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Tony Abbott. (AAP Image/POOL/Lukas Coch

Top stories this morning

Australia’s coal production takes a hit, as Abbott’s claims are rebuffed

Tony Abbott’s wholly unscientific claim that coal is “good for humanity” has been rubbished by a leading charity.

A report by Oxfam has found that the fossil fuel causes numerous health problems as well significant environmental damage. Last year, the Australian prime minister called for an “end to the demonization of coal” after opening a mine in his country.

The Powering Up Against Poverty study criticises Abbott’s government for continuing to embrace the coal sector, at the expense of renewables,  despite the obvious environmental impact of using the fuel.

Separate studies by the Lancet have warned of the severe health impact of climate change.

Australia’s coal sector is set to be badly affected by new import restrictions put in place by the Chinese government.

The news comes as a blow to the country’s coal sector, which has already been badly hit in recent months by the slowdown in the Chinese economy.

Shell plans staff move as kayaktivists protest in US

Last night, protestors in Portland, Oregon were busying themselves preparing to drop kayaks into Riverside park to remonstrate against Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic.

The oil giant plans to launch a ship today as part of its Arctic plans.

The protest is the latest example of resistance to Shell’s drilling plans, after activists in Seattle took to the water to block ships associated with the Dutch company. Over the weekend, about 150 kayakers protested Shell’s presence in Portland.

The news come as Shell announced a significant changes for its staff in the UK.

The BBC reports that North Sea staff will begin working three weeks offshore and three weeks on, from early 2016. This move follows a similar action taken by BP.

China: Wind turbines sit unused as renewables revolution outstrips capacity

The renewables revolution continues in China, but a large swathe of the country’s new wind turbines are sitting idle.

Bloomberg reports that last month the number of the wind turbines in the country not contributing to electricity generation increased in the country for the first time in three years.

It is reported that the rush to build turbines has outpaced China’s ability to convert wind power into electricity.

In the northeastern province of Jilin, one of the windiest regions of the country, it is estimated that 43% of the area’s wind turbines have been unused so far this year.

The number of China’s wind turbines sitting idle rose in the six months through June for the first time in three years even as the country continued to add capacity.

In other news

UK: Earth could get just 12 hours warning before solar storm (Guardian)

US: Examining the viability of Hillary’s environmental policies (Guardian)

Canada: Husky energy profit drop (WSJ)