Around The Web

Patagonia joins forces with activists to protect public lands from Trump

The Guardian - Sat, 2017-08-26 21:00

Native Americans and environmental advocates get help from outdoor retailers as they battle proposal to change monuments’ boundaries

Environmental activists, Native American groups and a coalition of outdoor retailers have vowed to redouble their efforts to protect public lands, after the US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, recommended on Thursday that Donald Trump change the boundaries of a “handful” of national monuments.

Related: US public lands: Trump official recommends shrinking national monuments

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

The bees are already sealing their hives for the winter ahead

The Guardian - Sat, 2017-08-26 14:30

Ryall, Dorset The wax cells are studded with pollen gems in carnelian, citrine, garnet – an almanac of the seasons

The bees think it’s autumn. Since mid-July they have been reducing their numbers and sealing up the hives with propolis. Dark brown, sticky when fresh, brittle as cinder toffee when dry, propolis is a glue bees make from tree sap. It’s antimicrobial and despite its bitter taste some beekeepers chew it as a remedy for a sore throat.

Bees use propolis to fill small gaps in the hive and to mummify any invaders that are too big for them to carry outside. Occasionally, you find a dead mouse inside a hive its body shrouded in propolis, pieces of varnished bone showing through as if fossilised. The ancient Egyptians revered bees and it is thought they might have learned the principle of mummification from them.

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

Why the IPA's claim global warming is natural is 'junk science' | Graham Readfearn

The Guardian - Sat, 2017-08-26 08:08

An Institute of Public Affairs-sponsored journal article has been seized on by conservative media outlets. But there are a few problems

People who work for climate science denial thinktanks tend not to spend all that much time worrying about getting stuff into scientific journals.

Perhaps because it’s easier, people who are paid to tell the public and policy makers that human-caused climate change is overblown bunk would rather pump out newspaper columns, do softball interviews or push out their own self-published reports. There’s a lot less scrutiny in that kind of public relations.

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

Harvard study on ExxonMobil's climate change communication

ABC Environment - Sat, 2017-08-26 07:45
A recently released Harvard University study claims ExxonMobil have misled the public over climate change.
Categories: Around The Web

A Big Country August 26, 2017

ABC Environment - Sat, 2017-08-26 06:20
Citizen scientists looks for new species; find out what it's like to be a rodeo clown; we make fruit and vegetable bouquets; and go tractor trekking in the footsteps of Burke and Wills.
Categories: Around The Web

London zoo weigh-in – in pictures

The Guardian - Sat, 2017-08-26 03:56

Each year the keepers at the zoo record the animals’ vital statistics to monitor their health and general wellbeing

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

Taxpayers spend £500,000 on radios for badger cull marksmen

The Guardian - Sat, 2017-08-26 00:56

Police call for cull shooters to be given same hi-tech system they use – but activists buy counter-devices to disrupt shooting

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ pounds have been spent on equipping badger cull marksmen with radios that link them directly to police, the Guardian has learned.

Police have advised the government to invest in the same communications system they use to make it easier for officers to get to conflicts with cull saboteurs in remote areas where the mobile phone signal is poor.

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

Rare double waterspout caught on camera

BBC - Fri, 2017-08-25 22:48
The sight, off the coast of Florida's Anna Maria Island, was filmed on Thursday afternoon.
Categories: Around The Web

What's really the point of wasps?

BBC - Fri, 2017-08-25 22:18
A new citizen science survey aims to shed light on that fixture of summertime in the outdoors: the wasp.
Categories: Around The Web

Alps melting?

