WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2018

Away from the public gaze, serious threats to the environment keep rising
Lenore Taylor
Our new in-depth series focuses on the less-scrutinised threats to Australia’s natural places, and you can get involved
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/tackling-the-ever-growing-list-of-critical-environmental-challenges

Climate scientists explore hidden ocean beneath Antarctica’s largest ice shelf
https://theconversation.com/climate-scientists-explore-hidden-ocean-beneath-antarcticas-largest-ice-shelf-90006

Communicating the science is a much-needed step for UN climate panel
The IPCC is taking guidance on how to communicate its crucial findings beyond speciality scientific and policy circles
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/communicating-the-science-is-a-much-needed-step-for-un-climate-panel

Trump’s half-baked claims on climate, economy
President Donald Trump tried to play it both ways on climate change in describing a warming-but-cooling planet Earth. The unequivocal response, according to data and climate scientists: wrong.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/ap-fact-check-trumps-half-baked-claims-climate-52675463

50 percent of US military bases report climate extremes, new Pentagon study says
About half of U.S. military facilities around the world have experienced climate extremes and threatening weather, according to a new Pentagon survey obtained and published Monday by a climate security think tank.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/50-percent-of-us-military-bases-report-climate-extremes-new-pentagon-study-says/article/2647449

Two major avalanches linked to climate change, according to international study involving Waterloo
A study released in Nature Geoscience describes how climate change played a major role in the massive catastrophic collapse of two glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau in July and September 2016.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53780

We can still win the fight against climate change
Jennifer Morgan
What can we do to keep global warming at the 1.5 degrees Celsius mark?
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/win-fight-climate-change-180128114314835.html

Trump is trying to turn back the clock on climate progress
Rhea Suh
It’s clear: After raising atmospheric carbon dioxide to its highest concentration in 3 million years, we’re cooking the only planet we have.
http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article197304064.html

Dialogue, not divestment, is the key to combating climate change
Norris McDonald
The path toward a more sustainable planet will be paved by proactive policies, not by politicized pensions.
http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/371273-dialogue-not-divestment-is-the-key-to-combating-climate-change

Labor branches push for new environment act and independent watchdog
ALP’s internal advocacy group wants sweeping reforms to protect natural heritage to be adopted as policy at next conference
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/31/labor-branches-push-for-new-environment-act-and-independent-watchdog

Single-use plastic bags ban under scrutiny as shoppers switch and ditch reusables
Australian states with bans in place see rise in consumers and retailers resorting to thicker bags to escape the rule
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/single-use-plastic-bags-ban-under-scrutiny-as-shoppers-switch-and-ditch-reusables

Massive study tracks 117 marine species showing affect of climate change
A massive underwater study is shedding light on how climate change is affecting the behaviour of marine life around Australia.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-31/marine-trackers-to-show-how-climtate-change-affects-sea-animal/9375360

Graph of the Day: Green bonds soar to record $163bn in 2017
Annual issuance of green bonds not only passed $100bn in 2017, it sailed right past it, says BNEF, driven by 67% yoy growth.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/graph-day-green-bonds-soar-record-163bn-2017/

Cities policy goes regional
Leonie Pearson, University of Canberra
With the emerging emphasis on regional City Deals and Smart Cities funding, perhaps Australia is beginning to find its way to a national cities policy, rather than just a big cities policy.
https://theconversation.com/cities-policy-goes-regional-90856

Changing the face of energy
Cole Latimer
Australia’s energy sector and National Electricity Market is undergoing the largest transition in its history, both in the makeup of the grid and the face of this change.
http://www.theage.com.au/business/workplace-relations/changing-the-face-of-energy-20171221-p4yxyv.html

Innovation is key to a sustainable, prosperous Australia
Bill Ferris
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/bill-ferris-innovation-is-key-to-a-sustainable-prosperous-australia/news-story/70fcab38468ddd8897357838df27c0d0

Environmental groups launch pre-emptive strike on Feeney
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/environmental-groups-launch-pre-emptive-strike-on-labor-s-david-feeney-20180129-p4yz19.html

