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Australia politics live: Speaker issues warning to Peter Dutton as Coalition IR attacks continue; Jordan Peterson addresses Liberal MPs

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 9:52pm

Scott Morrison was among the attendees at the controversial Canadian’s talk. Follow the day’s news live

How can strengthening federal laws stop the destruction of sacred heritage sites?

Tanya Plibersek:

I think I think it’s really worth having a look at the two inquiries that the the parliament undertook into the Juukan Gorge destruction because it describes not just the failure of laws, but the failure of process and the failure of people to listen and that happened at the commonwealth level and it also happened at the West Australian state government level.

The other thing that it describes is a company that paid lip service to consultation and really, you know, really didn’t do what it should have done when Aboriginal people said you can’t blow up caves that are 46,000 years old, that have examples of continuous use and habitation that you know, the site of finds like a 4,000-year-old hair belt, and tools that are tens of thousands of years old.

There’s absolutely a sense of urgency to ensure that this sort of cultural heritage destruction doesn’t happen again.

I completely agree with that, but a very strong message from the the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance is also that they genuinely want to sit at the table to work through these issues in partnership and cooperation.

Yeah, I’m not going to put I’m not going to put a timeline on it yet. I think that’s something that we determined as we work through the complexity of these issues, and there are a lot of complexities involved.

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Categories: Environment

Water companies dumping sewage during dry weather, SAS report finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 9:00pm

Report exposes scale of human waste discharges into UK waters, including potentially illegal ‘dry spills’

Water companies have been releasing sewage on to beaches and in rivers even when it is not raining, according to a report from Surfers Against Sewage.

Sewage spills are only supposed to happen under exceptional circumstances; when it is raining so heavily that the system cannot cope with the amount of water and effluent being spewed at once.

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Categories: Environment

AGL to close South Australia’s main gas power station, citing new grid link and cheaper renewables

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 6:31pm

The closure of the Torrens B 600MW gas-fired plant will happen by mid-2026, instead of 2035 as previously planned

AGL Energy will close its main gas-fired power station in South Australia by 2026, citing the completion of a new grid link to NSW that will give the state more access to low-cost renewable energy.

The energy giant, which has been under siege from billionaire activist Mike Cannon-Brookes over its decarbonisation pace, told the ASX on Thursday it would close the remaining three units of the 600 megawatt Torrens Island B gas-fired power station on 30 June 2026.

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Categories: Environment

Fair Cop27? Where did Peter Dutton’s figure of $2tn for climate damage fund come from? | Temperature Check

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 5:15pm

Meanwhile, BP’s CEO was in town spruiking the energy giant’s climate credentials, as its oil output increases from last year

In the wake of the UN climate talks in Egypt, the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, gave birth to a new factoid in a question to the prime minister this week.

The government, Dutton claimed, “has just signed up to funding a $2tn loss and damage climate fund” that would send money overseas.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 3:28pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Senior officers ordered ‘unlawful’ arrests of journalists at Just Stop Oil protests

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 11:34am

Review finds arrests of four journalists covering climate protests last month were directed by senior officers

Senior police officers ordered the potentially unlawful arrests of four journalists detained while covering climate protests on the M25, a review has found.

The review makes clear that the arrests of the LBC reporter Charlotte Lynch, the press photographer Tom Bowles, the film-maker Rich Felgate and one other person who has not been named were not simply an overreaction or a mistake by police officers on the ground.

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Categories: Environment

Japanese ambassador takes ‘highly unusual’ campaign against Queensland coal royalty hike to mining forum

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 7:00am

Shingo Yamagami emerges as strident critic of Palaszczuk government’s tiered rate aimed at cashing in on record prices

The Japanese ambassador’s continued presence in a campaign by the mining lobby against the Queensland government has been labelled as “highly unusual” by a former Australian diplomat.

The Queensland Resource Council launched a $40m marketing campaign targeting the state government’s new coal royalty regime as part of its annual forum in Brisbane on Wednesday.

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Australian Associated Press contributed to this report

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Categories: Environment

How tide has turned on UK tidal stream energy as costs ebb and reliability flows

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 6:32am

Investors are seeing rising potential in tidal power as turbines become more powerful and easier to deploy

For decades the immense practical difficulties of harnessing the powerful tides flowing around Britain’s shorelines have put off investors and government officials searching for big renewable energy sources.

But as the costs of deploying turbines in tidal streams fall, more and more people are seeing the potential in an energy source that creates energy as the tides ebb and flow at predictable hours every day – energy that is renewable but not intermittent.