BBC - Fri, 2017-08-25 21:53
A huge rockfall in Val Bondasca raises questions about how climate change is affecting the Alps.
Categories: Around The Web

Alan Titchmarsh hits out at road-widening scheme

BBC - Fri, 2017-08-25 16:49
Proposals to expand the A3 at a junction with the M25 could mean the loss of 500 trees at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden Wisley.
Categories: Around The Web

The week in wildlife – in pictures

The Guardian - Fri, 2017-08-25 16:23

A shag in the Farne Islands, coral reefs in recovery in Belize, and a fox near Chernobyl are among this week’s images from the natural world

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

Fallen police and fake sheep: news from everywhere – in pictures

The Guardian - Fri, 2017-08-25 16:00

What do you do if smog has made your fields unfit for grazing? Put sculptures of sheep on them instead. Lu Guang’s shot of phoney livestock in China is just one of many intriguing images from the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

Rhino horn sales: banking on extinction

The Guardian - Fri, 2017-08-25 15:05

Paula Kahumbu: The sale of rhino horn in South Africa won’t help save rhinos, but it will benefit organised crime

South Africa has just launched the first ever legal rhino horn auction. If you are based in South Africa and would like to buy some rhino horn you can place your bid here.

This is not a government auction, although it is sanctioned by the South African government. It has been organised by private rhino rancher, John Hume, who took the government to court and won the right to sell 265 rhino horns weighing about 500 kg. Trade in rhino horn is illegal in most countries, but the black market value of one kilogram is said to be USD 100,000—more than the price of platinum.

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

The tent is a trap for a wasp used to flying up out of danger

The Guardian - Fri, 2017-08-25 14:30

West Knoyle, Wiltshire It skitters up the fabric to the pinnacle, dropping down several feet then looping back up again, and again, and again

Taking respite from the hubbub of milling outdoor and bushcraft enthusiasts attending the Wilderness Gathering, I lie back under the shade of a conical bell tent. Gazing upwards into the canvas peak I watch a wasp skittering up the ivory fabric to the pinnacle, dropping down several feet then looping back up again, and again, and again.

Related: Conservationists slam 'hateful' survey promoting wasp killing

Continue reading...
Categories: Around The Web

WA bathes in sunshine but the poorest households lack solar panels – that needs to change

The Conversation - Fri, 2017-08-25 14:26
Solar panels are still a rarity in WA's lower-income areas. Orderinchaos/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Many Western Australian householders are living in “energy poverty”, according to our new Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre research report, Power to the People: WA’s Energy Future.

Although average household spending on electricity, gas and heating is no more than 4% of income, the figure rises considerably for those on lower incomes. In particular, more than a quarter of single-parent families say they spend more than 10% of their income on energy.

Single parents in particular are far more exposed to energy poverty, a trend that has grown over the past 10 years. Around one in ten of these households spends at least 15% of their income on energy costs. In some cases, this forces them to compromise on other essentials such as food and health care.

Read more: Five things the east coast can learn from WA about energy

Rising energy costs, as well as a personal commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, are motivating many WA households to vote with their feet (or wallets) and adopt rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at a dramatic rate.

In WA, the installed capacity of rooftop solar PV has grown by 37% in the past 18 months alone. Around 25% of suitable dwellings are now fitted with solar panels. This takes WA to third place among Australian states, behind Queensland (32%) and South Australia (31%).

If this trend continues, the state’s rooftop solar PV capacity is predicted to exceed 2,000 megawatts by 2022. That’s larger than all but one of WA’s power stations.

Generating capacity from WA rooftop solar, 2016 to 2022 Projections are based on predictions from a log linear regression of total MW of rooftop solar PV capacity, and reflect the growth both in the number of installations and the average MW output per solar PV installation. Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre/Clean Energy Regulator

Similar trends are predicted at a national level, with consumer-bought rooftop solar PV expected to account for around 24% of electricity generation by 2040. This is set to make Australia one of the most decentralised electricity networks in the world, with 45% of its total generating capacity coming from “behind the meter”.

Haves and have-nots

Rooftop solar is a popular option, but not all households are able to take advantage of this technology. Our report reveals a clear socioeconomic gradient in household solar installations in WA.

Panels are fitted to only 7.4% of suitable homes in areas in the lowest 10% on socioeconomic indicators. That figure rises to 16% in the next-lowest 10%, and the gap widens still further as income rises. Solar installation rates are around 30% in mid-to-high socioeconomic areas.

