2442248556096741

Browsed by
Tag: australia

Protesters break into Australian coal loading facility despite Police Commissioner’s jail warning

Protesters break into Australian coal loading facility despite Police Commissioner’s jail warning


NSW Police Commissioner has warned of 25 year jail sentences under the Crimes Act

Protesters have disrupted coal train movements for a ninth consecutive day

Police have arrested 19 people in the past ten days


Police have warned that coal activists disrupting train movements in the NSW Hunter Valley could face up to 25 years behind bars, with 19 arrests made since protests began early this month.

The group Blockade Australia returned to the Port of Newcastle this morning, halting operations for a ninth consecutive day, taking a stance against Australia’s climate policy.

NSW Police say two Victorian women, aged 24 and 28, have been charged with “intent to kill or injure person on railway, cause obstruction to railway locomotive or rolling stock and endanger safety of person on railway”, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years’ jail.

Police say a 40-year-old Newcastle man is likely to be charged with the same offence today.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce estimated the ongoing protests had disrupted $60 million in coal exports.

A Blockade Australia protester took to social media from inside the coal loading facility this morning where he said he pushed an emergency stop button before crossing his fingers.

“My plan is to go and hide somewhere in those big aisles, there’s four of those aisles and they run for two kilometres each so I’m just going to go and get lost down there,” he said.

“Hopefully what will happen is that the hundreds and hundreds of people that work here will come out and do a little search and … when they find me, they’ll call the policeman and the policeman will take me into custody and the law will take over from there.”

Adrian filmed himself from inside the facility, telling social media he will likely be taken into custody and “the law will take over from there”.(Supplied: Blockade Australia)

Nineteen people have been arrested from the same group since November 5.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said protests would not be tolerated.

“The ongoing protests are placing public safety at risk and endangering the lives of all those who use the rail network.”

“I have sought further legal advice today and am warning anyone who intends on behaving in the manner we’ve seen over the past week, that they could be charged with offences under Section 211 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

“This is in addition to the various trespass and rail disruption offences numerous protesters have been charged with since Friday, November 5.”

PolAir and the Public Order and Riot Squad have joined local police in surveillance today under the new Strike Force Tuohy.

“[They] stand ready to target anyone engaging in this dangerous and criminal behaviour, and will not hesitate to take the appropriate action,” Mr Fuller said.

‘Draconian overreach of police’ 

Blockade Australia said the threat was an “overreach of police power” and committed to continue disrupting coal exports.

“Blockade Australia uses nonviolent blockading tactics to disrupt a system that is causing a climate and ecological crisis that threatens all life on Earth.

“Threatening protesters with 25-year prison sentences for blocking coal trains without causing physical harm to anyone is a draconian overreach of police power.

“Blockade Australia will continue to take sustained and disruptive action in response to Australia’s leading role in the climate and ecological crisis for as long as necessary.”

Source:

Amelia Bernasconi at ABC News



Endangered bettong reintroduced in Australia after more than a century

Endangered bettong reintroduced in Australia after more than a century


Brush-tailed bettongs are back. These tiny endangered marsupials have been reintroduced to mainland South Australia after disappearing more than a century ago.


The bettong, also known as a woylie, once occupied more than 60 per cent of Australia, but was almost wiped out when cats and foxes were introduced by Europeans. Only about 15,000 are alive today.

Until last week, the only wild woylies left in South Australia were on predator-free islands. On 17 August, 12 male and 28 female woylies were returned to mainland South Australia after being flown in from Wedge Island, which lies within the Turquoise Coast Island Nature Reserves.

The woylies were released in an area called Yorke peninsula, which contains large tracts of native vegetation interspersed with farms and small towns. Three-quarters of the animals were fitted with radio-tracking collars so their progress could be monitored.

“They seem to have settled in quite well – some are already dispersing from the release site,” says Derek Sandow at the South Australian government’s Northern and Yorke Landscape Board.

To protect the new arrivals, rangers have removed as many foxes and feral cats as possible from the peninsula and have put up a fence to create a 1700 square-kilometre protected area.

If the woylie homecoming goes well, other locally extinct species like the southern brown bandicoot, red-tailed phascogale and western quoll will also be reintroduced to the area as part of a 20-year rewilding plan.

Woylies were the first to be released because they are soil engineers that can improve the habitat for other species, says Sandow. Each animal digs up tonnes of soil each year while searching for underground fungi, tubers and other food, which helps to cycle nutrients and disperse seeds. “We hope this will enhance germination rates for native plants and enhance overall biodiversity,” says Sandow.

Source:

Alice Klein at New Scientist



What is the Indian Ocean Dipole?

What is the Indian Ocean Dipole?

Global heating is “supercharging” an increasingly dangerous climate mechanism in the Indian Ocean that has played a role in disasters this year including bushfires in Australia and floods in Africa.

Scientists and humanitarian officials say this year’s record Indian Ocean dipole, as the phenomenon is known, threatens to reappear more regularly and in a more extreme form as sea surface temperatures rise.

Picture credit: BBC

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that was first described in 1999 after Japanese and US researchers observed interesting things occurring in the Indian Ocean atmosphere and ocean during 1998. Research that ensued showed that the IOD is probably equally important as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as a climate driver for SE Australia.

Measurements of ocean temperatures go back with some reliability to 1877 to classify IOD events. Cores of large brain corals (used to characterise ocean behaviour), sampled off Indonesia give the ability to go back even further to about 400 years.

Caroline Ummenhofer, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts who has been a key figure in efforts to understand the importance of the dipole, said unique factors were at play in the Indian Ocean compared with other tropical regions.

While ocean currents and winds in the Atlantic and Pacific can disperse heating water, the large Asian landmass to the north of the Indian Ocean makes it particularly susceptible to retaining heat. “It’s quite different to the tropical Atlantic and tropical Pacific events. There you have you have steady easterly trade winds. In the Indian Ocean that’s not the case,” Ummenhofer said.

