Nature

Nature is a rich source of medicine – if we can protect it

The Pacific yew tree is a fairly small and slow growing conifer native to the Pacific Northwest. The Gila monster is a lizard with striking orange and black markings from the drylands of the Southwestern US and Mexico. Authors: The Conversation Two very different organisms, but with a fascinating connection. They’ve both given us drugs that have saved and improved the lives of millions of people. Paclitaxel, originally isolated in 1971 from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree, is ... Read More »

Arctic’s record warming propelling ‘broad change’ in climate: study

US scientists have warned that higher temperatures in the Arctic could be fueling extreme weather in the US and Europe. DW The NOAA report said 2018 was the second-warmest year on record in the Arctic since 1900. The warming of the Arctic is occurring at a record pace and having a significant impact across the planet, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed in its 2018 Arctic Report Card. The report was released on Tuesday at the ... Read More »

Australia only nation to join US at pro-coal event at COP24 climate talks

Country’s stance described as ‘a slap in the face of our Pacific island neighbours’ Ben Doherty The Guardian Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the… Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as… Its ... Read More »

The Indian restaurants that serve only half a glass of water

While many parts of India are going through a sustained water crisis, the western city of Pune is trying to deal with the problem in a rather unusual way, writes the BBC‘s Geeta Pandey. The dystopian future we worried about is already here. Many restaurants in the city of Pune have begun serving only half glasses of water to guests. At the pure vegetarian Kalinga restaurant, a couple have just been seated when a waiter approaches their table and asks ... Read More »

COP24: Swedish teen activist tells world leaders they are ‘behaving like children’

Fifteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has spoken at the COP24 summit. Nick Baker SBS A Swedish teenager who inspired students around the world to walk out of their classrooms over climate change inaction has slammed leaders at a major UN summit. Fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg travelled to Katowice, Poland, for the COP24 talks and delivered a speech on Monday to UN leader António Guterres and other decision-makers at the conference. “We are facing an existential threat and there is no time ... Read More »

Climate change: Can 12 billion tonnes of carbon be sucked from the air?

Is it remotely feasible to remove 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air? Every year. For decades to come. BBC That’s the challenge posed by the latest conclusions of the UN’s climate science panel. It says that only by pulling this heat-trapping gas out of the atmosphere can we avoid dangerous climate change. But according to one leading researcher, there’s a bit of a hitch: “We haven’t a clue how to do it”. The problem is that scientists ... Read More »

Yes, Prime Minister, I’m striking from school: consider it a climate lesson

I am Veronica, 15 years old, from Scott Morrison’s electorate. Despite our Prime Minister’s calls for students not to strike from school on Friday, we’re choosing to no longer be powerless. Veronica Hester * The Age We will be striking with thousands of other students, to show we will not stand for our government’s inaction on climate change. Mr Morrison has condemned the strike, saying he does not support our schools being turned into parliaments. “More learning and less activism,” ... Read More »

Paris is burning

Worries are mounting that the global effort to fight climate change will not meet its goals. By KALINA OROSCHAKOFF Politico They were supposed to always have Paris. Three years after world leaders celebrated the signing of a landmark agreement intended to head off catastrophic global warming, the effort looks to be going down in flames. Scientists say the cuts to greenhouse gas emissions agreed to under the 2015 Paris climate agreement fall far short of what would be needed to ... Read More »

Climate change: CO2 emissions rising for first time in four years

Global efforts to tackle climate change are way off track says the UN, as it details the first rise in CO2 emissions in four years. The emissions gap report says that economic growth is responsible for a rise in 2017 while national efforts to cut carbon have faltered. Matt McGrath BBC To meet the goals of the Paris climate pact, the study says it’s crucial that global emissions peak by 2020. But the analysis says that this is now not likely even ... Read More »

Rio Tinto warns climate inaction poses ‘greatest long-term threat’

The new chairman of global mining giant Rio Tinto has described inaction on climate change as “perhaps the greatest long-term threat” facing the business and promised it would be part of the solution rather than the… Nick Toscano WAtoday Speaking at an investor meeting on Monday, Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said society – particularly Millennials – were demanding higher standards from the companies they worked for and… He signalled a renewed emphasis from Rio Tinto’s board on environmental, social ... Read More »

Glorious rubbish, have we been wasting your energy all along?

Caieiras, Sao Paulo: As Australia debates the need to spend money on renewable energy projects to power our future without destroying the environment, it is worth taking a look at rubbish. Lia Timson WAtoday Is this never-ending resource being used to our advantage? What if, instead of just seeing it as something to get rid of, we put it to work? That is a question environmental engineer Marcelo Camargo, manager of one of the world’s largest biogas electricity generators on the outskirts of ... Read More »

Climate change: Report warns of growing impact on US life

Unchecked climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and damage human health and quality of life, a US government report warns. BBC “Future risks from climate change depend… on decisions made today,” the 4th National Climate Assessment says. The report says climate change is “presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth”. The warning is at odds with the Trump administration’s fossil fuels agenda… Sounding an alarm By James ... Read More »

Australia’s endangered forests are being ‘stolen’ and sold in hardware and office stores

Thousands of hectares of state forest appear to have been logged illegally, an ABC investigation has found, amounting to what some say is the mass “theft” by a government-owned for-profit… By environment, science and technology reporter Michael Slezak and the Specialist Reporting Team’s Penny Timms ABC Trees making up some of Victoria’s most endangered ecosystems are being felled and turned into building products, paper or wood chips by VicForests, which are then sold in retailers such as Bunnings and… The apparently illegal logging ... Read More »

Super-powerful interstellar ‘ticking time bomb’ found not far from Earth

Australian astronomers say they have spotted a super-powerful star that could explode at any moment in one of the most-powerful detonations since the Big Bang. Liam Mannix The Sydney Morning Herald And this ticking time bomb is not far from Earth. In a part of the Milky Way 8000-odd light-years away, two stars, each about 30 times bigger than our sun, are circling around each other. Their combined gravity is making each star spin on its axis at incredible speeds. ... Read More »

A ‘samurai’ swordsmith is designing a space probe

The ‘tamahagane’ steel used in traditional weapons may be the perfect material to cut through asteroids. Chris Baraniuk BBC If you wanted to slice stuff up in space, what would you bring with you? ‘Samurai’ swords, which have been made in Japan for centuries, might be on your list because the… There are plenty of videos online showing these Japanese swords, also called ‘katana’, cutting up everything from thick boards of wood to metal pipes. Now, a trio of engineers have ... Read More »

The day Australia’s whaling harpoons stopped for good

Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of the death of the last whale harpooned in Australia. Chris Pash WAtoday The female sperm whale was caught near the edge of the continental shelf in the Southern Ocean off Albany, Western Australia, by the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company. The last whaling station then closed the next day: November 21, 1978. The three whale chaser ships went out that day but returned empty-handed, spending the day firing harpoons in fun, and breaking out illicit ... Read More »