Nature

NSW chooses timber over koalas, critics of habitat plan claim

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The great bulk of new reserves set aside by the Berejiklian government for koala habitat offer no new protection for an animal whose numbers are plummeting in some regions of the state, new mapping analysis shows. Peter Hannam Brisbane Times The government last month hailed the release of its $45 million koala strategy as “the biggest commitment by any state” to protect the “national treasure”. But mapping details obtained by environmental groups show 82 per cent of the reserves being set aside ... Read More »

England’s fields ‘are turning to concrete’

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ENGLAND’S green and pleasant land is being concreted over “at an alarming rate”, campaigners warned yesterday. John Ingham Express The area of undeveloped greenfield land used for housing has soared by 58 per cent in four years, said the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The pressure group called for the Government to require brownfield sites to be used before greenfield land is released. The group cited official figures showing that the area of “nonpreviously developed land” lost to housing annually ... Read More »

Largest swordfish ever caught in Australia may miss out on record due to fishing association requirements

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The largest swordfish ever caught in Australia — and the second-largest in the world — may miss out on the official record because it did not meet strict rules in the way it was caught. ABC Illawarra Nick McLaren The monster fish was caught off Mallacoota near the NSW Victorian border on Sunday afternoon by a crew from the Ulladulla Game Fishing Club. It weighed in at 436.2 kilograms, well above what is thought to be the current Australian record ... Read More »

Australia’s deal with Timor-Leste in peril again over oil and gas

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In April, Australia and Timor-Leste reached agreement on their maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea. Rebecca Strating and Clive Schofield The Conversation This resolved a longstanding source of contention between them. The potential benefits of this historic breakthrough are now in peril, because the critical issue of how the shared oil and gas of the Timor Sea are to be developed remains in dispute. Breakthrough on maritime boundaries Australia and Timor-Leste’s boundary agreement was achieved thanks to a… Australia’s deal ... Read More »

Loss of marine habitats is threatening the global fishing industry – new research

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Seafood consumption is both a love and a necessity for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. And its supply is a key part of maintaining food security for the whole planet. Authors: The Conversation But during a time of rapid population growth and increasing demand, stocks of wild fish and invertebrates (such as mussels and… The problem is that policies and plans designed to make sure there are enough fish and invertebrates almost exclusively target fishing activity. But we also ... Read More »

Climate change an ‘existential security risk’ to Australia, Senate inquiry says

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Threat is not a possible future one but one endangering Australia now, parliament told Ben Doherty The Guardian Climate change is a “current and existential national security risk” to Australia, a Senate inquiry has told parliament, one that could inflame regional conflicts over food, water and land, and even imperil life on Earth. The Senate committee inquiry into the implications of climate change for Australia’s national security recommended an increase in foreign aid to be dedicated to climate change mitigation and… The inquiry, ... Read More »

EU court upholds insecticide ban to protect bees

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An EU court upheld on May 17 a partial ban on three insecticides known as neonicotinoids, saying that the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use to protect bees. LUXEMBOURG – Reuters Hurriyet The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam. The court said the European Union’s “precautionary principle” meant that the EU could take measures if there was scientific ... Read More »

Why Deadly Thunderstorms And Dust Storms Are Wreaking Havoc Across India

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On Sunday, Delhi-NCR was hit by a thunderstorm. At 4 in the evening, the sky went black with winds blowing, powerful enough to wreak havoc. Shweta Sengar India Times Three days later, on Wednesday, Delhiites woke up to a dust storm as strong winds and rain lashed the national capital in early hours. Worse, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned several north Indian towns — Aligarh, Meerut, Panipat, Bagpat, Alwar, Rohtak and their adjoining areas would be hit by ... Read More »

New Report: A Green Bank Of England

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At an international conference of financial supervisors, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney described the ‘transition in action’ underway as central banks and the financial sector at large begin to address climate change.  Rob Macquarie Positive Money’s new report, released today, argues that while the initiatives so far represent welcome progress, policymakers should go further. Climate change and the low-carbon transition are a central banking issue for two reasons. On the one hand, climate-related financial risk threatens the stability of the ... Read More »

Assam’s Elephant Emergency

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In northeastern India, human-elephant conflict is getting worse as forest resources dwindle. Bikash Kumar Bhattacharya The Diplomat One sultry afternoon in October 2002, a small paddy farmer (who prefers not to be named) in Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam bought a few packets of Demecron, an organophosphorus-based pesticide. Demecron was then banned in the district; however, the lethal pesticide was still abundantly available in the black market as it continued to fetch buyers like him among ... Read More »

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 »

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 »

Vitamin D linked to lowered autism risk in large study

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Children born with high blood levels of vitamin D have 25 percent decreased odds of autism compared with those born with low levels. Nicholette Zeliadt Sprctrum Researchers presented the unpublished results today at the 2018 International Society for Autism Researchannual meeting in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The results come from the largest study yet to explore a link between vitamin D and autism. It involves an analysis of dried blood spots from 3,370 newborns in Sweden, 1,341 of whom now have an ... 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 »

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 »

Researchers discover ‘switchblade’ lurking in faces of stonefish

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Researchers have discovered a new feature of stonefish – and if the potentially deadly animals hadn’t already scared you off barefoot rock pool capers, this might push you over the edge. Jenny Noyes The Canberra Times Adding to the array of defense mechanisms the fish are already known to possess – venom, spines (which hurt and shoot poison right into your foot), camouflage that makes them seamlessly blend in with rocks and coral – biologists from Kansas have now discovered the creatures that lurk… It’s basically ... Read More »