THURSDAY 24 MAY 2018

Hitting toughest climate target will save world $30tn in damages, analysis shows
Almost all nations would benefit economically from keeping global warming to 1.5C, a new study indicates
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/23/hitting-toughest-climate-target-will-save-world-30tn-in-damages-analysis-shows

Earth’s climate to increase by 4 degrees by 2084
A new study shows the Earth’s climate would increase by 4 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, before the end of 21st century. The study also projects precipitation changes in association with a 4 degrees Celsius global warming above the pre-industrial period using the available RCP8.5 experiments of CMIP5 models.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/ioap-ect052318.php

Streams may emit more carbon dioxide in a warmer climate
Streams and rivers could pump carbon dioxide into the air at increasing rates if they continue to warm, potentially compounding the effects of global warming, a new worldwide analysis has shown.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/osu-sme052318.php

How we got through summer without load-shedding blackouts
Australia’s electricity grid survived the second-hottest summer on record without load-shedding blackouts, despite the closure of a major coal-fired power station in Victoria, according to two reports released by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-23/no-load-shedding-over-hot-summer/9792802

Contaminated Australian defence sites put spotlight on environmental record
Costly rehabilitation to be largely left to developers, including on Melbourne site involving 130 chemicals
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/24/contaminated-australian-defence-sites-put-spotlight-on-environmental-record

Electric cars to drive 2020 ‘revenue crisis’  [PAYWALL]
Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris said the “greatest failure of my time in infrastructure” is the fact electric cars will blow a hole in federal revenue because states can’t agree on road user charging.
http://www.afr.com/news/politics/productivity-commission-chairman-peter-harris-calls-for-road-charging-by-2020-20180523-h10fjm

Making the grade: Why some office buildings don’t pass the emissions test  [PAYWALL]
Private ownership of lower-grade office buildings is hampering Australia’s ability to curb built-environment emissions as individual owners are less likely to invest in environmental …
http://www.afr.com/real-estate/making-the-grade-why-some-office-buildings-dont-pass-the-emissions-test-20180522-h10dml

Gupta says could build 10GW of large scale solar across Australia
Gupta says GFG Alliance could build 10GW of large scale in Australia, as well as make EVs, and use car batteries for household storage.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/gupta-says-could-build-10gw-of-large-scale-solar-across-australia-56384/

Australia imports almost all of its oil, and there are pitfalls all over the globe
Anthony Richardson, RMIT University
Australia’s recently announced review of its national fuel stockpiles is timely indeed. The country is almost totally reliant on oil being shipped through some of the world’s most contested regions.
https://theconversation.com/australia-imports-almost-all-of-its-oil-and-there-are-pitfalls-all-over-the-globe-97070

Spike in urchins threatening seagrass leads to fishers’ harvest windfall
Commercial fishermen will be allowed to harvest and sell sea urchins from Gippsland’s Corner Inlet in a bid to improve the area’s crucial seagrass habitat.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-23/sea-urchin-harvesting-a-win-for-industry-and-biodiversity/9790694

Confusion reigns over future of Cape Otway Lightstation
The managers of Cape Otway Lightstation say they are confused about Parks Victoria’s plans for the lighthouse, after receiving a letter stating the department was ending an expression of interest process for a new 21-year lease. But Parks says the process is still underway.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-23/confusion-reigns-over-future-of-cape-otway-lightstation/9791018

Trees falling on powerlines sparked fires that destroyed 194 Blue Mountains homes
Two fires that destroyed almost 200 homes in parts of the Blue Mountains community in 2013 were caused by arcing powerlines after strong winds downed trees, the NSW deputy coroner finds.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-23/falling-trees-caused-devastating-blue-mountains-fires/9790740

NSW shark nets catch threatened species
The NSW government’s second shark net trial has ended with data showing a critically-endangered grey nurse shark was among the 145 marine animals caught.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/nsw-shark-nets-catch-threatened-species/news-story/0ce01747ba5c525a98c7bd9ee3f41643

The cruel truth about the brumbies
First Dog on the Moon
Horses get shot and killed in abattoirs every day but not these horses
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/23/the-cruel-truth-about-the-brumbies

