States split on plan to recycle: A controversial plan to introduce recycled drinking water in Queensland has split the Labor states, reinforcing the difficulty of forging a national consensus on water reform. Just days after John Howard unveiled a $10 billion plan that involves seizing control of the vital Murray-Darling Basin, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday said the state’s southeast could be drinking recycled sewage as early as next year. The Australian

Fund our scientists, or we’re flying partly blind: In October last year Liberal senator Bill Heffernan called for a federal ministry devoted to the development of northern Australia, as well as financial incentives to help farmers move from drying southern Australia to the north. On the face of it, current rainfall trends would support this idea … But before making large investments in the transfer of agriculture north, we would be wise to ask what is causing these changes in rainfall, and to try to determine whether the trends will continue. Tim Flannery in The Age

US urges scientists to block out the sun: The US wants the world’s scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be “important insurance” against rising emissions … SMH

Climate change in spotlight: The climate change issue is about to warm up again this week, with trans-Tasman talks and the release of a United Nations (UN) report on Friday. Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen is scheduled to meet Australian federal Treasurer Peter Costello in Wellington today to begin discussions about a possible single trans-Tasman economic market. Climate change is on the agenda.

World report on climate change still sugar-coated: Later this week in Paris, climate scientists will issue a dire forecast for the planet that warns of slowly rising sea levels and higher temperatures. But that may be the sugar-coated version. Early and changeable drafts of their upcoming authoritative report on climate change foresee smaller sea level rises than were projected in 2001 in the last report.