News Article | May 9, 2017
« GAC Group begins construction of $6.5B industrial park for electric and intelligent vehicles | Main | Global Bioenergies, Clariant and INEOS in €16.4M EU-funded project to demonstrate the production of isobutene derivatives from straw » Toyota Motor Corporation has begun accepting applications today for this year’s Toyota Environmental Activities Grant Program, which is designed to support environmental revitalization and conservation activities aimed at sustainable development both in Japan and overseas. Toyota established the annual program in 2000 in commemoration of Toyota’s receipt of the Global 500 Award in 1999 from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); this year marks the program’s 18th year. The program aims to contribute to the resolution of environmental concerns and cultivate a new generation of leaders who will drive change on both a local and global basis. This year’s theme will be “Biodiversity Conservation” or “Climate Change”. Grants will be provided to NPOs and other private, non-profit organizations and groups (excluding schools) that are promoting practical projects that correspond to the theme. These activities will become a part of initiatives aimed at meeting the goals set out in the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, which was announced in October, 2015.
News Article | May 16, 2017
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio’s latest market research report on the global ocean safety first aid kit market provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2017-2021. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline. Neelesh Prakash Singh, a lead analyst from Technavio, specializing in research on power sector says, “The increasing seaborne trade is driving the global ocean safety first-aid kits. Seaborne trade involves being off-shore for multiple days in distant locations. Therefore, marine supervisors make sure that their vessels are equipped with proper safety measures that include personal floatation devices and first-aid safety kits.” Looking for more information on this market? Request a free sample report Technavio’s sample reports are free of charge and contain multiple sections of the report including the market size and forecast, drivers, challenges, trends, and more. The top three emerging market trends driving the global ocean safety first aid kit market according to Technavio research analysts are: A bandage is a key component of any first-aid kit, including ocean safety first-aid kit. Injuries such as cut and abrasion require bandages for treating wounds. However, vendors are introducing various kinds of bandages such as compression bandage, gauze bandage, triangular bandage, and tube bandage. In 2016, Searchlight Pharma launched LIMISAN, a painless adhesive bandage remover that comes in a spray format and can be an essential part of first-aid kits. This spray, when applied to dressed wound areas, forms an invisible layer that breaks the adhesive bond between the skin and bandage. This can help in removing the bandage without pain, leaving a clean surface without residue. Vendors in the market are offering first-aid kits with easy-to-use features and innovative packaging. This packaging enables users to appropriately pick essential items for specific injuries. Various colored compartments in a kit help users in identifying products easily during any panic situation. Falck, a vendor providing products for security and rescue, teamed up with Designit, another vendor providing design solutions, to offer a new first-aid kit characterized with color coding for user friendliness. The red-colored compartment is for injuries related to blood and yellow is for bruises and sprains. Likewise, various components can be classified and placed in respective compartments. “Vendors such as Lifesystems offer first-aid kits that not only contain essential first-aid components but the kits are made up of waterproof material that can be used during water recreational sports or any coastal tactical operations. Such innovations in product presentation and packaging have influenced the global market in a positive way,” says Neelesh. The depletion of fish stocks and fishing at biologically unsustainable levels has resulted in governments in several countries enacting legislations to protect fishery resources. For instance, the Australian government has passed the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, which aims at promoting ecologically sustainable development, an initiative that is already listed in the Commonwealth's Fisheries Management Act, 1991. These regulations not only affected fishing activities but import and export activities as well. This will impact the need for fishing vessels, and therefore, hamper the growth of the global ocean safety first-aid kits market. Become a Technavio Insights member and access all three of these reports for a fraction of their original cost. As a Technavio Insights member, you will have immediate access to new reports as they’re published in addition to all 6,000+ existing reports covering segments like energy storage, oil and gas, and smart grid. This subscription nets you thousands in savings, while staying connected to Technavio’s constant transforming research library, helping you make informed business decisions more efficiently. Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company. The company develops over 2000 pieces of research every year, covering more than 500 technologies across 80 countries. Technavio has about 300 analysts globally who specialize in customized consulting and business research assignments across the latest leading edge technologies. Technavio analysts employ primary as well as secondary research techniques to ascertain the size and vendor landscape in a range of markets. Analysts obtain information using a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches, besides using in-house market modeling tools and proprietary databases. They corroborate this data with the data obtained from various market participants and stakeholders across the value chain, including vendors, service providers, distributors, re-sellers, and end-users. If you are interested in more information, please contact our media team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News Article | May 22, 2017
Country towns are, by their nature, conservative. Change happens slowly and traditions are not discarded easily. The conservative thinker Edmund Burke wrote that we must act as trustees of the world – what he called “temporary possessors and life renters”, rather than its “entire masters”. Or more directly, leave it as you found it for the next generation. Nevertheless, the modern environmental movement is squarely considered an issue of the left. But that is changing as mining and coal seam gas comes up against farmland. Mostly conservative farmers are resisting gas and coal development on agricultural land. The Narrabri gas project is the last existing CSG project in New South Wales. The oil and gas company Santos proposes 850 wells in the Pilliga, seven hours’ drive north-west of Sydney. CSG caused such a political headache on the state’s north coast that the NSW Liberal government bought back most of the petroleum exploration licences. The remainder are north of Dubbo and west of Tamworth and go all the way up to the Queensland border. Like the Bentley CSG project and the Shenhua mega coalmining project on the Liverpool plains near the Pilliga, the Narrabri project has faced fierce opposition from sections of the farming community and has split the nearby towns, none more so than Narrabri. It has