Wednesday 13 September 2017

Third of Earth’s soil is acutely degraded due to agriculture
Fertile soil is being lost at rate of 24bn tonnes a year through intensive farming as demand for food increases, says UN-backed study
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/12/third-of-earths-soil-acutely-degraded-due-to-agriculture-study

Global fingerprints of sea-level rise revealed by satellites.
Geological processes send more meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets to Earth’s mid-latitudes
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4057999804430504420

Four little discussed ways that climate change could make hurricanes even worse.
Let’s consider some less-discussed storm attributes that could plausibly change in a warming world.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212633056

Rising CO2 leading to changes in land plant photosynthesis
Suggests that plants have achieved an optimum response to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uoc–rcl091117.php

Historic legacies affect climate change survival in Caribbean
The legacies of empire have increased the vulnerability of Caribbean states to climate change, according to University of Warwick expert Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uow-hla091217.php

Global warming poses grave threat to the Himalayas.
Increasing global warming caused by greenhouse effect and its subsequent impact has posed a grave threat to the Nepal’s mountain ranges, experts said on Tuesday.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-4057999804430504393

Hurricanes not man-made
Graham Lloyd
Climate change is not behind these devastating weather patterns.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/hurricanes-like-irma-and-harvey-are-not-caused-by-climate-change/news-story/e258aee0cf77ec94ee1bc1ea5bb8cc35

Fake news and god’s wrath: extreme hurricane politics in the US
David Holmes
https://theconversation.com/fake-news-and-gods-wrath-extreme-hurricane-politics-in-the-us-83811

Irma won’t “wake up” climate change-denying Republicans. Their whole ideology is on the line.
Naomi Klein The Intercept
Science is a battle zone because it is revealing again and again that pro-corporate business as usual leads to a species-threatening catastrophe.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212633031

Hurricane Irma: Climate change deniers’ chickens come home to roost
Norm Sanders
Will Hurricane Irma’s devastation in Florida convince deniers such as Governor Rick Scott that there is no climate change conspiracy?
https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/–hurricane-irma-rush-limbaugh-and-the-koch-brothers,10708

Taking the long view: The ‘forever legacy’ of climate change.
Rob Wilder, Dan Kammen Yale Environment 360
The geological record shows that unless humanity begins rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we will be locking in drastic changes in the climate and sea levels that will alter the earth not just for centuries, but for thousands of years.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4057999804430504394

AEMO: Our advice was pretty straight forward, we need dispatchability
AEMO says its advice to the government was “pretty clear” and pragmatic: What the system needs is fast, flexible and reliable capacity to meet peak demand.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-advice-pretty-straight-forward-need-dispatchability-13353/

PM’s new baseload plan
The government has confirmed the Clean Energy Target will be replaced with a policy that places a greater emphasis on baseload power.
http://www.afr.com/news/goverment-walks-away-from-alan-finkels-cet-20170911-gyfgmv

Do Australians have the stomach to eat their beloved kangaroos?
There’s now two kangaroos for every human in Australia – so ecologists are proposing the country gets a taste for its favourite animal. Is it a leap too far?
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/shortcuts/2017/sep/12/do-australians-have-the-stomach-to-eat-their-beloved-kangaroos

AGL a casualty of energy wars
Jennifer Hewett
http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/agl-a-casualty-of-energy-wars-20170912-gyfwqc

Mark Butler on energy uncertainty
Podcast
https://theconversation.com/politics-podcast-mark-butler-on-energy-uncertainty-83879

Nationalisation back on the agenda in politicians’ power panic
Bernard Keane
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/09/12/nationalisation-back-on-the-agenda-in-politicians-power-panic/

Will keeping coal-fired power stations online really solve our energy woes?
Michael Lambert
The question of whether Australia has enough power to handle summer surges in demand is a very open one
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/09/12/will-keeping-coal-fired-power-stations-open-really-solve-our-energy-crisis/

Turnbull’s energy obstructionism is Abbott’s climate denial revisited
Giles Parkinson
Malcolm Turnbull’s extraordinary decision to put his party’s hopes on the aged Liddell coal power plant makes no economic, environmental or engineering sense. But there is a grim precedent: the same government’s rejection of climate science.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/turnbulls-energy-obstructionism-abbotts-climate-denial-revisited-22669/

