Environment

Environment

Australia has lost Pacific’s trust on climate change

Prime Minister Scott Morrisons difficult week at the Pacific Islands Forum is only the first of many such diplomatic challenges Australia will face until it gets a comprehensive policy on climate change. Mr Morrison went to the meeting of the 18 island states hoping to counterbalance the growing influence of China in a region that is Australias backyard but instead he spent much of his time fighting over climate change with countries he says are part of Australias “family”. Pacific island leaders were not impressed by Mr Morrisons intransigence in fighting against the inclusion of calls for tougher action on climate change in the final communique. Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the host country whose low-lying atolls are already being washed away by the effects of climate change, said Mr Morrison was trying to save his economy but he was trying to save his people. Advertisement There was a spat after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Mr Morrison had to “answ..

Environment

Elephant’s ‘bony body’ hidden under costume during Sri Lankan festival

An elephant was put on display at a Sri Lankan festival, but its old, bony frame was covered by a costume, wildlife advocates said. Images of 70-year-old elephant Tikiri's frail frame were shared on Facebook by the Save Elephant Foundation, a charity dedicated to protecting Asian elephants. Tikiri's frail frame was shown on Facebook by the Save Elephant Foundation in Thailand.Credit:Facebook, Save Elephant Foundation Tikiri was from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy and was paraded during the Perahera Festival, one of the oldest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka held in July and August. "She is one of the 60 elephants who must work in the service of the Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka this year," the foundation wrote. Advertisement "Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke. "She walks many kilometers every night so that people will feel blessed during t..

Environment

‘Disdain’: Anger as Broken Hill pipe business case finally released

The justification for the $500 million Broken Hill water pipeline prioritised irrigators and all but ignored the environment, according to the project's business case that has finally been released by the government. The so-called Final Business Case for the Broken Hill Long-Term Water Supply Solution was handed to independent MP Justin Field after multiple "calls for papers" and requests since its proposal in 2016. The business case for the water pipeline linking Broken Hill to the Murray River shows Northern Basin irrigators were to be among the primary beneficiaries.Credit:ABC/Laura Brierley Newton While the report underscored the water security benefits for Broken Hill, it also highlighted how supplying water to the city from the Murray River would free up extraction for irrigators upstream. Instead of tapping the Menindee Lakes, the city has, since March, been drawing water from near Wentworth in the 270-kilometre pipeline. The project would avoid "costs of water embargoe..

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..

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