Thursday 31 August 2017

Periodic table of ecological niches could aid in predicting effects of climate change
A group of ecologists has started creating a periodic table of ecological niches similar to chemistry’s periodic table. And just as chemists have used their periodic table as a point of reference to understand relationships among elements, the emerging table for ecologists shows relationships over time among animals, plants and their environments — acting as a critical resource for scientists seeking to understand how a warming climate may be spurring changes in species around the globe.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/uota-pto083017.php

Devastating Himalayan floods are made worse by an international blame game
Jagannath Adhikari, Curtin University
Nepal has blamed India for exacerbating intense monsoon flooding that has killed at least 1,200 people in the last two months.
http://theconversation.com/devastating-himalayan-floods-are-made-worse-by-an-international-blame-game-83103

What made the rain in Hurricane Harvey so extreme?
Russ Schumacher, Colorado State University
An expert in extreme weather events explains why the rain – and thus flooding – associated with Hurricane Harvey has been ‘unprecedented.’
http://theconversation.com/what-made-the-rain-in-hurricane-harvey-so-extreme-83137

Don’t blame climate change for the Hurricane Harvey disaster – blame society
Ilan Kelman, UCL
The widespread discussion as to whether the Hurricane Harvey disaster was caused by climate change or not is a dangerous distraction from the real issues.
http://theconversation.com/dont-blame-climate-change-for-the-hurricane-harvey-disaster-blame-society-83163

Indonesian seaweed farmers take on Australian company over oil spill
More than 15,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers who say Australia’s worst-ever oil spill destroyed their livelihoods are about to learn if the Federal Court will hear their case.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-30/montara-oil-spill-indonesian-farmers-take-company-to-court/8857384

All electricity customers will receive power-saving advice by Christmas
After meeting with senior ministers, energy executives agree to “empower” Australians with clearer information about their bills, potential savings and how to move to another retailer.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-30/power-bill-cutting-advice-to-be-sent-to-customers/8856498

States powering ahead on climate targets despite federal inaction, report shows
After being criticised by Canberra, South Australia is leading the race, with ACT and Tasmania close behind, says Climate Council
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/31/states-powering-ahead-on-climate-targets-despite-federal-inaction-report-shows

Turnbull’s new coal flashpoint
The Coalition risks another revolt on energy policy as ­MPs urge the PM to scale back plans for a clean energy target.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/new-coal-power-flashpoint-for-turnbull/news-story/999453a59038cd703e1c2349758a9000

Abbott singles out Turnbull’s Snowy Hydro 2.0 plan in call for new coal plant
Tony Abbott fires opening salvo in looming party debate over clean energy, insisting PM must ‘go ahead with new coal-fired power’ because he backs  hydro
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/30/abbott-singles-out-turnbulls-snowy-hydro-20-plan-in-call-for-new-coal-plant

Coalition’s Finkel response won’t rule out new coal power stations, PM says
After meeting with energy chiefs, Malcolm Turnbull says the Coalition will not set a clean energy target to exclude coal
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/30/coalitions-finkel-response-wont-rule-out-new-coal-power-stations-pm-says

Chris Uhlmann leaving ABC to take Laurie Oakes’s job at Nine
The ABC’s political editor Chris Uhlmann announces he is leaving the national broadcaster to move to the Nine Network.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-30/chris-uhlmann-leaving-abc-for-channel-nine/8856430

Time to bin the bags for good
Jane Fynes-Clinton
THERE is no ‘away’ when it comes to throwing away plastic bags. Australia should take Kenya’s strong lead on banning these toxic invaders
http://www.couriermail.com.au/rendezview/forget-reuse-and-recycle-lets-flat-out-reject-plastic-bags/news-story/8e8a539ddc1d8c388de9b87b9b34ecd4

Australia energy policy turns into a farce and a public circus
Giles Parkinson
Energy policy has become a complete circus as Coalition ignores the real policy decisions, and new reports identify more gaming of the energy markets, and why an ambitious clean energy target will be quickest path to a big drop in electricity bills.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/australia-energy-policy-turns-into-a-farce-and-a-public-circus-81912/