What lies beneath: The dangers of understating climate risks
Ian Dunlop & David Spratt
In the magical thinking of Australian policymakers, a pathway of gradual change, constructed over many decades in a growing, prosperous, coal-fired world stretches before us. But that’s not the world that currently exists.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/lies-beneath-dangers-understating-climate-risks-55348/

An end to blackouts? Demand management success depends on collaboration
Rob Law
As national debate over energy supply reaches fever pitch, more attention is now being paid to the role of demand management, a weapon of last resort in Australia.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/end-blackouts-demand-management-success-depends-collaboration-11978/

Intervention adds to energy crisis
Courier Mail editorial
THE path to energy security is unclear as state intervention and policy inaction lead to power shortfalls and rising bills.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/editorial-government-meddling-fails-to-fix-rising-energy-bills-and-power-shortfalls/news-story/d767f3cfa7ce1488037f04a7aecb71e3

The coal club can huff and puff but it’s too late to blow the renewable house down
Peter Lewis
The message from the public is clear: they just want the government to retake control of an energy market that has ceased to serve their interest
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/12/the-coal-club-can-huff-and-puff-but-its-too-late-to-blow-the-renewable-house-down

Coalition’s public shaming of AGL another assault on imaginary energy enemies
Katharine Murphy
Malcolm Turnbull’s government doesn’t want to focus on its own indefensible failure. Instead it needs to run interference
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/12/coalitions-public-shaming-of-agl-another-assault-on-imaginary-energy-enemies

Carbon price the key to ending energy woes
Age editorial
Energy companies have long asked for the policy certainty needed before long-term investments can be responsibly made.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/carbon-price-the-key-to-ending-australias-energy-woes-20170912-gyfwsu.html

Left in dark on power station
Graham Richardson
How is it possible for AGL and the government to hold meetings and not tell us what, if anything, they agreed on?
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/graham-richardson/left-in-the-dark-on-power-station-as-blackouts-loom/news-story/739bb4cc67559abc912b982a8db48290

Not For Implementation
Judith Sloan
The Turnbull government would be completely bonkers to commit to a clean energy target.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/judith-sloan/we-must-put-the-cet-in-the-not-for-implementation-file/news-story/6fbab526e5933e08ff5db21150a0f30c

Parliament’s biggest question
Dennis Shanahan
The energy crisis in the most important issue facing Australia, and it would appear the parliament agrees.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/dennis-shanahan/parties-place-energy-crisis-at-the-top-of-political-agenda/news-story/0c6dfb5c19bd7565395317c6c95d34e4

Energy battle: The government has Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon right where they want him on coal
Mark Kenny
The government believes it has Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon right where it wants him. His party too: snookered into arguing for unstable renewables and therefore against coal, against coal jobs.
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/energy-battle-the-government-has-labor-mp-joel-fitzgibbon-right-where-they-want-him-20170912-gyfqga.html

Treating AGL with public contempt seems hardly the way to get the best outcome
Michelle Grattan
https://theconversation.com/treating-agl-with-public-contempt-seems-hardly-the-way-to-get-the-best-outcome-83907

Transport staff tasked with graffiti clean up
TRANSPORT operators in Melbourne will have to inspect and clean train stations and tram stops daily and remove unsightly graffiti.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/cleanup-transport-operators-to-remove-graffiti-tags-on-melbournes-trams-trains-and-stations/news-story/b2ef013de7f12b82d54a33d5ff116bb5

Drivers could pay for West Gate Tunnel
VICTORIAN motorists will lose out on $8 billion in toll revenue savings if Transurban gets the green light to build the West Gate Tunnel, a MP says.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/greens-mp-colleen-hartland-says-motorists-could-miss-out-on-8-billion-in-toll-revenue-savings/news-story/0f0cfabcf6bce347ca1a2158ffa348bd

Labor’s RET blows it
Simon Ramsay
WESTERN Victoria stands to be home to wind turbines under a flawed energy plan
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/opinion/renewable-energy-target-costly-strategy-may-not-deliver-on-its-promises/news-story/f9b53fa41be101db59b637029bba8730

