Thursday 19 October 2017

Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers
Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

Some groups want more CO2. Here’s what that means.
A key argument used by climate skeptics to downplay the consequences of anthropogenic climate change is resurfacing: the idea that carbon dioxide emissions are a net positive for the planet’s vegetation.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4566925153911786599

A tech-destroying solar flare could hit Earth within 100 years
The sun could be one of our biggest threats in the next 100 years. If an enormous solar flare like the one that hit Earth 150 years ago struck us today, it could knock out our electrical grids, satellite communications and the internet. A new study finds that such an event is likely within the next century.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2150350-a-tech-destroying-solar-flare-could-hit-earth-within-100-years/

CliFi – A new way to talk about climate change
John Abraham
If you’re not familiar with the new genre of climate fiction, you might be soon.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/oct/18/clifi-a-new-way-to-talk-about-climate-change

No answers yet for two-thirds of the economy not covered by latest energy plan
Farmers, builders and the trucking industry might be forced to do extra work to cut greenhouse gas emissions because of the way the National Energy Guarantee is designed.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/energy-plan-leaves-building-trucking,-agriculture-in-doubt/9061666

Turnbull plan would cut 6 per cent off power bills in best scenario
Even the best energy policy will do little to reduce costs for consumers, experts have warned, as the Turnbull government resists pressure to substantiate claims its new policy will save Australians $2 a week on power bills.
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4997673/turnbull-plan-would-cut-6-per-cent-off-power-bills-in-best-scenario/?cs=7

It’s back: Turnbull’s plan guarantees return of a carbon price
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbulls-national-energy-guarantee-plan-masks-a-carbon-price-20171017-gz32lb.html

Could improving renewable energy tech ease the power bill for dairy farmers?
Hunter Valley dairy farmers expect power bills of up to $200,000 after weeks of intense irrigation due to dry conditions, prompting some to race towards renewable energy.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/could-renewable-energy-ease-pain-for-dairy-farmers/9058740

Origin backs NEG, even though it fails to match climate target
Origin Energy’s newly released decarbonisation plan shows the gen-tailer is taking climate change rather more seriously than the Coalition.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-backs-neg-even-though-it-fails-to-match-climate-target-40776/

States gobsmacked by lack of detail, research in Turnbull’s NEG
In a testy phone hook-up they were told all the government had was a press release and an eight-page letter.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/states-gobsmacked-by-lack-of-detail-research-in-turnbulls-neg-17168/

Labor open to a deal on energy
Labor is open to a deal on energy policy but might increase emission reduction targets should it win the next election.
http://www.afr.com/news/labor-open-to-energy-deal-but-demands-detail-20171017-gz2yvz

Turnbull energy policy ‘remarkably similar’ to intensity scheme, Kim Carr says
Labor’s industry spokesman warns NEG does not do enough to reduce prices in the short term but signals possible cooperation
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/18/turnbull-energy-policy-remarkably-similar-to-intensity-scheme-kim-carr-says

Coalition’s energy plan hurts renewables more than no action – Greens
Adam Bandt says sector could reach as little as 28% of the energy mix compared with 35% under business-as-usual
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/19/coalitions-energy-plan-hurts-renewables-more-than-no-action-greens

Solar making sense for more landlords
http://www.afr.com/real-estate/commercial/solar-making-sense-for-more-landlords-20171017-gz31qy

Which state has the best drinking water in Australia?
A friendly competition run by the Water Industry Operators Association narrows down the best-tasting tap water in the country.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/australias-best-tasting-water-chosen/9062064

Electric cars could be ‘new beginning’ for Australia’s automotive industry
There are calls for Australia to take advantage of the plug-in car revolution as Holden closes its last manufacturing plant.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/electric-cars-could-be-new-beginning-for-automotive-industry/9061676

Push for Garage Sales to help reduce waste
People across the nation are being encourage to host a Garage Sale in a bid to reduce landfill.
https://thewest.com.au/news/offbeat/push-for-garage-sales-to-help-reduce-waste-bc-5615744381001

BHP a ‘fiscal termite eating away at our tax system’
Former treasurer Wayne Swan has launched another extraordinary attack on mining giant BHP, labelling it Australia’s “worst tax dodger” and linking a million dollar bonus to the company’s CEO to his success at minimising tax.
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bhp-labelled-australias-worst-tax-dodger-by-former-treasurer-wayne-swan-20171018-gz37lz.html

