In this issue

Issue 137

Editorial: Planning for contingencies
International research, including that by CSIRO, is showing that both greenhouse gas emissions and sea-level rise rates are currently tracking towards the upper end of IPCC projections. We lead this issue with a Focus on sea-level rise predictions and their implications for Australia over the next decades.
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Piecing together Australia's climate change picture
CSIRO researchers have been playing a leading role in tracking the emerging signals of climate change, advancing understanding about how the phenomenon will impact the Asia-Pacific region.
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Wave power push for new WA desalination plant
Western Australian company, Carnegie Corporation, is proposing to set up the world's first base-load wave power electricity station and desalination plant by 2012 based on locally developed CETO technology.
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Using sewage and mining wastes to make arable land
According to the CRC for Contaminated Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), Australia's 13 million tonnes of fly ash from power generation, an even larger amount of 'red mud' from bauxite processing and millions of tonnes of bio-solids from urban sewage systems are all potential ingredients for artificial soils.
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Commercial fishermen agree to protect Coral Sea reefs
The Coral Sea Fishers Association (CSFA), one of Australia’s largest commercial fishing groups, has volunteered not to fish some of the country's most lucrative reefs.
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Millions allocated to Micronesia to meet climate change challenge
As part of a US$100 million commitment to island conservation and reducing the impact of climate change, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has committed US$6 million to the Micronesia Challenge, a landmark conservation initiative in the Northern Pacific to effectively conserve 30 per cent of marine resources and 20 per cent of terrestrial resources by 2020.
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Indonesia declares marine reserves in a biodiversity hotspot
Indonesia's Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Freddy Numberi, announced in May the establishment of a marine reserve encompassing 900 000 hectares of the Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat off the north-western tip of West Papua.
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Nanotube membranes for energy efficient desalination
New membrane technology that would halve the amount of energy required to desalinate seawater is the goal of the latest Water for a Healthy Country Flagship initiative involving CSIRO and nine Australian universities.
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A legend lives on in the salty West
An enthusiastic volunteer organisation in Western Australia is helping farmers put trees back into the landscape and combat salinity. Where Men of the Trees differs from many other environmental organisations, however, is that its dedicated members follow an inspiring international precedent set by a man ahead of his time.
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The benefit to the economy of early climate change action
Climate change policy debates have been preoccupied with the economic cost of taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet recent assessments have reframed the question, focusing instead on the cost of inaction. In fact, the damage caused by unmitigated climate change may be the bigger threat to the global economy.
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Preparing for sea-level rise
Around the world sea-level rise is already making an impact, and expectations are that it's going to get worse. With about 6 per cent of addresses occurring within 3 km of the coast, Australia is vulnerable to the various threats higher sea levels pose. However, mixed media coverage and scientific uncertainty over critical glaciological processes have seen a range of sea-level projections reported – from centimetres to metres – by 2100. So what sort of sea-level rise should we prepare for, and how is Australia planning to mitigate the inevitable impacts?
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Engaging international communities for whale shark conservation
Brad Norman's new funding support through a Rolex Award for Enterprise is enabling him to put his vision for localised whale shark conservation into practice around the globe.
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Letting down the marshes
The demise of the Macquarie Marshes in NSW, an internationally significant wetland, highlights a critical breakdown in habitat management across vested interests and the price of prioritising water extraction for commercial use above environmental allocations.
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Business challenged to make its own path to carbon rewards
Trail-blazers from organisations on the leading edge of sustainable practice came together at the recent Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development in Brisbane to present an overview of the imperatives for our community in the new 'carbon economy'. They once again challenged business in Australia to quickly forge its own lead, and to realise the opportunities ahead.
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Improving performances in the boardroom
True to global research, companies that value their intangible assets and pay regard to the social, environmental and community issues that ultimately matter to stakeholders are now registering above-average financial performance. This is being reflected by Socially Responsible Investment Funds in Australia outperforming the ASX200.
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A call for tougher groundwater management
Amid one of Australia's worst droughts, the understanding and efficient management of groundwater supplies and their use has taken on a new urgency. Ageing metering infrastructure and weak guidelines on allocations and policing have led to profligate and illegal extraction. But new efforts to change this are underway. Strong policy action is now needed to see the tougher measures through.
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Review – Scientific approach to an emotional – and political – issue
In Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy, Mark Diesendorf argues that the solutions to reducing emissions already exist – efficient energy use, solar hot water, gas, bioenergy, wind power, improved public transport and fuel efficient vehicles.
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Review – Reuse locally at
Cameron Andrews, Sandra Wang and Emma Rogers have launched a new 'freecycling' site called 'to help tackle the problem of household goods becoming waste prematurely'.
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Plastic membrane to bring down the cost of CO2 capture
Coal-fired power stations are acknowledged as the single largest contributor to Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions. PhD student, Julianna Franco, has developed a cost-effective CO2 capture system based on the use of inexpensive plastic.
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Spider man in the hunt for a safer insecticide
An Australian researcher is developing a new natural insecticide from spider venom that is deadly to insects yet harmless to humans, animals and the environment.
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Smart fishing sets a standard in NZ
New Zealand has a regulatory framework to protect the marine environment against human assaults and is now using a unique management model developed by Aotearoa Fisheries Limited to construct a sustainable crab fishing industry from scratch.
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Events Calendar

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