ENVIRONMENT

How a near-perfect rectangular iceberg formed

Aerial shot shot of the rectangular iceberg found off the Larsen 3 ice shelf. Jeremy Harbeck/AAP NASA scientist Jeremy Harbeck was on a surveying flight over the Antarctic Peninsula earlier this month when he spotted an iceberg that looked like no other. It was almost perfectly rectangular, with square sides and a flat top that made it look more human-made...

We have so many ways to pursue a healthy climate – it’s insane to wait any longer

Opportunities to help drive the energy transition are everywhere - even in Western Australia’s remote salt pans.  Peter C. Doherty, Author provided As a broadly trained life scientist, my concern about climate change isn’t the health of the planet. The rocks will be just fine! What worries me is a whole spectrum of “wicked” challenges, from sustaining food production, to providing...

Green light for Tasmanian wilderness tourism development defied expert advice

At least 30 tourism developments have been proposed for Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed wilderness. The Commonwealth government’s decision to wave through a controversial tourism development in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was made in defiance of strident opposition from the expert statutory advisory body for the region’s management, it was revealed yesterday. In August, federal environment minister Melissa Price’s office decided the proposed...

How biomethane can help turn gas into a renewable energy source

Are there greener pastures ahead for gas?  Shutterstock.com Australia’s report card on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions is not exactly glowing, but there are ample opportunities to get it on track during this period of rapid change in the energy sector. Greater use of renewable electricity sources like wind and solar are playing a large part in reducing emissions, and gas...

Big firms voice lack of faith in ‘cumbersome’ and ‘impractical’ Emissions Reduction Fund

Many of Australia’s biggest emitters have not yet engaged with the Emissions Reduction Fund. AAP Image/Dave Hunt Four years after it was launched, the federal government’s A$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has still not attracted the participation of many of Australia’s highest-emitting companies. Our research on corporate managers’ attitudes suggests that the scheme, which remains the Coalition government’s flagship...

Australia moves to El Niño alert and the drought is likely to continue

Maximum temperatures for January to September were the warmest on record for the Murray–Darling Basin and New South Wales.  DEAN LEWINS/AAP The chances of an El Niño developing late in 2018 have increased and this week the Bureau moved to El Niño ALERT. This means that model outlooks and observations indicate there is approximately a 70% chance that El Niño will...

New UN report outlines ‘urgent, transformational’ change needed to hold global warming to 1.5°C

The National Renewable Energy Lab/Flickr,  A landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, commissioned at the breakthrough 2015 summit that brokered the Paris climate agreement, outlines what’s at stake in the world’s bid to limit global temperature rise to 1.5℃. The report, released today, sets out the key practical differences between the Paris agreement’s two contrasting goals: to limit the increase of...

‘Honeygate’ deepens as new tests reveal 27% of brands are adulterated

The new discovery significantly deepens the   ‘fake honey’ scandal. Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock.com More than a quarter of commercial honey brands have potentially been watered down with sugar cane, corn syrup or other products, according to our new analysis of 95 products from local food markets and supermarket shelves. Our discovery is set to deepen the concern over the authenticity of honey...

The road to here: rivers were the highways of Australia’s colonial history

A river in Van Diemen’s Land, charted during Nicolas Baudin’s 1802 journey. National Library of Australia, On November 2, 1816, Charles Repeat, “a poor old man”, was driving his master’s cart along the short route between Hobart and New Town in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He accidentally drove over a small tree stump, and was thrown from the cart and killed immediately. By that...

Will 2018 be the year of climate action? Victorian London’s ‘Great Stink’ sewer crisis might tell us

As extreme weather events, like Hurricane Florence, become more common it is time to ask what it will take for the world to finally tackle climate change. Encouragingly, there may be a historical precedent: Victoria London’s handling of the ‘Great Stink’,where growth had turned the River Thames into an open sewer. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO In the late 19th century, the irrepressible Mark...