FRIDAY 4 MAY 2018

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

Temperature swings to hit poor countries hardest
Temperature fluctuations that are amplified by climate change will hit the world’s poorest countries hardest, new research suggests.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uoe-tst050318.php

Earth’s atmosphere just crossed another troubling climate change threshold
Carbon dioxide concentrations have now passed 410 parts per million, sustained over a month.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/05/03/earths-atmosphere-just-crossed-another-troubling-climate-change-threshold/?utm_source=rss_energy-environment&utm_term=.343412e431ac

Climate talks: The power of the world’s least powerful countries
Ahead of COP24, UN climate talks have started in Bonn, Germany. Stakeholders from around the world will make their voices heard. But how important are those of the world’s least developed countries?
http://www.dw.com/en/climate-talks-the-power-of-the-worlds-least-powerful-countries/a-43616168

UN forest accounting loophole allows CO2 underreporting by EU, UK, US
Scientists say burning woody biomass is not carbon neutral, yet the United Nations IPCC appears to be ignoring its own guidelines, so substantial emissions aren’t getting counted. But nature knows.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/un-forest-accounting-loophole-allows-co2-underreporting-by-eu-uk-us/

If climate decides one big race this year, this could be it
With its historic stone houses and sprawling lawns, this slice of suburban Philadelphia hardly seems as if it would be at the center of the Trump resistance.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060080717

Budget ‘calamity’ to slash 60 jobs from division that watches over threatened species
A third of the people responsible for monitoring Australia’s threatened species will lose their jobs in funding cuts to the federal Department of Environment, meaning some animals could become extinct without anyone noticing.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-04/environment-department-to-lose-60-jobs-key-to-threatened-species/9722560

Senate vote next week a make or break time for Murray-Darling Basin Plan
Murray-Darling Basin Authority urges senators not to make life harder for irrigation communities when they consider a controversial motion next week.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-03/senate-vote-a-make-or-break-time-for-murray-darling-basin-plan/9723126

Labor promises national rail plan
Labor will create a National Rail Plan to give local manufacturers a better chance at government contracts if it wins the next election.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/05/04/00/02/labor-promises-national-rail-plan

Only half of Australia’s energy resources economically viable: report
A study has found only 3.52 million petajoules of the nation’s total demonstrated resources of 6.28 million petajoules are potentially viable for development.
https://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/only-half-of-australia-s-energy-resources-economically-viable-report-20180502-p4zcxc.html

Rare allies back a Big Australia  [PAYWALL]
Big business and the ACTU join forces in an unprecedented compact calling on government to resist calls for migration to be cut.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/business-and-unions-in-rare-alliance-for-big-australia/news-story/020c472c03fc13762dc14ecc30e53180

Premier says states must get say on population  [PAYWALL]
States must have a say on migration intake because they’re on the “front line” of “growing pressures on local services and infrastructure”, said Premier Gladys Berejik­lian.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/population-growth-about-right-but-communities-feeling-pressures-berejiklian/news-story/735d930ac4ff593d791f96aba258e323

Jaguar warns Australia it trailing badly on electric vehicles
Jaguar Land Rover calls on Turnbull government to provide “unified and clear road ahead” to drive EV uptake, or risk another energy crisis.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/jaguar-warns-australia-trailing-badly-electric-vehicles-38496/

Plan to kill carp with herpes could prove as foolish as the cane toad
Simon Chapman
The idea that there are reserve Dad’s Armies of citizens ready to retrieve many tonnes of decomposing fish smelling off-the-scale like the gates of Hades is beyond preposterous.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/plan-to-kill-carp-with-herpes-could-prove-as-foolish-as-cane-toad-20180503-p4zd4m.html

Malcolm Turnbull has become a de-facto climate denier
Giles Parkinson
Macron’s dressing down of Malcolm Turnbull on his lack of leadership on climate change underlines a disturbing point: Turnbull may not deny the science of climate change, but he does deny the need to act now, and the economic benefits of embracing renewables.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/malcolm-turnbull-has-become-a-de-facto-climate-denier-83415/

Rail rift deepens: Victoria attacks feds on infrastructure projects
Canberra bureaucracy is blocking billions of dollars in infrastructure money for Victoria, the state government says.
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/rail-rift-deepens-victoria-attacks-feds-on-infrastructure-projects-20180503-p4zd7d.html

East West Link or North East Link? Voters to decide as parties pick sides
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says building the dumped East West Link is a priority to ease congestion while Premier Daniel Andrews backs the North East Link, raising the stakes for an election showdown on infrastructure spending.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-03/opposition-to-resurrect-controversial-east-west-link/9722984

Victoria could get monorail airport link
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the state will work with the Commonwealth to get an airport rail link built and has not ruled out a monorail.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/victoria-could-get-monorail-airport-link/news-story/23afcf283bed9cba631bc0f0c69c68be

Population boom requires visionary policy
Matt Johnston
The Bracks government predicted Melbourne’s population would reach 4.4 million by 2030 but last year our population surpassed that. Now the growing pains are inevitable and sometimes obvious
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/matt-johnston-population-boom-requires-visionary-policy/news-story/7e2782aecaf969f48a4659f19df73bf7

