28 Dec 2012

Barnett Browse shift angers EPA

WA's environmental watchdog has accused the Barnett Government of undermining confidence in the State's green approvals process by removing limits on carbon pollution from the proposed Browse LNG development.

Environmental Protection Authority chairman Paul Vogel said lifting pollution conditions on the $40 billion Kimberley gas hub could lead to worse environmental outcomes.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion reversed more than a decade of precedent last month when he largely exempted Browse proponents from conditions to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.
It was particularly important with Browse, he said, because the project would lift WA's total greenhouse gas emissions up to 52 per cent above 2007 levels if it reached capacity. "There's still a role for the State Government in maintaining public confidence in the environmental performance of proponents, particularly when they have large greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

Read article
"Not only will the Browse hub be, if built, the most polluting project Australia's ever seen (41mtpa of Co2e, equivalent to 7% of the country's total emissions now) but Barnett's proposing it should use old-style dirty gas combustion technology". ED

19 Dec 2012

Make a good intention for the new year:

Turn your consumerism way of living in a selfmade garden of Eden. Step by step. You might already have set some steps like taking your own shopping bags to the supermarkets and putting the aircondition 2 degrees higher in summer. Or maybe you already installed solar power with the goverment rebate or you've taken up cycling instead of driving the car to work.

Whatever it is, this one step leads to the next en before you know it you are one healthy lucky person!

13 Dec 2012

Japan researchers invent solar-cell fabric

CLOTHES that could literally light up your life were unveiled Tuesday by Japanese researchers who said their solar-cell fabric would eventually let wearers harvest energy on the go.

This new fabric is made of wafer-thin solar cells woven together that could see people powering up their mobile phones and other electronics with their sweater or trousers.

But its creators conceded there was work to do before taking the fabric to market.

"We still have things to solve before commercialisation, such as coating for the conductive wires and improving the fabric's durability," said an official at the Industrial Technology Center in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture.
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Read also Power-Generating Fashion: A Look into Smart Textiles

The Innovation Challenge winner could change steel-making forever

USING recycled rubber to revolutionise steel-making earned Sydney engineer Veena Sahajwalla the $30,000 top prize at The Australian Innovation Challenge awards in Sydney last night.

The technology - which was developed at the University of NSW - has already prevented more than 1.4 million tyres from becoming landfill, with the rubber, along with recycled plastic containers, partly replacing coke in generating power for the production of steel.

Dr Sahajwalla, who studied in India before completing a PhD at the University of Michigan, said the principles underlying her polymer injection technology to create an environmentally friendly steel industry could also be applied to other industries. The technology could cut power consumption by millions of kilowatt hours a year.
Read article

Update: Not sure how to rhym this piece of media (doing the rounds on Facebook this week) with the above idea:

12 Dec 2012

Malaysia orders Lynas to ship out waste

Malaysia has ordered the Australian miner Lynas Corp. to ship out all the waste from its new rare earths plant, because of environmental and health concerns.

Lynas began processing rare earths at the $800 million dollar plant in Malaysia's eastern Pahang state last month.

However, residents and environmental groups are worried about radioactive residue from the factory.

Four Malaysian cabinet MPs (responsible for trade, science, natural resources and health) have now released a joint statement, saying the temporary licence granted to Lynas requires it to remove "all the residue" from the plant out of the country.

They said Lynas must ship out all residue, including products made from it.
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I reckon they should do this as well with the foreign owned companies creating environmental hazards in Australia, let them ship it all back to their own country! The good with the bad!

11 Dec 2012

Exploited workers and the environment pay a high cost for our cheap clothes.

DURING the past 15 years the fast-fashion formula of high-volume, low-cost trends delivered quick to market has spread thick and fast, revolutionising the way the Western world shops.

We are buying (and discarding) apparel at unprecedented rates. Last year, Australians bought one billion units of clothing, 90 per cent of it imported.

Even the Salvation Army is feeling the weight of our bulging wardrobes, processing more than 20 million garments a year. And according to the organisation's general manager, Neville Barrett, "The number of new, unworn garments donated has increased."

