TUESDAY 24 APRIL 2018

Could sprinkling sand save the Arctic’s shrinking sea ice?
A pilot project at a lake in northern Alaska is one of a number aiming to slow climate change with geoengineering – but some worry about unintended consequences.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/sprinkling-sand-save-arctic-shrinking-sea-ice

The latest climate threat for coastal cities: More rich people
Housing experts, economists and activists have coined the term “climate gentrification.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-23/the-latest-climate-threat-for-coastal-cities-more-rich-people

Study: Health benefits will offset cost of China’s climate policy
China’s climate policy should pay for itself: A new MIT study finds that a four percent reduction per year in carbon emissions should net the country $339 billion in health savings.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/miot-shb041918.php

Climate change intensifies droughts in Europe
Global warming will exacerbate soil droughts in Europe — droughts will last longer, affect greater areas, and have an impact on more people. If the earth warms by 3 degrees Celsius, extreme events could become the normal state in the future. This scenario was described by an international team of scientists coordinated by the UFZ.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/hcfe-cci041918.php

Controversial Chinese-owned company gets multi-million-dollar gas grant
The Federal Government awards a $6 million grant to a gas producer wholly-owned by a massive Chinese company said to have close links to the country’s communist party.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/landbridge-subsidiary-wins-$6m-gas-grant-for-domestic-lng-supply/9688304

The Australian birds and mammals ‘more likely than not’ to become extinct
For the first time, researchers calculate the risk Australian birds and mammals will not survive the next 20 years on Earth. One bird’s chance of extinction is approaching 100 per cent.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/scientists-calculate-extinction-risk-australian-birds-mammals/9687952

Tesla, Enphase lift household battery storage prices
The price of household battery storage is defying hopes and expectations of significant price falls, with two of the leading manufacturers – Tesla and Enphase  – quietly lifting their prices in recent months.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-enphase-lift-household-battery-storage-prices-23273/

New solar “firming ” contracts to boost corporate demand for big solar farms
New “solar shape” and “solar firming” contracts expected to encourage more Australian corporate buyers into large scale renewables
https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-solar-firming-contracts-boost-corporate-demand-big-solar-farms-33187/

NEG will block renewables, favour hydro and big retailers
Industry experts back campaign opposing NEG, say it will skew the market further in favour of incumbents, stymie renewables, and favour coal.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/neg-will-block-renewables-favour-hydro-and-big-retailers-85976/

Smart Energy Council wages war against “anti-renewables” NEG
Smart Energy Council promises “ruthless campaign” to fight Malcolm Turnbull’s NEG, which he says is “a lesson in how to do over the renewables industry while having acolytes fawn over the process.”
https://reneweconomy.com.au/smart-energy-council-wages-war-against-anti-renewables-neg-56510/

AGL sells assets but not Liddell [PAYWALL]
Beleaguered utility AGL Energy has sold off a basket of non-core assets — but not the one the federal government is pushing for.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/agl-sells-off-noncore-assets-but-not-liddell/news-story/d2c870ae1cda7ff2889311c63620c3cd

Australia doing crap job on emissions, but prices may fall
David Leitch
Our analysis of the new renewable energy projects to come on line in next few years suggest a fall in electricity prices – at least until the closure of Liddell.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/australia-crap-job-emissions-prices-may-fall-50064/

Cities can still grow without getting us stuck in traffic
Vladimir Vinokurov
Governments have a long history of spending billions to knowingly build ‘roads to nowhere’ when they could have built efficient infrastructure instead.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19687

Labor accused of hoarding billions in road, rail cash
Latest stoush demonstrates lack of trust over how to tackle Melbourne’s growing congestion issues.
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/andrews-hoarding-billions-in-road-rail-money-says-canberra-20180423-p4zb8r.html

Fears decaying oBikes are polluting Yarra River [PAYWALL]
A haul of 76 oBikes have been fished out of the Yarra, sparking fears that the decaying bikes are slowly polluting the river.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/riverkeeper-andrew-kelly-fears-dozens-of-corroding-obikes-fished-out-of-the-yarra-are-polluting-the-river/news-story/5b0d7c1a5c413b9252b3ece14b3b02e0

To survive growing pains, transport network needs to get smarter
Bryce Prosser
Melbourne is a growing city with 2000 people moving to Victoria each week for the tremendous opportunities our state offers. This means more and more people commuting every day, with more demand than ever for every metre of railway track and road space
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/to-survive-growing-pains-transport-network-needs-to-get-smarter-20180423-p4zb60.html

