Tuesday 19 December 2017

Coal demand’s record decline
Worldwide coal demand has suffered its biggest-ever fall as the global revolution under way in energy eats into the market.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/demand-for-coal-suffers-a-record-fall-over-past-two-years/news-story/7a9db5d9366484535f8bfed168dece99

Warmer, wetter climate could mean stronger, more intense storms
High-resolution climate simulations suggest that extreme convective systems will increase in frequency under a warmer climate scenario
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/csu-wwc121817.php

Climate change threatens Mexican agriculture
Water shortages, an unstable climate, proliferation of pests, infrequent but more intense rainfall, hail and the effects of human activities are affecting an area that is crucial for the supply of food and for climate regulation in the Mexican capital.
http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/climate-change-threatens-mexican-agriculture/

Scientists have beaten down the best climate denial argument
Dana Nuccitelli
Clouds don’t act as a climate thermostat, and they’re not going to save us from global warming
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/dec/18/scientists-have-beaten-down-the-best-climate-denial-argument

Solar and wind could deliver zero carbon gas grid by 2050
Large-scale solar and wind energy generation will not only be key to decarbonising Australia’s electricity grid, but would also form the foundation of a zero-carbon gas network, a new report has found.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-and-wind-could-deliver-zero-carbon-gas-grid-by-2050-38184/

AEMC admits, reluctantly, that renewables will push prices down
Australia’s principal rule maker, the Australian Energy Market Commission, has belatedly admitted that the much delayed surge in investment in wind and solar will cause wholesale electricity prices to fall in Australia, but it is clearly not happy about it.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemc-admits-reluctantly-that-renewables-will-push-prices-down-23555/

Barnaby Joyce set to become infrastructure minister in Cabinet reshuffle
The Deputy Prime Minister is expected to take on the infrastructure portfolio when Malcolm Turnbull announces his Cabinet reshuffle as early as today.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-19/barnaby-joyce-set-to-become-infrastructure-minister/9270222

Biodiesel made from Australian canola a lower greenhouse gas emitter than diesel
Australia secures access to a billion-dollar market as the CSIRO proves Australian canola biodiesel produced in Europe generates less than 50 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuel.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-12-18/australian-canola-approved-as-low-emission-fuel-for-europe/9269232

Planet Ark declares a war on festive waste this Christmas
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5129343/planet-ark-declares-a-war-on-festive-waste-this-christmas/?cs=95

Polluters get OK to buy foreign credits
Industry will be allowed to buy foreign carbon credits to help meet their emissions obligations under the proposed National Energy Guarantee.
http://www.afr.com/business/energy/polluters-get-in-principle-okay-to-buy-foreign-carbon-credits-20171218-h06k1a

How Australia has cut carbon
By 2020, Australia will be looking at a long-term emissions reduction strategy and preparing for international carbon trading.
http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/australia-is-an-overachiever-in-cutting-carbon-emissions-20171218-h06htu

2017 Residential electricity price trends: final report
Australian Energy Market Commission
The AEMC predicts national residential electricity prices will fall on average over the next two years from mid 2018, as more variable wind and solar generation comes online – offsetting this year’s price increase.
http://apo.org.au/node/124031

Tide turned: surveys show the public has lost its appetite for shark culls
Christopher Neff, University of Sydney and Thomas Wynter, University of Sydney
A Senate committee has recommended an end to sharks culls and nets. According to surveys, the public is on board with the idea of ending policies that are lethal to sharks.
https://theconversation.com/tide-turned-surveys-show-the-public-has-lost-its-appetite-for-shark-culls-89163

By slashing environment spending, the government is slashing opportunities
Don Driscoll, Deakin University
Australian government environmental funding has decreased by a third since 2013. At the same time, Australia is experiencing massive species loss as funding for the sector dries up.
https://theconversation.com/by-slashing-environment-spending-the-government-is-slashing-opportunities-89149

Young people want walkable neighbourhoods, but safety is a worry
Jan Garrard, Deakin University
The benefits of walking are widely promoted, but most Australian communities still aren’t walker-friendly. Young people, who rely heavily on walking to get around, are clear about what has to change.
https://theconversation.com/young-people-want-walkable-neighbourhoods-but-safety-is-a-worry-88081

Ramping and duck curves
David Leitch
Grid reliability and flexibility in the NEM would be much of an issue for the next few years except for the fact that the coal generation fleet is getting very old.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/ramping-and-duck-curves-67877/

