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Western Power launches 5MW microgrid project for Kalbarri

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 13:16
WA holiday town of Kalbarri set to trial $10m microgrid integrating distributed solar, 1.7MW wind farm, and 2MWh battery system.
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India’s electricity sector transformation builds momentum

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 13:14
India’s latest electricity sector report provides some clear insights into the progress on the electricity sector transformation.
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CSIRO inks major China solar thermal deal, but home market remains stalled

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 12:09
CSIRO signs major deal to make, sell and install its patented concentrating solar thermal generation technology in China. Meanwhie, in Australia...
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Spotless advanced metering delivers ‘power of choice’

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 11:48
Spotless has launched a new metering model to help the utilities sector respond to changing regulatory, technological and digital data environments.
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Round two of the New Energy Jobs Fund now open

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 11:45
A total of $6 million will be made available in the next NEJF funding round with communities, industry and businesses encouraged to apply before 1 March 2017.
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BluGlass and IQE enter into a strategic partnership to develop a range of electronic applications

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 11:33
BluGlass Limited has today announced that it has entered into a formal Collaboration Agreement with IQE.
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South Australia’s climate leaders celebrated at first Climate Leaders awards

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 11:21
Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter last night awarded Port Lincoln business Regional Connections the overall prize, as well as winner of the Industry and Business category.
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247Solar signs agreement to commercialize in Southern Africa

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 10:36
247Solar and South Africa’s Stellenergy to build an initial 247Solar Plant(TM).
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Graph of the Day – Tesla Powerwall 2 way ahead of competition on price

RenewEconomy - Tue, 2016-11-29 09:37
Today's graph shows both versions of the Powerwall 2 are well ahead of the closest competition on price, beating its closest rivals by one third.
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Indigenous group split on consent for Adani coalmine goes to court

The Guardian - Tue, 2016-11-29 08:19

Anti-Adani faction among Wangan and Jagalingou people argue supporters of huge Carmichael mine should not be recognised as representatives

Traditional owners who took discreet payments of $4,000 each to meet Adani and revive a land use deal for the Carmichael mine should be axed as representatives of their group, it will be argued in the federal court.

The case stems from a split within the Indigenous group whose consent is crucial for the planned $16bn mine in Queensland’s Galilee basin to go ahead.

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Action plan to protect the world's pollinators

ABC Environment - Tue, 2016-11-29 07:23
Birds, bees and other pollinators play a vital role in food security around the world.
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Great Barrier Reef scientists confirm largest die-off of corals recorded

The Guardian - Tue, 2016-11-29 05:49

Higher sea temperatures have led to the worst bleaching event on record, new study finds, with coral predicted to take up to 15 years to recover

A new study has found that higher water temperatures have ravaged the Great Barrier Reef, causing the worst coral bleaching recorded by scientists.

In the worst-affected area, 67% of a 700km swath in the north of the reef lost its shallow-water corals over the past eight to nine months, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University study found.

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How much coral has died in the Great Barrier Reef's worst bleaching event?

The Conversation - Tue, 2016-11-29 05:16

Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died on in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event, according to our latest underwater surveys.

On some reefs in the north, nearly all the corals have died. However the impact of bleaching eases as we move south, and reefs in the central and southern regions (around Cairns and Townsville and southwards) were much less affected, and are now recovering.

In 2015 and 2016, the hottest years on record, we have witnessed at first hand the threat posed by human-caused climate change to the world’s coral reefs.

Heat stress from record high summer temperatures damages the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live in the tissues of corals, turning them white.

After they bleach, these stressed corals either slowly regain their zooxanthellae and colour as temperatures cool off, or else they die.

The Great Barrier Reef bleached severely for the first time in 1998, then in 2002, and now again in 2016. This year’s event was more extreme than the two previous mass bleachings.

Surveying the damage

We undertook extensive underwater surveys at the peak of bleaching in March and April, and again at the same sites in October and November. In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, we recorded an average (median) loss of 67% of coral cover on a large sample of 60 reefs.

The dieback of corals due to bleaching in just 8-9 months is the largest loss ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef.

To put these losses in context, over the 27 years from 1985 to 2012, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science measured the gradual loss of 51% of corals on the central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

They reported no change over this extended period in the amount of corals in the remote, northern region. Unfortunately, most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in this northern, most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies Bright spots

The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy. Our map shows clearly that coral death varies enormously from north to south along the 2,300km length of the Reef.

The southern third of the Reef did not experience severe heat stress in February and March. Consequently, only minor bleaching occurred, and we found no significant mortality in the south since then.

In the central section of the Reef, we measured widespread but moderate bleaching, which was comparably severe to the 1998 and 2002 events. On average, only 6% of coral cover was lost in the central region in 2016.

The remaining corals have now regained their vibrant colour. Many central reefs are in good condition, and they continue to recover from Severe Tropical Cyclones Hamish (in 2009) and Yasi (2011).

In the eastern Torres Strait and outermost ribbon reefs in the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, we found a large swathe of reefs that escaped the most severe bleaching and mortality, compared to elsewhere in the north. Nonetheless, 26% of the shallow-water corals died.

We suspect that these reefs were partially protected from heat stress by strong currents and upwelling of cooler water across the edge of the continental shelf that slopes steeply into the Coral Sea.

