WEDNESDAY 28 MARCH 2018

‘Extreme’ heatwave recorded in Tasman Sea breaks records
The Tasman Sea experienced a “marine heatwave” over summer that pushed the surface temperature to a record high, climate scientists say.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/bom-and-nz-body-issue-joint-statement-on-marine-heatwave/9593618

Matt Canavan announces mining taskforce to help increase exploration
Resources minister to say that environmental groups are abusing the law to delay major projects
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/28/matt-canavan-announces-mining-taskforce-to-help-increase-exploration

Labor and Greens fail in first attempt to disallow Coalition’s marine park plans
Parties have the option of redrafting the disallowance and resubmitting it as soon as Wednesday
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/27/labor-and-greens-fail-in-first-attempt-to-disallow-coalitions-marine-park-plans

Wind, solar farms to trial ‘self-forecasting’ output
Wind and solar farm operators will be able to “self-forecast” the amount of electricity they are generating as part of a $10 million trial being funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
http://www.afr.com/news/politics/wind-solar-farms-asked-to-selfforecast-energy-output-to-help-power-market-20180327-h0y0gz

Big Oil sets sights on Australia’s transitioning energy market
Shell joins rush of Big Oil and other energy majors looking to Australia to learn from rapid energy transition and profit from slow-moving local incumbents.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/big-oil-sets-sights-australias-transitioning-energy-market-75106/

Keeping the lights on more crucial than cutting emissions, says Kerry Schott
The NEG’s rollout will be a case of suck it and see as the mechanism looks to adapt to vastly different state emissions and reliability situations.
https://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/keeping-the-lights-on-more-crucial-than-cutting-emissions-says-kerry-schott-20180326-p4z6ci.html

Lower energy cost ‘the priority’
Australia should focus on lowering energy costs rather than guaranteeing reliability according to ACC chairman Rod Sims.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/lower-energy-costs-the-priority-rod-sims/news-story/84cdb08f46aee335c2a5052ef8244201

Farmers face increasing wild dog threat
Experts say changes to wild dog pack structures in recent years are making it more difficult for farmers to control the pests on their properties.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-28/wild-dog-problem-grows/9581914

Infrastructure priority list: Project and initiative summaries
Infrastructure Australia
The Infrastructure Priority List is a critical reference point for the most important infrastructure investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.
It is updated regularly to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across Australia and provides independent, evidence-based advice to governments and industry on the projects that will most benefit our growing communities.
http://www.apo.org.au/node/138346

Fear holding back GM uptake 
Matthew Cossey
GM will bring immense gains if fact can overcome distortion
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/opinion/fear-is-holding-back-gm-uptake/news-story/5921c14263adf2377d0a1d78e97beef6

Going Green: Watermelon Is Delicious, Desirable And An Embraceable State Of Being!
Ben Pennings
One of the most common ‘insults’ used to attack Greens, is actually one of their great strengths
https://newmatilda.com/2018/03/27/going-green-watermelon-delicious-desirable-embraceable-state/

‘A risky experiment that has no parallel among developed nations’
Dick Smith
Politicians have encouraged a massive expansion of our immigration program without seeking our permission.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/a-risky-experiment-that-has-no-parallel-among-developed-nations-20180327-p4z6h7.html

Meeting the challenges of growth
SMH editorial
Australia’s population is projected to increase by almost 12 million over the next 30 years. While conversations about the scale of this increase, and the role of immigration in it, are perfectly legitimate, they are essentially conversations at the margins.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/meeting-the-challenges-of-growth-20180327-h0y14p.html

This is how baseload gets replaced by renewables and storage
Giles Parkinson
Report from global renewables agency REN21 highlights just how dramatic the global energy transition will be, as the cost of wind and solar continue to fall, and storage continues its rapid adoption.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/this-is-how-baseload-gets-replaced-by-renewables-and-storage-47898/

Good climate policy is beyond the Australian government – and maybe it should be
Peter C. Doherty
Climate policy is a fiendish problem for governments, which is why we need a powerful independent body to call the shots.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/good-climate-policy-is-beyond-the-australian-government-and-maybe-it-should-be-34100/

