Sudden sea-level surges threaten 1 billion: More than 1 billion people live in low-lying areas where a sudden surge in sea level could prove as disastrous as the 2004 Asian tsunami, according to new research. New mapping techniques show how much land would be lost and how many people affected by rapid sea-level rises that are often triggered by storms and earthquakes. Reuters

You are are now entering an oil-free zone: Close your eyes and imagine your life without oil. Impossible? Well, according to the people behind the emergence of so-called “transition towns”, it may not be too far away. The first town in the UK to embrace a future without the black stuff was Totnes in Devon in September 2006, and since then others, including Falmouth and Stroud, have joined it. However, it is not just traditional rural towns that are keen to embrace this do-it-yourself movement.  Guardian

Water statement prompts call for EC review: Irrigator groups are calling on the Federal Government to review Exceptional Circumstances (EC) funding, after the Prime Minister’s water statement yesterday. John Howard said without rain in the Murray-Darling Basin in eight weeks, there will be no water for irrigation at the start of the season, saying only town supplies can be guaranteed. It has raised deep concern in the Riverina-Murray region as it could mean permanent plantings such as citrus and grapes could die. ABC

As mercury rises, boys will be girls: A four-year study of a common Australian lizard has proved hotter incubation temperatures can reverse gender in some species, turning boys into girls as the weather heats up. The world-first discovery, made by a team of ecologists and geneticists from the University of Canberra working closely with chromosome experts from the Australian National University, challenges previous theories of sex determination and also has profound implications for climate change. Canberra Times

Motorists offered free rego for hybrids: Queenslanders who drive environmentally friendly cars could get free registration under laws proposed by the state opposition. Opposition environment spokeswoman Rosemary Menkens has introduced … a bill to amend the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act. It seeks to increase the use of hybrid and electric cars in urban areas by offering free registration. SMH

And speaking of hybrid cars: The following is from Popb*tch, so it’s not exactly authoritative, but is interesting nonetheless … “California has 34m vehicles. Only 135,425 (about 0.3%) are hybrids, but this accounts for more than a quarter of America’s total. Gulp.”

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Peter Fray
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