Daily Links Mar 27

Will the world ever be ready for solar engineering? Is there any point in giving research priority to carbon capture and storage? Both are sops to the fossil fool industry to allow them to keep doing what they do. We have to decouple energy generation from carbon-based fuels. Easy to say, much harder to do, but we have to do it!

Top Post
Land degradation threatens human wellbeing, major report warns
More than 3.2bn people are already affected and the problem will worsen without rapid action, driving migration and conflict

Today’s Celebration
Armed Forces Day   Myanmar / Burma
Evacuation Day    Angola
Mount Arafat Day     Kuwait
Skyscraper Day    United States of America
World Theater Day   https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/world-theater-day/
Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day   https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/quirky-country-music-song-titles-day/
More about Mar 27     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_27

Climate Change
Study links climate policy, carbon emissions from permafrost
Controlling greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades could substantially reduce the consequences of carbon releases from thawing permafrost during the next 300 years, according to a new paper published this week in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

New research shows fertilization drives global lake emissions of greenhouse gases
A paper published this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters is the first to show that lake size and nutrients drive how much greenhouse gases are emitted globally from lakes into the atmosphere.

Reconciling Paris Agreement goals for temperature, emissions
As society faces the challenge of limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, new research finds an apparent contradiction: Achieving that goal doesn’t necessarily require cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero, as called for in the Paris Agreement. But under certain conditions, even zero emissions might not be enough.

Global Carbon Emissions Could Be Cut 3 Percent by Following the UK’s Example
The UK cut its emissions from electricity production by 25 percent in 2016, using a strategy many countries could adopt to quickly lower carbon …

New climate model developed by Russian and German scientists
To find solutions for some tasks in climate research, we need calculations for hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years. Such tasks are, for example, ice age periodization. Another group of tasks that requires huge longitudinal calculations is climate forecasting, a type of research where we don’t have definitive information about coefficients of used models.

US tax incentives expected to drive growth of CO2 capture, sequestration projects
A small provision in legislation that passed last month to increase U.S. government spending limits is predicted to trigger an explosion of new spending for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)

Climate change policy is proving difficult to enact even in liberal states with democratic control
Why do climate policies keep losing in some of America’s most progressive legislatures?

Europe’s $38 billion carbon market is finally doing its job
Europe’s $38 billion a year carbon market is finally starting to work the way it was intended, reining in pollution with a minimum of squealing from industry.

Will the world ever be ready for solar geoengineering?
Many object to shielding the planet from the sun’s rays by injecting particles into the atmosphere, but a small band of researchers think the approach is worth studying before it’s too late.

Mailings to teachers highlight a political fight over climate change in the classroom
A rare back-and-forth of direct mailings to teachers demonstrates how classrooms have emerged as a battleground in the American political war over climate change.

Infrastructure Australia urges inland rail line from Brisbane to Melbourne
Planning body says high-speed rail should be a ‘high-priority initiative’ for Australia

Renewables generated more electricity than brown coal over summer, report finds
Renewable energy also produced 40% more than gas and was exceeded only by black coal

Shell to take on big energy retailers
Shell is planning to break into Australia’s domestic energy market in what could be the biggest shake-up of the energy market in decades.

Browse, Barossa gas projects at risk
Woodside’s $US20.5 billion Browse gas project has emerged as a key target for tougher petroleum taxation as partner Shell voices “caution” on changes.

Mixed messages fire energy fears [$]
Malcolm Turnbull wants more investment in energy infrastructure but is sending mixed messages to potential partners.

Labor urged to take green lead [$]
More than 300 Labor branches have backed a campaign to rewrite the nation’s environmental laws.

Zibelman: Old energy market rules make no sense
AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman says technologies are changing at “breath-taking” speed, economy, but Australia’s energy transition could be held back because its energy market rules are rooted in the past.

Know your NEM: The tricky question of network values
David Leitch
Gold plated or not, the idea that governments would agree to a write-down or rebate on network costs is laughable.

Write-downs and rebates: What states can do about gold-plated grid
Kate Griffiths
State governments now have an opportunity to reset the clock – to pay off the mistakes of the past and let consumers guide choices about our future grid.

Schools evacuated as toxic peat fire burns in state’s southwest [$]
An underground peat fire sparked by bushfires in Victoria’s southwest has forced evacuations because of toxic smoke.

Damaging winds sweep Vic after bushfires
Firefighters are on high alert as damaging winds sweep Victoria following bush and grass fires in the state’s southwest.

