Daily Links Dec 21

Monbiot discusses ‘shifting baseline syndrome’ in The Guardian article below as an explanation for our selective blindness to many many aspects of the living world. Going bush with someone skilled in interpreting the geology or biology of the place can be the real eye-opener that overcomes that blindness. Even so, we are all complicit in the environmental loss around us.

Top Post
How invasive weeds can make wildfires hotter and more frequent
Tim Curran et al
While climate change indeed raises the risk of wildfires, our research shows that another way humans can change patterns of fire activity is by introducing flammable plants to new environments.

Today’s Celebration
Forefather’s Day     United States of America
Winter Solstice    Macau
Las Posadas (9 days)  Mexico
Alban Arthuan (Solstice) (Northern Hemisphere)  Celticism
Alban Heruin (Solstice) (Southern Hemisphere)    Celticism
Litha – Summer Solstice (Southern Hemisphere)  Paganism
Yule – Winter Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)    Paganism
Re-gifting Day         https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/regifting-day/
Look On The Bright Side Day     https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/look-on-the-bright-side-day/
Don’t Make Your Bed Day     https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/dont-make-your-bed-day/
Short Girl Appreciation Day     https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/short-girl-appreciation-day/
International Dalek Remembrance Day   https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/international-dalek-remembrance-day/
More about Dec 21     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_21

Climate Change
Carbon loophole: Why is wood burning counted as green energy?
A loophole in carbon-accounting rules is spurring a boom in burning wood pellets in European power plants. The result has been a surge in logging, particularly in the U.S. South, and new doubts about whether Europe can meet its commitments under the Paris accord.

Talking about climate change in Orwellian doublespeak doesn’t make it go away
The US administration’s new National Security Strategy doesn’t mention climate change as a threat. That’s dangerously ignorant.

Climate change may boost rain in Kenyan river basin
Kenya’s Tana River Basin, which has experienced drought over the past few years, is likely to get wetter this century.

2017 will be one of Earth’s hottest years on record, along with 2014, 2015, and 2016
This year is assured a place in the record books.

China Announces Details of New Carbon Trading Market
China has released plans to create the world’s largest carbon emissions trading scheme, several news outlets reported.

The Republican tax bill won’t address climate change
Despite much cajoling and prodding from fellow conservatives, the party didn’t adopt a climate policy in the new tax bill.

The solar impact on climate
Graham Lloyd
A new study suggests solar activity has had a greater impact on the rise and fall of temperatures than first thought.

Snowy Hydro 2.0 cost doubles to $4b
Snowy Hydro will fund the extra cost of building Malcolm Turnbull’s pet pumped hydro project – which may be close to doubling to just shy of $4 billion.

PM argues Snowy Hydro 2.0 is good to go
Nine months after Malcolm Turnbull first announced an ambitious $2 billion expansion of the iconic Snowy Hydro project, he argues it is clearly a viable project.

Taxpayers won’t foot blowout
The Coalition will argue a major Snowy Hydro 2.0 cost blowout will be paid for by the corporation and not taxpayers.

Lobby group hits back at BHP
The Minerals Council vows to stay active in the energy and climate debates “on behalf of all its member companies”.

Electricity market in intensive care, but improvement coming

Heavy industry the winner under new carbon trading proposal

Projects put wind in RET’s sails
Australia is about to blow past the federal government’s renewable energy target ahead of schedule.

How riding to work is becoming a pursuit of the wealthy
More than 100,000 people now ride to work after an 8.8 per cent increase between 2011 and 2016, analysis of the latest census by consultancy firm SGS Economics and Planning shows

Good intentions are being punished over politics
Jane Fynes-Clinton
The Federal Government’s crackdown on foreign interference should never have included the charity sector in its dragnet.

Turnbull has politicked himself into irrelevance on energy and climate in 2018
Alan Pears, RMIT University
At the end of 2017, Australia is starting to (slowly) address our energy problems. But it’s also clear the federal government has abdicated leadership and responsibility.

The federal Climate Policy Review: a recipe for business as usual
Rebecca Pearse, University of Sydney
The federal government’s keenly awaited review of Australia’s climate policies continues a longstanding bipartisan traditional of weak policy development in this area.

2018: When battery storage gets a grip on the grid
Giles Parkinson
The year that storage takes hold in 2018? And what about electric vehicles, smart cities, and the underlying case for wind and solar?

AEMO looks forward. Where does AEMC look?
David Leitch
AEMO has been a breath of fresh air in 2017. It’s a shame that while AEMO is looking forward, the AEMC is looking the other way. Leadership matters.

Is that a carbon tree? Or just another policy thought bubble?
Sophie Vorrath
Is it a tree, or a coal washing machine? What magic carbon abatement technology was depicted in the federal government’s 52-page climate policy review?

Turnbull’s big climate fail, and no positive change in policy
Sophie Vorrath
Turnbull government review declares its climate policy a success. New data, however, tells a different story.

How to energise power suppliers
Ron Boswell
The lesson from AGL shutting the Liddell coal-fired plant is to bring on competition.

Another mini-grid breakthrough for AusNet in suburban Melbourne trial
Victorian network operator AusNet Services has again succeeded in taking part of a Melbourne street completely off grid

Guy’s road plan ‘fundamentally flawed’, experts warn

Vandals destroy dinosaur footprint at Victorian national park

Victoria regulator proposes 29c/kWh solar export tariff in peak period
Giles Parkinson
Victoria regulator proposes 29c/kWh “peak” tariff for solar exports between 3pm and 8pm – a move that is likely to increase the business case for household battery storage.

