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Posts from the ‘environment’ Category

Oliver Schmidt jailed for seven years for Volkswagen emissions scam

The Guardian, 7 December 2017
A senior Volkswagen executive was sentenced to seven years in prison by a US court on Wednesday after being found guilty of concealing software used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles. Oliver Schmidt, a German national who was the general manager in charge of VW’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan, had pleaded guilty to his part in the cover-up and argued he was “misused” by VW in its attempts to circumvent US emissions tests.
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How your personal information funds share bike schemes

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2017
You’re 25, you ride your brightly-coloured share bike across the city to get dinner and drinks with friends at the same pub every Friday, you take the same route home, and leave the bike near your house each time.

That kind of portrait is legally captured by the navigation systems and phone apps linked to the dockless share bike schemes quickly spreading across Australian cities, and is a valuable source of income, especially when they charge as little as $1 per half hour.

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How your personal information funds share bike schemes

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2017
You’re 25, you ride your brightly-coloured share bike across the city to get dinner and drinks with friends at the same pub every Friday, you take the same route home, and leave the bike near your house each time. That kind of portrait is legally captured by the navigation systems and phone apps linked to the dockless share bike schemes quickly spreading across Australian cities, and is a valuable source of income, especially when they charge as little as $1 per half hour.

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Islands lost to the waves: how rising seas washed away part of Micronesia’s 19th-century history

The Conversation, 9 November 2017
At first glance it may not seem so, but the story of the now-vanished island of Nahlapenlohd, a couple of kilometres south of Pohnpei Island in Micronesia, holds some valuable lessons about recent climate change in the western Pacific. In 1850, Nahlapenlohd was so large that not only did it support a sizeable coconut forest, but it was able to accommodate a memorable battle between the rival kingdoms of Kitti and Madolenihmw. The skirmish was the first in Pohnpeian history to involve the European sailor-mercenaries known as beachcombers and to be fought with imported weapons like cannons and muskets. Today the island is no more. The oral histories tell that so much blood was spilled in this fierce battle that it stripped the island of all its vegetation, causing it to shrink and eventually disappear beneath the waves.
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How do we turn a drain into valued green space? First, ask the residents

The Conversation, 8 November 2017
The green infrastructure of our cities includes both publicly owned, designed and delineated areas and less formal, unplanned areas of vegetation — informal green spaces. These spaces account for a large proportion of urban green areas. However, they are often among the most overlooked and neglected urban spaces, which contributes to negative perceptions, a recent study has found. Yet informal green spaces represent a largely untapped opportunity to improve liveability and residents’ health and social well-being. Especially in lower socioeconomic areas that lack formal green spaces, improving the condition of informal green spaces can promote their use and enhance neighbourhood liveability.
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Revealed: every Londoner breathing dangerous levels of toxic air particle

The Guardian, 5 October 2017
The scale of London’s air pollution crisis was laid bare on Wednesday, with new figures showing that every person in the capital is breathing air that exceeds global guidelines for one of the most dangerous toxic particles. The research, based on the latest updated London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, shows that every area in the capital exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) limits for a damaging type of particle known as PM2.5.
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We’re investing heavily in urban greening, so how are our cities doing?

The Conversation, 27 September 2017
Governments at all levels invest a lot in greening Australian suburbs. Yet, in a recent report, we show that the greening efforts of most of our metropolitan local governments are actually going backwards.
This is a puzzle, as greening has clear environmental and economic benefits. The environmental benefits are obvious and relatively easy to count. For private home owners, numerous studies have linked greening to a range of economic benefits from energy savings to higher house prices. So how do we explain the loss of green cover?
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Green for wellbeing – science tells us how to design urban spaces that heal us

The Conversation, 28 August 2017
One in five Australians will suffer from a mental health issue this year and living in a city makes it far more likely. Research shows that city dwellers have a 20% higher chance of suffering anxiety and an almost 40% greater likelihood of developing depression. Promisingly, however, research has also found that people in urban areas who live closest to the greatest “green space” are significantly less likely to suffer poor mental health.
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EU’s car regulator warns against car diesel ban in cities

Reuters, 22 July 2017
Banning diesel cars in European cities could hamper automakers’ ability to invest in zero-emission vehicles, the European Union’s commissioner for industry has warned the bloc’s transport ministers. In a letter seen by Reuters, Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said there would be no benefit in a collapse of the market for diesel cars and that the short-term focus should be on forcing carmakers to bring dangerous nitrogen oxide emissions into line with EU regulations.

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Memo to COAG: Australia is already awash with gas

The Conversation, 14 July 2017
Federal, state and territory energy ministers are gathering today in Brisbane for the tenth meeting of the COAG Energy Council. In the wake of the Finkel Review, and against a backdrop of rising electricity and gas prices, they have much to discuss. Some of the focus will certainly be on gas policy and prices. Earlier this week, the federal energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, argued that state governments should develop their onshore gas reserves to relieve pressure on the gas market.

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