Climate deniers cheering, I’m sure.

If you wondered about what happened to the burned Koala I posted on a few days ago, there’s a follow up above.


As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving them “functionally extinct.”

The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation has led to koalas becoming “functionally extinct” according to experts.

Functional extinction is when a population becomes so limited that they no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem and the population becomes no longer viable. While some individuals could produce, the limited number of koalas makes the long-term viability of the species unlikely and highly 


Animal campaigners say that koala numbers have fallen so low that the animal is “functionally extinct”. 

The Australian Koala Foundation says there are fewer than 80,000 koalas left in the wild. 

Although 80,000 sounds like a lot, the foundation says these koalas are unlikely to produce a new generation. 

‘Functionally extinct’ describes an animal population which has so few pairs that they are unlikely to produce a new generation.

It can also describe an animal which is breeding in such few numbers that they are more likely to become ill from disease.

The koala is a popular symbol of Australia and was even a mascot for the Commonwealth Games last year in Queensland Australia.

Although they are sometimes referred to as called koala bears, the koala is actually a marsupial. 

Koalas are dying out because many of the forests where they live are being destroyed. Heatwaves caused by climate change are also a major factor. 

Recent studies said thousands of koalas died from dehydration in an intense heatwave in Australia. 

UPDATE: New Scientist:

Who has said koalas are “functionally extinct”?
The Australian Koala Foundation, which lobbies for the animals’ protection, has put out a press release stating that it “believes koalas may be functionally extinct in the entire landscape of Australia”. The release triggered a flurry of worried headlines.

So are they?
No, although many populations of koalas are falling sharply due to habitat loss and global warming.

Read the rest of this entry »

Market Disses Tesla Truck

November 23, 2019


South Asia’s Toxic Air

November 23, 2019

Good, brief explainer of the dynamics behind Asia’s poison air crisis.

Woman who came from the Heavens.

Has a ring.

Bismark Tribune:

When she and Iron Eyes finished speaking, Sioux spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse bestowed a Lakota name upon Thunberg, “maphiyata echiyatan hin win,” which means “woman who came from the heavens.”

Former tribal chairman Jesse Taken Alive suggested the name, telling Thunberg “You have awakened the world. We stand with you.”

Thunberg’s visit to Standing Rock comes after she traveled to South Dakota, visiting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation over the weekend and Rapid City on Monday.

Indigenized Energy, a nonprofit responsible for the new solar farm in Cannon Ball, hosted her North Dakota visit.

Climate deniers cheer.

Everything that made Bear the dog a terrible pet has made him a bushfire hero.The Australian Koolie has boundless energy, an inquisitive nature, intelligence and a great nose for sniffing out trouble.It was too much for his previous owners, who decided they could no longer keep him after he literally ate their apartment, chewing through furniture and walls out of boredom.

He ended up with the Detection Dogs for Conservation program at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where he has become a trained koala detection dog.He is the only one of his kind trained to track live koalas rather than droppings, known as scat. Decked out in special boots to protect his feet from the scorched ground, Bear has been searching for koala victims of the bushfires that have been devastating Australia’s east coast in recent weeks.


MELBOURNE, Australia—The world’s largest battery is about to get even bigger, with Tesla Inc. (TSLA) set to boost the capacity of its southern Australia lithium-ion operation by 50% to provide additional stability to the power grid. 

Neoen SA (NEOEN.SA), the French company that owns and operates the 100 megawatt-129 megawatt hour lithium-ion installation known as the Tesla Big Battery, said Tuesday the 71 million Australian dollar (US$48 million) project will create Australia’s first grid-scale battery. 

The Hornsdale Power Reserve in Jamestown, north of Adelaide, was built by the Silicon Valley auto maker in less than nine months in 2017 after Chief Executive Elon Musk offered to help the government of South Australia state bolster a vulnerable power network hit by a string of blackouts. Tesla’s system stores power generated by a wind farm built by Neoen. 

Battery storage has become a critical bridge for Australia’s power network as aging coal-fired plants are increasingly shut down. Power generated by wind and solar farms need a backup for intermittent supply, and recent decreases in battery prices have made them an alternative to plants that only run during peak hours. 

South Australia Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the battery’s expanded capacity will reduce volatility in spot electricity prices and protect the state grid from network disruptions. 

In its first year of operation the battery saved consumers more than A$50 million, Neoen said, adding that the expansion—due to be completed in the first half of next year—will increase savings. 

When the additional Tesla battery packs are installed at the site, the operation will provide a large-scale demonstration of the potential for battery storage to provide inertia to a network, stabilizing the grid when electricity supply and demand fluctuate, the French company said. 

The battery technology will trial responding to supply shifts by automatically charging and discharging, imitating existing services in current fossil-fuel power systems. 

The project will receive A$15 million over five years from the state government’s Grid Scale Storage Fund, becoming the first development to receive money from the fund that was set up a year ago. The federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed A$8 million in grant funding, while government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corp. will provide debt financing, Neoen said.

Ford Jumps in with EV Mustang

November 18, 2019

New York Times:

Ford Motor’s latest offering seems like an oxymoron twice over: It’s a sport utility vehicle that’s electric … that’s a Mustang.

It’s also Detroit’s biggest bet yet on a mass-market future for battery-powered cars.

The big automakers have been producing hybrid and fully electric vehicles for years. But almost all have been smaller models that found limited demand. Even the manufacturers often referred to them as “compliance cars” — built to help meet environmental regulations while they mainly turned out big internal-combustion vehicles that sold well and made hefty profits.

European luxury-car makers like Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have added electrified models — all S.U.V.s. Tesla, which has a fervent following, is on track to sell about 360,000 cars this year and is supposed to add a fourth model, a crossover vehicle, next year. 

But with the Mustang Mach E, unveiled Sunday and coming to showrooms next year, Ford is aiming to make an even bigger splash. It is taking a calculated risk that automakers can find a market for electric vehicles of the size Americans have come to prefer. (Almost half the nation’s auto sales now are S.U.V.s.) And it aims to persuade buyers to pay extra for battery power in an age of cheap gasoline.

“We’ve pushed all our chips to the middle of the table,” the company’s chairman, William C. Ford Jr., said in an interview. “I hope this will show we are now deadly serious about electrification.”

Ford is hoping some of the cachet of the original Mustang will rub off on the new model and boost demand for electric vehicles, which now represent just 2 percent of the market. Tesla has a commanding presence there now, accounting for almost 80 percent of nationwide sales of battery-powered vehicles last year. Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, are expected to make headlines this week when Mr. Musk unveils an electric pickup truck. 

The Mustang, however, has its own fervent following, even now, 55 years after it was introduced. The sports car was unveiled to great fanfare at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, causing a sensation with its sleek design. Its long hood, short trunk and sloping roofline combined to make the car look as if it were rushing forward. (The new S.U.V. will also have a long hood and sloping roofline, but no trunk.) And its affordable price — under $2,400 (about $20,000 today) — resonated as American households began adding second cars to their driveways.