Turnbull is pursuing ‘energy certainty’ but what does that actually mean?
Alan Pears
https://theconversation.com/turnbull-is-pursuing-energy-certainty-but-what-does-that-actually-mean-83082

Are kids cycling a whole lot less?
Alan Davies
A big drop in the number of children’s bicycles imported into Australia last year doesn’t mean large numbers of children are losing interest in cycling
https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2017/08/30/are-kids-cycling-a-whole-lot-less/

The Australian Greens at 25: fighting the same battles but still no breakthrough
Marc Hudson, University of Manchester
The environmental issues we face are ideal recruiting for green parties, but the breakthroughs aren’t happening, and after 25 years as a federal party the Greens are still fighting on the same fronts.
http://theconversation.com/the-australian-greens-at-25-fighting-the-same-battles-but-still-no-breakthrough-83090

Malcolm’s Snowy surprise
David Uren
This 2.0 makes zero sense from an energy perspective but might improve the polls.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/david-uren-economics/malcolm-turnbull-in-muddle-as-snowy-river-scheme-to-lift-debt/news-story/7449ebc0bf078579e312b47e550f5472

PM must flick switch on electricity prices
Courier Mail editorial
THERE is a need for a national energy policy. It is a difficult assignment for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, not least because of division within his own party about how to forge ahead.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/prime-minister-malcolm-turnbull-must-work-through-division-in-party-to-formulate-national-energy-policy/news-story/8b53a730c98fe8192022fef37c94ba11

Power sequel fails to boil over
Judith Sloan
We are sick of hearing about Snowy 2.0. It will cost billions, is years away and probably will proceed no matter what.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/judith-sloan/power-prices-the-sequel-still-fails-to-generate-heat/news-story/676f3eb440194ac1c36ccb984845049e

PM should listen to, not lecture, energy industry
Age editorial
A clean energy target is vital if Australia is to have a reliable, affordable power supply while meeting its commitment to cut greenhouse gasses.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/prime-minister-malcolm-turnbull-should-listen-to-not-lecture-the-energy-industry-20170830-gy7dm5.html

Despite the hype, PM settles for low wattage price relief
Mark Kenny
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/despite-the-hype-malcolm-turnbull-settles-for-low-wattage-price-relief-20170830-gy7bvf.html

Compliance with basin plan is critical
Keith Parkes
SUCCESSFUL implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is only possible if everyone works together, with no backroom deals
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/keith-parkes-successful-implementation-of-murraydarling-basin-plan-only-possible-if-everyone-works-together/news-story/ec4ed227ebac345e89efb705047080e3

Going off grid will push up power prices for others, provider warns
Victorian power company AusNet Services warns a federal inquiry that the increasing number of customers choosing to disconnect from the grid will push up the cost of electricity for those still on the network.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/going-off-the-grid-could-push-up-prices-ausnet-says/8855714

Sydney commuters opting for buses, trains over cars
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-commuters-opt-for-buses-trains-over-cars-in-travelling-to-cbd-20170830-gy757x.html

Ethanol mandate blamed for stinging motorists $143m a year
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/ethanol-mandate-blamed-for-stinging-motorists-143m-a-year-20170830-gy777i.html

‘Can’t be destroyed’: Heritage listing for caves puts a stopper in dam proposal
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/heritage-listing-for-cliefden-caves-puts-stopper-in-dam-plan-20170830-gy6x2z.html

Open season on Queensland koalas saw 600,000 killed
Ninety years ago, 10,000 hunters were let loose upon Queensland’s koala populations during “Black August”, with some skinning the marsupials alive and selling their pelts to be turned into coats, gloves, and hats as far away as the United States.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-30/killing-koalas-90-years-since-qld-month-long-open-season/8839720