RSPCA ‘disturbed’ by plan to get rid of Canberra’s feral peacocks
The RSPCA ACT has slammed a new government proposal to stop Canberra’s feral peacock invasion as community opposition to the plan grows.
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/rspca-disturbed-by-plan-to-get-rid-of-canberra-s-feral-peacocks-20180523-p4zh0w.html

A Senator supported Adani in Parliament after investing in the Adani port
An illegible page on his register of interests was belatedly replaced, revealing a key crossbench Senator as an investor in the Adani Abbot Point coal terminal.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-24/key-crossbencher-revealed-as-investor-in-adani-port/9743572

Cape York traditional owners call for land-clearing halt to protect burial sites
Queensland government takes Kingvale station to court over clearing that Olkola people say threatens sacred sites
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/24/cape-york-traditional-owners-call-for-land-clearing-halt-to-protect-burial-sites

Extra $40 million in Great Barrier Reef funding in next month’s budget
Cash for rangers and run-off will be included in the next state budget, while Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged people to show some love, and take a holiday.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/extra-40-million-in-great-barrier-reef-funding-in-next-month-s-budget-20180523-p4zh06.html

Council resumes houses to deliver $40m road upgrade
More than 25 property resumptions are required to widen a road that carries 37,000 motorists a day in Brisbane north.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/council-resumes-houses-to-deliver-40-million-road-upgrade-20180522-p4zgv9.html

Wallaby plan crashes into a mass of red tape  [PAYWALL]
The Agile Wallaby project will not be bounding forward any time soon as organisers have been mired in red tape
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/agile-wallabies-application-rejected/news-story/29cd35d86af3e14cb6721858de0e3cce

Yarranlea Solar Farm under construction in Queensland
Work begins on Risen Energy’s 121MW Yarranlea Solar Farm, west of Toowoomba, which is going ahead without a PPA.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/yarranlea-solar-farm-construction-queensland-79721/

Sacking of scientist Peter Ridd stifles global warming debate  [PAYWALL]
Andrew Bolt
Finally, Turnbull Government ministers are waking up to a frightening thought: are our universities muzzling global warming sceptics?
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/andrew-bolt/james-cook-universitys-sacking-of-scientist-peter-ridd-stifles-the-global-warming-debate/news-story/99566ee4d32b25df932a54e50d82ae16

What’s happened to South Australia’s biggest and most modern gas generators?
The biggest and most modern gas generation units in South Australia have been out of action for the past month.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/whats-happened-to-south-australias-biggest-and-most-modern-gas-generators-89811/

SA Liberals vow to continue energy transition, go big in batteries
SA Liberal energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan vows to continue state’s dramatic energy transition, and flags support for programs that could deliver 100,000 household batteries.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/sa-liberals-vow-to-continue-energy-transition-go-big-in-batteries-93367/

Doubts over prices under TasWater deal [PAYWALL]
The Hodgman Government’s claim it will deliver lower water prices is being challenged.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/politics/labor-modelling-raises-doubts-over-governments-taswater-deal/news-story/438c5a86d9b824319a706e5bd4ebf95a

Andrew’s no goose in the search for eagles  [PAYWALL]
Andrew Hughes checks in from Cape Barren Island with a final shout-out to join in his survey of wedge-tailed eagles and other birds of prey this weekend
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/its-cape-barren-island-calling-as-andrew-hughes-nears-the-pointy-end-of-the-search-for-wedgetailed-eagles/news-story/f958577ec1e7aceb77705fe38e5a1e46

Stop Hodgman Liberal Government subsidies to Vedanta’s Mt Lyell mine …
Isla MacGregor
Recent police shootings of demonstrators in Tamil Nadu in India protesting against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper Smelter raises serious questions over the Hodgman Government’s $35 million subsidies to Vedanta Resources Mt Lyell mine in Queenstown.
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/stop-hodgman-liberal-government-subsidies-to-vedantas-mt-lyell-mine-/

Australia completes world’s largest cat-proof fence to protect endangered marsupials
Feral cats kill a million native birds every night and have caused extinction of 20 native species since introduction
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/24/australia-completes-worlds-largest-cat-proof-fence-to-protect-endangered-marsupials