New public transport contracts are no great leap forward
Adam Carey
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-public-transport-contracts-are-no-great-leap-forward-20170912-gyfv98.html

Total fire ban: 75 blazes under watch, teps to hit 32C
SYDNEY is under a total fire ban today as temperatures hit the 30s and wind gusts of up to 75km/h threaten to fan a bush blaze that came dangerously close to homes on the northern beaches yesterday.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/total-fire-ban-75-blazes-under-watch-temps-to-hit-32c/news-story/ec00de772fb974ff0012692d709e62e8

Cheaper options than Liddell: energy bosses
Alinta Energy says other players could offer a cheaper option than extending AGL Energy’s Liddell coal power plant.
http://www.afr.com/business/energy/electricity/cheaper-options-around-than-liddell-energy-bosses-20170912-gyfr60

Regulator plans for a grid without Liddell
http://www.afr.com/news/aemo-plans-for-a-grid-with-or-without-liddell-20170911-gyfaxp

Barnaby Joyce pulls back from repeating claim AGL is ‘shorting’ market
Deputy PM tells Coalition party room AGL’s refusal to sell Liddell power station is about market behaviour but declines to repeat allegation on Sky News
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/12/barnaby-joyce-pulls-back-from-repeating-claim-agl-is-shorting-market

Cracks above mine spark fears for city’s water catchment
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/grave-new-study-finds-significant-impacts-of-coal-mining-in-sydney-catchment-20170912-gyflz5.html

Power plant closure feared
EnergyAustralia may be forced to shut one of its newest coal-fired power stations, supplying up to 1.2 million customers.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/mount-piper-power-plant-closure-feared-after-court-ruling/news-story/7f8355b1dc09f0c824e6869ef14a43a9

Explainer: What’s going on the with the Liddell power station?
AGL wants to close the coal-fired station because it’s expensive and unreliable, but the Federal Government wants to keep it open to avoid power shortages. But why the focus on coal, and who would be footing the bill?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-13/liddell-coal-station-explained-what-do-agl-turnbull-want/8905308

Independent investigation into NSW water management and compliance – interim report
Department of Industry (NSW)
The allegations of water theft and maladministration that are the subject of this investigation were raised on the ABC TV Four Corners program “Pumped: Who is benefitting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling?’’
http://apo.org.au/node/106331

Buyer beware: the warning signs for Liddell buyers
Sally Whyte
The Turnbull government really wants someone, anyone, to buy the Liddell coal-fired power plant. But lessons from Hazelwood should remind any potential buyer that an ageing, dying power plant is often more trouble than it’s worth.
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/09/12/buyer-beware-the-warning-signs-for-liddell-buyers/

AGL’s Liddell power station and the Turnbull Government’s ‘clean coal’ lies
David Shearman
Even AGL recognises that Liddell is neither “clean” nor “cheap” but such lies about coal are necessary to preserve power for the Coalition.
https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/agls-liddell-power-station-and-the-turnbull-governments-clean-coal-lies,10709

Why ‘Fluffy’ gives me hope we can call a truce on sharks
Culum Brown
The public rallied to the aid of an animal that was clearly in distress and may well have died without intervention. It mattered not that the animal was a white shark, arguably the most feared creature in the water.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/why-fluffy-gives-me-hope-we-can-call-a-truce-on-sharks-20170912-gyfixv.html

LNP not committing to its own M1 congestion buster
The Queensland Opposition suggests duplicating a large stretch of the motorway on the Gold Coast, but stops short of promising to build the road if it wins government.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/lnp-pushes-qld-government-to-duplicate-m1-wont-commit-to-do-same/8895916

The Brisbane suburb that accounts for two-thirds of all littering fines
Brisbane City Council is accused of unfairly targeting Fortitude Valley nightclub goers with an “un-Australian” approach to littering fines.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/fortitude-valley-accounts-for-two-thirds-of-all-litter-fines/8894946

Adani gets to work on 170MW solar farm in Queensland coal country
Company behind plans to develop Australia’s largest coal mine begins work on 170MW solar plant in another Queensland coal hub.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/adani-gets-work-170mw-solar-farm-queensland-coal-country-41130/