Victorians paying hundreds of millions in excessive water charges
Victorians risk paying an average $50 a year more than they should on their water bills over the next five years because of unnecessarily high charges that flow into state government coffers, an analysis has found.

‘It’s a waste mountain’: fight brews over Werribee rubbish tip
A western suburbs council is warning of an environmental crisis over a rapidly-filling rubbish tip caught in a legal impasse over its expansion.

The terrifying real-life horror story of the road that can’t be killed
Adam Carey
Every horror aficionado knows you can’t kill a zombie because it’s already dead. Labor’s got its own unkillable zombie on its hands – the East West Link – and even though Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas put an axe in its head and buried it more than three years ago, it’s still threatening to claw its way out of its shallow grave.

Should cyclists and walkers be separated?
Alan Davies
Conflict between cyclists and walkers on shared trails is a growing problem. The default should be separation, as recommended by Infrastructure Victoria

New South Wales
Homeowners find properties in path of rail, road projects
The owners of 400 homes and a further 640 rural properties in western Sydney have discovered they could be acquired.

$425m IT upgrade for transport agencies veers off the rails
Dubbed “Making It Work For You”, the $425 million project was meant to transform the information technology systems for the state’s transport agencies.

China push to buy coal power plant [$]
A Chinese conglomerate has approached Malcolm Turnbull’s office to ­express interest in buying the Liddell coal-power plant.

Brisbane Metro a ‘high priority’ on national infrastructure list
However, the state government’s Cross River Rail project has failed to move forward on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list.

Rainforest site works to start by end of year [$]
The developer of a new six hectare residential estate planned for Stoney Creek in Kamerunga is hoping to start construction on the rainforest property later this year.

Kidston solar farm lays out case for “going merchant”
Giles Parkinson
High spot prices and better than expected output from new Kidston solar farm delivers revenue bonus – but it won’t last.

Metro is only one part of the solution [$]
Courier Mail editorial
Infrastructure Australia’s decision to list the proposed Brisbane Metro as one of the nation’s high-priority projects is certainly a welcome development — but we need Cross River Rail to get Queensland’s capital moving, too.

South Australia
That airport tram will never take off [$]
A tram link to Adelaide Airport the former Weatherill government hoped would gain federal funding this year has failed to win essential backing from independent umpire Infrastructure Australia.

Defecting Lib MP to push for nuclear dump [$]
New Liberal MP Dennis Hood will agitate for the State Government to revive plans to store high-level nuclear waste in SA, after he abandoned Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives in a shock post-election move.

Britain’s emissions dropped by 6 percent in 2016 by switching from coal to natural gas
Britain’s emissions dropped by 6 percent in 2016 by switching from coal to natural gas a new study from the University of Sheffield has revealed.

How does Marshall battery plan stack up with Tesla-Weatherill plan?
Giles Parkinson
How do the competing battery storage rollouts compare? Is the Marshall plan better than the Tesla proposal embraced by  …

FactCheck Q&A: are South Australia’s high electricity prices ‘the consequence’ of renewable energy policy?
Dylan McConnell, University of Melbourne
On Q&A, Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said South Australia’s high electricity prices were “the consequence” of Jay Weatherill’s renewable energy policies. Is that right?

Privatise TasNetworks to deliver cheaper electricity, report urges
Tasmanians are paying too much for electricity because governments over-spend on infrastructure, according to a new report, but the Liberals reject its proposal to write-down TasNetworks’ assets and privatise.

Second Bass Strait cable listed as an Infrastructure Australia priority
A second Bass Strait interconnector linking Tasmania to the mainland is given a leg up, with Infrastructure Australia adding the proposal to its priority initiative list.

Northern Territory
NT anti-frackers remain optimistic [$]
Northern Territory anti-frackers are still optimistic the controversial practice will be banned in the NT, as the Government’s decision deadline looms

Hefty price to put power underground [$]
The last-known estimated cost to underground power in Darwin was $170 million. That was the forecast figure 11 years ago in 2007

Western Australia
How to cope when the plastic bag ban begins
Western Australia’s plastic bag ban is imminent, and the biggest question for many seems to be what to line rubbish bins with when the ready supply of free bags dries up.

Study: wind and solar can power most of the United States
Wind, solar, and storage could meet 90–100% of America’s electricity needs

Hydrogen-powered transport key to climate targets, says Shell
Oil firm says gas could account for 10% of global energy consumption by end of century

How to know if your ‘natural’ cleaning products are the real deal
With so many goods and services vying for our attention, is it any wonder that some companies try and bend the truth in order to sell their products? Enter the faux “natural” cleaning products.