Melbourne Airport is going to be as busy as Heathrow, so why the argument about one train line?
Ian Woodcock, RMIT University
Public discussion of rail links to airports has been narrowly focused on the idea of a single line and where to run it. In Melbourne, the politics of this debate has so far prevented a railway from being built, because it is not possible for one line to meet all of the landside access needs of the airport. The issue of rail access for a new western Sydney airport has also not been resolved.
https://theconversation.com/melbourne-airport-is-going-to-be-as-busy-as-heathrow-so-why-the-argument-about-one-train-line-95289

Secret documents detailing Sydney’s $2.1b light rail won’t be released
NSW Labor’s attempt to force the state government to release confidential internal reports about Sydney’s troubled $2.1 billion light rail line has failed.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/secret-documents-detailing-sydney-s-2-1b-light-rail-won-t-be-released-20180423-p4zb5w.html

E-bikes will turbo charge more than our emissions efforts
Ian Ross
Would you ride a bike to work if it meant you didn’t need to break a sweat? The availability of affordable electric bikes is making cycle commuting a convenient option for people who would normally drive a car to work due to the distance between home and their workplace.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/e-bikes-will-turbo-charge-more-than-our-emissions-efforts-20180416-p4z9wt.html

Cost of powering Queensland’s schools rises by $10m in 2 years
The state government is launching a $97 million program to combat rising energy costs, including encouraging teachers to turn lights off when leaving a room.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/queensland/cost-of-powering-queensland-s-schools-rises-by-10m-in-2-years-20180423-p4zb45.html

Barrier Reef expedition finds colourful new surprises [PAYWALL]
The discovery of exotic specimens, new and rare marine wildlife species has surprised members of the Great Barrier Reef Legacy Group’s expedition.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/new-coral-species-exotic-fish-and-rare-sea-cucumber-found-by-reef-expedition/news-story/b65798ff8ed1599f0cb9c2c991363903

13 trees facing the axe [PAYWALL]
Cairns Regional Council is set to allow 13 trees to be cut down around a CBD resort, with conservationists fearing this could destroy the homes of hundreds of flying foxes.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-regional-council-set-to-approve-resorts-plan-to-remove-bat-trees-from-cbd/news-story/843ca087681269db2a6dcb1a11b06726

Health of platypus habitat trumps development on city’s outskirts
Residents on the rural outskirts of Brisbane fight back against advancing housing developments that could put platypus populations under pressure.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/health-of-platypus-habitat-trumps-development-brisbane/9688872

Townsville battery “gigafactory” plan gains momentum
Construction of lithium-ion “giga-factory” in Queensland’s north one step closer after Imperium3 consortium signs up Siemens to New York project.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/townsville-battery-gigafactory-plan-gains-momentum-49401/

Fracking can cause social stress in nearby areas: new research
Will Rifkin, University of Newcastle
Research into Queensland’s Darling Downs area has found social stress caused by housing pressure, population shifts and the ‘two-speed economy’ of coal seam gas.
https://theconversation.com/fracking-can-cause-social-stress-in-nearby-areas-new-research-95216

‘Wake-up call’: microplastics found in Great Australian Bight sediment
Scientists say governments and corporations need to ‘legislate and incentivise’ to tackle ocean plastics
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/24/wake-up-call-microplastics-found-in-great-australian-bight-sediment

SA Water plans 152MW solar, 35MWh storage to slash bills to zero
SA Water plans to install 152MW solar PV and 35MWh of storage by 2020 to slash its electricity bill, previously forecast to reach $55 million, to zero.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/sa-water-plans-152mw-solar-35mwh-storage-slash-bills-zero-53597/

You’re drinking more desal water than you know [PAYWALL]
Adelaide’s $1.8 billion desalination plant is running at nearly 50 per cent capacity — to ensure the city won’t become “another Cape Town”, as that South African city suffers under an extreme water shortage.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/sa-business-journal/adelaide-desal-plant-ready-to-withstand-cape-townlike-shortages/news-story/4ca00a702f75f33da831743fd5900c91

Bushfire burning near Burra now contained [PAYWALL]
A bushfire burning near Burra, in the Mid North, has been contained.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/bushfire-near-burra-in-south-australias-mid-north/news-story/01f4b7e51fdf9b35116840129a5889f0

Invermay draft traffic master plan released for public consultation by City of Launceston
A raft of proposed changes to improve traffic flow at Inveresk has been released for public comment.
https://www.examiner.com.au/story/5358941/traffic-plans-endorsed/?cs=95

Wilderness hotel project clears hurdle [PAYWALL]
There is some light at the end of the tunnel for a long-awaited eco-resort in the state’s South-West.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/architect-robert-morrisnunns-planned-recherche-bay-development-moves-forward/news-story/125a1fe95835bf74b2bb717d6c5f1d4b

Tonnes of Tasmanian tyres headed for approved local recycling centre
It’s been a 16-year process from inception to approval, but Tasmania will finally have a local solution to a massive tyre stockpile, with a recycling plant being approved in Launceston.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/tyre-recycling-centre-approved-in-tasmania/9688998