Solar rebate debate: It’s nothing to do with men in tights
Alex Georgiou
Painting solar rebates as a “Reverse Robin Hood” mechanism is entirely incorrect. Rather, they empower the solar industry to offer real solutions for those most …
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-rebate-debate-its-nothing-to-do-with-men-in-tights-15003/

How renewables trumped brown coal and gas over Australia’s summer
Tristan Edis
Renewables are making an important contribution to meeting peak demand and therefore addressing reliability, as this data from summer shows.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/how-renewables-trumped-brown-coal-and-gas-over-australias-summer-50103/

Kuark Forest and old growth trees to be protected in Victoria
The Victorian Government vows to protect the Kuark Forest in eastern Victoria and all native trees greater than 2.5 metres in diameter, after announcing a two-year extension to three of the state’s Regional Forest Agreements.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/old-growth-kuark-forest-in-eastern-victoria-to-be-protected/9591602

Forestry agreements extended in Victoria but big trees get protection
The Victorian government has made short-term extensions to three of its regional forest agreements (RFA) allowing logging of native forests, but also announced new limits on the trees that can be cut.
https://www.theage.com.au/environment/sustainability/forestry-agreements-extended-in-victoria-but-big-trees-get-protection-20180326-p4z6c4.html

Victoria calls on federal government to fund fresh reviews of forestry agreements
A row between state and federal ministers has thrown Victoria’s long-term native forest logging agreements into disarray
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/27/victoria-forestry-agreements-federal-government-fund-fresh-reviews

‘Risky’ grid lines grate 
Cobwebs of transmission lines connecting wind farms to the grid will create new safety risks, and destroy the “integrity of the rural landscape” a group of west Victorian residents has warned.
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/wind-farm-transmission-lines-a-safety-risk-west-vic-residents-say/news-story/45a157e7679ba6ae2ced1fd1ed0cad6d

Shock over Queen Vic Market rejection
The $250 million Queen Victoria Market redevelopment is in jeopardy after Heritage Victoria sensationally knocked back planned works to historic sheds.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/queen-victoria-market-redevelopment-rejected-by-heritage-victoria/news-story/38919e00bdf89b74887e70a9260ba263

‘Hard to take seriously’: Andrews slams projects list
Premier Daniel Andrews has accused the Turnbull government’s key infrastructure advisor of being too Sydney-centric, after the authority released a “priority list” which was heavily weighted toward projects in NSW.
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/hard-to-take-seriously-andrews-slams-sydney-centric-projects-list-20180327-p4z6eu.html

Shepparton council set to go solar, as PV farm plans remain in limbo
City of Greater Shepparton awards tender to install solar across council buildings; awaits state govt decision on 250MW of proposed solar farms.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/shepparton-council-set-go-solar-pv-farm-plans-remain-limbo-88216/

Victorian government backs push for solar on all new-build homes
Vic govt unveils $2.18m plan to partner with land developers and home builders to supply zero net carbon homes – rooftop solar included – around Melbourne.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/victorian-government-backs-push-solar-new-build-homes-77614/

Solar cemetery considered in Ballarat Community Power scheme
Regional cemetery business looks to go solar – and all electric – as one of first projects to come out of Victorian government’s Community Power Hubs.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-cemetery-considered-ballarat-community-power-scheme-16168/

WaterNSW boss told cotton grower of bid to keep his usage data from being released
David Harris said he was ‘sympathetic’ with water-theft accused grower’s desire to withhold records
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/28/waternsw-boss-told-cotton-grower-of-bid-to-keep-his-usage-data-from-being-released

AGL lines Liddell up for pumped storage, dismisses Chinese ‘approach’
AGL Energy is proceeding with plans to replace its Liddell power station with other energy sources including pumped hydro, dismissing a report that a Chinese textile group offered to buy the ailing power plant.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/agl-lines-liddell-up-for-pumped-storage-dismisses-chinese-approach-20180327-p4z6i0.html