also forged new alliances between conservative communities and environmental groups and caused the rise of groups such as the anti-mining organisation Lock the Gate. Consultation on the environmental impact statement closed at midnight on 22 May. Six hours before the deadline, the NSW planning department had thousands of submissions - too many to collate and count immediately. The NSW government will be the final approving authority, with approval required from the commonwealth under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Those opposed to the Narrabri CSG project fear underground water loss and/or contamination, the boom-bust cycle of manic construction followed by economic freefall, and mine creep over some of the most fertile agricultural land in the country. Those in favour accept the promises of employment, economic diversity to drought-proof agriculture, and an extra reason for younger generations to stay in their home towns. What is undisputed is what lies beneath. The coal reserves in the Gunnedah basin dwarf the famed Hunter Valley resource. The NSW government’s 2012 draft strategic land use plan described the basin as “a diverse and varied landscape including some of the most fertile soils in Australia in the Liverpool plains, the largest extent of woodland/forest in the NSW wheat-sheep belt and the Pilliga forest which is the largest temperate forest in inland NSW”. Jon Maree Baker is the executive office for Namoi Water, representing water licence holders in the Namoi basin. “If you imagine you have a dinner plate and on that dinner plate you put a 50c piece, the 50c piece is the coal reserves in the Hunter, the dinner plate is the [coal reserves in the] Namoi,” Baker says. “So substantially over the next 50 years, there is significant potential to expand both coal seam gas and mining resources here in the Namoi Valley. Part of that assessment is what is the impact regionally and cumulatively on water resources.” At issue, the landholders only own the top of the land while those with an exploration approval own what lies beneath. Residents of north-western NSW have been watching the Pilliga project for 10 years. It was previously owned by Eastern Star Gas, chaired by the former National party leader John Anderson. Santos took control of Eastern Star in 2011 at about the same time as a contaminated water spill that ultimately led to fines in the land and environment court. From the beginning of the project, a section of the farming community have opposed CSG on the grounds of a risk to their water supply. The project fell off the public radar for a number of years but, after the South Australian blackouts, talk of a looming domestic gas crisis saw the overdue development application and the 7,000-page environmental impact statement lodged on the same day as Malcolm Turnbull committed to work with the states to develop more gas. Weeks later the Australian Energy Market Operator warned that Australia – the second largest exporter of Liquified Natural Gas in the world – was facing energy shortages if governments did not carry out national planning. The Turnbull government has repeatedly chastised the states for their moratoria on conventional gas and coal seam gas while threatening gas companies with a domestic reservation policy. The prime minister took a step closer to reservation when he announced new gas security export controls on companies when there is a shortfall of gas supply in the domestic market. His energy and environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, praised a Queensland government move to reserve specific areas in the state where any gas development would be quarantined for domestic use. At the same time, Santos has been signalling the Narrabri gas project could supply more than half the state’s gas needs on a daily basis. Its general manager energy NSW, Peter Mitchley, tells Guardian Australia “all of this gas will be sold into that pipeline to supply NSW”. He says he can guarantee that it would go into NSW “because the pipeline is only going south” – even though the project is yet to be approved and the gas contracts are yet to be sold. This is the political backdrop to the Narrabri gas project. As you drive through the Pilliga forest, you can’t see much of the project. Sixty per cent of the land within the project boundary is in state forest and 40% will be under private land. Santos has promised not to go on to farmers’ land if they do not agree. We see two gas flares, one known as the Tinsfield flare, just out of the town of Narrabri, and the other at the Bibblewindi treatment plant in the Pilliga state forest. Third-generation farmer Matt Norrie’s farm, Mollee, is one kilometre from the northern boundary of the Narrabri project. He can see the Tinsfield flare from his house. He is also an irrigator who relies on water. Norrie is involved in the community. He chairs the NSW Farmers Association Narrabri branch and he sits on the Santos community consultative committee. He starts by saying that if you have to have coal seam gas, you would want a company like Santos. It puts back into the community, he says, but then he does not hide his fears about the process. “I can’t see how the Narrabri gas project is going to stay in one area,” he tells us. “Santos has spent nearly a billion dollars buying it. They’ve spent another billion and a half developing it. They are going to spend another half a billion dollars on a pipeline. Now that’s a fair bit of return of investment [required] just on 850 wells. “If you look at the scale and the size of the projects in Queensland, there’s 6,000 wells in one [development] application. This is 850. I can’t see how they are going to have this much investment in one small area and not expand it. “It is that expansion that I fear we can’t talk about or address at the moment. Under the current planning process, there is nowhere where we can take into consideration or the community can formally voice their concern over exactly what a larger gas field will mean.” The chair of the Narrabri chamber of commerce, Russell Stewart, reckons the whole of the chamber is in favour of the project but that is disputed by other locals. “I can remember when I grew up here agriculture was where everybody worked, really,” he says. “Unless you worked in a shop in the main street you worked in agriculture. Really what [the gas project] does is it drought-proofs the region.” Stewart owns main-street shops rented by Santos, a fact he is open about. Sally Hunter grew up in Roma in Queensland and she says its experience of boom and bust motivated her to become involved in the community action against the Narrabri project. Hunter is secretary of People for the Plains, a community group opposed to the project. “The scary thing, from a landholder’s perspective, is that you are completely powerless in the face of these companies that know what they are doing and know what they want and know how to get what they want – so that is very frightening,” she says. “From an economic perspective the boom-bust cycle can have really big impacts on a community, especially rural communities. It threatens the resilience of a community.” Since economists worked up their first model, there are a lot of claims and counterclaims made about economic outcomes caused by mining and infrastructure projects. For example, Adani first claimed its proposed Carmichael coalmine would create 10,000 jobs and generate $22bn in royalties until an Adani expert witness told a court case that it was closer to 1,464 jobs and up to $4.8bn in royalties. Santos says, in its environmental impact statement, there will be a maximum of 1,300 jobs in the