Lawyers call on Qld government to respect court’s mining decision
It would be historically inconsistent for the state government to reject the Land Court’s recommendation that refuses the expansion of the New Acland coal mine, according to statistics from the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Queensland.
https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/wig-chamber/21856-lawyers-call-on-qld-government-to-respect-court-s-mining-decision

Mill claims bio-energy solution
THE FAR North’s biggest sugar miller believes its $75 million green energy power station holds the key to solving the country’s energy woes.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/business/msf-sugar-calls-on-federal-government-to-back-companys-biofutures-legacy/news-story/08062c6dedc59d2a164622b64917ff5d

Tarkine tracks battle heats up
The Greens have accused the government of losing control of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4918583/tarkine-tracks-battle-heats-up/?cs=95

Naturally built eco-home
PRIVATE, sunny and environmentally minded, this Margate home was built with sustainability at the top of mind.
http://www.themercury.com.au/real-estate/tasmania/hobart/healthy-natural-environmentally-friendly-this-home-is-an-escape/news-story/abdea4d791d0789b72372e01728328eb?rsf=syn:news:nca:tm:spa

Land acquisition Bill submitted for cable car project
THE State Government has tabled legislation to pave a way for a cable car on kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/mt-wellington-cable-car-project-advances-with-bill-to-allow-land-aquisition-tabled-in-parliament/news-story/7df46e6a5500f398fcb2fd4637a23e46

Race is on for the best hydro plans
THE viability of the Tasmanian Government’s “Battery of the Nation” idea would be affected by progress on Snowy Hydro 2.0, an energy analyst says.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/race-is-on-for-the-nations-best-hydro-plans/news-story/b8877a023a495b9fb2e2c70c42be553a

Cartel accusations fly as gas industry’s insists NT fracking would reduce power prices
Battle lines are drawn between the gas industry and its critics over whether allowing fracking to resume in the Northern Territory could help solve the east coast energy price crisis.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/power-prices-nt-gas-fracking-sparks-cartel-accusations/8899870

How will WA’s plastic bag ban work?
Single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned in WA from July 1 next year. So will you still be able to line your bins and scoop up your doggy-doo?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/plastic-bag-ban-announced-in-wa-but-how-will-it-work/8895770

Why do Perth people hate public transport so much?
The buses are air-conditioned and the trains have carpet, so why do Perth residents prefer to stay in their cars?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/why-are-people-avoiding-public-transport-in-perth/8893648

Fancy your own gold mine? $125m WA site up for grabs
http://www.theage.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/evolution-mining-weighs-offers-for-edna-may-gold-site-in-western-australia-20170912-gyfrwj.html

China’s indication to ban sale of non-electric cars a ‘tipping point’
The world’s largest car market, China, indicates it will follow countries like France and Britain in moving to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel engines.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/chinas-move-to-ban-sale-of-non-electric-cars-a-tipping-point/8894746

UK renewables auctions set record low price for offshore wind
Offshore wind now cheaper than nuclear and gas in UK, after second subsidy auction will see two developers build offshore wind farms for just $US75.83/MWh.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/uk-renewables-auctions-set-record-low-price-offshore-wind-58427/

Why we can’t lose hope: Dr. David Suzuki speaks out.
Scientist, activist and elder Dr. David Suzuki sounds off on Trump, Canada’s Blue Dot amendment to protect the environment, and about stonewash jean mania.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212632714

Irma death toll in US rises to 11; Florida faces ‘devastation.’
A weakened Irma brought rain and wind to a wide section of the country on Tuesday after causing at least 11 deaths and leaving some 7.3 million people without power in five states
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4057999804430504417

Air pollution changes what bugs colonise our airways
Could the effects of air pollution be mediated by the mix of bugs in our airways? It seems that exposure to pollutants correlates with differences in the species of bacteria living in our respiratory tracts. This may be a hidden link between pollution and disease.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2147206-air-pollution-changes-what-bugs-colonise-our-airways/

Extreme wildfires in the US could lead to long-term lung damage
There is no relief on the horizon for beleaguered citizens in California, Montana, Oregon and other western states besieged by an abnormally large profusion of forest fires.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2147141-extreme-wildfires-in-the-us-could-lead-to-long-term-lung-damage/

