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Minerals Council of Australia kicks off coal power campaign despite BHP ​threat

The Guardian - Thu, 2018-01-11 03:00

Lobby group aims to curb ‘misinformation from urban activists’ to show ‘potential of Australian minerals sector’

The Minerals Council of Australia will continue hawking the benefits of coal-fired technologies, despite resources giant BHP threatening to pull out of the organisation over previous campaigns.

The lobby group says it is hoping to counteract “misinformation from urban activists”.

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US offshore drilling: Florida wins exemption from Trump plan

BBC - Wed, 2018-01-10 21:24
Governor Rick Scott successfully fights off President Trump's plans, with more opposition expected.
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Flying telescope yields insights into birth of stars

BBC - Wed, 2018-01-10 16:47
A telescope inside a jumbo jet yields new insights on how stars are born from collapsing gas and dust.
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Storm chaser braves 2017's wild year of US weather – in pictures

The Guardian - Wed, 2018-01-10 16:30

With three hurricanes, wildfires, flooding and tornadoes, 2017 was a turbulent year across the US, costing a record $306bn in damage. Veteran storm photographer, Jason Weingart, captured the incredible displays in what was one of his most challenging years yet

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Country diary: the woods are in disarray after the storm

The Guardian - Wed, 2018-01-10 15:30

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire As twitchy birds forage along the hedges, an almost path through the fallen trees leads to an ominous discovery

This is a searching time. Blackbirds examine the ivy berries like jewel thieves. Thrushes poke through the mown grass of the Gaskell recreation ground with all the attention of the forensics team brought in to investigate the Spar robbery last month. The birds are twitchy, fossicking close to the hedge lines in case of attacks by sparrowhawks. Rooks are watchful and jackdaws group-speak up and down from the trees where blue tits, long-tailed tits and great tits work the branches as if picking tiny locks. A nuthatch chisels into a hazelnut to crack its secret.

After the snow, after the gales, after Storm Whatshername emerged from a murmuration of thrashing wings to press her lips to the window and blow through the glass like a kazoo, the woods are in disarray. A few big trees have bought it, but mostly it’s the damsons around the old squat lines, blackthorn along lanes and hazel in derelict coppice that cracked and twisted in the winds.

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SolarReserve granted approval for 150MW solar thermal project

RenewEconomy - Wed, 2018-01-10 14:30
SolarReserve’s 150MW solar thermal power plant has been granted development approval by the South Australian Government, paving the way for construction to begin this year.
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China on track to lead in renewables as US retreats, report says

The Guardian - Wed, 2018-01-10 13:08

IEEFA report says China will dominate international investment in renewable technology over the next several decades

China is moving towards becoming a global leader in renewable technology as the US pulls away, a new report has said.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and still invests in coal but in recent years it has become the largest investor in domestic renewable energy. The country is now on track to lead international investment in the sector, according to the report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

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Plastic bag charge: 5p levy to be extended in England

BBC - Wed, 2018-01-10 12:58
Corner shops could be told to charge shoppers for single-use carrier bags under new government plans.
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Japanese astronaut sorry for 9cm ISS growth mistake

BBC - Wed, 2018-01-10 12:32
Norishige Kanai says he has actually grown 2cm in space in three weeks, blaming a measuring mistake.
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A marine biologist says a humpback whale saved her from a shark

BBC - Wed, 2018-01-10 10:03
A marine biologist says a humpback whale saved her from a shark during a recent research expedition
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Weatherwatch: can we keep the lights on when the wind fails to blow?

The Guardian - Wed, 2018-01-10 07:30

The UK now has more offshore wind power capacity than any other country – but we need a plan B for ultra-cold winters with soaring energy demands

Last year was one of the greenest for power in the UK. Nearly one-third of all electricity came from renewable sources, and wind and solar provided more power than coal on 315 days of the year. Rapid growth in both solar and wind (the UK now has more offshore wind power capacity than any other country in the world) has enabled the UK to achieve these impressive statistics, but will the rise in renewables also make UK power more vulnerable to the whims of British weather?

