The Bullroarer - Monday 5 November 2007

SMH - Cloncurry so hot it's first on the solar block

IT'S HOT in Cloncurry. Bloody hot. Hot enough to power the homes for all the outback town's 4828 residents with heat from the sun. That is what the Queensland Government is hoping to do with a $7 million solar thermal power station that would make the former copper mining town the first in Australia to rely completely on solar power.

The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, yesterday announced the north-west Queensland town had been chosen as the site for a "groundbreaking" 10-megawatt plant that will use 8000 mirrors to reflect sunlight onto graphite blocks. Water will be pumped through the blocks to generate steam that will operate a turbine electricity generator.

Online Opinion - Sleepwalking over the oil peak

SMH - Coal Mines blamed for threat to water supply

UNRESTRICTED underground coal mining south of Sydney is cracking riverbeds, draining swamps and putting the city's water supply at risk, experts say. Almost 10 years after the Cataract River drained away through cracks in the bedrock from longwall mining, the State Government continues to allow coal companies to tunnel underneath rivers and creeks. ...

Dave Burgess, a Total Environment Centre campaigner, said the work had left a once-healthy river cracked in thousands of places. "What happened here after the mining took place was that the rivulet drained like a bathtub so all aquatic life would have gone with it … and it is continuing to drain after rain," he said. "It is ironic that on one side of the Sutherland Shire they are building a desalination plant while the rivulet that supplies the shire with its water is being undermined like this and cracked and compromised, bringing into serious question its ability to provide water to the shire."

ABC - Greens pledge to push renewable energy

IHT - Bioplastics have a small but growing market

For Dennis McGrew, chief executive of NatureWorks, the high price of crude oil and natural gas is not unwelcome news. NatureWorks, formerly Cargill Dow, produces a plastic made from plant stalk, not fossil fuel. McGrew, a former plastics executive at Dow Chemical, says that as prices for fossil fuels soar and as the environment becomes an ever larger concern, ecofriendly plastics are becoming increasingly competitive, though they still remain a niche market.

That bioplastics are trending upward is clear. In the past month, a number of large chemical concerns have increased their commitment to market segment, including Braskem, the largest Brazilian petrochemical group, and Dow Chemical. In September, Plantic Technologies of Australia announced that DuPont would market its starch-based resins and sheet plastics in North America, a new market for a company previously limited to selling in Europe and Australia.

SMH - Tom Friedman: India, You're Going The Wrong Way

India has become a giant platform for inventing low-cost solutions to big problems. If it applied itself to green mass-transit solutions for countries with exploding middle classes, it would be a gift for itself and the world.

An India that makes itself the leader in both cheap cars and clean mass mobility will be healthier and wealthier. It will also be an India that gives us cheap answers to big problems — rather than cheap copies of our worst habits.

NZ Herald - Fun starts at Tui as oil nears record

Tui Area Oil Fields have produced more than 3.5 million barrels, worth an estimated $3.5 million, since the end of July and NZOG's share (12.5 per cent) was approximately 437,000 barrels. Exports are already starting to show up in trade figures and in September even made a ding in New Zealand's trade deficit. Oil exports were $141 million compared with $10 million in September last year but remain well below monthly imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products at an average of $329 million a month over the past year.

NZ Herald - Dairy farms losing advantage over energy efficiency

The Inquirer (Phillipines) - Biofuels drive threatening food security--consumer watchdog

The Australian - Biofuel producers forced to shut - Poll finds many willing to pay to curb climate change

ABC - Labor ups road funding commitment. Not much mention of rail though.

ABC - Govt told to 'pull up socks' on environment

The Age - MEO knows the drill, but it can't get to the bottom of Santos' sell-down

Santa Monica Daily Press - Council opposes Woodside LNG terminal

Business Daily Africa - Oil prospector heading to N. Kenya

The National (PNG) - Push for intellectual creativity

PAPUA New Guinea’s economy is mainly supported at this stage of the country’s development by mineral resources, but gold, copper, oil and gas are non-renewable resources and will soon run out. “We need to realise that promoting intellectual creativity and innovation will sustain PNG’s development for many years.”

TreeHugger - Farewell to "Flush and Forget"

Does anyone know if anything is happening on McNamara's Phase 2 report that he talked about?

Not me - maybe Stuart McCarthy would have an idea...