Scientists propose declaring brumbies a threat to environment
Plans are underway to declare habitat loss from NSW brumbies a key threatening process, with their hooves and grazing habits destroying environments. A brumby association fears the move would pave the way for a mass cull.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-03/nsw-scientists-propose-brumby-threat-environment/9722800

Immigration levels ‘about right’ says Premier
Gladys Berejiklian says NSW must “prepare vigorously” for the years ahead.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/immigration-levels-about-right-says-premier-20180503-p4zd8g.html

WestConnex contractor claiming M5 $700 million over-budget and one year late
The second stage of the WestConnex toll road project is at risk of running a year late and more than $700 million over budget, according to confidential documents.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/westconnex-contractor-claiming-m5-700-million-over-budget-and-one-year-late-20180503-p4zd5u.html

Government needs to do better job of explaining roo cull
Canberra Times editorial
While we like to assume the government makes tough decisions based on careful consideration, sometimes extra assurance is warranted.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/government-needs-to-do-better-job-of-explaining-roo-cull-20180503-p4zd3v.html

Qld parliament passes land clearing laws
Environmentalists have welcomed contentious land clearing laws that have passed Queensland’s parliament.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/05/04/03/39/qld-parliament-passes-land-clearing-laws

Review waste contracts as No.1 priority: Ipswich ratepayers group
An administrator appointed to Ipswich City Council must calm staff and review waste contracts as a high priority, Ipswich Ratepayers and Residents Group says.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/queensland/review-waste-contracts-as-no-1-priority-ipswich-ratepayers-group-20180503-p4zd5i.html

Climate chance alliance formed  [PAYWALL]
A new alliance has formed between dive operators and a major green group, who are calling upon the Federal Government to take stronger action against climate change.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/great-barrier-reef-alliance-formed-between-cairns-dive-operators-and-conservationists/news-story/c8d0998a513b04939061b98c35db2b84

Coal comfort as mine wait takes heavy toll  [PAYWALL]
John McCarthy
Miners and activists in Oakey both want the same thing — some certainty.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/coal-comfort-as-mine-wait-takes-heavy-toll/news-story/e1c15e86126a7b45a29f284d6ce78691

State Govt refuses to release tram extension analysis
Despite castigating the Labor Government before the election for failing to release a $4 million study into rebuilding Adelaide’s tram network, the new Liberal administration is also refusing to release the detailed analysis of proposed new tram routes and their impact – at least for now.
https://indaily.com.au/news/2018/05/03/state-govt-refuses-to-release-tram-extension-analysis/

How not to shutdown a plant  [PAYWALL]
As talk continues on the future of the Liddell power station, the disastrous shutdown of the Port Augusta plant serves as a stark warning.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/shutdown-of-sas-last-coalfired-power-station-killed-port-augusta-community-says-council/news-story/4505dfc2aa967e0fa7a1fdfb477eaff5

Weeds take over kelp in high CO2 oceans
Weedy plants will thrive and displace long-lived, ecologically valuable kelp forests under forecast ocean acidification, new research from the University of Adelaide shows. The researchers describe how kelp forests are displaced by weedy marine plants in high CO2 conditions, equivalent to those predicted for the turn of the century.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uoa-wto050318.php

Private huts in Tasmanian Wilderness gain $3m federal grant
A private business proposal to build six huts along the South Coast Track in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area is given almost $3 million for advancement by the Federal Government.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-04/federal-funding-for-private-huts-in-tasmania-wilderness-area/9724798

Mount Wellington cable car on-hold as company instructed to stop preliminary works
The company seeking to build a cable car to the top of Hobart’s Mount Wellington is told to stop works and remove equipment, with the Tasmanian Government announcing they are considering revoking the company’s works authority because the project appears to have changed.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-03/hobart-cable-car-project-halted-over-works-on-mountain/9722572

Tensions rise within NT Government following fracking approval
Internal divisions are rising within the Northern Territory Government over its fracking policy and the party’s management in the lead up to its annual conference in Darwin next week.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-03/nt-labor-party-divisions-deepen-after-fracking-industry-approval/9724664

Traditional owners hoping to move on from James Price Point
New native title holders in WA’s Kimberley are looking to the future after a divisive dispute over a proposed gas hub.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-03/kimberley-traditional-owners-hoping-move-on-james-price-point/9716614

Researchers shine a light on mysteries of the deep 2300km off WA coast
While the initial search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 proved fruitless, sonar and video gathered during the hunt have shone a light on some of the secrets guarded by the sea 2300 kilometres off the WA coast.
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/researchers-shine-a-light-on-mysteries-of-the-deep-2300km-off-wa-coast-20180503-p4zd5e.html

Tradies keep WA’s Treetop Walk in good condition
Meet the brave tradies who work to keep WA’s Treetop Walk in good working order.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-04/tradies-maintain-wa-treetop-walk/9720366