‘Like walking into a wall of poo’: Stench in Darwin’s northern suburbs worsens
Darwin residents report walking into walls of stench from nearby sewage treatment plants as the Mayor demands urgent action.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-23/wall-of-poo-stench-from-darwin-sewage-plant-worsens/9679876

Morrison denies Northern Territory’s extra $260m is for lifting fracking ban
Treasurer says reason for funds top-up is fall in GST share, not hydraulic fracturing decision
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/23/morrison-denies-northern-territorys-extra-260m-is-for-lifting-fracking-ban

Cattle industry after gas answers [PAYWALL]
Territory cattlemen want to avoid a two tier pastoral industry following the decision to allow onshore gas and they will be putting their case to the Gunner Cabinet
http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/talks-on-the-way-forward-with-gas/news-story/211593b23b9eff1a4575d340985bbf3f

Court win recognises Wajarri community native title in WA’s Mid West
Indigenous Australians in WA’s Mid West region have had a native title win in the Federal Court.
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/court-win-recognises-wajarri-community-native-title-in-wa-s-mid-west-20180423-p4zb9n.html

Pruitt promised polluters EPA will value their profits over American lives
Pruitt is one of TIME’s 100 most influential people for his efforts to maximize polluters’ profits
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/apr/23/pruitt-promised-polluters-epa-will-value-their-profits-over-american-lives

Goldman environmental prize: top awards dominated by women for first time
Winners are all grassroots activists who have taken on powerful vested interests
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/23/unprecedented-win-for-women-in-top-global-environment-awards-goldman-prize

Graphene ‘a game-changer’ in making building with concrete greener
Form of carbon incorporated into concrete created stronger, more water-resistant composite material that could reduce emissions
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/23/graphene-a-game-changer-in-making-building-with-concrete-greener

Graph of the Day: Why EV uptake could match solar PV
New IEA report reveals a striking resemblance between the path electric vehicle penetration is currently on, and the path solar PV has been charting.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/graph-day-ev-uptake-match-solar-pv-97130/

Google, Amazon push power companies to solar and wind, a blow to coal
Even where coal is king, demand from companies like Apple, Google and Amazon for renewable energy has pushed utilities to ink solar and wind power deals.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/04/22/google-amazon-push-power-companies-solar-and-wind-blow-coal/438020002/

The Women Who Stopped the Nuclear Deal
Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid won the Goldman Environmental Prize for stopping a secret nuclear deal with Russia.
https://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2018/04/23/women-stopped-nuclear-deal

Science Says: Amount of straws, plastic pollution is huge
Cities and nations are looking at banning plastic straws and stirrers in hopes of addressing the world’s plastic pollution problem. The problem is so large, though, that scientists say that’s not nearly enough.
https://apnews.com/c1b6f8666138441d9af6054d8c096086

Carbon capture could be a financial opportunity for US biofuels
With recent tax credits and other policies, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it underground is not only possible but profitable for US biofuel refineries.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/su-ccc041918.php

Protecting Environmental Defenders This Earth Day
Latin American, Caribbean States Adopt Groundbreaking Treaty on Environmental Rights
https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/04/22/protecting-environmental-defenders-earth-day

Meet the anti-plastic warriors: The pioneers with bold solutions to waste
The environmental scourge of plastic has shot to the top of the political agenda. We talk to the creatives and campaigners behind five imaginative new ventures.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/22/meet-the-pioneers-tackling-plastic-waste-loliware-straws-vin-and-omi

4 US states get over 30 percent of power from wind — and all lean Republican
Even though new U.S. wind power installations were down in 2017, wind is expected to pass hydro as the nation’s top renewable energy source this year.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20042018/wind-power-renewable-clean-energy-technology-iowa-kansas-oklahoma-south-dakota-paris-awea

Fossil fuels roar back in a world hungry for energy
Despite a growing trend toward green cars and the investment in low-carbon energy to power them, a recovery in oil prices is just one more sign that the global demand for carbon-producing fossil fuels remains strong.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/oil-coal-climate-change-1.4626946

Radically new thinking needed for Japan’s energy strategy
An expert panel reviewing the nation’s energy strategy for the period to 2050 has proposed a number of initiatives to meet challenges stemming from radical changes in the global energy landscape.
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201804210024.html

Trees with grassy areas soften summer heat
Trees cool their environment and ‘heat islands’ like Munich benefit from it. However, the degree of cooling depends greatly on the tree species and the local conditions. In a recent study, scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) compared two species of urban trees.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/tuom-twg042018.php