Heavy downpours have devastated parts of East Africa over the last two months, with the Horn of Africa seeing up to 300% above average rainfall between October and mid-November, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and South Sudan have been particularly badly affected, with flash floods and landslides hitting communities across the region.

Picture credit: Al Jazeera

Almost 300 people have reportedly died and 2.8 million people have been affected, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned of further flooding in Kenya and the Lake Victoria basin as well as areas of Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Kenya’s Met Department said the heavy rain could continue into the New Year.

Picture credit: D.Lewins / Picture Alliance

Meanwhile in Australia, record-breaking spring temperatures have helped spark and fan a series of bushfires across the country. About 100 bushfires are raging in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), with the most severe forming into a “mega blaze” north of Sydney.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has warned communities to prepare for more severe fire danger, with a high chance of warmer than usual days and nights for much of the country throughout summer.

Picture credit: R. Rycroft / Picture Alliance

Extreme climate and weather events caused by the dipole are predicted to become more common in the future as greenhouse gas emissions increase. In a 2014 study published in Nature, scientists in Australia, India, China and Japan modelled the effects of CO2 on extreme Indian Ocean dipoles, such as those in 1961, 1994 and 1997.

Assuming emissions continue to go up, they projected that the frequency of extreme positive dipole events would increase this century from one every 17.3 years to one every 6.3 years.

Picture credit: Al Jazeera

“The countries in the west of the Indian Ocean, so on the African coast, are going to see much, much more flooding and heavy rainfall relating to these events,” says Dr Turner. “You’re going to get more damaging impacts on crops and on infrastructure and flooding.

“On the other hand, in the east of the Indian Ocean, islands on the west side of Indonesia are going to see a greater chance of drought and reduced rainfall.”

Picture credit: Mwakilishi.com

“As non-meteorologists trying to plan ahead, we’re being faced with complex and changing scenarios. We’re just running to keep up. Looking now at southern and eastern Africa, with failed rainy seasons and then flooding, none of it looks normal,” she said.

“The new normal is a severe weather events. Looking at the Indian Ocean dipole’s effects, you have to see this is as a preview of what can be expected in other parts of world. And while I’m not surprised that attention of the world is elsewhere, that is still unforgivable given how many are suffering from a phenomenon the rest of the world helped create.”

On the Web This Week, 24 October

On the Web This Week, 24 October

On the web this week, Sri Lanka attempts to deal with its human-elephant relationship, scuba diving grandmothers discover an unexpected sea snake population, and a mysterious oil spill off the coast of Brazil.

Picture credit: Rachel Nuwer

“Sri Lanka has the highest level of human-elephant conflict in the world,” says Prithiviraj Fernando, chairman of the Centre for Conservation and Research in Tissamaharama. “Wherever there are people and elephants, there’s conflict.”

For more than 70 years, Sri Lanka has attempted to solve the problem by moving elephants to national parks. According to the government’s approach, the world’s second-largest land animal belongs in protected areas surrounded by electric fencing, while people belong everywhere else.

Picture credit: Claire Goiran/UNC

A group of snorkelling grandmothers who swim up to 3km five days a week have uncovered a large population of venomous sea snakes in a bay in Noumea where scientists once believed they were rare. Claire Goiran from the University of New Caledonia and Professor Rick Shine from Australia’s Macquarie University were studying a small harmless species known as the turtle‐headed sea snake located in the Baie des Citrons, but would occasionally encounter the 1.5 metre-long venomous greater sea snake, also known as the olive-headed sea snake.

Goiran and Shine believed the greater sea snake was an anomaly in the popular swimming bay as it had only been spotted about six times over 15 years. From 2013, they decided to take a closer look at the greater sea snake to better understand its importance to the bay’s ecosystem.

Picture credit: Antonello Veneri / AFP

It washed ashore in early September, thick globs of oil that appeared from out of nowhere and defied explanation. In the weeks since, the mysterious sludge — 600 tons, the largest spill in Brazil’s history — has tarred more than 1,600 kilometres of shoreline, polluted some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and killed all sorts of marine life.

But despite the time that has passed — and the damage done – the most important questions remain unanswered. Where is the oil coming from? And how can it be stopped?

Picture credit: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Coca-Cola was found for the second year in a row to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic trash conducted by the Break Free From Plastic global movement. The giant soda company was responsible for more plastic litter than the next top three polluters combined.

Reaffirming the importance of sustainable environmental practices, Stellenbosch Wine Routes this week signed the Porto Protocol, committing the leading wine route in South Africa to an accelerated contribution towards climate change mitigation.

Launched by former US President Barack Obama in 2018, the Porto Protocol is a global sustainable initiative signed by companies across numerous industries. These have pledged to play their part in employing and sharing sustainable environmental practices to combat climate change.

Picture credit: Farmer’s Weekly

Urban agriculture has a major role to play in providing healthy, affordable and accessible food to poor urban households in South Africa, according to Prof Juaneé Cilliers, chair of the Urban and Regional Planning Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University.

Click the banner above to get a one-month free trial of Kindle Unlimited, which enables you to read thousands of books for a single monthly fee, including all the books in our reading list below:

Continuing from last week, is part two in a six-part documentary series on global cities and the development of urban networks as the emerging geography of connectivity in an age of globalization. In this part we look at the historical development of urban centers from ancient times through to the industrial revolution. Produced by: https://systemsinnovation.io

Did you enjoy this week’s stories? Comment below and let us know! If you’re looking for eco-friendly, sustainable products for your home and/or outdoor needs, please consider one of the products below. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn a commission on sales, which helps us to keep up our mission of keeping you entertained and informed.