Can Murdoch save the planet?: There can have been few stranger sights in recent weeks than Rupert Murdoch’s sudden apparent conversion from hard-nosed media tycoon to climate-change activist. At a news conference last week, as Murdoch pledged that his media empire, News Corporation, would be entirely “carbon neutral” by 2010, he waxed evangelical on the subject, asking his audience to “imagine if we succeed in inspiring our audiences to reduce their own impacts on climate change by just 1%. That would be like turning the state of California off for almost two months.” Guardian

Making a farce of five-star: Mcmansions lit up like Christmas trees are making a farce of the State Government’s green building rules, with new houses guzzling more energy and producing more greenhouse pollution than existing homes. A damning Government report leaked to The Age has recommended replacing Victoria’s five-star energy standard with a new benchmark, capping greenhouse emissions and penalising large houses and apartments. The Age

Polar bears at risk as warming thaws icy home: Time may be running out for polar bears as global warming melts the ice beneath their paws. Restrictions or bans on hunting in recent decades have helped protect many populations of the iconic Arctic carnivore, but many experts say the long-term outlook is bleak. An estimated 20,000-25,000 bears live around the Arctic — in Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Norway — and countries are struggling to work out ways to protect them amid forecasts of an accelerating thaw. AlertNet

Global warming “golden opportunity”: China and the UK have a golden opportunity to embrace and benefit from the challenges posed by global warming, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said over the weekend. Beckett was in town as part of a whirlwind three-city tour, itself part of a wider Asian tour, to talk about the future of the world’s environment and spearhead the first stage of a new era of closer economic, political and technological cooperation between the two countries, to help preserve that environment. People’s Daily Online

Ancient Amazonian technology could save the world: Terra preta, the ancient charcoal-based soil used by ancient Amazonians to create permanently fertile agricultural lands in the rainforest, is getting serious consideration as a means to fight global warming and meet domestic energy demand. The soil, easily distinguished from conventional Amazon earth by its black color and mineral richness, is thought to have been created by pre-Columbian people through a process of adding charcoal and animal bones to regular soil to create a highly fertile hybrid, ideal for agriculture. Monga Bay