environment

Ireland’s Dail Eireann (its lower house of parliament) voted by a large majority on February 8 in favour of a bill to ban the government issuing new contracts for oil and gas exploration.

The Next Generation (TNG) wants to build the biggest waste-to-energy incinerator in the world at Eastern Creek in Sydney’s west. Local residents are defiantly opposed and have organised for more than a year to bring Labor and the Coalition onside.

At a rally outside NSW Parliament on February 6, Labor pledged it would oppose it. Tanya Davies, the local Liberal MP, told the rally that while she was concerned, the decision was a planning issue, not a government one.

After 1000 submissions were made — mostly opposed — to the proposal, TNG has submitted its third revision.

The Murray-Darling Basin Declaration was signed on February 5 by 12 eminent scientists and economists — Quentin Grafton, Darla Hatton MacDonald, David Paton, Graham Harris, Henning Bjornlund, Jeffery D Connor, John Quiggin, John Williams, Lin Crase, Richard Kingsford, Sarah Ann Wheeler and Richard Davis — who are concerned that the current Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not working.

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Police broke up a peaceful blockade of an old growth forest logging operation at Granite Mountain in East Gippsland, Victoria, on January 31.

Conservationists from the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) established the blockade and for 10 days managed to prevent logging of an untouched area of old growth forest.

A man, known as Possum, who was suspended in a hammock hanging from a 10 metre tripod structure that blocked access to the logging site, was arrested. He was charged and will appear in Orbost Magistrates court in April.  

 When flying foxes drop dead from the heat, parts of the Hume Highway melt and Penrith in Sydney’s west is the hottest place on Earth with a temperature of 47.3°C, it is clear that extremes of heat are having a devastating impact.  

The extreme heat during early January in south-east Australia was global news and follows the “angry summer” of 2016–17.

A new report by Environment Victoria, Licence to Pollute: Why climate pollution is the unfinished business of reforms to the Environment Protection Authority, found the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is failing to tackle climate pollution, despite undergoing a $162 million reform process.

The United States Senate passed a Bill on December 2 that will allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – an area which has been protected since 1960. Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski, managed to get a narrow 52-48 vote for the Bill – a part of the tax reform legislation – to pass.

The threatened 19.6-million acre refuge is located in northeastern Alaska and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife, but also billions of barrels of crude oil underground.

As the decision deadline looms for the $1 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan to Adani for construction of rail infrastructure for the Galilee Basin mega coalmine, a rash of protests erupted in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and at Adani’s work sites near Belyando in Central Queensland.

Another United Nations climate conference (COP23) is over — though many people would have barely noticed, given the lack of media coverage. The Paris Climate Agreement is locked in and, contrary to the Coalition’s inetrpretation, Australia needs to ratchet up its emissions reduction.

This is a useful time to reflect on where Australia sits globally on climate action and what areas are of concern.

A new report has found it would cost $1.3 billion more to keep the Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales open beyond its use-by date, than to replace it with a mix of renewables and other sustainable energy solutions.

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