construction phase and 200 when the project drops back to operations. That 200 includes 50 existing jobs. The statement also says the project would pay $1.1bn in royalties over 25 years. The NSW government committed that for every $2 paid by a gas producer into a community benefit fund, the company will receive a $1 rebate on its gas royalties, up to a maximum of 10% of the royalty due in each year. The deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, has gone a step further, suggesting companies should pay resource royalties to farmers whose land is affected, as flagged in the South Australian government’s plan. “If the farmer is going to receive a royalty, that royalty isn’t going to kick in for a while and if it’s only 10% of that royalty, the royalties that are going to be going to government anyway, I can’t see it’s going to be that great. “So if you going to incentivise farmers to have gas on their place, I think it’s not something that’s got to be tied to royalties, I think it’s got to be tied to production.” Whether it is royalties or the community benefit fund, opponents of the projects suggest this is simply buying social licence for the approval. More than economic boom and bust, opposing farmers fear the effect on water. They rely on water from the upper layers for irrigation and stock while CSG drilling goes through a deeper layer called aquitard to get to the coal seams below. The wells are lined with steel and concrete. Waste products include water, salt and other minerals, which companies have to treat and/or dispose of. At its peak, according to the environmental impact statement, the project will produce 115 tonnes of salt a day in the first two to four years and an average of 47 tonnes a day across the 25-year life of the project. Farmers fear accidents will cause cross-contamination – a possibility which would be hard to fix once it has happened. “Think of throwing a bucket of paint in a stream and then trying to fix it,” says one farmer. “It has already got away before you know about it.” Mitchley says it is hard to imagine what kind of accident could cause contamination. “It really is difficult to imagine what kind of accident somebody is talking about,” he says. “We are not in a seismic area, the rocks have been here for thousands of years, they are completely stable. Our water source is completely separate to the water that farmers take.” But Baker says the science is advancing to reveal increasing interconnection between the various layers and NSW as a state does not have a good deep groundwater monitoring network which allows any level of certainty about the predictions of impact on water. “We don’t believe we currently have a monitoring network that is able to manage any level of impact or predict any level of impact,” Baker says. “Our current review of the Santos EIS suggests there is a lack of detail in what has been provided that doesn’t allow community any level of confidence that the project could proceed without any level of impact.” In country towns globally, the imperative revolves around keeping people in the joint. Walk down the main street of Narrabri and there are empty shops mixed with cafes and retail businesses. It has the telltale signs of a town reliant on agriculture, the service businesses, the big farming machinery moving through the streets, the stock and station agents. It also generates the usual tension between those who rely on agriculture and those who would like to see more economic diversity. And as with all small towns, everyone seems to have a dog in the race when it comes to mining versus agriculture. Max Davis has a farm but also drives the bus for a local open-cut coalmine. “I don’t want the town to die,” he says. “I like a bit of versatility in the economy and we’ve got coalmining here now and we have got agriculture, which has been a mainstay but it is not employing as many people as it used to. “Also, with the gas it will add a bit more to it. We are vying for the inland rail hub so I think with the gas as well it will help push that even further.” Ron Campbell is a councillor at Narrabri shire and owns Namoi Waste Corp, which contracts to Santos. He believes the project risks are minimal and urges the town to get behind the plan. “You can’t say you can drive a car and never have an accident,” Campbell says. “It’s the same thing. You would be a fool to say there is no way that there could not be an issue there. “The chief scientist Mary O’Kane said in her report the risks are so minimal that it should be allowed to go on. “I can be accused of having meat in the sandwich with Santos. I am comfortable with that because I know my role in the community.” Abbie Campbell is operations coordinator for Santos. She grew up in Narrabri and has been working there since 2014. The plan was to leave town before she got the job. “With high school, the majority of my friends have left to study, a couple of them have come back,” Campbell says. “But most of them have left and haven’t returned.” Likewise Brendan Ward, who is the Santos project manager for land access. He is the contact point for farmers with gas wells or who are interested in access agreements. He was also born and bred in Narrabri. His father works for Narrabri shire council and his mother works at the local high school. He studied business. “Back in high school we all just wanted to get to university and see where it took us and there wasn’t a great deal of opportunity back then for coming back to town,” he says. “But now it looks like there is something we can get our teeth into and really make a career out of it. It’s good.” Lynn Trindall is the chief executive of the Narrabri Land Council. She has worked with Santos, including a grant of $360,000 for a computer system to collate all known Indigenous heritage in the area. She faced criticism for taking part. “We work closely with Santos to protect our culture and heritage because they have got information that I have known they have had from Eastern Star Gas days,” Trindall says. “Everyone has their personal views in relation to the industry and because we are bound by an act of parliament it states in there we must protect culture and heritage, and that is what I do as the CEO. “A lot of people don’t believe we do the right things but we do.” Locals in Narrabri and further afield wait on tenterhooks for an outcome that may change the area completely. Davis, a project supporter, says most of the opposition has been from “out-of-town people”. “There is a few dedicated ones who are against it in the town,” he says. “When I say ‘outside’ I don’t mean ... well, there are some from the city areas as well but like surrounding districts – Coonamble, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah, which won’t be impacted.” But underground water runs well past the shire boundaries and it affects those towns and shires in the surrounding districts, including the famed Liverpool plains. Rohan Boehm, the chairman of the Narrabri Ratepayers and Residents Association, says prime agriculture and mining cannot exist together. “The very idea that coal seam gas production and agriculture production can coexist is very much like saying lions and zebras can coexist,” Boehm says. “Really that cannot be sustained. You cannot have high-production, high-value agriculture like we have here on this farm or across the north-west and expect it to continue while the industry skirts around the outside of it.” Boehm says he is not against mining per se as “we all consume energy”. “But I am a realist when I hear miners talk about their great economic impacts,” he says. “Really we should always take that with a grain of salt.”
