WEDNESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2018

‘Absolute scandal’: how does restoring a ship help endangered species?
The government is providing $255m to projects it says will benefit threatened animals and plants – yet there is little chance the species actually occur at many of the sites
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/14/incongruous-species-funding-in-the-most-unlikely-places

Intensive agriculture influences US regional summer climate, study finds
An increase in corn and soybean production in the Midwest may have led to cooler, wetter summers there
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/miot-iai021318.php

Basin Authority powerless to act against farmers harvesting floodwaters
The head of the Murray Darling Basin Authority admits the authority is powerless to prevent upstream farmers harvesting rainwater desperately needed to flow through the river system for the benefit of all users.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/murray-darling-authority-powerless-against-floodwater-harvesting/9426138

Why desal plants are regarded as insurance by some and folly by others
Perth’s desalination plant has been a lifesaver but debate rages around the value of Sydney’s plant which sits broken and idle.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-02-13/seawater-you-are-drinking-it-debate-over-desalination/9422632

As the world looks to put cities on a sustainable path, the Australian government goes missing
Barbara Norman, University of Canberra
Representatives of nations around the world have come together to discuss how to achieve the New Urban Agenda. Collective political will is needed, but the Australian government didn’t show up.
http://theconversation.com/as-the-world-looks-to-put-cities-on-a-sustainable-path-the-australian-government-goes-missing-90384

The Coalition’s immigration challenge
Rex Drabik
While led, for now at least, by a ‘Big Australia’ enthusiast, a recent survey suggests that the Liberals might soon have little choice but to abandon their support for mass immigration.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19564

How Barnaby Joyce contaminates my drinking water
Simon Pockley
Joyce is under pressure to resign over his extra-marital affair but what of his hand in the destruction of one of Australia’s major ecosystems?
https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/how-barnaby-joyce-contaminates-my-drinking-water,11197

This is who is to blame for our share bike problem
Rob Caldwell
Share bikes aren’t throwing themselves in rivers and up trees. There’s a very specific group to blame for that.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/this-is-who-is-to-blame-for-our-share-bike-problem/news-story/3f7645c8c2546d64db5f45837667448f

Lead contamination sidelines sports clubs in regional Victoria
A major project to clear a sports ground in north-east Victoria of lead contamination is expected to be the first of many across the state.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/lead-contamination-sidelines-gun-club-wangaratta/9442274

Asbestos-ridden 1950s-era Morwell Power Station granted heritage protection
A derelict eyesore riddled with asbestos on the outskirts of the Latrobe Valley town of Morwell has been listed for heritage protection.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/old-morwell-power-station-attains-heritage-listed/9425526

Power cut to thousands, trains in chaos as wild wind bashes Victoria
There is chaos across the state as damaging winds bash Victoria.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/02/14/09/42/winds-batter-victoria-power-cut-to-thousands-melbourne-weather

Waste company inspected after fatal Dee Why garbage truck crash
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/waste-company-inspected-after-fatal-dee-why-garbage-truck-crash-20180213-p4z08v.html

Transurban insists WestConnex toll road not a ‘must have’ purchase
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/transurban-insists-westconnex-toll-road-not-a-must-have-purchase-20180213-p4z05g.html

‘Triple threat’: NSW on bushfire alert
Residents across most of NSW are being urged to prepare for elevated fire danger as a triple threat of hot, dry and windy conditions sweep the state today.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/sydney-to-hit-40c-as-total-fire-bans-are-issued-across-nsw/news-story/b05eb1c3975e33d984feff2cbe1aa8e9

Electricity complaints rise as quick as price
Complaints against electricity companies have soared more than 30 per cent in the past 12 months, the NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman has revealed — with complaints about high bills topping the list.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/electricity-complaints-against-companies-rise-more-than-30-per-cent-in-the-last-year/news-story/dc3fe1fd4ae77a8b4d9777928b111948

Cash-for-cans recycling scheme ripping off consumers
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/consumers-ripped-off-as-much-as-100m-in-cashforcans-recycling-scheme/news-story/947181f80d3bf86a16ce3c1b16ad62ed

NSW energy users dudded
Telegraph editorial
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/editorial-nsw-energy-users-dudded/news-story/2213fce7daa9d8459c13ea0fd379c967

Leigh tells Seselja to ‘get on board’ with light rail
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/labors-andrew-leigh-tells-zed-seselja-to-get-on-board-with-act-light-rail-20180213-h0w157.html

Barr’s light rail election hint raises some questions
The real question is whether light rail stage two should be allowed to proceed at all, regardless of the outcome of a future ACT election, unless a compelling economic case can be made for it.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/chief-ministers-light-rail-election-hint-raises-questions-about-stage-two-20180213-h0w13y.html

More traffickers are being jailed, but Queensland’s drug problem is getting worse
Queensland’s worst drug criminals only spend an average of four years behind bars, but experts say tougher sentences or harsher crackdowns won’t fix the state’s problems with illicit substances.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/qld-drug-trafficking-convictions-up-330-per-cent-in-10-years/9443668

Hot and sticky conditions set to worsen in Queensland after overnight storm
Queenslanders need to keep calm and stay cool, avoid booze and crank up the fan, as the worst heat is set to come today as the humidity spikes after another wild storm.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/hot-sticky-conditions-set-to-worsen-qld-today-bom-warns/9443858