Andrews a whinger: Kennett
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ criticism of the state’s power privatisations has been slammed by Jeff Kennett.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/jeff-kennett-savages-labor-over-22bn-power-selloff/news-story/5cc9e18b5337c8d539fac4a89a390801

Victorian councils seek alternative after Visy suspends recycling contract
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/victorian-councils-seek-alternative-after-visy-suspends-recycling-contract/news-story/199b209484b87da851d5cd3765836c5b

New Tasmania mill could impact Heyfield timber factory
The former owners of the Heyfield timber mill have struck a deal to open a 190 million operation in Tasmania that could directly impact Victorian operations.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/new-tasmania-mill-could-impact-heyfield-timber-factory/news-story/9e096b61bc80b7878911c384d9c98938

Explainer: power station ‘trips’ are normal, but blackouts are not
Hugh Saddler, ANU
https://theconversation.com/explainer-power-station-trips-are-normal-but-blackouts-are-not-90682

Trust Me I’m An Expert: Why February is the real danger month for power blackouts
Sunanda Creagh
https://theconversation.com/trust-me-im-an-expert-why-february-is-the-real-danger-month-for-power-blackouts-90383

Power failure: some inconvenient renewable energy realities
Geoff Carmody
Stated energy policy is to deliver affordable, reliable power, with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Policy isn’t delivery.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19538

Victoria’s blackouts, Hazelwood’s closure and the search for someone to blame
Michael Slezak
The blackouts appear to have been caused by fuses blowing in substations rather than being a problem with supply
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/30/victorias-blackouts-hazelwoods-closure-and-the-search-for-someone-to-blame

Useless wind’s $390m power bill
Terry McCrann
Victorians and South Australians didn’t just swelter through two consecutive days of 40 degree heat on Thursday-Friday two weeks ago, they also had to pay an extra — and hidden — 390 million to keep their air conditioners and lights on.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/terry-mccrann/terry-mccrann-useless-winds-390m-power-bill/news-story/3cf97870feff2dab4770b0bdbae5e549

Despite those big bills, networks still most likely cause of blackouts
Sophie Vorrath
Reaction to Victoria outages emphasise two points: One is that despite spending tens of billions, and inflating everyone’s power bills, networks are still the biggest cause of blackouts. And two, the tolerance of such outages is close to zero.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/despite-those-big-bills-networks-still-most-likely-cause-of-blackouts-98724/

The elephant in the planning scheme: how cities still work around the dominance of parking space
Elizabeth Taylor, RMIT University
Looking back through all Melbourne’s strategic plans from 1929 onwards, it becomes clear that the 20th-century legacy of car-centric planning and its focus on parking is still deeply entrenched.
https://theconversation.com/the-elephant-in-the-planning-scheme-how-cities-still-work-around-the-dominance-of-parking-space-87098

Canadian Solar gives leg-up to NSW projects
NSW looks set to see five more large solar power projects developed after experienced developer Canadian Solar acquired a majority stake in the ventures.
http://www.afr.com/business/energy/solar-energy/canadian-solar-joins-photon-energy-for-five-nsw-solar-projects-20180130-h0qh1f

In Australian first, two schools powered solely by green energy
Two schools’ classrooms in NSW will be powered solely by renewable energy, taking them off the grid and teaching students about sustainability.
http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/in-australian-first-two-schools-powered-solely-by-green-energy-20180130-p4yz1w.html

Electricity prices: Consumers should be told before price hike
Electricity companies should be forced to tell consumers before they jack up prices, a government tribunal says, after NSW families suffered huge bill shocks last year
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/government-tribunal-says-consumers-should-be-told-before-electricity-prices-are-increased/news-story/c2c51415f77fbd0a6a8072479acf2ade

Koala national parks needed before it is too late
Dawn Walker
Most of us can’t imagine Australia without koalas yet we’re failing to protect their natural habitat.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/koala-national-parks-needed-before-it-is-too-late-20180130-h0qi8f.html

