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UK gas supply pressure eased with arrival of tanker from Qatar

The Guardian, 24 March 2013

Only two days' worth of gas supplies in [UK] storage late last week as cold snap increases demand for heating and electricty.

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Jury still out on [NSW] $50,000 peak hour plan

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 2013

The future of peak-hour marshals at busy inner-city [NSW] train stations remains unclear after a month-long trial in November and December. RailCorp says it is continuing to evaluate the success of the marshal trial, which cost more than $50,000, and which was aimed at allowing more trains to be able to travel through the city during peak times. The marshals, which were posted along the platforms, were responsible for shepherding commuters onto and off trains on Town Hall's platform three to try and reduce the amount of time trains spend at the station.

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Fossil and Nuclear Fuels – the Supply Outlook

Energy Watch Group, 18 March 2013

As the UK increasingly depends on imports of oil and gas due to steep declines in domestic production the Energy Watch Group (EWG) will release the findings of its latest study into global fossil fuel reserves at a press conference to be held in the House of Commons Monday March 18th.

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The Chinese buyout has just begun

Sydney Morning Herald, 21 March 2013

The plump Chinese boy plays his smartphone while the grandfather, his only table companion, orders yum-cha. Of course, it could be any child, any grandparent, but the scene reminds me of the day my six-year-old came home from school in tears. Her half-Chinese bestie, a lovely kid, was family-friends with a Chinese boy who insisted that Chinese should neither marry nor befriend white people.

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Energy plans zapped by diving demand

Business Spectator, 19 March 2013

Australia’s average maximum daily temperature for January was the highest on record. Yet electricity demand across the National Electricity Market did not reach the summer peaks of a few years ago. Indeed, electricity demand has fallen consistently since 2008, although the trend has flattened in the past few hot months. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation – our biggest source of emissions – have also fallen.

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Two reasons climate change is not like other environmental problems

Grist, 19 March 2013

If you’ll forgive me for stating the obvious: Most people don’t understand climate change very well. This includes a large proportion of the nation’s politicians, journalists, and pundits — even the pundits who write about it. One reason for the widespread misunderstanding is that climate change has been culturally coded as an “environmental problem.” This has been, in all sorts of ways, a disaster. Lots of pundits, especially brain-dead “centrist” pundits, have simply transferred their framing and conception of environmental problems to climate. They approach it as just another air pollution problem. However, there are two features of climate change that make it importantly different from other environmental problems, not just in degree but in kind. And these differences have important public policy implications.

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$120,000 granny flats the solution to housing crisis?

Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March 2013

They’re sleek, beautiful, brand new and, best of all, affordable. Granny flats have had a makeover. And agents selling the new Module Plus ‘‘glam flats’’ are expecting a big response from everyone from first-home buyers to grannies at the launch this weekend in Mona Vale. A group of Australian architects, developers and builders have designed the new homes, which promoters are pitching as a solution to the housing crisis.

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Days of Promise Fade for Ethanol

New York Times, 16 March 2013

Five years ago, rural America was giddy for ethanol. Backed by government subsidies and mandates, hundreds of ethanol plants rose among the golden fields of the Corn Belt, bringing jobs and business to small towns, providing farmers with a new market for their crops and generating billions of dollars in revenue for the producers of this corn-based fuel blend. Those days of promise and prosperity are vanishing.

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Build it and they will walk: the suburbs that foster good health

Brisbane Times, 19 March 2013

If you design suburbs so walking to public transport, shops and parks is an easy option, people will walk – that is the simple and clear finding of long-term Australian research. Health and planning experts are urging governments to make health a feature of planning laws and city growth strategies.

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Don’t cry foul over airline surcharges

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 March 2013

Qantas and Virgin Australia currently charge domestic passengers $7.70 and Jetstar and Tiger $8.50 if they choose to pay for their one-way ticket using a credit card. Like the taxi industry, the airlines have attracted criticism over the size of these surcharges. This criticism will be tested over the coming months by credit card schemes as new surcharging rules, introduced by the RBA, allow the schemes to restrict airline surcharges to the merchant service fees airlines pay to their acquiring banks. Is the criticism of airline credit card surcharges warranted? In short the answer is no.

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