Large rubbish fire at the West Belconnen rubbish tip
Fire crews have extinguished a large rubbish fire at the West Belconnen resource management facility.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/large-rubbish-fire-at-the-west-belconnen-resource-management-facility-20180327-h0y1rc.html

How do we get more Canberrans cycling to work?
Planners, academics and cycling enthusiastics will get together on Wednesday to work out how to encourage more people to bike to work, with cyclist numbers stubbornly refusing to move.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/panel-to-discuss-how-to-get-more-people-riding-a-bike-to-work-in-canberra-20180327-h0y0oq.html

Farmers rally against proposed changes to Queensland vegetation management laws
Queensland farmers say ‘enough is enough’ as Parliamentary committee seeks feedback on new land clearing laws.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/farmers-protest-new-queensland-land-clearing-laws/9592738

‘Spray-on umbrella’ could protect coral from bleaching
A team of researchers are trialling a liquid spray that could help protect coral along the Great Barrier Reef.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/spray-on-umbrella-could-protect-coral-from-mass-bleaching-20180327-p4z6kx.html

Where is the benefit of the bigger network?
David Blowers
The cost of the electricity grid in Queensland has gone up by 75 per cent in a decade – and we’re all paying for it through our power bills
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/heat-is-on-to-stop-surge-in-queensland-power-bills/news-story/d0306d9d99ec391677572612c5276631

Adelaide aquifers face a dry future
Healthy aquifers and groundwater supplies – just as important as Murray River-supplemented reservoirs – are a strategic source of Adelaide’s and South Australia’s long-term sustainability, with water experts warning the Adelaide Hills streams and catchment systems need urgent attention.
https://indaily.com.au/news/science-and-tech/2018/03/28/adelaide-aquifers-face-dry-future/

New battery boost to cut power bills
South Australia will soon be home to its third and largest virtual power plant in a bid to reduce power bills and keep the lights on across the state.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-energy-will-be-delivered-by-virtual-power-plant-made-of-1200-batteries-in-homes-with-solar-panels/news-story/519bec288c7cd739b8d5929d66d699f1

Senate inquiry to investigate dust pollution from power station ‘ash lake’ 
Dust pollution from an ash dam at the former Northern Power Station site which blanketed Port Augusta will be investigated by a Senate inquiry.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/senate-inquiry-to-investigate-dust-pollution-from-power-station-ash-lake-that-blanketed-port-augusta/news-story/99e8df76ee1b3913eeb19e1eaf2a230f

Don’t be an Easter bunny, nibble a bilby
Iconic Haighs Chocolates is for the first time hatching its Easter eggs at its new 15m Mile End factory.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/thesourcesa/haighs-chocolates-hatching-easter-eggs-at-its-new-15m-mile-end-factory/news-story/460ba75b67f2c0d7a58f96cbc5c98927

Huon says salmon farming warnings were ignored, now EPA has questions to answer
Tasmania’s Environment Protection Authority is being challenged to explain how it arrived at a decision to lower the biomass numbers for the salmon industry in Macquarie Harbour.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/salmon-farmer-demands-epa-answers-biosecurity-macquarie-harbour/9591898

Libs hail bid to power up new Basslink 
The listing of a second Bass Strait power cable as a priority nation-building proposal has been hailed by the State Government as a win for its energy plan.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/politics/national-listing-of-second-basslink-cable-a-win-for-state-energy-plan-says-state-government/news-story/c4a39ef42da798abce3cbad3c367a29c

Think Tasmania survived fire season largely unscathed? Here’s why
Chris Arnol
Crews battled to stop fires before they made more devastating impact
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-think-tasmania-survived-fire-season-largely-unscathed-heres-why/news-story/de1b6c275d841199928f8b672ea23889

Native title stoush intensifies as rival clan storms Katherine meeting
Dozens of people storm a meeting, causing it to be abandoned, as a bitter feud intensifies between two Aboriginal clan groups over who has native title rights to Katherine.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/native-title-dispute-intensifies-in-katherine/9593270

NT Government told risks can be mitigated if fracking moratorium is lifted
The NT Government is expected to soon decide if it will lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracking, after an 15-month inquiry concluded the risks associated with the industry could be managed.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/nt-government-told-risks-can-be-mitigated-if-hydraulic-fracking/9592056

