Thursday 16 November 2017

What counts as ‘nature’? It all depends
University of Washingto psychology professor Peter Kahn calls it “environmental generational amnesia” — the idea that each generation perceives the environment into which it’s born, no matter how developed, urbanized or polluted, as the norm. And so what each generation comes to think of as “nature” is relative, based on what it’s exposed to.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/uow-wca111517.php

Schwarzenegger at climate conference: Stop talking about climate.
The key is to talk about health and pollution instead, he says.
http://www.ehn.org/schwarzenegger-at-climate-conference-stop-talking-about-climate-axios-2509757447.html

A bolt from the brown: Why pollution may increase lightning strikes
To understand the link between aerosols and electric discharges, scientists must unravel the mysteries of clouds
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-bolt-from-the-brown-why-pollution-may-increase-lightning-strikes/

Trump’s climate debacle is putting more pressure on cities. Here are 4 ways they can be climate heroes
The possibilities are endless, but city leaders need focus.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/11/14/16648044/climate-cities

Global insurance partnership beefed up to protect poor from climate risks
A $125 million contribution from Germany aims to help provide climate insurance for 400 million poor people
http://news.trust.org/item/20171114175330-uvrlt/

So you want to geoengineer the planet? Beware the hurricanes
A new study gives fascinating insight into how pumping sulfur into the stratosphere could affect hurricanes.
https://www.wired.com/story/so-you-want-to-geoengineer-the-planet-beware-the-hurricanes/

Democrats are shockingly unprepared to fight climate change
Robinson Meyer
There’s no magic bill waiting in the wings—and no quick path to arriving at one.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/there-is-no-democratic-plan-to-fight-climate-change/543981/

Global climate action must be gender equal
Hilda Heine
Women bear the heaviest brunt of global warming, and are less empowered to contribute to solutions. A new action plan aims to reverse this inequality.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/15/global-climate-action-must-be-gender-equal

Natural hazard risk: is it just going to get worse or can we do something about it?
Holger Robert Maier, University of Adelaide; Graeme Riddell, University of Adelaide, and Hedwig van Delden, University of Adelaide
What decisions can we make today to reduce the future risk of hazards like floods and fire? Particularly in a time of climate change, modelling various plausible futures helps us plan for uncertainty.
https://theconversation.com/natural-hazard-risk-is-it-just-going-to-get-worse-or-can-we-do-something-about-it-84286

Don’t give up on Pacific Island nations yet
Jon Barnett, University of Melbourne
Fiji’s presidency of this year’s United Nations climate summit has put a renewed focus on the future of low-lying Pacific Islands. And while we should not ignore the plight of these nations, it is just as damaging to assume that their fate is already sealed.
https://theconversation.com/dont-give-up-on-pacific-island-nations-yet-83300

CBA challenged for “weakest climate policy,” dirtiest investments
Greenpeace calls out CBA for “weakest climate policy” of Big Four, and billions invested in new fossil fuels, despite Paris commitment.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/cba-challenged-weakest-climate-policy-dirtiest-investments-55724/

Australia’s Climate Performance Ranks Fourth Last On Long List
Well, at least we’re better than Saudi Arabia.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/11/15/australias-climate-performance-ranks-fourth-last-on-long-list_a_23277688/

Business lobbies get free rein, while govt delivers charities a legal body-slam
The government is crunching charities for foreign donations and tax breaks. Why, then, are the Minerals Council and other corporate lobby groups allowed tax breaks on their foreign funding?
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/11/15/business-lobbies-get-free-rein-while-govt-delivers-charities-a-legal-body-slam/

Big US oil makes $11b play for Santos
http://www.afr.com/business/11b-us-play-for-santos-20171115-gzm139

Victoria presses go on Australia’s biggest renewables auction
Victoria presses go on auction of 650MW of wind and solar capacity, the largest renewable energy tender in Australia to date. It’s a critical move as the RET nears completion and Canberra stalls on future policy settings.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-presses-go-on-australias-biggest-renewables-auction-88315/

Vic road upgrade to be Australian project-first
The contract for an upgrade of Victoria’s Western Roads will be the first such contract for a public-private partnership development and maintenance…
https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/22262-vic-road-upgrade-to-be-australian-project-first

RACV launch electric bikes study to fight Melbourne congestion
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/racv-launch-electric-bikes-study-to-fight-melbourne-congestion/news-story/0f4ab5c39b5734cd5e8f30ccd5631df2

‘Crack team’ kicks off ‘pivotal’ mission to save Great Barrier Reef
Reef scientists, including the man dubbed the “Godfather of Coral”, begin a major research mission that aims to save the Great Barrier Reef from further damage.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-15/major-research-mission-to-save-great-barrier-reef-kicks-off/9150970

Here are the big-ticket Queensland election promises from the major parties
Not sure what’s on offer in this Queensland election? We’ve made it easy with a list of the biggest campaign promises offered up by the major parties so far.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-16/qld-election-breaking-down-big-promises-from-labor-lnp/9143542

