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9 January 2014



Sydney Morning Herald, January 9, 2014

China approved the construction of more than 100 million tonnes of new coal production capacity in 2013 - six times more than a year earlier and equal to 10 per cent of U.S. annual usage - ying in the face of plans to tackle choking air pollution. The scale of the increase, which only includes major mines, reects Beijing's aim to put 860 million tonnes of new coal production capacity into operation over the ve years to 2015, more than the entire annual output of India. While efforts to curb pollution mean coal's share of the country's energy mix is set to dip, the total amount of the
OceanLife: Japanese Whaling

cheap and plentiful fuel burned will still rise. According to data compiled by Re u t e r s, t h e N a t i o n a l D evelo p m en t an d Refo r m Commission (NDRC), China's top planning authority, approved the construction of 15 new large-scale coal mines with 101.3 m i l l i o n t o n n e s o f a n nu a l capacity in 2013. "Given that China's total energy consumption is still growing along with the economy, then coal production will continue to grow," said Helen Lau, senior commodities analyst with UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong. "While China is trying to foster consumption from other sources like hydro and nuclear, we expect actual coal production

to grow 2-3 per cent a year in the next ve years." Chinese coal production of 3.66 billion tonnes at the end of 2012 already accounts for nearly half the global total, according to ofcial data. The gure dwarves production rates of just over 1 billion tonnes each in Europe and the United States. Much of China's new capacity is in regions like Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi, reecting a strategy to close small mines in marginal locations like Beijing and consolidate output in a series of huge "coal industry bases" that will deliver thermal power to markets via the grid. For more on this story visit:

Hottest Year on Record in Australia

Emergency Management Lets Plan Together

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The Yushin Maru No. 3, one of three harpoon ships of the Japanese whaling eet, is currently approaching the 200 nautical mile limit of the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding Macquarie Island, and entering the Australian Whale Sanctuary. The ship is tailing the Sea Shepherd long-range vessel, The Bob Barker. If the harpoon ship enters the Australian Whale Sanctuary, it runs the risk of contempt proceedings as a result of the Japanese whaling eets continued breach of the 2008 Australian Federal Court injunction, handed down in the case instigated by Humane Society International. In its decision, the Federal Court found that the Japanese whaling operation had contravened Australian Federal Law, and had killed, injured, taken and interfered with Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) and n whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and injured, taken and interfered with humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in contravention of sections 229, 229A, 229B and 229C of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). Sea Shepherd Australia has notied the Australian Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, of the approaching harpoon ship, calling for

the Australian governments intervention. Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen has stated, "Sea Shepherd is asking Greg Hunt and the Abbott government to have the guts to stand up to these whale poachers and send a clear message to Tokyo, that they are not welcome in the Australian Whale Sanctuary." As yet, Mr. Hunt has not released a public response to Sea Shepherds request. In January 2013, Shonan Maru No. 2, the security vessel of the Japanese whaling eet, entered Australias EEZ in contempt of Australian Federal Law. The then-Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, ordered the Japanese government to remove their vessel from Australian waters. C a p t a i n o f T h e B o b B a rk e r, Pe t e r Hammarstedt, stated, Just days ago, we collected undeniable proof that the Japanese whaling eet is illegally slaughtering whales in an international whale sanctuary. These callous killers, who were captured on lm with the butchered remains of a slain whale on t h e i r b l o o d - s t a i n e d d e c k s, a r e n o w approaching the Australian Whale Sanctuary. Their presence here is illegal, their actions are immoral, and they need to be turned away immediately. For more visit:

PLANETLIFE 9 January 2014


Arctic air is normally penned in over the Arctic by a powerful circular wind called the polar vortex. The bitter chill gripping North America is a result of Arctic air that has spilled southwards. When the vortex weakens, the air starts heading southwards, bringing exceptional snow and chill to middle latitudes. The polar vortex is the driven by the difference in air temperature between the Arctic and mid latitudes.

