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Worth-Reading Environmental News in Australia Today

Australia is filled to be the brim with wonderful nature attractions giving tourists plenty of options to choose from upon their visit. Furthermore, the country has a good number of natural wonders the world recognizes including the famous Great Barrier Reef which is the world’s largest reef system, Shark Bay, The Pinnacles, MacKenzie Falls, Fraser Island, Blue Mountains and many more. Australia’s great number of natural wonders means the government and community have to put extra effort in keeping these places clean and safe. Let us look at current environmental issues, which are making the news in Australian newspapers.

Worth-Reading Environmental News in Australia Today

Since the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular attraction in Australia let us start off with the first environmental issue which is marine conservation. Australia has a lot of waters that needs to be kept safe and clean for the future generation. For that matter, the community is keen in looking for government projects that could potential harm marine life. A good example of this is with regards to the Adani Coal Mine which received its final approvals. Townsville was divided with diametrically opposing views on the great benefits – or catastrophes – that would flow with the mine.

In other news, there was an outrage with the new shark nets installed in Northern NSW. The Australian Marine Conservation Society expresses grave concern at a kneejerk decision to exempt the NSW Government from national environmental law, allowing the immediate deployment of new shark nets in Northern NSW.

Climate change is also another issue Australia is facing which can be problematic with the country’s many aquatic territories. There is indeed a cause for concern especially with Australia ranked among worst developed countries for climate change action. Australia has been singled out again as a climate laggard, being ranked fifth-worst for emissions and policies among developed countries and among the six worst countries in the G20 when it comes to climate action. Climate change is affecting several businesses in Australia including the wine industry which affects the quality of the wine they produce.

Australian winemakers are facing new challenges with the rising heat. This in turn compresses harvesting seasons, causing grapes to ripen earlier — sometimes during the hotter December-February summer months rather than autumn. People are wanting action on this particular issue and it is good to hear that the Turnbull government is kick starting its promised review of its climate change policies which will aim to reduce emissions while keeping the nation’s energy secure and affordable.

Land degradation is also quite a popular environmental topic in Australia. This is often caused by a variety of factors including logging and wood chopping, land clearing and as well as soil salinity. It should be noted that land clearance is on the rise in Australian states like Queensland and New South Wales, with land clearing laws being fiercely debated. We mentioned climate change earlier and land clearing contributes in releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This causes warming locally, regionally and even globally, and it changes rainfall by altering the circulation of heat and moisture.

Each and every one of us has a role in helping care for the environment. Keep yourself up to date with the latest environment news to know how more about the issues that needs to be addressed.

Environment News & Happenings

Australia is growing in popularity attracting quite a number of both local and foreign investors alike. A good contributing factor to this is with the great ambience and setting with a good number of attractions and locales. This is the reason why Australia attracts a lot of tourists and visitors alike all throughout the year. With that being said, a huge number of individuals fear that Australia will not be able to attract new investors in the near future with their current environment situation. Let us look at environmental news & events around Sydney & Australia.

There is indeed a cause for concern with regards to Australia’s environment news & happenings. Reports have shown that Australia ranked worst among G20 when it comes to action on climate change. It should be noted that The G20 (or G-20 or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. It was founded in 1999 with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability. The organization seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.

G20 comprises of 19 individual countries which include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union is also included in the list totaling to a complete number of 20.

Based on the report, Australia is the only country to receive a rating of ‘very poor’ in a majority of categories in Climate Transparency scorecard. Adding insult to injury is that Australia was given the worst possible rating of “very poor” for its performance on emissions trends, carbon intensity, share of renewables in its energy supply and overall climate policy. In other aspects such as energy intensity, share of coal in energy supply and electricity emissions intensity, Australia was rated as “poor” as well.

One of the main contributing to Australia’s terrible performance is that the country remains as one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases with its per capita pollution exceeding all other G20 nations. A new global report argues that Australia is among the worst laggards, and the world’s 20 largest economies need to increase their 2030 climate commitments six-fold to keep within the two-degree warming curb agreed at the Paris summit.

This in turn led to a number of organizations urging G20 to make the necessary changes and action to avoid damaging the environment even further. By introducing a price on carbon and commit more money to clean energy investment, Climate Transparency now wants all G20 countries to set out a plan to decarbonise their economies by 2050.

There is a lot of changes that needs to be done in order to improve the environment situation that is happening in Australia. It is good to hear that there exist a number of eco groups that helps spread the much needed information about the environment. These individuals also monitor the social, ethical and environmental activities of business operating in the country as well as local and federal government and their policies in Australia. We encourage others to join with the eco movement as well keeping our country a suitable place for our children to live in.