Cheaper power bills a remote possibility
ENERGEX and Ergon could develop the ability to remotely turn down your airconditioner and power in peak times — but there is an upside for customers.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/ergon-energex-to-remotely-turn-down-devices-under-plan-to-cut-electricity-bills/news-story/1f577020395878c31661ee21fb65071f

Solar wars to be played out in court
THE director of a $200 million, 100MW solar farm is taking a Queensland council to court after it approved a rival solar farm on adjacent land.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/yarranlea-solar-takes-toowoomba-regional-council-tou-court/news-story/582aa88b2736d2737d32a58689de115e

Federal funding push for ‘haven’
GREEN groups are pushing for the Great Barrier Reef “haven” trial off Cairns to be the first project funded under the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/green-groups-push-for-reef-haven-trial-to-be-first-project-funded-by-naif/news-story/fe18ec35888f4f7061b1c628a1f4693c

Tourists doubting value of trip to Great Barrier Reef, dive operator tells inquiry
‘Last-chance tourism’ spurs on other visitors but there has been lull in bookings after coral bleaching, senators told
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/30/tourists-doubting-value-of-trip-to-great-barrier-reef-dive-operator-tells-inquiry

Now … to keep the project on track
Steven Wardill
Infrastructure Minister Jackie Trad has made the right call to deliver Cross River Rail through a public-private partnership. But the future of the project needs a steady hand.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/queensland-governments-right-call-on-private-partner-for-rail-project/news-story/a71467945adddb03408b7c2a3ea53424

Council’s next step on brazen dumping
THE problem of illegal dumping has become so bad on one of Adelaide’s major roads that the council will consider hidden motion-sensor cameras to catch and prosecute the culprits.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/west-beaches/mayor-wants-hidden-cameras-to-catch-the-people-who-show-no-concern-for-our-community/news-story/045404ae587e1086d816c8645553b780

A ‘VIP beach’ is actually, genuinely un-Australian
Nathan Davies
“UN-Australian” is a lazy slur but in the case of a bid to make part of Henley Beach exclusively available to paying customers in lounge chairs, Nathan Davies says he is making an exception.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/nathan-davies-push-to-make-part-of-henley-beach-for-paying-customers-is-a-terrible-unaustralian-idea/news-story/8b33ddf23d9611c45aa1c4b5de88bd90

Pulp mill saga over as permits lapse
ONE of Tasmania’s most controversial issues – a proposal for a $2.5 billion pulp mill at Bell Bay – is finally over.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/bell-bay-pulp-mill-saga-over-as-permits-lapse-with-gunns-receivers-korda-mentha-to-pursue-land-sale/news-story/3818730f1eaa25e3cc389600f6785a01

Mega prawn farm Project Sea Dragon nets native title holder approval in northern Australia
Traditional owners of Legune Station near the WA and NT border agree to support the development of one of the world’s largest prawn farms.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-08-30/mega-prawn-farm-project-sea-dragon-nets-ilua-for-north-australia/8853604

Majority in favour of NT fracking ban
THE majority of Territorians are in favour of Labor’s onshore fracking moratorium, a new independent poll has revealed
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/majority-in-favour-of-nt-fracking-ban/news-story/17aa3af00b09414e21000d91b5981084

Rio opens new Pilbara mine
Rio Tinto says its new Silvergrass mine will be crucial to maintaining its high quality Pilbara iron ore product.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/rio-tinto-opens-new-silvergrass-mine/news-story/5a551ef813a1f0f407d5efb3f0a3e63b

Adani contradicts Indian Government on need for Australian coal
Gautam Adani says he plans to import 60 million tonnes of coal from Australia’s controversial mine each year, in a move that contradicts the Indian Government’s policy of coal self-sufficiency.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-30/adani-says-india-still-needs-australian-coal-imports/8854838

The problem with farmed fish — their food is spreading antibiotic resistance.
As the fish farming industry struggles to become more environmentally friendly, it just gained another problem. Fish food loaded with antibiotic-resistant genes.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2460133000469006396