Consumer desire fuels demand, and the behemoths continue to rise at a rapid rate. Topshop has opened stores in Melbourne and Sydney, with Zara moving into Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Next year, Swedish fashion mega-retailer H&M, and Japanese basics brand Uniqlo will land on our shores.

The figures are astounding. Last year, H&M opened 2500 shops worldwide, with estimates suggesting that it sells more than 550 million garments annually.
Read article

And I thought there was still an economical crisis worldwide... silly me... haven't bought anything new for years, love Good Sammy's and swap parties!


No life without trees

10 Dec 2012

World's biggest, oldest trees are dying: research

SYDNEY (AFP) - Scientists Friday warned of an alarming increase in the death rates of the largest living organisms on the planet, the giant, old trees that harbour and sustain countless birds and wildlife.

Research by universities in Australia and the United States, published in Science, said ecosystems worldwide were in danger of losing forever their largest and oldest trees unless there were policy changes to better protect them.

"It's a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest," said David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University, the lead author of a study into the problem.
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The Conversation: The end of big trees?

9 Dec 2012

Landfill harmonic

Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the musicians play instruments made from trash.

7 Dec 2012

Waste to energy plan

THE developers of a $350 million waste plant set to be built in Kwinana say it could convert up to 300,000 tonnes of rubbish into energy by 2016.

The Kwinana Waste to Energy Plant being developed by Phoenix Energy aims to turn non-recyclable waste into energy, with the by-product turned into bricks.

Managing director Peter Dyson said the facility, to be built on 3.5ha of land in Kwinana, could turn 300,000 tonnes of waste into energy put back into the power grid per year. He said the plant could produce 60 megawatts of energy at full capacity.

Mr Dyson said Australia created 44 million tonnes of solid waste between 2006 and 2007, half of which went into landfill. “No waste goes into landfill from this facility,” he said.

“The waste is turned into energy and the by-product, ash, is created into bricks. About 20,000 bricks could be made each day.”
Read article
More info here

Or is it just a fancy new way of telling people they are incinerating waste and while burning it the heat generates power and the ashes left will be used for construction materials....
What about all the CO2 emissions and dioxins? Hope they pay the carbon tax!

6 Dec 2012

Dulux energy saving paint claims dodgy, claims ACCC

The ACCC allege that Dulux made false, misleading or deceptive claims in relation to a roof and outdoor paint purporting to ease the pain of energy costs.

A TOP-selling paint company is accused of using flaky claims about cutting energy bills for consumers by cooling temperatures in the home.

The nation's consumer cop has lashed out at DuluxGroup Australia over allegedly dodgy advertising for a roof and outdoor paint purporting to ease the pain of energy costs.

Documents lodged with the Federal Court in Western Australia allege that Dulux made false, misleading or deceptive claims by falsely representing that, when compared to standard paint of the same colour:

DULUX InfraCOOL roof paint can and will reduce the interior temperature of the living zones of a house by 10C, and significantly reduce energy consumption costs and the carbon footprint of homes.
DULUX Weathershield Heat Reflect exterior wall paint can and will reduce the surface temperature of the external walls by up to 15C, and significantly reduce indoor temperature; and significantly reduce energy costs".

The ACCC alleges that Dulux did not have reasonable grounds to make these representations on its website, Facebook page, print and television advertisements, pamphlets, colour cards and the paint tins themselves.
Read article

5 Dec 2012

WA: Little money spent on recycling

A contentious levy slugged on households and businesses that is meant to boost WA's poor recycling record has been largely unspent.

The surplus of cash has prompted the Opposition to claim the Barnett Government is botching waste management efforts.

Financial statements from the Waste Authority, the Government agency charged with lowering WA's landfill rate, show its coffers swelled from $15.5 million to $18.3 million in the 12 months to June 30.

The increase came after the Waste Authority failed to spend about $3 million from the $10.5 million it collected from the landfill levy, which is applied to household and industrial waste going to tips.
It means less than half of the Waste Authority's budget, which comes almost entirely from landfill levy receipts, was spent on recycling initiatives in 2011-12.

This was despite WA having the worst recycling record of any State or Territory and the levy's supposed objective of reducing landfill rates.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion maintained the Government had an "ambitious" plan to double recycling rates in WA by 2020 and intended to spend $65 million on initiatives over the next five years.
Read article

York anger over city waste plan
Avon Valley residents are fighting plans to dump up to 150,000 tonnes of rubbish a year near York.