Trashing Asia: Pollution Damaging the Environment

Is the third world not only poor but are its inhabitants also negligent when it comes to cleaning up after themselves? Is poverty enough of an excuse when it comes to polluting your own environment? On a recent excursion to an island in Asia I was astounded to see how dirty, messy and crapped out were the streets of the city I walked around. Where was the civic pride and the basic human responsibility to clean up your shit? Education is obviously a big part of environmentalism and many people in these circumstances need to be taught how important it is.

Surviving and making a buck is not the only prerequisite for success; keeping pollution out of the atmosphere in all its forms is equally important. Many of the very poor in big Asian cities have migrated to the city from villages in the surrounding countryside; but they are so marginalised they must feel powerless to affect change. Small villages are usually much better maintained in comparison to the slums and ghettoes of huge metropolises. Gridlocked streets are a haze of carbon monoxide pollution. Gutters stink with human and animal refuse. Waterways are similarly clogged with rotting and floating garbage.

Trashing Asia: Pollution Damaging the Environment

People need to be educated and empowered so that they can take some civic pride in their city. Politicians must be held accountable for the areas they represent; which would combat some of the vast corruption that holds these nations back. Many of these countries are receiving huge amounts of international aid from wealthy western nations like the United States and Australia; but no one seems to be accountable. Self-interest among politicians and civil servants in these places ensures that positive change occurs at a snail’s pace.

Air pollution in Asia is rife and the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that more than two million people die from it every year worldwide. Particulate Matter (PM) is particularly hazardous to humans and it causes some nine percent of lung cancer deaths around the globe. Asia suffers from PM more than most continents, with Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal experiencing very high levels in their atmospheres. Air pollution in China is bad, as we know, but their PM levels are moderate in comparison to the Indian nations. South East Asian countries, likewise, have air pollution problems but their PM levels remain moderate. Education and empowerment are the only things that will improve the state of these nations in terms of their environmental health.

3,500 Problem Kangaroos Lead To Petition Of WA Environment Minister

Wild KangarooI have fond memories of Wanneroo, and especially Yanchep but some of the locals are causing a bit of a bother there nowadays if news reports are to be believed.

The locals in question? Some 3,500 kangaroos who are leaving their high life at the Yanchep Sun City Country Club behind so that they can move into the path of neighbouring homes.

Supposedly Wanneroo council has tried to get the WA Environment Minister, the Hon Albert Jacob, to step in as the country club has begun moving the kangaroos along as they’re destroying the greens of the golf course.

A petition begun by Yanchep local Kelsey Burns has already attracted 1,800 signatures with Wanneroo mayor Tracy Roberts joining the fight and asking for “quick and effective” action.

The problem is that the kangaroos have begun migrating from the national park into residential areas and were becoming trapped by the residential spaces surrounding the park.

This creates problems as kangaroos then interact with domestic pets and also spill out onto roadways where they can cause traffic problems.

Ms Roberts said the council had asked the country club to allow the kangaroos onto the course from the eastern side towards Yanchep National Park and were erecting signs to warn motorists about the rogue kangaroos.

One other problem is that the amount of bushland left in the area is relatively sparse, and could soon be destroyed to make way for more residential houses. Options have even been suggested of moving them on, relocated to another national park.

The Sun City Country Club has responded to inquiries reminding people that they had been on site for over 40 years and opened at a time when residential developments were minimal and kangaroos were able to roam freely in natural bushland.

With recent land development projects the kangaroos have been pushed towards the golf course.

They’ve also had a problem with vandals using vehicles to knock down existing fences which has caused severe damage to the course, ACM Group  would like to make clear that these vandals were obviously not kangaroos!

Albert Jacob, the Environment Minister has responded, saying the management of the roos was the responsibility of the Council, though he has asked that he continue to be informed about the issue in future.

5 Environmental News Snippets You Should Know About

 

This 21-Year-Old is Cleaning Up Our OceansThe largest ocean cleanup in history will begin by 2020, and a 21-year-old is leading the way.

Posted by The Huffington Post on Thursday, 11 February 2016

Great for serious discussion or just something clever to bring up over dinner, these are our 5 top environmental news stories happening right now …

1. WA Environmental Defender’s Office Slams Biodiversity Conservation Bill
The WA Environmental Defender’s Office has slammed Albert Jacob’s biodiversity bill claiming that it is a giant step back and claiming that the proposed removal of the threat of jail time for harming highly threatened species was disturbing.
Meanwhile Environment Minister Albert Jacob has described changes to the Wildlife Conservation act as a “Holy Grail” of legislation change of every previous government going right back to the 1980s.