Crocodiles hot topic in FNQ in lead up to Queensland election
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/national/crocodiles-hot-topic-in-fnq-in-lead-up-to-queensland-election/news-story/c2181f3ef4e7fd1b5ba170be0be9ad33

Advance Cairns calls for both major parties to fully fund dam plans
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/advance-cairns-calls-for-both-major-parties-to-fully-fund-dam-plans/news-story/4e10db43b3771171bd5d55cb5f77bbdf

Labor announces $75 million for Northern and Eastern Transitways
Commuters could get a congestion-busting sweetener in a transport pledge from Labor.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland-election-2017/75-million-for-northern-and-eastern-transitways-20171115-p4yx15.html

SA Government drops charges against Epic Energy over 2015 pipeline leak that left Port Pirie and Whyalla without gas for days
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/law-order/sa-government-drops-charges-against-epic-energy-over-2015-pipeline-leak-that-left-port-pirie-and-whyalla-without-gas-for-days/news-story/27fad813a19e08f577d987252706d42a

Woodchip export proposal ‘missing link’ for Tasmania’s southern forests
A proposal for a $42 million woodchip export facility in southern Tasmania is the key to rebuilding the sector, an industry chief says.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-15/proposal-to-export-woodchip-from-southern-tasmania/9152282

Wilderness body rejects export plan
THE Wilderness Society says it would need a lot of convincing about a proposed $42 million export facility for woodchip processing — saying it has “no appetite” to embrace the project right now.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/wilderness-society-says-it-is-cynical-about-42-million-southwood-plan/news-story/df44bfbbcd27be34a29a188a2564f939

Money flows for TasWater bosses
TasWater executive salaries rose steeply over the past year, with chief executive Mike Brewster enjoying a hefty increase in pay.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/hefty-pay-rises-for-taswater-executives/news-story/963154e79143a3e63757d433686880e7

Senator claims feed system will cut jobs
A leaked Tassal document indicates the company plans to cut jobs across the state with the introduction of an automated feeding system, the Senate has been told.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/greens-senator-peter-whishwilson-says-tassals-automated-feed-plan-will-result-in-job-losses/news-story/362bdcbeac456a3ad22679f6d36714ed

Death trap for people and wildlife
Rosemary Sandford
The newly opened wider, straighter, sealed road on The Neck at Bruny Island is a fine example of a major tourist highway constructed to aid the flow of the increasing number of tourists to Bruny.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-death-trap-for-people-and-wildlife/news-story/f5de7143d913a697d02aafc1273c8eb7

Rimfire to build largest solar array in NT to send cheap power into Darwin-Katherine grid
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/rimfire-to-build-largest-solar-array-in-nt-to-send-cheap-power-into-darwinkatherine-grid/news-story/6acd94ba9aa64a709af7823e5f337cc3

How a new power monitoring app is helping cut electricity bills by 20pc
Worried about your power bills? A new app that allows you to monitor your electricity consumption and pay your account using a mobile phone-style plan is being touted by WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt as the “way of the future”.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-15/new-power-monitoring-app-set-to-cut-electricity-bills-20pc/9150964

25 years of doing the right thing on trash disposal
New York state enacted a law 25 years ago that has changed the way homeowners handle their trash and kept more than 320 million tons of junk out of landfills.
http://www.pressrepublican.com/opinion/editorial-years-of-doing-the-right-thing/article_e2743ed2-9eea-51f8-bd2e-a76c43454dda.html

Global campaign for mercury-free dentistry targets Africa
A vibrant global campaign to ban the use of mercury in dentistry is shifting direction: moving from Europe to the developing world.
http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/global-campaign-mercury-free-dentistry-targets-africa/

Discrimination against Native Americans sometimes means uranium poisoning
In the Navajo Nation, waste from old uranium mines has proved to be an insidious health hazard. Even spring water has become radioactive.
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/11/14/562856213/for-some-native-americans-uranium-contamination-feels-like-discrimination

Study: Black people are 75 percent more likely to live near toxic oil and gas facilities
Communities of color are disproportionately affected by pollution from the oil and gas industry, and a new study details the extent of the harm.
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/11/study-black-people-are-75-percent-more-likely-to-live-near-toxic-oil-and-gas-facilities/ #

UN says better protections needed from mine water disasters
A string of mining waste disasters – some deadly – over the past decade show better protections are needed for communities downstream of massive polluted material storage sites, according to a United Nations report.
http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/world/article/UN-says-better-protections-needed-from-mine-water-12357211.php

Nuclear frets about ‘marriage of convenience’ with coal
Coal and nuclear power have become so synonymous lately, they are starting to sound like a pair of always-together high school lovebirds.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060066485

A Fast Reactor System to Shorten the Lifetime of Long-Lived Fission Products
Researchers have proposed a more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste. The study involves converting radioactive material into short-lived nuclides by absorbing surplus neutrons in the core ..
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171114091213.htm

