FRIDAY 19 JANUARY 2018

Not just commodities: World needs broader appreciation of nature’s contributions to people
Plentiful food, clean water and healthy air are among the most valuable and visible benefits of nature to people. This has reinforced the widespread, and increasingly controversial, belief that nature is mainly a source of services or commodities.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/tca-njc011218.php

2017 was the hottest year on record without El Niño boost
Data shows the year was also one of the hottest three ever recorded, with scientists warning that the ‘climate tide is rising fast’
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/18/2017-was-the-hottest-year-on-record-without-el-nino-boost

Yes, global warming will be bad. But these scientists say it won’t reach the worst-case scenario
Climate change won’t get as bad as we dread, a new study finds. But we’re not going to get off easy, either.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/01/17/climate-scientists-say-they-may-be-able-to-rule-out-the-worst-case-scenarios-and-the-best-ones/?utm_term=.d204cee2618c

A long-simmering factor in Iran protests: Climate change
An overlooked factor in Iran protests: Many Iranians believe the government’s water and environmental policies are exacerbating the impact of warming temperatures.
http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iran-protests-climate-change-2018-story.html

Using Data Mining to Make Sense of Climate Change
Big data and data mining have provided several breakthroughs in fields such as health informatics, smart cities and marketing. The same techniques, however, have not delivered consistent key findings for climate change
http://www.enn.com/sci-tech/article/53700

Will mainstream media be duped in 2018 by climate denial spin doctors?
Kevin Grandia
Will 2018 be the year that mainstream media is not duped by professional spin doctors and fake experts paid to downplay and deny the realities of climate change?
http://reneweconomy.com.au/will-mainstream-media-duped-2018-climate-denial-spin-doctors-65313/

Billions wasted while poor starve
Bjorn Lomborg
Relying on climate policies to fight hunger could be exacerbating the problem.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/bjorn-lomborg/climatechange-policies-may-be-making-world-hunger-worse/news-story/1731c0124e3b89c57001afcd84c9537c

Solar installs through the roof, as Australians deliver record growth
SunWiz data – and eye-watering charts – reveal 2017 was a “magnificent record setting year” for solar installs, with 50% more rooftop PV capacity added across the country than in 2016, and some astonishing growth in the commercial solar sector.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-installs-through-the-roof-as-australians-deliver-record-growth-53393/

Coalition’s foreign agents bill attacked for overreach and curtailing ‘freedoms of expression’
Organisations with non-Australian members that undertake lobbying activities could be prosecuted for failing to register, inquiry warned
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/19/coalitions-foreign-agents-bill-attacked-for-overreach-and-curtailing-freedoms-of-expression

Fears of ‘catastrophic’ damage to waterways under Snowy 2.0
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/warning-of-catastrophic-damage-to-waterways-if-snowy-20-spoils-plan-goes-wrong-experts-and-environmentalists-warn-20180118-h0k8np.html

In the climate fight, Australia is barely in the ring
SMH editorial
The arc of emissions must start bending lower soon, and certainly more sharply than current policies would point it.
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/when-it-comes-to-the-climate-fight-australia-is-barely-in-the-ring-20180116-h0jg78.html

Colac grassfire under control, another blaze continues to burn
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/colac-grassfire-under-control-another-blaze-continues-to-burn-20180118-p4yyls.html

Will our national parks survive this government?
Mehreen Faruqi
Last year marked 50 years since a Liberal premier established the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to protect the jewels in the crown of our natural environment.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/will-our-national-parks-survive-this-government-20180107-h0eq2b.html

Native fish released back into Tuggeranong pond
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/thousands-of-native-fish-released-back-into-tuggeranong-pond-20180118-h0kcoy.html

East Coomera koala population faces further loss of habitat
As koala numbers plummet around Australia, one of the biggest populations in south-east Queensland is under threat as developers move in.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-18/east-coomera-koala-population-faces-further-loss-of-habitat/9338228

Queensland accused of breaking ‘no public funds for Adani’ promise
Activists target Aurizon after Palaszczuk refuses to rule out vetoing freight company’s application for Naif funding to build rail line
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/18/queensland-accused-of-breaking-no-public-funds-for-adani-promise

UN environment head warns against new coal projects
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/make-or-break-un-environment-head-erik-solheim-warns-against-coal-projects-20180118-h0kfvq.html

Another navy ship to be sunk off the Queensland coast
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/another-navy-ship-to-be-sunk-off-the-queensland-coast-20180118-p4yylu.html

Adani slams actions of activists at Abbot Point coal terminal
Mining company Adani says the lives of its staff were threatened by activists who yesterday chained themselves to equipment at the Abbot Point coal terminal for six hours.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/adani-slams-actions-of-activists-at-abbot-point-coal-terminal/news-story/1072007007c61c33a586e2c50c9fff62

