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Aust infrastructure at risk from climate disasters: report

Climate Spectator, 29 October 2012

The Climate Institute says government and business have much to do to protect Australia's infrastructure from damaging natural disasters. Science shows that as sea levels and global temperature rise, the frequency of extreme floods, droughts and bushfires will rise exponentially.

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China vs Europe: a great renewables contrast

Climate Spectator, 31 October 2012

The headline of the week in clean energy was the $US1.6 billion credit line extended by China Development Bank to Sky Solar Holdings – a Shanghai-based PV power developer. The world's most populous country was declaring its backing for its struggling solar industry in actions as well as words. The news from Europe was in sharp contrast, with Siemens announcing its exit from the solar business altogether and the Danish government ruling out any support to Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine maker.

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Solar glider project seeks funding for two-seater

NBC News, 27 October 2012

The Sunseeker, a solar-powered plane-glider hybrid that has been flying for more than two decades, is about to get a new, more spacious successor — but only if the builders can secure the funding.

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Casualties of Torontoӳ Urban Skies

New York Times, 27 October 2012

In the shadow of the massive black towers of a bank’s downtown headquarters here was an almost indistinguishable puff of dark gray fluff on the sidewalk. It was the body of a golden-crowned kinglet, an unlucky one, that had crashed into the iconic Toronto-Dominion Center building somewhere above.  So many birds hit the glass towers of Canada’s most populous city that volunteers scour the ground of the financial district for them in the predawn darkness each morning. They carry paper bags and butterfly nets to rescue injured birds from the impending stampede of pedestrian feet or, all too often, to pick up the bodies of dead ones.

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Nuclear sale overshadows crucial carbon capture development

The Guardian, 30 October 2012

There are two four-letter words that sum up today's announcement that Hitachi is buying the Horizon nuclear power business abandoned by German-owned RWE and E.on after the Fukushima disaster led Angela Merkel to turn her back on building new reactors. The first is "phew", the overwhelming sentiment from ministers and from Horizon's former owners.

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Why the US is not the new Saudi Arabia

Christian Science Monitor, 29 October 2012

Last week's energy news included a piece from the Associated Press with a headline reading: "U.S. poised to become world's top oil producer; may soon overtake Saudi Arabia." If the reporter had actually examined figures available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) website carefully instead of simply parroting oil industry sycophants, he would have ended up with a headline more like this: "Marginal gains in U.S. oil production mean continuing high prices and imports for Americans."

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Why Brazilian Oil Struggles to Catch Fire

Wall St Journal, 8 July 2012

Brazil floats on a sea of oil. So why have its oil stocks sunk so
badly? It is nearly six years since initial discoveries of vast oil reserves buried
under a thick layer of salt beneath the seabed off Brazil's coast.
State-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, is sole operator, with a
minimum 30% stake in all so-called "pre-salt" projects. In a recent study from
Harvard's Kennedy School, Brazil ranks fourth in the world in terms of the
potential to boost oil output this decade.

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An Airline Fleet Fueled by Natural Gas

New York Times, 25 October 2012

At the end of next year, Qatar Airways is scheduled to open a new airport that will include a 25-meter swimming pool and squash courts, among other amenities. But it will also be extraordinary from an energy standpoint because it will pump airline fuel made from natural gas.

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David Attenborough: US politicians duck climate change because of cost

The Guardian, 25 October 2012

One of the world's leading naturalists has accused US politicians of ducking the issue of climate change because of the economic cost of tackling it and warned that it would take a terrible example of extreme weather to wake people up to the dangers of global warming. Speaking just days after the subject of climate change failed to get a mention in the US presidential debates for the first time in 24 years, Sir David Attenborough told the Guardian: "[It] does worry me that most powerful nation in the world, North America, denies what the rest of us can see very clearly [on climate change]. I don't know what you do about that. It's easier to deny."

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Volkswagen Kombi: dead at 63

Sydney Morning Herald, 26 October 2012

Volkswagen Kombi fans raise a glass. It's time to bid farewell to a legend. Volkswagen has announced it will end production of the Kombi van in 2013 – 63 years after it was introduced to the world market back in 1950.

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