News Article | May 19, 2017
A scientific study of great white shark numbers could be used by the government to justify delisting the species as threatened or ordering a cull despite international treaty obligations, the Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson has warned. Whish-Wilson, who is chairing a committee inquiring into shark mitigation and deterrence, has accused the Liberals of politicising recent deaths in Western Australia, including that of 17-year old Laeticia Brouwer through their calls to end protection of great whites. The WA Liberal state council has passed a motion calling on the federal government to allow the killing of great whites and the issue will be debated at the Liberals’ federal council in Sydney in June. In an interview with ABC Radio in Perth on Thursday, the environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, noted that before great whites could be delisted, he would need advice from his department’s threatened species scientific committee. Frydenberg said he was “getting the ball rolling” and was “very pleased” to get advice from the committee and the CSIRO to assess great white numbers on the east and west coast. The CSIRO’s work is under way and it is expected to report later this year. Frydenberg said he would try “to accelerate it as fast as possible”. But he highlighted another potential roadblock: the Conventions for the Conservation of Migratory Species, a UN treaty protecting the sharks, which required two-thirds of voting members to change. “It’s a very complicated step, and in fact it’s indeed a two-step process to remove the great white sharks from the [Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation] Act, and it will take some time and it would need to be based on scientific evidence,” he said. Whish-Wilson said Australia needed a population study to determine the number of great white sharks, but he the “recent politicisation of tragic shark incidents” suggested the study could be used to justify dropping their protected status. He hoped the UN convention would be an effective roadblock but said there was “always a risk” Frydenberg could attempt to pull Australia out of it. He acknowledged Frydenberg might just be “playing the politics with his own party on this” by using the convention as an excuse not to remove protection. Whish-Wilson said the study could be used by the government to claim the need for a cull of thousands of sharks as an “interim measure”, using any recovery in numbers to conduct a cull while claiming not to breach international obligations. A spokesman for Frydenberg ruled out pulling out of the UN convention. “Any change to the listing of great white sharks would need to be based on scientific evidence,” Frydenberg said. “It would not be appropriate to preempt the process which involves the CSIRO studying numbers and any recommendations by the independent scientific committee.” In his ABC interview, he called on the West Australian government to take more “immediate action” by putting in drumlines and nets to deal with sharks, something the McGowan government has ruled out. Whish-Wilson said shark culling programs did not improve safety, and drumlines and nets were not feasible, especially in remote locations where surfers had been attacked. He advocated the use of deterrent devices, such as “shark shields” that send out electric currents around a surfer’s board. “I think we’re at a real turning point – people don’t want to see sharks harmed, but they want to achieve beach safety properly and sustainably.” The Senate committee will hear from the CSIRO and the environment department. It will report by 30 June.
News Article | May 23, 2017
It was almost midnight on a summer Wednesday in 2015 when Hu Xiumin was jolted awake by a loud noise. Her apartment building in the affluent Harbour City development was shaking violently. She ran from the bedroom to find her husband standing in the study, looking out of the window. From here they could see out over the port of Tianjin; one of the warehouses was on fire. They backed away from the window just moments before the warehouse exploded in one of the worst manmade disasters in China’s history. Although Hu and her husband were unscathed, 173 people died at Ruihai International Logistics, a warehouse that was storing thousands of tonnes of hazardous chemicals. Hundreds more people were injured and thousands displaced on 12 August. Videos of the explosion went viral on social media. To the world, the tragedy became known as the Tianjin explosion. To locals, it’s 8/12. But the explosion also underscored a dilemma at the heart of China’s unprecedented economic boom: the chemical industry is critical for the country’s growth, but that growth is also fuelling rapid urbanisation. This is pushing residential areas closer to active chemical sites – like in Tianjin. This port city of 15 million people, a short train ride from Beijing, attracts hundreds of thousands of new residents each year. Most move to the city’s outer edges, where industrial plants were built decades ago. Some of the chemical sites, now surrounded by new suburbs, have dangerously lax regulations. One Chinese law mandates that chemical storage facilities, such as Ruihai, be located at least 1,000 metres from public spaces. But the rule is routinely violated, and the country’s complex regulatory regime – sprawling across national laws, local regulations and a myriad of often contradictory industry-specific guidelines – is at best patchily enforced. The 1,000m rule, for example, was first introduced in 2001, but was amended only three years later by the administration of work safety, which made it optional under certain circumstances. Then, in 2008, a report co-produced by the government’s hazchem and firefighting departments declared that “the 1,000m requirement is unrealistic, which made it hard to implement”. The breach of this rule is one of the reasons the Tianjin explosion was able to cause such damage. Thousands of people were living within the mandated buffer zone without knowing the risk. In the wake of the explosion, citizens, activists and officials began to raise questions about other chemical sites near residential areas. “I think the Tianjin explosion is a reckoning call for the public,” says Ada Kong, the director of Greenpeace East Asia’s toxins campaign. Tianjin’s dilemma is encapsulated by a neighbourhood along the Hai river in the Tanggu district. The main street is lined with a canal of toxic green runoff from the Tianjin Dagu Chemical works, the foul stench of which hangs in the air. But in the small streets alongside it, vendors are selling fruit as mopeds zip by. At a nearby school, two girls with pink hair bands are crouched collecting dirt with their bare hands. The plant was once more or less in the countryside. Over time, however, the city has grown around it. Now residential neighbourhoods are a stone’s throw from the factory’s fetid tailing ponds and smokestacks. Dagu Chemical uses vinyl chloride in the production of PVC, a common plastic. A leak in the vinyl chloride storage area lasting only 10 minutes could poison residents up to two miles away, according to one risk simulation provided by a former engineer who worked at the plant. The effects of being exposed to vinyl chloride range from mild (such as headaches and dizziness) to liver damage and cancer, depending on the duration and intensity of the exposure. According to Neal Langerman, an industrial chemical safety