How to extricate yourself from an energy policy jam
Bernard Keane
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/10/18/how-to-extricate-yourself-from-an-energy-policy-jam/

Federal government unveils ‘National Energy Guarantee’ – experts react
Alan Pears, RMIT University; Anna Skarbek, Monash University, and Dylan McConnell, University of Melbourne
The federal government has announced a new National Energy Guarantee focused on electricity reliability, after deciding not to implement a clean energy target.
http://theconversation.com/federal-government-unveils-national-energy-guarantee-experts-react-85823

Turnbull wants us to bet on an energy trifecta without seeing the detail
Stephen Long
It’s impossible to make a definitive judgement on the National Energy Guarantee because the policy, made on the run with obvious haste, is light on detail
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-19/national-energy-guarantee-trifecta-missing-detail/9063500

Fed-up voters may get the PM’s energy plan across the line
Andrew Probyn
The greatest ally Malcolm Turnbull has for his “game-changer” National Energy Guarantee isn’t the gaggle of experts he’s assembled to devise it. It’s you.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/analysis-malcolm-turnbulls-energy-relies-on-fed-up-voters/9060836

Energy policy offers hope via carbon price
Age editorial
Mr Turnbull’s policy may not be optimal, but it may be a reasonable route to a clean energy future.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/malcolm-turnbulls-energy-policy-offers-hope-via-carbon-price-20171018-gz3eap.html

Why Turnbull’s plan could be disaster for renewables, climate, prices
Giles Parkinson
NEG appears to be the most ill-considered, poorly detailed and potentially useless policy that anyone can remember, and a disaster for renewable energy, climate targets and consumer prices. It appears to be the work of Australia’s so-called “energy mafia”, hungry to retain …
http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-turnbulls-plan-could-be-disaster-for-renewables-climate-prices-57822/

Replacing the Clean Energy Target with a dirty one?
Tony Pfeiffer
The decision to walk away from a Clean Energy Target makes no sense. But small communities will forge ahead with the transition to renewable energy.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/replacing-clean-energy-target-dirty-one-83795/

It’s the end, not the means, that counts
Ben Oquist
Amongst all the sound and fury regarding the Government’s energy plan there is a central question going unanswered – what is the level of emissions reduction being proposed by the Government? And at what cost?
http://reneweconomy.com.au/its-the-end-not-the-means-that-counts-95164/

The no-name policy with little chance of reducing power prices
David Leitch
The runway to strong emission reductions at an affordable price is at risk of being thrown away under the Coaliton’s new policy, which could require retailers to buy the output from its own expensive Snowy Hydro project. The energy mafia would approve.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/the-no-name-policy-with-little-chance-of-reducing-power-prices-64948/

On Turnbull’s electricity trilemma, are we being negged?
Simon Holmes à Court
The Australian public has been ‘negged’ by unfounded fears of blackouts. Will we be ‘negged’ again by the proposed new energy policy?
http://reneweconomy.com.au/on-turnbulls-electricity-trilemma-are-we-being-negged-31916/

The NEG: A carbon price by any other name
Reputex
Assuming it is implemented, the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee will in effect establish a de facto price on carbon emissions from the power sector.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/the-neg-a-carbon-price-by-any-other-name-93330/

Savings figures in Turnbull’s energy plan look rubbery
Michelle Grattan
The Government needs to convince people they’ll get some relief from high power prices, but even as Malcolm Turnbull unveiled his energy policy the rubbery nature of the household savings became apparent
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/energy-guarantee-household-savings-figures-rubbery-grattan/9061246

The government’s energy policy hinges on some tricky wordplay about coal’s role
John Quiggin
https://theconversation.com/the-governments-energy-policy-hinges-on-some-tricky-wordplay-about-coals-role-85843

What is the national energy guarantee and is it really a game changer?
Katharine Murphy
Politics editor Katharine Murphy explains what the Coalition’s new policy could achieve and what might stand in its way
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/18/what-is-the-national-energy-guarantee-explainer

Power struggle
Graham Lloyd
New energy policies could promote other methods of storing carbon.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/natural-methods-of-storing-carbon-gain-new-emphasis-under-energy-scheme/news-story/6b3251ca8f85f892fc3c6c9dad096a51

