Wednesday 25 October 2017

Forest fires stoke record loss in world tree cover: Monitor
Forest fires in Brazil and Indonesia contributed to a record loss in global tree cover in 2016, equivalent to the size of New Zealand, that could accelerate deforestation blamed for climate change, an independent forest monitoring network says.

US environmental agency accused of censoring climate science
The US Environmental Protection Agency stops three scientists from speaking at an event where they were due to discuss a report about climate change, a move condemned by researchers and Democratic members of Congress as an attempt to censor science.

Sea level rise could flood 1.9 million US homes by 2100
An estimated 1.9 million U.S. homes could be flooded by 2100 if seas rise 6 feet in response to climate change, according to a new analysis by the real estate company Zillow.

Democrats are letting the climate crisis go to waste
The full-scale mobilization that met efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act has gone missing in the face of attacks on the planet and Obama’s climate legacy in the Clean Power Plan.

Nicaragua to join Paris climate accord, leaving US and Syria isolated
Vice-president Rosario Murillo calls global pact ‘the only instrument we have’ to address climate change as number of outsiders shrinks to two

Climate change ‘at the heart’ of Jacinda Ardern’s plans for New Zealand
New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern signs the coalition agreement between the Labour Party and NZ First and reveals her Government’s plans to ensure the country generates 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.

Intensifying wildfires: The new normal?
Climate change is connecting California and Chile, Siberia and Spain, and it isn’t pleasant.

There are some answers in a bleak NZ climate change report
Stuff editorial
What is the atmosphere, exactly? A newly-released Ministry for the Environment report describes it as “a blanket wrapped around Earth to keep it at the perfect temperature to sustain life”.

Electric vehicle uptake will drain fuel tax revenue, report warns
Productivity Commission warns Australia’s inevitable shift from petrol fuelled cars to EVs will take a huge chunk out of the federal government budget.

Dissident Coalition MPs push for earlier end to renewable energy subsidies
Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly and Matt Canavan argue government should cut off support to some renewable investments in 2020

Productivity Commission says Coalition should adopt price on carbon
Commission says carbon price would benefit consumers and help deliver best possible market reforms

Australians choosing between vegetables and paying their power bills
Australians are cutting back on basic things like fresh fruit and vegies in order to keep the lights on with the National Debt Helpline taking 14,000 calls in September — a record for the month.

Three ways to next mining boom
The lowest level of exploration spending in almost 30 years may be “sowing seeds for future production challenges”.

How Malcolm Turnbull, GetUp and Adani are using Facebook ads to push their agenda
The nature of Facebook ads makes it difficult to see when political ads go out, which groups are campaigning for which cause and fact-check what they’re saying

Productivity Commission calls for urgent road funding reform
Australia is facing a roads funding crisis and urgent ­reform is needed, the ­Productivity Commission has warned.

Labor at loss on renewables cost
Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler admits he has no idea how much his party’s renewable energy policy would cost.

ESB told to ignore climate, as lobby groups muscle in on policy
Giles Parkinson
Energy Security Board instructed to ignore Paris climate goals as main business lobby group asks for seat at table in talks around proposed National Energy Guarantee. This comes as more confirmation received on hurried and secret proposals, and as Coalition launches another scare campaign about renewable energy costs.

NEG: the energy policy you have when you aren’t having an energy policy
Don Aitkin
Oh well, it all has to be approved by COAG, which meets in November, and the whole exercise so far smacks of the back-of-envelope calculations that people make excitedly in hotel bars.

The war against Tim Flannery
Emily Watkins
The Oz had long taken issue with Tim Flannery. But it wasn’t until Flannery was made head of the Climate Change Commission that the hate campaign really kicked in.

Malcolm Turnbull is not the smartest person in the room. Quite the opposite
Peter Lewis
Two issues central to our prime minister’s personal brand conflict have dominated politics recently: marriage equality and climate change

Why dockless bikes don’t deserve bad press
Peter Maniaty

Salon sweepings, shucked shells star in best green schemes
Breaking down old mattresses so they don’t clog our landfills and using hair clippings to help clean up oil spills are among the innovative ideas based on unlikely materials that have earned nominations for a statewide environmental award.

Demand hit Bass gasfield: Exxon
ExxonMobil has defended a looming slide in production at the Bass Strait gasfields it owns with BHP Billiton.

Will Fishermans Bend meet this sustainability target?
Alan Davies
It’s easy to give the appearance of being progressive when the proof of the pudding won’t be known until 2050, but sometimes inconvenient truths can’t be overlooked

Can Sydney cope with yet another bike-sharing scheme?
A third entrant to Sydney’s bike-share scheme market promises to do things “the right way”, but some see higher costs for residents as abandoned bicycles are retrieved from gutters and trees at ratepayers’ expense.

Murderer’s relatives slapped with record fine for illegal land-clearing

From $1m to $730m: Power station value under scrutiny
The $1 million sale of a coal-fired power station by the NSW government has been referred to the state’s Auditor-General after it emerged the plant’s new owners revalued it as being worth $730 million.

Solar loans on offer amid Palaszczuk’s energy retailer shock tactics
No-interest loans will be offered for solar and battery installations as the Queensland Government’s cost-of-living campaign cops further criticism from the Opposition.

