Australia Won’t let a Coal Mine Open due to Climate Change

desert and stars

Open-cut coal mining and Australia have a long history that is all about resource extraction in the hopes of short-term gain. The nation’s long history of reckless destruction seems to be coming to an end since a court recently ruled that a mining operation will not be allowed to open. The reasoning is that the coal industry is too carbon intensive and will actually worsen the planet through it’s emissions.

In his ruling, chief judge Brian Preston said the project should be refused because “the greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs) of the coal mine and its product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.”
In January, Australia experienced its hottest month on record. Meanwhile, extreme weather events have caused major destruction in large parts of the country — fires have burned about 3% of Tasmania and northern Queensland has been inundated by rain, causing unprecedented flooding. Extreme weather events are forecast to become more frequent in many parts of the world as a result of climate change.

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How Australia can Make Roads Safer

streetcar

Since roughly WWII we’ve been designing roads and streets for only one purpose: the automobile. Before the 20th century roads were designed to move people around efficiently, today roads are incredibly dangerous for people who are outside of metal containers. Australians are starting to do something about this lack of safety on streets already and are looking for was to make how we navigate our roadways even safer.

The next step is to respond in ways that keep returning attention to the facts from best evidence. To repeat, whether you’re a driver, occupant, pedestrian or cyclist, roughly 90% of what causes death on Australia’s roads is driver behaviour.

For cyclists, the root cause of deadly harm is aggression and inattention. Drivers should be held to account and be pushed to change their behaviour and attitudes.

Simple inexpensive changes in the law have been found to have dramatic effects on driver behaviour. These changes also work with existing infrastructure, technology, road conditions and our cultural expressions of human nature

Another welcome measure is a recent initiative to reduce urban speed limits to 30km/h. This has just been implemented in one of Melbourne’s inner urban areas without too much fuss. According to the research behind it, you’re twice as likely to survive being hit at 30km/h as at 40km/h.

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Solar is Booming in Australia

solar

Solar in places with a lot of sun might seem like a no-brainer; yet in Australia it’s taken a long time for the idea to take off. This year is clearly going to be a turning a point for solar in the sunny nation based of the already exploding demand for solar installations. It’s great to see that solar has gotten so cheap that it’s being installed at such a high rate and that at least one nation has reached a tipping point around the culture acceptance of solar power.

“These solar farms can be built within a matter of weeks,” he said. “They’re really quick and simple.”

Together, the new large-scale projects could add between 2.5GW and 3.5GW to the national grid and rooftop installations could add another 1.3GW, according to the Smart Energy Council’s estimates. This would nearly double the nation’s solar energy capacity, currently 7GW, in a single year.

“The train tracks are about to converge,” Grimes said. “Rooftop installations and utilities are both booming and could turbo-boost the solar numbers overall.”

In Queensland, residential solar panels are already the state’s largest source of energy, producing more combined than the 1.7GW Gladstone power station. Just under a third (30%) of residential homes in the state have solar installed – the most in the country.

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Australian Library Puts its Collection Outside

Story Wall is an art project running at the State Library of South Australia with the goal of getting more people to read. Even if people don’t read they can enjoy the library’s collection since the works are being projected on to the library itself.

“Through our conversations with the Library we were aware of things like The Treasures Wall and SA Memory and different exhibitions they had presented over time, and potential collection items that could be developed further, things like early colonial toys and donated car tyres from the Adelaide Grand Prix.

“But of course within the Library there are curators and librarians who have a deep understanding of the collections that are not of public knowledge. And we wanted to know what their ideas were, and talk about what it was going to mean for the public to hear or have those stories told in a new form,'” says Drennan.

As a result, the projections that play on the sandstone walls of the Library from sunset to midnight throughout Summer, have deep roots in South Australia’s history.

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Austrialian Team Gets Solar Efficiency Over 40%

It’s been said that once solar power efficiency gets to 40% it’ll be a tipping point for the mass use of solar panels. Now we can see if that is true as a team of researchers partnered with industry has developed technology to make it so solar energy conversion can regularly hit 40.4%.

The advance involved two steps. Three solar panels were stacked to capture energy from different wave lengths of sunlight, and then excess light from the stacked panels was directed by a mirror and filters to a fourth PV cell, making use of energy previously discarded.

“This is our first re-emergence into the focused-sunlight area,” said Professor Green, who pioneered 20 per cent-efficiency levels in similar technology in 1989.

The institute was prompted to revisit the technology in part because of Australian companies’ efforts to develop large-scale solar towers using arrays of mirrors to focus sunlight on PV cells.

One of those firms, Melbourne-based RayGen, collaborated with UNSW on the project. It is building a plant in China with an solar conversion rate of about 28 per cent across the year.. “We’d take them to the mid-30s” for future projects with the technology jump, Professor Green said

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