The company that called the mining tax a ‘sovereign risk’ has been charged with fraud
Bernard Keane
While they were lecturing Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard about tax, Rio Tinto was engaged in massive destruction of shareholder wealth. Now the US corporate regulator is gunning for them.
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/10/18/rio-tinto-has-been-charged-with-fraud-crikey/

Bob Brown wins his case, but High Court leaves the door open to laws targeting protesters
Brendan Gogarty
The court found the Tasmanian law was unbalanced and unreasonable. However, it affirmed the right of parliaments to target protesters who interfere with business operations.
https://theconversation.com/bob-brown-wins-his-case-but-high-court-leaves-the-door-open-to-laws-targeting-protesters-85742

Does driving matter for a city’s liveability?
Alan Davies
Driving will inevitably continue to have a huge impact on the liveability of Australia’s growing cities – policy-makers must stop ignoring the car and start “taming” it
https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2017/10/18/driving-matter-citys-liveability/

Pollies can no longer ignore scientific proof
Geoff Edwards
NO wonder the science community is in despair. Climate change is no longer up for debate, yet politicians just keep raising questions
http://www.couriermail.com.au/rendezview/pollies-can-no-longer-ignore-scientific-proof/news-story/04f13866261c3b5bace8f47f74843f04

Don’t clamp down, make bike sharing easier
Will Davies
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/councils-kneejerk-reaction-is-the-problem-not-bikes-20171017-gz2gfv.html

Job cuts on the way, but don’t be fooled by ‘gas crisis’ spin
Bruce Robertson
In the next few weeks there will be an announcement that a large, gas-intensive Australian manufacturer is to lay off about 1000 workers. The ripple effects this will have on society will be devastating and most certainly could have been avoided.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/job-cuts-on-the-way-but-dont-be-fooled-by-gas-crisis-spin-20171018-gz343n.html

Energy policy a rare chance to rebuild industry
Telegraph editorial
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/editorial-energy-policy-a-rare-chance-to-rebuild-industry/news-story/610ec0e4197492960a7519280b2496da

Victoria ‘won’t repeat mistakes of other states’ on plastic bag ban
Single-use, lightweight plastic bags will be banned in Victoria, but the Andrews Government says it will look closely at how the laws will work because experience in other places showed bans could actually lead to an increase in heavy-duty plastic bags.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/victoria-to-ban-single-use-plastic-bags/9060778

Australian doctors call on health super funds to pull $1.7 billion out of coal and oil companies.
Hundreds of Victorian doctors and medical staff are pressuring their super funds to quit investing in coal and oil for the sake of health, as they did with tobacco five years ago.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4566925153911786575

Energy link-up
A GROUP of Victorian agribusinesses have banded together in a bid to beat their rising energy prices.
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/enery-prices-meat-processors-join-forces-to-beat-rising-costs/news-story/9b0b3d07dfd5ff6ef100b3a6283a7358

Vic’s ‘safer place’ crisis
THOUSANDS of Victorians have been left without a refuge of last resort during major bushfires, with access to just 302 Neighbourhood Safer Places, compared to more than 1000 in NSW.
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/neighbourhood-safer-places-victorias-safer-place-crisis/news-story/306712c338d424914aa9912dc91ca6e4

Reducing the impacts of plastics on the Victorian environment
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Vic)
This discussion paper seeks input from all Victorians on design of a ban of single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags. It also seeks input on managing other plastic pollution.
http://apo.org.au/node/114811

Don’t ban plastic bags in Victoria, charge for them instead
Susie O’Brien
Let’s not ban the plastic bag — it’ll just cause a surge in the use of other heavier bags.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/dont-ban-plastic-bags-in-victoria-charge-for-them-instead/news-story/6c625fbdd8c2f115b436e4cb71fd9db5

Locals in small NSW town see big benefits as renewables invest millions
A small town of just 9,000 in the north-west of NSW has become an epicentre for renewable energy investment, letting landowners like Tim Moses “drought-proof” their income from the massive wind turbines on their property.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-19/record-investment-in-renewable-power-near-glen-innes/9063854

Small Australian town aims to become its own power station
The northern New South Wales town of Tyalgum is powering toward being Australia’s first town to completely drop out of the national electricity grid with clean and cheap renewable energy.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/small-town-tyalgum-nsw-aims-to-be-own-power-station/9052808

