Environment

Environment

Museum taps light-weight solar panels as ‘Sun King’ make his return

Solar energy will soon become "like Wi-Fi or optical fibre" that consumers expect in virtually all buildings and even boats and caravans, according to the inventor of light-weight panels being introduced in Australia. Shi Zhengrong, once dubbed the "Sun King" when he became the world's first solar billionaire in 2006, says the weight of regular panels at about 20 kilograms per square metre restricted their use. His firm, SunMan, has ditched the glass and other materials, cutting weight by about three-quarters while maintaining standard electricity conversion efficiency rates of about 22 per cent. Shi Zhengrong, the founder and chief technology officer of Sunman – the company that has produced new light-weight solar panels that will slash power bills at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.Credit:Renee Nowytarger "About 40 per cent of the commercial market cannot be served by conventional panels, but with our panels we can make this market possible," Dr Shi said. Regular pane..

Environment

Wollongong council declares ‘climate emergency’

Environmental organisation Greenpeace has applauded Wollongong City Council's decision to declare a climate emergency, calling it "huge stuff". Wollongong City Council's declaration brings the total number of NSW councils declaring or recognising climate emergencies to 16. The total was 17, with Wagga Wagga City Council also backing a motion, but this was later recinded amid community backlash against councillors. Wollongong is the 32nd Australian council to declare climate emergency.Credit:Peter Rae The City of Sydney council backed a similar motion in June to declare such an "emergency". Wollongong Councillor Ann Martin moved the motion, which was debated for more than an hour at the council meeting on Monday evening, calling on the council to recognise the community is in a state of climate emergency. Advertisement The end result was a vote in favour to support the motion, and also called for a report to look at the best ways Wollongong can combat climate change. Wo..

Environment

‘Extremely vulnerable’: Agencies fear bigger fish kills this summer

Authorities are preparing emergency response teams as scientists warn that fish kills are looming in the states waterways on a scale that could dwarf the mass die-offs last summer. Governments "hold grave concerns for communities and rivers across the northern basin which remain under considerable stress because of the drought," a Murray-Darling Basin Authority spokeswoman said. Carcasses after the second of three mass fish kill events in the Darling River at Menindee in January 2019.Credit:Nick Moir "Fish remain extremely vulnerable in the north and will remain so until significant inflows are received." NSW agencies including WaterNSW and the fisheries unit of the Department of Primary Industries are "preparing early for the carnage", said one official, who requested anonymity. "It's going to be messy." Advertisement Lee Baumgartner, a freshwater fish ecologist at Charles Sturt University who took part in one of several inquiries into last summer's mass fish kills at ..

Environment

A climate plea to Scott Morrison from a churchman of the Pacific’s sinking nations

As Australias Prime Minister arrives in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting on Tuesday, I want to remind him that he is setting foot in a country that could soon be under water. I want to remind Scott Morrison that for the people of Tuvalu – and Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands, and all the other Pacific Island Nations – nothing worries us more than climate change. Funafuti atoll on Tuvalu … a nation pleading for its future.Credit:Alamy Weve watched as our homes are eaten away by rising tides, and as Australia allows its emissions to rise and then uses accounting tricks to create the illusion of meeting its inadequate Paris targets. As one person of faith to another, I would like to tell Australias Prime Minister: This is not Godly leadership. Advertisement For Christians, acting to prevent climate catastrophe is not just about survival. It is about loving your neighbour, and protecting Gods creation. Right now, Australia is doing far more than most to desecrat..

Environment

Fears family behind ‘evil’ land-clearing act will avoid court order

The northern NSW farm where a government compliance officer was murdered is on the market even though the owners are yet to carry out court-ordered remediation for illegal land-clearing done years earlier. Former and current staff with the Office of Environment and Heritage fear the sale of the "Colorado" property at Croppa Creek will allow the sellers off the hook. Pictures taken of land clearing shortly before the murder of OEH officer Glen Turner. Glen Turner, an OEH staffer, was slain five years ago by Ian Turnbull, the late patriarch of the family that own the block, while examining fresh clearing from the roadside. The 1533-hectare block has been put up for sale by Mr Turnbull's son, Grant. Property agent Allan Gobbert told The Sun-Herald he had written to OEH to clarify what, if any, remediation requirements applied to the land, but "had not heard back". Advertisement The Land & Environment Court ordered the Turnbulls to replant the cleared land in July 2014, just pr..

