Friday 13 October 2017

This is what our cities need to do to be truly liveable for all
Julianna Rozek, RMIT University and Billie Giles-Corti,RMIT University
The challenge of creating liveable communities across Australia’s capital cities comes down to seven key factors. And assessed on this basis, parts of our cities don’t fare so well.
https://theconversation.com/this-is-what-our-cities-need-to-do-to-be-truly-liveable-for-all-83967

Draughty homes targeted in UK climate change masterplan
Ministers publish long-delayed blueprint for hitting target of cutting emissions by 57% in next 15 years
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/12/uk-puts-energy-efficiency-at-heart-of-climate-change-strategy

Amid wreckage of hurricane-devastated Caribbean, leaders see a climate change opening.
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wants to transform his country into the “world’s first climate-resistant nation in the climate change era.” And he wants the United Nations at his side on the front lines.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/1251925125133586822

Study Casts Doubt on Warming Implications of Brown Carbon Aerosol from Wildfires
As devastating wildfires continue to rage in the western U.S. and Canada, a team of environmental engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that light-absorbing organic particulate matter, also known as brown carbon aerosol, in wildfire smoke loses its ability to absorb sunlight the longer it remains in the atmosphere.
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/52846

Study Reveals New Threat to the Ozone Layer
“Ozone depletion is a well-known phenomenon and, thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol, is widely perceived as a problem solved,” says University of East Anglia’s David Oram. But an international team of researchers, led by Oram, has now found an unexpected, growing danger to the ozone layer from substances not regulated by the treaty.
http://www.enn.com/sci-tech/article/52835

Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uob-rti101217.php

Climate change may accelerate infectious disease outbreaks
Aside from inflicting devastating natural disasters on often vulnerable communities, climate change can also spur outbreaks of infectious diseases like Zika , malaria and dengue fever, according to a new study by researchers at the University of  Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/52840

Tackling climate change could bring North and South Korea closer and help stabilise the region
Hun Park, Yonsei University
Green détente options could help South Korea ease the diplomatic tensions in the region.
https://theconversation.com/tackling-climate-change-could-bring-north-and-south-korea-closer-and-help-stabilise-the-region-82046

Satellites are giving us a commanding view of Earth’s carbon cycle
Pep Canadell, CSIRO; Alex Held, CSIRO; Cathy Trudinger, CSIRO; Peter Rayner, University of Melbourne, and Vanessa Haverd, CSIRO
New data from a NASA satellite show in unprecedented detail the flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Future satellites should even be able to detect the signatures of individual power stations.
https://theconversation.com/satellites-are-giving-us-a-commanding-view-of-earths-carbon-cycle-85539

You say tomato, retailers say waste: research finds produce problem
Researcher reveals up to 86.7% of edible tomatoes are thrown away, underlining Australia’s costly food waste culture
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/13/you-say-tomato-retailers-say-waste-research-finds-produce-problem

What, if anything, does ‘base load’ power actually mean?
Researchers say the future of Australia’s energy market is dynamic and that base load power is a thing of the past.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-10-12/renewable-energy-baseload-power/9033336

Politics be damned – consumers jump aboard the energy revolution
Australian energy politics might have reached peak stupid, but Australia’s energy revolution – led by innovators and incumbents alike, all focused on delivering smarter, cheaper power – is just hitting its stride. And consumers are getting into it.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/politics-be-damned-consumers-jump-aboard-the-energy-revolution-89876/

Tony Abbott needs to explain U-turn on climate change, Julie Bishop says
Foreign affairs minister tells ABC’s 7.30 program the former PM should be asked why his views now differ to those as prime minister
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/12/tony-abbott-needs-to-explain-u-turn-on-climate-change-julie-bishop-says

Path cleared for release of Turnbull’s reliable energy package
The Turnbull government is preparing to unveil its long-awaited energy package as soon as next week.
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4985299/path-cleared-for-release-of-turnbulls-reliable-energy-package/?cs=7

Why electric cars have hit a dead end in Australia
http://www.theage.com.au/national/why-electric-cars-have-hit-a-dead-end-in-australia-20171012-gyzs5j.html

Energy reserve short of target
The Australian Energy Market Operator is racing to secure 800MW of back-up ­capacity for the national power market.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/energy-reserve-capacity-well-short-of-market-operators-target/news-story/84dd456da716fcaacd821bd768c3c092

Aussies warm to switching off power
Four out of five Australians are warming to the idea of turning off household appliances during peak times for a cash incentive.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/australians-warming-to-request-to-turn-down-power-to-avoid-blackouts/news-story/e2e37803b3ec6fc5eb4a6a9d108e118c

Malcolm Turnbull is back at square one on energy and climate
Laura Tingle
http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/laura-tingle/whats-in-a-name-a-cet-by-any-other-name-would-smell-so-sweet-20171012-gyzppg

Turnbull close to finalising energy package but can he sell it?
Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra
Some Coalition MPs are worried the government is in the energy space at all, rather than leaving it as a state matter. One says: “We’ve managed to take ownership of the problem – but can we solve it?”
https://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-turnbull-close-to-finalising-energy-package-but-can-he-sell-it-85612