PM silent on Nobel prize when world needs him to speak up
Peter Boyer
Malcolm Turnbull is rarely stuck for words, but the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to an organisation founded in Australia has left him speechless.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-pm-silent-on-nobel-prize-when-world-needs-him-to-speak-up/news-story/b9bd97c4b027771f8ea8a7557f50b599

Turnbull government’s holiday plan to silence criticism from charities
Jenna Price
Corporate giants like Adani are far likelier to harm this country than groups like St Vinnies.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/turnbull-governments-holiday-plan-to-silence-criticism-from-charities-20171218-h06bzx.html

Murray Darling Basin: No pause for plan as Neville says 450GL ‘not possible’
Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville will continue pushing for an independent inquiry into the Murray Darling Basin Plan, but does not back calls for a “pause” in the plan’s delivery.
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/murray-darling-basin-no-pause-for-plan-as-neville-says-450gl-not-possible/news-story/749fe96c339753db862d16a4d7b3fef8

Canberra light rail: Victorians pay $17m for project while struggling with infrastructure funding shortfall
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/victorians-stump-up-17m-for-canberra-light-rail/news-story/e9d425e960360e83c924958e7e4c4600

Melbourne recycling plant on fire again
Days after a huge fire at a Melbourne recycling plant, firefighters are back at the site battling another blaze.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/melbourne-recycling-plant-on-fire-again/news-story/52fabe46a0772cb27dbb25a296b33f3c

ACCC drives Bass Strait marketing divorce
Matthew Stevens
The ACCC, BHP and Esso have come to a pragmatic solution on the marketing of Bass straight gas.
http://www.afr.com/business/accc-drives-bass-strait-marketing-divorce-20171218-h06m1p

Port of Newcastle chairman’s comments on coal are basically a call for help
Roy Green made headlines when he said that the ‘long-term outlook for coal is a threat to the port’
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/19/port-of-newcastle-chairmans-comments-on-coal-are-basically-a-call-for-help

‘Gridlocked and unworkable’: Dire warning for Sydney’s trains
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/gridlocked-and-unworkable-dire-warning-for-sydneys-trains-from-former-top-execs-20171213-h03omz.html

Extreme heat: Better town planning and building design can help towns and cities beat the heat.
Anthony Albanese
While there is little we can do to stop bushfires, we can mitigate the effects of extreme heat on our cities and towns if we think harder about town planning and building design.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/extreme-heat-better-town-planning-and-building-design-can-help-towns-and-cities-beat-the-heat/news-story/1ae6e172492fce4d5a88dfe213a364da

Meet the lookouts keeping Canberra safe from bushfires
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/meet-the-act-fire-spotters-keeping-canberra-safe-from-bush-blazes-this-summer-20171218-h06d6j.html

Coal royalties help boost Queensland’s short term surplus, but no major debt reduction
Queensland’s economic forecast is looking better than predicted since this year’s budget with strong coal royalties giving good news to treasury coffers this Christmas.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-18/queensland-budget-mid-year-review/9269576

Adani parting ways with Downer a ‘nail in the coffin for Carmichael mine’
Embattled Indian miner Adani says it will build and run the proposed Carmichael mine on its own — Australia’s biggest coal venture in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin — after cancelling a $2.6 billion contract with mining services giant Downer.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-18/adani-parts-way-mining-services-company-down-carmichael-mine-qld/9267778

S.A. Govt fast-tracks switch to renewables with Zen contract
South Australia government fast-tracks switch to 100% renewable energy by signing contract with SIMEC ZEN Energy while Aurora 150MW solar tower and molten salt storage project is built. It will help underpin Zen’s own 1GW solar and storage plans.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/s-a-govt-fast-tracks-switch-to-renewables-with-zen-contract-96108/

Fighting feral cats with lasers and poison spray
A new feral cat management device that uses lasers to detect the shape and movement of cats, then sprays them with toxic gel, is deployed in the APY Lands in South Australia.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-18/feral-cat-management-in-the-apy-lands/9269240

Murray-Darling Basin Plan will lose South Australia critical water, former insider says
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is “busted” and at risk of collapse, a former insider says, arguing it is South Australia that will miss out on critical water.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/murraydarling-basin-plan-will-lose-south-australia-critical-water-former-insider-says/news-story/59e8948ecd495543b0277dd10d0614d7