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Categories: Environment

How to reduce food waste at home: separate your apples and repurpose your leftovers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 4:00am

About 30 to 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten each year – and individual solutions such as making a grocery list can address the problem

Priyanka Naik has been looking for creative ways to reduce food waste for as long as she can remember. A vegan chef, author and TV personality, she often turns kitchen scraps into inventive new meals and packs up restaurant leftovers – including the bread basket – to take home for later. Instead of tossing the white rice that comes with her takeout meals, which she says she’s “not a huge fan of”, she might throw it in a food processor with beans, potatoes and spices, and shape the mixture into patties for veggie burgers.

From a climate perspective, Naik’s approach makes sense. While food waste is difficult to measure, one estimate by the UN Environment Program found that if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China and the US.

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Categories: Environment

High demand and prices for lithium send mines into overdrive

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 3:00am

Demand for batteries has sent lithium prices soaring. But building new mines is controversial and time-consuming. So existing mines are hitting overdrive and boosting production as much as they can.

(Image credit: Bridget Bennett for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Cop27’s climate anticlimax: inside the 25 November Guardian Weekly

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 2:00am

A hot air summit? Plus: Russia’s sanction-free diamonds.

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Cop27 ended in a now-traditional blur of last-minute horse-trading, resulting in the welcome agreement of a finance deal for developing countries affected by global heating. But progress on eliminating fossil fuel usage – the key to slowing climate change – again seemed beyond the international community.

Environment correspondent Fiona Harvey looks back at a Cop27 that had some successes, but overall felt like another missed opportunity. It’s a theme we take up in this week’s cover design, which contrasts world leaders’ willingness to be seen at climate conferences with their reluctance to agree much in the way of action.

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Categories: Environment

Velcro, bullet trains and robotic arms: how nature is the mother of invention

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2022/11/23 - 12:00am

Many of the world’s most inspiring solutions have been created by scientists who stole their ideas from the natural world

Read more: What happens when humans meddle with nature?

Over millions of years of evolution, nature has worked out solutions to many problems. Humans have arrived late in the day and pinched them. For example, Velcro was invented after a Swiss engineer marvelled at the burdock burrs that got stuck to his dog’s fur; the idea for robotic arms came from the motion and gripping ability of elephant trunks, and the front of Japan’s bullet trains were redesigned to mimic a kingfisher’s streamlined beak, reducing the sonic boom they made exiting tunnels.

There are different types of mimicry, the most straightforward is the simple idea of copying something that exists in nature. Buildings are an obvious example, as outlined by research published in Nature. The Beijing national stadium is inspired by a bird’s nest, the Lotus Temple in India is shaped, unsurprisingly, like a lotus and the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai is shaped like a palm tree.

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Categories: Environment

Australia politics live: Penny Wong withdraws ‘coward’ comment aimed at Gerard Rennick; Coalition ramps up IR bill attacks in question time

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 9:46pm

Follow all the day’s news

Independents to launch report on whistleblower protections

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has been arguing for more protections for whistleblowers for years. The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has proposed new laws to boost whistleblower protections, but there are still calls the law needs to go further.

Protecting Australia’s Whistleblowers: The Federal Roadmap draws on landmark research and synthesises three decades of reviews to outline a comprehensive, 12-step roadmap for better protecting and empowering whistleblowers.

Establishment of a whistleblower protection authority to oversee and enforce Australia’s whistleblower protections;

Upgraded whistleblower protections for Australian public servants in line with domestic and international best practice, including a positive duty to protect whistleblowers and steps to make it easier for whistleblowers to enforce their rights;

Consolidation and harmonisation of whistleblowing laws across the private sector in one new single law covering all non-public sector whistleblowers; and

Stronger, simpler protections for whistleblowers who make disclosures to the media and members of parliament.

The mortality ratios from Covid in Australia are quite similar to those estimated in other advanced nations. As a share of the population, fewer people died from Covid in Australia than in most other affluent nations. Yet among those who died, the same health inequalities can be seen in Australia as in other advanced countries.

What might have driven the socioeconomic disparities in Covid mortality? And why might many of those disparities have been largest in the Delta wave? As I have noted, disadvantaged people may be less able to work remotely, more reliant on public transport, and more likely to live in crowded households. Uptake of vaccination and antiviral treatments have varied across society as vaccines and treatment became increasingly available. Another factor is that successive Covid waves have had varying degrees of severity. A final factor is that in the years since Covid began, population immunity has steadily risen.”