Smart grid, dumb media: Conservatives hit peak stupid over demand response
Giles Parkinson
So much for a smart grid. Or a cheaper one. The technology troglodytes on conservative media have taken less than 24 hours to have a collective meltdown over “demand response” – a new initiative to encourage consumers, particularly industry, to shift their loads to help manage demand peaks and moderate prices.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/smart-grid-dumb-media-conservatives-hit-peak-stupid-over-demand-response-30092/

Howard and Abbott are delusional, self-indulgent, climate-denying throwbacks
Guy Rundle
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/10/12/rundle-howard-and-abbott-are-delusional-self-indulgent-climate-denying-throwbacks/

Focus on terror threats a convenient distraction from climate change
Waleed Aly
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/focus-on-terror-threats-a-convenient-distraction-from-climate-change-20171011-gyzayh.html

This is what our cities need to do to be truly liveable for all
Julianna Rozek, RMIT University and Billie Giles-Corti,RMIT University
The challenge of creating liveable communities across Australia’s capital cities comes down to seven key factors. And assessed on this basis, parts of our cities don’t fare so well.
https://theconversation.com/this-is-what-our-cities-need-to-do-to-be-truly-liveable-for-all-83967

Australia’s species need an independent champion
Euan Ritchie et al
Australia’s species, like this green python, are remarkable and need far better protection.
https://theconversation.com/australias-species-need-an-independent-champion-83580

Don’t ignore the mobility scooter. It may just be the future of transport
Thomas Birtchnell et al
According to the mobility scooter usage and safety survey report in 2012, 13 in 1,000 Australian adults use them – that’s about 231,000 people.
https://theconversation.com/dont-ignore-the-mobility-scooter-it-may-just-be-the-future-of-transport-85170

All power to farmers
VICTORIAN farmers  have been urged to complete an Agriculture Victoria energy survey to help the State Government develop support programs.
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/farmers-urged-to-complete-agriculture-victoria-energy-survey/news-story/270ff9276425e173eb970518f97bf3b0

Victoria attracts another wind farm proposal
Australian outfit Synergy Wind has proposed building a 34 turbine wind farm in Victoria’s south-east.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-attracts-another-wind-farm-proposal-46334/

Forest plan fires debate
THE GREAT Forest National Park would ban native logging in Victoria’s Central Highlands, help conserve more than 30 threatened species, create more than 700 jobs and add more than $70 million to the local economy each year, one the park’s founding architects
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/great-forest-national-park-plan-for-central-highlands-fires-debate/news-story/dab3f73e460f9bd2c626195a8e3a7fb3

Traffic relief for Melbourne drivers coming by end of month
http://www.theage.com.au/business/widening-of-melbournes-citylink-toll-road-to-open-three-months-early-20171011-gyz9cs.html

Lakes Oil says it can get Victorian gas flowing within 18 months
http://www.theage.com.au/business/markets/lakes-oil-says-it-can-get-victorian-gas-flowing-within-18-months-20171012-gyzbjr.html

Andrews digs in as report damns gas stance
Victorians would need to find 25 times more gas than it currently produces under the Andrews Government’s plan to rapidly increase renewable energy generation.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/victorians-would-need-to-find-25-times-more-gas-under-andrews-renewable-energy-plan/news-story/eae7d7e9ca864b1503e1fabe23bb8dfb

Farmers now have muscle
Ed Gannon
THE squabble over gas reserves shows that agriculture now has a powerful voice in the debate
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/gas-squabble-shows-that-farmers-now-have-muscle/news-story/9ce0fe47b79933f6ac2774508437d576

Koalas are safe, Forestry says, amid claims habitat ‘smashed to ground’
Koala song meters show populations are ‘stable’, Forestry says, despite environmental groups claiming koala habitats are being decimated.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-12/tensions-between-forestry-and-koala-habitats-in-nsw/9028502

The road ‘monstrosity’ no-one wants to build
The NSW Government is forced back to the drawing board for a critical part of its $16.8 billion WestConnex road project, knocking back the only bid it received to build the M4-M5 link in Sydney’s inner-west.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-12/westconnex-nsw-government-rejects-only-bid-for-m4-m5-interchange/9042082

Laws pass to keep Springvale coal mine open
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/laws-pass-to-keep-springvale-coal-mine-open-as-labor-raises-fears-over-sydneys-water-20171012-gyzc82.html

Coal demand solid: Whitehaven
Whitehaven Coal chief Paul Flynn has given a strong outlook for the price of thermal coal.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/whitehaven-upbeat-on-coal-prices-thanks-to-china-taiwan-japan-demand/news-story/f22701fb68b9e12d6413698f9c60a5a7

Miners dig deep in new Hunter Valley coal fight
A $700 million plan to build an underground coal operation at the controversial open-cut Drayton South site is being pushed just months after horse stud owners celebrated killing off any new mining in the Hunter Valley area.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/hunter-valley-coal-mining-miners-dig-in-deep-in-new-fight/news-story/9e3c2dfd24990b96ace0bd9d02e53fca