Neutrons provide insights into increased performance for hybrid perovskite solar cells
Neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has revealed, in real time, the fundamental mechanisms behind the conversion of sunlight into energy in hybrid perovskite materials. A better understanding of this behavior will enable manufacturers to design solar cells with significantly increased efficiency.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/drnl-npi042318.php

New Research Modernizes Rammed Earth Construction
A building method as old as dirt is being re-examined as a ‘new’ and viable modern construction material.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423110804.htm

Middle East energy subsidy reform updates ‘patronage-based autocratic governance’
A series of converging trends provided political cover for the reforms of long-standing energy subsidies launched by oil-exporting states in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new paper by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. These subsidies are thought to be an important source of legitimacy for autocratic regimes.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/ru-mee042318.php

Four innovations that aim to improve the environment
The Experimental Biology 2018 meeting (EB 2018) will showcase exciting new research aimed at understanding contamination and improving the environment.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/eb2-fit041318.php

New control strategy helps reap maximum power from wind farms
Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas developed a way to extract more power from the wind.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/uota-ncs042318.php

China’s history of water problems parallels South Africa’s ‘day zero’
While its southern taps won’t run dry, China’s north faces pollution and distribution challenges.
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2018-04-20/chinas-history-of-water-problems-parallels-south-africas-day-zero?int=98f508

One scientist’s work sheds light on the ‘transforming’ state of planetary health
“This is a really unique moment in human history. We need to increase global food production at the steepest rate in our history to keep up with demand.”
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-one-scientists-work-sheds-light-on-the-transforming-state-of/

Lawsuits comparing fossil fuel companies to the tobacco industry dangerously miss the mark
Denver Post editorial
Climate change is real, but so is the reality that fossil fuels continue to underpin modern civilization, even as our reliance on them is slowly, steadily — and appropriately — reduced.
https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/20/lawsuits-comparing-fossil-fuel-companies-to-the-tobacco-industry-dangerously-miss-the-mark/

Trump can beat China without a trade war by making America a renewable energy superpower
Carrie Scherpelz
So far we have let China dominate renewable energy industries. Why not catch up and take the lead, like we did in the space race?
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/04/22/donald-trump-beat-china-renewable-technology-column/527833002/

Future ‘ocean cities’ need green engineering above and below the waterline
Katherine Dafforn
Cities built on artificial islands in the ocean are providing a solution for urban planners trying to manage the population squeeze. But, little attention is paid to how these human-made structures affect sea life.
https://theconversation.com/future-ocean-cities-need-green-engineering-above-and-below-the-waterline-93843

Will courts hold oil companies accountable?
Jason Mark
How courts handle climate lawsuits will play a critical role in whether we are able to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for wreaking havoc on the planet.
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mark-climate-litigation-20180422-story.html

The robot revolution might not be as close as you think [PAYWALL]
Jason Murphy
Robots, like automated cars, just aren’t that good at some things humans take for granted — like seeing things straight in front of them.
https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/04/23/the-robot-revolution-might-not-be-as-close-as-you-think/

World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam
The discovery of the Tapanuli orangutan has not stopped a Chinese state-run company from clearing forest for a planned dam.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2018/apr/23/worlds-newest-great-ape-threatened-by-chinese-dam

How the environment has changed since the first Earth Day
When the first Earth Day was held in 1970, pesticides were killing bald eagles, and soot was darkening the sky. Now, habitat loss and climate change are imperiling the planet.
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/earth-day-then-now-history-science-spd/

One in eight bird species is threatened with extinction, global study finds
Report on the state of the world’s birds reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by intensive farming, with once-common species such as puffins and snowy owls now at risk
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/23/one-in-eight-birds-is-threatened-with-extinction-global-study-finds

Colombia expands protected areas by 31,000 square miles
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced this week that the country will add 31,000 square miles of land to its protected areas and will also give indigenous communities the autonomy to govern their own territories.
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/colombia-expands-protected-areas-by-31-000-square-miles

Hungry birds as climate change drives food ‘mismatch’
Warmer springs create a ‘mismatch’ where hungry chicks hatch too late to feast on abundant caterpillars, new research shows.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/uoe-hba042018.php

Light at End of the Tunnel for World’s Wildlife and Wild Places
A new article finds that the enormous trends toward population stabilization, poverty alleviation, and urbanization are rewriting the future of biodiversity conservation in the 21st century, offering ..
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423155024.htm

Audit Finds Biodiversity Data Aggregators ‘Lose and Confuse’ Data
Both online repositories the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) were found to ‘lose and confuse’ portions of the data …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423085406.htm

New Toolkit Shows NFPs How to Create a Child Safe Organisation
A new toolkit has been launched in the wake of the royal commission to help not-for-profit organisations understand the practical steps they can take to provide safe places for children.
https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/04/new-toolkit-shows-nfps-create-child-safe-organisation/