The community fighting to save itself from being literally undermined
A small community in Western Australia is fighting a losing battle to save itself from being undermined in a decades-long struggle against one of the nation’s largest gold mining companies.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-23/the-town-fighting-to-save-itself-from-being-undermined/9772822

Ending throwaway culture with a buy-nothing, fix-everything attitude
A number of Perth initiatives are challenging our throwaway culture by encouraging community giving, repairing and more thoughtful buying.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-24/war-on-waste-buying-nothing-movement-wa/9787422

Is ‘vegan leather’ a sustainable alternative to animal leather?
Many stores — particularly those that spruik their ethical standards — are now offering “vegan leather” products. So are vegan leather goods just for those who want to avoid animal products? Or are they kinder on the environment too?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-05-24/vegan-leather-is-it-a-sustainable-alternative/9774768

Rice may become less nutritious in future, scientists find
Researchers in Japan and China fear significant health implications, especially in poorer countries, after finding that protein, iron and zinc levels in rice all fell significantly when grown in higher carbon dioxide environments.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-24/scientists-warning-rice-may-become-less-nutritious/9792822

500 BMW i3 batteries connected to UK wind farm
Sweden’s Vattenfall connects 500 BMW i3 batteries to 228MW wind farm in South Wales, in “UK’s largest” co-located onshore wind and battery project.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/500-bmw-i3-batteries-connected-to-uk-wind-farm-48801/

Determining effective methods of irrigation as water becomes increasingly scarce
US consumers prefer the idea of using fresh water for any watering needs. In most cases, plants irrigated with recycled water saw no negative impact when compared to the same types of plants irrigated with pure, non-recycled water.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/asfh-dem052318.php

Long-term study shows crop rotation decreases greenhouse gas emissions
Many farmers grow corn and soybean in rotation to avoid the continuous corn yield penalty, but now there’s another reason to rotate. Scientists at the University of Illinois have provided further evidence that rotating crops increases yield and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to continuous corn or soybean.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uoic-lss052318.php

How renewables can provide the same grid services as new gas plants
US report demonstrates how renewable and distributed energy resources can provide the same grid services as gas generators – and avoid $1 trillion of new plant costs.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/how-renewables-can-provide-the-same-grid-services-as-new-gas-plants-74405/

A 100% renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s already happening
Debate over whether we can run electric grids on 100% renewables in coming decades misses a key point: many countries and regions are already there.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/a-100-renewable-grid-isnt-just-feasible-its-already-happening-73505/

Excess nutrients, coupled with climate change, damage the most highly resilient corals
Experimentalists conducted a simulation of future conditions in the Red Sea caused by global warming and acidification, while simultaneously increasing levels of nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate. They found that when nitrate and phosphate were added, the coral thermal resilience was compromised while algal growth benefited from excess CO2 and nutrients. Algal dominance over corals in the reef means losing all of the beauty and biodiversity of the coral reefs.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/bu-enc052318.php

How local communities can transition to sustainable energy systems
What makes for a successful transition to a low-carbon energy system? Local involvement, perceived fairness and information sharing, according to new research from Lund University in Sweden.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/lu-hlc052318.php

Change policy to scale up climate-smart farming in Africa – experts
Diversified farming is an example of “climate-smart agriculture” – farming techniques that help growers and herders continue to make a living, even as climate change brings harsher and more unpredictable conditions.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180523125206-uc4i5/

Rural Georgians look to the sun to ease energy poverty
In the Georgian countryside, many are reliant on firewood for heating. Can local energy cooperatives help fight the resulting air pollution and deforestation, and help families save cash, with a solar-powered fix?
http://www.dw.com/en/rural-georgians-look-to-the-sun-to-ease-energy-poverty/a-43873752

Even the area farthest from land is polluted by plastic, researchers say
Even the ocean area farthest from land has become polluted with plastic waste, researchers say. The remote spot known as the “oceanic pole of inaccessibility” is roughly 1,700 miles away from inhabited land.
https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2018-05-22-point-nemo-southern-ocean-pollution-plastic-pole-of

Little-known accounting policy could fuel green infrastructure
Most water agencies don’t think of local water projects like green roofs or efficiency rebates as assets, but now they can. And that means agencies can now access capital markets for funding, which could help dramatically grow these projects.
https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2018/05/23/little-known-accounting-policy-could-fuel-green-infrastructure-surge