2. CSIRO Cuts Are Causing A ‘Real Crisis’ For Environmental Science
Deep staffing cuts mean that the CSIRO is having to axe 350 jobs mainly from the Land and Water division.
The move has drawn international condemnation from scientists in Australia and abroad led by members of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US.

3. Environment Minister Greg Hunt Wins Best Minister In The World Award
Interestingly not an Onion story, Greg Hunt really did win the best minister in the world award during a ceremony in the UAE. Not a joke. Apparently he has some ground breaking policies once you get past the whole Adani/Abbott Point fiasco.

4. Climate Change Affecting Trans-Atlantic Flight Times
Climate change has been shown to have increased the speed of the jet stream, a strong wind blowing west to east across the Atlantic ocean.
Currently the journey takes an hour longer when travelling from Europe to the US. It can also cause bumpier flights with more turbulence and decrease the amount of weight an aircraft can carry.

5. Concerns English Children Are Not Spending Enough Time Engaging With Nature
A 2 year study funded by the government has found that more than one in nine British youth had not spent any time in a natural environment in the last twelve months. This includes parks, forests and beaches.

North Wambo Coal Mine – A Dam Bust For Australia?

Jeremy BuckinghamThe North Wambo coal mine, a combined open-cut and underground mine 30 kilometres to the west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region has come under serious scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Authority following a burst dam on site which could have serious negative environmental effects.

Approved only last year for a modification allowing the mine to develop an additional longwall panel, the mine is already running into trouble, which is especially concerning as the approval required tough new rules to control the environmental impact of the mine.

The most intriguing part of the whole story though is the fact that the environmental regulators are not only demanding to know how the dam wall collapsed, but also how it took an entire week for the problem to be reported.

Peabody Energy, the coal mining giant behind the mine explained how this could happen in quite simple terms…

The miner told the NSW EPA that they had only learned of the incident EARLIER THAT DAY, in a statement issued by the EPA.

So somehow no one noticed that a dam wall, with the potential to hold up to 3 million litres of sediment and waste had collapsed at this site for AN ENTIRE WEEK?

The water released from the dam is believed to be mainly mixed with soil, sand, rocks and grass with no known toxins present at this point. However it’s not currently clear just how extensive the breach was as workers could not reach the affected wall for several days due to security concerns. Also of course there’s the issue of the very late discovery of the problem.

It’s also a reminder of the dangers we face when allowing coal mining operators to operate on prime agricultural land as mentioned by Jeremy Buckingham of the Greens party.

“This shocking pollution incident highlights why the government should prohibit coal mining in good farming areas and in drinking water catchments,” Jeremy Buckingham Greens NSW mining spokesperson, said.

Read more…

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/wambo-coal-mine-in-hunter-investigated-by-environment-protection-authority-over-dam-wall-collapse-20160113-gm4xp4.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-15/north-wambo-coal-mine-gets-green-light-from-nsw-govt/6393344

Paris Climate Conference 2015 – Update

Australia is a part of several developed nations around the world at the UN climate talks in Paris pushing the developing world to consider greater responsibility regarding billions in funding required to combat world-wide warming and successfully adapt to the challenge of climate change.

Divisions involving rich and poor nations around the world over who should claim responsibility pertaining to “climate finance” – a ”promise” manufactured in Copenhagen in order to “mobilise” $100 billion each year from 2020 to assist developing nations around the world – were expected to be on the list of key sticking points throughout the two days of negotiations.

The absolute goal of the Paris conference is to be able to reach a greater agreement in order to limit world-wide warming to 2°C above pre-industrial amounts by 2030. Nevertheless, there are going to be no steps forward unless countries can get consensus on a selection of issues which includes funding, proving “loss in addition to damage” aid for countries afflicted by global warming and reviews of national carbon decline targets in the lead up to Paris.

Emerging economies including India and also South Africa, which chairs the principle “G77 as well as China”  bloc regarding developing nations around the world, have extended their long argued claim that richer countries should cover a lot of the cost regarding reducing greenhouse gas emissions in addition to protecting susceptible nations due to rising marine levels, extreme weather and also other effects regarding global warming. They make this claim because they consider that richer nations around the world caused the situation to begin with.

