SUNDAY 27 MAY 2018

Can a city really sue an oil company for climate change?
In a federal court in San Francisco, a judge heard a motion to dismiss from five fossil fuel companies, the defendants in the suit brought by San Francisco and Oakland.
https://www.wired.com/story/can-a-city-really-sue-an-oil-company-for-climate-change/

Scientists track major freshwater change
“What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change,’ they said. Over 14 years, Earth’s wet land areas got wetter. Dry areas got drier.”
http://earthsky.org/earth/satellites-map-14-years-global-freshwater-change

Emails show cooperation among EPA, climate-change deniers
Newly released emails show senior Environmental Protection Agency officials working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming, counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt’s stewardship of the agency.
https://apnews.com/amp/64cd37b0503440c0b92e6ca075f87dd4?__twitter_impression=true

Taking stock of climate change impacts: how many Puerto Rican lives did Hurricane Maria take?
The 2018 hurricane season is now upon us, even while millions of people residing in hurricane alley – the large swath of ocean stretching from Africa to North America – are still recovering from the hyperactive, catastrophic 2017 hurricane season
http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2018/05/24/taking-stock-of-climate-change-impacts-how-many-puerto-rican-lives-did-hurricane-maria-take-we-dont-know-for-sure-and-the-death-toll-is-still-climbing/

Irrigators to be handed water licences in ‘free-for-all’ that could threaten those downstream
Ecologists, lawyers and those downstream say the national Murray-Darling Basin plan could be jeopardised under a state plan to hand irrigators lucrative new water licences.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-27/murray-darling:-state-plan-to-give-irrigators-water-free-for-all/9763106

Andrews says North East Link road to wealth [PAYWALL]
The $16.5 billion North East Link toll road would deliver a greater economic benefit to Victoria than its cost and ­create 10,300 jobs during construction.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/andrews-government-says-north-east-link-would-be-financial-boon-for-victoria/news-story/8a5d256a198f00cf9f119db74f6c095f

Collateral damage too brutal from NSW shark nets
The government seems to think that killing dolphins, turtles and rays is fine. But catching a whale? That’s a totally different story.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/collateral-damage-too-brutal-from-nsw-shark-nets-20180525-p4zhjr.html

Wetlands tour a chance to close the gap
Canberrans snapped up a chance to get a first hand experience making bush soap, boomerangs and learning about ACT plant life on Saturday.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/canberra-news/wetlands-tour-a-chance-to-close-the-gap-20180526-p4zhpt.html

Commuters next to light rail route more likely to travel to Civic
The light rail may be months away, but Gungahlin and inner north residents already are more likely to commute along the corridor than to anywhere else.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/commuters-next-to-light-rail-route-more-likely-to-travel-to-civic-20180524-p4zh83.html

Barilaro’s sympathy for brumbies is misplaced
Canberra Times editorial
While it is not hard to see where Deputy NSW Premier, Steve Barilaro, is coming from with his decision to abandon plans for the controlled culling of brumbies in the Kosciusko National Park that doesn’t mean he is right.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/act/barilaro-s-sympathy-for-brumbies-is-misplaced-20180525-p4zhk4.html

‘A fact of life’: why Queensland’s pollies must stick to the middle of the road
With its support base spread wide, the government has to walk a razor’s edge on mining and environmental issues
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/26/a-fact-of-life-why-queenslands-pollies-must-stick-to-the-middle-of-the-road

Pet dogs could soon be banned from areas near Queensland koala habitats
Dogs could be banned around some Queensland koala habitats if the recommendation from a panel of experts is adopted by the state government.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/pet-dogs-could-soon-be-banned-from-areas-near-queensland-koala-habitats-20180524-p4zhbw.html

Government allocates $1m to eradicate Far North Queensland’s feral pig threat to banana industry  [PAYWALL]
A $1 MILLION blitzkrieg on the Queensland feral pig will begin in a few weeks as the State Government moves to protect the nation’s banana crop from a potentially devastating biosecurity threat.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-government-allocates-1m-to-eradicate-far-norths-feral-pig-threat-to-banana-industry/news-story/7134df37e13dd93996ac1b2ed71a0d27

South Australian town invaded by mob of hungry emus
The South Australian town of Peterborough has been invaded by a mob of hungry emus.
https://au.news.yahoo.com/south-australian-town-invaded-mob-hungry-emus-133219344.html

‘Carpinator’ hits back at the carping  [PAYWALL]
The “Carpinator”, entrusted with ridding the River Murray of the invasive European carp, has hit back at claims his strategy will lead to greater problems.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/aussie-scientist-in-charge-of-carp-control-dismisses-research-predicting-carpageddon/news-story/ba8909390585726f1bced24172d2dc6aous