Warnings to clean up yards as cyclone season gets underway
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/lifestyle/warnings-to-clean-up-yards-as-cyclone-season-gets-underway/news-story/64e171ca5bf134dc7019153aea0b81b5

South Australia is bracing for another day of extreme heat as medical experts urge people to be safe and stay cool
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/the-pulse-sas-breaking-news-blog-south-australia-is-bracing-for-another-day-of-extreme-heat-as-medical-experts-urge-people-to-be-safe-and-stay-cool/news-story/3f330520a67219b11742ce8c64f203a6

Greens MLC Mark Parnell slams ‘secret’ hearing into Flinders Ports’ plan to dredge the Port River as a ‘farce’
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/west-beaches/greens-mlc-mark-parnell-slams-secret-hearing-into-flinders-ports-plan-to-dredge-the-port-river-as-a-farce/news-story/c28f8a11b1a0db0d30ee80761ac87719

Electricity company’s bid to up revenue, hike prices, fails
Federal Court dismisses SA Power Networks’ third bid to increase its revenue, sparing customers a price hike during hot summer weather
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/federal-court-dismisses-sa-power-networks-third-bid-to-increase-its-revenue-sparing-customers-a-price-hike-during-hot-summer-weather/news-story/500d011865946dd54f05892818bd5eec

King Island foodies protesting fish farms start salmon boycott
A band of locals fighting to ensure King Island — known for its pumping surf, golf courses and beautiful scenery — does not become synonymous with fish farms have started boycotting salmon products.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-18/king-island-businesses-in-salmon-boycott-over-fish-farms/9340058

Fresh drive to cut roadkill on Tasmanian roads
With the Apple Isle having being dubbed the roadkill capital capital of world, a coalition of conservation groups are launching a campaign hoped to change motorists’ behaviour on the state’s roads.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-18/campaign-to-cut-roadkill-toll-in-tasmania/9338678

Total fire ban to be extended in Tasmania, dangerous conditions forecast
Tasmania has extended its total fire ban, with dangerous conditions forecast to continue and campfires facing a summer long ban.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-18/total-fire-ban-to-be-extended-in-tasmania-with-fears/9340408

Bring Tasmanians along for the ride
Can Seng Ooi
Tasmania is enjoying a tourism boom. Everyone agrees that a balanced and sensitive approach to tourism development is needed.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-bring-tasmanians-along-for-the-ride/news-story/3559ecfceb48a4da55fc1622c739fa29

Replacing India’s coal plants with solar and wind could save billions, analysis finds
New research shows nearly two-thirds of India’s coal power generation is no longer price competitive with new solar and wind.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/replacing-indias-coal-plants-with-solar-and-wind-could-save-billions-analysis-finds-38285/

Germany lifts 2030 renewable energy target to 65%
On Friday, a 28-page text covering the main policy fields cursorily was published after a previous draft had been leaked. For energy policy, the changes are encouraging, but a lot of question marks remain.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/germany-lifts-2030-renewable-energy-target-65-12576/

Panguna mine licence bid rejected after landowner backlash
Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) is told its bid to extend an exploration licence over its Panguna site has been rejected because of divisions among landowners.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-19/bougainville-copper-limited-has-bid-rejected-after-backlash/9341726

China oil spill: warning over seafood contamination
Scientists say consumers should be wary of buying any seafood that may have passed through the area until the toxic impact of the spill has been assessed
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/18/oil-from-sunken-iranian-tanker-spreads-over-100-sq-km-of-east-china-sea

Revolutionary paper water test could save lives in Africa and prevent upset tummies closer to home
A revolutionary water sensor which tests for pollutants could save lives in Africa, and even help campers in Britain avoid tainted water.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/01/17/revolutionary-paper-water-test-could-save-lives-africa-prevent/

Trump’s offshore oil plan: Like nothing the country has ever seen
We mapped out where the drilling could take place — and how it overlaps with the critical habitats of the most sensitive species at risk.
http://therevelator.org/trump-offshore-oil-wildlife/

Protest planned in Ottawa to oppose nuclear licence renewal for Chalk River nuclear labs
Ole Hendrickson will be among the concerned citizens, indigenous leaders, environmentalists and former nuclear scientists marching in Ottawa on Thursday, as they deliver their objection to the 10-year licence renewal for Chalk River Laboratories
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/nuclear-chalk-river-cnl-private-consortium-concerns-license-renewal-1.4492167

Inventor aims for healthier Yemen by turning waste into clean fuel
In war-torn Yemen, people struggle with power shortages, and waste piles up on the streets, spreading cholera.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180117110014-tuag3/

These growing global efforts herald the end of plastic
It can take hundreds of years for plastic to decompose. It’s time we stopped using it.
https://futurism.com/end-plastic-officially-arrived/

EU lawmakers back more ambitious renewables, energy saving goals
European lawmakers approved draft measures on Wednesday to reform the power market and reduce energy consumption that envisage more ambitious climate goals, setting the stage for tough talks with reluctant EU member states.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-energy/eu-lawmakers-back-more-ambitious-renewables-energy-saving-goals-idUSKBN1F61HM