Solar grid keeps harvests high, hospitals lit in parched rural Zimbabwe.
With worsening droughts drying fields and hydropower, solar energy is providing a way forward in rural areas.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212633024

This is how much of your life air pollution is stealing from you based on where you live.
Researchers have put together a map based on new findings that show, depending on where you live, how many years of life that gritty air is stealing.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212633041

Where is the world’s most walkable city?
From New York’s cafe squares to Melbourne’s laneways to the walled Fes el Bali, these pedestrian paradises combine safety, beauty and comfort. Now urban planners are taking note as they seek to hand back cities to the walkers
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/12/walkable-city-worlds-most-new-york-melbourne-fes-el-bali

Built faster than they shut
Nations around the world are building coal-fired power plants at a faster rate than those being decommissioned.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/world-building-new-coal-plants-faster-than-it-shuts-them/news-story/6b39ea6a51636ba074c0ad86aa5f05f0

The smart home could worsen domestic abuse. But the same technology may also make us safer
Mark Burdon, The University of Queensland and Heather Douglas, The University of Queensland
Can we use smart home data to better identify and report abusers, while protecting victims of domestic and family violence?
http://theconversation.com/the-smart-home-could-worsen-domestic-abuse-but-the-same-technology-may-also-make-us-safer-82897

How the sky can help make air conditioners at least 20% more efficient
Geoff Smith
https://theconversation.com/how-the-sky-can-help-make-air-conditioners-at-least-20-more-efficient-83455

Hurricanes wreak the havoc of climate change – but is a green energy solution in sight?
Jonathan Watts The Guardian
In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the market has finally bought into the business case for renewable energy. The price of change is getting cheaper.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6766923627212633035

Gold miners ‘bragged about massacring Amazon tribe’
Brazilian prosecutors are investigating reports that gold prospectors may have killed members of a so-called uncontacted tribe in the Amazon, after two of them were allegedly heard “boasting about the deaths” and parading “trophies”.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/brazil-probes-possible-killings-of-uncontacted-tribe/8894928

Deforestation in Cambodia linked to ill health in children.
A new study has found that the loss of dense forest cover in Cambodia is associated with an increased risk of diarrhea, acute respiratory infection and fever in children younger than five years.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4057999804430504402

A panic room for corals.
After Hurricane Irma, and with Jose and Katia bearing down, the need for a coral vault seems even more urgent.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-4057999804430504406

Aussie marine biologist offers hope for reefs
AN Australian marine biologist who’s developed a kind of IVF for corals says it holds great promise for sick reefs worldwide.
http://www.ntnews.com.au/lifestyle/fishing/aussie-marine-biologist-offers-hope-for-reefs/news-story/83a094368fd2d336ce2df8b9d3352528

Third of Earth’s soil is acutely degraded due to agriculture
Fertile soil is being lost at rate of 24bn tonnes a year through intensive farming as demand for food increases, says UN-backed study
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/12/third-of-earths-soil-acutely-degraded-due-to-agriculture-study

Forest regeneration experiment of 30 years yields results
A spruce forest regeneration experiment in Interior Alaska that spanned nearly 30 years demonstrates which forest management practices produce the best results.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uoaf-fre091217.php

‘Keep it local’ approach more effective than government schemes at protecting rainforest
Conservation initiatives led by local and indigenous groups can be just as effective as schemes led by government, according to new research. In some cases in the Amazon rainforest, grassroots initiatives can be even more effective at protecting this vital ecosystem. This is particularly important due to widespread political resistance to hand over control over forests and other natural resources to local communities.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uoc-il091117.php

Explosion in number of known life forms
A remarkable effort from University of Queensland researchers has helped increase the number of known genomes by almost 10 per cent.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uoq-ein091117.php

Drones help scientists check the health of Antarctic mosses, revealing climate change clues
Zbynek Malenovský, University of Tasmania and Arko Lucieer, University of Tasmania
Mosses are sensitive to even minor changes in their living conditions, and scientists traditionally tramped through difficult terrain to collect data on them.
http://theconversation.com/drones-help-scientists-check-the-health-of-antarctic-mosses-revealing-climate-change-clues-83817