A deadly blast of arctic air has shattered decades-old temperature records as it envelops the US, creating chaos with freezing conditions that have affected almost 200 million people. The below-freezing conditions are being carried from the arctic by a phenomenon known as a polar vortex, which is being blamed for at least 16 deaths. The big chill has created weather that has paralysed transport, overwhelmed homeless shelters and closed schools and businesses. Authorities have put about half of the United States under a wind chill warning or cold weather advisory, the icy conditions snarling air, road and rail travel. New York's Central Park hit a record low temperature for the date of minus 16 degrees Celsius - but with winds gusting to 32 kilometres per hour conditions felt far colder, the National Weather Service said. The National Weather Service said temperatures were expected to be 14C to 19C below normal from the Midwest to the Southeast. Major US cities were in the grip of temperatures well below freezing, with Chicago seeing temperatures of -20C, Detroit -21C, Pittsburgh -17C and Boston -9C. In the normally mild south, Atlanta recorded its coldest weather on this date in 44 years, when the temperature dropped to -14C, while temperatures in northern Florida also briey dropped below freezing, though the state's citrus crop was unharmed, according to a major growers' group. Among the deaths reported was a 51-year-old homeless man in Columbus, Georgia, whose body was found in an empty lot after spending the night outdoors. Four cold and storm-related deaths were reported around Chicago, and an elderly woman was found dead outside her Indianapolis home early on Monday. The remainder are mostly a result of collisions in trafc, but they also include four men who died of heart attacks while shovelling snow in Illinois. For more on this story visit:

PLANETLIFE 9 January 2014



By Peter Burdon, Australian Broadcasting Corporation - The Drum January 1, 2014

If you have been left disillusioned by Australia's recent actions on environmental and social issues, there are plenty of things you can do on your own to make a difference, writes Dr Peter D Burdon. Recently I was sitting in my ofce when the phone rang. "You will probably think I am crazy..." said the voice on the end of the line. I hadn't yet made my mind up but decided to give my caller the benet of the doubt. The caller was Brian, a 75-year-old retired accountant and life-long Liberal voter. He had just read my op-ed piece on federal funding cuts to the nation's nine environmental defenders ofces (EDO). Evidently something I wrote had resonated with him. "I am worried that there is not going to be anything left for my g randchildren," Brian told me. Alongside the funding cuts to the E D O s, h e s e e m e d p a r t i c u l a rl y concerned about the loss of old growth forest in Tasmania. I could only agree with Brian. Indeed, it has been over 20 years since 1,700 senior scientists (including 104 Nobel Prize winners) signed a document called 'World Scientist's Warning to Humanity'. The opening words are worth reading at length: Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at risk the future that we wish for human society ... and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about. We all know the rest of the story. The warning has not been heeded and as the 2005 Millennial Ecosystem Assessment stated, every single living system on the planet is in a state of decline and the rate of decline is increasing.

Today the great fear is not that human civilisation is approaching a cliff. Rather, it is that we have shot right over the edge and like Wile E Coyote chasing the Road Runner, we are gradually coming to the realisation that there is no ground beneath our feet. The fear that I could detect in Brian's voice is not unknown to me. But I am not used to having these kinds of conversations with life-long Liberal voters. I suspected that our discussion was uncharted territory for Brian as well. As our conversation progressed Brian told me that he felt alienated from current Liberal party policies regarding the environment and spending cuts to the community sector. This made sense to me because while the Liberal party is a "broad church", there is nothing traditionally "liberal" about many of the Governments policies. The Abbott Government has done a remarkable job resurrecting a rhetoric of "freedom" and the "individual" which Australian politics has not seen since the Howard years. More broadly, it is reminiscent of Thatcher and her famous quip that "there is no such thing as society", only a collection of individuals. A c c o rd i n g t o t h i s i d e o l o g y, individual freedom is more important than the common good of society.

Moreover, the individual is seen as separate from and superior to the ecological community. Two recent actions from the Commonwealth Attorney General George Brandis illustrate this perspective. The rst is Brandis's decision to appoint right-wing policy director Tim Wilson to the likely position of 'freedom commissioner' within the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). This is the same Mr Wilson who recently applauded Government moves to repeal s18c of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, which makes it unlawful to "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate" on the basis of race. The second is Brandis's broad direction to the Australian Law Reform Commission to review all Commonwealth laws (with a particular focus on environmental regulation) to assess the extent to which they impinge upon individual freedom. With respect to this task, Brandis commented: "For too long we have seen freedoms of the individual diminish and become devalued. The Coalition Government will strive to protect and restore them." For more on this story visit: 2014-01-01/

