Environment and Climate Change

Australia’s biggest solar farm switches on in Port Augusta

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Australia’s biggest solar farm – the 220MW (AC) Bungala solar project near Port Augusta in South Australia – has begun production marking the important first stage of the transformation of a former coal city into a… Giles Parkinson REnewEconomy The first output from Bungala – which could end up being a 300MW project if all three stages are built – was injected into the local grid last week, as final commissioning of the 110MW first stage continues. Bungala, located 12kms from ... Read More »

Fishy Brexit dilemma: Want out of EU but need the market

Skipper Lewis MacMillan rows out to his boat the Guess Again in Loch Fyne where he catches prawns | Kait Bolongaro/POLITICO

Fishermen make up some of the most enthusiastic Brexiteers, but many in the industry fear a hard Brexit. Kait Bolongaro Politico FURNACE, Scotland — The Brussels-hating fisherman has become a staple Brexit stereotype, but the U.K.’s fishing industry is in reality profoundly split over Britain’s impending EU departure. Think of an ardent Brexit supporter and you may well conjure up a fisherman dumping dead fish into the Thames or steering a trawler with Nigel Farage at its bow.  Enthusiastic Leavers shout loudly about ... Read More »

Ocean’s Monopoly: How Nations Use Science to Conquer the Sea

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A look into the complex world of ocean bed ownership and how nations are vying for their own piece of the puzzle. AlJazeera What if a country didn’t end at the coastline but would simply continue under water? A territory the size of a continent would come up – a territory uncontrolled and open for seizure. But who owns the sea bed, is it territory still to… The fact that the world’s oceans cover three-quarters of the earth’s surface once ... Read More »

Trump White House axes Nasa research into greenhouse gas cuts

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President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly axed US space agency Nasa’s monitoring system into greenhouse gases, a US journal has revealed. BBC The Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10m (£7m)-a-year project which remotely tracks the world’s flow of carbon dioxide, is to lose funding. Science magazine reports that its loss jeopardises the ability to measure national emission cuts – as agreed to by nations in the Paris climate deal. The US plans to withdraw from the deal. However, until a ... Read More »

California becomes first US state to require solar on new homes

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California has become the first U.S. state to require solar panels on all new residential buildings as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Hurriyet The California Energy Commission said the new building standards, adopted unanimously by its members, will go into effect on January 1, 2020. “We are the first, we will not be the last,” commissioner David Hochschild said after the new mandate was adopted. “This is a landmark vote today.” According to the plan, residential homeowners could expect to ... Read More »

As China leads the hunt for deep-sea minerals, environmental and financial concerns come to the surface

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David Dodwell says China is putting money into undersea mining in the hope of maintaining the supply of minerals that make much of today’s technology possible, but such endeavours may threaten marine ecosystems we know little about. David Dodwell South China Morning Post Nasa may be scouring deep space for signs of life. Elon Musk might be looking to Mars. China’s scientists have had an eye cast skyward too – but, at the same time, the country seems keenly focused on challenges much ... Read More »

Gaia’s Map of 1.3 Billion Stars Makes for a Milky Way in a Bottle

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Call it a galaxy in a bottle. Last Wednesday, astronomers in Europe released a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. Dennis Overbye The New York Times It is the most detailed survey ever produced of our home galaxy. It contains the vital statistics of some 1.3 billion stars — about one percent of the whole galaxy. Not to mention measurements of almost half a million quasars, asteroids and other flecks in the night. Analyzing all these motions and distances, astronomers ... Read More »

Why you can’t have free trade and save the planet

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When Donald Trump recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports he was condemned by proponents of free trade across the world. His critics said the US president had not understood how protectionist policies would spell disaster for the world economy. Alf Hornborg The Conversation Fair enough. But this is the same Trump whose decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement also met with massive disapproval. Trump is simultaneously chided for refusing to cut emissions, and for promoting a ... Read More »

Thailand protesters in rare rally over Chiang Mai development

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Protesters in Thailand have staged one of the country’s biggest demonstrations since the 2014 military coup as they campaign against a luxury housing development on forested land. BBC More than 1,000 people gathered in the northern city of Chiang Mai. They rallied against a housing project being built for judges and officials in the foothills of a sacred mountain. The march went ahead in defiance of a ban on public gatherings imposed by the junta, which seized power in 2014. ... Read More »

EU to ban bee-killing pesticides

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EU countries voted on April 27 for a near-total ban on insecticides blamed for killing off bee populations, in what campaigners called a “beacon of hope” for the winged insects. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Bees help pollinate 90 percent of the world’s major crops, but in recent years have been dying off from “colony collapse disorder,” a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or a combination of these factors. The 28 European Union member states approved a ... Read More »

How can we communicate all that nature does for us?

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As a conservation professor I believe people need to understand why protecting nature matters to them personally. Julia P G Jones The Conversation Appealing to human self-interest has generated support for conservation in Switzerland, for example, where the government protects forests partly because they help prevent landslides and avalanches, or among communities in Botswana which conserve wildlife partly because of the… But this understanding risks being obscured by unhelpful arguments over terminology. The story starts in 2005, when the Millennium ... Read More »

Gaza now has a toxic ‘biosphere of war’ that no one can escape

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Gaza has often been invaded for its water. Every army leaving or entering the Sinai desert, whether Babylonians, Alexander the Great, the Ottomans, or the British, has sought relief there. Authors: The Conversation But today the water of Gaza highlights a toxic situation that is spiralling out of control. A combination of repeated Israeli attacks and the sealing of its borders by Israel and Egypt, have left the territory unable to process its water or waste. Every drop of water ... Read More »

Ancient Amazonians lived sustainably – and this matters for conservation today

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Our colleague, the archaeologist Santiago Rivas, recently made a remarkable discovery. Authors (4) The Conversation On a small plateau above the outskirts of Iquitos, a town in the northern Peruvian Amazon, he found a layer in the soil which contained small pieces of ceramic pottery, that were around 1,800-years-old. Digging deeper, he found another layer of soil, this time containing pottery that was about 2,500 years old. This is the archaeological site at Quistococha which has been occupied for at ... Read More »

Bangkok’s bad air driven by car-making success

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Forward-looking policies promoting electric and hybrid auto production could soon have Thailand’s polluted capital breathing easier Peter Janssen Asia Times During Thailand’s February-April hot season, when the winds off the Gulf of Thailand die down and there is little rainfall, air pollution in the capital, Bangkok, is often palpable. In mid-February, the situation got so bad that the government’s Pollution Control Department advised residents to stay home, especially those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments. Some Bangkok schools ... Read More »

Google Is Indonesia’s New Weapon in War on Illegal Fishing

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Indonesia’s Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti deals with some dangerous men in her role, but they don’t rattle her. She has an equally intimidating weapon on her side: Google. Partnering with the search engine firm, Pudjiastuti is catching illegal fishing activity in real time, after thousands of vessels’ locations were revealed online. In her mission to clean up an industry once the domain of crooks, she’s convinced powerful local operators with foreign interests to stop practices that were robbing the economy ... Read More »

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn

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How close the world is to a catastrophic collapse of giant ocean currents is unknown, making halting global warming more critical than ever, scientists say Damian Carrington The Guardian Serious disruption to the Gulf Stream ocean currents that are crucial in controlling global climate must be avoided “at all costs”, senior scientists have warned. The alert follows the revelation this week that the system is at its weakest ever recorded. Past collapses of the giant network have seen some of the ... Read More »