Researchers working on the European Climatic Energy Mixes project have been investigating future risk by assessing how the UK would fare with a repeat of the unusually cold winter of 2009-10. From mid-December 2009 a southward-displaced jet stream allowed cold air to pour in from eastern Europe, bringing widespread snow and plunging temperatures. The mean UK temperature for the entire winter was just 1.5C, the lowest since 1978-79 when it was 1.2C . As a result power demand surged, with electricity consumption between 10 and 20% above average on a number of occasions.

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2017 was Australia's third hottest year on record

ABC Environment - Wed, 2018-01-10 06:39
The trend of warmer than average temperatures continued through 2017 — at 21.5 degrees it was almost a full degree above the average.
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How North Carolina's alligators are surviving the cold snap

BBC - Wed, 2018-01-10 06:16
The reptiles employ a clever trick when the water they live in freezes over
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Look to China on renewables, report says

ABC Environment - Wed, 2018-01-10 05:50
Significant investment in recent years has made China the world's largest producer in everything from solar panels, to wind farms and electric vehicles.
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Turning blue jeans green

ABC Environment - Wed, 2018-01-10 05:44
Australian scientists are using recycled denim to create more environmentally friendly jeans.
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Australia's climate in 2017: a warm year, with a wet start and finish

The Conversation - Wed, 2018-01-10 05:37
Last year saw plenty of warm weather around the country, but other notable events included dry months in the southeast, some very cold winter nights, and record-warm dry season days in the north. Linden Ashcroft, Climatologist, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Blair Trewin, Climate scientist, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Skie Tobin, Climatologist, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives.
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Without culling, Victoria's feral horse plan looks set to fail

The Conversation - Wed, 2018-01-10 05:36
Victoria's new plan to control feral horses aims to remove up to 400 a year from the eastern Alps. But without considering aerial culling, the plan seems unlikely to get to grips with the problem. Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives.
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Environmental fears as damaged Iranian tanker leaks oil into sea

ABC Environment - Wed, 2018-01-10 05:36
The tanker is carrying more than 100,000 tonnes of condensate, which is highly toxic and much more explosive than regular crude oil.
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Development for the north? Let them eat wood | Letters

The Guardian - Wed, 2018-01-10 05:27
Readers respond to the government’s pledge of £5.7m towards the creation of a northern forest stretching from Liverpool to Hull, and to a report on agroforestry

The government’s tossing a few million towards a grand £500m “northern forest” (Government pledges £5.7m for northern forest, 8 January) is an example of the puny tokenism operating today, where acts of vandalism against our precious environment, such as HS2, can be so casually “offset”. HS2 is a folly, the stubborn imposition of a luxury fairground ride built over never-to-be-seen-again landscapes.

Improve what we have, protect the things that are good around us, cancel HS2. And for sure, plant some more trees (and not just pine and spruce, please – we don’t want more Forestry Commission-style bland industrial forestry). There are thousands of acres of aristocratic grouse-shooting estates all over the North Pennines and North Yorkshire, where trees are not allowed because they spoil all the fun of the chase. Wonderful places to plant some new trees, if the Tories really are suddenly into tree-planting.
Catherine Francis
Skipton, North Yorkshire

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UK must be ready for rise of electric vehicles, says ABB chief

The Guardian - Wed, 2018-01-10 04:45

Charging point manufacturer’s CEO warns that UK power grid needs to handle expected 9m electric vehicles by 2030

The UK should speed up preparations for the rise of electric vehicles, according to the chief executive of ABB, the world’s largest supplier of fast-charging points.

Speaking as the Switzerland-based engineering firm became the first official sponsor of the electric street racing series Formula E, Ulrich Spiesshofer predicted a flood of consumer take-up of plug-in cars.

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