Queensland gives New Acland Coal mine expansion second chance
The state Environment Department throws embattled miner New Acland Coal a lifeline, despite its historic loss in the Land Court last year.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/queensland-government-gives-acland-coal-mine-second-chance/9417474

Council’s planning is green
Cairns Regional Council will today reaffirm its commitment to being a responsible warden of the environment as it looks towards modernise its waste treatment processes.
http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-regional-council-commits-to-being-warden-of-environment/news-story/f74797d1d441366bb5c654860d11560e

Labor can unify the left by opposing Adani, but it can’t forget its blue-collar base
Peter Lewis
Failure to go far enough in opposing the mine and Labor will haemorrhage votes to the Greens; go too far and it risks the ire of mining unions
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/13/labor-can-unify-the-left-by-opposing-adani-but-it-cant-forget-its-blue-collar-base

End of the Murray: What SA could lose in the fight over water
With a political fight threatening the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, we asked a constitutional lawyer if states can withdraw and what it might mean for South Australia at the lower end of the river system.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/what-for-sa-if-other-states-pull-out-murray-darling-basin-plan/9444774

Going green lifts reds and whites
Biodynamic principles have paid off for a coastal South Australian winery
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/on-farm/cape-jaffa-wines-anna-hoopers-move-to-certified-biodynamics-paying-off/news-story/86735bfe1009f1708b985ebeb079b491

SA fire so big it can be seen from space
A bushfire in outback South Australia that has blackened more than 125,000 hectares — almost twice the size of Singapore — continues to burn.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/sa-outback-bushfire-crosses-into-nt/9426044

‘Epic Duck Challenge’ shows drones can outdo people at surveying wildlife
Jarrod Hodgson, University of Adelaide; Aleks Terauds, and Lian Pin Koh, University of Adelaide
A few thousand fake ducks, a group of experienced wildlife spotters and a drone have proven the usefulness and accuracy of drones for wildlife monitoring.
http://theconversation.com/epic-duck-challenge-shows-drones-can-outdo-people-at-surveying-wildlife-90018

Mount Wellington cable car works approved before poll called
Tasmania’s State Growth Minister quietly gave the Mount Wellington Cable Car Company permission to start drilling and surveying on the mountain just days before the state election was called, documents show.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/mount-wellington-cable-car-works-approved-before-poll-called/9425976

Door opening for new NT gas market
A policy shift towards more gas may open a new market for Territory exports, the chief executive of Pangaea Resources believes
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/door-opening-for-new-nt-gas-market/news-story/4e964280d04a0828a9f1841e008c8d9c

Fears fracking delay would cause ‘economic harm’
The gas industry has reacted with alarm to news the green light for fracking in the Northern Territory could be delayed by as long as three years
http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/fracking-industry-warns-threeyear-delay-in-nt-would-cause-economic-harm/news-story/daac70df0cfb38ad598c5deda595d6b1

Perth hits record number of cool days … but a scorcher looms
If you think Perth’s weather is cooler than normal, you’re right — the city has reached a record number of days below 35 degrees Celsius. But don’t put away your bathers just yet — a scorcher is coming.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/perth-record-cool-days-to-end-with-scorcher/9444004

Woodside gains control of WA gas field after $2.5 billion share sale
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/woodside-gains-control-of-wa-gas-field-after-25-billion-share-sale-20180213-h0w22b.html

What do Water Corporation, sharks and family violence have in common?
Bev Jowle
On Friday, the Financial Counselling Association of WA, of which I am chief executive, was asked to elect a financial counsellor to attend a press conference with Water Minister Dave Kelly.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/wa-news/what-do-water-corporation-sharks-and-family-violence-have-in-common-20180213-h0w0pe.html

The chemical industry doesn’t want you to be afraid of Teflon pans. You should be.
Health experts and advocates say nonsticks should have been banned years ago; fortunately, you can mitigate risk
https://www.salon.com/2018/02/04/the-chemical-industry-doesnt-want-you-to-be-afraid-of-teflon-pans-you-should-be/

BBC aims to be free of single-use plastics across all operations by 2020
Decision follows the corporation’s landmark series Blue Planet II, which highlighted plastic pollution in the oceans
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/13/bbc-aims-to-be-free-of-single-use-plastics-across-all-operations-by-2020

Chemical cluster could transform energy storage for large electrical grids
The compound’s promising electroactive properties make it an ideal candidate material for redox flow batteries
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uab-ccc021318.php

Powerful LED-based train headlight optimized for energy savings
Careful LED placement cuts down on wasted energy
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/tos-plt021318.php

World’s biggest city database shines light on our increasingly urbanized planet
The JRC has launched a new tool with data on all 10,000 urban centres scattered across the globe. It is the largest and most comprehensive database on cities ever published.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ecjr-wbc021318.php

Researchers discover new lead-free perovskite material for solar cells
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/bu-rdn020718.php

Weeds out of control
Spraying weeds with chemicals has always been costly. Now it is costly and ineffective, with resistance to herbicides pervasive and demanding a new strategy to protect crops.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/rr-woo021218.php