Environment + Energy – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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The mouth of the Murray River delivers vital nutrients to marine life in the ocean beyond. SA Water

Drought on the Murray River harms ocean life too

Low flows in the Murray River in recent years have harmed tiny marine plants called phytoplankton, with consequences for local marine species and management.
Australian Acting Special Minister of State Senator Mathias Cormann, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australian Attorney-General George Brandis at a press conference at Parliament House to introduce the new foreign donations laws. AAP

Green groups and charities could be collateral damage in government’s foreign donation ban

The new foreign donations laws announced this week will potentially stifle the work of foreign funded charities and environment groups working in Australia.
The Barossa Valley in 1987 – the year that Australians (winemakers included) received their first formal warning of climate change. Phillip Capper/Wikimedia Commons

It’s 30 years since scientists first warned of climate threats to Australia

Three decades since the GREENHOUSE 87 conference, credited as kickstarting public awareness of climate change in Australia, how far have we come, and how far do we have left to go in appreciating the risks?
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen here with Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, has moved climate change onto the new government’s priority list. Mick Tsikas/AAP

A fresh start for climate change mitigation in New Zealand

As part of its 100-day priority plan, New Zealand's new government has pledged to set a target of carbon neutrality by 2050, which means phasing out fossil fuels and products that burn them.
Knowing about hailstones in advance would be preferable. AAP Image/Dan Peled

All hail new weather radar technology, which can spot hailstones lurking in thunderstorms

New "dual-pol" weather radars promise to spot large hailstones forming inside thunderstorms, giving people a heads-up when it's about to hail.
Managed in the right way, wind farms can actually help stabilise the grid, rather than disrupting it. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

What’s the net cost of using renewables to hit Australia’s climate target? Nothing

New modelling suggests that Australia could use renewable energy to hit its 2030 emissions reduction targets, without it costing any more overall than maintaining the status quo.
More than 600,000 buildings were fully damaged in the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Jason von Meding

Nepal earthquake reconstruction won’t succeed until the vulnerability of survivors is addressed

Reconstruction progress in Nepal has been painfully slow. Building code compliance and better urban planning are a must – but inequitable access to resources undermines recovery.
The largest opportunity to reduce gas demand exists in industry, through improved energy efficiency as a result of reusing waste heat and upgrading boilers. Joe Castro/AAP

With a few smart moves, we can relieve the pressure on gas

We can make up 70% of Australia's projected gas shortfall simply by improving energy efficiency and sensible use of gas alternatives.
New Zealand researchers have found that the active ingredients in commonly-used weed killers like Round-up and Kamba can cause bacteria to become less susceptible to antibiotics. from www.shutterstock.com

New research suggests common herbicides are linked to antibiotic resistance

Improper use of antibiotics is one reason for the rise in antibiotic resistance, but new research shows that ingredients in common weed killers can also cause bacteria to become less susceptible.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre) is seen posing for a photo with workers as she inspect’s the Clare Solar Farm project near the North Queensland town of Ayr during the Queensland Election campaign. AAP

Public investment in electricity generation – a hot-button issue in Queensland?

In the upcoming Queensland election all major parties are talking up public investment in energy generation. But are these policies paying heed to climate science?