Marine Scalefish Fishery to be reformed under SA Liberals plan
Commercial fishers of King George whiting and garfish facea reduction in licence numbersand new catch quotas, as part of a state Liberal plan to provide long-term sustainability to the industry.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sa-election/catch-quotas-fishing-zones-licence-cuts-for-marine-scale-fishery-under-sa-liberals-plan/news-story/ec2072136bc5c5cdab67ea04fb8d7ddf

Gas exploration projects in the state’s Southeast and Cooper Basin have been funded by the State Government
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/gas-exploration-projects-in-the-states-southeast-and-cooper-basin-have-been-funded-by-the-state-government/news-story/24701905aacbfc59b9fb28531bcafee6

Picking and choosing on private cash
Advertiser editorial
Premier Jay Weatherill is walking on a political tightrope by declaring he wants to expand Adelaide’s tram network but effectively spurning substantial private investment to fund a new line.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/the-advertiser-editorial-december-19-2017-picking-and-choosing-on-private-cash/news-story/467fc93f4c13098d1958e69fd9348585

Inquiry clears Tasmania’s fox eradication program of fabricating evidence
Tasmania’s integrity watchdog clears the now disbanded Fox Eradication Taskforce of allegations that fox scat was planted in order to keep the program funded.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-18/tasmanian-fox-report-finds-no-evidence-of-fabrication/9269148

Tamar Estuary, Albert Hall among Launceston council’s priority projects
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5129087/tamar-estuary-albert-hall-among-councils-priority-projects/?cs=95

Meander Valley Council hits pause on free camping lobbying plans
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5128735/meander-valley-council-hits-pause-on-free-camping-lobbying-plans/?cs=95

Opponents protest against Kangaroo Bay development before council vote
Clarence residents made a show of force ahead of a council meeting on the future of the Kangaroo Bay development.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/opponents-protest-against-kangaroo-bay-development-before-council-vote/news-story/abf0157ad3bac9c79c0f24b0ee9c8f1b

Tristan O’Brien’s 1900 Footprints walk from Adelaide to Hobart nears end at Salamanca
A man who has walked from Adelaide to Tasmania to encourage people to reconnect with nature is due to arrive in Hobart today.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tristan-obriens-1900-footprints-walk-from-adelaide-to-hobart-nears-end-at-salamanca/news-story/bd0fc149c7ba69c6f01c0596ec91ec92

Territory electricity prices predicted to rise
The Australian Energy Market Commission annual residential Electricity Price Trends forecast the NT, along with WA and the ACT, would experience price rises.
http://www.ntnews.com.au/lifestyle/territory-electricity-prices-predicted-to-rise/news-story/d421e2511a8521c072f61a330d19a8fd

Fracking: the Territory’s fractured debate
There is a lot riding on Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s decision whether or not to allow the use of fracking to extract our underground gas resources.
http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/fracking-the-territorys-fractured-debate/news-story/c9cd78fe9ab6eaf60a8d0a7ea7cc09c3

Fracking: What Lock the Gate has to say
http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/fracking-what-lock-the-gate-has-to-say/news-story/d5b26744c188be3275f8988d89686bb4

Fracking: What the gas industry has to say
http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/fracking-what-the-gas-industry-has-to-say/news-story/a7d97ecd6449963c00c385e073a69bd5

Fracking: Northern Land Council chief executive talks
http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/fracking-northern-land-council-chief-executive-talks/news-story/7cd4c8aebe1a3e3516e6a743e8b5ec3c

WA power prices to be highest in Australia
https://thewest.com.au/business/energy/wa-power-prices-to-be-highest-in-australia-bc-5686070782001

Technique Could Help the US‘s Coal Plants Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Carbon capture could help the nation’s coal plants reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet economic challenges are part of the reason the technology isn’t widely used today. That could change if power plants could turn captured carbon into a usable product.
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/53479

Heavy Oils and Petroleum Coke Raising Vanadium Emissions
Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth’s atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry’s growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen and petroleum coke for energy, a new Duke University study finds.
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/53476

Rare opportunity: Researchers see potential in mining coal waste
Mining waste could produce rare earth elements, valuable ingredients for electronics and the defense sector, and the source of a new industry.
http://ohiovalleyresource.org/2017/12/15/rare-opportunity-researchers-see-potential-mining-coal-waste/

U.S. renewable energy industry relieved as Republicans keep tax credits
The U.S. renewable energy industry expressed relief after a compromise Republican tax bill released late on Friday preserved key tax credits that had been at risk of being removed, but it raised concerns about a provision that may threaten investment in the sector.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tax-renewables/u-s-renewable-energy-industry-relieved-as-republicans-keep-tax-credits-idUSKBN1EA0P2