Share of suitable WA homes with solar panels, by level of socioeconomic disadvantage Homes deemed suitable for solar PV include detached, semi-detached or terraced houses, but not strata-titled apartments or units. Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre/Clean Energy Regulator/ABS

Better incentives could boost these numbers, especially in poorer areas. The initial upfront costs deter many homeowners, while most landlords have little financial motivation to install solar on rental properties.

Read more: Poor households are locked out of green energy, unless governments help

Accessible, secure and affordable energy is essential to any well-functioning economy. And many citizens, communities and governments are acting on the imperative to move to a greener source.

Despite its huge amounts of wind and sunshine, WA lags behind other states both in committing to a clear renewable energy target and in its investment in large-scale renewable power projects.

Renewable projects under construction or at commissioning stage in 2017 Projects at the commissioning phase at the end of 2016 are not included in the total new capacity figure. Investment in the South Australia Hornsdale Wind Farm includes stages 1, 2 and 3. Data for ACT and NT not available; ACT is expected to draw most of its renewable energy from other states and territories. Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre/Clean Energy Council Australia/various other sources

According to our report, WA’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 were 86.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – fourth-ranked behind Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. This means WA contributed 16.1% of Australia’s national emissions that year.

But while other states and territories have adopted proactive emissions-reduction policies such as state-based renewable energy targets, WA has not yet taken substantial action on this front.

Read more: The solar panel and battery revolution: how will your state measure up?

Here’s the likely game-changer: efficient, cost-effective battery storage that can deliver power at the scale required. Storage is set to become vital, both for smoothing out domestic power consumption from solar panels and for large-scale electricity generation. The Finkel Review has recommended that all future renewable energy projects be required to produce “dispatchable” power – that is, be able to store their power and release it at times of higher demand.

Greater efficiency in balancing energy demand over the course of the day, and across large-scale grid systems that feature a range of different weather conditions, is also likely to help overcome the intermittency problems associated with renewable sources.

Australia is on the cusp of an energy revolution, and the pace of change is only going to increase. WA, like every state, needs a clear roadmap to navigate the journey effectively, one that integrates existing and emerging energy technologies and maintains protections for families who cannot currently afford solar panels.

This will give greater certainty to the energy future we can all expect – and, critically, ensure that no one is left behind.

The Conversation

Rebecca Cassells is a Principal Research Fellow with the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre is an independent economic and social research organisation located within Curtin Business School at Curtin University. The Centre was established in 2012 with support from Bankwest (a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and Curtin University. The views in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Curtin University and/or Bankwest or any of their affiliates.

Alan Duncan is Director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre is an independent economic and social research organisation located within Curtin Business School at Curtin University. The Centre was established in 2012 with support from Bankwest (a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and Curtin University. The views in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Curtin University and/or Bankwest or any of their affiliates.

Yashar Tarverdi is a Research Fellow at the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre is an independent economic and social research organisation located within Curtin Business School at Curtin University. The Centre was established in 2012 with support from Bankwest (a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and Curtin University. The views in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Curtin University and/or Bankwest or any of their affiliates.

Categories: Around The Web

Launch of National Smart Energy Training Centre

RenewEconomy - Fri, 2017-08-25 14:13
For the first time the smart energy sector will have a truly national training strategy.
Categories: Around The Web

NREL’s new look at generation costs: Wind and solar still cheapest

RenewEconomy - Fri, 2017-08-25 14:01
New study on technology generation costs shows wind and solar remain cheapest, with further cost falls ahead.
Categories: Around The Web

Supply crunch casts shadow over Australian solar boom

RenewEconomy - Fri, 2017-08-25 13:56
China's unexpected 2017 boom in solar PV installation could have an unfortunate impact on the ambitious plans of many in Australia's surging solar sector – a bottleneck in module supplies and price rises that could impact the huge pipeline of project.
Categories: Around The Web

VSUN edges closer to home storage market for vanadium batteries

RenewEconomy - Fri, 2017-08-25 13:04
Australian Vanadium says VSUN subsidiary well advanced in negotiations to roll out residential vanadium redox flow battery.
Categories: Around The Web

Pages

Subscribe to Sustainable Engineering Society aggregator - Around The Web