Tuesday 12 December 2017

Magpies: 10 things you may not know about Australia’s ‘favourite bird’
It’s official, the magpie is the 2017 Australian bird of the year. Here are 10 things you may not know about them.

California’s hellish fires: a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future
California is burning in December. Climate scientists predicted global warming will make Christmas wildfires more commonplace.

Global warming will weaken wind power, study predicts
Wind farms are key to tackling climate change but warming will significantly cut wind power across US and UK, though Australia will see winds strengthen

How a wayward Arctic current could cool the climate in Europe
The Beaufort Gyre, a key Arctic Ocean current, is acting strangely. Scientists say it may be on the verge of discharging a huge amount of ice and cold freshwater that could kick off a period of lower temperatures in northern Europe.

Climate change could increase volcano eruptions
Shrinking glacier cover could lead to increased volcanic activity in Iceland, scientists have warned.

The dirty secret of the world’s plan to avert climate disaster
The Paris agreement on climate change charts a narrow path to avoiding a global apocalypse. Just one problem: Its centerpiece is a technology that basically doesn’t yet exist.

Tiny Ice Losses at Antarctica’s Fringes Can Accelerate Ice Loss Far Away
It is known that the ice shelves surrounding the continent regulate the ice flow from the land into the ocean.

Presenting facts as ‘consensus’ bridges conservative-liberal divide over climate change
In the murk of post-truth public debate, facts can polarise. Scientific evidence triggers reaction and spin that ends up entrenching the attitudes of opposing political tribes.

No more green rhetoric. A sustainable future is vital and possible
Rebecca Long-Bailey
Climate change is at the heart of Labour’s industrial strategy, which means investing in green tech and renewable energy, and divesting from fossil fuels

Battling on with optimism in face of climate roadblock
Peter Boyer
Al Gore is the great optimist of the global movement for climate action.

Here’s what you need to know about inland rail
It’s going to cost taxpayers at least $10 billion and isn’t predicted to turn a profit for about 50 years, but proponents say Australia is in desperate need of an inland railway to ease the number of trucks on our roads and create a more efficient freight system for the next 100 years.

Aboriginal groups seek job-target guarantees for inland rail project
Aboriginal groups are demanding concrete quotas for Indigenous employment on the Federal Government’s inland rail project, saying it’s “not good enough” that no targets have been set.

Indigenous body to help develop north Aust
The federal government has established a body of indigenous leaders to advise on its northern development agenda.

Nuclear catastrophe just ‘one tantrum away’, Nobel Peace Prize winner warns
The leader of an Australian-founded group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize urges nuclear nations to adopt a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons, saying one “moment of panic or carelessness” could lead to “the end of us”.

Heatwave brings back generators in Vic, SA
A mini-heat wave this week has given the energy regular a chance to stress test its summer readiness.

‘Brace for climate conflict’
Man-made climate change could place a greater burden on our defence forces who must respond to an ­increased risk of conflict.

Review of the Emissions Reduction Fund: final report
Climate Change Authority
This report outlines stakeholders’ views on how the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is performing and whether improvements should be made to its operation, administration, design and governance.

Zibelman: Resisting energy transition like trying to resist internet
AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman says energy transition as unstoppable as the internet, because economics and technology have changed. Some baseload may be needed in the future, but it doesn’t need to be coal

ERF review fails to douse doubts over Coalition key climate policy
CCA review of Coalition’s Emissions Reduction Fund fuels concerns the scheme is an expensive, inefficient and risky way to cut carbon.

Novel fixes for Australian cities to navigate out of traffic congestion
Australia is lagging behind in its use of traffic-control technology and our cities are struggling. What’s slowing us down?

Magpies: 10 things you may not know about Australia’s ‘favourite bird’
It’s official, the magpie is the 2017 Australian bird of the year. Here are 10 things you may not know about them.

Magpies: how I learnt to grudgingly admire – and then love – the bird of the year
Paul Daley
They’re feared for their fierce protection of sovereignty and dive-bombing trespassers, but all is forgiven listening to a pair of magpies warbling in a gumtree

The mighty ibis did not win Australian bird of the year but it’s still a winner
John Martin
It fell short of victory by a few hundred votes. For a bin chicken, that’s something to celebrate

Scenes from the Australian bird of the year ceremony
First Dog on the Moon
All the wash-up from the scandal, controversy and upset victory of the magpie in the 2017 poll

Why we should be able to bring dogs on public transport
Jennifer Kent and Corinne Mulley, University of Sydney
Australian cities generally don’t allow pet dogs on public transport. Instead, owners need their own vehicle to travel with their dogs, and it’s a surprisingly important factor in our car dependency.

Volunteers wanted – to house small modular nuclear reactors in Australia
Noel Wauchope
The nuclear industry is very fond of proclaiming that wastes from small thorium reactors would need safe disposal and guarding for ‘only 300 years’. Just the bare 300!

Melbourne weather: Heatwave on way, city to hit 36C on Wednesday

Melbourne traffic is worsening, and politicians are to blame
Susie O’Brien

Maoneng lands Australia’s biggest solar PPA – 300MW – with AGL
China-Australia renewable energy developer Maoneng Australia says it has landed the biggest ever power purchase agreement for solar power in Australia, as part of AGL’s plans to replace the ageing Liddell coal generator with renewables and storage in 2022.

Liddell shutdown must prompt national renewable energy strategy: ACF
AGL’s decision to close the Liddell power station in 2022 sends a clear signal to the federal government that it must institute a national renewable energy strategy.