consultant who verified the assessment, it is possible to have chemical sites in relative proximity to residential areas without danger. However, he says, “their process management really has to focus on prevention. You literally have to assume something is going to go wrong.” Langerman has not personally been to Tianjin Dagu Chemical, so he could not comment on the safety of the site. But this is not a theoretical concern. Recent PVC plants exploding in Louisiana, US, Ulsan, South Korea and Coatzacoalcos, Mexico have caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of damage. Safety prescriptions vary wildly among regions and countries. Unlike China’s 1,000m rule, the Netherlands, for example, uses risk assessments to figure out the probability of different scenarios and help decide how far chemical sites should be from public areas. Genserik Reniers, a professor of safety of hazardous materials at TU Delft, says that he “would prefer calculated risk-driven distances and stringent/correct inspection [with] no violations, than just a distance … The risk is always higher with violations.” Chinese workplace safety laws encourage a culture of damage control over prevention, says Mimi Zou, an expert in Chinese employment law. “The regulatory approach has been to just respond when there’s been an accident, but obviously that doesn’t address all the risks involved … prioritising damage control over preventive [measures] just means that you’re not really addressing the root of the problem. “It’s only when these big accidents like Tianjin happen that regulators step in,” she says. “But where were they when the employer was actually cutting corners?” In the case of Tianjin Dagu Chemical, regulators have stepped in to announce that the threat posed by the plant to the nearby residential areas is too high, and a multi-billion dollar effort has been launched to relocate it (with another factory called the Tianjin Chemical Plant) to an industrial zone in the south of the city by 2020. Even after the move, the health and safety problems will be far from over. The contaminated land will require thorough soil remediation, which, until recently, has largely been shirked in China. Last year Beijing formally introduced a clean soil policy that Greenpeace’s Kong describes as the country’s “first ever … at a very high level”. It came into effect after a tragedy at a school in Jiangsu province last April. In an incident that has been compared to the infamous Love Canal disaster in Niagara Falls, New York State, nearly 500 students from the Changzhou Foreign Languages School fell ill. Children reported experiencing nose bleeds, flaking skin, rashes, coughs, and in the worst cases leukaemia and lymphoma. Their school campus was found to have been built on the site of three chemical factories: Jiangsu Huada Chemical Group, Jiangsu Changyu Chemical and Jiangsu Changlong Chemicals. These companies had been on the outskirts of Changzhou until the city expanded. In 2010 the city began a massive relocation effort, but the land left behind was deeply contaminated, reportedly containing chloroform, tetrachloride and worst of all chlorobenzene, a chemical linked to kidney, liver and brain damage. Chlorobenzene was present at 10,000 times the national standard, despite reportedly passing environmental assessments. After this incident, two Beijing NGOs, the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, along with Friends for Nature, sued the three chemical companies. However, in January 2017 a court ruled that the companies would not have to pay compensation or apologise. The defendants argued that although the land was contaminated, the pollution had not “harmed the public interest”, and that “the goal of the lawsuit – to prevent pollution and further damage – is gradually being achieved”. The NGOs are planning to appeal. Despite a growing environmental movement in China, chemical pollutants are “not something that people can see like air pollution”, says Kong. It is likely that the issue gained exposure and was able to be linked to brownfield pollution because the poisoned students were attending a relatively affluent school with parents who could complain to the government and the media. “The newly rising middle class can be a new dynamic to improve the hazardous chemical safety issue problem in China,” says Kong. “They’re more aware of their rights. They’re more empowered basically because of their economic situation.” After witnessing the Tianjin explosion from her window, Hu decided that continuing to live in Harbour City was no longer appealing. “Personally speaking, I don’t want to live there. I want another environment,” she says. Although the Ruihai warehouse was destroyed and the Dagu plant may be moving, a number of chemical and industrial plants remain dangerously close to residential areas in Tianjin. What’s more, she and her husband are concerned about contamination. “Pollution is a tricky problem, because you will not be diagnosed with a disease resulting from it until 10 or 20 years later.” This urban planning project, jointly funded by the Chinese and Singaporean governments, has been built on formerly polluted marshlands and features solar panels and windmills peeking through the skyline. The community is designed to be walkable, the public transportation is free and, best of all, there is no chemical facility in sight. So far about 50,000 people call it home, although it will eventually have the capacity for another 300,000 residents. “The facilities here haven’t been perfected yet, but we can see that every community will have their own community centre,” Hu says. “For the time being we don’t have any big malls here.” Nevertheless, she and her husband are expecting their first child, and the Eco-city community is safe and has good schools nearby. “If our kids can grow up in an environment like this, it will be like one of our wishes coming true,” she says. “I felt that moving into a new house marked a new beginning. My husband felt like a lovely home was ruined, but I was comforting him [saying] that where there are people, there is a home.” Experiments like Eco-city can only ease Tianjin’s growing pains so much. Not all residents who live dangerously close to chemical sites can afford to move, let alone to affluent communities, which means that other virtual powder kegs remain scattered across the country. Hu often drives past her old neighbourhood, which is mostly abandoned – but not entirely. “There are probably only one or two lights in a single building. If I had to live there now I would probably be very afraid.” This article was reported by the degree students of the University of British Columbia’s International Reporting Program in collaboration with Chinese journalists. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, and explore our archive here
News Article | February 3, 2015
