Environment and Climate Change

Are we causing longer, more intense bushfire seasons?

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Opinion If you think bushfires are becoming both more common and more fierce, you’re right. And the science says it’s not just because of natural climate variations, writes John Connor. ABC – The DRUM – By John Connor Over summer we have yet again witnessed frightening, destructive bushfires in South Australia and Western Australia. Now, in Tasmania, we face the global tragedy of bushfires continuing to burn in extremely vulnerable world heritage alpine old growth forests, incinerating 1,000-year-old trees. Ancient ecosystems ... Read More »

Thai seafood industry crackdown sparks arrests

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More than 100 people have been arrested in a crackdown on abuses in Thailand’s multi-billion dollar seafood industry, officials say. BBC  Last April the European Union threatened to boycott the industry unless it tackled illegal fishing and allegations of human trafficking. On Monday, police said a taskforce set up since had investigated 36 cases and also rescued 130 trafficking victims. Thailand is the world’s third largest exporter of seafood. Human rights groups have long highlighted abuses in the Thai industry, ... Read More »

Environmental groups outraged over Adani approval

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Environment advocates have been quick to express their disappointment following the news the State government has granted an environmental authority for the controversial Adani coal mine project in the State’s Galilee Basin. Brisbane Times – Amy Remeikis, Queensland political editor While the environmental approval is still one less hurdle the Indian based company has to overcome, it is still to secure funding for the $16 billion project and receive a mining licence from the State. But the authority has drawn criticism from green ... Read More »

Our Mediterranean, Our Survival

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WASHINGTON — All the world’s seas are bedeviled by global warming, pollution and overfishing, but the Mediterranean and the 20-plus nations that ring it face another threat: A rising flood of invasive marine species flowing through the Suez Canal. The New York Times By D. RACHAEL BISHOP On Aug. 6, 2015, over the objections of environmentalists and the reservations of many economists, the canal’s latest expansion opened to shipping. The new 22-mile channel will double the canal’s capacity, allowing 97 ... Read More »

Bob Brown arrested while protesting against logging in Tasmania

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Former Australian Greens leader is believed to be the third person charged under enhanced powers aimed at cracking down on environmental protesters The Guardian – Calla Wahlquist @callapilla Bob Brown has been arrested at a forestry protest in Tasmania, making him the third person charged under Tasmania’s tough new anti-protest laws. The former Australian Greens leader and founder of the party was arrested at an area of state forest marked for logging at Lapoinya in north-west Tasmania on Monday. The arrest was ... Read More »

A Clear And Present Danger To The Australian Economy

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2015 was the hottest year the earth has experienced since records began. The previous record was 2014. The Huffington Post – Chris Bowen, Shadow Treasurer and Federal Member for McMahon The evidence that the planet is getting warmer and it is caused by human activity is as overwhelming as the evidence that tobacco causes cancer. And yet the climate change policy of the Turnbull Government is still inspired by the climate-change-denying ethos of the Abbott Government. There is no doubt that the ... Read More »

Climate-displaced persons deserve a dignified transition. Here’s how to make it happen.

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As distasteful as it might be to some, the designation “climate refugee” is key to ensuring a planned, orderly transition for the millions facing displacement in the decades ahead. Ensia – Writer: Kayla Walsh @KnWalsh23 Environmental journalist January 19, 2016 — Undoubtedly, the recent Paris climate agreement achieved at COP 21 deserves recognition as the world’s first multilateral accord to curb climate change. But weeks after the historic negotiations, it’s time to address something the final document failed to: the ... Read More »

How the Japanese tsunami sent marine invaders across the ocean – and why you should be worried

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When the tsunami waters withdrew from the devastated coast of Japan in March 2011 they took with them a vast amount of debris consisting of potentially millions of objects, and sent it rafting across the Pacific Ocean. The Conversation Authors: Emma Johnston, Professor of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology, Director Sydney Harbour Research Program, UNSW Australia – Jim Carlton, Professor of Marine Sciences Emeritus, Williams College Disclosure statement: Emma Johnston receives funding from the Australian Research Council – Jim Carlton receives funding from National Science Foundation (USA), ... Read More »