PLANETLIFE 9 January 2014


Australian Broadcasting Corporation, January 3, 2014

The country has experienced just one coolerthan-average year in the last decade - 2011. Australian temperatures have warmed approximately 1C since 1950, consistent with global climate trends. Globally, each of the past 13 years since 2001 have ranked among the 14!warmest on record. The bureau's Neil Plummer told News 24 that as a predictor of climate in Australia, the statistics "speak for themselves", and that a "consistent body of evidence" gathered globally pointed to a!"warming trend". "All! Australian records go back to! 1910. The trend over that! period is a little short of a! degree warming over that period,! where most of the warming has occurred since around about! 1950, and that's consistent with! the global pattern," he said. "It's not just us at the bureau doing the! number crunching, it is all the! bureaus around the world, and it! is that body of evidence that! we're all seeing a warming over! Australia and a warming world."

Australia has just sweltered through its hottest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Average temperatures were 1.20 degrees Celsius above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17C, the bureau said in its Annual Climate Statement. All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia all breaking annual average temperature records. And every month of 2013 had national average temperatures at least 0.5C above normal, according to the statement. The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 - a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910. A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39C seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973. The highest temperature recorded during 2013 was 49.6C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12, which was the highest temperature in Australia since 1998. Further, with mean temperatures across Australia generally well above average since September 2012, long periods of warmer-thanaverage days have been common, with a distinct lack of cold weather, the statement says. Nights have also been warmer than average, but less so than days.

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PLANETLIFE 9 January 2014


TIME TO GET COAL OUT OF OUR STOCKINGS We all know we need a price on carbon pollution to accelerate a rapid decline in emissions and growth in clean energy. Just how badly was underscored by a new report indicating that global carbon pollution levels are on track to set a new world record of 36 billion metric tons in 2013, an increase of 2.1 percent from 2012. SUNNY OUTLOOK FOR CLEAN ENERGY In a year when the reality of climate change became even clearer, so did the practical path to solving it. Renewables as a percentage of overall power sources are growingfast. Between 20002012, wind generated electricity grew over 2,400 percent while solar grew over 800 percent (full gures for 2013 are not yet available, but monthly numbers point to another year of continued growth).[PDF] Already, the U.S. solar industry is installing a new system every four minutes and, if current growth rates continue, will be installing a new system every 90 seconds by 2016.!Costs are falling for renewables and becoming increasingly competitive with dirty fossil fuels. With more renewables and less carbon pollution: the future starts looking a little brighter. THE SOCIAL COST OF CARBON RISES For years, the federal government has measured the economic impact of carbon pollution with a gure known as the social cost of carbon (SCC). The SCC gives an estimate of the economic damage produced by a single metric ton of carbon pollution, through its contribution to increased extreme weather events, health impacts, declining agricultural productivity, among others. The government then uses this number to help determine the social benets of projects and programs that reduce carbon emissions. In 2013, the Obama Administration announced it was revising the SCC up to $37/ton for 2015. The move makes sense: after all, with each year, the costs were paying for carbon pollution and climate change just keep rising as wildres burn more often and longer and oods sweep through plains theyve never hit before, each with serious economic consequences. The SCC offers a succinct way to capture what these impacts mean for all of us in a way that anyone can understand. The usual suspectsthe Heartland Institute, Wall Street Journal, congressional deniers, etc.were quick to denounce the move because it makes clear the big-picture costs were paying for carbon pollution that theyd much prefer to keep hidden. The administration has opened the revised SCC up for public comments through January 27, 2014 and its a battle worth ghting. CHINA IMPLEMENTING PILOT CAP-AND-TRADE PROGRAMS With both the worlds largest population and highest levels of carbon pollution, China has the most to lose from a changing climate and the most to do to address it. Reassuringly, the Chinese leadership sees this threat and has initiated a pilot cap-and-trade program to curb carbon pollution in seven different regions and cities. The country aims to follow the limited program with a nationwide strategy by around 2016. NEW LEADERSHIP IN AUSTRALIA DISMANTLING CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION Meanwhile, Down Under, its been a case of one step forward, two steps back for the climate in 2013. After introducing a landmark carbon tax to global acclaim in July 2012, the Australian government began steps to repeal the measure this fall and dismantle its commitments to emissions reduction following the election of Tony Abbot as prime minister. These moves came even as the rst eight months of the tax saw a 6 percent decline in emissions from the power plant sector primarily affected, coupled with a 25 percent growth in renewable energy use. These moves came also as the nation has continued to suffer month after month of above-averageand in some, recordbreakingtemperatures. And as the repeal debate raged in Parliament, violent bush res exacerbated by these conditions raged for nearly 1,000 miles across New South Wales in October, destroying hundreds of homes and creeping dangerously close to Sydney. Whats in store for 2014?! Subscribe to our email updates! to stay in the loop. MORE WEATHER ON STEROIDS In 2013, extreme weather events picked up right where they left off in 2012, and the resulting picture wasnt pretty. It wasnt just! Super Typhoon Haiyan! leveling the city of Tacloban and other communities in the Philippines, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and struggling to nd food and water. It wasnt just the 500-year oods inundating the cobbled streets and historic buildings of centuries-old towns in Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Or the biblical rains and infernal oodsthat rewrote the map and! destroyed thousands of homes in Colorados Front Range. Or another year of recordbreaking temperatures in Australia and bushres devouring thousands of acres. Or the oods in India. Or the! wildres in the American West. It was that this list only begins to cover the! many human and nancial costs of carbon pollution!we saw this year. And with climate change continuing, these kinds of devastating events are only becoming more common, frequent, and extreme. For more top stories visit:



Upon retirement, Hellyer began to blow the whistle on UFOs and extraterrestrials. His testimony is backed up by hundreds of other high ranking military and political personnel all over the world, including ofcial documents released by dozens of governments worldwide that have ofcially acknowledged the presence of UFOs. I think its also important to point out that the Canadian government recently acknowledged the fact that various federal agencies, including Transport Canada, the RCMP and the Department of National Defence used to track and investigate UFO sightings. (1)! They claim to have stopped those programs, but that contradicts the defence ministers (Hellyer) claims. There is good reason to believe, and a lot of evidence to suggest that some of these UFOs are indeed extraterrestrial space craft (not all military), and the activities of the agencies responsible for these programs goes far beyond just tracking of UFOs, but into contact with various extraterrestrial races, other classied technological developments and more. To read what Paul Hellyer has said visit:

By Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution, January 6, 2014

I am well aware that just because somebody (no matter what their position) says something to be true, does not mean its true. Exceptions, however can be made if there is evidence that goes beyond their words and correlates with what they say. At the end of the day, you have to listen to what your heart tells you. Paul Hellyer was the Canadian Minister of National Defense in the 1960!s during the cold war. He was responsible for combining the Canadian Air Force, Navy and Army into what is known today as the Canadian Forces. He was the highest ranking person (on paper) inside of the Department of Defence for Canada.! The Honorable Paul Hellyer ! is the highest ranking person among all g8 countries to openly speak about UFOs and extraterrestrials. He has been speaking about UFOs and extraterrestrials for quite some time now, and he recently made an appearance on RT news stating that there are at least 4 known alien species that have been visiting Earth for thousands of years.

Giant sunspot AR1944 erupted on Jan 7th at approximately 1832 UT, producing a powerful X1-class solar are. First-look coronagraph images from the STEREO-Ahead spacecraft appear to show a coronal mass ejection (CME) emerging from the blast site. If so, the CME is almost certainly heading for Earth. One of the biggest sunspots in years is crossing the center of the solar disk, putting Earth in the way of potential eruptions. The sprawling sunspot contains dozens of dark cores, the largest big enough to swallow Earth three times over. For more on the AR1944 visit www.spaceweather,com

PLANETLIFE 9 January 2014


limited water and often in lthy conditions, the animals are bored and stressed. Mr Nicholson recently travelled to Vietnam to document the conditions in bear farms there. "It is a horric scene, it really is," he said. "You have got one of the most majestic animals, a very large mammal, trapped inside a cage that is literally in most cases no bigger than an old telephone booth. "The welfare conditions are atrocious. The bears can just seem broken, have absolutely no spirit and sit looking vacantly out into the distance." Keeping bears in cages is legal in Vietnam, but live bear bile extraction was outlawed in 2005. But as Mr Nicholson discovered, many farmers are outing the law. "We were offered bear bile which could be produced on demand at any volume," he said. In Australia over the past ve years, Customs has seized 270 consignments containing bear bile. These include bear bile capsules, vials of bear bile, bear gall powder, bear pills and haemorrhoid ointments. Chinese herbal medicine practitioner Ngaio Richards has never used bear bile and points out there are effective herbal and pharmaceutical alternatives. "Bear bile might be prescribed for conditions such as serous conjunctivitis, for eye disorders that involve a lot of inammation or infection," she said. "The question is not does bear bile work, but what can be effectively used to replace it? And there are a lot of effective ways of replacing it." Mr Nicholson has returned to Australia with his footage from Vietnam. For more on this story visit:

By Tracey Bowden, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, January 8, 2014

An Australian man is on a mission to put an end to the practice of extracting bile from captive live bears.! Bear bile is a traditional component of Chinese medicine, said to cure everything from liver and digestive problems to heart conditions and even cancer. Luke Nicholson, the project manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, says its use has got to stop. "It is a cruel and barbaric practice. It is not necessary for us to use bear bile because there are many effective alternatives," he told 7.30. Going back well over a thousand years, wild bears were killed for their bile. These days, farmers keep the animals in cages and extract the bile in an invasive and painful process. The bear is removed from its cage and laid on its back. Ultrasound is used to locate the gall bladder, then a catheter or syringe is inserted through the body cavity to extract the bile. It is estimated that across Asia as many as 20,000 bears are kept in cramped cages, only able to take two or three paces, and often unable to stand up to their full height. With a poor diet,

PLANETLIFE 9 January 2014


By Sustainable Living Australia

Sustainable Food Sustainable living includes eating sustainably grown or manufactured food. Industrial food production not only uses a lot of energy unnecessarily, but most agricultural systems use environmentally damaging pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, agricultural methods are often employed that destroy the local environment through excess tilling and heavy irrigation. In many instances, only one crop is grown, which further damages the soil and ecosystem, requiring articial nutrient replenishment. All of these factors lead to such environmental damage as soil erosion, soil degradation, shrinking water tables, and chemical runoff. This environmental damage, in turn, leads to a disrupted ecosystem and loss of biodiversity. Long-distance food distribution and transportation requires even further energy to be expended. Exhausts from motorized vehicles lead to damaging carbon emissions and the extensive use of non-renewable fuels. Local Food Production Although the most sustainable food production is that done on-premises, very few people have enough land and resources to accomplish the task alone. Growing all of the fruits, vegetables, and grains and raising the livestock to accommodate a wholesome, nutritious diet is next to impossible for most people. The next best thing is buying local foods from organic and sustainable farms. Buying local foods drastically reduces the carbon footprint created through transportation and distribution. In general, local small-scale farms use more sustainable food production methods because their client-base is seeking quality over quantity. In addition, there is no carbon footprint and waste from packaging materials. Eating only locally produced food products can be a difcult adjustment for some people because it means having a diet based on seasonal foods. It also creates a need to buy excess foods and preserve them for the off-season. Sustainable food production limits the diet because it eliminates the

energy-intensive methods required to grow non-seasonal foods in greenhouse environments. In many areas, local community organizations exist to help promote localised food production. Local markets are set up and information is exchanged about where different foods can be purchased or traded. Some local organizations schedule weekly pickups of various foods from nearby farms. Those who practice sustainable living also argue that locally produced foods are more nutritious than massproduced foods. This is because more care is taken to grow them organically and there is a larger focus on quality. Sustainable Meat Many people who practice sustainable living are vegetarians or vegans. Others eat meat but in strictly limited quantities. Raising livestock is very energy-intensive and can deplete natural resources quickly. Buying locally raised organic and free range meat is a denite possibility, but this meat can be expensive, so it is limited out of nancial necessity. Putting meat on the table two or three times per week is plenty for most sustainable living enthusiasts. This limit makes the meal more special and allows respect for the lives of animals to grow. In contrast, regular people tend to eat meat only out of habit with no thought as to what chemicals the animals ingest during life, how inhumanely they are slaughtered, or how unsanitary the production methods are. Organic Fruits and Vegetables Eating only organic fruits and vegetables is a very important aspect of sustainable living. Luckily, each year, the scope of organic foods is growing. Ecological farming completely reduces the carbon footprint and ecological damage of agriculture when used in conjunction with such practices as regular crop rotation, composting, natural fertilizers, and biologic pest control methods are. For more on eating sustainably visit the Sustainable Living website!!

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