Environmental groups have applied to have the jaws of two great white sharks that were killed after a shark attack off the West Australian coast last year released under freedom of information (FOI) laws. It’s the first attempt in Australia to use the FOI act to access physical objects. Patrick Pearlman, principal solicitor for the Environmental Defender’s Office in WA, said if successful the application would set a precedent to allow the release of a wide range of scientific samples. That could mean water, soil or potentially even DNA samples could be released under FOI. The request was made in a joint FOI application by Sea Shepherd and No WA Shark Cull Inc. They applied to see all documents and records related to the decision to deploy drumlines following the attack of Sean Pollard at Esperance on 2 October. Pollard, 23, lost part of both his arms in the attack. He has so far declined to speak to the media but announced on Facebook on Monday that he had granted an interview to 60 Minutes, which will be aired mid-February. Pearlman said it was reasonable to request access to the jaws in order to independently assess whether they matched the bite marks on Pollard’s surfboard, and therefore whether it was likely that the sharks killed were involved in the attack. He said shark jaws could be said to fall within the definition of a “record” in the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA), which includes “any paper or other material on which there are marks, figures, symbols or perforations having a meaning for persons qualified to interpret them” and “any article on which information has been stored or recorded, either mechanically, magnetically or electronically”. Pollard’s surfboard was also requested, but it was returned to his family two days after the attack. “In our view, items that we are seeking would fall within that definition because an expert would be able to extract information from the items that is related to the attack,” Pearlman said. “This was done with public money, by public officers, on the order of public officials. It should be available for the public to view.” Pearlman said there had been two cases in the United States where members of the public successfully applied for the release of biological items – human remains and samples taken in an autopsy – under FOI. However the Department of Fisheries refused the application to release the jaws and upheld that definition following an internal review. In a letter to Pearlman, the department’s supervising scientist said that he was “not of the view that biological specimens of fish fall into the definition of a record” and that reading the definition of document in that way was “extremely unwieldy and highly counterproductive to effective government and efficient public debate”. Pearlman said the Environmental Defender’s Office intended to appeal the decision to the Information Commissioner. The first part of the FOI, a stack of about 50 documents, was released last month and has been viewed by Guardian Australia. Natalie Banks, who represents both Sea Shepherd and No WA Shark Cull in WA, said they were seeking access to the jaws and the surfboard in order to get an independent scientific assessment of whether fisheries could have said, with any certainty, the species and size of shark they were looking for prior to the drumlines being deployed. Banks said they also wanted to see if one or both of the sharks killed could be confirmed to be responsible – or not responsible – for the attack. “If the government wants the community to be able to feel more secure that it is correctly applying a policy that has been the subject of a lot of public criticism, I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to make that information available,” she said. Under Western Australia’s imminent threat policy (now a serious threat policy), the state must write to the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, to request an exemption under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to allow it to catch and kill a shark. A handwritten timeline included in the documents released in the FOI shows that fisheries staff set the first drumline at 12.18pm on 2 October, just over an hour after the attack. Comparison with other documents shows the drumlines were released after the state had received verbal approval from Hunt’s office but four minutes before the WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet made a written request. The request, sent at 12.22pm, noted that “we do not know the species of shark however white sharks have been known to frequent this general area”. “Out of an abundance of cautions [sic],” it said, “we therefore seek an exemption to deploy gear, catch and destroy this shark that is presenting a significant risk to public safety”. The federal exemption was received at 2.03pm. The timeline, which appears to have been written by a Department of Fisheries officer in Esperance, said the shark, a 3.6m great white, was found snagged on the line at 1.55pm and towed to shore. The second shark, also a juvenile great white, was found when fisheries staff went to remove a remaining set of drumlines, about 6pm. Other emails between fisheries staff note that the drumlines need to be out of the water by sunset, expected that day at 5.55pm. The released correspondence also shows that fisheries staff in Esperance requested a power head – the device used to humanely kill sharks – from Albany. It had to be transported five hours by road and was not expected to arrive until 7.30pm, by which time both sharks were dead.
News Article | May 4, 2017
The shrimp and groundfish fisheries of the Guianas-Brazil shelf provide employment to at least 150 000 fishers and many more in auxiliary jobs (processing, marketing/trade, vessel and gear repair and maintenance, etc.). The number of households that are economically dependent on the income derived from working in the shrimp and groundfish fisheries sub-sector is estimated to be over 1 million. Shrimp fisheries contribute significantly to hunger eradication and the achievement of food security. In coastal communities fish and fishery products consumption is generally higher than 40 kg/capita/year. However, a number of shrimp and groundfish stocks in the region are fully exploited and at the risk of being overexploited. Fisheries technologies currently applied include unsustainable practices that are detrimental for aquatic habitats and put the lives of fishers at risk. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recognize that an investment is needed in ecosystem-based shrimp and groundfish fisheries management in the Guianas-Brazil Shelf. Brazil, French Guyana, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela, the countries sharing these transboundary shrimp and groundfish resources, will be collaborating in this pilot project. The project aims, over a one year period, to assess the value and management potential of shrimp and groundfish stocks and fisheries of the Guianas-Brazil Shelf, in order to enable sustainable investments in ecosystem-based management of these marine resources. Main objectives of the project are to:Improve understanding of economic value of the shrimp and groundfish stocks and the economic impact of the related fisheries sector of the Guianas-Brazil shelf. Initiate an ecosystem-based shrimp and groundfish fisheries management of the Guianas-Brazil Shelf planning process.Develop an investment proposal for the IADB to promote and leverage public and private financing of investments in ecosystem based management of these resources. The project will be using the WECAFC/CRFM/IFREMER Working Group on Shrimp and Groundfish, as main vehicle to bring the countries' experts and managers, private sector and partner agencies together. The funding for this project originates from the IADB programme for Managing Regional Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems for Biodiversity Conservation. More information on the project can be obtained from the Secretariat of WECAFC at: email@example.com and on the overall programme from the IDB website.