Should ethics or human intuition drive the moral judgments of driverless cars?
Driverless cars will encounter situations requiring moral assessment — and new research suggests that people may not be happy with the decisions their cars make. Experiments designed to test people’s reactions to a driving dilemma that endangers human life, revealed a high willingness for self-sacrifice, a consideration of the age of potential victims and swerving onto the sidewalk to save more lives — intuitions that are sometimes at odds with ethically acceptable behavior or political guidelines.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/f-seo050318.php

Musk says Tesla’s next big battery will be eight times bigger
Elon Musk says Tesla hopes to announce a battery installation 8 times bigger than the current big battery within a few months, and is working on Powerwall backlog.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/musk-says-teslas-next-big-battery-will-be-eight-times-bigger-81068/

Noise throws the heart out of rhythm
With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically. Scientists at the Mainz University Medical Center found that the incidence of atrial fibrillation in subjects with extreme noise annoyance reactions increases to 23 percent, compared to just 15 percent without this environmental impact. Looking at the proportion of sources of extreme noise pollution, aircraft noise came first with 84 percent during the day and 69 percent during sleep.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/jgum-ntt050318.php

Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy
In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a Northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick and other scientists.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/ru-sps050218.php

World is not on track to meet UN’s 2030 sustainable energy goals
As renewable energy costs fall, poor countries are making progress, but billions of people are still left with polluting fuels for cooking and transportation.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03052018/un-sdgs-renewable-energy-sustainable-development-goals-solar-clean-cooking-transportation-fuels

American energy use, in one diagram
How much energy we use, what kind, and how much is wasted.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/4/13/15268604/american-energy-one-diagram

Wind energy’s unequal growth in the US, explained with 4 maps
Why does a huge swath of the country have hardly any wind turbines at all?
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/5/2/17290880/wind-power-renewable-energy-maps

Climate impacts of the Kinder Morgan pipeline could cost up to $8.7 billion
There are real costs associated with releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. Here, we crunched some numbers.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzxmbv/kinder-morgan-trans-mountain-expansion-pipeline-carbon-emissions?platform=hootsuite

A sophisticated design to turn saltwater into freshwater
Scientists have developed an improved type of membrane for desalinating water. By controlling the evolution of the structures of the membrane, researchers were able to boost the water flux of a membrane by five-fold.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aaft-asd043018.php

A potentially cheap, efficient and eco-friendly system for purifying natural gas
Fundamental researchers have proposed a novel two-part system for separating impurities from natural gas in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. Natural gas primarily contains methane, but impurities in the gaseous mixture need to be removed before the methane can be put into the pipeline. The newly proposed purification system combines two separation methods and, in principle, promises to improve performance, reduce costs and diminish ecological side effects compared to benchmark technologies.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aiop-apc050318.php

Novel approach for photosynthetic production of carbon neutral biofuel from green algae
Reducing carbon emissions in order to prevent climate change requires developing new technologies for sustainable and renewable biofuel production. Molecular hydrogen is regarded as one of the most promising energy carriers due to its high energy density and clean, carbon-free use. A research group from the University of Turku, Finland, has discovered an efficient way for transforming solar energy into the chemical energy of biohydrogen through the photosynthesis of green algae that function as cell factories.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uot-naf050318.php

East Africa a bright spot as world crawls towards energy goals
Solar home systems could help achieve energy access for all by 2030, World Bank experts say.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180502073018-ft3rj/

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis
A new, stable artificial photosynthesis device doubles the efficiency of harnessing sunlight to break apart both fresh and salt water, generating hydrogen that can then be used in fuel cells.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uom-hch050318.php

New study finds mangroves may store way more carbon than we thought
Mangroves provide a slew of benefits in addition to storing carbon, reducing flooding and erosion from storms, acting as nurseries for fish, and filtering pollutants from water.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/new-study-finds-mangroves-may-store-way-more-carbon-than-we-thought/

The social life of fish and how it affects the health of coral reefs
Biologist Mike Gil studies social interactions among different species of fish. What he has found, he says in an e360 interview, is that disrupting this critically important form of fish communication, such as by overfishing, could damage the world’s already-stressed coral reefs.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/the-social-life-of-fish-and-how-it-affects-the-health-of-coral-reefs-mike-gil

Coal mine diverts Sumatran river without a permit, leaving villagers short of clean water
Residents of Rangkiling Bakti village in Jambi, Sumatra say they have suffered from a lack of clean water as well as from landslides and flooding.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/coal-mine-diverts-sumatran-river-without-a-permit-leaving-villagers-short-of-clean-water/

The True ‘Value’ of Biodiversity
Planning conservation policies to protect biodiversity using single core ‘values’ such as the ‘usefulness’ of a species could put ‘less useful’ species at risk.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180503101701.htm

China-backed Sumatran dam threatens the rarest ape in the world
Bill Laurance, James Cook University
The plan to build a massive hydropower dam in Sumatra as part of China’s immense Belt and Road Initiative threatens the habitat of the rarest ape in the world, which has only 800 remaining members.
https://theconversation.com/china-backed-sumatran-dam-threatens-the-rarest-ape-in-the-world-95874