Innovation: UNSW “microfactories” transform waste into green gold
A team of Australian researchers is turning the notion of recycling on its head, while also building a new green manufacturing sector.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/innovation-unsw-microfactories-transform-waste-into-green-gold-98471/

Could improving renewable energy tech ease the power bill for dairy farmers?
Hunter Valley dairy farmers expect power bills of up to $200,000 after weeks of intense irrigation due to dry conditions, prompting some to race towards renewable energy.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/could-renewable-energy-ease-pain-for-dairy-farmers/9058740

Call to scrap NSW anti-protest laws after High Court decision
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/call-to-scrap-nsw-antiprotest-laws-after-high-court-decision-20171018-gz3g7e.html

Koala deathtraps, Roads and Maritime Services and censorship
Sue Arnold
A report on the koala death trap created by a highway upgrade in Ballina has attracted censorship.
https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/koala-deathtraps-roads-and-maritime-services-and-censorship,10833

‘Weak’: ACT critical of Turnbull’s new energy plan
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-government-refuses-to-back-turnbull-energy-plan-until-more-detail-is-given-20171018-gz3797.html

We’ve been duped over duplication
THE train to the Sunshine Coast is running late – by a decade — and exasperated public transport campaigners say the ongoing failure to duplicate a section of the line will be an election issue.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/nine-years-on-commuters-waiting-on-20km-line-duplication-promised-by-government/news-story/5741f2fc955eccf2134a741a6c475322

State energy plan ‘nuts’: Morrison
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has labelled the Queensland Government’s persistence with a renewable energy target “a muppet of a proposal”.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-energy-plan-nuts-says-scott-morrison/news-story/c1524a9ffa9ab68e107477aabf61c5dc

High Court upholds protest right
The High Court has upheld the right to protest at mine sites, with potential implications for the Adani coal mine.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/high-court-upholds-the-publics-right-to-protest/news-story/eaefc15761d9d3f35302231316d4d45c

Major pastoral station sells for $8.4 million at auction
The historically significant Beltana Station in the Flinders Ranges sells at auction for $8.4 million, and will remain in local hands after failing to attract Chinese interest.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/beltana-station-sells-at-auction-to-sa-pastoralist/9063492

Marshall backs Turnbull’s energy policy
State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has backed the Turnbull Government’s new energy policy, saying he believes it will bring down power prices.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/liberal-leader-steven-marshall-backs-malcolm-turnbulls-energy-policy/news-story/37c65d0e0b256b0f862d482b6f9701ff

1300 jobs in China-backed mine
 Up to 1300 jobs will be created in SA through an $800 million investment leading to the significant expansion of a Far North iron ore mine and development of other projects in the area.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/1300-jobs-coming-in-expansion-of-cairn-hill-iron-ore-mine-in-sas-far-north/news-story/08f90832d15afcffb39cac528b7ea300

Swift parrot ‘massacre’ warning as campaign raises funds predator-proof nests
Conservation scientists raising money for new nesting boxes to protect endangered swift parrots from predators reach their target within hours of launching the campaign for funds.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/campaign-to-fund-deployment-of-swift-parrot-possum-keeper-outer/9062434

Liberal’s energy plan ‘threatens’ Tasmanian jobs, Polley warns
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4997486/liberals-energy-plan-threatens-tasmanian-jobs-polley-warns/?cs=95

Fire crew battle blazes across state
THE Tasmania Fire Service is responding to more than a dozen bushfires across north and south of the state.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tasmania-fire-service-crews-battle-blazes-across-state/news-story/f7bf2794c9348265f02c8d9077a5d7cf

Barnett ‘unconvinced’ on Federal energy plan
STATE Energy Minister Guy Barnett says he is “far from convinced” by the Federal Government’s proposed energy policy.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/politics/energy-minister-guy-barnett-questioned-over-federal-governments-energy-decision/news-story/12aaa8c8f10565fa78a0d16734c7f94c

WA households could save an average $210 on gas bills
Australia’s biggest energy provider is offering WA households up to 35 per cent off their gas bills in an attempt to land a knock-out blow on competitors.
https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/wa-households-could-save-an-average-210-on-gas-bills-ng-b88633212z

Study Estimates about 2.1 Million People using Wells High in Arsenic
Most Arsenic Presumed to be From Naturally Occurring Sources
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/52889