Environment

Knowledge ‘our best hope’ in fight to save our oceans, explorer says

Humanity is in a race to understand and reverse the destruction of life in our oceans and the wider world before climate change and other threats get out of control, Sylvia Earle, a renowned US-based scientist and explorer says. Ahead of a talk at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Tuesday, Dr Earle said the scale of the challenges – from warming and acidifying seas to plastic pollution and over-fishing – were now clearly in focus. Sylvia Earle, a renowned oceanographer and explorer, says it's not too late to act to save our oceans and the wider world from the ravages of humans.Credit:Michael Aw/ Elysium Arctic Project "There's no escape," Dr Earle told the Herald. "Wherever you are in the world, you're connected [to the impacts]." While issues such as plastic pollution in the oceans and even mass coral bleaching had begun to emerge only in recent decades, the threats to our oceans were "now like an avalanche", she said. Advertisement A harp seal ..

Environment

‘Nasty’: Wild weather to pummel Sydney, give fun runners a tailwind

Sydney is in for a blustery weekend with winds encouraging many to stay indoors, save for the tens of thousands signed up for the annual City2Surf fun run on Sunday. Wind speeds reached 96 km/h at Kurnell on Botany Bay on Friday and 118 km/h at Thredbo overnight. The Bureau of Meteorology's warning for damaging winds for most of eastern NSW lasted through the day. Sand is blown down Prince Charles Parade in Kurnell as winds made conditions uncomfortably cool for many on Friday.Credit:Nick Moir A series of fronts and troughs passing through were "looking nasty" in the models a week ago, and the forecasts proved right, Craig McIntosh, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said. A retirement home in Stockton lost part of its roof, although nobody was injured, the Newcastle Herald reported. Advertisement "The potential is there for damaging winds again on Saturday and Sunday," he said. While the mercury in Sydney reached 17.2 degrees of Friday, not far shy of the August average, th..

Environment

Time to end the paradox in BHP’s response to global warming

The federal election in May relegated the prospect of ambitious carbon emission targets. But theres been no slowdown in business planning for a post-carbon future; the strongest confirmation has been the speech by Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP, the worlds largest mining company. Mackenzie said on July 23 in London, “The evidence is abundant: global warming is indisputable.” If that was not an emphatic rejection of climate change denialism his next comment was a lightning flash: “We see this period as an escalation towards a crisis.” With such language Mackenzie showed that heads of mining companies cant separate themselves from whats happening to our planetary home. And it might be that Mackenzie, with degrees in geology and chemistry, brings a scientists sensitivity to headlines about the melting of arctic permafrost, until now locking up an estimated 1.8 trillion tonnes of carbon, more than twice as much as currently suspended in the earths atmosphere. If the permafrost thaws it mig..

Environment

‘Warning flag’: IPCC finds rapid land warming threatens food security

Temperatures over the world's land areas are warming at about the twice the global rate, expanding deserts in Australia, Africa and Asia, and hitting food security hard, a new UN report finds. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that surface air temperatures between 2006 and 2015 were 1.53 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average of 1850-1900. That compared with the combined warming of land and oceans of 0.87 degrees, its special report on land said. "Climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions," the report's Summary for Policymakers said. Advertisement The report, compiled by dozens of scientists and released in Geneva on Thursday, noted humans typically relied on land for their homes and the great bulk of their food, fibre and feed for animals. Mark Howden, Director ..

Environment

‘Environmental bastardry’: Looser grassland controls slammed

The Berejiklian government has quietly altered rules for managing grasslands in the state's south just weeks after a scientific committee deemed them to be critically endangered, a move which has been blasted by environmental groups. The cool grassy woodlands of the Monaro and Werriwa tablelands were only confirmed as at-risk ecological communities in June in part because of the "very large degree of environmental degradation" that has already taken place. The government has quietly eased the way for farmers to clear land that may contain threatened grassland species in the Monaro and Werriwa regions of NSW. However, changes to the state's Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 announced in the recent Government Gazette, gave Local Land Service employees the right to allow landholders to clear land for farming or forestry. Chris Gambian, the new chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, said the reversal ignored warnings by the state's leading ecolog..

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