Lights go out around the world for ‘Earth Hour’ to highlight climate change
A record number of countries and territories participated in this year’s event.

Microsoft seals “biggest ever” US corporate solar off-take deal
Computing giant says it now contracts enough renewables to “send Marty McFly back in time in a DeLorean” after sealing 315MW Virginia solar farm PPA.

Nissan targets eight new electric vehicle models by 2022
Maker of one of world’s most popular EVs, the Nissan Leaf, wants to roll out 8 new pure electric cars by 2022, sell 1m EVs a year.

Blowin’ in the wind — A source of energy?
It may in the future be possible to harvest energy with the aid of leaves fluttering in the wind. Researchers at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University have developed a method and a material that generate an electrical impulse when the light fluctuates from sunshine to shade and vice versa.

Car makers turn to climate deniers in quest to lower fuel economy regulations
Dave Cooke
Last month, the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers submitted a report calling into question impacts of climate change and tailpipe pollutants in an effort to undercut the need for fuel economy regulation.

Future ‘ocean cities’ need green engineering above and below the waterline
Katherine Dafforn, UNSW; Ana Bugnot, UNSW; Eliza Heery, National University of Singapore, and Mariana Mayer-Pinto, UNSW
Artificial islands that are now mushrooming across the ocean are regarded as ‘engineering marvels’. But, little attention is paid to how these human-made structures affect sea life.

Fragility and resilience in the grid of the future
Mark Byrne
Simplicity doesn’t always equal efficiency, but it does usually equal reliability. A system with multiple layers of complexity is more vulnerable to breakdown.

How energy storage is rewiring the electricity industry
Eric Hittinger & Eric Williams
Whatever shape the shift to renewables takes, energy storage will be the Swiss Army knife for electricity grids – a tool for any task.

Poisons have long shelf lives
Monique Keiran
Ending the use of lead, pesticides, PCBs or plastic microbeads and bags doesn’t make the substances disappear. We’ll be dealing with their legacies for years to come.

Nature Conservation
Land degradation threatens human wellbeing, major report warns
More than 3.2bn people are already affected and the problem will worsen without rapid action, driving migration and conflict

Trump plan could open Giant Sequoia monument to logging
As the Trump administration continues to roll back protections on public lands, timber industry advocates are pushing to reduce federal defenses for California’s giant trees

Who owns water? The US landowners putting barbed wire across rivers
New Mexico is a battleground in the fight over once public waterways, sparking fears it could set a national precedent

We need to focus on corruption, population to halt biodiversity loss
Researchers say targets for biodiversity loss are failing because they ignore key drivers such as human population and corruption.

Rocky habitats need to be protected for endangered amphibians to survive
An international team of scientists led by the University of Plymouth has published research in the PLOS ONE journal showing that rare amphibians living on rocky plateaus in western India are in desperate need of greater protection as their habitats are being eroded.

Alberta’s boreal forest could be dramatically altered by 2100 due to climate change, study says
Half of Alberta’s upland boreal forest is likely to disappear over the next century due to climate change, a new study shows. The upland forest will be replaced after wildfire by open woodland or grassland, according to research from University of Alberta biologists, conducted in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada researchers.

What three feet of seawater could mean for the world’s turtles
Ninety percent of the world’s coastal freshwater turtle species are expected to be affected by sea level rise by 2100, according to a study published today from the University of California, Davis.

Environmental ‘disaster’ at Thai gold mine
A noted academic says widespread damage is documented in a report, findings are disputed by the mine’s owner.

From plastic waste to fashion statement
A Nigerian entrepreneur collects plastic bags from waste sites to create clothes and backpacks in an effort to push recycling.

How can we save the country’s birds?
Jonathan Wallace
We may be only a few years from hearing the purring of the last turtle dove in the UK

How to fund conservation in the age of moneyball
Marc Peruzzi
Voters have the power to fix the public lands crisis, but first we need get smarter about how we fund open spaces.

Now for something completely different …
The cost of privilege
Per Capita
This research, commissioned by Anglicare Australia, shows that each year, a staggering $68 billion in taxpayer dollars, greater than the cost of Newstart, disability support, or any other benefit, is spent keeping the wealthiest Australian households wealthy.

Maelor Himbury