Scientists reveal impact of mining on Amazon rainforest clearing
Almost 10 per cent of Amazon rainforest logging has been caused by unregulated development around mine sites, scientific research finds.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-10-18/amazon-rainforest-deforestation-mining/9057268

How big water projects helped trigger Africa’s migrant crisis.
Major dam and irrigation projects are drying up the wetlands that sustain life in the arid Sahel region of Africa. The result has been a wave of environmental refugees
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/1195107355338418182

China set to add 50GW new solar PV in 2017
China has installed 42GW of new solar PV in 2017 so far, putting it on track to reach a record 50GW for the year.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/china-set-add-50gw-new-solar-pv-2017/

Separating methane and CO2 will become more efficient
To make natural gas and biogas suitable for use, the methane has to be separated from the CO?. This involves the use of membranes: filters that stop the methane and let the CO? pass through. Researchers at KU Leuven have developed a new membrane that makes the separation process much more effective.
http://www.enn.com/energy/article/52878

This startup turns climate pollution into fish feed.
NovoNutrients wants to replace that fish food with something more sustainable: microbes grown with carbon dioxide.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4566925153911786585

Life in the City: Living Near a Forest Keeps Your Amygdala Healthier
A new study examined the relationship between the availability of nature near city dwellers’ homes and their brain health. Its findings are relevant for urban planners among …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171018113515.htm

Are the policies of promoting bicycle use socially profitable?
A study carried out by the research group Applied Economics & Management, which is based at the University of Seville, has included a Cost-benefit Analysis that estimates that the socio-economic returns of the constructions of the network of cycle paths in Seville.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uos-atp101817.php

The Guardian view on plastic: learning to love it wisely.
Guardian editorial
Our love for plastic is all-consuming. This is not a health relationship: we rely on it too much and value it too little, regarding it as cheap and disposable.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4566925153911786094

Kids need trees, not devices
Kara Jung
WHEN I conjure memories of my childhood, they often take me back to the creek that runs through my old home town.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/kids-need-trees-not-devices/news-story/3c7a2c48d0b73ac3f5689333841b9652

The UK just installed its first “seabin” to clean plastic-polluted waters.
Our oceans fill with millions of tons of plastic every single year. Portsmouth Harbor, in the UK, aims to combat this problem with the seabin, a new device that sucks plastic, oil, and other debris from the water.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4566925153911786587

Brazilian Amazon still plagued by illegal use of natural resources.
Practices such as poaching and illegal logging are concentrated near inhabited areas and along rivers, study finds.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/1195107355338418189

New Amazon Threat? Deforestation From Mining
Surprising amount of rainforest loss occurs on – and off – mining leases, new study finds
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/52888

Amazonian Hunters Deplete Wildlife but Don’t Empty Forests
Conservationists can be ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the prospect of sustainable subsistence hunting by Amazonian communities, according to new research.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171017153148.htm

Tropical beetles face extinction threat
Climate change is putting many tropical high altitude beetles at risk of extinction, warn an international team of scientists.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/52874

Three-quarters of the total insect population lost in protected nature reserves
Since 1989, in 63 nature reserves in Germany the total biomass of flying insects has decreased by more than 75 percent.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/run-tot101717.php

Rare tree species safeguard biodiversity in a changing climate
New research suggests that rare species of trees in rainforests may help safeguard biodiversity levels as the environment undergoes change.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uol-rts101817.php

Hardy corals make their moves to build new reefs from scratch
Resilient species of coral can move to inhospitable areas and lay the foundations for new reefs, a study shows.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uoe-hcm101817.php

Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uoz-rec101817.php

New study predicts worldwide change in shallow reef ecosystems as waters warm
A new study based on the first global survey of marine life by scuba divers has provided fresh insights into how climate change is affecting the distribution of marine life.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uot–nsp101217.php

Study links chocolate production to increased deforestation in poor nations
Every year, more than five million family farms in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Indonesia and Brazil produce about four and a half million tons of cocoa beans, according the World Cocoa Foundation. Ghana and the Ivory Coast supply more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/lu-slc101717.php

These are the most annoying noises driving people mad
Loud noises driving you crazy? You don’t have to suffer in silence, here’s what you need to know if you want to raise your voice over that barking dog, out-of-hours construction work, and hoons.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-19/most-common-noise-complaints-brisbane-and-what-to-do-about-it/9059182