New South Wales
Significant drop in Indigenous blood lead levels in Broken Hill
There is a major drop in blood lead levels among Aboriginal children in Broken Hill, while lead levels in non-Indigenous children increase.

Intermittent: Another big coal unit trips – that’s four in a week
Giles Parkinson
A 700MW unit at Eraring coal plant tripped during Monday’s peak, the fourth coal unit to fail unexpectedly in less than a week. Meanwhile, another three units – equal to Hazelwood capacity – remain off line.

Three words outside RPA that made me join Sydney’s growing throng of cyclists
Catherine Naylor

Wombinoo Station owner vows to defend land clearing allegations
The owner of a North Queensland station accused of unauthorised land clearing vows to “strenuously” defend himself, saying it was difficult to interpret where he was permitted to clear.

Queensland coal units send prices negative, because can’t switch off
Negative price are still happening in base-load coal country, and Queensland is proof of that.

Qld backs NEG, but state RET won’t change
Queensland’s new Energy Minister Anthony Lynham has backed the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee to end the impasse between the Coalition and state Labor governments.

The ‘fatbergs’ lurking beneath Brisbane’s streets

South Australia
David Littleproud appointment a ‘one-finger salute’ to SA
SA Premier Jay Weatherill takes issue with the appointment of first-term Nationals MP David Littleproud as the new Water Resources Minister, describing it as a “one-finger salute” to the lower end of the basin.

Farmers are turning off water-saving devices as energy cost strikes
High power prices are forcing farmers to abandon water-saving technology, an inquiry has found.

Battery responds as power fails
South Australia’s giant battery is already showing its worth, state Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says.

South Australia power grid costing millions of dollars to ensure stable supply of electricity

Forico wins first plantation carbon credits contract
Tasmanian company Forico becomes the first forest manager in Australia to be awarded a contract to sell carbon credits under a multi-billion dollar scheme.

Basslink cable dispute ‘could get messy’, expert warns
An energy expert says Hydro’s stand that the Basslink power cable failed because it is not suited for the job could lead to a protracted legal battle of more than two years.

Northern Territory
Thousands of tonnes of dangerous mining waste dumped in wrong place
Northern Territory government insists no report about resulting combustion and emissions exists, despite investigating McArthur river mine

Paving the way for a non-electric battery to store solar energy
UMass Amherst scientists say a polymer chain organized like a string of Christmas lights assists energy storage

Siting solar, sparing prime agricultural lands
Land-sparing spaces can meet renewable energy demands, central valley-based study says

France bans fracking and oil extraction in all of its territories
French parliamentarians have passed a law banning fossil fuel extraction. President Macron says he wants France to lead the world with switch to renewables

Insidious gas leaks are casting doubts over Shell’s clean credentials
After spending $50 billion on the world’s biggest bet on natural gas, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is at the forefront of Big Oil’s efforts to clean up its act. But what if the constant, insidious leaks of gas into the atmosphere actually make the fuel more polluting than coal?

Pesticides and Poor Nutrition Damage Animal Health
The combined effects of pesticides and a lack of nutrition form a deadly one-two punch, new research from biologists at the University of California San Diego has shown for the first time.

Is seaweed the next big thing in sustainable food?
Seaweed farming is taking off in Maine and nationwide, which could mean good news for the economy and the environment.

New technique allows rapid screening for new types of solar cells
Approach could bypass the time-consuming steps currently needed to test new photovoltaic materials.

Halogens can increase solar cell performance by 25 per cent

Bitcoin’s energy use is out of control … but maybe that’s the point?
Mike Hazas, Lancaster University; Bingsheng Zhang, Lancaster University, and Joseph Lindley, Lancaster University
The extra energy used to mine and transfer Bitcoins may simply be a price the currency has to pay for being secure and anonymous.

The Banana Equivalent Dose of catastrophic nuclear accidents
Jim Green
Thus, exposure from Chernobyl and Fukushima equates to 6,480,000,000,000 Banana Equivalent Doses – that’s 6.48 trillion bananas or, if you prefer, 6.48 terabananas.

Nature Conservation
Japan’s inaction on illegal ivory exports threatens Chinese ban, report says
Monitoring network Traffic says smuggling of undocumented ivory into China could undermine enforcement of imminent ban

Climate change may favor large plant eaters over small competitors

Plastic found in mussels from Arctic to China – enters human food
Tiny bits of plastic are contaminating mussels from the European Arctic to China in a sign of the global spread of ocean pollution that can end up on people’s dinner plates.

The year in water 2017
A new era of severe environmental and economic disruption around the world upends freshwater supplies.

In America and beyond, the spirit behind public lands is at risk
Hansjörg Wyss
Earth’s wild places cannot be saved by the hands of a few. Policy-makers must become evangelists for public lands.

How invasive weeds can make wildfires hotter and more frequent
Tim Curran et al
While climate change indeed raises the risk of wildfires, our research shows that another way humans can change patterns of fire activity is by introducing flammable plants to new environments.

Our selective blindness is lethal to the living world
George Monbiot
Each generation is normalising the erosion of our environment, and the devastating losses to fragile ecosystems mount up.

Now for something completely different …
Christmas: a sibling survival guide
Linda Blair

Maelor Himbury