Pesticides linked to birth abnormalities in major new study.
High exposure to pesticides as a result of living near farmers’ fields appears to increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with “abnormalities” by about 9 percent, according to new research.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212654872

This miracle weed killer was supposed to save farms. Instead, it’s devastating them.
Farmers are locked in an arms race between ever-stronger weeds and ever-stronger weed killers.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2460133000469006390

Researchers tackle methane emissions with gas-guzzling bacteria
An international research team co-led by a Monash biologist has shown that methane-oxidising bacteria – key organisms responsible for greenhouse gas mitigation – are more flexible and resilient than previously thought.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/mu-rtm083017.php

Silicon solves problems for next-generation battery technology
Silicon – the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust – shows great promise in Li-ion batteries, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/uoef-ssp083017.php

Researchers set new bar for water-splitting, CO2-splitting techniques
Researchers from North Carolina State University have significantly boosted the efficiency of two techniques, for splitting water to create hydrogen gas and splitting carbon dioxide (CO2) to create carbon monoxide (CO). The products are valuable feedstock for clean energy and chemical manufacturing applications.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/ncsu-rsn082817.php

World’s biggest wind turbine maker waves oil industry goodbye
In another sign that the petroleum era is drawing to a close, Denmark is selling off its last oil company with barely a peep.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/worlds-biggest-wind-turbine-maker-waves-oil-industry-goodbye-10127/

Flotillas of fire ants add new layer of horror to post-Harvey flood havoc
Images of ants swarming together in ‘rafts’ and riding on top of floodwaters alarm Texans
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/30/flotillas-of-fire-ants-add-new-layer-of-horror-to-post-harvey-flood-havoc

How to create calm in the urban jungle
Access to nature is key to reducing stress levels, but how effective are our parks and reserves at taking us away from the hustle and bustle of city life?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/integrating-nature-into-the-city-for-calm/8853776

Why solar power keeps being underestimated
Felix Creutzig
Most studies on climate mitigation have greatly underestimated the potential of solar power.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-power-keeps-underestimated-56344/

Scientists think they know why the Caspian Sea is shrinking.
A team of researchers from universities around the world calculated the major factors adding to changes in the Caspian Sea’s levels. The sea has risen and fallen over the past few decades.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212654070

Protecting Africa’s drylands key to the continent’s future.
Africa’s population continues to grow, putting intense pressure on available land for agricultural purposes and life-supporting ecosystem services even as the scenario is compounded by the adverse impacts of climate change.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-6766923627212654868

Another 1,000 badgers to be killed in Somerset and Gloucestershire
Critics say authorisation of supplementary culls shows the programme, which began four years ago, is not working
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/30/another-1000-badgers-to-be-killed-somerset-gloucestershire-supplementary-culls

Conservation Hindered by Geographical Mismatches Between Capacity, Need
Geographical mismatches between conservation needs and expertise may hinder global conservation goals, new research …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170830094533.htm

Bats and viruses: Beating back a bad reputation.
Bat ecologists and conservationists worry that bats’ exaggerated reputation for carrying disease-causing microbes leads to the baseless killing of millions of bats worldwide
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2460133000469006368

Brazil rejects bid to drill for oil near unique Amazon reef
Total has had its drilling licence turned down, with Brazil’s environment agency saying the French oil giant has failed to address the environmental risk of oil spills
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2145813-brazil-rejects-bid-to-drill-for-oil-near-unique-amazon-reef/

Resting Sea Shepherd: a pause in the whale war saga
Binoy Kampmark
Against absurdly gargantuan odds, a small organisation’s resources were mustered to save whale species from imminent extinction.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19253

The eight signs you’re becoming a Midlife Bore
Shane Watson
You may know this already. There’s a list of forbidden topics when you get to our age – by which I mean old enough to have children who vote. You must not bring up these subjects in conversation because they are the gateway drugs to Midlife Dull.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/the-eight-signs-youre-becoming-a-midlife-bore-20170830-gy70iw.html