Wilderness war set to break out [PAYWALL]
Bushwalkers, fishermen and conservationists are gearing up for a fight over plans for increased commercial development in Tasmania’s …
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/wilderness-war-set-to-break-out/news-story/629a934dc750ef785c3c293807385f2d

Firefighters begin mopping up after major WA bushfires
Emergency services credit the tireless work of career and volunteer firefighters — along with some much-needed and timely rain — with bringing under control two enormous and out-of-control bushfires raging in Western Australia’s Great Southern region.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-26/albany-bushfires:-firefighters-mop-up-after-major-blazes-in-wa/9803822

Burn-off program defended in wake of major WA bushfires
Bushfires in WA’s south spark a blame game between farmers and authorities with many questioning why prescribed burns were conducted, despite an unfavourable weather forecast and multiple warnings that conditions were about to change.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-26/albany-bushfire-burn-off-defended/9802094

Great Southern fires: University professors say WA needs ‘total rethink’ on prescribed burning
A group of WA university professors has called for a total overhaul of the State’s prescribed burning program, claiming the practice of broad-scale burn-offs was endangering biodiversity and lives.
https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/great-southern-fires-university-professors-say-wa-needs-total-rethink-on-prescribed-burning-ng-b88847349z

Australian architects create a grassland in Venice to promote environmental repair 
The Australian entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale will house a “living installation” featuring 10,000 grasses from critically endangered plant communities in Victoria.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-27/2018-venice-architecture-biennale-australian-living-installation/9799474

Calls for scepticism on self-driving cars amid bus firm roll-out
The safety benefits of autonomous vehicles have been overstated, with a widely-held belief that the technology will avoid 90 per cent of road deaths yet to be proven, a new report warns.
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/calls-for-scepticism-on-self-driving-cars-amid-bus-firm-roll-out-20180524-p4zhdp.html

McDonald’s shareholders vote to keep plastic straws
A proposal asking for a report about the business risks of using plastic straws was voted down at the shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/05/24/mcdonalds-shareholders-vote-keep-plastic-straws/640916002/

Rebooting food
Welcome to the brave new world of food, where scientists are battling a global time-bomb of climate change, water scarcity, population growth and soaring obesity rates to find new ways to feed the future.
http://news.trust.org/shorthand/rebooting-food/

British entrepreneur hopes to fight plastic pollution
A British entrepreneur is hoping to help fight plastic pollution in oceans, by developing a water bottle made from paper which will break down within hours, leaving no harmful substances.
https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d414f796b6a4e77457a6333566d54/share_p.html

Researchers propose Payments for Ecosystem Services program framework that better delivers socioeconomic benefits
The authors of a study published in the journal Science Advances developed a framework for examining the ways Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs affect socioeconomic outcomes, and how such programs could improve.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/researchers-propose-framework-for-designing-pes-programs-that-better-deliver-socioeconomic-benefits/

Tanzania’s biggest wildlife reserve under threat
Despite major backlash from conservationists, the Tanzanian government plans to start building a hydropower dam inside a UNESCO-protected wildlife reserve this July. More than 2.6 million trees face the chop.
http://www.dw.com/en/tanzanias-biggest-wildlife-reserve-under-threat/a-43902762

Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests: study
Forests in parts of Southeast Asia face greater threats than previously thought because researchers often rely on data that ignores new roads, which are precursors to deforestation and development, a study shows.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asia-deforestation-roads/unmapped-roads-raise-risk-to-southeast-asian-rainforests-study-idUSKCN1IQ16L

Northumberland puffin numbers ‘may be down’
Numbers of puffins on the UK’s remote Farne Islands may be down 12% in the last five years, the National Trust has warned as it takes its latest census of the seabirds.
http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2018-05-24/northumberland-puffin-numbers-may-be-down/

Illegal loggers ‘cook the books’ to harvest Amazon’s most valuable tree
Brazilian loggers have faked forest inventories and issued phony timber credits to harvest Ipê trees exported to U.S. and Europe. Importers often turn a blind eye, says a new report.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/illegal-loggers-cook-the-books-to-harvest-amazons-most-valuable-tree/

Europe’s neonic ban is a big step—but it won’t be a cure-all for bees
Doug Gurian-Sherman
Allowing farmers to trade one insecticide for another probably won’t deliver substantial, lasting gains.
https://civileats.com/2018/05/24/europes-neonic-ban-is-a-big-step-but-it-wont-be-a-cure-all-for-bees/