Environment and Climate Change

Australia Has Reduced Plastic Bag Consumption by 80% Since July

The plastic bag reduction stems from bans by major Australian supermarkets. By Madeleine Keck Global Citizen Single-use plastic bag consumption in Australia has reduced by over 80% following a ban by two supermarkets giants last July, according to the National Retail Association (NRA). A total of 1.5 billion plastic carry bags have been spared from landfills since Woolworths self-imposed a ban last June, followed by supermarket chain Coles in July. The switch by Coles to reusable cloth bags occurred on the same day as ... Read More »

Carbon farming: how agriculture can both feed people and fight climate change

Imagine “carbon emissions”, and what springs to mind? Most people tend to think of power stations belching out clouds of carbon dioxide or queues of vehicles burning up fossil fuels as they crawl, bumper-to-bumper, along congested urban roads. Richard Lindsay The Conversation But in Britain and many other countries, carbon emissions have another source, one that is almost completely invisible. In the UK, these overlooked emissions come from our most extensive semi-natural habitat, yet it is a habitat which is ... Read More »

Romanian coast guards open fire on Turkish fishermen

A video showing Romanian coast guards opening fire on a sailing Turkish fishing boat with rubber bullets and live rounds has emerged. ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency Hurriyet Three Turkish fishermen were wounded, and the fishing boat, which had set sail from Turkey’s Black Sea province of Ordu on Feb. 20, was damaged by the bullets. The incident took place approximately 50 miles off the Romanian coast, while the fishing boat was sailing in international waters, according to statements by ... Read More »

Australia Really Should Be Panicked About Coal

While China may not have banned imports yet, long-term demand is set to plummet globally. Mihir Sharma Bloomberg Sydney is a wonderful, modern town. But, over the past few days, all anyone here has wanted to talk to me about is that most 19th-century of industries: coal. It’s not hard to see why, after a startling report last week — quickly denied — that some Chinese ports had blocked shipments of Australian coal. The Australian dollar briefly tanked on the news. Australia’s trade ... Read More »

Scott Morrison to reboot Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund with $2bn

PM to announce ‘climate solutions fund’ to appeal to voters concerned about Coalition’s record Katharine Murphy The Guardian Scott Morrison will attempt to appeal to voters deeply concerned that the Coalition have been been wreckers on climate change by rebadging Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund as a… Attempting to draw a line over years of destructive in-fighting within the Coalition that has cruelled various emissions reduction policies, the prime minister will use a speech in Melbourne on… The emissions reduction fund is a ... Read More »

Climate change: obsession with plastic pollution distracts attention from bigger environmental challenges

By now, most of us have heard that the use of plastics is a big issue for the environment. Partly fuelled by the success of the BBC’s Blue Planet II series, people are more aware than ever before about the dangers to wildlife caused by plastic pollution – as well as the impact it can have on… Authors: The Conversation Single use plastics are now high on the agenda – with many people trying to do their bit to reduce ... Read More »

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tells EU to double its climate targets

The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist has urged the European Union to double its ambition for greenhouse gas cuts. AFP-SBS Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired pupils worldwide to boycott classes, urged the European Union on Thursday to double its ambition for greenhouse gas cuts. At an EU conference, Thunberg warned that politicians who fail to tackle climate change will be “remembered as the greatest villains of all time” for leading the world to disaster. “If the ... Read More »

Fund more lab-grown meat to fight climate change, experts tell EU leaders

Chatham House calls for official backing for high-tech food to cut greenhouse gas emissions Jane Dalton Independent Experts at an influential think tank are calling on EU leaders to back the expansion of more lab-grown meat to enable Europe to help tackle climate change. The Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says new high-tech foodstuffs will be vital to the EU meeting its goals on climate change, human health and drug resistance. Animal agriculture is a significant driver of carbon dioxide ... Read More »

Perth’s first ocean rubbish bin is sucking plenty of plastic out of the sea

A unique floating rubbish bin, which effectively acts as a vacuum cleaner for the ocean, is being put to good use in waters off Western Australia for the first time. ABC Radio Perth By Gian De Poloni  Perth surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski garnered international attention in 2015 for their Seabin prototype, which was created after they became frustrated at the amount of rubbish floating in the ocean. A successful crowd-funding campaign allowed the device to be produced commercially ... Read More »

Irish butterfly monitoring scheme detects decline above global average

Almost 20% of insects are in decline and 13% are threatened while 7% have conservation status Kevin O’Sullivan The Irish Times The decline of butterflies and bumblebees in Ireland is matching a global trend, indicating insect populations are collapsing, according to the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC). Commenting on its latest figures, senior ecologist Dr Tomás Murray said Irish butterfly and bumblebee monitoring schemes have revealed rates of decline in these important insects in line with a… The global scientific review confirmed ... Read More »

Tough Policing is Restoring Indonesia’s Fisheries

Five years ago the world’s most populous archipelago nation started taking action against the decimation of its fish stocks. Indonesia’s waters were being plundered by vessels from nearby countries, particularly China and… By China Dialogue Ocean [By Nithin Coca] When Susi Pudjiastuti became minister of fisheries and maritime affairs in 2014, she began dramatically curbing this practice of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A report last year found a more than 80% drop in foreign vessels fishing in Indonesian waters, as well ... Read More »

Is Nancy Pelosi a Climate Skeptic?

It’s time to reckon with the internal contradictions of climate policy. Bret Stephens The New York Times Is Nancy Pelosi a climate skeptic? Of course not — and I would know. But you might be excused for thinking so, given the curt wave-off the House speaker delivered to the liberally ballyhooed, legislatively stillborn Green New Deal. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” That was Pelosi talking about the deal as ... Read More »

If Not the Green New Deal, Then What?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal has countless critics. We asked two of them to share their good-faith alternatives for reversing climate change. Emily Atkin The New Republic As momentum for the Green New Deal grows, so do its detractors. The ambitious plan to fight climate change introduced by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey last week has been called everything from “brainless” to “delusional” by conservatives. President Donald Trump said it sounded like “a high school term paper that got a low mark.” Some Democrats have ... Read More »

Flood-affected farmers witness entire cattle herds wiped out by catastrophic deluge

Warning: Graphic content When rain started falling in Queensland’s west, drought-stricken farmers cried happy tears — but that emotion quickly turned to heartbreak. News Pty Limited — With AAP Farmers who managed to keep their cattle alive for seven years, through one of Australia’s worst droughts in history, have watched their herds wiped out in a matter of days after unprecedented floods devastated much of Queensland. If the cattle have not drowned or frozen to death in the elements, devastated farmers ... Read More »

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

Exclusive: Insects could vanish within a century at current rate of decline, says global review Why are insects in decline, and can we do anything about it? The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. Damian Carrington The Guardian More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than ... Read More »

Lonely, unfit and hooked on air-conditioning – is this the summer of the future?

Bela Stantic did not stop to take in the vistas of Walgett on his great Aussie road trip this summer. The vineyards of Griffith passed in a blur. He stopped at Victoria’s Twelve Apostles, but took a few photos and then left. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times It was not what the Griffith University professor had planned. But as a monster heatwave baked a crust onto southern Australia, “it was not possible to be outside at all”, he says. “I couldn’t ... Read More »