Gambia’s Pa Ousman Jarju, who’s going to be the chair of the 48-strong Least Developed Countries group, warned the situation was regarded as being of “paramount importance” and that a “clear pathway” was needed to ensure the Copenhagen responsibilities would be fulfilled by richer nations. “Finance is the bedrock in this agreement” he mentioned.

One onlooker said that while the G77 ended up being frustrated with Australia on this issue, other developed nations such as the EU bloc had been “more constructive”.

Developing nations around the world argue larger nations including China and Brazil ought to take some responsibility pertaining to funding given they will account for a greater amount of world-wide emissions.

Chinese Leader Xi Jinping utilized his speech on the opening day of the conference in order to argue that the richest nations around the world should raise financing they supply to less well off nations. Individually, China attempted to play a constructive, leading role around Paris by committing $US3. 1 billion to assist poorer nations around the world finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Australia says it’s going to use the new gig because co-chair of a global finance for environment change actions in less well off countries to speed up the generation of dollars for .

The federal government of Australia will co-chair the Green Climate Fund with South Africa, having a year ago pledged $200 million over approximately four years to developing economies.

Environmental Minister Greg Hunt said Australia’s priority will be the quick circulation of funds, which had been held up because of a lack of “decisive capability”.

Australia’s co-chair appointment came as a surprise for some, after previous prime minister Tony Abbott criticised the fund as being a “Bob Brown bank” but on an international scale.

Energy Company’s Coal Gasification Project Facing Country’s Largest Environmental Prosecution

Linc Energy is facing what is to be expected to be one of the nation’s largest environmental prosecutions after the most extensive investigation in the Environment Department’s history.

A court has heard how workers at Linc Energy’s underground coal gasification project were warned to drink milk and also to eat yoghurt to protect their stomachs from being burnt by acidic gases.

Prosecuting barrister, Ralph Devlin QC, also presented evidence that despite workers suffering from a myriad of gas exposure related symptoms, work was not stopped, this even despite physical notification of tar-smelling gas bubbling from the ground around a well.

Workers were provided gas detecting equipment, some of which sounded the alarm as soon as workers left their onsite accommodation.

Mr Devlin said that work on the site should have been stopped, but didn’t causing wilful and reckless environmental harm to the surrounding environment. The gases being released have been variously described as potentially cancer-causing, explosive and capable of causing asphyxiation.

In an interesting turn of events a key state government witness has backed down from claims the controversial gas plant had caused widespread soil contamination under cross-examination from defence barrister Robert Bain QC. It was conceded that it is impossible given the circumstances to directly link the high soil acidity found on site and in the Hopeland area to the activities of Linc Energy.

The hearing is continuing at this time with a final verdict originally expected for Friday the 20th of November expected to be pushed back following an expected request for extension by the defence.

Brazil Dam Burst

Hopes of finding survivors are fading according to Governor Fernando Pimental following two waste water dams bursting in Minas Gerais state, Brazil .

Residents in areas affected said they were not warned once the dams burst and were only able to escape by running to higher ground upon hearing the noise of the potentially poisonous thick red sludge heading in their direction.

Brazilian mining group Samarco who operated the BHP Billiton and Vale owned mine said they were unaware of any Brazilian laws requiring an emergency alarm during an instance of dam failure.

The mud has caused destruction up to 40km away from the dams with fears that iron ore residue in the waste water could pose a health risk.

The boss of BHP Billiton is visiting the location with dozens still missing in the disaster zone. Shares in the mining multinational continuing to fall, perhaps rightly so in the wake of such a disaster. Authorities are still struggling to understand the cause of the disaster and are working on multiple theories including tremors reported in the local area prior to the dams failing.

28 people have been listed as missing including 13 mine workers, at the time of writing it’s believed that those missing are unlikely to be found alive despite 4 bodies being recovered so far.

The mud has continued to spread and it’s feared that mine tailings could enter the water supply of neighbouring state of Espirito Santo.

Samarco has been suspended from operating following the incident with critics calling for a review of the regulation surrounding mining in Brazil, one of the country’s leading sources of export revenue. At this stage the dam is likely to be shut for a number of years.

We wanted to share this to show the damage that can be done when regulations don’t seem to be up to scratch and just how damaging it can be to the human population and not just the environment when these kinds of enterprises are not correctly managed.

Keep up the fight to make sure that Australian companies are not getting around regulations or self-imposing soft regulatory requirements in order to give themselves bigger profits or we could see an incident like this!

Copyright ACM GROUP GREEN 2015