environment

Environment groups say new land-clearing laws, expected to be put before the Queensland parliament this week, contain loopholes that could allow the continued clearing of high-value vegetation where landowners have already “locked in” their vegetation maps.

Queensland is responsible for more land clearing than the rest of the country combined. Rates of clearing surged when the former Liberal National Party (LNP) government under Premier Campbell Newman scrapped restrictions in December 2013.

The Victorian Labor government announced on April 15 that it would fast-track the controversial North East Link, a 26-kilometre freeway to connect the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough with the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen.

Australia needs an independent national agency charged with safeguarding the environment and delivering effective climate policy, according to a coalition of environmental, legal and medical NGOs.

Most Western democracies have established national regulatory action, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency — yet Australia is a notable exception.

Climate and renewable energy activists are furious that the federal and Victorian governments are throwing $100 million into a dubious “clean energy” pilot project to produce hydrogen from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley.

The $500 million demonstration plant is at AGL’s Loy Yang power station and mine near Traralgon. It is being built to develop the technology to gassify brown coal and will produce up to three tonnes of hydrogen in its first year. It is expected to create about 400 jobs.  

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at six new books for reds and greens covering climate change and disease’ capitalist power and the planet’s future’ brain, body, and environment’  oceanic art and science’ essential fungi and life, and the political economy of water.

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Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change
By Mary Beth Pfeiffer
Island Press, 2018

 

The ubiquitous Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi the blue koala belies the fate of the “Aussie icon” it represents. It is ironic that Borobis flourish in the very region where koala numbers have declined drastically in recent years.

Koalas are an endangered species in Queensland, NSW and the ACT and land clearing has long been recognised as the culprit. As well as the animals killed during the actual process of land clearing, the destruction of habitat results in increasing population losses.

A jury has found gas company Linc Energy guilty of causing serious environmental harm at its trial underground coal gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla on Queensland's Darling Downs.

After a long battle, the residents of Western Sydney were relieved to hear on April 11 that the Department of Planning recommended it should not go ahead.

“This is a huge win for common sense and demonstrates the power of people when we stand together,” spokesperson for the campaign Melinda Wilson told Green Left Weekly.

“The NSW Coalition government needs to realise that the people of Western Sydney are sick of being dumped on. There is a history of human rights violations in the west.

The federal and Victorian governments announced on March 27 a two-year extension of the controversial Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for East Gippsland, the North East and the Central Highlands. They will be reassessed at the end of the two-year period.

Lovers of the Murray and Darling rivers gathered outside Victorian Parliament on March 7 to call on Premier Daniel Andrews and Water Minister Lisa Neville to save the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Basin Plan.

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