Across all waves of the pandemic, deaths from Covid were highest among those aged 80‑89 years. The median age of those who died from Covid was 87.4 years for females and 83.6 years for males. Males had a higher number of registered Covid deaths than females. For every 100 female Covid deaths, there were 126 male Covid deaths. Around 3-quarters of all Covid deaths occurred in Victoria and New South Wales.

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Categories: Environment

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The Field Lab - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 4:04pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

BP declines to reveal how much ‘loophole’ saved it in windfall tax

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 10:57am

MPs hear concerns that investment in North Sea oil and gas reduces the tax, effectively rewarding fossil fuels over renewables

BP declined to reveal how much windfall tax it would have paid without an investment “loophole” when being questioned by MPs on Tuesday, while fellow energy group SSE raised concerns the levy “favours” oil and gas drilling over renewables projects.

Appearing before MPs on the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee, the BP vice-president Matthew Williamson said he did not know how much the firm would have paid without an investment allowance that reduces the windfall tax due if a company invests in North Sea oil and gas extraction. He also declined to say how much BP was spending on renewable energy projects this year.

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Categories: Environment

Just Stop Oil protesters guilty of criminal damage to Van Gogh frame

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 10:37am

Activists caused permanent harm to frame holding Peach Trees in Blossom at a London art gallery, judge finds

Two Just Stop Oil activists have been found guilty of causing criminal damage after glueing themselves to the frame of a Vincent van Gogh painting at a London art gallery.

Emily Brocklebank, 24, and Louis McKechnie, 22, caused just under £2,000 of damage at the Courtauld Gallery when they attached themselves to the 1889 work Peach Trees in Blossom, their trial heard on Tuesday.

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Categories: Environment

Cop27 has shown why a new economic order is vital | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 9:41am

For decades, world leaders have pledged to reduce emissions, yet they continue to rise, says Richard Mountford. Plus letters from Harold Forbes, Martyn Thomas and John Gittings

For three decades, world leaders at international conferences have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions and greener energy sources have been developed, yet emissions have continued to rise (World still ‘on brink of climate catastrophe’ after Cop27 deal, 20 November). Even as previously extreme weather events become normal and millions of people are displaced by weather-related events, there is still no sign of electorates in richer countries being willing to vote for rationing or much higher prices for car use, air travel, meat consumption and other particularly damaging activities.

Clearly, we urgently need a new strategy. The world’s biggest economies or the UN need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps funded by a financial transactions tax, on carbon scrubbing and ocean seeding to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; solar radiation management to reduce warming; and the purchase and protection of land such as rainforest to prevent its destruction.
Richard Mountford
Hildenborough, Kent

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Categories: Environment

The real paleo diet: researchers find traces of world’s oldest meal in 550m-year-old fossil

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 9:00am

Remains of slug-like Ediacaran animal Kimberella contain compounds suggesting it had a gut and ate bacteria and algae from the ocean floor

The ancient dietary habits of Earth’s oldest animals, which lived more than 550m years ago, have been uncovered by an international team of researchers.

Scientists who have analysed ancient fossils of Ediacaran biota – life forms that existed between 538.8m and 635m years ago – say they represent the earliest evidence of food consumed by animals.

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Categories: Environment

Australia faces worsening extreme weather events latest BoM and CSIRO climate report finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 7:04am

The continent is now 1.47C hotter than it was in 1910 and sea levels around the coastline are rising at an accelerating rate

Extreme weather events including torrential downpours, searing heat and dangerous bushfire conditions are all getting worse across Australia, with even more challenging events to come, according to the latest snapshot of the nation’s climate.

The continent is now 1.47C hotter than it was in 1910 and sea levels around the coastline are rising at an accelerating rate, according to the 2022 State of the Climate report, a series released every second year.

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Categories: Environment

‘Everyone’s against it’: the powerlines dispute in one of Victoria’s most marginal electorates

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2022/11/22 - 7:00am

Proposed transmission lines to help meet renewable targets are slated to run through Ripon, held by just 15 votes in 2018

A long-running dispute over proposed transmission lines in Victoria’s central highlands is a test case that could have ramifications for the state’s transition to renewable energy.

The words “piss off AusNet” have been mown into a hill at Blampied, near Daylesford, for almost two years. They serve as a billboard for local resentment toward the proposed western renewables link, a transmission line intended to carry wind and solar-powered energy from a power station in Bulgana in western Victoria to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west, where it is expected to power the equivalent of 500,000 homes.

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Categories: Environment
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