Archived News for Green Sector Professionals - June, 2012
The South Australian Government has called on all users of the Murray-Darling River Basin to support the sustainable use of the water system, with State Water Minister Paul Caica saying that the time for resolving the over-allocation is fast approaching.
"We have just experienced the worst drought on record which revealed the devastating legacy of over-allocation," Mr Caica said.
"In South Australia we are still dealing with the problem of salinity and acid sulphate soils – more than two years after the drought broke.”
The 2012 National Climate Change Adaptation conference has wrapped up in Melbourne, covering issues such as preventing food and water shortages, managing more intense natural disasters and their economic fallout and avoiding climate-driven extinctions.
The Queensland Government is calling tourism operators, pastoralists, traditional owners, environmental groups and industry representatives to comment on the release of a scoping paper for the proposed bioregion management plan of the Cape York area.
Australia’s regions are leading the uptake of clean energy programs, with 28 of the fist 63 Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) grants being awarded to regional organisations.
The Western Australian Government has announced a $12.7 million investment package in new low emission energy projects in Perth, the Mid-West and the Wheatbelt.
The Queensland Government has announced it has capped the state’s Solar Bonus Scheme at $54 per year. Effective from 9 July, the scheme will be amended for new applications, with a review taking place into the altered costings.
The South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Paul Caica has announced the release of the state’s first Low Emission Vehicle Strategy at the Rio +20 Conference.
Global engineering consultancy company Sinclair Knight Mertz (SKM) has released the results of a landmark study conducted into the investment, employment and carbon abatement effects of using wind turbines.
The Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF) has released a series of fact sheets on the ongoing multi-million dollar building retrofits being funded through environmental upgrade finance. The fact sheets detail targeted energy and emissions savings and other key project details.
The Tasmanian Government has tabled legislation before parliament aimed at ending the ongoing conflict over the state’s forestry sector while securing a future for the forest industry.
With the World Health Organization categorising diesel fumes as carcinogenic a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientist has proposed that fumes should have a stronger smell to make them easier to avoid.
QUT Public Health Associate Professor Adrian Barnett said most exhaust gasses were odourless and invisible as were some other very dangerous pollutants such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter and ozone.
"It is possible to give traffic pollution a smell and this has been demonstrated by some alternative fuels, such as chip fat," he said.
"Standard fuels could be given a smell by using an additive, such as methanol or butanol that smells after combustion.
"If traffic pollution smelled it might encourage policy changes to reduce exposure."
He said one easily fixable example was drive-throughs, where staff spend long hours next to idling engines, and often in enclosed spaces.
"The staff and their employers are probably unaware of their high exposure to traffic pollution. Adding a smell would change that and a simple solution would be for drivers to turn off idling engines.
"Turning off idling engines would also be beneficial in school pick-up zones, where lines of children, whose lungs are particularly vulnerable to traffic pollution, stand next to idling engines.
"If children, parents and schools were made aware of the problem of traffic pollution via a smell, many parents would turn off their engines."
Professor Barnett said knowing the dirtiest times and places would enable people to avoid exposure which was a key recommendation of an expert review on reducing the harms of traffic pollution.
"Exposure could be avoided by taking a different route to work, or jogging at a different time of the day."
He said a public that was more aware of the health effects of traffic pollution may be in favour of policy changes such as the development of pedestrian city centres and make them more wary of the planned locations of new roads.
"Many recently added or expanded roads in Brisbane are right next to hospitals and schools, two places where increasing traffic pollution will have a strong negative impact on health," he said.
"While the petrol and automotive industries are likely to argue that money would be better spent improving fuel and vehicle technology to reduce traffic pollution, the reality is that a completely clean vehicle fleet is 20 to 40 years away."
He said bold policy decisions such as banning smoking in pubs and proven successful in the past and such decisions were called for in relation to vehicle emissions.
The Federal Government has ruled that plans to raise the existing Mains Creek tailings dam wall at the Savage River Iron Ore Mine in Tasmania can proceed without further environmental assessment.
The Queensland Government has announced it will move to strike a balance between the interests of the mining industry and landholders after it tabled a report by an Independent Review into Land Access arrangements.
The Victorian Government has announced an $11.5 million funding package to improve recycling infrastructure across the state. The spending package follows a $13.8 million in infrastructure funding under the State Government’s Conserve Invest and Save strategy.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched its new Carbon Price Claims Hotline in a bid to curtail suspected price gouging related to carbon pricing after the Federal Government’s carbon tax comes into effect at the beginning of July.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has urged the Federal Government to conduct modeling for an increase to 4,000 gigalitres, saying that failure to do so would limit the capacity to understand the trade-offs of a lower environmental flow.