For visitors, these surveys show there are still many reefs throughout the Marine Park that have abundant living coral, particularly in popular tourism locations in the central and southern regions, such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.


The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, extending 700km from Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea, experienced the most severe bleaching and subsequent loss of corals.

On 25% of the worst affected reefs (the top quartile), losses of corals ranged from 83-99%. When mortality is this high, it affects even tougher species that normally survive bleaching.

However, even in this region, there are some silver linings. Bleaching and mortality decline with depth, and some sites and reefs had much better than average survival. A few corals are still bleached or mottled, particularly in the north, but the vast majority of survivors have regained their colour.

What will happen next?

The reef science and management community will continue to gather data on the bleaching event as it slowly unfolds. The initial stage focused on mapping the footprint of the event, and now we are analysing how many bleached corals died or recovered over the past 8-9 months.

Over the coming months and for the next year or two we expect to see longer-term impacts on northern corals, including higher levels of disease, slower growth rates and lower rates of reproduction. The process of recovery in the north – the replacement of dead corals by new ones – will be slow, at least 10-15 years, as long as local conditions such as water quality remain conducive to recovery.

As global temperatures continue to climb, time will tell how much recovery in the north is possible before a fourth mass bleaching event occurs.

This article was co-authored by David Wachenfeld, Director for Reef Recovery at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The Conversation

Terry Hughes receives competitive research funding from the Australian Research Council

Britta Schaffelke works for the Australian Institute of Marine Science, a publicly funded research organization that receives funding from the Australian Government, foundations, State Government Departments and private industry.

James Kerry does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

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Seeing the wood for the trees in Sheffield | Letters

The Guardian - Tue, 2016-11-29 04:25

The short answer is no (Is this a war on trees? Notebook, 22 November). As a several decades-long member of the Woodland Trust, I value mature trees and the recreation of ancient woodland, but in respect to Sheffield’s tree-culling, Patrick Barkham has given only a one-sided story, that of the “save all trees” fanatics who forced the council’s hand. In our leafy suburbs many of the trees are over 100 years old and, yes, they do add many benefits to the environment. However, many are huge, forest varieties, unsuitable for the streets in which they were planted. Thus some obstruct pavements and roadways, and their roots have caused ground upheavals of 20cm or more. Some are also reaching old age, with a consequent risk of falling branches.

Looking at the wider picture, it thus makes very good sense to cut these down and replant with more suitable varieties as part of the road and pavement renewal scheme, to avoid later more expensive replacement after they have damaged the new roads and pavements. I will be sad to see them go – it’s only a selected few – but very glad to get rid of the potholed roads and lumpy pavements with their tripping hazards. And my children will benefit from the new trees as they mature, as part of a planned tree-management scheme.
Michael Miller

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Love, death and rewilding – how two clothing tycoons saved Patagonia

The Guardian - Tue, 2016-11-29 03:20

Alongside her husband, Doug, Kris McDivitt Tompkins bought up vast swathes of Patagonia to save it from developers. Now, a year after Doug’s sudden death, she explains how their shared vision is close to reality

She was young, spirited and rich. It was the 1970s and Kris McDivitt seemed to come straight from California central casting; the glamorous ski-racing daughter of an oil-industry man who made her fortune as the first CEO of what was to become the billion-dollar outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

And then in 1993, aged 43, Kris McDivitt unexpectedly fell in love with Doug Tompkins, the adventure-junkie rock-climber and deep green environmentalist who had co-founded not one but two giant outdoor-clothing companies, North Face and Esprit.

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John Gregory obituary

The Guardian - Tue, 2016-11-29 03:19

Freshwater fish are out of sight and out of mind for most of the British public. And so are the dedicated band of fishery scientists who look after a resource that indicates the health of our rivers and lakes, and supports angling. Such an individual was my friend John Gregory, who has died aged 67, after a lifelong career in fisheries management.

John was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. His father, Tom, was an engineer at Rolls-Royce in Derby and his mother, Jenny, worked in the local hospital. After graduating in biological sciences from the University of East Anglia, and getting married to Lynden Stratten in 1971, John spent two years as a fisheries officer in the Solomon Islands.

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EU in 'Mexican standoff' over independent checks on car emissions

The Guardian - Tue, 2016-11-29 00:48

Leaked documents reveal EU pledge to carry out tests deleted from draft as governments come under pressure from carmakers

Plans for independent checks of how much pollution new cars emit are being killed off by EU member states, according to leaked documents seen by the Guardian.

After the Dieselgate scandal, the European commission proposed empowering its respected science wing, the Joint Research Centre, to inspect vehicles separately from national authorities, which are paid by the car manufacturers they regulate.

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Astronaut eye problems blamed on spinal fluid

BBC - Tue, 2016-11-29 00:38
Scientists might have found the root cause of vision problems that affect some astronauts.
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Japan Fukushima nuclear plant 'clean-up costs double'

BBC - Mon, 2016-11-28 23:40
Japan estimates the cost of dealing with the Fukushima nuclear disaster has doubled, reports say.
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Great Barrier Reef suffered worst bleaching on record in 2016, report finds

BBC - Mon, 2016-11-28 23:00
This year saw the worst-ever destruction of coral on the Great Barrier Reef, a new study finds.
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