Finding Nemo? We may be losing him, says climate study
Clownfish under threat from warming ocean waters, which are damaging the anemones that serve as its home
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/12/finding-nemo-losing-climate-study-clownfish

Qld renewables tender swamped by 115 projects, 6,000MW of storage
Queensland renewables and storage tender attracts proposals amounting to 9,000MW of wind, solar and biomass, and 6000MW of storage.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/qld-renewables-tender-swamped-115-projects-6000mw-storage-52587/

Cut the hysteria over land clearing
Grant Maudsley
FARMERS need to manage vegetation on their land to sustainably produce food for dinner tables across the world, yet year on year, they are attacked over how we produce this food.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-land-clearing-false-claims-frustrate-farmers/news-story/9b2ee4cb18713bcca2c2244f9d5b11cd

Fury over second Bight oil drilling pullout
CHEVRON Australia’s decision to dump its half a billion dollar plan to drill for oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight has drawn fire from the State Government.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/chevron-australia-to-dump-its-half-a-billion-dollar-great-australian-bight-drilling-plan/news-story/2588a519983bea2aa3a052bc19781f4e

Tarnanthi Festival shines light on Maralinga bomb blasts
The legacy of the Maralinga atomic bomb tests continues to resonate on the APY Lands, where locals have turned to art to express their feelings.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-13/tarnanthi-festival-shines-light-on-maralinga-bomb-blasts/9045144

Solar park to drive plastic heliostat development
A field trial to develop highly efficient solar energy heliostats made from plastic has opened in South Australia.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-park-drive-plastic-heliostat-development-48108/

Tasmania conservation deal a legacy from the stubborn cattleman of King’s Run
For decades Geoff King protected Indigenous heritage sites. Four years after his death, the property is in their hands
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/13/tasmania-conservation-deal-a-legacy-from-the-stubborn-cattleman-of-kings-run

Rare wallabies hop back into WA protected by a feral cat-proof fence
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/rare-wallabies-hop-back-into-wa-protected-by-a-feral-catproof-fence-20171012-gyzlmf.html

Supermarkets must stop using plastic packaging, says former Asda boss
Consumers do not want plastic-polluted oceans so supermarkets and packaging industry have to work together, says Andy Clarke
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/12/supermarkets-stop-using-plastic-packaging-former-asda-boss-andy-clarke

Bloomberg’s charity donates $64 million to ‘war on coal.’
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity gave another $64 million to a campaign that aims to slash the number of U.S. coal-fired plants by two thirds by 2020, he said on Wednesday.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-4566925153911793604

Enzymes at Work: Breaking Down Stubborn Cellulose for Biofuels
Researchers have observed enzymes breaking down cellulose to aid the production …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171012103710.htm

Byproducts from biofuel focus of PNNL and WSU partnership
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a continuous thermo-chemical process that produces useful biocrude from algae. The process takes just minutes and PNNL is working with a company which has licensed the technology to build a pilot plant using the technology.
http://www.enn.com/energy/article/52845

Researchers make headway in desalination technology
Engineers at the University of Illinois have taken a step forward in developing a saltwater desalination process that is potentially cheaper than reverse osmosis and borrows from battery technology.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uoia-rmh101217.php

Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014
The biggest source of harm was particulate matter from domestic stoves, but nitrogen dioxide from cars is also linked to many premature deaths
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2150214-air-pollution-blamed-for-500000-early-deaths-in-europe-in-2014/

New airplane biofuels plan would ‘destroy rainforests’, warn campaigners
Plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes would lead to clearing of rainforests to produce ‘vast’ amount of necessary crops
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/12/new-airplane-biofuels-plan-would-destroy-rainforests-warn-campaigners

Farm animals can eat insects and algae to prevent deforestation
WWF says alternatives to industrially farmed animal feed must be developed to stop biodiversity loss
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/05/farm-animals-can-eat-insects-algae-save-forests-water-energy

Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool
In a unique study of tropical tree roots at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute published in PLOS ONE, roots accounted for almost 30 percent of the total biomass of young trees. The authors hope that future estimates of carbon storage and water-use by tropical forests will include information on root biomass and architecture.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/stri-ttr101217.php

These dogs are helping to solve environmental problems.
Around the world, canine conservationists are helping humans and wildlife co-exist.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/1195107355338417154

Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forests.
Scientists warn of a dangerous synergy: forest degradation has turned the Amazon from carbon sink to carbon source; while globally, humanity’s carbon emissions are worsening drought and fires.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4566925153911793590

Researchers explore ways to remove antibiotics polluting lakes and rivers
Pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, are an increasingly common pollutant in water systems, said Catherine Hui Niu, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/52830

Even modest oil exposure can harm coastal and marine birds
In a recent Environmental Toxicology and Chemistrystudy that examined blood samples from birds present in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, even birds with small amounts of oil present on their feathers experienced problems related to their red blood cells.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/w-emo101217.php

Costello’s super grenade lob at banks, unions
Peter Costello says billions of dollars in workers’ contributions should ­be invested by government not by banks and unions.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/costello-wants-govt-to-run-workers-super/news-story/7a6be9151acee3b366596719b42a8ace