Russian green group labelled ‘foreign agent’ in crackdown on NGOs

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Dauria, that has led ecological campaigns for 20 years, joins nearly 100 environmental and human rights groups hit by law preventing them from receiving funding from abroad The Guardian – Alex Luhn in Moscow An ecological centre in Russia’s far east has become the latest environmental group to be declared a “foreign agent” amid a wider crackdown on NGOs. The justice ministry ruled that Dauria, which has led environmental campaigns in Chita and the surrounding Zabaikalsky region for nearly two decades, ... Read More »

Wind power supplied 97% of electricity needs of Scottish households in 2015

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Donald Trump might not like Scottish wind farms, but they sure are producing a lot of electricity these days. treehugger – Sami Grover (@samigrover)  In fact, Cleantechnica reports that wind turbines generated enough electricity to meet the needs of 97% of Scottish households last year, up 16% from the year before. Meanwhile solar also soared, providing 50% or more of the household electricity or hot water needs during a total of seven months of the year. That’s pretty impressive stuff. And ... Read More »

Expectations and harsh reality: why bushfire warnings fail

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The recent catastrophic fires at Yarloop in Western Australia and Wye River in Victoria have raised the issue of how authorities communicate emergency warnings. The Conversation Author: Vivienne Tippett  Disclosure statement: Vivienne Tippett receives funding from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC In Yarloop, where two people died, debate has arisen about the use of SMS-based warnings, which reportedly may have arrived after the fire had reached the township. The Western Australian government will investigate the fire. On Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, ... Read More »

Power sector carbon emissions jumped 3.8 million tonnes in 2015: Pitt & Sherry

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Australia’s greenhouse gases from its power sector jumped by 3.8 million tonnes in 2015, potentially making it harder to meet the country’s international promises to cut total emissions. The Sydney Morning Herald – Peter Hannam, Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Pollution from power stations – which account for about a third of Australia’s total carbon emissions – was up 2.4 per cent compared with 2014, according to data compiled by Pitt & Sherry and The Australia Institute. Emissions from electricity production, which ... Read More »

5 countries dump more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined

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The planet’s seas are choking on our junk: Soda bottles, plastic bags and tons of cigarette butts. Distant spots in the ocean — called garbage gyres — have become vortexes where humanity’s trash bobs atop the water for miles on end. GlobalPost – By Patrick Winn (follow)  Worse yet, the filth floating on the surface accounts for only 5 percent of all the plastic trash dumped into the sea. According to Ocean Conservancy, a US environmental nonprofit, the other 95 percent is submerged ... Read More »

Brown coal is the Datsun Sunny of electricity. It’s time to upgrade or be overtaken

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Businesses around the world are investing in low carbon technology. Political leaders can either seize the opportunity or get left behind The Guardian – Richard Di Natale 2016 is promising to be a happy new year. The remarkable achievement of 196 nations signing up to the successor of the Kyoto protocol means the first ever year with a global agreement to end the old ways of pumping heat-trapping carbon pollution into our atmosphere and oceans. Now the hard and exciting work ... Read More »

Delhi begins car rationing to curb pollution

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Authorities in the Indian capital, Delhi, have launched major restrictions on private cars to curb alarming levels of pollution. BBC Private cars with even and odd number plates are being allowed on alternate days from Friday in an initial two-week trial. Emergency vehicles like ambulances, police cars, fire engines and taxis have been exempted from the order. Delhi has experienced hazardous levels of pollution this winter. The local government announced the scheme after a court ordered authorities to tackle pollution ... Read More »

Charities back plan to charge deposit for bottled and canned goods

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Charging shoppers a deposit for bottled and canned products could play an “integral part” in reducing litter in Scotland, conservation charity RSPB Scotland has said. The Scotsman – By ANDREW WHITAKER Ministers are considering the scheme for cans and plastic and glass bottles, which would be refunded when the empty containers are returned to the shop. However, the government is under growing pressure to push ahead with the charges, with RSPB Scotland, Ramblers Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, environmental charity Fidra ... Read More »