Russia’s 1st sea-borne nuclear power plant arrives in the Arctic
Nuclear company says it could pioneer power source for remote areas. Greenpeace calls it ‘nuclear Titanic.’
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/russia-floating-nuclear-power-plant-1.4673054

Full impact of biodegradable bags not known – UK study
New research shows how little is known about the ability of so-called biodegradable bags to break down, or how long it takes.
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/358051/full-impact-of-biodegradable-bags-not-known-uk-study

How India’s fishermen turn ocean plastic pollution into roads
In an innovative project, fishermen in Kerala collect ocean plastic for recycling, cleaning the ocean in the process.
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/fishermen-kerala-india-recycle-plastic-pollution-culture/

Plastic straws make ocean pollution: Environment-friendly alternatives
An estimated 500 million single-use plastic straws are used and thrown away every day in the U.S. alone. And most of those wind up in in our landfills, oceans and beaches.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/05/23/sustainable-alternatives-plastic-straws-recyling/632993002/

European cities embrace electric buses
Poor air quality and congestion have prompted several European cities to invest in cleaner public transport.
http://www.dw.com/en/european-cities-embrace-electric-buses/av-43896042

Postcapitalising post carbon for the win
Karun Cowper
Postcapitalism is not about inventing something new or imposing unrealistic utopias but is about building on existing movements, emerging successes and resilient ecosystems.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19750

Conservatism and the demise of Israel
Peter Bowden
Once Iran has a missile and a nuclear warhead, they will be launched. Israel has atomic bombs also.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19749

Flooded Valleys And Burning Forests, The Global Face Of Renewable Energy(Part II)
Geoff Russell brings you the second of a three-part series on the global renewable energy revolution.
https://newmatilda.com/2018/05/23/flooded-valleys-burning-forests-global-face-renewable-energy-part-ii/

Superman coral in Red Sea can take climate change but not sewage too, scientists warn
Hardy Red Sea coral was voted most likely to survive global warming, but even it can’t overcome explosive algal growth fed by effluence and the rise in floodwaters.
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/MAGAZINE-superman-coral-in-red-sea-can-take-climate-change-but-not-sewage-too-1.6111861

Long-term study reveals one invasive insect can change a forest bird community
Eastern hemlock forests have been declining due to a non-native insect pest. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications presents some of the best data showing how the decline of a single tree species leads to the disappearance of birds specialized to them. The data also indicate birds associated with non-hemlock habitat features are spreading into former hemlock forests. A single insect species has led to a less diverse bird community across this landscape.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aosp-lsr051618.php

Birds play the waiting game in tough environmental conditions
If resources are limited and tough to find, reproductive efforts may fail. In these situations, it may be in an animal’s best interests to not defend a territory or to breed at all, but rather focus its efforts on surviving to the next breeding season. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances presents some of the best evidence on how changes in environmental conditions, specifically droughts, impact the social and reproductive behavior of birds.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aosp-bpt051618.php

Desert bees have a secret: How to survive a decade of drought
Bees are most diverse in arid environments. Will their survival strategies hold up in an era of climate change? Researchers in New Mexico are trying to figure that out, before it’s too late.
https://undark.org/article/desert-bees-new-mexico/

Famous Thai bay to close for four months
Thailand’s Maya Bay, made famous by the film “The Beach“, will close for four months from June to allow its coral reefs to recover from rising temperatures and the environmental impact of thousands of visitors each day.
http://www.dw.com/en/famous-thai-bay-to-close-for-four-months/a-43888866

Cities drive creatures to body size extremes
How the heat of cities drives animal size may offer clues about how ecosystems will respond to global warming.
https://www.insidescience.org/news/cities-drive-creatures-body-size-extremes

Marine protected areas are important, but…
Patricia Fernandez Waid
…they can’t do their job of protecting aquatic ecosystems if people fail to respect their boundaries.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/marine-protected-areas-are-important-but/

Our laws make slaves of nature. It’s not just humans who need rights
Mari Margil
For decades our laws have been a licence to destroy the environment. Now, from the Amazon to Australia, the tide is turning.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/23/laws-slaves-nature-humans-rights-environment-amazon