Planned recycling plant to face health assessment
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/capital-recycling-solutions-recycling-plant-plan-to-undergo-health-assessment-20180123-h0mydq.html

Origin Energy to cut hundreds of jobs in Queensland
Origin Energy is cutting 650 jobs with most to come from the company’s head office in Brisbane.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-30/origin-energy-to-cut-650-jobs-in-queensland/9375646

Linc Energy ‘did nothing’ to stop its alleged contamination continuing, court told
Gas company Linc Energy was aware it was causing environmental damage to parts of Queensland’s Western Downs, but allowed operations to continue, a District Court jury has heard.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-30/linc-energy-trial-hears-company-didnt-act-to-stop-contamination/9374900

Shorten tests weather on Adani but can he be Batman’s climate crusader?
Labor leader hints the party might try to stop Carmichael coalmine as David Feeney’s future hangs in the balance
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/30/shorten-tests-weather-on-adani-but-can-he-be-batmans-climate-crusader

Indigenous groups return to court over disputed Adani native title deal
Two Indigenous groups are in Federal Court working to prevent Adani completing work that would extinguish their native title over part of the proposed Carmichael mine site.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-30/adani-in-court-over-carmichael-mine-native-title-claim/9373086

Body guards protect NAIF board members against anti-mining activists
Anti-mining activists threatening the safety of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility have forced the Government to hire private security to protect board members at taxpayer expense
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/body-guards-protect-naif-board-members-against-antimining-activists/news-story/1204e2c00a5df45a98f03f4a37b37890

Bass release an act of eco vandalism
Central Queensland anglers say the release of a highly predatory fish from South America that could wipe out local species in just two years is an “act of environmental bastardry”.
http://www.ntnews.com.au/lifestyle/fishing/bass-release-an-act-of-eco-vandalism/news-story/fdb89a7d902eaf5470ed5d12e42fa6e5

Queensland’s electric car ‘super highway’ all but completed
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/queensland-s-electric-car-super-highway-all-but-completed-20180130-p4yz35.html

Killing Country (Part 5): Native Title Colonialism, Racism And Mining For Manufactured Consent
Morgan Brigg
In the final of a five-part series on the battle by the Wangan and Jagalingou people of Central Queensland to halt the construction of the Carmichael coal mine…
https://newmatilda.com/2018/01/30/native-title-colonialism-racism-adani-and-the-manufacture-of-consent-for-mining/

‘My islands are sinking’: Climate activist to feature at Womadelaide
The effects of climate change are a distant concept for some but are most certainly real for people of the Marshall Islands — a message one of its poets will bring to Womadelaide this year.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-30/kathy-jetnil-kijiner-to-talk-climate-change-at-womadelaide/9370686

Wholesale power prices rising again in South Australia, meaning a likely bill increase
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/wholesale-power-prices-rising-again-in-south-australia-meaning-a-likely-bill-increase/news-story/453b47fdd436abfb82130a42ff9f1c61

Blue-ringed octopus move in as Tasmanian water temperatures rise
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/blueringed-octopus-move-in-as-tasmanian-water-temperatures-rise/news-story/82eef883f055cca0da2365b713f60c8c

Five male fruit flies trapped on Flinders Island
A fruit fly baiting blitz will be launched to wipe out the pest on Flinders Island and prevent any possible incursions into the Tasmanian mainland
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/five-male-fruit-flies-trapped-on-flinders-island/news-story/2a437f1c957b6beb1a97ae3a2d4990b1

Government grants, loans to help Hermal Group build $190 million timber mill at Burnie
Burnie will again be a major timber town with the Hodgman Government accepting the Tasmanian Development Boards recommendation that a new 190 million hardwood mill be supported with grants and loan facilities.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/government-grants-loans-to-help-hermal-group-build-190-million-timber-mill-at-burnie/news-story/42f1e328e90d73701d3a9d4d0ad862a2