Police raid cotton farm over alleged Murray-Darling Basin fraud
Police raid a large cotton farm near Goondiwindi on the New South Wales-Queensland border as part of a major criminal investigation into possible fraudulent use of Commonwealth Murray-Darling Basin funds.

Construction begins on Emerald Solar Farm after financial close reached
Emerald solar farm, Australia’s first large-scale offsite renewables corporate PPA, reaches financial close and begins construction.

Qld to ‘name and shame’ energy retailers

Extended rains bring on attack of the giant earthworms
Photos of giant earthworms are starting to populate social media accounts from the Atherton Tablelands to the Gold Coast hinterland, with some comparing them to a 1990’s B-grade horror movie.

Plan to move this little mob
A conservationist has been granted approval to relocate dozens of wallabies from Trinity Beach to the Tablelands.

Brisbane researcher urges nation not to be ‘complacent’ with pollution

River rules risk gas search ban
The Palaszczuk government could restrict development in the west of the state, potentially threatening gas exploration.

Adelaide woman helps make wheelchair graveyards a thing of the past
After witnessing growing piles of wheelchairs on Pacific islands, Kylie Mines and her husband decided it was time to better help those in need.

Wild dogs far closer to southern towns than ever before, in $89m blow to sheep and cattle industry
Farmers have shot or trapped 550 wild dogs south of the state’s dog fence since the start of the year and industry leaders are warning the pests are now dangerously close to rural towns.

Population growth no cure-all: demographer

Tassal ‘likely’ to give evidence in Federal Court action
Tassal’s legal counsel looks “likely” to submit evidence in response to a joint Federal Court action between Triabunna Investments, Spring Bay Mill and the Bob Brown Foundation over the company’s Okehampton Bay fish farm.

TFS warning as bushfire burns
AN out of control fire burning for a week near St Helens has prompted the Tasmania Fire Service to ask people unprepared for a bushfire to leave for a safer place.

Salmon giant Tassal needs to admit it’s losing the war on climate change
Stephen Mayne
Tasmanian salmon farming giant Tassal has been beleaguered by falling domestic prices and environmental negligence. What can the giant do to mend its ways?

Kimberley native title claimants fear island will be handed to fish farmer
Traditional owners appeal to the Western Australian government to abandon attempt to forcibly acquire Barnicoat Island

London motorists to pay new road toll to tackle air pollution
Owners of older vehicles in London will have to pay close to $40 to drive through the centre of the British capital as part of a new fee designed to tackle air pollution.

Graphs of the Day: Wind fast, solar faster, batteries fastest
Four charts show that in the global race to build new energy capacity, wind is fast, solar is faster, and batteries will be faster again.

Warning to CEOs – CSR May Get You Fired, Study Finds
Investing in product safety, employee diversity and carbon footprint reduction are all examples of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that can result in high praise for a chief executive – or get them fired, according to new research from the US University of Notre Dame

EU on brink of historic decision on pervasive glyphosate weedkiller
Glyphosate is found in 60% of UK bread and environmentalists welcome a ban but industry warn of uproar among farmers if herbicide is phased out

When humidity benefits batteries
An advance in electrodes for lithium-ion batteries

Air Pollution Cuts Solar Energy Potential in China
Severe air pollution in northern and eastern China blocks about 20 percent of sunlight from reaching solar panel arrays in winter, according to a …

A smart city in China tracks every citizen and yours could too
For the past 12 months, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been slurping up video feeds, social media data, traffic information and other data from Hangzhou city for its City Brain project. The stated goal was to improve life in Hangzhou by letting artificial intelligence process this data and use it to control aspects of urban life. The trial has been so successful that the company is now packaging the system for export to other places in China – and eventually the rest of the world.

Is it worth paying extra for Fairtrade products?
Caitlin Fitzsimmons

Into the ice: humans get closer to nature – in pictures.
From log trails to lava houses, from mud baths to melting glaciers, US photographer Lucas Foglia explores our relationship with the natural world in his new book Human Nature.

Forest fires stoke record loss in world tree cover: Monitor
Forest fires in Brazil and Indonesia contributed to a record loss in global tree cover in 2016, equivalent to the size of New Zealand, that could accelerate deforestation blamed for climate change, an independent forest monitoring network says.

Fresh Look at Fresh Water: Researchers Create a 50,000-Lake Database
Countless numbers of vacationers spent this summer enjoying lakes for swimming, fishing and boating. But are they loving these lakes ..

Microplastics in the Baltic Have Not Risen for 30 Years
The concentration of microplastics in water and fish from the Baltic Sea has been constant for the past 30 years, despite a substantial increase in plastic production during …

UK is 30-40 years away from ‘eradication of soil fertility’, warns Gove
Farmers must be incentivised to tackle decline in biodiversity, says environment secretary at launch of parliamentary soil body

Elephant poaching drops in Africa but populations continue to fall
New report also reveals rise in large-scale illegal ivory shipments which could be due to panic sell-off by traffickers as countries implement domestic bans

Many Planned Roads in the Tropics Shouldn’t Be Built
We are living in the most dramatic era of road expansion in human history, but many planned roads should not be built, concludes a major …

Daydreaming is good. It means you’re smart
Brain study suggests mind wandering at work and home may not be as bad as you might think