News Article | February 22, 2017
A group of New South Wales farmers fear that the federal and state governments are using the South Australian blackouts to push through a controversial 850-well coal seam gas project in the north-west of the state. The NSW government released the environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday for the Narrabri coal seam gas project, weeks after Malcolm Turnbull raised the possibility of a domestic gas reserve where an exploration area could be set aside exclusively for domestic consumption. On the same day as Santos submitted a state significant development application and environmental impact statement to the NSW planning authority, the prime minister declared he would consider working with the states to determine the “right incentives” to enable more gas development. The federal industry minister, Arthur Sinodinos, has said one option might be providing funding for the states that could be used to pay farmers compensation for CSG extraction and other mining. The deputy prime minister and agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, has also raised this option. Santos says the proposed Narrabri gas project could supply up to 50% of NSW gas needs and provide significant benefits to the region and the state more broadly. The company committed to make the gas available to NSW and the east coast domestic market via a pipeline linking into the existing Moomba to Sydney pipeline. While the NSW government has the planning approval right over the mining application, the federal government needs to give approval in regards to threatened species and the so-called water trigger, established by Tony Windsor with the minority Gillard government. The water trigger or Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) allows an independent expert scientific committee (IESC) to assess the impacts of proposed coal seam gas and large coalmining developments on water resources. Anne Kennedy, a Coonamble farmer who has been fighting the Pilliga gas project for nine years, said she feared that the federal government would use the South Australian blackouts to justify approval for the Santos CSG project. “The South Australian blackout was nothing to do with renewables,” she said. “It was a storm which caused the cheap Chinese steel poles to blow over. It is as ridiculous to me as saying we are running out of gas. We are not running out of gas, it is all being exported.” Kennedy is also the president of the Artesian Bore Water Users Association and one of a group of farmers in the North West Alliance group that opposes the project. She said if the water in the Great Artesian Basin was ruined by coal seam gas drilling, farmers would be out of business and towns would disappear as well. “How are my grandchildren are going to live here with without water?” she said. “This is good country, we have black soil plains. We don’t irrigate but we would not be here without ground water. “The government is quite happy to go along with this because they have been bought and paid for and we stupid trusting people, we farmers, say ‘the good old country party, they will look after us’. Well they haven’t.” But Max Davis is a farmer outside of Narrabri who supports the Pilliga gas project because it will create jobs in the community. “It will ensure these towns some growth and will attract facilities, including medical facilities,” he said. “If you look at towns further west like Walgett and Bourke, they are going backwards. They rapidly are losing services. “I would like to see some decentralisation to get industries out here so our local towns are more diversified. It’s no good having everyone governed and fed under one roof on the east coast.” Davis says he personally knows 12 or so farmers who support the project, though many are sitting on fence. And he disputes any threat to the Great Artesian Basin and suggests the underground coalmines may be a greater threat to the water supply. State National MP Kevin Humphries said the project was the most reviewed “on record” and regulations had been tightened through the NSW Gas Plan. “At a time when rural communities need to diversify their economy, this is an outstanding project that I fully support, and our community assessment is that the vast majority of people want this project to proceed,” Humphries said. “Many of the knockers are not from our area, are poorly informed and are scaremongering.” The NSW Labor Opposition went to the last election pledging to ban coal seam gas in the Pilliga. The environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, said the NSW government was taking the right approach in assessing gas extraction on case-by-case basis “allowing for important environmental and economic factors to be considered as appropriate”. “As with all projects the Narrabri Gas project will be subject to the usual environmental assessment and approval processes,” he said. Malcolm Roberts, the chief executive of Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, said NSW currently has to import 95% of its gas supply, which has an effect on cost. Asked whether it would be at the cost to the environment, Roberts said “not at all”. “Obviously there are people opposed to the gas industry and seek to create alarm and concern in local communities but we do also have a very rigorous regulatory process to assess environmental risk,” Roberts told the ABC. “And if we look at Santos’ Narrabri project, for example, their environmental impact statement has over 7500 pages of data and analysis representing years of on the ground research and analysis.” Roberts said the Australian east coast faces a supply shortfall as early as 2019. “Unless new projects are developed quickly, customers will face higher prices and tighter supply,” he said. “This will not only mean higher energy bills for families but also more pressure on manufacturers using gas to make products such as fertilisers, glass and plastics.” The NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said the Narrabri project would see 115 tonnes of salt per day or 42,000 tonnes per year generated in the initial stages of production and dumped at an undisclosed land fill. He said another 1,000 tonnes per year would be irrigated onto fields or put into local waterways. “The industry always promised to have a plan for their toxic waste but it is clear they are just going to use the environment as a dump,” he said. “We have got prime minister Turnbull rabidly backing coal seam gas now. It’s a big test for the National party. Will they join with the Greens and farmers in opposing this toxic and dangerous industry that one that risks the very future of our food bowl in NSW?”
News Article | February 23, 2017
EDMONTON (Under embargo until Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10 a.m. MST)--In the middle of Alberta's boreal forest, a bird eats a wild chokecherry. During his scavenging, the bird is caught and eaten by a fox. The cherry seed, now inside the belly of the bird within the belly of fox, is transported far away from the tree it came from. Eventually, the seed is deposited on the ground. After being broken down in the belly of not one but two animals, the seed is ready to germinate and become a cherry tree itself. The circle of life at work. Diploendozoochory, or the process of a seed being transported in the gut of multiple animals, occurs with many species of plants in habitats around the world. First described by Charles Darwin in 1859, this type of seed dispersal has only been studied a handful of times. And in a world affected by climate change and increasing rates of human development, understanding this process is becoming increasingly important. A new study by researchers at the University of Alberta's Department of Biological Sciences is the first to comprehensively examine existing literature to identify broader patterns and suggest ways in which the phenomenon is important for plant populations and seed evolution. Anni Hämäläinen, lead investigator and postdoctoral fellow, explains that predator-assisted seed dispersal is important to colonize and recolonize plant life in the wild. "Thick-shelled seeds may benefit from the wear and tear of passing through the guts of two animals, making them better able to germinate than if they had passed through the gut of the prey alone," explains Hämäläinen. "It's even possible that some plants have evolved specifically to take advantage of these predator-specific behaviours." Often larger than prey animals, predators cover larger distances with ease. As humans continue to develop and alter wilderness, such as by cutting down forests or building roads, predators may be the only animals large enough to navigate across these areas and enable plants to recolonize them. "Climate change will alter where some plants can find suitable places to grow," explains Hämäläinen. "Seed-carrying predators may have a role in helping plants cover a larger area and hence move with the changing climate." These different factors are like pieces in a puzzle, explains Hämäläinen: to fully understand the big picture of how they affect plant populations, scientists need to know how all of the pieces fit together. "Our work has highlighted how interesting and important diploendozoochory is, and we hope that it will help and encourage others to fill some of these gaps in our understanding," says Hämäläinen. The paper "The ecological significance of secondary seed dispersal by carnivores" is published in Ecosphere. This research was conducted by Anni Hämäläinen, Kate Broadley, Amanda Droghini, Jessica Haines, Clayton Lamb, and Sophie Gilbert, under the supervision of Stan Boutin, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair.