Coal demand’s record decline
Worldwide coal demand has suffered its biggest-ever fall as the global revolution under way in energy eats into the market.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/demand-for-coal-suffers-a-record-fall-over-past-two-years/news-story/7a9db5d9366484535f8bfed168dece99

World plugs into electricity
Electricity will become the most consumed energy source in the world in the next 23 years.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/electricity-has-the-brightest-future/news-story/6816fde141d878b8d31dbc3e13cecb90

How investing in solar energy can create a brighter future for Africa
A new scheme aims to lighten the lives of millions who live without electricity, with the promise of a possible 6% return.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/15/invest-solar-energy-energise-frica

Meet the microgrid, the technology poised to transform electricity
This is the path to a cleaner, more reliable, more resilient energy grid.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/12/15/16714146/greener-more-reliable-more-resilient-grid-microgrids

Air pollution’s disproportionate effect on poor and minority communities
Air pollution is an unevenly distributed issue.
http://therevelator.org/air-pollution-poor-minority-communities/

Nuclear, renewables to help French CO2 reduction goals, Macron says
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he would not follow Germany’s example by phasing out nuclear energy in France because his priority was to cut carbon emissions and shut down polluting coal-fired production.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-macron-nuclear/nuclear-renewables-to-help-french-co2-reduction-goals-macron-says-idUSKBN1EB0TZ

Scientists discover unexpected side effect to cleaning up urban air
Sinking levels of an air pollutant may trigger an increase in another potentially harmful class of chemical compounds
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-121817.php

Hanoi residents complain about smoke from burning of garbage, straw
The pollution caused by the burning of garbage, straw and agriculture by-products is a big problem that Hanoi and Red River Delta provinces are facing.
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/192102/hanoi-residents-complain-about-smoke-from-burning-of-garbage--straw.html

Toyota planning 10 electric cars by 2020s
Toyota plans to offer more than 10 purely electric vehicle models in its line-up by the early 2020s, marking the Japanese automaker’s commitment to that growing technology sector.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/toyota-planning-10-electric-cars-by-2020s/news-story/4bcf842b03b53c549991cd92534d8ec4

Achieving sustainable resource use attainable through science of cooperation
A new theory explains how societies can achieve environmental sustainability by nurturing cooperation. It is detailed in a series of articles recently published in a special issue of the journal Sustainability Science.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/uom-asr121817.php

Looking back—and ahead—on toxics
Brian Bienkowski
What to watch on toxics — both at home and abroad — as we look to 2018.
http://www.ehn.org/toxic-chemicals-2018-2517455514.html

Reducing how much nitrogen enters a lake has little impact on algal blooms, find Canadian scientists
Lakes suffering from harmful algal blooms may not respond to reduced, or even discontinued, artificial nitrogen loading.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53481

85 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2017
From fish to flowering plants and sea slugs to scorpions — spanning five continents and three oceans–these discoveries add to Earth’s tree of life.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/caos-8ns121817.php

Fish to benefit if large dams adopt new operating approach
Recognizing that many large dams are here to stay, a University of Washington team is investigating an emerging solution to help achieve freshwater conservation goals by re-envisioning the ways in which water is released by dams.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/uow-ftb121517.php

Drowning the Everglades
The Everglades acted as a natural shock absorber that softened Hurricane Irma’s impact. But being the on frontline of the most powerful Atlantic storm on record took its toll, threatening a unique wetland wilderness.
http://www.dw.com/en/drowning-the-everglades/a-41800957

Too soon to de-list the once-endangered peregrine falcon?
The peregrine falcon, which once faced extinction, should not be removed from the federal listing that at one time protected the bird as endangered, Canadian Peregrine Foundation co-founder and president Mark Nash says.
http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/too-soon-to-de-list-the-once-endangered-peregrine-falcon-say-falcon-watchers

Tanzania: WWF chips in to save river from mercury contamination
The World Wide Fund for Nature has supported construction of a special pond that would save Mara River from contamination as a result of activities of artisanal miners living near the river in Tarime District.
http://allafrica.com/stories/201712180315.html

Billions of coral sperm banked in a race to save reefs
In the wake of mass bleaching events, scientists are building a huge repository of frozen sperm to ensure the future of these key ocean species.
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/largest-coral-sperm-bank-australia-reefs-environment-science/

Animals that could disappear because of us
Earth is facing an extinction crisis – and humans shoulder the blame.
https://whyy.org/npr_story_post/animals-disappear-us/