Plan critics fear it will create environmental hazards, cut tourist numbers and create traffic chaos on Great Southern Highway as trucks cart the waste from Perth.

Perth's sea level on the rise

In a statistic that federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese described as "disturbing" and "extraordinary", readings since 1993 have indicated sea levels are rising by between nine and 10 millimetres per year.

The global average is around three millimetres per year.

With temperatures rising and rainfall falling, environmental changes are having little effect on the numbers of people moving to Perth, with the city population growing by 2.6 per cent since 2001 - making it the fastest growing capital in the country.

That expanding population was having little impact on transport habits, with almost 80 per cent of people still travelling to work by car and only 12 per cent by public transport.
Read article in Herald Sun
Perth's sea level on the rise three times the global average
Urban sprawl and climate change issues for Perth

4 Dec 2012

Leadership and the Environment: Vision, Success and Failure

I went to a breakfast talk this morning organised by the Curtin Business School and was interested to hear Greg Hunt, the shadow minister for climate action, talk.

And I was very dissapointed to hear him just tell us about how bad the carbon pricing is but he didn't talk about what can be done instead. So far the empty talk of liberal politics! In my view they can only dissagree with everything what their opponents do but cannot come with an interesting alternative plan, too afraid to hurt the people who are backing them, the ones with the money.
Hunt plays the pricing scaremonger card

Here I was hoping to hear something interesting... another wasted 1.5 hour.

While: Barnett attacked on carbon tax
The Barnett Government could never again question the legitimacy of the carbon tax after using it to remove greenhouse conditions from the Kimberley gas hub, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said yesterday.

A liquefied natural gas- processing plant last month became the first major project since the late 1990s to be given WA Government approval without greenhouse conditions after Environment Minister Bill Marmion decided it did not need them in light of the carbon tax.

Emissions from the plant operating at full capacity could be as much as 52 per cent of WA's and 6.5 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas generation based on 2007 levels, according to the Environmental Protection Authority.

2 Dec 2012

Plastic Planet - Movie

After the stone age and the ice age we now have the plastic age.

Werner Boote presents an up-close and personal view of the controversial and fascinating material that has found its way into every facet of our daily lives: plastic. He takes us on a journey around the globe, showing that plastics have become a threat for both environment and human health.

We live in the age of plastic. It's cheap and practical, and it's everywhere - even in our blood. But is it a danger to us? The plastic industry annually generates hundreds of billions of dollars. Every industrial sector in the world today is dependent on plastic. The amount of plastic we have produced since it was invented would be enough to cover the entire globe six times over. But this inexpensive and convenient substance comes with a hefty price. Plastic stays in the ground and water system for up to 500 years. It is found on every beach in the world. Numerous studies have proven that the chemicals it releases (such as Bisphenol A) migrate into the human body and may contribute to or cause grave health problems, from allergies to obesity to infertility, cancer and heart disease. For Austrian German director Werner Boote, plastic is personal. His grandfather was one of the early manufacturers of plastic and he introduced Boote at a young age to the magic substance that would change the world. Many years later, after reading about the global threat posed by plastic, he decides to embark on a quest to discover the truth about this pervasive substance. Traveling to fourteen countries, he boldly and humorously confronts manufacturers, scientists, government officials and consumers to ask questions that concern all of us: Why don't we change our consumption behavior? Why is the industry not reacting to apparent dangers? Who is held accountable for hills of garbage mounting in deserts and seas? Who wins in this game? And who loses? This feisty, informative documentary takes us on a journey around the globe - from the Moroccan Sahara to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, from a factory in China to the highest peaks of the Alps - to reveal the far-flung reaches of our plastic problem. Interviews with the world's foremost experts in biology, pharmacology, and genetics shed light on the perils of plastic to our environment and expose the truth of how plastic affects our bodies and the health of future generations. Interspersing animated sequences and old commercials, this eye-opening film reveals how the world has wholeheartedly embraced the convenience of a substance it knows nothing about...

Want to know more after watching the movie, click here.