Sir David Attenborough says WA tiger sharks help fight climate change
Naturalist David Attenborough has used his TV series Blue Planet II, now showing in Australia, to feature the role West Australian tiger sharks play in the fight against climate change.
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/sir-david-attenborough-says-wa-tiger-sharks-help-fight-climate-change-20180327-p4z6ie.html

Researchers charge ahead to develop better batteries
They die at the most inconvenient times. Cellphones go dark during important conversations because a battery hasn’t been recharged. Or the automotive industry revs up with excitement for a new battery-powered vehicle, but it needs frequent recharging. Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have developed a high-powered, environmentally safe lithium-sulfur substitute that could drastically lengthen battery life.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/uota-rca032718.php

Research hints at double the driving range for electric vehicles
When it comes to the special sauce of batteries, researchers at PNNL have discovered it’s all about the salt concentration. By getting the right amount of salt, right where they want it, they’ve demonstrated a small lithium-metal battery can recharge about seven times more than batteries with conventional electrolytes.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/dnnl-rha032718.php

Cape Town water crisis: Adapting to a water-scarce future
Cape Town might have dodged Day Zero, but a new hyper-consciousness of water use looks set to be the new normal — and not just for the drought-hit African city.
http://www.dw.com/en/cape-town-water-crisis-adapting-to-a-water-scarce-future/a-43129088

In the rush to develop, Asia’s cities advised to think green
In the Philippines, New Clark City seeks to shake up urban planning by uniting government, business and the public – and proving resilience can be cost-effective.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180326050041-1mrk2

Scott Pruitt’s dirty politic
How the Environmental Protection Agency became the fossil-fuel industry’s best friend.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/02/scott-pruitts-dirty-politics

Turning scientists into politicians
The group 314 Action seeks to get more scientists elected to political office. Does that risk reducing science itself to a political platitude?
https://undark.org/article/314-action-scientists-politicians/

Is the IEA underestimating renewables?
Scenarios from the International Energy Agency (IEA) have failed to predict the growth of renewables and overestimated the role of nuclear. Critics say that’s a political choice.
http://www.dw.com/en/is-the-iea-underestimating-renewables/a-43137071

Half of all US coal plants would lose money without regulation
It’s long been clear that U.S. coal plants are struggling. A new study shows how much.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-26/half-of-all-u-s-coal-plants-would-lose-money-without-regulation

Solar plus storage spells doom for gas peakers
Fereidoon Sioshansi
Renewables paired with storage could see gas peakers become a rarity, only selectively and sparingly used in systems with challenging limitations or localised constraints.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-plus-storage-spells-doom-for-gas-peakers-24726/

Stage set for fight after Trump slashes park significant to Native Americans
Imagine the size of Uluru National Park being cut by 85 per cent. That’s exactly what Donald Trump did to Bears Ears National Monument in the US and it has Utah’s Native American tribes up in arms.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/donald-trumps-bears-ears-monument-reduction-sparks-fight/9498072

Hotting up: how climate change could swallow Louisiana’s Tabasco island
With thousands of square miles of land already lost along the coast, Avery Island, home of the famed hot sauce, faces being marooned
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/27/climate-change-louisiana-tabasco-avery-island

Salvage Logging Is Often a Pretext for Harvesting Wood
An increasing proportion of the world’s protected forests are subject to extensive logging activities. The practice is called ‘salvage logging’ and allegedly aims to protect, …
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180327093922.htm

Ocean scientists work to forecast huge plankton blooms in Arabian Sea
An operational forecast could help countries prepare for booms in these tiny marine creatures.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03698-0

Africa’s great migrations are failing but there is a solution – and you can eat it too
Penny van Oosterzee, James Cook University
Africa’s famous animal migrations are increasingly blocked by fences, erected by farmers to keep their livestock safe from disease. But a new approach aims to deliver healthy beef and healthy wildlife.
https://theconversation.com/africas-great-migrations-are-failing-but-there-is-a-solution-and-you-can-eat-it-too-93749