills-71176/

Human race just 0.01% of all life but has destroyed over 80% of wild mammals – study
Groundbreaking assessment of all life on Earth reveals humanity’s surprisingly tiny part in it as well as our disproportionate impact
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study

Ancient seabed sediment analysed in quest to fathom toxic algal blooms
Scientists break new ground in their quest for answers about harmful algal blooms by extracting a thousand-year-old sediment core that could help predict the future.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/breakthrough-science-on-algal-blooms/9784200

Brazil has the tools to end Amazon deforestation now: report
A coalition of environmental analysts has a practical plan to end deforestation in the Amazon, and to boost agribusiness production and profit across the region. It starts by everyone sitting down at a table.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/brazil-has-the-tools-to-end-amazon-deforestation-now-report/

Are humans causing cancer in wild animals?
As humans, we know that some of our activities can cause cancer to develop in our bodies. Smoking, poor diets, pollution, chemicals used as additives in food and personal hygiene products, and even too much sun can contribute to an increased risk of cancer. But, are human activities also causing cancer in wild animals? Researchers from ASU’s School of Life Sciences think so and are urgently calling for research into this topic.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/asu-ahc052118.php

Blinded by the light pollution
We mapped light pollution from oil and gas fields and found they outshine American cities – and that’s bad news for birds.
http://therevelator.org/blinded-light-pollution/

Warming waters hurt Zanzibar’s seaweed. But women farmers have a plan
Climate change is threatening Zanzibar’s seaweed industry, and the gains that it has given farmers, who are mostly women: not just income, but newfound authority. Now they’re fighting back, collaborating with researchers to protect their crops
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2018/0521/Warming-waters-hurt-Zanzibar-s-seaweed.-But-women-farmers-have-a-plan

Researchers say sea-level report was censored. Here it is
A high-profile case of alleged scientific censorship ended Friday when the National Park Service published a long-delayed report outlining how rising seas could damage parks across the country.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060082165

Why seed conservation and genebanks are crucial for maintaining biodiversity
Rajani Kumar
With climate change threatening crop diversity, genebanks take on the crucial role of being the source of biological genetic diversity.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180518084529-4dvbt/

The Twelfth Commandment …
Ted Mead
Seriously though, the entire human race is in dire need for a universal Twelfth Commandment such as – ‘Though shalt not defile the earth and all life upon it’
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/the-twelfth-commandment-/

Take your time: chronically late people live longer
If, like me, you’re punctual to a fault (read: 15 minutes early to everything) then here’s some news to brighten up your afternoon: basically we’re going to die earlier and be less successful than our tardy mates.
http://www.essentialkids.com.au/health/health-wellbeing/take-your-time-chronically-late-people-live-longer-20180518-h108ac#ixzz5GAkRLCYI