Coalition will ‘get around’ new law on coal seam gas | World news | guardian.co.uk

The Coalition says it will ‘get around’ a new law to force the federal government to take responsibility for coal seam gas, giving power for environmental assessments to the states to speed up the approval process and boost the CSG industry.In June the Senate is likely to pass the Gillard government’s legislation requiring the federal government to take account of the cumulative impact on the water table of developments like coal seam gas wells.

via Coalition will ‘get around’ new law on coal seam gas | World news | guardian.co.uk.

Why penguins lost their wings › News in Science (ABC Science)

Penguins lost their ability to fly millions of years ago, and now a new study explains why – the birds became lean and mean diving machines, trading flight for such skills.

The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points out that good flippers don’t fly very well.

“Once penguins gave up flight, changes to wing structure and overall body size and shape probably followed rapidly because flying no longer placed constraints to body form,” co-author Robert Ricklefs says.

via Why penguins lost their wings › News in Science (ABC Science).

Arctic Race Displaces Swedish City as Hurdles Bulldozed – Bloomberg

Swedes living in the Arctic town of Kiruna are packing up their belongings before their homes are bulldozed to make way for iron ore mining driven by Chinese demand.

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May 17 (Bloomberg) — Sandy Chim, president and chief executive officer of Century Iron Mines Corporation, discusses iron ore supply and the company’s plans to open a mine in China. He speaks with Francine Lacqua and Guy Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” (Source: Bloomberg)

LKAB (LKAB), Sweden’s state-owned mining company, opened a new level yesterday, more than 1 kilometer (3,281 feet) below the town, to be able to continue tapping the world’s largest contiguous body of iron ore. Many of the 18,000 who live above the deposit in the Scandinavian nation’s fourth-richest county will move a few kilometers east to accommodate the mine.

via Arctic Race Displaces Swedish City as Hurdles Bulldozed – Bloomberg.

As North Pole Melts, U.S. Arctic Policy Needs to Heat Up – Bloomberg

This week’s decision by the Arctic Council, led by the eight nations with Arctic territory, to accept China, India, Japan and three other countries as new observers points to the region’s growing importance. It’s also a sharp reminder of the need for the U.S., the council’s biggest player, to do more to prevent a destabilizing Great Game from unfolding at the top of the world.

Behind the Arctic’s intensifying geopolitics are some powerful geophysics. Climate change is causing Arctic ice to melt at an accelerating rate. Last summer, the area of ice covering the Arctic Ocean was about half what it was, on average, from 1980 to 2000. The thickness of the remaining ice had diminished by 80 percent over the same period. The late-summer Arctic could regularly be ice-free as soon as the 2030s, according to some estimates.

via As North Pole Melts, U.S. Arctic Policy Needs to Heat Up – Bloomberg.

On ‘Unburnable Carbon’ and the Specter of a ‘Carbon Bubble’ – NYTimes.com

A new buzz phrase in the push to limit greenhouse gas emissions is “unburnable carbon” — an effort to define and then wall off the portion of the world’s still-vast reserves of coal, oil or natural gas that might, if combusted, cause unacceptably costly or dangerous climate change. The effort builds, to a large extent, on studies aiming to create a “carbon budget” for the world’s nations — divvying up the amount of emissions (and thus fuels) below that threshold. The most notable paper, published in Nature, was ”Greenhouse-Gas Emission Targets for Limiting Global Warming to 2 °C.” (2 °C being 2 degrees Celsius). (Earlier this year, Katherine Bagley wrote a nice piece on the influence of that paper.)

via On ‘Unburnable Carbon’ and the Specter of a ‘Carbon Bubble’ – NYTimes.com.