Breaking Waves: Ocean News

08/14/2019 - 13:00
Exclusive: Speaking tour by controversial academic Peter Ridd is being supported by sugarcane managers paid for with Queensland government funds Support our independent journalism with a single or recurring contribution Sugarcane industry managers funded by grants from the Queensland government to help cane growers reduce pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef are promoting lectures by a controversial scientist who argues farm runoff is no threat to the reef. Peter Ridd began a speaking tour of regional Queensland on Monday amid fierce opposition to proposed state regulations that would set restrictions for sediment and chemical runoff from farms into reef catchments. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 13:00
Exclusive: Business case, which NSW government fought to keep secret, shows water security was not primary motivation for pipeline A business case for the controversial $500m Broken Hill pipeline, released after a three-year battle, reveals the New South Wales government made almost no effort to evaluate the impacts of the pipeline on the lower Darling and instead put weight on how the pipeline would help the cotton industry upstream and mining ventures along the pipeline route. The 2016 report, which had been kept secret until this week, will add to pressure on the government to respond to the findings of the Natural Resources Commission that water-sharing rules for the Barwon-Darling system in northern NSW are responsible for the environmental catastrophe at Menindee and a drought three years early in the lower Darling. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 13:00
Discovery of pollution in snowfall from the Arctic to the Alps leads to call for urgent research on potential human health impacts Abundant levels of microplastic pollution have been found in snow from the Arctic to the Alps, according to a study that has prompted scientists to warn of significant contamination of the atmosphere and demand urgent research into the potential health impacts on people. Snow captures particles from the air as it falls and samples from ice floes on the ocean between Greenland and Svalbard contained an average of 1,760 microplastic particles per litre, the research found. Even more – 24,600 per litre on average – were found at European locations. The work shows transport by winds is a key factor in microplastics contamination across the globe. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 11:04
Climate activist begins voyage from Plymouth to Trump’s US with father and two-man crew On white-crested swells under leaden skies, the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has set sail from Plymouth on arguably her most daunting challenge yet. A two-week crossing of the Atlantic during hurricane season in a solar-powered yacht is the first obstacle, but it is unlikely to be the toughest in an odyssey through the Americas over many months. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 11:02
Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage, says David Blackburn. Plus Mike Ellwood on the integral fast reactor, and John Barstow on the case for keeping coal as a backup Your article on Hinkley Point C outlines the rising costs, long delays and the mental health crisis among the employees building this new nuclear power station (Report, 14 August). The article suggests the much-delayed project may be delivered around 2025-6. But even this assessment should be treated with real caution. An identical reactor being built at Flamanville in France, which was started in 2007, was supposed to open in 2012. The French nuclear regulator has now sought more work on faulty welds across the reactor, meaning another three-year delay until 2022, ie 15 years after construction began. The additional costs of building this reactor will burden EDF further and inevitably impact on Hinkley Point C. I agree with the National Infrastructure Commission that the costs and delays to new nuclear are such that the UK has to refocus on more deliverable and cheaper renewable energies. Across the board these are being delivered now and we simply do not have the time to wait for new nuclear to come forward. Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage. The climate emergency is too pressing to take our time with such endeavours.Councillor David BlackburnChair of UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Steering Committee • Professor Neil Hyatt (Letters, 8 August) suggests that we should be actively considering doing something with our existing nuclear waste. There is something that could be done to make the problem much easier to solve, and also provide a way of generating power that is free of CO2 emissions. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 09:32
Researchers say boom in shale oil and gas major contributor to climate emergency The boom in the US shale gas and oil may have ignited a significant global spike in methane emissions blamed for accelerating the pace of the climate crisis, according to research. Scientists at Cornell University have found the “chemical fingerprints” of the rising global methane levels point to shale oil and shale gas as the probable source. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 08:00
As England’s pheasant egg imports double in three years, campaigners condemn lack of laws regulating rearing and breeding for shooting industry Pheasants whose chicks are destined to be shot in the UK are having their septums pierced in order to attach plastic masks to their beaks, according to an undercover film released by activists this week. The method of restraint is illegal in the UK. The video, shot on a farm in Poland, also appears to show the birds being fitted with “breeding aids” and confined in small boxes to repetitively mate. The farm exports ready-to-hatch eggs to the UK for eventual shooting. Animal rights campaigners renewed calls for an end to the “factory farming” of game birds. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 02:07
New Zealand prime minister warns Scott Morrison about Canberra’s stance but refuses to call for Australia to transition out of coal Jacinda Ardern has declared that “Australia has to answer to the Pacific” on climate change, saying that New Zealand is doing what it can to limit global emissions to 1.5C and expects other nations to do the same.However, the New Zealand prime minister stopped short of saying New Zealand would throw its weight behind the smaller Pacific nations who are urging Australia to commit to a rapid transition from a coal-based economy at this year’s Pacific Islands Forum. “Issues around Australia’s domestic policy are issues for Australia,” she said, when asked about Australia’s coal use. Continue reading...
08/14/2019 - 01:37
Analysts say Kyoto credits being used to back out of promised cuts as Tuvalu’s PM calls Australia’s $500m pledge an immoral ploy to quell debate Australia has been accused of using a loophole to back out of a promised emissions cut nearly eight times greater than the combined annual fossil fuel pollution released by the rest of the Pacific. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, arrived in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday, facing calls that he take steps to quickly reverse Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, including moving away from coal. Continue reading...
08/13/2019 - 21:45
Indigenous custodians say document looking at impact of flooding parts of Blue Mountains is hard to follow Traditional owners say they have not been given enough time to assess the cultural heritage impact of a plan to raise the wall of Warragamba dam and flood world heritage-listed areas of the Blue Mountains, as two local mayors demand that a state government representative faces community concerns at a public meeting this Friday. The New South Wales government wants to raise the dam wall by at least 14 metres to reduce flood risks to western Sydney suburbs downstream. But green groups, Aboriginal traditional owners and Unesco are against the proposal, with the world heritage committee announcing last month that it was “likely to have an impact on the outstanding universal value” of the area. Continue reading...