These researchers dug through people’s garbage to find out why we waste food
Two new studies explore what food gets wasted, by whom, and why—with surprising findings that could guide your next move in the kitchen.
https://civileats.com/2017/11/15/these-researchers-dug-through-peoples-garbage-to-find-out-why-we-waste-fooddigging-into-the-psychology-of-food-waste/

China says 24 out of 28 cities fail to meet October smog target
Only four of 28 northern Chinese cities met their air quality targets in October, official data showed on Tuesday, raising questions about the country’s ability to reduce the smog that typically develops during the winter.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-pollution/china-says-24-out-of-28-cities-fail-to-meet-october-smog-target-idUSKBN1DE0YH

Solar Power Rapidly Expands, But So Does Oil Use, in New World Energy Outlook
Solar power will surge globally in the coming decades, but oil demand will also continue to grow, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/53163

Ionic ‘solar cell’ could provide on-demand water desalination
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/cp-ic110917.php

Researchers take next step toward fusion energy
Researchers at Texas A&M University have discovered a way to make materials that may be suitable for use in future fusion reactors.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/tau-rtn111417.php

BHP sees 500MW solar and storage potential in disused mines
BHP has been told its legacy mines in north America could support more than 500MW of solar, wind and storage, turning liabilities into potential assets.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/bhp-sees-500mw-solar-storage-potential-disused-mines-20836/

Canada’s most shameful environmental secret must not remain hidden
Tzeporah Berman
Tar sands have been dubbed the largest – and most destructive – industrial project in human history. And Canada is on the forefront of their exploitation.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/14/canadas-shameful-environmental-secret-tar-sands-tailings-ponds

Insurance industry must act on the coal sector
Daniel Gocher
European insurers are limiting their exposure to the coal sector, while American and Australian insurers continue to support business as usual.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/insurance-industry-must-act-coal-sector-78085/

Minerals deal needed to fuel the clean energy transition
Damien Giurco Nicholas Arndt and Saleem H. Ali
As international talks focus on need for rapid deployment of renewables, little attention is paid to the minerals that needed to build these
http://reneweconomy.com.au/minerals-deal-needed-fuel-clean-energy-transition-24352/

How will driverless vehicles change cities?
Alan Davies
Once the difficult transition period when human controlled vehicles are still common is over, a world of fully driverless vehicles should be a lot different from today
https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2017/11/15/driverless-vehicles-change-cities/

Don’t leap to conclusions about backyard weedkiller
Jan Davis
A pivotal debate now under way in the European parliament could revoke the licence for the most widely used herbicide in human history, with fateful consequences for global agriculture and its regulation.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-dont-leap-to-conclusions-about-backyard-weedkiller/news-story/256f1f3e7766cbb6f36c06f1caa7261e

IEA’s coal projections are utterly ludicrous
Terry McCrann
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/terry-mccrann/the-latest-international-energy-agency-projections-confirm-coal-will-still-be-king-in-2040/news-story/1377b92383495fba7ad8b2034c08c561

Phosphorus pollution flowing into Lake Coeur d’Alene has doubled since 1990s
Phosphorus affects algae production in the lake and the long-term management of heavy metals at the lake’s bottom.
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/nov/15/phosphorus-pollution-flowing-into-lake-coeur-dalen/

Have you been rubbing microplastics on your face – or brushing your children’s teeth in them?
How Fauna & Flora International in Cambridge has helped bring about ban on microplastic menace that pollutes our oceans.
http://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/business/science/have-you-been-rubbing-microplastics-on-your-face-or-brushing-your-children-s-teeth-in-them-1-5268249

Pacific Island Countries Could Lose 50-80% of Fish in Local Waters Under Climate Change
Many Pacific Island nations will lose 50 to 80 percent of marine species in their waters by the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked, finds a new Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program study published in Marine Policy.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53173

Amazon’s Recovery Limited by Climate Change
Deforested areas of the Amazon Basin have a limited ability to recover because of recent changes in climate, a study shows.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53171

Amazonian Streams Found Teeming With Fish Species Are Lacking Protection
Hundreds of thousands of Amazonian streams are teeming with highly diverse populations of fish species, a new …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115092407.htm

What counts as ‘nature’? It all depends
University of Washington psychology professor Peter Kahn calls it “environmental generational amnesia” — the idea that each generation perceives the environment into which it’s born, no matter how developed, urbanized or polluted, as the norm. And so what each generation comes to think of as “nature” is relative, based on what it’s exposed to.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/uow-wca111517.php

Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
Findings provide key strategies for rehabilitation
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/fau-stu111417.php

Explainer: mass coral spawning, a wonder of the natural world
Line K Bay, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Andrew Heyward,Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Andrew Negri, Australian Institute of Marine Science
Every year buoyant bundles rise from a spawning coral, giving the impression of an upside-down snowstorm.
https://theconversation.com/explainer-mass-coral-spawning-a-wonder-of-the-natural-world-87253