News Article | February 15, 2017
THIS NEWS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES Macarthur Minerals Limited (TSX VENTURE: MMS) (the "Company" or "Macarthur Minerals") is pleased to announce that it has entered into a non exclusive mandate with the Tulshyan Group to raise up to A$200 million with an initial tranche of A$50 million to develop the Company's Ularring hematite iron ore project located in Western Australia. The Tulshyan Group made a strategic investment in the Company in January this year. The Tulshyan Group, based in Singapore, is one of the largest recyclers of scrap steel in the world, has a significant shipping business with a fleet of over 30 ships and is expanding its commercial aircraft leasing business. The Tulshyan Group has significant experience in sales, marketing of steel and iron ore and access to capital for potential development of the Company's Western Australian iron ore projects. "Macarthur Minerals is pleased to be working with Tulshyan Group to raise funds to develop the Company's Ularring hematite project. Tulshyan brings to Macarthur significant experience in shipping, sales, marketing of steel and iron ore and has access to capital to assist in potential development of the Company's Western Australian iron ore projects. We are now observing good indications that the price of iron ore has recovered from its 2015 low of US$38.301 per tonne to a spot price today of US$92.232 per tonne with the advantage of a favourable exchange rate due to deprecation of the Australian dollar against US dollar." Macarthur Minerals' iron ore projects are located on mining tenements covering approximately 62km2 located 175 km northwest of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Within the tenements, at least 35 km strike extent of outcropping banded iron formation ("BIF") occurs as low ridges, surrounded by intensely weathered and mostly unexposed granites, basalts and ultramafic rocks. The Iron Ore Projects consist of two distinct mineral projects: The Company has been maintaining the core iron ore projects' assets and they remain valuable assets having previously spent over $60 million to develop them. There is real potential for the iron ore projects to add significant value with the recovery of global iron ore markets. Since July 2006 Macarthur Minerals has drilled 1,841 reverse circulation percussion drill holes (142,443 metres) and 49 diamond holes (4,170 metres) targeting iron mineralisation associated with BIF units. Exploration at both Ularring hematite and Moonshine magnetite projects has been sufficient to allow the estimation of Mineral Resources for both projects. The Ularring hematite project's Mineral Resource consists of Indicated 54.46 Mt @ 47.2% Fe and Inferred 25.99Mt @ 45.4% Fe3. Macarthur Minerals published a Pre-Feasibility Study in 2012, reporting Mineral Reserves4. The Company has received approval to develop an iron ore mine for the Ularring hematite project and associated infrastructure at the project location under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Environmental and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Inferred Mineral Resource estimate for the Moonshine Magnetite Project was initially prepared by CSA Global Pty Ltd5 and was updated by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, with an Inferred Mineral Resource consisting of 1,316 Mt @ 30.1% Fe6. A Preliminary Assessment Report was prepared on the Moonshine magnetite project by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants in 20117. The Company, through its 100% owned subsidiary, Macarthur Australia Limited (MAL), has entered into a mandate with Jewel Bright Limited, part of the Tulshyan Group. Jewel Bright Limited will raise up to A$200 million via various tranches to fund the Ularring hematite project, for a 10% fee on monies raised, a specified amount of options in MAL and other conditions. Mr David Williams, a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, is a part-time employee of CSA Global Pty Ltd and is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101. Mr Williams has reviewed and approved the technical information in relation to the Iron Ore Projects contained in this news release. The Tulshyan Group (Singapore), which has been in business for 33 years, is established in four main businesses; ship owning, ship recycling, aircraft leasing and diversified real estate. The Tulshyan Group operates a fleet of over 30 ships, which consists of tankers and specialised vessels. Tulshyan is one of the largest recyclers of ships in the world. The Tulshyan Group has expanded to commercial aircraft leasing, recently having purchased a new A320-200 and a new Boeing 737-800. The aircraft are leased on long term leases to first class airlines. Tulshyan is also in the process of negotiating the purchase of another 5 young aircrafts. Macarthur Minerals Limited is an exploration and development company that is focused on identifying and developing high grade lithium and counter cyclical investments, with significant lithium exploration interest in Australia and Nevada. In addition, Macarthur has two iron ore projects in Western Australia; the Ularring hematite project and the Moonshine magnetite project. MACARTHUR will be attending the 2017 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention and Investors Exchange in Toronto, March 5-8 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We invite you to meet the Macarthur team at Booth #2344. The conference will provide current and prospective shareholders an opportunity to speak with management about the Company's recent developments. On behalf of the Board of Directors, NEITHER TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE. Certain of the statements made and information contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking information and forward-looking statements (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The forward-looking statements in this press release reflect the current expectations, assumptions or beliefs of the Company based upon information currently available to the Company. With respect to forward-looking statements contained in this press release, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things, the timely receipt of required approvals, the reliability of information, including historical mineral resource or mineral reserve estimates, prepared and/or published by third parties that are referenced in this press release or was otherwise relied upon by the Company in preparing this press release. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct as actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include fluctuations in exchange rates and certain commodity prices, uncertainties related to mineral title in the project, unforeseen technology changes that results in a reduction in iron ore demand or substitution by other metals or materials, the discovery of new large low cost deposits of iron ore, uncertainty in successfully returning the project into full operation, and the general level of global economic activity. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty thereof. Such statements relate to future events and expectations and, as such, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release and except as may otherwise be required pursuant to applicable laws, the Company does not assume any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. 1 Jasmine Ng, 'Iron ore sheds 4.3pc on week, ending at record low', Australian Financial Review, Dec 12, 2015.