Augusta bushfire damages property, firefighters still battling Gidgegannup blaze
A bushfire which raged for more than 24 hours in Western Australia’s south-west damages one home and destroys sheds and an uninhabited home, as well as melting roadside signs, destroying cars and damaging other infrastructure.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-30/bushfires-hit-perth-country-wa-as-broome-inundated-by-flooding/9373136

Activist sued for libel over FB comment opposing oil and gas drilling
An oil and gas giant is suing a Colorado environmental activist for opposing drilling near his home.
https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/activist-sued-for-libel-over-fb-comment-opposing-oil-and-gas-drilling,11144

BP to install charging points for electric cars at UK petrol stations
Further indication that oil firms are planning for growth of battery-powered vehicle market
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/bp-charging-points-electric-cars-uk-petrol-stations

Cape Town outlines plans for emergency water distribution
Town officials released preliminary plans for distributing water to some 4 million city residents if the worst happens — a shutdown of water service to most households and businesses.
http://www.circleofblue.org/2018/world/cape-town-outlines-plans-emergency-water-distribution/

How does living in a big city increase life expectancy?
Inhabitants of Moscow and St Petersburg live significantly longer than people living in other regions of Russia, according to a recent study carried out by researchers at the Higher School of Economics.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/nruh-hdl013018.php

‘Hardcore yeast’ could be the solution to nuclear waste
As we inch ever-closer to nuclear apocalypse, there may be good news for the inevitable radioactive waste: Scientists have discovered that to stop contamination from spreading, the solution could be as simple as yeast.
http://theweek.com/speedreads/751709/hardcore-yeast-could-solution-nuclear-waste

Air pollution affects 47 million children in India: Report
Some 47 million children under the age of five live in areas facing severe air pollution with dangerous effluent density, a report said on Monday.
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/air-pollution-affects-47-million-children-in-india-report-1806103

An outdoor cat can damage your sustainability cred
If you install solar panels on your roof and avoid dousing your lawn with chemicals and pesticides, your online peers may consider you to be environmentally friendly. But this street cred can all be erased if you let your cat roam around outdoors.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/cu-aoc013018.php

Biomining the elements of the future
Marcos Voutsinos, University of Melbourne
Fill a tank with water, sugar, and old mobile phones. Add bacteria and stir. Result? Rare earth metals. This is biomining, and it’s the way of the future.
https://theconversation.com/biomining-the-elements-of-the-future-87621

Dutch urge Gove to spell out post-Brexit fishing industry plans
UK environment secretary told by Dutch fisheries minister to set out proposals after department missed Christmas white paper deadline
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/gove-criticised-for-lack-of-post-brexit-fishing-industry-plans

Owls for peace: How conservation science is reaching across borders in the Middle East
A programme that uses birds of prey in place of pesticides has inspired international collaboration.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01388-5

The return of the wolf transforms Yellowstone
http://www.afr.com/news/world/north-america/the-return-of-the-worlds-most-enduring-carnivore-to-yellowstone-20180125-h0on6x

Endangered species law in Trump’s crosshairs
The Trump administration is rolling back animal protections to make it easier to build and drill.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/endangered-species-law-in-trumps-crosshairs/article/2647148

Warming climate shrinks British Columbia beetles
Some of B.C.’s beetles are shrinking as their habitats get warmer, according to new UBC research. The study provides evidence that climate change is affecting the size of organisms.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/uobc-wcs012518.php

Study shows wetlands provide landscape-scale reduction in nitrogen pollution
‘Wetland complexes’ in a watershed are very effective in reducing nitrate
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/nsf-ssw012918.php

Coral reefs are in trouble — how can people adapt?
An international team of scientists has developed a strategy to boost people’s ability to adapt to climate change, revealed in a new study published today in the prestigious journal, Nature Climate Change.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/acoe-cra012818.php

What’s the future of fishways?
A fish passage expert argues that science needs to catch up with practice.
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/whats-the-future-of-fishways/

‘Super blue blood moon’ to grace Australian skies in special lunar eclipse
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-01-31/blue-blood-moon-total-lunar-eclipse-over-australia/9318544