Summer’s first big heatwave to send mercury, fire risks soaring

Tonnes of waste dumped in the middle of suburban Sydney street

Consumers short-changed by Liddell closure plans
Giles Parkinson
Consumers should be doing a lot better out of the closure of Liddell – and the inevitable closure of other coal generators. But they need governments to act to encourage the efficient use of energy.

Know your NEM: Liddell plans could be washed away by Snowy 2.0
David Leitch
AGL’s plans for Liddell are vague and lacking, most likely because the company is waiting to see what the Coalition aims to do with Snowy Hydro.

AGL’s promise to close the Liddell coal-fired power station is a war on Australians
Terry McCrann

Annastacia Palaszczuk to officially veto Adani railway loan after swearing in
Letter confirming veto will be sent to Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal National party elects new leadership team

Spear fishos enlisted to tackle pest fish infestation
While the spread of a pest fish in far north Queensland poses a significant threat to native species, it gives residents a great excuse to go fishing, with 70 kilograms caught by local children over the weekend.

Construction begins at Kennedy wind, solar and battery storage hub
Construction has begun on the first 60MW of a proposed 1200MW Kennedy Energy Park, with the ceremonial turning of the sod on Monday at the site of the world-leading wind, solar, and battery storage project in north Queensland.

The men hoping to use old laptop batteries to power remote villages

State Government refuses to endorse part of Murray Darling Basin Plan

Bushfires in South Australia: Satellite imagery shows low moisture levels

Tasmanian tigers were in ‘bad genetic shape’ before extinction
Scientists have sequenced the entire thylacine genome. We now know where they fit on the family tree, but don’t count on resurrecting the species anytime soon.

Alarm as fishers brag on social media about shark poaching

Waste storage facility gets approval from Northern Territory EPA
A controversial hazardous waste storage facility and salt mine planned for Central Australia — which would be the first repository of its kind in Australia — is given the tick of approval by the NT’s Environment Protection Authority.

Custodians ‘in dark’ over dump
The Northern Land Council failed to consult traditional land owners when it rejected a nuclear waste dump, court documents allege.

Researchers find 12 million deep-water mushroom corals with robot named Starbug
Researchers have discovered what they believe is the biggest community of a species of deep-water mushroom corals using an underwater robot.
The discovery was made at the Ningaloo Marine Park off the Western Australia coast.

Meat tax ‘inevitable’ to beat climate and health crises, says report
‘Sin taxes’ to reverse the rapid global growth in meat eating are likely in five to 10 years, according to a report for investors managing over $4tn

‘Tsunami of data’ could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025
Billions of internet-connected devices could produce 3.5% of global emissions within 10 years and 14% by 2040, according to new research, reports Climate Home News

Wales is second best household waste recycler in the world
Eco-friendly policies place country second to Germany but England lags far behind other countries according to new research

In the neighborhood of 18 million: Estimating how many people live near oil and gas wells
A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives provides an updated estimate of how many Americans live within a mile of oil or gas development, as well as guidelines for designing future proximity studies.

US EPA lists 21 toxic Superfund sites that need ‘immediate and intense’ cleanup
The agency acknowledged that there is no additional funding to clean up the sites.

Glass with switchable opacity could improve solar cells and LEDs
Nanoscale ‘grass’ structures also enable smart glass that switches from hazy to clear in presence of water

A global north-to-south shift in wind power by end of century
The rapidly growing wind energy industry may be challenged by changes in locations of wind resources

Private sector support is key to reducing emissions in the Middle East and North Africa
Air quality experts from the University of Surrey are calling on private businesses to help the Middle East and North African (MENA) region reduce harmful emissions after conducting a comprehensive review on air pollution.

As building floor space increases, time running out to cut energy use and meet climate goals: UN
The equivalent of Paris is added in new building every 5 days; energy intensity per square meter of the building sector needs to improve 30 percent by 2030 to stay on track to meet Paris climate goals

Battery research could triple range of electric vehicles
New research at the University of Waterloo could lead to the development of batteries that triple the range of electric vehicles.

China’s anti-pollution efforts get a reality check
China’s efforts to tackle air pollution are getting a reality check, with some regions told to revert to burning coal after shortages of natural gas left people without heating amid freezing winter temperatures.

Stopping plastic pollution with the cleaning power of bubbles
Could a shield of bubbles stop the flow of plastic waste into the sea?

Clean power will cost India in more ways than one
Government goal of boosting solar output means billions of dollars in investment and a reliance on China.

Exposure to Air Pollution Just Before or After Conception Raises Risk of Birth Defects
Women exposed to air pollution just prior to conception or during the first month of pregnancy face an increased risk of their children being born with birth defects, such as cleft lip or palate or abnormal hearts.

We know polluting cars are killing us. So why do we put up with it?
Abi Wilkinson
The evidence of the damage air pollution does is undisputed. We should come to see car journeys as a last resort

Don’t blame God or nature. We’re the culprits
David Suzuki
We must acknowledge the human imprint. If we’re the cause of the problems, then we must stop blaming “nature” or “God.” We have to take responsibility and tackle them with the urgency they require.

African deforestation not as great as feared
The loss of forests in Africa in the past century is substantially less than previously estimated, an analysis of historical records and paleontology evidence by Yale researchers shows.

Endangered Listing Urged for Cheetahs
Researchers present evidence that low cheetah population estimates in southern Africa support a call to list the cheetah as “Endangered” on the International Union for …

Disagreements can be a healthy antidote for biases
A personal bias can influence everything from the brands we buy to the way we treat other people, and in today’s world, these pre-existing beliefs can lead to intense racial, political and religious conflicts.