Inventors search for ‘missing link’ in renewable energy
What may become one of the most disruptive renewable energy experiments in recent history is taking shape behind a building here in an assemblage of girders, pipes and tanks. It’s called a bioreactor, but has the look of an unfinished project built with pieces from a giant erector set.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060071143

Bitcoin’s energy usage is huge – we can’t afford to ignore it
The cryptocurrency uses as much CO2 a year as 1m transatlantic flights. We need to take it seriously as a climate threat.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/17/bitcoin-electricity-usage-huge-climate-cryptocurrency

Europe’s microwave ovens emit nearly as much CO2 as 7m cars
The biggest impact comes from electricity used to power the microwaves, but study also highlights rising environmental cost of our throwaway culture
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/18/europe-microwave-ovens-emit-nearly-as-much-co2-as-7m-cars

Perovskite solar cells: Mesoporous interface mitigates the impact of defects
In only a few years, efficiencies of perovskite solar cells have been raised from 3 per cent to more than 20 per cent.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/hbfm-psc011818.php

Coupling experiments to theory to build a better battery
A new polymer raises the bar for lithium-sulfur batteries
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/dbnl-cet011718.php

Old age and societal decline
Reasons for societal decline appear to have little or nothing to do with genetics.
http://www.postcarbon.org/old-age-and-societal-decline/

Democracy has evolved, now environmental protection needs to evolve
Eric Claus
Similar to the development of democracy, population stabilisation measures like reducing immigration and removing tax breaks for more than two children, requires the consent of the full community.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19513

US energy regulator rejects GOP proposal to bail out coal
Fereidoon Sioshansi
America’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected energy secretary Rick Perry’s request for rule change in competitive wholesale markets to favor coal and nuclear plants. Could cooler heads be prevailing?
http://reneweconomy.com.au/us-energy-regulator-rejects-gop-proposal-bail-coal-30290/

Shareholder value: Is the ‘dumbest idea’ in capitalism on its last legs?
John McDuling
It has been described as the ‘dumbest idea in the world’, it might be the worst idea in finance, and it looks like it’s finally falling out of favour.
http://www.theage.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/the-dumbest-idea-in-finance-20180117-p4yykm.html

Endangered red pandas seized in Laos in largest rescue recorded
Six red pandas are rescued from smugglers during a random border inspection on the Laos-China border.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-18/red-panda-rescue-in-laos/9340998

Fish are getting their animal rights moment
Long the forgotten animal in the food chain, groups are now working to raise their welfare profile.
https://civileats.com/2018/01/18/fish-are-getting-their-animal-rights-moment/

Can we speed up the creation of ancient forests?
Perhaps one percent of the forests that covered America just a few centuries ago still stand.
http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2018/01/engineering-ancient-forests/

A warm-weather plague killed more than half of this endangered species in three weeks
Warm, wet weather triggered the unprecedented die-off of imperiled saiga antelope, scientists say. And climate change may make such conditions even more likely.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/01/17/a-warm-weather-plague-killed-more-than-half-this-endangered-species-in-three-weeks/?utm_term=.6951c46c4352

Fanged Friends: Study Says the World’s Most Vilified and Dangerous Animals May be Humankind’s Best Ally
An international review led by the University of Queensland and WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) says that many native carnivores that live in and around human habitation are declining at an unprecedented rate – spelling bad news for humans who indirectly rely on them for a variety of beneficial services.
http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/53701

Researchers find post-fire logging harms Spotted owls
Wildlife ecologists studying the rare Spotted owl in the forests of California have discovered that large, intense wildfires are not responsible for the breeding territory extinction that has been reported recently.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53699

UNH researchers find human impact on Amazon forest still evident after 500 years
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/uonh-urf011818.php

Recent advances in understanding coral resilience are essential to safeguard coral reefs
A review of the literature points to the importance of reducing global carbon dioxide emissions in addition to protecting or augmenting resilience mechanisms in the face of increased frequency of climate change impacts.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/bu-rai011818.php

Increased scientific rigor will improve wildlife research and management
Wildlife management relies on rigorous science that produces reliable knowledge because it increases accurate understanding of the natural world and informs management decisions. A new Journal of Wildlife Management article evaluates the prevalence of scientific rigor in wildlife research and outlines the components of a rigorous scientific method.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/w-isr011818.php

Natural environments promote positive body image
New research led by Anglia Ruskin academic shows powerful effect of green spaces
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/aru-nep011818.php

Huge oil spill isn’t China’s real offshore disaster
Adam Minter
There aren’t many fish left for even a million tons of oil to kill.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-17/huge-oil-spill-isn-t-china-s-real-offshore-disaster

Why some of your old work commitments never seem to go away
Study finds lingering effects of long-ended obligations
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/osu-wso011718.php